Friday, October 26, 2012

24th October Main Ingredient's MENU - Biltong maker of the Year Award, Bistrot Bizerca, Wine on the River at Robertson, Comfort and Luxury at Fraai Uitzicht, Chicken, sweetcorn and truffle pie

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
A weaver couple inspecting the new nest he has just built
"I told you I wanted a second bathroom!"
In this week’s MENU:
*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     Biltong maker of the Year Award
*     Bistrot Bizerca     
*     Wine on the River at Robertson     
*     Comfort and Luxury at Fraai Uitzicht
*     Chicken, sweetcorn and truffle pie
*     Events and Restaurant specials
*     Wine courses & cooking classes
To take a look at our Main Ingredient blogs, follow the link: because to tell the whole story here would take too much space. You can also click on underlined and Bold words in the text to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information. Follow us on Twitter: @mainingmenu
This week’s Product menu   Lynne has used truffle oil in this week’s recipe. Truffles and truffle products are suddenly in huge demand. You’ll find truffles and truffle oils, salt, mustard and vinegar in our Product list. Chestnuts are also enjoying a sudden spurt in popularity, probably in anticipation of Christmas celebrations. We have more in stock in cans and jars, as well as chestnut purées. We expect to have marrons glacées soon.
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 tomorrow, Friday 26th October from 09h00 to 16h00. We look forward to seeing you there. Please note that, in December, we will only be at Long Beach Mall on Friday the 7th, so that will be the only convenient day for Christmas shopping at the Long Beach market if you live in the “deep South”.
We had numerous messages correcting us on our identification of the plants in last week’s photograph as Kokerboom. This one, from Bennie Kruger, gives a particularly good explanation: “I think you are actually looking at two Aloe Ferox (Bergaalwyn or Bitteraalwyn) and the rest Agave (Garingboom) in flower. Agave means high born because, after flowering, the plantlets starts forming on the flower stalk and then drops down to the ground and they all grow to hopefully one day become Tequila. I know, wrong agave in this case”.
John has just made a new website for his photography:
Biltong maker of the Year Award     Last Friday lunchtime found us at 96 Winery Road in Somerset West for the Stellenbosch Hills/Freddy Hirsch Biltong Maker of the Year awards. This competition has proven to be a huge success since its inception four years ago. “Stellenbosch Hills is the first cellar to combine two proudly South African delights with our Biltong & Wine Adventure to be enjoyed at our cellar door, says PG Slabbert, Winemaker and Manager at this cellar of this exciting competition. “The art of drying meat nowadays is as specialised as the art of winemaking. Our aim was to create a competition where two of South Africa’s most popular products – wine and biltong – could be combined.”
This is the first year that Freddy Hirsch, South Africa’s foremost spice suppliers to the meat industry, signed up as a sponsor. We expect there will be many more entries next year, given the incentives; even we may be tempted to try to make some.
Each year, a different Stellenbosch Hills wine is chosen to be the inspiration for entrants. The winner’s biltong must be the best match for the chosen wine.  For 2012 the choice of wine was the Stellenbosch Hills Shiraz 2007. The 54 entries were tasted by a panel of six judges, including PG Slabbert, Philip Kriel, Stellenbosch Hills director & recreational biltong maker, Jenny Morris, one of South Africa’s favourite celebrity chefs and Ilse Fourie, popular MasterChef contestant. Sue Von Hirschberg, Silwood trained cordon bleu chef and Hermann Schultz, blockman and meat expert, were there from Freddy Hirsch.
Speaking to the three very humble award winners, it seems none of them expected to win. We had an extremely good and filling lunch, as we have come to expect from this good restaurant. If you want to see who the winners are and what we ate and drank, click here.
Bistrot Bizerca      This excellent restaurant has recently moved from its location in a former motor showroom on the Foreshore to much bigger and better accommodation in Heritage Square at 98 Shortmarket Street. We were invited there for dinner on Friday night by a good friend and discovered that they had only just opened that week. The decor is clean and simple, with a subtle theme of flowers and butterflies. A great improvement on the car showroom decor which was imposed on them by their previous landlord. There is still a slight paint smell, but lots of candles have been lit and the smell will dissipate really quickly. We were given a lovely corner table for 6 and had an extremely good meal with really lovely wine. We drank The Foundry Viognier and Arendsig Cabernet sauvignon 2011. The very French menu is on chalk boards and changes daily. Some of the old favourites are still there and there are several new and exciting dishes to try. Lynne could only manage two starter portions. The Dorado carpaccio was magical. The plate is heated well, so the fish almost cooks when it hits it, and then the sharp dressing does the rest of the work. Beautifully fresh fish, highlighted by the sharp sauce which tasted of granadilla and which was so enhanced by the addition of tiny pieces of smoked jalapeno peppers. Our very adventurous host had tongue for his starter and kidneys for his main course. If Lynne had not had a sizeable lunch, she would have joined him, as both dishes looked delicious. Many thanks to Richard for a splendid evening! Click here to see what we ate as well as pictures of the new restaurant. Definitely one to return to again and again and a worthy nominee for the Eat Out awards. Please note, chef Laurent will only cook meat medium rare or rare. If you like it cremated, go elsewhere.
