Thursday, September 29, 2011

110922 Main Ingredient's MENU - Vineyard Wine Concepts dinner, wine tastings, Cape Point wine, roast pork, things to do, affordable places to eat

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
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TW3*   Sometimes you take a deep breath and say “What a week!”. We have not stopped. There have been four wine events this week so far, and one dinner paired with wine. Plus two markets.
A grey heron taking off from a treetop
Last Friday night we were invited to Wine Concepts’ Food and wine pairing dinner in The Square restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel. Late in August, we joined Mike Bampfield Duggan and Corlien Morris of Wine Concepts, the hotel management team and of course the chef, Alex Jenkinson, to taste the food and choose from the selection of wines Mike recommended to go with the dinner. Normally at these tastings, the wine comes first and the chef then has to come up with food to match. This time they gave the chef his head and let him choose the food for a wonderful four course menu, which Mike had to find wines to match. Mike chose so well that we had no problem at all in choosing the four that were served. No arguments at all. At the dinner, last Friday, we were welcomed with a glass of Genevieve bubbly, met lots of people attending the dinner and then went in to the feast. Our first course was a goat’s cheese panacotta with cucumber gazpacho, pine nuts and salad leaves matched with Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs 2010 Chenin blanc.
Second course was pan fried Norwegian salmon, confit beetroot, with a hollandaise sauce and accompanied by a confit duck egg – cooked in a water bath at 51degrees for one hour, which is very soft and jellylike and acts as a very rich sauce to the salmon. This was served with a wine we were not familiar with: Beau Constantia’s Cicely 2010 Viognier. Main course was a very good Springbok loin Wellington which accompanied Gabrielskloof Red Blend. And the dessert was an American baked cheesecake with honey and lavender ice cream, served with Ridgeback’s lovely Natural sweet Viognier. The good news for all of you who missed this wonderful evening and menu is that most of these dishes or something very similar are currently on the à la carte menu at The Square, so you can rush off and taste them yourselves. And you can book for the next food and wine Gourmet events in October. See the Vineyard’s  web site.
SMOKING HADDOCK!      Lynne made a classic Fish pie last week and was delighted to find that Julie of Ocean Jewels fish at the Biscuit Mill is producing her own lightly smoked haddock. It is not coloured, something we are absolutely delighted about – who wants to eat unnecessary chemicals which add nothing to the flavour? The fish was wonderfully moist and flaky, with a good traditional smoked flavour. We should point out that haddock in South Africa is also hake but not the same species of hake as found in north Atlantic waters. We can detect very little difference.
HOW NOT TO     On Monday night, we were invited to a different sort of wine trade show and we conclude that, in future, we might need a head torch to see our wine and read labels in the pitch dark, ear plugs to prevent damage from very loud music, and an ear trumpet to point in the direction of the wine makers or their staff, so that we can hear what they are saying. We think if you want to have a party, go ahead and have a party in a nightclub. But if you want the trade and the media to be serious about meeting the wine makers and taste their wine, a trade show in a nightclub is definitely not the way to do it, unless you organise a tasting with proper lighting and follow it with a party, flashing lights and ear splitting music. And it’s not the “old fogeys” speaking – most of the complaints (and there were plenty, then and afterwards) we heard came from people in the 25-35 age group. Enough said.
Shiraz showcase     On Tuesday night, we attended the Shiraz Showcase at the Vineyard Hotel. Seventy mostly glorious examples of this very popular wine varietal were on show on two floors. It was so great to be able to taste through the different styles and origins of these lovely wines in a classy environment, with a string duet quietly playing in the background. Some of the wines have now won serious international recognition. Driehoek, made by David Nieuwoudt of Cederberg for his neighbours, has just received a 93 in Parker. It was John’s (and many others) favourite wine. Lynne’s favourite of the evening was an old favourite, Kalkveld Shiraz from Zandvliet, with soft spicy flavours but still holding good acidity and with lots still to come. This was very closely followed by Waterford’s Kevin Arnold Shiraz and she also liked the Antonij Rupert. John loved the Driehoek, Kalkveld and Guy Webber’s deliciously fruity but well-structured Stellenzicht Rhapsody Pinotage Shiraz blend, .
As usual, really good canapés were circulated during the evening – quite essential if you are tasting this amount of wine over a four hour period. Delicious seafood and fish cakes, Asian chicken spring rolls with a nice sweet but not hot dip, porcini mushroom and soft cheese spanakopita, a really clever aubergine bruschetta which so went with the shiraz and a small ramekin of lamb tagine, spicy but also not hot.
Cape Point Vineyards   Cape Point Sauvignons blanc have collected many accolades since their beginning in the late 1990s. Their Splattered Toad second label contributes a portion of the money from the sale of each bottle to the conservation of the endangered Western Leopard Toad, which is endemic to the area round the vineyards. We visited the farm on a media event organised by Tracy van Maaren and Sue Anderson, who distribute the wines. Tractors and trailers took us high up the hill above Noordhoek beach to the Sauvignon blanc vineyard, carved out of the stony hillside, where Cape Point Vineyards winemaker Duncan Savage told us about the farm and the way he grows the wines. Then we were taken back down the hill to the tasting room, where Duncan led us through a tasting of his wines. We started the tasting with the palate and wallet-friendly Splattered Toad, and moved through the Cape Point Sauvignon blanc and Sauvignon blanc Reserve to the lean and well-balanced barrel-fermented flagship Isliedh 2010 white blend (75% Sauvignon blanc and 25% Semillon). These were followed by the excellent, elegant Chablis-like Chardonnay and the only red, Splattered Toad, a blend of Cabernet sauvignon and Shiraz. The tasting was followed by an excellent light lunch prepared by his wife. She made one of the best quiches most of us have ever eaten. The fillings (spinach & cheese and cheese & ham) were light and fluffy, the pastry crisp, thin and melt in the mouth. She does cater (Something Savage) so if you live in the area you can order from her. Pictures here.
