Thursday, January 10, 2013

10th January 2013 Main Ingredient's MENU - Challenging Christmas menus, Restaurant reviews of Jardine & Paulina’s, Tarragon mustard chicken, French Toast adieu

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
+27 21 439 3169 / +27 83 229 1172
A pair of black oystercatchers, Pringle Bay
In this week’s MENU:
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu
*       Our market activities
*       Challenging Christmas menus
*       Restaurant reviews: Jardine, Paulina’s
*       Tarragon mustard chicken
*       French Toast adieu
*       Wine and Food Events
*       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. 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. Please 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 We have a wonderful, wide range of vinegars; not only good Italian red and white vinegars, but Spanish sherry vinegars and French truffle, tarragon, champagne, shallot and Provence herb vinegars, Italian balsamics and Protea Hill farm’s superb raspberry balsamics. Go to our shop to see them.
The Burgundian Edmond Fallot mustards from Beaune sold extremely well through the holiday season and continue to do so.
We sold out of prego sauce although we ordered a large quantity and will have more soon after our supplier returns from holiday. Send us a message if you wish to 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, January 17th. Come and buy some treats, enjoy some of their stunning wines and have a picnic while you watch the sun go down. Tomorrow, Friday 11th, you will at last find us at Long Beach Mall once again
Challenging Christmas recipes    We hope you all had a super Christmas and New Year with lots and lots of great food to eat, whatever your choice.
Lynne decided to make two recipes from the Christmas Specials on TV by Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater. The Jamie Oliver recipe was his Pork and Chestnut stuffing which we took to friends, who bravely did a Christmas Eve dinner for 48 people, with turkey, gammon and lots and lots of other delicious food. Sadly this recipe did not work as expected and Lynne had to perform quick surgery on it before it could go to the party. It became a solid lump of minced pork with not much flavour and the chestnuts on the top had gone a most unattractive colour so given that we were off in half an hour, she broke it up, mixed up a box of Paxo sage and onion stuffing mix, added that and stirred in some moist dried apricot pieces, slivers of almonds and a great deal more seasoning and fresh sage. This changed the texture to traditional stuffing and added lots more flavour. Sometimes you just have to use commercial products and if they are good ones, they can save the day.
Then on Christmas day she cooked Nigel Slater’s recipe for a whole duck roasted on top of sliced onions and potatoes in duck fat. It was delicious, BUT the potatoes do not go crisp, they go rather soggy and break up a lot with all the juices from the duck so we had duck on a sort of smashed Boulanger potato, which did taste very good. Next time she might cook them separately. Sadly, our 2 kilo duck had seen better days..... probably months, or even years. It was still tough and unyielding after an hour and a half in the oven and needed a lot more cooking. Even after another hour in the oven, then resting it for a good long time, the meat was fairly tough if still, thankfully, juicy. It tasted good but was very chewy and full of long sinews. It fed three of us for lunch and we did have enough for Chinese duck and pancakes a couple of days later, but it was still tough. Why can we not have good duck in the Cape? We will have to go back to confiting or casseroling it as we used to.
Writing reviews of restaurants is one of our favourite things to do, but we do find it very amusing when we go to two restaurants in a week and both have also been covered by journalists in the newspapers. Here are our versions.
To Stellenbosch for Sunday lunch     It is a great experience to take overseas visitors to the winelands to show off the beauty of the Cape and then go to one of our favourite restaurants. So a visit to Jordan and George Jardine’s restaurant on a perfect summer day was a given for our expats from Australia. It is always an absolute treat to sit on that terrace, look out over the fantastic valley view, drink amazing Jordan wines and eat George Jardine’s superb food. The menu is short with choices that will suit most tastes, some adventurous like the Blesbok liver starter Lynne and one of our guests had, and others are fairly traditional like the tender, medium rare Chalmar sirloin that John ordered. It was served on a bed of Risotto with a jus. Lynne tasted that Jus and it was life changing. Her beautifully moist and well cooked Gurnard in a smoked tomato sauce with linguine was excellent, but she did wish she had ordered John’s dish. It tasted like a master stock reduction that had taken the kitchen hours and hours to make. We could only manage two courses each – age and a warm day does limit one’s intake. However, we did discover that Jordan has the very best Espresso in the Cape at the moment.  Two courses cost R275 and three R350, which for this standard of food and service is good value. Wine is extra, but reasonably priced, and we drank the Outlier Sauvignon Blanc and The Prospector Shiraz. The wine list has a very good selection and Jordan wines are available by the glass. It was good to see our top chef of 2012 also having lunch there.
Afterwards we made a quick trip next door to Wendy and Hilton Applebaum’s farm de Morgenzon and tasted some of their wines. They have very beautiful garden, which we could see from the tasting room veranda and they play baroque music to the vines in one of the special vineyards and in the tasting room and the cellar. And, of course, we all bought some wine at both farms to add to our collections. Click here to see the pictures of the perfect day and the glorious food.
