Friday, March 22, 2013

130313 Main Ingredient's MENU - Blaauwklippen Zinfandel tasting,Soirée at Haute Cabrière, Celebration at Savoy Cabbage, Two Oceans, Idiotic liquor law, Cooking this week, Celeriac & Potato puree with truffle sa

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
Evening on the Sea Point beachfront
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu
*       Our market activities - Neighbourgoods, Long Beach
*       Blaauwklippen Zinfandel tasting
*       Summer Soirée at Haute Cabrière
*       Wedding anniversary celebration at Savoy Cabbage
*       Two Oceans cycle race
*       Idiotic liquor law
*       Cooking this week
*       Recipe: Celeriac and Potato puree with truffle salt
*       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  This week’s product is Truffles. We sell whole black truffles preserved in truffle jus; real truffle oils in two sizes, both black and white, and each bottle has slivers of  truffle; luxurious truffle butter;  black tartufata: a mixture of mushrooms, black truffles and olives and white tartufata which contains champignons, white truffle, parmesan cheese, cream and herbs (this is also known as truffle cream), and truffle salt. We have access to imported fresh truffles from Italy and France when in season later in the year. Frozen truffles are available on order only. We do not currently have a supplier of Namibian truffles. See our on-line shop for prices, etc.
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 the market in Long Beach Mall, Sun Valley, Fish Hoek on Friday March 22nd. Our April dates will be Fridays 12th and 19th.
Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Tasting     Zinfandel is not a well-known wine variety in South Africa, there were 32.4 hectares in 2011 (only 28.4 10 years ago, so slowly increasing) However it is only .03% of SA’s annual crop and has only 4 producers currently, but we think it has great potential and can show very, very well if ably handled. Blaauwklippen, one of the major producers, holds an annual tasting of their Zinfandels and some from other countries. We were invited to sample some Australian Zinfandels together with some really good Blaauwklippens last Thursday at the Radisson Blu hotel.
Zinfandel is full of bramble, rhubarb and cherry cola flavours, with relatively high alcohols. With careful wooding, it can age very well and show a great full fruit mouthful with elegant chalky tannins. The red wines we tasted varied in alcohol from 14.5% right up to 17.5% while the white was low at 12.5% and the well-balanced Noble Late Harvest only 7.79%. While the Australian wines were very good indeed, our favourite wine of the tasting was the Blaauwklippen Reserve/Single Vineyard, although the Smallwater from Western Australia came very close. 
Later we had the Reserve and three other Blaauwklippen zinfandels paired with a lovely lunch served to us outside on the deck overlooking the boat harbour and the Waterfront. We have known executive chef Grant Kennedy since his days teaching at The Culinary Academy and he has since done stints at Sun City and Fancourt. He produced a very interesting amuse of beef carpaccio stuffed with dried peach. The starter of Pink tuna pavé was lovely and fresh. Then came a rather bland sorbet of prickly pear, full of hard pips, but Rolf enlivened this by another dash of the excellent Grappa.
The main course of a Journey of Duck was really perfect with the Blaauwklippen Reserve 2011. If you are serving duck soon, seriously consider serving this wine. Grant gave us a confit leg with gooseberry jelly, a samoosa stuffed with thigh and goats curd accompanied by duck liver parfait and a perfectly cooked piece of sliced duck breast with Naartjie orange jus. Heaven on one plate.
Dessert was not shabby either and has inspired Lynne into planning another dinner party just to make one of the components: a crisp tart base filled with melted bitter chocolate (75%) mixed with ripe avocado. Who would have thought of this? It is a glossy and rich beauty. And it SO works. Yes, it is rich and you are free to add as much or as little sugar as you like. Because the tart was served with a beautifully intense coconut and blackberry semi-freddo ice cream and a light-as-air raisin tea and rooibos bread pudding, it was almost unsweetened. And the match with the Noble Late Harvest Zinfandel was very good. Click here to see the photos
Summer Soirée at Haute Cabrière     Following this long lunch and tasting we only had time to go to one of our suppliers to collect stock and then it was off to Franschhoek for this event they hold every Thursday evening from 5 to 7.30. How lovely to sit outside the restaurant on a summer evening drinking a glass or two of their Pierre Jordan MCC bubbly listening to good jazz and looking out over the beautiful valley. You can order cheese platters and we should inform you that the one we had was enormous. We were joined by owner Hildegard von Arnim and their tasting room manager Ingrid Petersen. We had a very gemütlich evening.  Click here to see the pictures. Do go to their website for details of who will be playing.
Wedding anniversary celebration at Savoy Cabbage     Saturday was our 10th wedding anniversary and John decided to take Lynne out for dinner somewhere special. Because he left it a little too late, he was unable to get a booking at the new Pot Luck Club, so he booked instead at another of our favourite restaurants, Savoy Cabbage, where we have spent several anniversaries and birthdays in the past. At the suggestion of Frank, the genial and very professional restaurant manager, we delightedly agreed to let them give us a tasting menu, matched with some of their very good wines. They don’t normally do this but, if you talk to Frank, he might be persuaded for a very special occasion.
