Friday, February 05, 2010

Main Ingredient's MENU - Nectarines in muscadel, Valentine events

Overberg landscape through a Dassiesfontein door
CATERING FOR FRIENDS A friend wrote about catering for her daughter’s camping trip and it brought back to Lynne when she first cooked for a crowd! Going camping with St Barnabas Girl Guides in the 60’s was a regular event and some of the camps were lovely long escapes from reality in the wilderness of Worcester and Bain’s Kloof. Everyone had camp duties, the worst of which was digging the latrines and Lynne figured out from about age 11 that cooking duty was the best one to be on, especially if you could delegate scrubbing pots to someone who didn’t know how to cook. Not that she did, but working on the theory that if you cut up most things to bite size pieces, threw them in a large pot with lots of flavourings and some water you got a reasonable result (was this potjie cooking at its best?) It didn’t always look too appetising, especially if you cooked for too long on slightly too hot a fire and the potatoes dissolved to a grey mass with a few burnt bits and some ash for taste, but the girls were always hungry and it disappeared. Porridge for breakfast was a doddle if you came from a Scottish family, fry-ups were easy, braaiing such fun and making campfire desserts of roasted banana stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows and syrup was the best. Arriving home, she was marched off for a few hours of scrubbing in the bath because slaving over a hot campfire did tend to smoke the hair, darken the skin on one’s face and hands quite a lot! Oh happy days being a tomboy. Before she discovered boys…. And fine food.
BILTONG IN THE OVEN Occasionally though, she can slip back into the old ways. This weekend we were going to have slow roasted pork. Instead we learnt how to make biltong in a gas oven. Tip: Don’t add balsamic reduction to your joint if you are going to roast in a bag for a long time. It a) caramelises b) then burns c) sticks to everything d) eats through the cooking bag and lets out all the moisture. Disaster. And this was using our new oven thermometer. The joint we bought was also completely devoid of any fat – very healthy but not great for long, slow cooking. And everything Lynne tried to make it a bit better just succeeded in making it a little bit drier, or tougher. The cats loved it. Oh well, not all meals are a success and some are just learning experiences. Our veggies were good, the roast parsnips and boiled new potatoes so worked. The steamed green beans, perfection.
Done recently for a Sunday night supper, this uses the wonderful seasonal nectarines we are enjoying at the moment. It is light and fresh because the nectarines are not cooked, just marinated. For six people you will probably need 8 nectarines, as seconds may be called for. You need to start in the morning or even the day before. It is easy but a little fiddly. If you can’t get the stones out easily without bruising the fruit, slice it instead of serving it in halves.
8 ripe nectarines – bottle of white or red muscadel – 250 ml cream – caster sugar to taste - Amaretto liqueur
Put the nectarines in a deep bowl, pour on boiling water to cover and leave for five minutes. Put in a tray of ice cubes to cool it down, then drain. Peel - you will find the skin comes away from the fruit easily. Carefully cut the nectarines in half and remove the stones. Put in a bowl and cover with the muscadel. Leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 6 to 7 hours or overnight. Before serving, stir a couple of spoonfuls of sugar into the cream (to your own taste), lightly whip it till forming peaks, then stir in about 2 tablespoons of Amaretto , again to your taste. Serve this with the nectarines and the muscadel juice.
Tastings and other events The Kromboom Rotary Club is helping to organise the annual Rabbie Burns celebration, which takes place at Kelvin Grove on February 6th. In addition to being a fun evening, it also helps raise money for the Nonceba Trust, which takes care of abused women and children.
Late February will bring a rash of events worth visiting, so making the right choice becomes a bit of a challenge: De Krans Wine Cellar, in Calitzdorp, alongside the well known Route 62, will offer visitors to the area the opportunity to pick delicious, sweet Hanepoot grapes. This fun-filled picking experience will take place daily (except Sundays) from 10th to 27th February, between 08h00 and 16h00.
Join WINE magazine for an informative seated tasting of the 10 top-scoring wines (made from organically grown grapes) from this year's Nedbank Green Wine Awards. The tastings will be presented by leading winemaker Francois Van Zyl of Laibach. The Johannesburg tasting will be on 18th February at 18h30, Crowne Plaza The Rosebank. The Cape Town tasting will be on 25th February at 18h30, Mount Nelson Hotel. Tickets cost R150 per person. TO BOOK: Call 0860 100 205 / Fax 0866 704 101 E-mail For more information, please contact Jane Eedes on 021 530 3308. In the interest of fellow tasters, please refrain from wearing excessive perfume.
The Robertson Wine Valley will host its second Hands on Harvest Festival from 26th to 28th February, giving you a chance to experience the magic of harvest for a day - without having to quit your day job! Groups are small and intimate, so you are sure to have a hands-on experience you’ll never forget. Many of the activities are 'kiddie-friendly' and, on Sunday, the Harvest Market promises to be a true family affair. Other activities include grape picking, grape stomping, vineyard tractor trips, grape vs wine tasting, and loads more.
For the Love of Sauvignon Blanc Constantia Fresh Festival will happen on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February. There is an exciting programme of events. Click here to check it out.
