Friday, January 27, 2012

120118 Main Ingredient's MENU - Mexican peppers, wine tasting, our markets, new products, picnics, restaurants and great events

MENU
Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
Click on anything underlined and Green to open a link to pictures or more information
A malachite sunbird with agapanthus flowers, Hemel en Aarde

In this week’s MENU:
*     Heat wave
*     Wine harvest
*     Wines
*     Mexican peppers
*     Products
*     Our market activities, events and restaurants
Sizzle.   It has been HOT in the Cape over the last three days. We were in the Hemel en Aarde valley for a break over the weekend and stayed till Monday, so we escaped the worst of it, but coming home we saw temperatures in the car reach 40. Our house is amusingly called “Sunkissed” because, up on the hill in Sea Point, we do get the sun from early morning, until we see it hit the sea. And, of course, despite good insulation in the roof and blinds on all the windows, it does hold the heat. We have been using all our fans and tricks to circulate the air, but we are hoping for a good thunderstorm soon to break it. The cats lie around panting on the wooden floors and Hamish, our very fluffy ginger cat, has already had three dips in the handbasin – with that much fur, he does like water. We hope you are coping well with it. If you are in chilly northern climes, we suggest that you plan a journey south soon.
Wine Harvest   It looks like this is going to be a sensational year. There has been long slow ripening until now and all the farms in the areas we have visited recently look as though they have huge quantities of good grapes. Our best wishes to all of you for less heat, no moulds and a great harvest.
Wine   There was such a wonderful selection of wines on offer over the weekend that Lynne, sadly, broke her resolution and tasted a few of them. We visited Newton Johnson on Monday and tasted through their fabulous wines and succumbed and bought some of their new release, a rock star of a wine, 96% Shiraz with 3% each Mourvedre and Grenache, appropriately called Full Stop Rock 2008. This cracker of a wine is full bodied, full of sweet berry fruit, licorice and tons of elegance - it is delicious and we think is a real winner to put down in your cellar for drinking in 5 to 8 years.  Their Chardonnays are currently sold out but the new vintage is about to be released. And their two Pinot Noirs are Lynne’s current favourites.
John escorted two English clients on a wine tour this week. David van Niekerk of High Constantia (who took them through his whole range of wines), Cape Point Vineyards winemaker Duncan Savage, who showed them his vineyards, and tasting room hostess Jennifer were magnificent hosts and our guests went away having been royally entertained and with much more knowledge of the world of wine making than they had at the start of the day. They bought bottles of High Constantia Brut MCC and Cape Point Isliedh and would have loved to have bought more, but travelling and weight restrictions had to be considered. A real treat for them was ending the day with a glass of Brut at Buitenverwachting. We had a wonderful lunch at The Food Barn, always a favourite place for us to stop when we are in the area. John and David had a delicious white and black truffle risotto with green asparagus and a fontina sauce (David had prawns with his and a carafe of Newton Johnson chardonnay 2009) and Niki had kingklip with tender leaves, tomato vinaigrette, fine beans and Pain Bagnat salsa, served with Nitida’s delicious Coronata white blend. John, the driver, had delicious local tap water. Cape Point’s new picnic and events area is very beautiful. They have a huge permanent Moroccan style marquee and excellent new catering facilities. The farm’s tasting room will move to this new venue later this year. See pictures.
In hot weather, we find that we like to eat hot, spicy food; it does seem to cool you down. There is a glut of wonderful peppers in the shops at the moment, so do try this recipe which Lynne made last week. It serves 2 to 4, depending on how hungry you are and how large the peppers are!
Mexican peppers
2 large pimento (banana) red peppers (18 to 20 cm long) – 350g lean beef mince – 1 onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves garlic – fresh oregano – 2 courgettes, grated – 2 t Mexican spices – olive oil – 3 T tomato passata – 3 t rice or rice pasta – salt and pepper
Mexican spice mix: 2 t salt, 2t cumin, 2 t cayenne pepper, 2 t brown sugar, 2 t paprika, 1 t ground black pepper, 1 t dried oregano, 1 t dried chilli flakes, 1 t sweet smoked paprika. Mix together and store in an airtight container
Fry the onion in the oil until it is just beginning to take on colour, add the garlic and fry for one minute, add the beef and brown it. Add the oregano and the spices and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the courgette, pasta and the passata and simmer until the pasta is cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning. Halve the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Put into an oiled ovenproof dish. Fill the peppers with the mince mix. Put 1 T water underneath the peppers and cover with foil. Bake at 180ºC for 45 minutes or until the peppers are lovely and soft. Serve with cool guacamole and a salad.
Products    We have collected our order of Prego sauce and we have lots of it - do come and restock. We now have black rice and two unusual salts: Salish smoked salt from the USA Pacific coast and Black Lava Palm Island Salt from Hawaii.
Most other products are available, except goose fat, which we won’t see before the end of the month, but we have plenty of duck fat, which is an excellent alternative. If you are looking for anything, have a look at our product list and tell us what you want. We will soon have an online shop as well, accessed through our website, where you can order and pay us through Payfast.
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. 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 Place at Cavendish tomorrow, Friday 20th January. We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 and every Saturday. Last Saturday, it was actually much less than exciting and quite poorly attended. Maybe it was the heat, or the cricket, or the beach….  We hope to see more people this Saturday. People sometimes tell us that they don’t want to visit us there because of the crowds. No danger of that last week! We will be back at Long Beach Mall next Friday, January 27th.
There is a huge variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our list of Interesting Food and Wine Events. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you through into the new year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
Some restaurants have responded to our request for an update of their special offers and we have, therefore, updated our list of restaurant special offers. Click here to access it. These 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. If they don’t update us, we can’t be responsible for any inaccuracies in the list. When we have tried it, we’ve put in our observations. We have cut out the flowery adjectives etc. that so many have sent, to give you the essentials. Click on the name to access the relevant website. All communication should be with the individual restaurants.
Summer time is picnic time and several wine farms offer picnic facilities. We have put together a list of wine farms who can provide you with a picnic, We haven’t put in much detail, just where it is, phone number, email address and a link to the website. The latter is where you will find all the important information. Go and check it out.