Caroline’s White Wine Review is one of those not-to-miss wine shows each year. Caroline Rillema waits until most of the farms have released their wines for the year before making her selection of what she thinks are the most interesting. There were some seriously wonderful wines on show last night and it was difficult to know where to start and then where to stop. David Trafford’s Malagas Wine Company Sijnn white (57% Chenin & 43% Viognier), proved you can use large amounts of Viognier with another grape, not have it take over and still let both express themselves in a wonderful integrated wine. Howard Booysen’s and Groote Post’s Rieslings were different and sensational and showed no turpene flavours, thankfully. David Niewoudt’s Ghost Corner Semillon was the wine that blew Lynne away for the evening. John was very happy to see the number of Chenin blancs on show, all exhibiting different characteristics – something which this chameleon grape does so well. Jean Daneel’s Signature Chenin is a delight as are Beaumont’s Hope Marguerite and Cederberg’s Five Generations Chenin Blanc. Chardonnays which impressed most were Ataraxia and Dewetshof’s The Site. There is not enough space here to list all the wines we liked.
We have written an article on wine availability in the Durban area for It should be published soon.
ALLAN MULLINS TRIBUTE     Many people in the wine industry in this country – and, indeed, many round the world - know and respect Allan Mullins. For many of us, he has been a really special friend. Allan, a Cape Wine Master, has directed the wine department of Woolworths for many years and will soon be retiring from that position. He lost the use of his lower body in an accident many years ago and a dinner was held in his honour a few weeks ago at Spier to raise funds to help with his increasingly expensive medical treatment. As part of the fund-raising drive, a silent auction is being held in which some wonderful bottles of wine can be purchased. These have been donated by producers and collectors and you might be lucky enough to pick up some wonderful bargains and, at the same time, contribute to a very worthwhile cause. Allan says that many people have made incredibly generous donations and heI will feel very bad if they are not suitably acknowledged. You can find the list of wines under Silent Auction on the website
How do you like your meat cooked?     Lynne did a small pork leg roast just for the two of us at the weekend which was very successful. We like our Pork cooked long and slow, so Lynne either uses the River Café method or Reuben’s great recipe from his cookbook. This time she used both of them, covering the pork with the River Café mix of garlic, fresh chilli and fennel seeds, pounded to a paste then rubbed in all over. The pork is given 25 minutes at full blast in the oven then Reuben’s mix of 2 cups of stock, 1 of soya sauce, grated rind of one orange, a star anise, a cinnamon stick and half a cup of sugar is added to the pan, covered with heavy foil and the pork cooked in a long and slow braise for at least 5 to 6 hours at only 150°C. We had duck fat baby potatoes and lots of freshly steamed broccoli and beans with it. The crackling was very soft so Lynne peeled it off and put in a pyrex dish in the microwave, salted it, covered with kitchen paper and zapped for about 2 minutes on full power but at 30 second intervals. Perfect crisp crackling and because it was well covered with paper, no damage to the inside of the microwave. We served it with a Buitenverwachting Shiraz 2006 (occasionally available from the tasting room, but not a commercially available wine) We prefer our lamb pink, roast beef too, and our chicken just cooked and falling apart but moist and flavourful. What everyone wants to know at the moment is why is lamb so impossibly expensive (about R90 a kilo plus) compared to say fillet steak (R90 to R120) while good pork for roasting is selling this week for about R33 a kilo.
Our products. The Spanish paella rice (500g boxes) continues to find friends and we also have the top quality Bomba rice which is in 1Kg cloth bags, ideal for use in haute cuisine. This select variety comes only from the Ebro Delta. Tender and gentle on the palate once cooked, the great absorption capacity of its short, rounded grains allows it to fully soak up the flavour of the other ingredients. It stands out for its capacity to resist overcooking. Also from Spain, we have more stock of the popular Spanish smoked paprika and sherry vinegar. We have also replenished our stock of the brilliant Nielsen Massey extracts, French patés, goose and duck fat and vinegars and the excellent Protea Hill farm vinegars, especially the 7 year old barrel-matured balsamic raspberry, which is very popular, especially with American tourists. Fans of Masterchef Australia will love our Carnaroli risotto rice and truffles, amongst lots of other strange and difficult things to find that they use.
We have a lot of fun putting MENU together each week and, of course, doing the things we write about, but making it possible for you to enjoy rare and wonderful gourmet foods is what drives our business. We stock a good range of ingredients and delicious ready-made gourmet foods. So, please have a look at our Product List and see what you need. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our website. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa.
Our market activities We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00. You will find us at The Place at Cavendish (Woolworths underground entrance to Cavendish Square), next Friday, 23rd September, from 10h00 to 17h00, and we will have our great selection of delicious treats and ingredients there for you.
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 it. You 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.
* Fans of British television will remember that the 1960s programme “That Was The Week, That Was”, which brought to prominence names like John Cleese, Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, was referred to as “TW3)
22nd September 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
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. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.
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