Wine on the River at Robertson     This is always one of our favourite festivals as it usually comes with early summer weather and we can relax on the grass on the side of the river, drink great wine, eat lovely food, chat to our friends in the valley and generally enjoy ourselves. The weather didn’t play ball this year; Sunday was rather wet, but we still had a marvellous day. Saturday had been sunny and busy, Sunday was damp, but still relaxed and well attended. We started our wine tasting with two great bubblies from Weltevrede, and Graham Beck Brut, then moved on to Zandvliet for their shiraz and were tempted by the lunch they were serving. Then more tasting and, at 2pm, into the tent for the Chardonnays of the Valley tasting. This marvellous tasting showcases the Chardonnays of the area, split up into different styles and paired with food and is one of the best and most intelligent ways to showcase wine. Next year, they are thinking of doing other varietals, like shiraz. It is a very good way to see the amazing variations that can be made in the area. Click here to see the pictures.
This year the festival closed at 3 on Sunday, but we found good friends to chat to and discuss the wine world. Every time we got up to go, down came a heavy shower. The wine continued to flow and then suddenly it was 6.30 and we had to go.
And more     We spent the night with old friends who farm and run the Rivierzicht camping in Goree. However, Jean was not well and we were extremely grateful indeed that they welcomed us to stay again. We hope his health continues to improve.
On Monday we set of to explore the area further and drove through to Bonnievale first to stock up at the excellent butcher, then the cheese shop before visiting Van Zylshof, a first for us. They make wine for several farms in the area and we liked their own Chenin and Rose enough to buy a case of each for the summer. Then it was off to Weltevrede for a quick tasting of the two MCC bubblies we had not tasted on Sunday, the Lindelize Rose from Pinot Noir and the Alethia, some wines and Lynne bought John some birthday wine, a case of the Place of Rocks Chardonnay. Then it was time to get to Christina’s restaurant at Van Loveren where Bonita Malherbe had invited us for lunch. Lourens van der Westhuizen of Arendsig was there and joined us. We ate really good thin crisp based pizzas washed down with the Christina van Loveren Limited release Sauvignon Blanc. After a great lunch we went off to Excelsior, another farm we had not previously visited, tasted through their wines and met their Alpacas as we left. See photos of the day here.
Comfort and Luxury at Fraai Uitzicht     We had been invited by Karl Uwe and Sandra Papesch, the owners of Fraai Uitzicht to come and stay again, so we headed there and spend an incredibly enjoyable evening with them over a relaxed dinner with super food and lovely wine. Karl insisted on opening lots of his lovely wines for us to taste. He has made a sensational Viognier but only in a very limited quantity for his own consumption. We think he must think about making more for the rest of us next year! Then it was time to returning to our guest cottage charmingly named Shiraz. See the photos here.
Next morning was bright and sunny at last and, after a lovely breakfast and many, many thank yous, we travelled into Ashton to the winery, then on to the factory shop at the Koo factory, then a couple of farm stalls in search of fresh eggs before heading home. We stopped at Rooiberg, not to taste wine but to buy a pie or two for lunch before setting off. It was a great long weekend and break for us, although most of it can be classified as “work”. We so love what we do.
Chicken, sweetcorn and truffle pie    You can use fresh chicken for this or cooked. We used the vegetables to give a little extra texture and flavour. Lynne often uses bought pastry but, if you have the time, do make your own.
1 T olive oil – 1 small onion, finely chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed – 1 carrot, in small cubes – 3 baby leeks, sliced – half a can of creamed sweetcorn – 300ml good white béchamel sauce – 4 chicken breasts or 2 and the meat from 2 legs – grating of nutmeg – 1 t fresh thyme leaves – salt – freshly ground black pepper – truffle oil - roll of puff pastry – butter – 1 beaten egg
Fry the onion in the oil with a little salt until soft. Add the garlic, fry for one minute, then add the leeks and the carrot and continue to fry over a low heat for five minutes. Add the chicken and stir gently till it is just cooked. If using cooked chicken, add now. Add the sweetcorn, béchamel, grating of nutmeg, thyme and pepper, then stir and taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add a little truffle oil – about 1 teaspoon - then taste and see if you would like to add more. Set mixture aside to cool.
Turn your oven to 190ºC.  Grease a deep pie dish with butter and roll out your pastry to cover the bottom of the dish, leaving enough to cover the top completely. Add the cooled filling mix and then wash the rim of the pie with egg before putting on the pastry cover. Use a pie support if you have one. Crimp and trim the edges of the pie nicely, so that it is well sealed. Cut a small hole in the top of the pie. Use pastry trimmings to decorate your pie. Egg wash the top and put into the oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Serve with green vegetables like broccoli, beans and mange tout.
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 Calendar. You 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 wine. Cathy 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. Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has cooking classes in Fish Hoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details 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 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.

24th October 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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