19th January 2012

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 ist 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.
This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes and keep our mailing list strictly confidential. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please send us a message, inserting "subscribe" in the subject line. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please send us a message, inserting "remove" in the subject line

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food and wine (and a few other) events for you to enjoy in January

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

120118 Main Ingredient's MENU - Mexican peppers, wine tasting, our markets, new products, picnics, restaurants and great events

MENU
Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
Click on anything underlined and Green to open a link to pictures or more information
Vineyards and mountains, from Jardine on Jordan
In this week’s MENU:1998 Nuy Red Muscadel.
*     Jardine restaurant at Jordan
*     January – eating sensibly
*     Pesto recipe
*     SA Masterchef
*     Products
*     Our market activities, events and restaurants
One of the advantages of having overseas visitors here is that we get to take some of them on a wine tour and introduce them to some of our favourite restaurants and wines. Anne Brand, who studied and graduated with us on the Cape Wine Academy Diploma course, is an excellent person to take to wine farms. She is now resident in Australia and was keen to sample some of our recent best. We started the morning at Grangehurst tasting through their excellent range, buying some of their divine summery rosé, and wishing we could afford more of the other wines, especially the Nikela, after a heavy spending Christmas. We spent far too long chatting and had to rush off to Jordan for our lunch at Jardine.
Sadly, there was no time left to taste the Jordan wines before lunch but John guided Anne to a choice of a glass of the Outlier 2009 Sauvignon Blanc with her starter of “Gazpacho salad” with fried stuffed calamari, iced cucumber, croutons and pesto. The food was absolutely superb and we had a lovely airy inside table, by three open windows where the breeze kept us cool on this 35 degree day. This turned into a really long and relaxed lunch catching up and sitting viewing one of the best view in the Western Cape. John, who also had a glass of the Outlier, started with lime cured yellowtail, late summer pea shoots, green bean and tapenade and Lynne had the absolutely tender seared calves liver salad with roasted turnip, crispy sage and a marvelously matched prune preserve. The liver had a lovely smoky flavour. She is still sticking to her resolution of no alcohol in January so she had a Jordan red (shiraz) grape juice with her meal and good tap water. All the food is so beautifully and simply presented (see the photos) and is even more delicious to eat. Anne and John could not resist the double herbed impala with pomme puree, smoked garlic, braised savoy and meaty porcini, accompanied by a glass each of the Prospector Shiraz, while Lynne was tempted by the salt crust baked fennel, lightly grilled avocado, olive oil, lemon and parmesan with salad leaves and a delicious tapenade - fantastic but rather smothered in oil. All were delicious.
None of us could manage dessert, despite the descriptions being extraordinarily tempting but we were persuaded to have a tour of the lovely, cool cheese room where we succumbed to a plate of six very interesting local cheeses, some known to us, some completely new, to share and that came with two glasses of Boplaas Tawny Port. We left the restaurant as the tasting room was closing – this really was a long relaxing lunch - so we went down the valley, turned left and had a tasting at Neethlingshof which was still open. Our tasting guide Kim Atwood was extremely good at her job, informative and knowledgeable but, sadly, we did not find any of the wines really exciting enough to buy. They do charge for their tastings, a practice we cannot understand because this is straight marketing. When John takes clients on tours, he avoids farms which charge for tastings. If he had to pay R30 per head for a party of six at each of four farms, he would lose R720 of his daily fee, not a happy prospect. Some farms charge more.
