Sunday, October 07, 2012

20 Sept 2012 Main Ingredient's MENU - Dinner party, Ma Mere Maison, John Collins wine, tasting, Jewish Holidays, Bruce Robertson, Photography, Events and Restaurant specials, etc.

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
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Fishermen on the rocks at Bantry Bay, near Sea Point

In this week’s MENU:
*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     Dinner party
*     Ma Mere Maison
*     John Collins wine tasting
*     Jewish Holidays
*     Bruce Robertson
*     Photography
*     Events and Restaurant specials
*     Wine courses & cooking classes
To tell every 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   The brilliant French Edmond Fallot mustards from Burgundy continue to sell very well – so well, in fact, that some of our fellow marketers are now buying them from us in 5Kg catering packs. So, when you come and enjoy some of the great delicacies at the Biscuit Mill and taste and love the mustard, you know you can get some yourself, but in a more convenient pack. 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.
Because of corporate marketing activities which exclude us, we will not be back at Long Beach Mall until Friday 5th October from 09h00 to 16h00We look forward to seeing you there. In the interim, please contact us at home or come and see us at the Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday.
Dinner Party      For a change, we've had a reasonably manageable week, so we have started inviting our friends to supper again. It is about time, we have been so busy this cold, cold winter that we have done very little entertaining and we suspect that many of you have too.
Lynne took advantage of the meat price war that is raging at Long Beach Mall. Fruit and Veg City is slashing its prices to compete with both Pick 'n Pay and Woolworths. Example: Superb lamb loin chops were R59.95 a kilo there, R99 at Pick n Pay and R129 at Woolworths. She also bought an entire shin of beef, ready sliced, for R99. That started the idea of making an Osso Bucco. And the Italian theme started to mushroom. Well no, not quite, absolutely no mushrooms for John.
We found very thin spaghettini at one  of our Italian suppliers, a No.17, and we were lucky enough to have had a sample of very special and expensive Trikalinos Avgotaraho bottarga which was sent to us by a Greek exporter, so that was our first course. They say on their label that this product is rated as one of the 30 top Products of the World by Ferran Adria, so we were even more keen to try it. It is sun dried grey mullet roe, sealed in beeswax. We have eaten Sicilian bottarga once before and Lynne googled suitable recipes. The one we like the best was with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest, with the bottarga crumbled in as we served it. Lynne’s instinct said to add a whole lot of lemon juice and it worked very well. We do find bottarga just a little bitter, but it is an interesting starter, served on rocket leaves. All our friends enjoyed it. We served Cape Point 2009 Sauvignon blanc (Woolworths Platter 5 star version) with it and they made an excellent partnership
The recipe we used for the Osso Bucco is one by Iron Chef Mario Batali from his book Simple Italian Food and it was really good. He also recommends that you use a gremolata made with parsley, toasted pine nuts and lemon zest. You will find the recipe on or on the Food Network pages. We served two wines with this dish. We had been wanting to try Christopher Keet’s 2009 First Verse blend of the five Bordeaux varieties and decided to compare it with the last vintage (2005) of his wonderful Crescendo Cabernet franc based blend, made while he was at Cordoba. Chris’ wines usually age very well and they benefit from being decanted, so we decanted the First Verse 48 hours before serving and the Crescendo 24 hours before. We were all amazed at the similarity in style between the two wines, despite the difference in their blends, but, perhaps, we should not have been, the winemaker’s style is boss in this instance. The match with the dish, again, was excellent - spicy blackcurrant fruit working really well with the meaty tomato flavour of the dish.
With this, Lynne made a classic saffron risotto Milanese using our Carnaroli rice and accompanied it with simply steamed and al dente thin green beans.
For dessert, we had a simple vanilla pannacotta flavoured with Frangelico liqueur, surrounded by red berries from the Rumtopf we made at Christmas. Two recommendations: don’t ever use blueberries in a Rumtopf. They come out like hard bullets of cardboard with no flavour. And we have finally found a use for those decorative silicone cake/cupcake moulds, from which you can never remove the cakes without shattering them into shapeless messes. They work perfectly for panacottas, which turn out very easily if you run a sharp knife around the edges and then ease them out. Do this ahead of time so that you won’t get into a fluster during dinner. Lynne used ours, which are shaped like small sunflowers, and they looked very pretty indeed on the plates. Now to try the large one for an orange coloured jelly in the summer...  With this, we served a 2005 Nuy White muscadel. Some people still think it is “the right thing to do” to proclaim a dislike for sweet wine. Try something like this – the bottle won’t last long!
Another time-saving tip for risotto: Lynne gently fried the shallots and the rice in the butter before dinner and then just had to add the wine and hot stock to make the risotto, while the guests talked after the starter. It did not affect the result at all.
