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Friday, April 20, 2012

12April12 Main Ingredient’s MENU - Easter weather & food,Taste of Cape Town, Products, Our market activities, Wine courses, 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 underlined and Bold words to open links to pictures, blogs, websites or more information
This Hartlaub’s gull was having a great time catching waves on Hout Bay beach


In this week’s MENU:
     Products
     Our market activities
     Vanilla, leaf gelatin, Valrhona chocolate
     Taste of Cape Town
     Wine courses, Events and Restaurants
Products     We have had numerous enquiries from people who read this newsletter, asking which markets we attend and what products we sell. To make this information, which has always been near the end, more easily accessible, we have moved these paragraphs to the top. New this week is a range of Spanish sherry vinegars, solera aged for four and eight years, in addition to the less expensive sherry vinegars we have stocked before. These are still available, as are the real Spanish paella rice and smoked paprika. For those and any other products you need, you can access our product list and see pictures in 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. We are very happy to see that traffic on our website is increasing and more orders are coming from it.
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 Long Beach Mall tomorrow, lucky Friday 13th April from 09h00 to 16h00, for our South Peninsula friends, and we will be back at at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00.
When you live high up on the Atlantic Seaboard, the first North Westerly storm that sweeps in is always ferocious. We normally expect them in May – this time it arrived in early April, on the Easter weekend, and made life rather difficult for us while we were loading our car for market early on Saturday morning. We got soaked! - but not as soaked as the poor runners on the Two Oceans marathon. We measured 52 mm of rain (about 2 inches for those who are still in the 19th century) over 2 days but, as John points out, all of it is very gratefully received because the last year has been very dry and dams are empty everywhere we go.
Despite the heavy rain, the market was full and buzzing and everyone was having a good time. What else can you do on a rainy day but plan and shop for the perfect Easter Sunday family celebration dinner? We were going to have smoked salmon, prawn and avocado parcels and Kleftiko: long- and slow-cooked lamb in oregano. This was to be followed by a surprise dessert for Clare, John’s daughter. But to quote Rabbie Burns: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]. Clare came down with very bad flu, Lynne woke up on Sunday with a sore throat, a temperature and a cough and we had to cancel the whole thing. Luckily, our other guest understood and had a good lunch. We have postponed till later in the month. Lynne is better, Clare is still struggling. The diet went for a bit of a Burton this Easter, there is far too much comfort eating and temptation with hot cross buns, Easter eggs and big meals but Lynne is back on it and seeing a little difference in that some of her clothes are feeling a bit looser. So she will continue to come up with low carb recipes for MENU. We did have the lamb for supper on Monday. Lynne wanted a merlot with it and John found a 1994 Cordoba merlot in the cellar, which he thought had been there too long, bringing up a 1999 at the same time in case the ’04 was too tired. It surprised us. There was still an abundance of rich, dark cherry fruit, although this had faded a bit when we finished the bottle on Tuesday. Well-made wines, properly stored, can last.
How do you use..? We have had some lovely feedback from customers who are using stock items they have bought from us. The leaf gelatine is so appreciated because it makes such a nice wobbly, gentle jelly and is really easy to use. Lynne wants to experiment with using it to make aspic. Perhaps even a chicken chaud froid – a really retro 1960 Cordon Bleu dish of cold cooked chicken pieces covered in a white sauce, decorated with coloured peppers and bits of truffle and mushroom and then enrobed in aspic. She thinks it is time for this to be updated for special occasions, but with humour and attitude. How about a leg with a truffle exclamation mark on it? And a breast with a question mark?
We have a small amount of the Valrhona 70% dark chocolate pastels left and were wondering whether at this price we should order some more. Well…. one of our really keen and skilled home cooks bought some on Saturday, used 100g to make 5 chocolate fondants (he has got his timing and method down pat) and he reports that they were the absolutely the best fondants he has ever made, and all his guests and his wife agreed with him, despite the cost. Putting this into context what would you pay for a dark chocolate fondant in a top restaurant, R40 or even R60? That means that the chocolate for the five is a bargain at R40.
Another product we are often asked to explain is the whole vanilla pods. Because they are in a glass tube, they are soft and there are at least four, yes four, potential uses for each bean. When using it the first time, scrape the bean seeds out of the bean and use them and the bean in your custard or sauce. Wipe off and replace in the tube. You can use it one more time in another custard. Then you put the bean in a jar of caster sugar and let it infuse the sugar with wonderful flavours and aromas. This will dry it out. You can then throw it into your jam pot when you are making jam or sweets or fudge and it will still be able to add good vanilla flavour. But if this is just too much effort for you, buy a bottle of our Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste at R195 for a 120 ml bottle. You will get much more use and see the tiny vanilla seeds in everything you cook. About a teaspoon full is equal to one vanilla bean.
We are having some lovely fresh Norwegian salmon tonight that Lynne has had marinating in 2 T Mirin (Japanese rice wine vinegar that has a little sugar added), 1 T fish sauce – 1 T Ponzu soy (it is flavoured with a Japanese citrus) and 1 t sesame seeds. She has discovered that our LG Wavedom Convection Microwave oven will go as low as 50°C so she is going to try to confit the salmon using Raymond Blanc’s method below. He cooks it in 500 ml of olive oil. One piece will not need anything like that amount. We will let you know next week how it went. We don’t have a probe but we do have an oven thermometer. We quote:
“To confit the salmon: preheat the olive oil to 55C: drop in the four pieces of salmon and cook for approximately 16-18 minutes at 45C. Probe temperature of the oil. The aim here is not to cook the salmon but to change its texture and taste. Once you put the 4 fillets into the oil, the oil temperature will drop to approx 45ÂșC. It must be kept at this temperature, so use a probe to check. The salmon will be uncooked yet creating a very pleasing taste and texture. If over-cooked, the salmon fillet will leak white proteins (albumen).”
We are having this with a stuffed baked sweet potato and a salad. Tomorrow night, we’ll have kidneys, using a favourite recipe and serving them with roasted baby leeks and fennel; the following night, Chicken Sate with a gado-gado salad. Happy low carb eating.
Taste of Cape Town is an event which foodies in this part of the world look forward to every year. This year, it will take place in the venue which was so successful last year, next to the Stadium in Green Point. In earlier years, Taste of Cape Town was on school sports fields, in Camps Bay, Tamboerskloof and in Mowbray, all of which had advantages and some disadvantages. Camps Bay had the most wonderful views over the Atlantic, Tamboerskloof was on the upper slopes of Signal Hill, with attendant accessibility and parking problems and Mowbray was a good venue which, somehow, lacked the pizzazz of the previous venues. Green Point, with its Stadium, parks and other amenities is brilliantly situated, with its Fan Walk and access to public transport as well as good parking facilities, so we are very happy to see it return.  Click here to read all about the fun you can have this here and here to get an idea of the fun we had in the last few years.
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 list for April and beyond. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
We have had a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details here.
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.


12th April 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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