Rubies and Roses

14 Sep

I live a stone throw from the Durbanville Wine Valley, where Rubies & Roses, a whimsical interior design & antique store opened in the working wine cellar of Klein Roosboom.

Welcoming spring with grapefruit cocktail in jam jars. Pic Mark Serra/TASTE

Sumien Brink of TASTE magazine invited me along for the shoot of a spring lunch with the effervescent vintner Karin de Villiers and her design-minded daughter Marné. The result is a delightful article in the September issue of Taste.  Mark Serra took the pics (some used here with credit – the other less-pretty pics are the ones I took with my new BlackBerry).

Even if you don’t read the rest of this blog, do yourself a favour and scroll down to the recipe for the divine Granadilla soufflé with nougat cream, made for the occasion by Karin’s forever-and-ever friend and fishing buddy Christina de Jongh.

You haven’t lived till you tried Christina’s granadilla souffle with nougat cream. Divine cups by Mustard Seed and Moonshine

A visit to the Klein Roosboom family farm will leave you somewhat infatuated, whether it is from tasting the lush wines and bubbly made by Karin de Villiers or the feverish shopping in her daughter Marne’s quirky décor shop, reminiscent of a trading post.

Rubies & Roses, filled with antiques, newly restored pieces and homemade delicacies, opened in June – right in the heart of the bustling cellar. The piece de resistancein this halfway house for heavenly things is not the highly covetable chandeliers dripping with delicate teacups and silver spoons, nor the on-trend dining room table made by hand from driftwood and scaffolding, but two huge stainless steel wine tanks flanking the wall.

Huge steel wine tanks are reminders that the decor shop is in a working cellar

Prints of  17th century paintings of pastoral landscapes and others of angels and pink-cheeked cherubs are haphazardly placed on the tanks’ industrial-looking hatches, while brightly coloured handbags and  festooned wreaths woven from dry vine cuttings add their cheeky touch.

Marné confessed to me: “I’m concerned that I’m still very attached to the pieces in the shop and I’m devastated when things get sold that I spent so much time on to restore.”

For our celebratory spring lunch we feasted at a table exquisitely dressed by Marné, using collectables, linen and tableware from her shop.

What I bought at Rubies & Roses:

  •  An antique tea set with emerald green and gold trim, perfect for high tea;

    I saw these green and gold vintage teacups and couldn’t resist it.

  • A turquoise Limoges serving dish, slightly battered but still beautiful;
  • A restored foot stool, upholstered in velvet; (at last I don’t have my feet dangling)
  • A decorative wrought-iron crown;
  • Home-made preserves from the deli;
  • Several bottles of Klein Roosboom’s award-winning Merlot.


Christina’s Granadilla soufflé with nougat cream


500 ml crème patisserie (cooled) – it’s a thick, freshly made egg custard (see recipe below)*

15 granadillas


10 egg whites

150g castor sugar

Brown sugar to sift over

Spray 6 large or 12 small soufflé ramekins with a non-stick food spray and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cut the granadillas in half and scoop out the pulp in a small saucepan and cook until reduced. Mix  pulp with the crème patisserie. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add sugar and beat until they form stiff peaks. Fold in half of the egg whites and the salt into the crème patisserie, then fold in the other half of the egg whites. Spoon into soufflé ramekins and bake in a bain marie at 180⁰ C for about 15 minutes.

*Crème Patisserie

Crème Patisserie is a classic French ‘thick’ egg custard used for confectionary bakes like custard slices, profiteroles and fruit tarts.

2 eggs
50g vanilla sugar (you can also add two drops of vanilla extract to castor sugar)
2 T flour
300ml milk
30g unsalted butter

Cream the eggs, sugar and flour until smooth and light. In the meantime, heat milk until boiling point, remove from the hotplate and add to the egg mixture while stirring. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan, bring to the boil again and remove from the hotplate. Stir in the butter. Allow to cool.

Nougat cream

2 egg whites

2 T honey

2 handfuls of flaked almonds

125 ml cream

2 T Amaretto liquor – or be a little heavy handed with it like Christina

Beat the egg whites until the soft peak stage, before adding the honey and beating until stiff peaks form. Beat the cream and Amaretto until stiff. Fold the cream and almonds into the egg whites and cool until needed.

Klein Roosboom pretty in pink.


** Find the rest of the recipes in the September issue of TASTE magazine


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