Friday, February 19, 2010

Main Ingredient's MENU - Buitenverwachting, Jardine at Jordan, spicy Thai prawns

Stellenboschkloof over the dam from Jordan’s cellar

We hear that we are heading into some hot weather and we always start to feel the need for spicy and hot food! Tonight Lynne is making prawns in coconut milk and we thought you might like the recipe. It should be aromatic and be hot, sweet, savoury and sour all at the same time and then nice and creamy because of the coconut milk. You can use chicken or pork or fish. Serves 4.
Spicy Thai Prawns in Coconut Milk
1 T Red Curry paste - 1 T canola oil - 2 cloves garlic, chopped - 1 chopped red chilli - 400ml can Coconut Milk - 200 ml water - 2 T fish sauce - 2 T palm sugar - 2 T lime juice - 1 bruised stalk of lemon grass - a few thin slices of fresh peeled ginger - 1/2 kg large peeled prawns Optional: a few broccoli spears, or mange tout.
Fry the red curry paste in the oil, add the garlic and chilli and stir for a few moments then add the coconut milk and the water. Stir well to blend then add the fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, lemongrass and ginger and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes, tasting and adjusting the flavours. Put in the prawns and cook till they are pink and done. Add the vegetables and cook for just another minute.
Serve with Steamed Jasmine Rice or very thin rice noodles and accompany with 3 to 4 T roasted cashews or peanuts, roughly chopped, and 4 T toasted coconut flakes.
Romantic Beyond Expectation Romantic as always, John took Lynne to Buitenverwachting on Sunday for their Valentine’s Day Lunch. We were welcomed with a glass of Bubbly, Lynne was given a long stemmed red rose and then we went to our table inside which has a lovely view of the burgeoning vineyards and the Constantia Mountains. The lunch began with a perfect Amuse. A tower of full flavoured peppers and aubergine slices topped with a delicious and refreshing tomato jelly, it shows you how good things taste when they are made with perfect ingredients. Their bread is pretty special too. The next course was called a seafood salad, but was a little daunting as it was a huge plate with 5 pieces of different fish, prawns and calamari with a little salad. Most of the fish had been beautifully seasoned, seared or grilled and drizzled with a herb dressing. The main course was a veal T-bone served with a marvellous Marsala jus, turned vegetables and small cakes of polenta with pine nuts. Really tender veal but, sadly, we left a few of the accompaniments because the dessert of Catalan Crème Brulée with Rhubarb and ice-cream was still to come. John had a coffee and friandise and then we drove slowly home by the scenic route along the Atlantic coast. We had no room for dinner that night, but we really loved it and the staff is superb, kind, pleasant and informative, without being over attentive. Etienne, the maitre’d, carefully matched all our courses to lovely Buiten wines, chardonnay with the fish and our favourite Meifort with the veal.
POWER TO JORDAN & JARDINE On Wednesday, we attended Jordan's Trade Harvest lunch and cellar tour. Cathy and Gary Jordan took us on a lovely tour of the fully working cellar with Sauvignon grapes being slid from hoppers into the destemmer and then into the tanks for fermentation. We tasted the fresh juice which was full of sweet crushed red fig flavours, wine from a tank that had been fermenting for two days - where the sugars are turning to alcohol but the figgy flavour persists, there is less sugar and you taste the developing character of the wine. A taste of last year's wonderful sauvignon followed. We were also given some merlot rosé to taste from the tank and we predict it will be a cracker of a wine this year but, sadly, quantity is limited. They had a power cut while we were in the cellar but they have a generator and work could carry on. This is the worst thing that can happen in the middle of harvesting as grapes have to be kept cool and it can ruin the wine.
