Thursday, April 26, 2012

19 April 12 Main Ingredient’s MENU - Wine tastings, Kleine Zalze at the Winchester, Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi Verdi, Taste of Cape Town, Products, Our market activities, Wine courses, Events and Restaurants

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
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A different kind of bird: A Bell Huey collecting water to fight a fire on Signal Hill
In this week’s MENU:
*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     Wine tastings: TVM, Ultra
*     Kleine Zalze pairing dinner , Harveys at the Winchester
*     Spinach and Ricotta “Gnocchi Verdi” with Tomato and Parmesan Cream
*     Taste of Cape Town
*     Wine courses, Events and Restaurants
Products     We’ve had a number of requests for Asian, especially Thai products, so we’ve brought back a few which had disappeared from our product list, Tamarind paste in a jar, Sambal Oelek, Shrimp paste and a different sweet soy sauce (Ketjap manis for Indonesian fans). For those and any other products you need, you can access our product list and see pictures in our website. If you can’t find what you need, let us know and we will try to find it for you. Until our online shop is ready, drop us an email and we will help you. We are very happy to see that traffic on our website is increasing and more orders are coming from it.
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 Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 , and we will be back at Long Beach Mall on Friday 27th April from 09h00 to 16h00, for our South Peninsula friends.
Tracy van Maaren Tasting    A good trade wine tasting at Auslese in Hope Street yesterday (pictures here) of wines distributed by Tracy van Maaren. Auslese is the tasting venue of Harold Bresselschmidt’s nearby Aubergine Restaurant. Harold had done two food pairings for wine on each table, see the blog for pictures and details. We started with Pol Roger bubbly, a rather lightweight Chablis and a Bourgogne Pinot Noir that didn’t shine as much as the local ones on show. Then on to taste John Loubser’s own 2009 Silverthorn The Green Man, lean mean, crisp and interesting MCC and his NV The Genie Brut Rosé, made from Shiraz. (John is the Cellarmaster at Steenberg). Kleine Zalze had three wines, all of which cried out for food and, serendipitously, we have had them matched with food today at the Winchester Mansions – see below. Their wonderful Vineyard Selection 2011 Chenin is rich and complex and many layered. Their classic 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon should be used as the benchmark for teaching students what a Cabernet grape should taste like when made into wine, as it is a very true expression of what the grape can do. Their Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc made from Elim, Stanford and other bought in grapes is really lovely and shows no influences of hot climate sauvignon. Vin’s D’Orrance 2011 Simply White (Chenin Viognier) and 2010 Simply Red (Cab Franc, Cab, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, were interesting, but more interesting was the 2008 Cuvée Ameena Shiraz which was sophisticated, soft and ready to drink now. The Raats Family wines blew us away, starting with the many layered very elegant 2009 Chenin Blanc, which goes off in the mouth like a firecracker and then cries “NOW EAT!”. The Red Jasper 2010 has fruit flavours jam-packed into the bottle and ends with a lovely long salty licorice. Then came the long and lean Dolomite Cabernet Franc 2010, with incredibly intense flavours of hot cassis and more salty licorice. The flagship Mvemve Raats 2009 De Compostella, this year mainly Cabernet Franc, with Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet sauvignon, has had enormous accolades and the previous vintage was awarded 96 points by Neil Martin for the Wine Advocate and was Robert Parker’s highest scoring South African wine in November 2011. It has a very sophisticated nose, is already soft and ready to drink but filled with class, fruit, acids, tannins and we think will definitely be one worth adding to your cellar for future happiness.
Vriesenhof showed their smoky green leaf 2011 Chardonnay which has layers and layers of good fruit and then a surprising end with flavours of vanilla ice cream. Absolutely delicious and just the style we should be making. Their Pinot Noir is full of berry fruits on the nose and palate, lots of alcohol and then finishes with echoes of those long fruit flavours. The Pinotage is one for Pinotage fans, showing typical Pinot noir strawberry fruit with a rich, rounded, toasty vanilla base.
Why do we leave the best till last and then find she has already run out of wine? Next year we will be sure to taste first. Luckily Cathy Marshall managed to find us another bottle of her Pinot Noir, so we were able to enjoy a final tasting of this notable Pinot Noir and her very approachable Amatra Merlot 2011 soft and sweet Merlot, made for drinking now. It has absolutely no stalky green flavours, or mint or eucalyptus.
