Friday, November 30, 2012

29th November 2012 Main Ingredient's MENU - Wall to wall activity, Luscious Vegetarian cookbook launch, The Poolroom at Oak Valley, Bartho Eksteen's Savvy Celebration, Bos Wines at the Hotel School, Good Treatment pays off

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 83 229 1172
Dandelions blowing in the wind

In this week’s MENU:
*       This week’s Product menu   
*       Our market activities - new Cape Point Vineyards Market
*       Wall to wall activity
*       Luscious Vegetarian cookbook launch
*       The Poolroom on Oak Valley
*       Bartho Eksteen's Savvy Celebration
*       Bos Wines at the Hotel School
*       Good Treatment pays off
*       Wine and Food Events in 2012 & 2013
*       Wine courses & cooking classes
To take a look at our Main Ingredient blogs, follow the link: because to tell our whole story here would take too much space and you can also read earlier blogs. We are constantly surprised at how many of the older blogs are still being read. Google Analytics tells us how many people are reading them and where they are. There is something special about seeing that our ramblings are being read in China or South Korea. Readers in Europe, The UK and North America are a good percentage, but the surprise always comes from the countries outside our normal reach. Click on underlined and Bold words in the text of this edition to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information. Follow us on Twitter: @mainingmenu
This week’s Product menu    At last, we have found a supplier of really good, aromatic Spanish saffron. And the good news is that it is significantly less expensive than the last saffron we had.
Marrons glacé are always popular at this time of the year and we are happy to be able to tell you that we have plenty and that the price is half what w had to charge last year. We have ample new stock of the strong French Fallot mustards.
Fresh truffles are still available to special order. We need to know your requirement as soon as possible after you receive this, so that we can quote you and receive your payment in time to send your order to the supplier. Burgundy is the most affordable and orders must be in multiples of 50 grams. The truffles will be airfreighted. We can source white truffles from Alba and black truffles from Perigord but the price is significantly higher. Send us a message if you wish to order.
Christmas cometh whatever we may do....     Lynne has been baking her individual Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings this week. Send her a message if you’d like to place an order.
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.
Cape Point Vineyards Market in Noordhoek is where we are this evening from 4.30 till 8.30 pm and we'll be there again next Thursday evening. Come and buy some Christmas gifts, enjoy some of their stunning wines and have a picnic while you watch the sun go down.
We will be back at Long Beach Mall tomorrow, Friday 30th 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 December day for Christmas shopping at the Long Beach market if you live in the “deep South”, but you will find us every Thursday at Cape Point Vineyards, with beautiful views over Noordhoek.
Wall to wall week     Sometimes we take on too much. This week and next are perfect examples of huge foolishness, over-estimation of our own abilities and time. But it has been incredibly enjoyable if completely crazy.
Last Thursday, we did the first and very successful night market at Cape Point Vineyards, packed up by 9.30 – it usually takes us about an hour to do that and load the car - drove the 40 km back to Sea Point, finished off last week’s issue of MENU and got to bed at about 1.30 am. We were up at 5.30, loaded the car with all our goodies plus overnight bags and headed off through the morning traffic to Bartho Eksteen’s Savvy Celebration in the Hemel and Aarde Valley, arriving just in time for the first seminar at 9. That went on all day, including dinner, so we managed to get to our borrowed cottage at De Werf by about 11.30 pm, where we collapsed into bed to be up again at 5.30 am. We then drove all the way back to Cape Town, over a fog bound Sir Lowry's Pass, to do a good day's trading at the Biscuit Mill Market. At 2 pm, we packed up and loaded everything again into our Sharan, and (madness) drove all the way back to Elgin for the opening of The Pool Room Deli and restaurant on Oak Valley Estate. Lots of mates shouted : “Where the hell have you been, why are you so late! You missed almost everything!” and it was hard to explain.. It was closer to Hemel and Aarde than to drive back to Cape Town, so when that fantastic event was winding down at 6.30, we crept away back to the Hemel and Aarde. We should point out that Saturday night was absolutely horrendous in that area. High winds, torrential rain and freezing cold. We lit a huge fire, ate some nibbles and then collapsed into bed. Sunday was very quiet and we drove home at about 3.30. So far this week, we have been to two major functions and this afternoon the markets started all over again, with Cape Point Vineyards as we write and a stint on Friday at Long Beach. Sigh.... You can read below about the individual events.