Paulina’s on Rickety Bridge   We needed to deliver an order of exotic spices to Margot Janse, chef at Le Quartier Français and decided to take up the invitation we had from Jan van Huyssteen of Rickety Bridge to try their restaurant, Paulina’s, which has a new chef and a new concept. It is named after the first owner of the property in 1797, Paulina de Villiers.
Executive chef Melissa Bruyns (previously at Haute Cabrière and Westin Grand) has ensured that each dish on the menu is available as a half or full portion. This enabled us to share several dishes ‘tapas ‘ style. The half portions are generous and the price is very reasonable. The food has both a local slant and an exotic one, and you will find it can cater for conservative tastes as well as offering good vegetarian options.
We drank a bottle of their excellent Paulina’s Reserve Chenin Blanc and it was a very good match for the food. We had great service too from our waiter, Jeremiah. Joanna Hurleston, the manager of the restaurant, and her assistant Garth Ferndale made sure our every need was taken care of. We sat outside on the terrace as the view is too hard to resist, but were nicely sheltered under a large umbrella, watching preparations for a very large wedding taking place the following day. This is a very popular wedding and function venue as they also have accommodation in the Cape Dutch Rickety Bridge manor house and the neighbouring Basse Provence, which is owned by Rickety Bridge. Click here to see what we ate.
Checkers – checking out?   The building which houses our favourite supermarket in Sea Point is going through a yearlong major re-build and revamp and we are so longing for it all to be over because over Christmas, quite frankly, Checkers lost the plot. We have tried to stay loyal and not shop elsewhere, but frightening sounds of walls crashing above your head had Lynne running for the exit on more than one occasion. We dashed in on the 26th to restock on basics like bread and eggs and they hadn’t baked anything. The rolls were about three days old and the fresh fruit and veg was sadly depleted and showing their age. All our favourite staff seemed to be off on holiday or gone elsewhere. Since then, they appear to be catering just for the holiday crowd, not the locals who are still here and working so, when we go in, there is still no bread and other necessities and only very disinterested staff who tell us come tomorrow morning – but we can’t; we and many of their other loyal customers are working.
The extreme building works are badly affecting La Mouette restaurant next door, so please do go and support them. They are so good and we would hate it if we lost them from Sea Point. We were invited to one function there which had to be cancelled and moved elsewhere. We hope the building developers are paying them huge compensation for all the noise, dirt and lack of parking while this goes on. And we hope they are claiming a reduction in their rates from the council because of the inconvenience and loss of business.
Tarragon Mustard Chicken   Some of our most popular products at the moment are the Fallot range of mustards from Beaune in Burgundy. Because the mustard is still ground between stones these have a lot of attitude, but also loads and loads of flavour and creaminess. Lynne has been experimenting with them and wanted to try the very pungent tarragon mustard in a recipe, as it is so hard to find the fresh herb here for most of the year and it is difficult to keep alive in the winter. Using the old French technique of putting butter under the skin before roasting, she combined the mustard with soft butter and, hey presto, we had a magnificently moist chicken. Here is the recipe for you to try. You can, of course, substitute any of the other mustard flavours to get a different effect and glorious creamy gravy, like the green peppercorn, basil, or cassis. The chicken was not at all hot and spicy. Just full of flavour.
1 Elgin Free range chicken – 1 heaped tablespoon of Fallot tarragon mustard – 2 tablespoons of soft butter – ½ teaspoon each of white pepper and flaked salt
Using a dessert spoon with the bowl turned upward, push it under the skin from the end of the chicken and carefully open up pockets above the breast and leg meat, trying not to break the skin anywhere. Then fill these spaces with the butter and mustard mixture. Use the remains of the butter to coat the inside and outside of the chicken and put into a hot 180°C oven and roast for one hour, or until just cooked and the skin is crisping. Rest the chicken covered in foil, for at least half an hour then serve with your favourite potatoes and vegetables. We had crisp duck fat potatoes, sprouting broccoli spears and al dente thin green beans. You can use the chicken juices to make a good gravy – however, you will find that the chicken is very moist and it gives off a very creamy mustard sauce when you carve it, so you may not need gravy.
French Toast RIP   We are sad at having received news of the closure of French Toast, the wine bar in Bree St opened by John Harrison and Karin Visser a little over two years ago. They provided a great venue for enjoying excellent tapas and well-chosen wines and it was also the venue for some very special wine tastings. Sadly, John lost his fight with cancer late last year and Karin is unable to continue without him. We thank her and her team for all the enjoyment they have given us and the other people who have enjoyed our visits to French Toast and we wish her great good fortune in her future.
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, look at 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. 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.

10th January 2013

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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