Friday, December 14, 2012

12th December 2012 Main Ingredient's MENU - Dinner at Leinster Hall, Tasting wines at Thelema, Angel fish

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
One of the joys of summer: an early morning walk on the beach
In this week’s MENU:
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu   
*       Our market activities - new Cape Point Vineyards Market
*       Dinner at Leinster Hall
*       Tasting wines at Thelema
*       Christmas mince pies
*       Angelfish Veronique
*       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
Main Ingredient's On Line Shop is performing very well. We are continuing to update it with new products and with photographs of products. E had a small glitch when we removed our bank details and this prevented a few of you from placing an order. We have corrected this, but - Do not pay until we have confirmed availability and invoiced you. Use the form on the website to email us your order and we will send you the final invoice.   Click here to see the shop.
This week’s Product menu    Marrons glacé are selling well and we have boosted our stock of the strong French Fallot mustards. The 4 year old solera sherry vinegar is now in a 750ml bottle and the price has hardly changed from the previous 375ml. We have a range of wicked French patés, especially for our French customers who must have them for their Christmas celebrations.
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 mini Christmas cakes and full size 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 'll be 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 apologise to any of you who were inconvenienced by our absence on Wednesday. John was being filmed in a German TV commercial for a patent medicine. The temperature was 37°C and he had to dress for winter, in a suit with a heavy overcoat, a woollen scarf and a cap! Shorts and a T shirt would have been much more comfortable.
Cape Town Club at Leinster Hall in the Gardens     We were delighted to be asked to our first Christmas dinner of the year at the Cape Town Club on Friday by the new Chairman, Philip Engelen, and his wife, Sandra. They owned and ran the Greyton Lodge for many years and now have Brooklands House in Rondebosch. The Club’s beautiful Georgian building, Leinster Hall in Weltevrede Street, is an historic and graceful house, just behind the Mount Nelson. It has an elegant garden and verandas, top and bottom, where one can enjoy tea or a drink. The Cape Town Club formed as a result of a merger in 1976 of Cape Town's two oldest clubs, the City Club (founded 1878) and the Civil Service Club (founded 1858). If you live overseas, we see that the club does have reciprocal membership with many distinguished overseas clubs.
Members of the Cape Town Club have the run of the very traditional upstairs rooms, while the public is welcome to visit the downstairs restaurant, called Leinster Hall The upstairs rooms contain the Great Room, which incorporates the Rhodes bar, lounge and library. These rooms have been magnificently restored and appointed in keeping with the traditions and history of a respected Cape Town institution. Click here to see the Leinster Hall menu
The young and very talented chef is Albert Venter and he cooked us an amazing six course meal, seven if you count the canapés beforehand. This was served with a selection of La Vierge wines from the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Click here to see photographs of the evening and the food.
Thelema and Sutherland Wines      On Monday afternoon, we ventured out to Stellenbosch, through the city afternoon traffic, along the N2 and then, after making a quick delivery in Stellenbosch, we suffered their early evening traffic before we climbed up the Helshoogte Pass to Thelema for the trade tasting of these two super ranges of wines produced by Gyles Webb and his son Thomas.  Going up that pass on a good modern road makes one appreciate the courage it must have taken for the early settlers to travel up the “Hells Heights” in an ox wagon, when there was no road. John has early memories of his parents’ 1941 Chevrolet boiling its way up the steep, winding gravel road when he was a small child.
However, sometimes, you really envy people who seem to have picked one of the best spots to live in the world. Thelema stands right on top of the pass with magnificent views back to Cape Town on one side, the beautiful mountain pass and the Banhoek valley that opens up on the other, the way to Franschhoek. When you stand on their front porch at sunset, listening to the peacocks cry and see the flowering jacaranda tree with the soaring purple mountains beyond, you know they have found a small piece of paradise.  
Then it was time to taste through their two ranges of wines. Rudi Schultz has been making the wines since 2000, Gyles offering an experienced and steady hand behind him as the cellar master. Thomas is the manager and handles the marketing. Thelema wines come from Stellenbosch, while Sutherland wines are all grown in Elgin. The two different terroirs do show completely different characteristics in the wines. Lynne loved the crisp Thelema Sauvignon Blanc, John preferred the Elgin one. We both loved the exciting Sutherland 2010 Viognier Roussanne blend, an unusual mix of grapes which works. The light and flowery Muscat de Frontignan is full of rose petals and Turkish delight, while Ed’s Reserve 2010 Chardonnay is very easy to drink indeed. It is named for Gyles’ late mother-in-law Edna MacLean, whom many of us remember fondly as the friendly face in the tasting room some years back. Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon has always had a minty taste, thought to come from the blue gums on the farm, and the 2011 is called “The Mint”. Our red wine of the evening was the lovely soft Sutherland 2011 Pinot Noir and it was hard to leave that to taste some of the other good reds.
Gyles did us proud by cooking, on the braai, mounds of boerewors - made by a  friendly butcher in Ceres - for the rolls and salads we ate. This was followed by some very good ice cream, made in Franschhoek, to finish off the evening - rather messily for us as it was in cones and the evening was warm. Click here to see the photos and the wines.
Top Mince Pies of the year     At HUGE personal expense and at least another inch around our middles we have carefully and dutifully tested for you: 3 sorts from Checkers, 2 from Pick n Pay, 1 from Shoprite and 1 from Woolworths. All except one pack of 6 were dull, dull, dull and too heavy on the bad thick pastry. And many of them tasted similar, so we conclude there is one factory making many for all. The Sea Point Pick ‘n Pay pies, marked “Milchik”, which we had tonight were probably the worst. The mince tastes like raisins soaked in sugar water and the raisins still have pips in them, a shocking crime.
The winner this year is: TA DA! Mr Kipling, available from Checkers at R24.95 for six (no more expensive than others), very Christmassy looking, and yes, imported from the United Kingdom, where they obviously know something about making mince pies. Other stores, please go and buy some and try to replicate next year. Sorry Spar, we didn’t get to you this year so yours are not on the list.

This week’s recipe     Sometimes we ignore the classic dishes at our peril. Sole Veronique is one such classic and it is a very simple dish to produce.  You do need fresh seedless white grapes and they are in season right now. If you don’t like sole, how about using one of our local fish, like angelfish or yellowtail, both green on the SASSI list. Sole is now on the Orange list and we are buying them much too small.
Lynne made this with angel fish this week and it was delicious. It would make a very good dish for Christmas Eve, as it is not very heavy.
Angelfish Veronique
10g butter, plus extra for greasing - 4 x 200g skinless angel fish fillets - 200ml good quality fish stock -
100ml dry vermouth or martini - 1 fresh bay leaf – squeeze of lemon juice - 150ml double cream - 200g green seedless grapes, cut in half - salt and pepper (white is best)
Preheat your oven to 180°C, then lightly butter a shallow ovenproof dish. Put in the fish fillets and dot with pieces of butter. Add the bay leaf. Pour the fish stock and vermouth around the fish, and then cover it with a piece sheet of buttered aluminium foil or baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked.
Remove the fish from the oven and carefully pour the cooking liquid into a large frying pan. Re-cover the fish with the foil and rest in the cooling oven.  Bring the liquid to the boil over a high heat and cook until it reduces to about 100ml liquid. Stir in the cream and return to a simmer. Stir in the grapes and add a good squeeze of lemon. Cook for a further minute, or until the grapes are hot. Taste the sauce and then season with salt and pepper. Remove the fish from the oven, remove the covering and gently pour over the sauce. Serve immediately. Great with small new potatoes or with a creamy mash and some fresh asparagus or peas.
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.

13th December 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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