Ultra Trade Tasting    Have you wandered into a bottle liquor store like Ultra and seen all the special wines like their Table Bay and Secret Cellar range and wondered what they taste like. We do buy the odd bottle to take home and try and sometimes they are good, and sometimes not. So what a treat to be asked to taste them all, to see what the current wines are like (they do change through the year). Mark Norrish, who runs the wine buying for Ultra, has lately been successful in sourcing some rather good wines and they are being sold at prices from R25 for whites to R54.99 for an MCC. However their source is a huge secret and he will not divulge any clues. Another wine retailer queried whether the farms are being justly rewarded for these wines and one has to point out that, while we are still in a recession, there are an awful lot of farms who simply cannot sell their wines and they need space in their cellars to contain the new wines they have just produced in this year’s harvest, so they might be grateful to move them. There are many good value wines out there if you look. There is a very good imported French range of sparkling wines Veuve de France, which we have been drinking all summer; priced at R34.95 you can pop a bottle at the drop of a hat. The Brut has been our choice up to now but we were very impressed with the Rosé. The Demi-sec might make a very good ‘Champagne’ jelly or cocktail but, while it is not to our taste, it might be yours. There are two white wines in the Table Bay range: a 2010 Chenin and a 2011 Sauvignon blanc, priced at R29.99, a rather bloody and lactic Merlot and a very good classic Cabernet Sauvignon, full of berries, licorice and wild flavours, priced at R32.99. Ultra have three Method Cap Classiques, The Table Bay at R54.99 – crisp and appley; the Secret Cellar MCC Brut which is elegant, but with a little fruity sweetness at R49.99 and the MCC Blanc de Blanc 2007, our favourite with lovely buttered toast nose, crisp golden colour with brisk bubbles – a huge bargain at R49.99. This wine was a Wine Magazine Top 10 finalist. Nice to see if you can work out which one it might be, we have our candidate... We liked the Secret Cellar Merlot 2009 and think that this is a good food wine, possibly still with some age to come, but we absolutely loved the Shiraz Reserve 2007 which is full of fruit, very soft and appealing. These reds sell for R29.99! They also have a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, full of tinned asparagus at R25.99 and a 2007 Cabernet which we found had a rather bitter end. Finally if you need real French Champagne, try the NV Bonnaire Brut at R169, and the Brut Rosé at R239. They are good, but we do have MCC’s available of at least equal quality. They also have a Don Simon Sangria at 39.99 for 1.5 litres, which might have been great for the summer but Mark suggests you might use this as a base for gluhwein by heating it in the winter. We tasted it mixed with the inexpensive French bubbly and believe it would make a very refreshing sundowner.
Winchester Mansions Gourmet Grapes & Gallery dinners     We were invited today by Nils Hecksher, the General Manager of the Winchester Mansions Hotel to join a pre-tasting and wine pairing lunch with Kleine Zalze wines in their Harvey’s restaurant. This was to assess the menu pairings for their very exciting Grapes, Gourmet and Gallery dinner on Wednesday, June 6th matched with 6 Kleine Zalze wines. These dinners are held every month, prepared by the hotel’s Executive Chef Jochen Riedel, and cost a very reasonable R345 per person for a five course meal with matched wines from that month’s selected winery. They will use the Chenin Blanc as their welcoming wine and follow with the delicious first course of a fresh and warm glass of pea soup with a soft confit Norwegian Salmon served with the Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The next course is Cinnamon smoked (in house) Chicken with poached pears, roasted walnuts, garden leaves and a vanilla blue cheese crème fraiche, served with the 2010 Pinot Noir. If you can get all the flavours on one fork, a superb mouthful. The pears poached in red wine work very well with the cinnamon, the chicken and the wine. Then a perfectly cooked Osso Bucco on a delicious saffron risotto with gremolata, served with the 2009 Cabernet which we so loved at the TVM tasting yesterday. How well this wine complimented the food and vice versa. The soft veal, the aromatic risotto, the deep and delicious jus and the herby garlic gremolata were outstanding with this classic Cabernet. The fourth course is a fillet of pork rolled in rough cumin and black pepper, served with a shallot jus, a Brussels sprout-sized serving of stuffed cabbage and a tiny interesting tartlet of white chocolate and avocado cheesecake in the most buttery short pastry case we have had for a long time, that went ‘poof’ and melted when you bit into it. The jury is out on the sweetness of the white chocolate but some tasting around the table thought it matched the wine well, others (us!) felt it needed a more salty note. The spices and the pork went superbly well with the 2010 Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2010. We had a short pause, a spoonful of a lovely lemon lime sorbet to refresh our palates and then it was time for dessert. Surprisingly they served the Gamay Noir Rosé 2011 with the Berry compote Pavlova and what an unexpected, but excellent, match that is. The fruit in the wine clearly complemented the berries in the Pavlova and cuts through the cream and the crisp and melting meringue, which is not too cloyingly sweet. The menu will also include filter coffee or tea to finish and we think this is going to be a wonderful occasion to attend. Get your booking in soon, we think it is going to be very well attended. See here for pictures.