Darling Cellars will host their annual Crush Day on Saturday 27th February. The day begins with breakfast at 08h00, after which you can pick and crush your grapes (your wine, with your own label follows 10 months later), participate in a label design competition and enjoy a traditional West Coast lunch. The price is R190 per person. Contact Cornel Loubser on phone 022 492 2276 or
A date for the future you should diarise now is the Taste of Cape Town 2010 from 24th to 28th March at the Granger Bay Extension – V&A Waterfront
Valentine’s Day We’ve received news of several special events around Valentine’s Day. There are too many to list here, so we’ve posted them on our blog site. Click here to open the list
The Beaumont Open Days each year is an event we prefer not to miss. Beaumont, in Bot River, is one of the prettiest farms we know and the wines, made in their lovely, rustic cellar are generally excellent. The open day is a great opportunity to taste their range with snacks prepared by Sebastian Beaumont’s wife, Nicky; also to visit their cellar and working water mill and to see and buy Jayne Beaumont’s art and Ariane Beaumont’s jewellery.
After our visit to the farm, it was time for lunch. Sebastian recommended that we try a new restaurant on a nearby farm, Gabriël’s Kloof (they have Cape Town fine dining prices, even for lunch, we looked at the menu)- so we went there, to find that they were fully booked, and we went a little further down the road in the direction of Caledon and visited Dassiesfontein.
This is a rustic emporium and restaurant which sprawls along the side of the N2 highway. The interior is the proverbial curiosity shop, with everything for sale from old iron stoves to baskets, candelabras, wine, cheese, food and leather goods. Lunch menu and wine list are on chalk boards and the helpings are designed for gargantuan appetites. Lynne opted for the R99 “tasting plate”: A “bord kos” of traditional country food on a rectangular china platter. Mushroom (and steak) pie (excellent), roast chicken and frikkadels (large meat balls), served with rice, roast potatoes, green beans, carrots and mashed butternut, If you have the full meal you get soup, the above platter and “appelpoeding” to follow for R120. She made a fair inroad into the tasting plate before asking for a doggy bag. We didn’t bother with pudding. John opted for the frikkadels (R89), three large meat balls with the above vegetable accompaniment, served on an enamelled metal plate. The flavour of the meat was excellent, if a little fatty. The beans were a bit overcooked (which is traditional), while the carrots were nicely al dente and not sweetened – as they often are in our country places. The butternut made up for it and was a bit too sweet for our taste and had a lot of cinnamon. He managed two meat balls and about half the veg before admitting defeat. The rustic atmosphere was compounded by two white hens which wandered among the tables looking for scraps. A bottle of Wildekrans chenin cost us R50 and half of it went home. It’s not fine dining, but is very good value and a very interesting, amusing place to show to visitors.
Restaurants and picnics We’ve posted the restaurant specials list on our blog. Open it here. Please let us have more feedback about the restaurants in our list of specials. Your input is very valuable to all our readers.
Product news Our attached product list has been updated and reorganised. Products are now listed in groups, which should make it easier for you to find them. New products include Nielsen Massey’s Peppermint Extract, a new addition to their range, French green peppercorns and pistachio oil and three new German mustards. New wines on our list are Cape Point’s great value Splattered Toad sauvignon blanc (R1 from each bottle goes to protect the endangered leopard toad), Vergenoegd’s interesting Runner Duck rosé and Groote Post’s delicious merlot-based pink Old Man’s Sparkle (a customer called it “strawberries in a glass). If you cannot easily get to us in Sea Point, please place an order for your requirements and we’ll get it to you.
We’ve enjoyed picnics at Buitenverwachting and Allée Bleue, and we look forward to visiting Warwick next Sunday. We are so lucky to live in a beautiful environment, where we can enjoy wonderful wines and food in such lovely places.
Click on the highlighted hyperlinks here and in the restaurant and Valentine's blogs linked to this to book for the events we write about or to learn more about them.
Weekend market: Nelle, Susan and Jane will be on our pavement as usual this Saturday with their delicious country goodies. Come and buy fresh farm eggs, fruit and vegetables, preserves and home baked breads, cakes and pastries from them and then come and visit us! We will be tasting wines, so do come in and have a chat and a taste and buy something great to cook with this weekend and a good wine to go with it. Wine and food are inseparable partners.
Your invitation to Main Ingredient’s Free Saturday morning Wine Tastings
every Saturday from about 10am in the shop
6th February – Welgelëe cabernet sauvignon and shiraz and Miravel sauvignon blanc

4th February 2010
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! 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
Visit us at Shop 5, Nedbank Centre, 15 Kloof Rd, Sea Point 8005, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 439 5169 / 083 229 1172
We are the only shop in Cape Town which offers hard to find gourmet foods matched with well-chosen wines

Our Adamastor & Bacchus© tailor-made Wine, Food and Photo tours take small groups (up to 6) to wine producers who are not usually open to the public. 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.
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