We have another supper planned for this Sunday and we are busy planning our menu from ingredients in season. Many of you tell us that you get inspiration from what we cook and the wine with which we pair the food. There was some beautiful fresh asparagus – white and green – at the Biscuit Mill on Saturday. Price was a little hairy at R120 a kilo but it will start to come down as the season progresses. We had artichokes as a starter tonight and they were about the best we have ever had. Lovely thick, fleshy leaves with a delicious flavour.
Another recommendation. There is a wonderful stall at the Neighbourgoods Market called Ma Mere Maison and we have discovered that Lexi Bechet really, really knows how to make superb confectionery: superb, salty, nut brittle (not peanut), melting rose flavoured marshmallow, soft and squidgy toasted coconut marshmallow, great mini macaroons, the best nougat, and cake pops amongst others. All real flavours and quality nuts at good prices. Come and sample some on Saturday. She also has a shop at unit G3 Salt Circle, 19 Kent Road, Salt River (over the road from The Biscuit Mill), if you can’t get to the Neighbourgoods market on Saturdays. Lynne does not have a sweet tooth, but she cannot resist these treats.
John Collins’ trade wine tasting at Den Anker yesterday was another huge success. We visited Den Anker during the Master of the Trade Routes promotion in July (see our blog) and were very happy to return. John Collins moved to this venue for his tasting last year and it is a huge improvement over the previous venue. Den Anker produced excellent canapés to match the wines (see pics here), well-balanced flavours and no chilli or heavily spiced foods to kill the flavours of the wines. John has an excellent list: Diemersfontein, Jordan, Kleinood, Newton Johnson, Peter Bayly, Springfield and Thelema Sutherland, with a new addition: Cartology from the Hemel en Aarde Valley. With so many wines to taste, one can only mention a few highlights. Chris Alheit of Cartology wants to concentrate on the grapes that most illustrate this country, so his first wine is a Chenin blanc/Semillon blend from old vinesWe loved it, rich and rounded, and it impressed most who tasted it. Springfield is always a treat and we re-tasted the two lovely Sauvignons, Special Cuvée and Life from Stone and also loved the Wild Yeast and Methode Ancienne Chardonnays (Lynne was heard to mention the dreaded words “Birthday Wine” on tasting the Method Ancienne Chardonnay - thank goodness her birthday was last month!) and the Methode Ancienne red blend. Jordan has a huge range, so we’ll mention the best of a good lot: Outlier Sauvignon blanc, the “ordinary” Chardonnay, the wonderful Nine Yards Chardonnay, the Prospector Shiraz and the flagship Cobbler’s Hill red blend. Wine cellar architect Gerhard de Villiers of Kleinood had his Tamboerskloof wines: a fresh new Rosé, newly released Viognier, thankfully unwooded, and their always excellent Shiraz. Winemaker Rudi Schulz showed us his Sutherland wines from Thelema’s Elgin property. Our favourites were the Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon and Shiraz. Diemersfontein had their very popular “coffee” Pinotage, with chocolate coated coffee beans as an accompaniment and we loved the Carpe Diem Chenin blanc and Pinotage. They have launched a new unwooded Chenin, very reasonably priced and delicious. Bevan Newton Johnson showed his Felicité and Family Reserve ranges. The Full Stop Rock Rhône-style blend impressed us enough when we tasted the last vintage for us to buy a case and the 2010 is also excellent. Their Chardonnays and Pinots are always excellent and the Family Pinot Noir was one of the best wines of the evening. The Felicité Rosé will be a delicious light summer lunch time wine. Peter Bayly’s wines are well-known to us because he has the table next to ours at the Neighbourgoods Market. His III Red blend, made from Touriga Nacional with splashes of Tinta Barocca and Souzao is a delicious big wine in the style of the Portuguese Dao wines, but it does benefit from keeping or decanting. His Ports, White and Cape Vintage, are delicious after dinner treats. All in all, a wonderful show.
One strange note was observed as we left the tasting (actually too many notes): the curio shop next to Hildebrand restaurant was playing Jingle Bells. It is a shop with a very African theme, so playing a song about dashing through the snow would be strange in Cape Town at Christmas time - even stranger in September.
Jewish holidays      We should have done this last week and apologise for the delay, but we send all our Jewish readers our best wishes in this Rosh Hashana week and we also wish you well over the Fast.
Bruce Robertson     Many of you will remember Bruce from the Cape Grace and from his own restaurant, The Showroom. After a stint in the bush, Bruce is now cooking at home in his Boathouse on Beach Road in Scarborough on the Peninsula’s south coast. You can find him at’ve always enjoyed his food and anticipate a successful venture.
Photography     John has had enough interest in his photographs from potential customers recently to persuade him to revive his dormant career as a photographer. If you are interested, you can see some of his photographs and his rate card at
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.

20th September 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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