January, glorious January     In this month of reappraisal, we are certainly reappraising what we are eating! December is such a month of excess and then there are all the wicked food presents we get, which we are severely rationing. We are trying to fit in more vegetables and much less fat, sugar and starch. It is not difficult in a time when the greengrocer’s shelves are overflowing with wonderful summer produce and the fruit at the moment is a cornucopia of delight. Our breakfast fruit salad consists of banana, mango, green and orange sweet melons, litchis, strawberries, beautiful plums, cherries and pawpaw. It tastes like eating sunshine.
We have so much basil that Lynne was able to whip up a pesto in minutes and wondered why we don’t do this more often. Pesto is very simple indeed to make and can be done in a blender in just a few moments, while the pasta is cooking. You don’t have to use basil – rocket, parsley, coriander all work well and you can vary the nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans etc. Add a fresh chilli if you want it hot, especially good with coriander. Don’t make it too far in advance as the colour can go very dark. You can try a squeeze of lemon, but that is not traditional. It also makes a really good cold pasta salad when used with rice shaped pasta. You need to make it in the proportions 3:1:1 herb, cheese, nuts.
Basil Pesto
3 large handfuls of basil leaves – 25g grated parmesan or grana padano cheese – 25g pine nuts – 1 crushed clove of garlic –  2 T olive oil – salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients into your blender and blitz until you have a nice thick oily paste still with some texture, adding more oil if it looks a little dry, then adjust the seasoning and spoon onto hot pasta or onto a selection of lightly blanched vegetables.
SA Masterchef will hit our screens in March. One of the judges is someone we know very well: Pete Goffe-Wood, who runs the Kitchen Cowboys course which John enjoyed so much a few years ago. Many of you will have enjoyed his steak rolls and pork pies at the Biscuit Mill on Saturdays. Usually, we get to know a face on the screen and then get a thrill when we see (and maybe) meet them in the flesh. This turns the tables and we get to enjoy seeing someone on-screen whom we know in person.
Products   We haven’t had time, in a busy week, to collect our order of Prego sauce. We will have it by the middle of next week.
Most other products are available, except goose fat, which we won’t see before the end of the month, but we have plenty of duck fat, which is an excellent alternative. If you are looking for anything, have a look at our product list and tell us what you want. We will soon have an online shop as well, accessed through our website, where you can order and pay us through Payfast.
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. 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 Long Beach Mall tomorrow, Friday 13th January (lucky day!). We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 and every Saturday. We will be back at Cavendish next Friday.
There is a huge variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our list of Interesting Food and Wine Events. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you through into the new year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
Some restaurants have responded to our request for an update of their special offers and we have, therefore, updated our list of restaurant special offers. Click here to access it. These 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. If they don’t update us, we can’t be responsible for any inaccuracies in the list. When we have tried it, we’ve put in our observations. We have cut out the flowery adjectives etc. that so many have sent, to give you the essentials. Click on the name to access the relevant website. All communication should be with the individual restaurants.
Summer time is picnic time and several wine farms offer picnic facilities. We have put together a list of wine farms who can provide you with a picnic, We haven’t put in much detail, just where it is, phone number, email address and a link to the website. The latter is where you will find all the important information. Go and check it out.







