Friday, May 04, 2012

26 April 2012 Main Ingredient’s MENU - Taste of Cape Town, Howard Booysen wines, Nobu’s Bento boxes, Crispy, chilli tempura squid, 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
Click on underlined and Bold words to open links to pictures, blogs, websites or more information
A country road in the Hemel en Aarde Valley
In this week’s MENU:
*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     Taste of Cape Town
*     Howard Booysen wines
*     Nobu’s Bento boxes
*     Crispy, chilli tempura squid
*     Wine courses, Events and Restaurants
Products     We have found some powdered agar agar, more of the valuable and oh-so-rare Argan oil, a whole new selection of patés from France and we have replenished our stock of truffle products like salt and oils. We also have new stock of the Mexicorn salsas and chipotles. 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 Long Beach Mall tomorrow, Freedom Day public holiday, Friday 27th April from 09h00 to 16h00, for our South Peninsula friends, and we will be back at at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00.
Public holidays, we think, are there for people in corporate jobs. They tend to be irrelevant to people like us who have their own businesses and, most especially, to all the people who look after your requirements in the hospitality and retail industries and to people who work in service industries like nursing, the police, firemen etc. So, to all of you who will have a day off, we hope you will have a most enjoyable long weekend, Tuesday, May 1st, also being a holiday. Of course, if you receive this at your work address, you may not see it until Wednesday…..
A reminder that this weekend there is the Cheese Festival and next weekend the Riebeeck Olive Festival. Mother’s Day will be on Sunday 13th of May this year. The Square restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel is doing an absolutely scrumptious sounding 3 course lunch on Mother’s Day for R255 a person. And there is a surprise goodie bag for Mum. Book soon. Check out these and other great events in our events list.
Taste of Cape Town  The 5th Taste of Cape Town took place last weekend from Thursday to Sunday and we did what we normally do and went to this great show on the first night and on the last afternoon. We could list the food ad infinitum (see the photos on our blog) but the show is over and so we just want to say how much good food we ate. We do recommend that, if you had dishes you loved, do now go to the restaurants and have the larger portions there. We hear that restaurateurs don’t do the show to make money but as a very good marketing exercise because people do visit restaurants they have not experienced before after enjoying their food at Taste. We were concerned when we saw that several restaurants we saw at earlier Tastes were not attending, but there was a very good range of top places there this year, so there were no gaps.
Someone on Facebook did ask why, if there are all those great food opportunities, were the rib and chicken stands so busy? Our take on this is that if they were busy, they must have been serving what people want to eat, but we didn’t even see them. We were not charged to taste wine this year, as we have been in previous years and if you paid for a glass of wine, they did give very generous measures. And although there were many alcohol outlets, we personally did not see any drunkenness. Green Point Cricket Club is a great venue for this show, there is plenty of parking and it is on the flat.
The Pop Up Chefs were a great attraction. These busy chefs could not commit to the whole show so four each took the stand for a day. We talked to Richard Carstens from Tokara on Thursday and tasted his beautiful Togarashi beef ‘sashimi’ tartar and Henry Vigar from our great local Sea Point restaurant La Mouette and tried his butternut and sage ravioli with brown butter. Then there were the cook-offs in the Pick n Pay theatre where two competing chefs were given a mystery basket to cook a dish, or two, in 20 minutes. We watched Brad Ball from Bistro 1682 at Steenberg cook against Bertus Basson (the winner) from Overture. They each cooked two different salmon dishes, and an aubergine dish and it was a very fast and furious but close finish and great fun to watch.
A huge negative was complaints that there simply were not enough toilets and the poor kitchen staff and chefs were reduced, like the rest of us, to stand in very long queues rather than be on their stands. We hope they sort this out next year.
Bento Boxes at Nobu   What is a Bento box? It is a beautiful Japanese lacquered box, traditionally packed with food delights for a single person to be taken to work or school. Now you too can try one at Nobu, who have two on offer for lunch and dinner for the winter season. Ushered into the restaurant by the traditional shout “Ira-shai-ma-se”, “Welcome to our home” in Japanese, our delightful Kenyan waitress Mercy showed us to our table. Then came Keith, the sommelier, who we had met last week at Tracy Van Maaren’s trade tasting. Much study of the wine list had left us feeling rather winded as the prices are certainly some of the highest we have seen in the Cape. He persuaded us to have a bottle of Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc, which he said would be (and it was) a very good match with our Bento boxes.  Pictures here.
