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Thursday, March 08, 2012

120301 Main Ingredient’s MENU - Taxing times, Taj Expressions dinner, Pannacotta, Products, Our market activities, events and restaurants

MENU
Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
Click on anything underlined and BOLD to open links to pictures, blogs, websites or more information
A gourmet squirrel enjoying lunch in the Company’s gardens, Cape Town
In this week’s MENU:
     Taxing times
     Eastwards travel
     Van der hum and vanilla panna cotta
     Products
     Our market activities, events and restaurants
Taxing times     We have had what seems like a very quiet week with no outings and only one lunch but, in fact, we have been tied to both our computers while we have been sorting out our end of year tax and bringing our company books up to date. March is going to be busy! Arduous even for small traders, we are pleased that our Finance Minister has made it slightly easier for us in future because we now have to do returns only twice a year. But our (idiotic) accounting software doesn’t allow us to be late. It closed itself off at midnight on the 29th. Fortunately, one could fool it by setting the computer’s date back a month.
Travels Eastward      We still want to try to have a holiday in Vietnam this year, when business drops off. A friend who has moved there joined us for lunch yesterday. He, very helpfully, sorted out an itinerary for us because that is what he does there. We see so many holidays in Thailand and absolutely nothing in Vietnam. Lynne has been into at least five major travel groups and asked for information on tours and been told, “Oh yes we have brochures”, then minutes later “Oh sorry none left, we will send you something on email or in the post”. And not one of them has got back to us. There is also nothing on the Internet. So while we might enjoy the luxury of an all-inclusive tour (albeit a budget one), it looks like we are going to have to do it on our own. We both absolutely love Asian food, we eat it at least once or twice a week and can’t wait to see this beautiful country and taste the amazing food. And perhaps do a cooking course while we are there.
What did we cook for our Belgian friend, who has been in Vietnam for a year and more? Bobotie! Just in case he was missing SA food, with a salad and a dessert of Van der Hum Panna cotta. A very easy dessert to make indeed, so we thought we would give you the recipe. You will need our leaf gelatine and our Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste or one of our lovely soft Madagascan vanilla beans. It is pretty low in carbs except for the 25g sugar, which is spread across six panna cottas, so it is not that bad. If you are sticking to the low carb diet religiously you could use Splendor, the liquid sweetener (you will have to work out the equivalent, we don’t use it), and not use the liqueur. We eat very little sugar in our daily diet, so a dessert every now and then is, we think, permissible. If you could leave the bread and the chutney out of Bobotie it would be low in carbohydrates too. But would it taste the same?
Van der Hum and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis
500ml cream – 1t Vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean – 25g sugar – 3 sheets of leaf gelatine – 1 T Van der Hum liqueur (substitutes would be Grand Marnier, Curacao or Benedictine) – 150 g Raspberries
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft – just 5 minutes. Put the cream, sugar and vanilla into a pan and bring up to scalding point (just before boiling starts). Do not let the cream boil.  If you are using a vanilla bean, cut it open down one side, scrape out the seeds and put them and the whole pod into the cream. Remove from the heat and add the soaked gelatine, stirring till it has dissolved completely. Take out the vanilla bean and stir in the liqueur. Pour into six ramekins and refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Blend most of the raspberries (keep a few for decoration) and push through a sieve to remove the pips and serve with the panna cotta which you have turned out onto a small plate. Do sweeten the coulis if the raspberries are very tart.
We used a cabernet Sauvignon jam which we had been given but, sadly, the pips were really big and aggressive and the rest of the jam will now be put through a sieve to get rid of them.
WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE TAJ 2     The Taj “Expressions” competition was won by Pat Wood of Kwazulu Natal. She has passed her prize on to her daughter Samantha, who lives in Cape Town. Our thanks go to all of you who entered. Our commiserations go to those of you who didn’t win and we congratulate Pat and Samantha.
Tonight sees the launch of the Year-long “Expressions” programme. For the whole of March, this features the wines of Wellington and Paarl, which has been designed and prepared by guest chef Simone from Babel restaurant. Her dishes will be paired with regional wines which express the inherent character of the variety and their place of origin. Her menu will then be incorporated into MINT Restaurant’s Table d’hôte menu for the entire month of March with selected paired regional wines (Wellington & Paarl) as an option. Two of the Taj chefs have spent time with Chef Simone, to ensure that her dishes are replicated correctly!
There will be a wine tasting at 6pm, which precedes the dinner. We will be there and look forward to meeting Samantha and hope to see lots of you; we had a good number of entries to the competition. Remember, if you can’t come tonight, you can sample the Wellington/Paarl food and wine matching menu for the whole month of March at the Mint Restaurant in the Taj. Book through the Taj. We will announce the next dinner before the area and the food changes and, hopefully, will be able to run another competition for you to enter.
In addition to a hosting one-off events such as St. Patrick’s Day Guinness & Oyster Festival on Saturday 17th March (join us after the Neighbourgoods Market for a pint of the black stuff!! We love the stuff), the Taj will host a series of monthly events to showcase the incredible diversity of the wine, food and people of the Cape winelands through their Expressions of … series. More information, the full story, can be seen if you click here
Products     The Italian beef, chicken and vegetable stock cubes and Spanish Knorr fish stock cubes are proving to be popular and the two Italian balsamic reductions we added to our list (pear & walnut and white truffle) sold almost immediately. We’ll have more tomorrow. Rick Stein’s new Spanish series has prompted lots of you to look at Spanish products and we are seeing an increase in interest in Sherry Vinegar, Paella rice and Spanish smoked paprika. They are all in our product list. Check it here.
If you are looking for anything, have a look at our product list and tell us what you want. You will be able to access it through our website. If you can’t find what you need, let us know and we will try to find it for you. Until our online shop is ready, drop us an email and we will help you. The financial year end has put a temporary halt to work on our online shop. The financial year end has but a stop to work on on-line developments, but we intend to concentrate on it in March.
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 Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 and every Saturday. We will be back at Long Beach Mall on Friday, 9th March.
There is a huge and rapidly growing variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. There are so many interesting things to do in our world of food and wine that we have made separate list for each month for which we have information. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our lists for March, April and beyond. 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.





1st March 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 list 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.
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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