Like everyone, they are looking at alternative methods of power generation for the future. After tasting their Chenin and Chardonnay we went to the restaurant which has the most amazing views of any vineyard restaurant we have visited. See our blog page for more photos. And it also has one of our favourite chefs, George Jardine, who is loving the country life. We began lunch with a really special amuse of white bean soup with a truffle dusting and a tiny, delicate stuffed ravioli with olive pesto. There were four choices for lunch: John chose the Marrow crusted Chalmar Rump, truffled Pomme Anna, creamed spinach and foie gras sauce. Lynne had the vine charred (by George) gemsbok, roasted eve fig and honey roast sweet potato. The gemsbok was like butter, so tender and very delicately flavoured by the smoke. She asked how it was made so tender, as we don’t expect game to be so soft and was told it was cooked sous vide before being vine charred. The tiny red eve figs were a really good accompaniment. As usual both our plates went back to the chef completely clean - we love his sauces. John had a dessert of Strawberry and blueberry clafoutis with vanilla ice cream, Lynne opted to go to their excellent cheese room to choose from their selection of some of South Africa's best cheese. Wow, we are really getting there. Marvellous stilton, a ripe and ready camembert, an intense black pepper pecorino all impressed. Wines with the meal were two Chardonnays; Jordan's unwooded which Gary Jordan thinks (and we agree) is the best they have ever made and his really delicate but full lightly wooded one; both from the 2008 vintage. We were completely spoilt with a glass of Cobbler’s Hill 2007 to accompany the meat and then a bottle was produced of Cape Winemakers Guild Sophia 2002 - iconic, delicious, full, deep and very well crafted and it still has years to go. We finished with a bottle of the Mellifera NLH with dessert and cheese. A very good balance of sugar and acid makes this perfect for desserts, cheese and for rich patés and other suitable starters. We will definitely be back to sample more of George Jardine’s lovely food and to sit admiring the view. Even in winter, with the glass doors closed, it will be sensational.
Product news We’ve added a few new delights to our attached product list. Products are now listed in groups, which should make it easier for you to find them. The delicious French patés and terrines are back in the shop, as is the oak smoked butter from Aphrodisiac Shack. Cape Point’s brilliant Stonehaven sauvignon and lovely, smooth and easy Scarborough Red blend are back in the wine rack, as is the wallet-friendly Splattered Toad and we have more of the delicious Constantia Glen sauvignon which sold so well last Saturday. Morgenhof’s ridiculously inexpensive, delicious red blend is moving fast and we have plenty in stock.
Tastings and other events 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 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.
Award winning Chef Craig Cormack brings you a unique experience: "around the world with salt and wine". The first salt dinner for 2010 will be at Overture Restaurant on 24th February at 18h30. Seating is limited - Booking is essential from phone 082 562 8360 Price per head is R300, which includes an arrival drink and canapés, wine per course. A 10% service fee will be added.
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 designed for serious lovers of wine and well worth visiting.
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
Constantia Fresh' Red Wine Tasting Saturday, February 27th from 11h00 to 13h30, Groot Constantia Wine Estate. Call 072 467 5943 to book and for information.
Join the Durbanville Boutique Wine Association (DBWA) in kicking off the 2010 harvest with a Festival of Taste in the gardens of Rust en Vrede in the heart of Durbanville on Sunday 28th February from 12 am onwards. For more information, contact Karin de Villiers on 082 784 5102, e-mail
One of Cape Town’s iconic family events, the Community Chest Carnival opens its gates for the 59th time. The four-day event at Maynardville Park, Wynberg runs from Wednesday 24th February to Saturday 27th February. For more information call 021 797 5422 or visit Bring the family and come and join the community for a day of food, fun and charity!
A date for the future which you should diarise now is the Taste of Cape Town 2010 from 24th to 28th March. It will not be at the Granger Bay Extension – V&A Waterfront, but at a venue in Observatory, more about which later.
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.
We’ve enjoyed picnics at Buitenverwachting, Allée Bleue and Warwick. 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 other 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
20th February – Darling Cellars Onyx wines
27th February – Nabygelegen wines

18th 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.
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.
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