Thursday, February 21, 2013

Main Ingredient's MENU - Taste of Cape Town Competition, Franschhoek on a tram, First Harvest in Newlands in 150 years, Enrica Rocca Cooking School, Courgette & blue cheese soup recipe

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
Eat In Guide’s Five time Outstanding Outlet Award Winner
+27 21 439 3169 / +27 83 229 1172
A chase of gulls in the V&A Waterfront
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu
*       Our market activities - Neighbourgoods, Long Beach
*       The Taste of Cape Town Competition
*       The fun of Franschhoek on a tram
*       First Harvest in Newlands in 150 years at the Vineyard Hotel
*       Enrica Rocca Cooking School class with Emma Vigneri
*       Recipe: Courgette and blue cheese soup
*       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. When you make an eft payment, make sure that it says who you are. Use the form on the website to email us your order and we will send you the final invoice once we’ve made sure stock is available. Click here to see the shop.
This week’s Product menu    Supplies of 500ml cans of walnut oil are running low from our supplier, so we may have a shortage soon. We still have a few cans and will try to secure an alternative supply. Argan oil is still freely available and so is hazelnut oil. Good Italian truffle oils are always on our shelf. Exotic spices are regularly asked for and Ottolenghi’s popularity has increased demand for sumac, za’atar, baharat and ras el hanout. We are investigating various new French and Italian products and look forward to giving you details quite 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 Tomorrow, Friday, February 23rd, we will be back at the market in Long Beach Mall, Sun Valley, Fish Hoek. 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.
The Taste of Cape Town Competition     This excellent food show will take place on the 11th to 14th of April at Green Point and we have ten pairs of general entry tickets for the first day to give away. All you have to do is answer this simple question: How many years, including this one, has this show been held in Cape Town? The first 10 correct answers by email get the tickets. Please send us your name and contact details with the answer. If you don’t win tickets, you can take advantage of the Early Bird special by saving R30 on a standard ticket if bought from 19th February to 3rd March. All tickets can be bought online from or by calling ITickets on 0861000291. Children under 12 enter for free. For updates on the festival line-up, news on chefs and their dishes, stay in touch on Facebook or Twitter: @tasteofCT or visit
The fun of Franschhoek on a tram     We were invited by Franschhoek Tourism to come and experience their newest tourist draw, the Franschhoek Wine Tram. Passengers can hop on and off at the 7 stops through the vineyards and centre of Franschhoek on the open-sided tram and tram bus visiting farms and restaurants on the way. We collected our tickets at the Ticket office around the corner from the Tourist office and, as we had just missed a tram bus, headed by car to Haute Cabrière to be in time for their cellar tour. Please note: The cost of this tour is not included in the price of the tram ticket and costs R50 a person - we only found out about this when we arrived. Also their tour is very popular, so you should book them before you come. Click here. After an excellent tour, we left our car there, boarded the tram bus and were off to the next stop at Dieu Donné, a first visit for us. The open sided bus rackets along the roads of Franschhoek at a rapid pace and is quite noisy, so you can’t hear much of what is being said, but is great fun.
Dieu  Donné is quite a way up the hill and has lovely views over the valley. You get a free tasting of four of their wines so you have to choose carefully - they have a long list. If you want to taste more, you have to pay R15 for 4 wines. Their Merlot is excellent and we really liked their Rosé. We had a look at their restaurant ROCA and decided we definitely have to come back and try the food.
Then it was off to Chamonix, where we had booked for lunch. In good weather you are seated outside under umbrellas, on a lovely deck over a stream, and it is cool and leafy. This is not a place for a simple lunch and we were a little surprised at the prices. John had a duck confit on lentils and Lynne calf’s liver on mash. There was nothing else on the plate. We did not realise that vegetables etc., all come as extras, which does make lunch quite expensive, so we did not order them. We had a glass of wine (the Semillon/sauvignon blend) each and a coffee and our bill with service was R440. Chamonix charges for wine tastings.
Then it was back onto the bus and off to the stop where you transfer to the tram. At this stage, you could stop and have lunch in town. The tram is lovely and smooth on the railway tracks and we could see harvesting going on as we travelled through the vineyards to the end stop at Rickety Bridge. We didn’t get off here (many people did) as we had recently been there for lunch and a tasting, but you do get a complimentary wine tasting there and the restaurant is tapas style so we do thoroughly recommend it as a lunch stop.  On the way back you get the option to stop at Grande Provence, where they offer a tasting of their entry level wine Angel’s Tears. Sadly, they do not lay on any transport from the tram to the winery and we were told that we had to walk there and it would take 10 to 15 minutes each way. Not much of an incentive and it sends a very clear message. As the afternoon was very warm (over 30ºC), not one person got off the tram.
