Thursday, August 02, 2012

26 July 2012 Main Ingredient's MENU - El Burro restaurant, Chicken Waterblommetjie pie, Easy Sauces, Masterchef SA, Jenny Morris, Top wine tastings, Madiba wine, Events, Restaurant specials, courses & classes, Products etc


Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
+27 21 439 3169 / +27 83 656 4169
An Egyptian goose flying home through late evening rain

IIn this week’s MENU:
*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     El Burro Mexican restaurant
*     Chicken and Waterblommetjie pie
*     Easy white, Béchamel and cheese sauces
*     Food TV: Masterchef SA and Jenny Morris
*     Top wine tastings
*     Weltevrede’s Madiba wine
*     Events and Restaurant specials
*     Wine courses & cooking classes
To tell the whole story here would take too much space, so click on underlined and Bold words in the text to open links to pictures, blogs, websites or more information
This week’s Product menu    Truffles go well with warming winter foods. We have been selling a lot of truffle oil (white and black) and truffle salt, which puts truffle flavour within reach of us all. We have preserved black truffles in jars. We have a delicious new Shiraz coulis, made for us by a wine farmer’s wife, which will be a lovely enhancement to desserts like ice cream, but is also very good with patés and cheeses. To see what else we have available for you, 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   Come and visit us at the Old Biscuit Mill’s wonderfully exciting, atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00. Tip: Some visitors tell us how they struggle to find parking. It’s quite easy if you know how. Click here for a map which shows where we park. We will be back at Long Beach Mall on Friday 3rd August from 09h00 to 16h00We look forward to seeing you there.

