Friday, September 29, 2006

Main Ingredient
Gourmet Ingredients & Fine Wines
Shop 5, Nedbank Centre, 15 Kloof Rd, Sea Point 8005, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 439 5169 Fax: +27 21 439 5169
Morgenhof, as we have probably said before, is one of our favourite lunch stops when we do wine tours. Excellent food, at very reasonable prices, in a beautiful atmosphere. The farm’s Cape Dutch buildings have been restored very authentically, and the French owner has added some French provincial character in the tasting venue and cellar. The wines are very good, too.
Lynne promised a Puy lentil recipe for last week’s newsletter, then forgot to deliver. Apologies. We served this (low GI) dish with roast lamb on Heritage Day. The Puy lentils are delicious and the only reason they are cooked separately from the ratatouille is that they colour it the most alarming shade of khaki green if you cook them together.
1 small aubergine – salt - 1 onion – 1 T olive oil - 1 fennel bulb - 3 courgettes – 3 tomatoes - 3 cloves garlic – small bunch of thyme, chopped – 50 ml white wine – 100g Puy lentils - sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook in a stove top casserole with a tightly fitting lid. Chop the aubergine into 3 cm chunks, salt and leave for 20 minutes to get rid of any bitter juices. Rinse well. Chop the onion into 2cm chunks and fry in the oil till it just begins to take colour. Chop the rest of the vegetables into rough chunks, then add to the casserole. Crush the garlic and add it too, along with the thyme. Season, cover and allow to simmer gently in their own juices for 20 minutes until the vegetables are softening, stirring once or twice. At the same time, cover the lentils with water, add the wine (don’t salt) and simmer until soft then drain and add to the fennel stew. Adjust the seasoning and serve.]
This regular event in our lives has become deservedly popular and brings crowds to our pavement, and, thankfully, into the shop on the last Saturday of every month (except October, when they will be very busy with the Robertson Wine on the River festival - They will be back this Saturday, the 30th, from about 09h30. They have a drive of about 2 hours from Robertson to Cape Town, so it is quite remarkable that they are able to be with us at opening time, remembering that they have to pack their goods before they start out, and the fresh stuff is really fresh. We believe that their super vegetables will be on the table again this month. We expect to have fresh farm asparagus, strawberries, Kohlrabi and other delicious things like fresh bread and fresh farm eggs. Their produce disappears fast, so we recommend getting here as close as you can to 09h30.
Lynne made a Crème Brulée last weekend, using the Robertson farm eggs; it was golden like the sun. They are the most marvellous eggs, fresh, with real flavour. When we fry them, they don’t spread out all over the pan, but sit in a neat little circle, quite unlike supermarket eggs.
Saturday wine tasting
Huibre Hoff is a charming young lady, who handles the marketing for the Weltevrede wine estate in Bonnievale, near Robertson. She will be with us this Saturday to show off the Weltevrede wines. Their Poet’s Prayer chardonnay has just been awarded a Michelangelo gold medal. As only a tiny quantity of this is made, I don’t expect her to bring it, but she will have other wines from their excellent range, including one of our favourites, the Travelling Stone sauvignon blanc.
New in stock
Tom Yum soup mix, Miso with seaweed (in small individual sachets) and Thai shrimp paste, so you can make your own green and red curry pastes. Old Smokey’s Liquid Smoke is back in stock, with 250ml bottles in addition to the 125ml bottles we have had before. We have more Almond Crunch, in all three sizes, ditto their Chilli Almond Crunch. We have four flavours of Turkish Delight (Kosher, so it can be part of the celebration for those who will break their Fast next week).
Another new attraction is two really hot chilli sauces from Elephant Pepper – a nice development project. African Rural Farmers found that if they surround their crops with chilli plants, the elephants stay away. These sauces are then made using those chillies. Called Zambezi Red and Baobab Gold they are not for sissies. The Baobab Gold uses the fruit of the Baobab tree, so it has a nice sour element to the flavour. We have tasters open on the counter.
Ziggurat is another new label in our wine range. Made on Babylonstoren farm, near Paarl, they have an excellent sauvignon blanc, and we have also received their cabernet merlot and a delicious light, dry rosé.
The Diemersfontein Pinotage has achieved cult status, with its distinctive mocha chocolate character. The new vintage arrived in the shop today, and we have already received orders for case lots. Another Diemersfontein wine which has become deservedly popular is the very affordable Maiden’s Prayer red blend, and our stock of that was replenished at the same time.
Sadly, Lynne was conned royally this week by a “gentleman” who rushed in to the shop in a panic. “You know my wife, Sandy” he said, “we live around the corner. She’s one of your customers and she’s currently abroad.” “Could I please use your phone as I have locked all my keys - house, office and car - in my office and I have to get another set quickly.” First phone call didn’t answer, nor did the cell phone number. “Please, please could you lend me R100 to get a taxi to Hout Bay where I can get a set of keys.” He is very good, very convincing and the panic looks very genuine. Well, it’s happened to us and we were lucky enough to find someone who was kind enough to help us out when we had an emergency – and they got their money back. He looked very local and respectable so Lynne lent him the money. We even got a signed IOU! That has now been handed into the local police station along with a full description of Mr H Cohen of 14 Irwinton Road. This house is just up the street from our shop, and appears to be unoccupied. But please be aware: he is out there. It really dents your confidence and trust in humanity.
Lynne and John
28th September 2006
John has been busy with tours for most of the past week, and, as usual, this has taken him to a number of excellent wine producers. Among these, he visited Waterford, where he was introduced to a new wine, which he loved and ordered right away. More about that further down. One of the attractions at Waterford, which we recommend to anyone visiting the farm, is a wine and chocolate tasting. A shiraz, a cabernet and a dessert wine are paired with appropriate types of chocolate. You’ll be amazed at how good these combinations are.
We had the privilege, last Friday, of being royally fêted, along with other members of the wine media, at the launch of the Durbanville Wine Valley Association’s Season of Sauvignon. Chairman Martin Moore led us entertainingly through a dinner of nine wines and nine (small) courses, all matched to the wines. Each wine was introduced by someone representing the producer, often the winemaker, who told us about the wine as each course was served. A tour de force, which showed just what Durbanville has to offer with its excellent Sauvignon Blancs this year. Some favourites were the lean and elegant Altydgedacht, the nicely balanced Durbanville Hills, new producer De Grendel and the blockbuster Nitida, probably one of the most complete and complex Sauvignons the Cape has produced this year.
Eating lots of small courses matched to wine in a tasting menu is very much the vogue this year and many restaurants are doing it. It is also rather nice idea to do at home but it can be a lot of work, as it does require lots of preparation, so stick to simple food that compliments the wine rather than overpowering it.
Lynne has adapted one of the courses we had and the preparation of this one is simple. A lot of it can be done in advance and then simply assembled. It is a marriage of flavours made in heaven.