There is a lovely surprise when they arrive. The two long black lacquered boxes are double storeyed! So each Bento box gives you at least 7 different dishes and in the two boxes they do not duplicate any dish. We suggest you go and order one of each Bento box for two people and share as we did. The standard Bento box costs R275 and the Deluxe is R375. Both include dessert.
What is in the boxes? Salmon Sashimi salad with jalapeno sauce in one box and Seared Tuna salad with a mustard dressing in the other. Wonderfully fresh and crisp sautéed baby vegetables with a good dose of chilli. Two different fish Sushi rolls, prawn and tuna nigiri and sashimi fish plus our Nobu favourite, the tempura rock shrimp, which comes with its own dedicated Ponzu dipping sauce. You also get Nobu’s iconic jalapeño dip to go with the tempura white fish in the other box. Beef wing rib anti cucho, off the bone, is sliced and covered in a sauce which tasted of chilli, cumin and tomato; rolled white fish sashimi in a deliciously fragrant citrus and lemongrass sauce and another in the other box that tasted like thinly sliced scallop. The soft roasted aubergine, Nasu, in miso dusted with sesame was also very good. The teriyaki chicken was slightly dry. The rice in the sushi has absolutely perfect pearls of separate rice grains that stick together but are not at all mushy – made by experts.
There are two desserts to choose from. In another smaller bento box there is a warm squidgy and oozy rich chocolate fondant with a green tea ice cream which we (unwillingly!) shared. Or you can have the Suntory whisky cappuccino dessert, served in a cappuccino cup. You are instructed to be sure to scoop down to the bottom to get all the layers of coffee-flavoured Crème brûlée, whipped cream, whiskey and bits of roasted coffee beans, which we found rather too crunchy. Other than good black coffee, Lynne is not a fan of anything coffee flavoured, but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a very good dessert indeed.
There is more than enough food for two, so it is good if you are feeling greedy. One of the highlights of the One and Only is they have free valet parking and there is the lovely lounge and cocktail bar where you can pop in for a drink or coffee to meet friends before you eat.
Howard Booysen wine tasting     We received an invitation to attend this tasting (see pictures), held at Van Hunks Restaurant in upper Kloof Street. Howard is the sommelier at Aubergine restaurant, but has made his own range of wines from bought in grapes for the last couple of years. On Tuesday, we were able to taste his lower priced range called Pegasus. His 2011 Riesling has lots of charm and is easy drinking with residual sugar of 5gm and 6% acidity with 13% alcohol, with the grapes sourced from Stellenbosch. There is a juicy and soft Cinsault, the rarely used southern Rhône grape, most often used here in blends. These grapes also come from Stellenbosch.
We then tasted his excellent 2010 Kabinette style Riesling with residual sugar at 21gm and good clean acids at 7% and only 12.5% alcohol, quite a feat in this country. This wine which is very Rhine in style was awarded 4.5 stars in Platter and it is well deserved. Howard has just released the 2011 which has an even better sugar to acid balance and is completely delicious. There are turpene hints on these wines but they are only hints; they are refreshing and deep with honey notes under great fruit and crisp acidity and they drink perfectly with food. Howard had laid on some snacks and these wines all highlighted the best in them. He is definitely someone to watch as we expect even more great things from this young man.
This week’s recipe is our recreation of one of the most popular dishes at the Taste of Cape Town on the Taj Hotel’s stand.
Crispy Chilli Squid Tempura
500g small squid rings and tentacles (Cut up larger rings into bite sized pieces) – 500 ml milk – 1 egg – 210 ml ice cold sparkling or soda water – 1/2 t salt – 25g corn flour – 75g flour – 4 ice cubes – 2t chilli flakes or 1 to 2 (depending on your taste)finely chopped fresh red chillies, seeds removed – approx 500 ml canola oil for frying – good sushi mayonnaise or Hellman’s diluted with a little milk to make it more runny.
Soak the squid in milk for at least an hour (this tenderises it), then drain and pat really dry. Heat the oil in a wok or a wide deep pan to 370 °C. Do not leave the oil alone. Mix the water with the egg and then stir in the flour, salt and chilli flakes and ice cubes. Quickly mix up the batter, it does not have to be smooth. Immediately toss the squid into the batter a spoonful at a time to coat well and then deep fry for just a couple of minutes until it is really crisp and beginning to turn golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest. Then serve with the mayonnaise drizzled over it. You can also drizzle over a sweet chilli sauce.
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. 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.

26th 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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