12th January 2012

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 ist 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.
This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes and keep our mailing list strictly confidential. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please send us a message, inserting "subscribe" in the subject line. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please send us a message, inserting "remove" in the subject line

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wine farm picnics in the Western Cape

Here is our list of wine farms who offer picnics. We will try to update it as we are sent more information. Prices may change, so we have given you the links to their websites and phone numbers, where we have them. Contact the farm for more detail.
Allée Bleue Intersection R 45 and R310, Groot Drakenstein. Phone 021 874 1021/2/3 email: info@alleebleue.com  http://www.alleebleue.com/ More details here












Boschendal ‘Le Pique Nique’. Boschendal Estate, Stellenbosch. Phone: 021 870 4272 email: reservations@boschendal.com   More details here
Buitenverwachting Estate, Klein Constantia Rd,  Constantia.  Contact Adrienne on 021 794 1012 or 083 257 6083.   http://buitenverwachting.co.za/picnic.html . See the menu here












Cape Point Vineyards, Chapmans Peak Drive, Noordhoek  021 789 0094 More details at  http://noordhoekvineyards.co.za/property/
Groot Constantia, Constantia Main Road, Constantia. has an ongoing problem with baboons, so they are no longer able to offer picnics on the estate..












Hartenberg , Scrumptious country style picnic lunches at Hartenberg Wine Estate   Bottelary Road, Stellenbosch 021 865 2541 email: info@hartenbergestate.com, Co-ordinates: 33° 52' 44.94" S | 18° 47' 32.73" E Embrace summer with the ultimate picnic lunches at Hartenberg Wine Estate, one of South Africa’s oldest producers of Shiraz in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands. Known for its picnic tradition since the 80’s, Hartenberg’s warm hospitality and picnic baskets, filled to the brim with delicious wholesome and fresh country fare, are sure to be one of this summer’s highlights. This year Hartenberg brings you a selection of no less than three mouth watering menus to choose from.  The Main menu, at R135 per person, includes a carafe of Hartenberg wine, Eleanor Finlayson’s famous smoked snoek pate and a selection of home baked breads as a starter. For mains there is a  selection of cold meats, seasonal salads, local cheeses and preserves, fresh seasonal fruit, roasted vegetables, crudités and pickles, and last but not least coffee and koeksisters for dessert.  If the Main menu does not tickle your fancy, the lighter Homemade Quiche menu at R120 per person is a delicious alternative; including smoked snoek pate with home baked breads, homemade quiche served with baby leaf salad, vegetable crisps and a glass of Hartenberg’s premium wines rounded off with a coffee and koeksister.  Or for lazy lounging in the sun, the Olive and Cheese platters from R60 per person is an obvious choice, including a selection of breads and a glass of Hartenberg wine.  All the food is prepared by Hartenberg’s trained staff, who takes great pride in their home cooked country fare. The picnic lunches are available all summer from mid September onwards, weather permitting. Hartenberg Wine Estate is situated on the Bottelary Road off the R304 to Stellenbosch. For bookings, call +27 21 865 2541, Email: info@hartenbergestate.com or visit www.hartenbergestate.com. 

Holden Manz, formerly Klein Genot. Green Valley Road, Franschhoek. Phone: 021 876 27 29. Check here for more information.












Mont Rochelle – Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek. Click here for the menu. Phone: 021 876 2770. email: info@montrochelle.co.za   Details are here
Rickety Bridge 021 876 2129 email: info@ricketybridge.com The website doesn’t make a big thing of it, but we’re told that picnics can be organised through the restaurant












Solms-Delta – Delta Road, Off the R45, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek Valley. Phone: 021- 874-3937. If there is no answer on the main number please call 079 373 7911. Email: restaurant@solms-delta.co.za. Details are here.
Spier – R310, Lynedoch, near Stellenbosch. 021 809 1983. email : http://www.blogger.com/spierreservations@kristensen.co.za The picnics from Eight restaurant need to be booked two working days in advance (tel: 021 809 1100) and are available for collection from Eight to Go, next door to Eight restaurant. More info at www.spierrestaurants.co.za
Vergelegen Lourensford Road, Somerset West. Phone : 021 847 1334. Lovely set­ting under the huge old camphor trees. Picnic details are here, somewhat down the page












Warwick - On the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts.  021 884 3144 or email jani@warwickwine.com. Full details are here












ZevenwachtLangverwacht Road, Kuils River. Phone:  021 900 5700. Email: restaurant@zevenwacht.co.za  More information here.
Zorgvliet – Helshoogte Pass, Banhoek, Stellenbosch. Phone: 021 885 1791 email: info@banhoek.com See more here.