Melon, Mint and Goats Cheese
1 Chèvre type goats cheese – 1 tub of mascarpone cheese – black pepper – a ripe melon
tiny mixed herbs and salad leaves - mint leaves (spearmint and apple mint are both good)
raspberry vinegar

Mix the goats cheese with an equal quantity of mascarpone cheese, add a grinding of black pepper. Roll into a sausage shape and wrap in Clingfilm, refrigerate overnight so it firms up. Thinly slice the melon (1/2 cm thick) into moon shapes and remove the pips and peel. Arrange about 5 thin slices on each plate and put a round of cheese in the middle. Cover the cheese with a mix of the baby salad leaves and the mint, then dress with a spoonful of raspberry vinegar and serve. You can use either green or orange melon or a mix of both. Serve with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
Another easy to assemble course would be smoked tuna with an avocado salsa. Roughly chop ripe avocado with a tomato, spring onions and some smoked adobo jalapeno peppers. Add salt and lime juice to taste. You can, of course, get the smoked tuna and the adobo peppers from us. Serve with a Crisp Chenin Blanc or a lightly wooded Chardonnay
We will experiment this long weekend with a couple more courses and we’ll put them in the newsletter next week.

New this week!
We continue to add exciting wines to our inventory. We still have a few bottles of the 2005 Steenberg Semillon and have added the 2006 to our list while they still have stock. Fryer's Cove Pinot Noir made a good impression on us at a recent trade show, and it is now in our rack.
At the affordable end of the market, we always need good but inexpensive rosés in summer, so we have added De Meye Shiraz Rosé sec to our range. The wine alluded to in the first paragraph is Waterford’s Pecan Stream Rose-Mary. This is a true blanc de noir, not a renamed rosé; made from cabernet sauvignon and a little shiraz, picked quite green to reduce the alcohol level, it is a very pale shade of pink – very close to white. Delightfully crisp and clean with a sauvignon character, it will be a brilliant summer lunch time wine, with only 10% alcohol. Well done, Kevin Arnold. Other new wines at the budget end of our range are Bredell's Vineyard Collection Red, Wildekrans Caresse Marine White and Wildekrans Sauvignon Blanc.
Diemersfontein Pinotage will be released next week and we have already placed an order. Let us know if you want to order a case lot of this wine, and we will increase our order accordingly.
Our Jewish friends will soon celebrate Rosh Hashanah, their New Year. We have wonderful Kosher Turkish Delight, which is selling very fast, We replenished our stock again today, and will be able to get more next week. It makes an ideal New Year treat, as well as making an excellent gift.
Saturday tasting
We have a few interesting wines for you this week. We will open the Pecan Stream Rose-Mary and the Bredell’s Vineyard Collection Red and will also show you two new Shirazes. The first is Tamboerskloof from Kleinood, near Stellenbosch. This wine was introduced to us by a customer who had it at a restaurant and fell in love. She has already bought 3 cases! Then we have Naughton’s Flight, a new release from Francis Naughton, who was with Distell but is now steering his own course. We don’t have stock (no-one does), but we’d value your opinion. Not yet released, but we have tasted it, is his excellent Viognier, and we look forward to having it in the shop and showing it to you. We put it into a blind tasting of French wines, alongside a Viognier from the Rhône, and it showed very well
Robertson Farmers Market
A reminder that the popular Robertson Farmers’ Market will be here outside our shop next Saturday, 30th September from about 9.15 am. They bring lots of interesting country produce to sell. The heavy rain kept them from harvesting fresh vegetables last month. We hope that they will have them this time. Come early, in case they run out. We will have a Robertson winery, Weltevrede, giving us a tasting of their wines at the same time, as well as a new range of chilli sauces. Taste the wines first!
The Nose Bar in De Waterkant has a five course dinner with matching wines each month, entitled “A Match Made in Heaven” This month they will feature Newton Johnson wines from the Hemel en Aarde Valley next Wednesday, the 27th. Call 021 425 2200 to book. At R225 per person, including all the wine, it is tremendous fun and very good value