So we rode the tram back into the centre of Franschhoek, climbed back on the bus and returned to Cabrière to collect our car. It is a lovely trip with superb helpful and friendly staff, but we do wonder what it will be like in the cooler months of the year with the open windows. The tram runs between 10h00 and 15h20. Click here for details. No map of the route is provided at the tourist office, so be sure to download one from the website so you can see where you are going. Click here to see our photos
First Harvest in Newlands in 150 years at the Vineyard Hotel!     We were delighted and proud when the Vineyard Hotel gave us one of their very special grapevines in their small Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon vineyard on the bank of the Liesbeek River. These grapes were replanted five years ago and, while there were grapes last year, the bad weather and mould meant no harvest then. After the wonderfully wet winter we had and the nice long ripening season, they are celebrating a very good harvest this year of approximately 80 kilos of healthy grapes from the 100 young vines. Click here to see the video on U-tube and click here to see our photographs of the early morning picking
Enrica Rocca Cooking School class with Emma Vigneri     We were invited to take part in a class with Emma this Tuesday at her house in Constantia and had a marvellous time. We helped and watched her cook four classic Italian dishes and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Emma believes, as we do, that you should use nothing but the best ingredients and cook them in the traditional way, although with all the different regions in Italy, there are quite a few variations. We had a very deep group discussion of what people think should go into Minestrone! There were only two other people taking part in the class and it was a very friendly and happy evening, culminating in a wonderful meal of all the food that had been prepared. Click here to see more detail on our blog of what was cooked. If you are interested in these classes, contact Emma on 082 378 8855. Click here for the web page of the cookery school.
Prices on the web page are in Euros, so in Rand they are: 1 month course (every Monday for 4 lessons) R1800 per person. Half day course (Tuesday evening or Friday lunch) R600 per person. Full day (only Sundays) R1850 per person. She does reduce the price if a couple books together.
She is also prepared to use her house and cookery for private evenings or for functions. And she does cater in other people’s houses, but she believes that it is so convenient to have a nice place (that is not a restaurant) were you can relax, enjoy real home cooking and don’t have the stress of washing the dishes afterwards. She says she really loves to entertain and feed people.
This week’s recipe     When we left, Emma insisted we help ourselves to some of the glut of vegetables from her garden, so Lynne took a large oversized courgette marrow that weighed about a kilo. This week’s recipe is the result and we served it last night at a dinner party. It was full of flavour, with a smooth thick consistency, without the addition of any cream or flour. If the outside skin is soft you do not need to peel the courgettes. They will add a lovely green colour to the soup.
Courgette and blue cheese soup    
2 onions, thinly sliced – butter – olive oil – salt – 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped – 1 kg of courgette, cubed - 750ml vegetable or chicken stock - 1t fresh thyme leaves – a handful of basil & 1 T parsley, roughly chopped – a grating of nutmeg – 2 T verjuice – 25g grated parmesan – salt and pepper to taste – 1 packet of blue cheese cut in to tiny cubes
Fry the onions in a little oil and butter in a large soup pot, until they are just beginning to caramelise. In a separate frying pan, fry the courgette cubes till they begin browning on all sides. Add them to the pot with the onions. Pour in the stock and add the herbs, nutmeg, verjuice and parmesan. Cook for about 10 minutes then blend to a thick soup. Adjust the seasoning. Serve with the blue cheese and let everyone add some to their soup. Or you can serve this with some basil pesto and add a dollop to each bowl. We served it with a 2009 Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc, which was an excellent match.
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 see what’s happening in our world of food and wine (and a few other cultural events), visit 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.
Learn about wine and cooking We receive 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 of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses 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. Emma Vigneri teaches Enrica Rocca classes in classic Italian cooking at her home in Constantia. See more here. Brett Nussey has moved his Stir Crazy Cooking School into Dish Food & Social’s premises in Main Road, Observatory. See it here.

21st February 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 and our blogs 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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