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Meet our dessert diva Bongi Ndabeni

They say “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Is it challenging keeping your cool in a busy and stressful cooking environment?   Not at all, I love to cook with my heart.

Working closely with other senior chefs etc - means you get to keep growing and learning. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?   I really enjoy a challenge so I think in less than 5 years I will be a senior chef.

What new skill are you planning on learning in 2021?  At the moment my main focus in the kitchen is desserts. I would like to move to the hot station to make myself more of an all-rounder.

Which of the following is your favourite - bread making, pastry & cakes or desserts - and why? I really enjoy making bread. I would love to own my own bakery one day.

The food at Morukuru De Hoop is focussed on fresh seasonal ingredients. Tell us which summer fruit is your favourite to eat - and which ones do you enjoy working with. Share a recipe name or two?  I love eating mangoes, they are so sweet and have such a refreshing smell.  Two of my tried and tested recipes are Mango Sorbet and Mango Cheesecake

Meat/fish/chicken is seen as the main event - tell us about some of your “hero” side dishes and salads?   A crisp and fresh green salad is so versatile and goes well with pretty much anything.

Being at the coast - seafood is a popular choice for guests to enjoy. What are some of your favourite shellfish dishes to prepare? Any tips for prepping shellfish?  Crayfish and prawns are the best!  Make sure they are fresh and clean them properly. I find keeping the flavours simple is always good when it comes to seafood and like to baste with lemon and butter.

Guests can go on a Fynbos/beach picnic. What’s in their picnic basket?   Crumbed prawns with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and fresh and crisp salad and some home-made crisps and to finish it off, fudgy chocolate brownies

With a focus on seasonality - the menus at De Hoop include local, fresh produce. Which season is your favourite - Spring/Summer/Autumn or Winter...and share your favourite dish from that season?  I love the new life that Spring brings. One of my favourites is a mixed berry and white chocolate frozen roulade.

What is your favourite vista at De Hoop - the ocean/fynbos reserve/mountains? And why does this speak to you?  It has to be the fynbos.  I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape, far away from everything. All you could see outside was trees and fynbos and it was so peaceful.  I left when I got a bit older.  Being in De Hoop and amongst the fynbos reminds me of my childhood and it’s like a dream come true

Mixed Berry and White Chocolate Roulade

Sponge

Butter to grease baking tray

125g caster sugar

8 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

125g cake flour

 

Mixed Berry Compote

150g mixed berries

¼ cup sugar

Filling

250g double cream

50g condensed milk

1tsp vanilla extract

80g melted white chocolate

Drizzle

150g mixed berries (either fresh or frozen)

50g white chocolate

Icing sugar to dust

Method

Sponge

Preheat oven to 180ºC.  Grease and line a baking sheet with baking paper

Beat sugar and eggs for around 7 minutes until they are thick and pale.

Add vanilla extract and mix lightly

Sift flour and a pinch of salt into egg mixture and fold gently with a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out any of the air you have already incorporated into the mixture.  Spread mixture on to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean

As soon as the sponge is baked remove from baking sheet and peel away the baking paper.  While still warm gently roll up with baking paper or a damp tea towel and set aside to cool

Compote

Gently heat the mixed berries, caster sugar and water over a low heat on the stove top until berry mixture has thickened and some of the berries have broken down.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool until chilled. If you prefer a smooth compote you can always pass it through a sieve

Filling

Beat cream, condensed milk and vanilla extract until thick, taking care not to over whip the cream.  Chill for 30 minutes

To assemble

Unroll the cooled sponge and discard the baking paper or tea towel

Spread over the cream mixture and top with berry compote

Roll up the filled sponge and wrap in cling wrap and freeze for 4 hours

To serve, removed the cling wrap and place on a plate.  If you have any berry compote left over you can always use this to drizzle over the top of the roulade before serving

       
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