We wish all our Jewish readers a very good New Year and well over the Fast.

Lynne and John
21st September 2006

Hadeda Ibis
Having reorganised the garden down the side of our house, we have unearthed a lot of those big fat grubs, which become big yellow and black beetles later in their cycle. We put them in a bucket (no insecticide) and birds come to enjoy a treat. One of the visit to the suburban Main Ingredient has been this Hadeda, who has become quite tame, despite the attentions of James the giant cat.
Whose Best
You know you are on to a good thing when chefs, critics and other players in the food industry all tell you that the best food in town is at a restaurant in Bree Street called Jardine’s. We went last Thursday night with friends and no one had lied. Superb, well-cooked food from quite a small and straight forward menu which George Jardine, the chef, changes every fortnight. His sauces are so superb that we all asked our waiter for bread after the main course, so that we could polish the remaining sauces off our plates, so good were they. We had a very interesting starter of smoked salmon trout with chorizo and (raw) cauliflower surrounded by the most amazing “foam”. An unusual combination that really works. John had perfect Duck in which was served alongside a dense pear purée on a jus of duck leg confit, bacon and onion. Lynne had rare rump of the tenderest lamb with a red wine jus and something she is still raving about, real new potatoes. Sounds simple, it wasn’t. Our friends had oysters, a leek tart and beautifully sauced kingklip and they too were knocked out. We accompanied the meal with a Nitida Sauvignon blanc and a 1999 Beyerskloof Cabernet, which came from our own cellar (Corkage R35). Both wines were superb partners for the food. Jardine’s has a tasting menu for R220 which we will definitely be returning to try – several small courses married with wine. Our recommendation? Go. John sent a Belgian contact there for lunch this week, and he was suitably impressed.
New in stock this week
Something from your childhood! Real Italian Durum Wheat Alphabet pasta – used to encourage kids to eat soup and learn to spell at the same time. Lots of organic Bourbon Vanilla pods – 2 to a tube at R22.50. They make the shop smell wonderful. Squid ink in a new and improved package and Italian capers.
On the wine list, we have Jordan’s Chameleon Cabernet Merlot and Sauvignon Chardonnay blends, Chris Kelly’s delicious Hidden Agenda Chenin Blanc and Rietvallei’s John B Sauvignon/Colombard blend. Our tasting of Iona wines last weekend was most successful, and we sold almost all our stock of their delicious Sauvignon Blanc. More will arrive soon.
As many customers were talking about the new Willowbridge centre in Durbanville and exclaiming about the new Fruit and Veg there we decided we had to pay a visit on Saturday afternoon (precious time off doing research!). It’s a Fruit and Veg combined with a Pick n Pay with a large butchery and bakery section and a couple of nice products like reasonable Grana padano cheese and good Italian salami and Parma ham on the deli. However we were horrified to see piles of rotten, spoilt veg and fruit. Mange tout in packets that were yellow, moulding and moving!; courgettes with gouges, nail marks and brown rot, really nasty looking spoilt fruit well past its sell-by date. Why do we put up with this? Why do we let them foist bad food on us? Why don’t we complain? A new customer told me last week she is not allowed to complain as her kids tell her it embarrasses them. Huh? We will NEVER get the quality we deserve unless we demand it, folk. That is how it works in Europe and why their markets are so successful. They just refuse to buy bad spoilt food. We bought a lamb pack as it seemed reasonable at R29 a kilo instead of R59 for leg or chops. The amount of inedible make-weight bones and fat underneath the top layer of chops was completely unacceptable. Our dog has food for a week. We don’t. We will not be returning – it’s called voting with our feet.
For our wine club’s French Wine tasting on Wednesday, Lynne cooked a rough terrine which we thought you might like. It fed 15 people with a bit to spare.

