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.
FENNEL RATATOUILLE WITH PUY LENTILS
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.]
ROBERTSON FARMERS MARKET
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 - http://www.wineonriver.com/). 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.
PASS IT FORWARD
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.
DURBANVILLE DELIGHT
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.
TASTING MENUS
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.
SMOKED TUNA WITH AVOCADO AND ADOBO PEPPERS
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.
QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY - PLEASE
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.

COUNTRY TERRINE
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
.
GEORGE COUNTRY HOP FESTIVAL
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
www.durbanvillewine.co.za for more information or contact the Durbanville Wine Valley Association on telephone 083 310 1228 or e-mail info@durbanvillewine.co.za
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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