Friday, 21 October 2011

The Ballinderry - more than just a guest house

The Ballinderry is a guest house in the town of Robertson, situated in one of the most fantastic wine valleys of the Western Cape. Somehow Belgian owners Luc and Hilde have managed to create an interior that is both modern and chic but more importantly relaxed and comfortable, quite literally a home away from home. The two of them are very good at what they do and if you’ve never met them have a look at the photograph above. A great picture that I managed to find in the dictionary under ‘hospitality’. They have a passion for what they do and this translates beautifully into all that is around them but most noticeably onto the exciting plates of food that leave Hilde’s ordered and immaculate kitchen. Her breakfasts are exceptional but what takes me back every time I am anywhere near them is the 3 course dinners that seem to get better and better. With the combination of her Belgian heritage, a love for Mediterranean cuisine, her natural palate and some true creative genius, Hilde never disappoints and puts amazing things together.

The menu last Friday was a perfect example of the type of food she likes to cook (and I like to eat).

Starter: Cheese soufflé and salad

Very light Old Amsterdam cheese soufflé, side salad with dried fruits and slow roasted cherry tomatoes.

Main: Duck a l’ Orange, gratin potatoes and veg

Duck leg slow roasted in an orange and port marinade, duck breast pan-fried and flambéed with brandy, gratin potatoes, red cabbage and fried apple and a port orange sauce.

Dessert: White Belgian chocolate icetart, dark chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries.

Yes please!

Hilde has very kindly given me her Cheese soufflé recipe and I’m going to share it with you.

Ballinderry’s Cheese soufflé (for 6)


- 120g Old Amsterdam Cheese, grated
- 20g white flour
- 12g butter (+ extra for the ramekins)
- 300ml hot milk
- 4 fresh jumbo egg whites (or 5 large) – room temperature
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- a few fresh sage leaves, chopped
- black pepper
- salt
- nutmeg
- 6 lightly buttered ramekins


- melt butter in a pan on a low heat and add flour
- use wooden spoon to stir the dry mixture.
- gently pour in the hot milk while whisking firmly, using a hand whisk
- as soon as starts to boil, switch of the heat
- add cheese (keep on whisking) followed by baking powder
- season with sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg
- not too much salt or nutmeg as the cheese is rather salty
- let the mixture cool down a little while you beat the egg whites
- gently fold in the egg whites and pour into the ramekins (3/4 full)
- preheat the oven to 175 C
- put ramekins on a baking tray a bit below the middle
- bake for 12 to 15 minutes
- souffles are ready when their top is golden and centre moist
- do not open the oven while baking.
- serve immediately with a little salad on the side with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, dried fruits and a drizzle of olive oil.

TIP: You can make the mixture a few hours in advance but without the baking powder and egg whites, which you only add to the mixture (room temperature!) before baking.

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