2 bay leaves – 1 t black peppercorns – 6 to 8 juniper berries – 1 t salt - 1 t Szechuan pepper
½ t allspice berries – ½ t mace - 500g pork, belly - 200g pancetta or smoked bacon
500g chicken livers – 3 cloves – a sprig of rosemary – 1 t dried marjoram – 1 t dried thyme
50 ml dry white wine – 2 T brandy – 1 pkt smoked streaky bacon
Put all the spices into a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Blitz in your food processor or mince the meats with the spices, garlic and rosemary, the wine and the brandy. You want a fairly coarse mixture, not smooth, nor too salty. The pork should be fairly fatty. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 2 hours. Line a loaf tin/terrine mould with streaky bacon, which you stretch out a little with the back of a knife, then fill the mould with the pâté. Cover with more bacon. Roast in a low oven at 140ºC with the mould standing in a baking tin half filled with hot water (a bain marie) for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the pâté comes away from the sides of the tin. It should be slightly pink in the middle, not grey. Leave to cool, then cover with foil and weight it down with a board and some heavy tins or jars. Do this in the fridge. Serve slices with melba toast or crisp French bread and small cornichons (pickled gherkins). You could add sliced mushrooms in layers when you fill the tin
For anyone venturing into the Garden Route, here is an attraction for you on Saturday 23rd September. The George Country Hop Festival takes place at the Redberry Farm, Geelhoutboom, George. There will be a Cross Country Fun Run through the Strawberry Fields and Dairy Countryside
5 km & 9km. You can also enjoy the Farm feel while you meander through the grounds of Redberry viewing all the interesting stalls, including fine foods, delightful Farm Cheeses made locally and other local treats. You will also be able to pick baskets of strawberries or relax and enjoy the surrounds with a bite to eat and a drink while you watch the local girls and children entertain you through the course of the day.
Durbanville Celebrations
The Durbanville Wine Valley’s second Season of Sauvignon Blanc starts this weekend; a celebration of Sauvignon Blanc. There will be a very full programme of events. Visit for more information or contact the Durbanville Wine Valley Association on telephone 083 310 1228 or e-mail
If there is still room, don’t miss De Grendel’s sushi and sauvignon lunches on Saturday and Sunday.
Lynne and John
14th September 2006

Remember, if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you!
and, if you’re not in Cape Town, we can send it to you

Our Adamastor & Bacchus tailor made wine, food and photo tours take small groups to wine producers who are not usually open to the public. Tours can also be conducted in German or Norwegian.

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
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Main Ingredient

Main Ingredient
Gourmet Ingredients & Fine Wines
Shop 5, Nedbank Centre, 15 Kloof Rd, Sea Point 8005, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 439 5169 Fax: +27 21 439 5169