Sonia Cabano and Jade de Waal's Luscious Vegetarian cookbook launch     This lovely relaxed event was held in the early Wednesday evening last week, at a health food restaurant called Spades and Spoons in Constantia Road, Wynberg. We met Jade and chatted to Sonia, who is an old friend, about the book which is full of delicious recipes and great pictures. It is amazing how many of the Masterchef top 20 entrants we have met in the last month, it seems they are getting right into the local food world. Jade is related to Sonia and they say it was a natural progression to get together and do the book, which is published by Struik Lifestyle. Click here to see photos of the launch.
Celebrating The Poolroom on Oak Valley Estate in Elgin     This deli restaurant is an incredibly chic and modern pool pavilion and rather David Hockney, set as it is behind an enormous Mediterranean blue swimming pool. Besides wine and flowers, the Rawbone-Viljoens have been farming Wagyu (aka Kobe) beef for a while. They also have acorn fed “Serrano” pigs and they have now built a lovely place where one can buy and eat these delights, as well as many other things made by the chef, like charcuterie and other things from the Elgin valley plus, of course, taste the very good wines in the tasting room area. Just what Elgin needs, a smart restaurant and deli to serve people staying in or visiting the valley. The beef and ham have been appearing in local top restaurants for a while, now you, the customer, have a chance to buy it yourself.
Nicole Precoudis, a property entrepreneur and restaurateur, has made the Elgin Valley her home, and is a 50% partner in the business. She is a chef by trade and, having run two well-respected restaurants in Johannesburg called Icon and Cilantro as part-owner and head chef, will be at the helm of The Pool Room. At Chef Nicole’s side, one can expect a staff complement of sixteen, including Restaurant Manager, William de Reuck, previously at Grootbos Private Luxury Nature Reserve in Gansbaai, and also at Fancourt golf resort.  
Even though we arrived very late because we had been working, the kitchen rustled up some mini hamburgers and we partook of some of the amazing cheeses and desserts being served. We drank some of our favourite Oak Valley Chardonnay, Sauvignon/Semillon blend and their incredibly delicious Pinot Noir. And they have some new wines just released, a rose and a shiraz, all are available to taste.
We were entertained by an extremely talented band (can you call two people a band?) called The Professors, who played everything from blues, reggae, rock, jazz and modern for hours. The party ended by the pool with everyone dancing and singing along. Anthony’s brother Peter gave us a rocking rendition of an old jazz classic. Definitely the group to hire if you want a good time at a wedding or an event. We will be returning soon . This really was one of the best events we have been to this year. Click here for more information and to see the photos.
Bartho Eksteen's Savvy Celebration     Held once a year by Bartho Eksteen, this is almost the Sauvignon Conference. The day began at 9 with a talk on Californian Sauvignons Blanc by California winemaker Jillian Johnson and we tasted three of them plus a  noble late harvest Sauvignon. We think our styles are very, very different and we probably prefer our South African Sauvignons. However, her talk was very informative and interesting. It is always good to listen to someone who knows the subject so well that they can talk without notes or prompting for a couple of hours and maintain one's interest. After a break for tea, we had a very technical discussion about growing Sauvignon. There were many wine people – growers, viticulturalists, wine makers attending and they discussed growing, fining, additives, pests and allergens in great depth.