We managed four half portions of starters each and then two rich main courses, after which we begged them to stop as we could not manage another mouthful and certainly not dessert. Click here to see the pictures of the delicious food. Savoy Cabbage is not on the top 20 restaurant list and we think this is a serious omission as the level of culinary excellence produced by Chef Peter Pankhurst in this kitchen is legendary. It certainly is on our top 20 list. They were incredibly generous to us and made our anniversary a very special evening. We are very grateful indeed.
Two Oceans cycle race     Congratulations to all you brave and foolish people who cycled in this epic 105 kilometre race around the Cape Peninsula. We watched first on TV and saw the finish and then went down the hill to watch the rest of the race from  friends’ balcony overlooking Beach Road at Sunset Beach, Bantry Bay, where we cheered a few thousand of you on, nibbled good brunch food, drank some bubbly, got surprisingly sunburnt, even though we were in the shade and then went off to do our weeks shopping. Our young neighbours Rob and Alex came home exhausted but enervated later in the day and obviously had a marvellous ride for a worthy charity. This race raises millions for good causes. And no, we will not be entering anytime soon. Age and a lack of serious will prevent us.
Idiotic liquor law  We wrote about this for some time ago, when the proposed Liquor Act first made the news. Now we are about to experience it. It will become law on April 1st, a very appropriate date. There are three times as many unlicensed, i.e. illegal, liquor outlets in the Western Cape as legal outlets and our authorities are quite unable to do anything about them. Now they have reduced the liquor trading hours for the legally licensed businesses like Caroline’s and Vaughan Johnson in the V&A Waterfront, Wine Concepts and numerous other responsible businesses elsewhere in the Western Cape, who sell quality wine and whose market is not the typical abuser of the product. Their closing time has been moved back from 8pm to 6pm and there will be no Sunday trading allowed. A result of this is that Caroline will be closing her Waterfront shop because most of her sales happen between 6 and 8pm or on Sunday. Other retailers are sure to be similarly impacted.
Of more immediate concern to us and to many of you is the clause which restricts private individuals’ ownership of wine to 200 bottles. Many of us have built up collections of wine over a long time, so that we can enjoy our wine when it has reached optimum maturity. This does not necessarily mean that we sit on hoards of expensive labels. There are many inexpensive wines which are much more enjoyable when they have had a few years of rest in a quiet place.
We believe that we can apply for a permit to hold more than 200 bottles, so we encourage all of you who have larger cellars to apply to the Western Cape liquor board, so that we can all remain within the law. It would, of course, be interesting to see how they would cope with a large number of applications, when they find it difficult to handle applications for trading licences. We have also not heard what they recommend owners of large collections should do to bring their stock level down to the legal 200 bottles if we don’t get permits. We are not allowed to sell it, don’t like binge drinking and would hate to pour it all down the drain.
The intention might be good, but the lesson of Prohibition in 1920s USA has obviously not been learned. Liquor trading is already mostly underground; this just buries it deeper. The new law will do nothing to stop inappropriate use of alcoholic beverages; it will just hurt or inconvenience the people who do not drink to excess or who sell good products responsibly.
Cooking this week     Lynne has already tried to recreate the Savoy Cabbage tomato tart, but using commercial flaky pastry is never the same and this wasn’t.  She didn’t have gruyère cheese but did have some French herb and garlic Boursin (on special last week at Woolworths) and this tastes very good indeed under good tomatoes. 
Then we were given some rather undrinkable new wine – lots of fruit but far too much acidity and youth. So that went into an Ostrich Bourguignon.  A tip – if you get bored trying to peel the baby onions for this dish, put them into a small pot and cook for about ten minutes. The skins will peel off easily and you can add them into the bourguignon. Lynne added lots of brandy with the wine and on the first night the taste was lovely, but on the second serving the wine had turned the stew a bit sour. The French are right, use the best wine you can afford in a Bourguignon.
This week’s recipe     Celeriac (celery root) is in season at the moment, it makes a very interesting vegetable puree and, when mixed with potato, makes a thick mash which is an alternative to starches to serve with a rich meat dishes. It may be an unusual vegetable to you, but it is not an alien one. It does have a slight celery taste but is more like parsnip or turnip in texture than potato. It comes as a large fairly unsightly round root which needs peeling well to take out all the imperfections.
In France, they make a wonderful salad with grated (râpé) raw celeriac root in a remoulade sauce, a mild thick mayonnaise seasoned with Dijon mustard. If you are working with celeriac, you need to put it into acidulated water or it will turn brown.
Celeriac and Potato puree with truffle salt
1 large celeriac root, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes – 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes - ground white pepper – butter – truffle salt
Boil the cubes of celeriac and potato in water until they are soft. Put through potato ricer or mash well. Add butter, white pepper to taste then add enough truffle salt to your own taste and serve.
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 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 Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca Italian cooking courses at her home in Constantia. Brett Nussey’s Stir Crazy courses are now being run from Dish Food and Social’s premises in Main Road Observatory (opposite Groote Schuur hospital).

13th March 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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