Viva viva Mexico     What do South Africans know about Mexican food? Do we know that it is quite different from the US version, also known as TexMex? That it isn’t just about chillis and heat? How many times have you eaten it? Recent teaching from the Food channel has been an Italian chef cooking Mexican food in Mexico and an enthusiastic USA Mama cooking some sort of Mexican food in Texas. Confusion reigns. The lines seem to be very blurred in current local Mexican and Mexican themed restaurants, so it is difficult to know what is authentic and what is a dumbed down version suitable for our palates and taste. Or it is what they think we will like?
We were invited, a while ago, to an ‘authentic’ Mexican restaurant in Cape Town and had all our preconceived notions blown away because we found the food very bland and unexciting. Our conclusion was that there is nothing wrong with Mexican food, but not all the people selling it are good at cooking it! Every time we write about a TexMex or Mexican dish we ate somewhere, someone who knows better will put us right or tell us we are wrong. Lynne has been to both Mexico (OK, 1 day) and Texas (spent longer) and other bordering states and loved whatever she ate. She also had a rather good Mexican American restaurant in her street in London that served a combination of both, where she ate regularly, and she tries to cook it periodically, because we like the flavours and textures and heat.
This week, we finally made it to El Burro in Somerset Road, Green Point. The restaurant has been so busy that it has been hard, even in winter, to get a reservation. There are two restaurants below it and neither of them had any custom at 7 (or 9, when we left) but upstairs was already lively and getting full, so they obviously have a formula that works. And the age mix was huge, so it is not just a young vibe. We had a lovely, friendly and enthusiastic waitress who took pains to explain the menu to the four of us. She emphasised that we would be eating soft tortillas, not crisp tacos, with our meal, she said that was what most locals were expecting and they don’t do them. We do know the difference.
We decided to try three of the starters and share them, and then do our own things with the mains. The starter of roasted & smoked fresh (not bottled) Jalapeno chilli ‘Rillenos’ stuffed with cheese was warmly spicy and delicious, the baby squid were quite superb and will make sure of another visit for all of us. Tender, gently spiced, with a lime juice kick, they melted in the mouth. Some of us found the ‘Taquitos’ stodgy, (corn tortillas wrapped around refried beans and queso fresco, lightly fried and topped with sour cream and fresh tomato salsa); others enjoyed them. Our main courses were all enjoyable (click here to see what they looked like – however the lighting was dim and the photos are indistinct – we prefer to avoid using flash, which can make it too obvious that we are reviewing a restaurant). Three of us found them all unexpectedly bland and had to call for more chilli sauce to enliven them, which certainly helped. It led us to conclude that perhaps that is what Cape Town is demanding? John ordered the twice cooked pork shoulder in a garlic & chilli paste, flavoured with oregano, paprika & arbol chilli (hot) ‘do it yourself kit’ with tortillas (you get three and you can have a mix of corn or flour). Lynne had the pulled short ribs of beef braised with adobo chilli, paprika & fresh oregano to do the same.
We found both meats almost entirely without flavour and the beef was very stringy and tough. The pork was a little fatty for Lynne but their flavours were both helped enormously by the good selection of additions provided, which you can add to your tortilla: a tomato salsa, a roasted aubergine dish, cream cheese, guacamole, thinly sliced and vinegared red onion, plus chopped fresh hot chilli in a light sauce. Both plates also come with a yellow fried rice, refried beans and salad. Loraine had the mushroom quesadilla which is a grilled flour tortilla filled with sautéed field mushrooms & queso fresco, served with a sun-dried tomato & black bean salsa. Ronnie had a red spinach and feta enchilada covered in melted cheese.
We were mystified as to what the unfortunately named La Muerte Blanco which appeared our bill was (its translation is a white ghost). Then we remembered that Loraine had a tequila! Corkage is steep at R45 a bottle, but the wine list is not memorable, so we were happy to pay it. All in all, an enjoyable meal, but with some compromises. We see they have a half price lunch special running at the moment, so we might go and try some of the other things on the menu, including a repeat of the squid.
What, chicken AGAIN?     The very large chicken we were given last week has certainly seen us through the week. If you are living on a restricted income they are certainly one way to make money go a long way. We had roast chicken the first night – breast for John, a leg for Lynne; a Tom Yum soup the second using the meat off wings with a few prawns; Lynne made today’s recipe on Saturday, using the second breast, which we ate for two days and, with the last leg, she made a Biryani. Had we the time, the carcass could then have gone into soup. John is very tolerant and didn’t mind at all. At least the flavours and textures varied from day to day.
This pie is as easy to make as you want it to be. You can make a good thick béchamel sauce or you could buy a ready-made white sauce or even use a packet sauce. The waterblom are quick to cook and, yes, do use ready-made pastry unless you have the time and love making it yourself. You will need a conventional deep pie dish about 23 cm across which you should grease and dust with flour. If you can’t get Waterblom, you can use small asparagus spears or artichokes instead
Chicken and Waterblommejie Pie
1 cup of cooked chicken – 12 fresh waterblom – 2T verjuice or dry white wine - 2 T water – a grating of nutmeg - 1 roll of good flaky pastry – 250 ml of thick white sauce – 20 ml dry white wine - 8 sweet peppadews, chopped - salt and pepper – 1 T chopped fresh parsley – egg wash
Soak the waterblom in cold water for ten minutes then rinse and drain. This gets rid of any dust or removes anything living in them.

Gently cook them in the verjuice, 2T water, grating of nutmeg and seasoning until just al dente. Drain and keep the juices to add to a thick white sauce (recipe below). Add full cream milk to these juices until you have about half a litre of liquid for your sauce. Allow the sauce to cool then stir in the chicken and the pepperdews and the parsley.

Layer the waterblom with the chicken and sauce and then cover the top with a lid of pastry. Decorate and paint on beaten egg. Bake in a 190°C oven until the pastry is crisp and golden.