Signal Hill in spring
Time and good rains are great healers. Some of you may remember a picture of these trees silhouetted by fire in our newsletter at the end of January. Now the flowers are blooming and there is a wonderful green covering on the hillside.
We’ve had lots of requests for the Daquois recipe, so here it is. It is very simple indeed to make, almost fail-proof, but it does take a couple of hours to cook. You can make the meringue a few days in advance, but store in an air tight container to keep it crisp and dry.
Hazelnut Daquois
50g hazelnuts – whites of 4 jumbo eggs, at room temperature – pinch of salt 225g caster sugar
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10 minutes at 180ºC. When nice and toasted remove them, wrap in a tea towel and rub off the skins. Chop quite finely.
Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until standing in soft peaks then slowly fold in the sugar and beat until you have good glossy meringue. Add all but 1 T of the chopped nuts. Using baking paper or silicone mats, spread out the meringue into three even 20cm diameter circles – make sure they do not touch each other. Sprinkle on the reserved nuts. Put into the lowest temperature your oven will cook at and bake for 2 hours. Cool.
Filling: 200ml cream – 1 to 2 T liqueur
Whip 200ml cream till stiff, then add 1 or 2 T of a good liqueur (Frangelico, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Drambuie all work well). Put one meringue round on a decorative serving plate, spread with half the cream, add another meringue round, the rest of the cream then add the best one to the top. Put a spoonful of cream in the middle and top with a perfect strawberry or the fruit you are serving with the Daquois. Only assemble 2 hours or less before serving the dessert or it may start to collapse.
Accompany with a bowl of fresh strawberries or raspberries or anything else delicious. Add sugar only if the fruit needs it and add a T of the same liqueur. Be careful to match your fruit to the alcohol. For instance, Tia Maria coffee liqueur does not go with everything!
Mooiplaas, who produce really excellent wines In Stellenbosch’s Bottelary Hills area are looking for a really classy upmarket name for their top of the range red blend (55% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% each Merlot & Shiraz). You can win a case of the wine if the name you suggest is the one they finally use. To enter, you have to visit the farm to taste the blend and fill in one of their entry forms. No hardship there as the farm really is “mooi”. The winning name will be announced here when it has been chosen, along with the winner. Phone the farm on 021 903 6273 if you need directions. The tasting room is open 9 – 4.30 Monday to Friday, Sat 10-2. Closing date is Monday 18th September, giving you a nice way to spend a Saturday tasting good wines.
Italian black olives with the pips removed, Italian Chicken stock cubes at last, Crème de Cassis from Dijon, lots more Puy lentils and Flageolet beans. We have the new release of Whalehaven Viognier/Chardonnay. New to our wine range are Mooiplaas Cabernet and Chenin Blanc, Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Outstanding) and Iona Merlot Cabernet. The Iona wines will both be open for tasting on Saturday, along with the new release of Cowlin Sauvignon Blanc (aka Poodle’s Passion) and Cabernet Merlot (Jack’s Jug). Don’t be put off by the names of the last two, they are really good wines. We have also added Katbakkies Chenin Blanc and Viognier to our range. These wines have been made by Andries van der Walt in collaboration with Teddy Hall, who has produced some of our best Chenin Blancs.
Last night, we went to a wine trade show, and once again made some very interesting discoveries. In addition to some old favourites, like Bellevue’s Malbec and Etienne le Riche’s excellent Cabernet, we have some great things to look forward to. Two of them are from the Pinot Noir grape, which we believe is less well suited to our climate than most other reds. Ross Gower will release a light pink sparkling Pinot Noir before the end of the year, and we predict that it will be a great hit. It is very delicate and elegant in colour and taste, with a light dry strawberry character. Fryer’s Cove is a wine estate so far up the West Coast that they should not be able to make quality wine; but they are so close to the beach that the cold Atlantic Ocean tempers the effect of latitude and they are able to make very good wines from cold-loving varieties like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. We were very impressed with the quality of the Pinot and have ordered it.
Tutored wine tastings
On Monday, the lecturer at the Cape Wine Academy’s course in the shop was the youngest person ever to become a Cape Wine Master: Brad Gold. We were very impressed, as were the students, by his ability to impart a great deal of knowledge in simple terms, made even more palatable by a good sense of humour. Brad is running a series of wine tastings, each with a specific theme. Students of wine, especially those who intend taking the Diploma exams, are well advised to attend every tutored tasting they can, and these should be a great help to you. They also make it affordable to taste wines which would normally be out of reach of most pockets. If you’d like to be added to his mailing list, send him a message at
Durbanville Celebrations
Durbanville Wine Valley has just announced the second Season of Sauvignon Blanc, a celebration of Sauvignon from this area which is so well-respected for quality sauvignons. There will be a very full programme of events running from 15th to 17th September. Visit for more information or contact the Durbanville Wine Valley Association on telephone 083 310 1228 or e-mail
Among the many events in the programme, De Grendel estate will host sushi lunches with their delicious sauvignon blanc on Saturday, 16th September and Sunday, 17th September, between 12h00 and 15h00, at a cost of R150 per adult (R75 for children under 16). Only 30 tickets will be available per day. Our friend, Mark Oosthuizen, the well-known sushi chef, will make the sushi. Contact De Grendel to make reservations at 021 558 6280.
Lynne and John
7th September 2006
Remember, if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you!
and, if you’re not in Cape Town, we can send it to you

Our Adamastor & Bacchus tailor made wine, food and photo tours take small groups to wine producers who are not usually open to the public. Tours can also be conducted in German or Norwegian.
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