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Friday, January 27, 2012

120118 Main Ingredient's MENU - Mexican peppers, wine tasting, our markets, new products, picnics, restaurants and great events

MENU
Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
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A malachite sunbird with agapanthus flowers, Hemel en Aarde

In this week’s MENU:
*     Heat wave
*     Wine harvest
*     Wines
*     Mexican peppers
*     Products
*     Our market activities, events and restaurants
Sizzle.   It has been HOT in the Cape over the last three days. We were in the Hemel en Aarde valley for a break over the weekend and stayed till Monday, so we escaped the worst of it, but coming home we saw temperatures in the car reach 40. Our house is amusingly called “Sunkissed” because, up on the hill in Sea Point, we do get the sun from early morning, until we see it hit the sea. And, of course, despite good insulation in the roof and blinds on all the windows, it does hold the heat. We have been using all our fans and tricks to circulate the air, but we are hoping for a good thunderstorm soon to break it. The cats lie around panting on the wooden floors and Hamish, our very fluffy ginger cat, has already had three dips in the handbasin – with that much fur, he does like water. We hope you are coping well with it. If you are in chilly northern climes, we suggest that you plan a journey south soon.
Wine Harvest   It looks like this is going to be a sensational year. There has been long slow ripening until now and all the farms in the areas we have visited recently look as though they have huge quantities of good grapes. Our best wishes to all of you for less heat, no moulds and a great harvest.
Wine   There was such a wonderful selection of wines on offer over the weekend that Lynne, sadly, broke her resolution and tasted a few of them. We visited Newton Johnson on Monday and tasted through their fabulous wines and succumbed and bought some of their new release, a rock star of a wine, 96% Shiraz with 3% each Mourvedre and Grenache, appropriately called Full Stop Rock 2008. This cracker of a wine is full bodied, full of sweet berry fruit, licorice and tons of elegance - it is delicious and we think is a real winner to put down in your cellar for drinking in 5 to 8 years.  Their Chardonnays are currently sold out but the new vintage is about to be released. And their two Pinot Noirs are Lynne’s current favourites.
John escorted two English clients on a wine tour this week. David van Niekerk of High Constantia (who took them through his whole range of wines), Cape Point Vineyards winemaker Duncan Savage, who showed them his vineyards, and tasting room hostess Jennifer were magnificent hosts and our guests went away having been royally entertained and with much more knowledge of the world of wine making than they had at the start of the day. They bought bottles of High Constantia Brut MCC and Cape Point Isliedh and would have loved to have bought more, but travelling and weight restrictions had to be considered. A real treat for them was ending the day with a glass of Brut at Buitenverwachting. We had a wonderful lunch at The Food Barn, always a favourite place for us to stop when we are in the area. John and David had a delicious white and black truffle risotto with green asparagus and a fontina sauce (David had prawns with his and a carafe of Newton Johnson chardonnay 2009) and Niki had kingklip with tender leaves, tomato vinaigrette, fine beans and Pain Bagnat salsa, served with Nitida’s delicious Coronata white blend. John, the driver, had delicious local tap water. Cape Point’s new picnic and events area is very beautiful. They have a huge permanent Moroccan style marquee and excellent new catering facilities. The farm’s tasting room will move to this new venue later this year. See pictures.
In hot weather, we find that we like to eat hot, spicy food; it does seem to cool you down. There is a glut of wonderful peppers in the shops at the moment, so do try this recipe which Lynne made last week. It serves 2 to 4, depending on how hungry you are and how large the peppers are!
Mexican peppers
2 large pimento (banana) red peppers (18 to 20 cm long) – 350g lean beef mince – 1 onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves garlic – fresh oregano – 2 courgettes, grated – 2 t Mexican spices – olive oil – 3 T tomato passata – 3 t rice or rice pasta – salt and pepper
Mexican spice mix: 2 t salt, 2t cumin, 2 t cayenne pepper, 2 t brown sugar, 2 t paprika, 1 t ground black pepper, 1 t dried oregano, 1 t dried chilli flakes, 1 t sweet smoked paprika. Mix together and store in an airtight container
Fry the onion in the oil until it is just beginning to take on colour, add the garlic and fry for one minute, add the beef and brown it. Add the oregano and the spices and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the courgette, pasta and the passata and simmer until the pasta is cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning. Halve the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Put into an oiled ovenproof dish. Fill the peppers with the mince mix. Put 1 T water underneath the peppers and cover with foil. Bake at 180ÂșC for 45 minutes or until the peppers are lovely and soft. Serve with cool guacamole and a salad.
Products    We have collected our order of Prego sauce and we have lots of it - do come and restock. We now have black rice and two unusual salts: Salish smoked salt from the USA Pacific coast and Black Lava Palm Island Salt from Hawaii.
Most other products are available, except goose fat, which we won’t see before the end of the month, but we have plenty of duck fat, which is an excellent alternative. If you are looking for anything, have a look at our product list and tell us what you want. We will soon have an online shop as well, accessed through our website, where you can order and pay us through Payfast.
We have a lot of fun putting MENU together each week and, of course, doing the things we write about, but making it possible for you to enjoy rare and wonderful gourmet foods is what drives our business. We stock a good range of ingredients and delicious ready-made gourmet foods. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our website. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa.
Our market activities   We will be at The Place at Cavendish tomorrow, Friday 20th January. We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 and every Saturday. Last Saturday, it was actually much less than exciting and quite poorly attended. Maybe it was the heat, or the cricket, or the beach….  We hope to see more people this Saturday. People sometimes tell us that they don’t want to visit us there because of the crowds. No danger of that last week! We will be back at Long Beach Mall next Friday, January 27th.
There is a huge variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our list of Interesting Food and Wine Events. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you through into the new year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
Some restaurants have responded to our request for an update of their special offers and we have, therefore, updated our list of restaurant special offers. Click here to access it. These Specials have been sent to us by the restaurants or their PR agencies. We have not personally tried all of them and their listing here should not always be taken as a recommendation from ourselves. If they don’t update us, we can’t be responsible for any inaccuracies in the list. When we have tried it, we’ve put in our observations. We have cut out the flowery adjectives etc. that so many have sent, to give you the essentials. Click on the name to access the relevant website. All communication should be with the individual restaurants.
Summer time is picnic time and several wine farms offer picnic facilities. We have put together a list of wine farms who can provide you with a picnic, We haven’t put in much detail, just where it is, phone number, email address and a link to the website. The latter is where you will find all the important information. Go and check it out.





19th January 2012

Remember - if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you, and, if you’re in Cape Town or elsewhere in the country, we can send it to you! Check our product ist for details and prices.
PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information
Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
Our Adamastor & Bacchus© tailor-made Wine, Food and Photo tours take small groups (up to 6) to specialist wine producers who make the best of South Africa’s wines. Have fun while you learn more about wine and how it is made! Tours can be conducted in English, German, Norwegian or Dutch flavoured Afrikaans.
Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters are ©John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.
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