For the sauce: Easy White, Béchamel or Cheese Sauce

If you haven’t made a white/béchamel/cheese sauce in a microwave, do give this a try. It really is a complete doddle, it never goes lumpy and you don’t have burnt-on dregs at the bottom of a pan. Nor do you have to stand over a hot pot stirring for ages, watching for lumps.
Take a large Pyrex bowl or jug - about twice the capacity of the sauce you want. Put in your 25g of butter and 25g of plain flour, pour on half a litre of milk and add your seasoning. No, you don’t have to make a roux. And, no, you don’t have to stir it all together. Microwave it on full power for half a minute, and then stir well. Continue to do this several times until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens. It must coat the back of a spoon completely. Taste and adjust seasoning. The less milk you use, the thicker the sauce. At this stage you can add the cheese and heat until it melts for a cheese sauce.
If you want to make a béchamel, first put a small peeled onion, stuck with a clove; add a bay leaf and a scraping of nutmeg to the milk in a glass bowl. Watching it all the time, bring it to the simmer by heating it on full power for a few minutes, leave it to cool, strain and use the flavoured milk as above.
MASTERCHEF     Bravo and well done to Deena Naidoo, the winner. We look forward to the next series where we hope there will be more skilled cooking challenges from the beginning and lots of mystery boxes and most important, learning opportunities with master classes.
Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco     We are watching this new series with interest and are delighted to see that she has many of the same film crew as Rick Stein had. We think it is going very well indeed and there are some good recipes worth investigating. Go Jenny! If you are confounded by some of the ingredients, we do stock sumac, zatar, ras el hanout, preserved lemons and other spices and herbs she uses.
TOP WINES TO TASTE     We really do have some superb opportunities to taste top wines in Cape Town. Last month we so enjoyed sampling some of the medal and trophy winner’s wines at the Old Mutual Trophy Awards public tasting held at the Conference centre. Last night we had a marathon tasting of reds chosen by Caroline Rillema at Caroline’s Red Wine Review at the Westin Grand Hotel. She only chooses wines with 4 star ratings and above.  Click here for photos.
Tomorrow and Saturday, Die Burger Proefees will be taking place at the Tyger Valley Centre in Durbanville. Next month there will be the Shiraz Showcase at the Vineyard Hotel on 7th August and Seductive Sauvignons on the 31st, also at the Vineyard. One of the best tastings of the year is the Wine Makers Guild Auction Showcase on 23rd August and in September we will have Cape Wine, which is a showcase for the international trade. Caroline’s White Wine Review will be on 17th October. Go and book your tickets now for some of these, if you are a fan of our wonderful wines. All these shows make such phenomenal wines available to taste for a very reasonable amount of money.
The rest of the country also has opportunities. Tomorrow and Saturday, readers in Limpopo Province can enjoy the FNB Limpopo Wine Show in Polokwane and Durban readers can enjoy the inaugural Taste of Durban.
Wine enthusiasts who wish to spoil themselves can look forward to the Telkom Business Michael Fridjhon Wine Experience on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of September. The subject is “The Glory of Old Wines” and it promises an array of vinous rarities the likes of which we may never see again. For some time now Michael has been collecting select examples from the world's leading appellations, hoping that in the end we would have enough mature great wine to illustrate the proposition. More details of all these in our events calendar.
Hope we see lots of you at the Expressions of Walker Bay, Elim & Bot River tasting at the Taj this evening and afterwards at the dinner.
A lovely story and a great tribute to Madiba      Weltevrede Wine Estate had the honour of making a very significant wine for the 94th birthday of Mr Nelson Mandela. Seven years ago the dream was born when seven ancient vines were discovered in the prison garden on Robben Island. These vines grow where Mr Mandela buried his handwritten manuscript of Long Walk to Freedom in the prison garden. The Weltevrede Aansporingstrust, an empowerment trust of winegrowers who for generations have worked the vines and made wine on Weltevrede Estate outside Bonnievale, volunteered to be the custodians of the Robben Island vines. It was no easy task involving many early morning trips to the island, hard labour, coping with difficult weather, rough seas and ravenous birds that devoured two vintages. After three years of restoring the vineyard vintage 2012 eventually yielded a crop. The historic wine is made and the first bottle was presented as a gift to Mr Mandela for his 94th Birthday.
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 Events Calendar. All the events are listed in date order and we already have a large number of exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Click here to access the CalendarYou will need to be connected to the internet.
Learn about wine and cooking We have had a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wineCathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details here.
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here. Pete Ayub, who makes our very popular Prego sauce, runs evening cooking classes at Sense of Taste, his catering company in Maitland. We can recommend them very highly, having enjoyed his seafood course. Check his programme here.
Restaurant Special offers. Some more restaurants have responded to our request for an update of their special offers and we have, therefore, updated our list of restaurant special offersClick 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.

26th July 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.
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