Friday, July 15, 2011

110708 Main Ingredient's MENU - Tastings at the Taj and Eagles' Nest, Liver paté, restaurant specials and events to enjoy

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
 Gulls bathing in a pond in Green Point Park

GREAT FOOD AND WINE PAIRING TO EXPERIENCE     Last Friday, we were invited by the management of the Taj hotel to join them at a tasting and dinner at #3 in their regular Wine Tasting Series. For the princely sum of R310 you get to take part in a superb tasting of wines from a selection of vineyards and meet the winemakers. This is then followed by a four course dinner at Mint matched to some of the wines you have just tasted and the winemakers join you in the restaurant. We had a marvellous time tasting Bartinney, Kleine Zalze, Eagles’ Nest, Mischa and Groot Constantia wines. The menu included very good Norwegian salmon sashimi, a super light Japanese style mushroom soup flavoured with truffles and divine braised veal shanks. Because John is allergic to mushrooms, they were kind enough to serve him a superb Tom Yum soup. We finished with a plate of apple desserts.  The next dinner, Series #4, will take place on 28th July and will be with wines from Ken Forrester, Stonehill, Peter Falke, Noble Hill and Avondale.
The Eagle – Landed    Last night, our wine club’s monthly meeting was held at Eagles’ Nest winery in Constantia where Stuart Botha, the winemaker, took us through their wines.  We loved and bought some of their second label the Little Eagle Blend of Cab Franc, Merlot and will be back to buy some of their Viognier which is being bottled today and released immediately but, sadly, was not available last night. Little Eagle is made from the same grapes as the premium Verreaux red blend and the proceeds from the sale of the wine go to a fund for o conservation of the  Black (Verreaux's) eagle. There is one breeding pair on Table Mountain.  We are saving up for some of the other wines, especially their extremely good Merlot which has won lots of awards. All their wines are grown on the farm, except for the good crisp and fragrant Sauvignon Blanc which has grapes from Durbanville and Koekenaap.  We all finished the evening off with a dinner of pasta and pizza at Green’s and they catered very well for the large numbers. Not at all expensive, but we do wonder why Constantia has so few good affordable restaurants.  Or are we mistaken?  We hope you will tell us; we have to be there again next month, when we have an evening planned at High Constantia. And no, 24 people are not going to go to La Colombe!
SPICY AND HOT    We and several of our friends are great fans of Asian spicy foods.  We have a branch of Simply Asia at the end of Sea Point but, as it is in a very draughty mall, you don’t go there to eat in winter. It’s cold enough waiting for a take away to be ready. Their food is superb value, authentic, prepared in front of you and you can have it at three levels of heat. Friends took us to the Park Street (just off Kloof Street in Town) branch the other evening and we enjoyed a really good meal: four starters – 2 Tom Yum soups, one Dim Sum basket and duck spring rolls; four dishes of different style noodles and corkage cost us just R430 including service. The chef on duty that night had rather a heavy hand on the chilli though and, after seeing our ‘chilli fan’ friends sweat through the extraordinarily hot soup, we all opted for mild on our main courses!  Lynne’s dish of Ho Fun broad noodles with a roasted chilli paste, prawns and calamari was one she had had before and the “medium” in Sea Point is just within her tolerance level – but she wouldn’t have survived the Park Street dish.
DINING IN    After quite a busy period ‘out’, we are finally starting to entertain again at home. Tonight we are having our neighbours over and Lynne is cooking Michael Oliver’s Waterblommetjie Bredie but has mixed lamb with springbok, which might well be the way things were done in the past.  She is making a chocolate tart lined with a layer of quince paste using Willie Harcourt Coose’s bitter Madagascan chocolate. Our starter is a stunning chicken liver and pistachio nut paté covered in Parma ham. Our hostess made it for a dinner we had at friends’ on Saturday and Lynne copied the recipe, which is this week’s recipe for you to try. It is really easy and quick and absolutely delicious. If you don’t want to use bacon or ham, you could use Bressaola to line the paté dish and, perhaps, use macon in the paté mix. 
8 thin slices of Parma or Prosciutto ham – 2 T butter – 2 T olive oil – 80g finely diced bacon – 1 onion, finely chopped  – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed – 500g chicken livers – 3 bay leaves – 80 ml brandy or sherry – 125 g butter, softened – 50 g pistachio nuts, toasted
You will need a loaf tin, which you line neatly with cling film or foil.  Then carefully line it with the slices of ham, so that it hangs over the sides, making sure each slice overlaps.  Heat the butter and oil together and fry the bacon, onion and garlic for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft but not browned.
Trim the livers of any veins, fat or filaments.  Add them to the pan with the bay leaves and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they are brown on the outside but still pink inside. Add the brandy or sherry and simmer stirring continuously for 3 minutes or until the liquid has almost disappeared.  Remove the bay leaf. Put the mixture into a food processor and blend to a very fine texture. Gradually add the rest of the butter and blend till smooth. Season then stir in the pistachios. Spoon the mixture into the tin and fold the ham over the top to enclose it. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. You can keep this in the fridge for a couple of days; the flavour will improve and it will be easier to slice. Cut into slices and serve with crisp French bread, toast points or melba toast.
PROBLEM SOLVING (*!!@3%*!$!*)     We thought you would be amused to hear that disasters in cooking happen to us not infrequently. This is how we attempted to solve today’s problem. As Lynne was taking the (chocolate tart) pastry base out of the oven, beautifully golden and crisp and buttery, the loose bottomed pie tin did a complete flip flop and the pie shell broke into several pieces on to the oven door. Lots of loud swearing and yelling ensued. Panic set in as time was too short to start making pastry from the start. About two thirds of the shell survived, so she reassembled it,  took the smaller broken pieces, crushed them, melted some butter and used it like cement to replace the holes in the base of the pastry. Set in the fridge while she melted the quince paste layer, this then was used to seal the pastry.  It will probably all break apart when serving, but at least she was able to bake the liquid ganache chocolate in the pie shell. Whew! Called learning on your feet.
Our market activities      This week, you will find us at The Place at Cavendish (Woolworths underground entrance to Cavendish Square) on Friday 8th July, from 10h00 to 17h00, where we will have our great selection of delicious treats and ingredients for you. We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s Neighbourgoods Market, as always, on Saturday between 9am and 2pm. Next Wednesday, we will be back at the Dean St Arcade in Newlands from 09h30 to 14h30.
Our product list has a wide variety of interesting delicacies and ingredients for you and we can send them to you, wherever you are in South Africa if you can’t visit us here in Arthur’s Road or at one of the above markets. Click here to access it and to order.
Good food and wine continues to grow as a focal point for many people in the Western Cape and, to an extent, in other parts of the country. As a result, our list of Interesting Food and Wine Events has grown so much that it was making MENU too long for some of our readers. So we’ve taken it online. Click here to access itYou will need to be connected to the internet.
Our  list of Winter restaurant special offers continues to grow. Click here to access it. These 2011 Winter 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. When we have tried it, we’ve put in our observations. We have cut out the flowery adjectives etc. we’ve been sent, to give you the essentials. Click on the name to access the relevant website. All communication should be with the individual restaurants.

7th July 2011
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
New 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.
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