LOW CARB DIET CONTINUES     We have had a look at recipes which we have published previously, to see if there are any that are fairly low in carbohydrates. If you are missing pasta, this is a very good substitution because it looks and tastes like a pasta, but is mainly vegetable and cheese. This recipe contains 1 tablespoon of flour, which equals 5.4 gm of carbohydrate. There are 16 gm of carbs in the tinned tomatoes, so 4 gm per serving. It feeds four people as a starter, so you will get a quarter of that in each serving, not a heavy load. We would encourage you to use the very best quality and freshest ricotta cheese you can find, it so improves the recipe. And please do use real baby spinach, not Swiss chard. Chard works but does not give such light and fluffy gnocchi. The trick as usual, is to handle the gnocchi as little as possible. This is a starter for 4 or a main course for 2 or 3.
Spinach and Ricotta “Gnocchi Verdi” with Tomato and Parmesan Cream
500 gm Spinach – 200 gm fresh ricotta – grating of nutmeg – salt and pepper – 1 egg
45 gm grated Parmesan – 1 T flour
Wash the spinach and cook in salted water till wilted. Drain well & squeeze till absolutely dry, then place in a food processor with the ricotta, seasoning and nutmeg; blend quickly and gently. Softly mix in egg, parmesan and flour. Chill then, using two teaspoons, shape into gnocchi quenelles. Use them immediately or cover with cling film and use within a couple of hours. Keeping them longer will dry them out.
Tomato Sauce: 800g tinned tomatoes – Salt and pepper – 2 cloves garlic, chopped – 100 ml cream
Put all into a pan, bring to the boil and reduce for 10 minutes, then add the cream and blitz with your wand blender. Taste and season. If you must and your tomatoes are not ripe, soften the acidity with a little sugar.
Parmesan Cream: 250ml cream – 150ml finely grated parmesan. Mix together in a jug.
Boil a pot of well salted water, and when it is simmering nicely, gently drop the gnocchi into the water. Remove it as soon as it comes to the surface and drain.
Take small individual serving dishes; ladle 2–3 T of tomato sauce into each. Put in 3 to 5 (depends how large you made them!) gnocchi in each, pour over the same amount of parmesan cream. Grate extra parmesan on top. Put into a preheated 180ºC oven for about 10 minutes until bubbling and the cheese starts to colour. You can cook these in one large casserole dish. You will need to increase the timing but wait until the cheese is bubbling and starting to colour. Serve and eat at once.
HOW TO CONFIT IN CONVECTION OVENS     We succeeded in confiting our salmon fillets in the convection microwave combination oven (ours is an LG) and can report that if you follow the instructions, you too can get it to work. You must have an oven thermometer that can stay in the oven while you are cooking. Look in good Cooks’ shops. Ours cost about R65. We discovered that when the oven was set to 50 degrees the salmon didn’t confit because the actual temperature was not at 50 degrees. Lynne discovered by experimentation that by setting our oven to 90°C, the actual oven temperature registered the perfect 55 degrees. So you will also need to experiment before you put in your salmon. The dish and the oil you cook in must also have reached 55 degrees before you put in the salmon. Then keep to the 14 minutes cooking time that Raymond Blanc recommends, but do watch the fish. Do marinate it before you cook it to get some flavour into it. When it starts to flake, it is ready but it must still look as though it is uncooked. We did not need as much oil as we used, we almost covered the fillets, so we think you could use a lot less and just generously coat the fish. Good luck. In theory this should also apply to meat, but there could be issues with heat and microbes so do go very carefully. We think it is a step too far.
Taste of Cape Town is an event which foodies in this part of the world look forward to every year. This year, it will take place in the venue which was so successful last year, next to the Stadium in Green Point. In earlier years, Taste of Cape Town was on school sports fields, in Camps Bay, Tamboerskloof and in Mowbray, all of which had advantages and some disadvantages. Cams Bay had the most wonderful views over the Atlantic, Tamboerskloof was on the upper slopes of Signal Hill, with attendant accessibility and parking problems and Mowbray was a good venue which, somehow, lacked the pizzazz of the previous venues. Green Point, with its Stadium, parks and other amenities is brilliantly situated, with its Fan Walk and access to public transport as well as good parking facilities, so we are very happy to see it return.  Click here to read all about the fun you can have this here and here to get an idea of the fun we had in the last few years. We went this evening; click here to see a selection of photographs. There was a huge crowd, but it never seemed to be too crowded; we had loads of fun and some brilliant food.
There is a huge and rapidly growing variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. There are so many interesting things to do in our world of food and wine that we have made separate list for each month for which we have information. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our list for April and beyond. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
We have had a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details here.
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 April 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 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.
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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