We then were served a light salad lunch, after which we had a blind tasting of 20 Sauvignons from all over the world. Wow, if you hadn’t know that some of these were definitely Sauvignons, you might not have identified them as such. We had wines from Australia, Austria, France, Greece, New Zealand, Slovenia, South America, USA, and of course several local ones. It was encouraging to find that one of ours was voted top – the Antonij Rupert and it was also no surprise to find that the second most popular wine was the Henri Bourgeois from Sancerre. We were served a three course dinner matched with Bartho’s Wine Academy wines and carriages were at 11.30. Everyone seemed to be staying over for the night, which meant everyone has someone driving responsibly. See some photographs here
Bos Wines at the Hotel School     Monday was a beautiful hot windless summer’s day and we started this function under an umbrella in front of a flat blue ocean tasting Bosman Family Wines Bos Rosé. It is made from all of the 57 varieties of grapes grown in South Africa, which makes distinguishing any of them a puzzlement. We then moved to the shelter of more umbrellas on the terrace of the Hotel School where they had set up a very long table for the media and we were given a three course lunch devised and cooked by the second year students to match three of the De Bos wines, a brand of Bosman Family Wines.  Click here to see the photographs
Good Treatment pays off     We are hearing some distressing stories from other market vendors working in markets we don’t do. It seems that a very threatening letter was sent to many of them saying they would be thrown out of a market they attend if they dared to appear at the Cape Point Vineyards market. This comes under Restraint of Trade and just will not wash. We do need to point out again, that most market traders are quite independent retailers who work at many different markets throughout the week and that most of us do this, not as a hobby, but for our living.
We do not work for the people running markets, we are not their employees. We hire a table or space from them and sell our goods, we are the ones who attract the customers and who make for a good, well supplied and vibrant market. If you threaten and treat people badly you will have an unhappy market and good vendors will leave.
Another awful story regarding the same market: One of the traders, due to a death in the family could not get a replacement person to trade at the last minute. Things happen, we too have personal lives. We saw messages from a girl in her 20s communicating with this mature woman treating her as if she were a child and worse still, demanding a fine of R500! That one has an obvious conclusion. Hey ho, some people get very far beyond their stations.
Franschhoek’s Magic of Bubbles Champagne and Cap Classique Festival will take place  this weekend! Book now. And yes, we will be there on Sunday. Hope to see lots of you. We'll be there on Sunday.
The Boxed Wine Awards takes place Today! We wanted to be there, but the need to make a living takes precedence and we are at the Cape Point Vineyards market.
Don’t forget to book for the last Expressions of.. tasting at the Taj this year on the 6th December, featuring wines and a chef from Durbanville. The tasting is free, and you can book for the super wine pairing dinner afterwards Click here for the link. Expressions of...Durbanville at the Taj      This excellent tasting of the area will now be held on Thursday the 6th of December at the Taj Hotel. The tasting in the foyer of the hotel starts at 6 pm and is free. The dinner paired with the wines of the area held afterwards can be booked through the hotel.
Jean Retief's Sweetcorn Fritters     This week’s recipe is truly a classic. If you ever visited Van Loveren in the 1980s, you will have had these. When visitors were first welcomed to Van Loveren, Jean Retief, true to her hospitabIe nature, started serving  Sweetcorn Fritters. Today, they still continue this proud tradition and her fritters have become the signature snack at Christina's restaurant on the farm. You can order them in Christina’s restaurant or make them at home. They are very happy to share the recipe:
1 x 500 gm Self-raising Flour - 1 t Baking Powder - 1 t Salt - 2 beaten eggs
2 x 340 gm tins of Sweetcorn - 3 cups Milk
Mix together, fry in deep oil. And, as they say in their literature, enjoy with a glass of Van Loveren wine
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. We have a new calendar for 2013. Check it here.
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.
Sadly, refreshing our restaurant specials list takes more time than we have, especially at this time of the year, so we have set it aside for now. There are numerous special dinners listed in the above-mentioned events calendar.

29th November 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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Main Ingredient's 2012 wine, food and entertainment calendar

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bosman Family's De Bos Wines with lunch at the Hotel School

We were invited to taste the De Bos range of wines from Bosman Family Vineyards at the Hotel School in Granger Bay
The students of the Cape Town Hotel School ready to serve us some rosé on a perfect summer's day. 

The long table, where we ate lunch and tasted the De Bos wines
Although the table was in the shade, it was rather a hot day
Alan Romberg, the Principal of the Hotel School, gives the welcoming speech and tells us about the school
Tony Jackman of The Weekend Argus and other publications taking photos of the food
Jerome Peters, the head chef instructor of the cookery section, joined us for lunch. He has lots of experience of top class restaurants and his teaching is raising the bar at the school

The day's two second year student "head chefs" explaining how they devised and cooked the menu. Apparently, they were responsible for the rather good sauces on both the starter and main course
Our starter of rather chewy seafood tortellini, a vanilla prawn (thank heavens the vanilla was not too noticeable - it is not one of our favourite combinations) anoki mushrooms and a very good seafood bisque. This was accompanied by De Bos Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - a wine we would very much like to buy.
The main course was rather fatty rolled breast of lamb on top of mustard mash, topped with asparagus and broccoli and again a rather good accomplished jus. They said it had mint in it, but we could not taste any, thankfully - we think that mint with lamb has become rather a cliché. This was served with De Bos Handpicked Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, which was a good match for the lamb.
Dessert was a vanilla panna cotta with a poached pear and a tuile biscuit. This was served with De Bos Sur Lie Chenin Blanc 2012 which, sadly, was far too acidic for the dessert, but was enjoyable on its own. It needed a dessert wine.
The very charming and urbane Aubrey Ngcungama, made famous by Come Dine With Me South Africa, sat between Lynne and Graham Howe at lunch. The goodie bags contained a Malay curry sauce, cooked rice, sambal, yogurt, coconut and some vegetables for a “do it yourself” veggie curry for when we got home. These had been prepared by the students. And a bottle of the De Bos Chenin Blanc to go with it. A very clever idea.
Our curry had to go into the freezer for another time - 
we had another appointment that night,
John’s birthday dinner.
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus cc, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bartho Eksteen's 20th Sauvignon Blanc Celebration

The Classroom in the Hemel en Aarde complex, 
the cooking school which was the venue for the event
Bartho and Suné Eksteen discuss their programme, the day ahead 
and the procedures and exciting wines we will taste
Bartho introduces the programme
Jillian Johnson, owner/winemaker of Onesta wines in Napa Valley, California 
gave a very interesting talk on growing and making wine in California
Sauvignon Blanc in particular. 
She has worked in South Africa as well as other areas around the world.
Duckthorn and Honig were two of the California Sauvignons blanc we tasted. 
They are very different indeed from South African sauvignons
Grgich Hills Estate produces Essence which is a dry sauvignon. Honig noble late harvest is a very muscatty dessert wine
The lecture room at the Cooking School in the Hemel and Aarde village
Two of the sponsors of the day, from Laffort Oenologie,who supply wine yeasts, enzymes and other chemicals to the wine industry, discuss a point with Bartho
Tasting glass with Honig NLH

Some canapés served mid morning to sustain us
Anton Smal of Bramon Wines explains what they are doing at the Bramon vineyard, just north of Plettenberg Bay
Jose Condé of Starke Condé explains the techniques he uses
Charles Hopkins, cellarmaster at De Grendel, put forward many interesting topics to be discussed about Sauvignon Blanc
 Master of Wine Richard Kershaw
A smoked salmon salad was one of the dishes served for lunch 
Mini fish cakes and tiny quiches
A very good terrine made, we think, with duck
Slices of cold Kassler smoked pork
A selection of breads
Sushi, which always disappears fast
3 patés
The buffet lunch spread
The afternoon tasting, probably the most popular part of the day, where we tasted 20 sauvignons blanc, local and from around the world, blind and scored them.
The bottles are revealed, some were quite a surprise, some had been recognised
A group of happy wine makers
and Jillian Johnson with the men from Laffort
People congregating for the dinner.
Lots of good conversation. 
We drank the wines Bartho produced with his Wine Academy students
The starter - a prawn on a slice of white fish with a mussel, pea puree and a seafood oil
The main course: a chicken roulade, rabbit paté and venison, 
with potato puree and a selection of mushrooms
Saying thank you to the trainee chefs and staff 
who cooked and looked after us for the day.
Suné closing proceedings and telling us about next year’s event to be held on the 29th November 2013
Dessert in 3 parts A lemon tart, a vanilla ice cream and a compote of Cape gooseberries
Bartho with Jan-Hendrik Joubert of Baleia Bay wines in Riversdale
One of the Australian wines we tasted earlier
Jillian Johnson, Anton Smal and German winemaker Mareike Jensen
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus cc, 2012