Friday, April 19, 2013

18th April 2013 Main Ingredient's MENU - What is in a glass, Langtafel at Mooiplaas, Overture, Taste of Cape Town, Plum crumble 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
Storm clouds gather over Table Bay
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       What is in a glass?
*       Langtafel at Mooiplaas
*       Overture
*       Taste of Cape Town
*       Plum crumble recipe
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu
*       Our market activities - Neighbourgoods, Long Beach
*       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 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  In our Recipe this week, Lynne has used Verjuice. This is the unfermented juice of unripe grapes and it can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, it can be used in salad dressings, gravies, stocks, soups and to deglaze pans and we find that if a dish, like a pot of winter soup, is simply not working, a good glug of Verjuice will bring it all together. We sell it in wine bottle size and we have stocked it for a long time. She has ordinary grape juice as an alternative, but it is much sweeter and does not have the acidity which is ideal in this dish.
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 tomorrow, Friday April 18th.
What is in a glass?     Do you notice that good coffee out of a nice thin cup tastes much better than out of a thick edged mug? Does the glass you drink from have an effect on what you are drinking? Have you noticed that drinking out of something thick and solid like one of those French cheapie tumblers that bounce when you drop them does absolutely nothing for the taste of wine. And do Paris Goblets give you any wine aromas at all? Champagne is now served in tall flutes as they tend to show the bubbly much better than those Marie Antoinette boob-shaped saucers our parents and grandparents loved. Yes, apparently her perfect breasts were the inspiration for these glasses..
We think that drinking out of delicate and generous glasses with ground edges helps enormously and the tasting with Riedel’s specially crafted wine glasses at Creation wines in Hemel and Aarde valley really confirmed to us that the correct glass makes wine taste superb. Organised by the Platter Wine Guide, who hold these interesting tastings once a year (last year it was a lunar cycle tasting), Philip van Zyl, the Platter Editor, told us what we would be doing. Michael Crossley of Reciprocal Trading took us through the tasting and told us the history of Riedel glasses. Caroline Martin of Creation took us through the wines and her husband JC took us through the cellar.
OK, these glasses are expensive and so they should be. Years of scientific investigation have gone into designing the shape of a glass to direct the wine to the right areas of the mouth to bring out the best flavour and to concentrate the aroma in a wine. Riedel is an Austrian company, established 260 years ago and still owned and run by the family. Not many of us may be able to afford the full range of these glasses but they do recommend that if your favourite drink is a good Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir and you drink these regularly that you might like to buy one of these special glasses for your own delight and pleasure. We hear that in certain restaurants in Johannesburg, they carry a set of 24 of each glass and if a customer purchases an expensive bottle of wine (over R1000) they automatically serve this wine in the appropriate Riedel glass. We do hope to see this replicated in Cape Town’s finest soon.  
At Creation, they only serve their wines for tasting in Riedel glasses and, after our long trip out there last Thursday, we were rewarded with a tasting of Creation’s wines in these specifically designed glasses. We tasted four wines in the appropriate glasses and a standard Bohemia tasting glass (also in a polystyrene cup!) and, when they were tasted in the correct glass, they shone, but lost flavour and aroma in the wrong glasses. The polystyrene cup showed no aroma and very little of the flavour. The standard glass was not bad, but the wines lacked the vivacity they showed in the Riedel glasses. We also had a food pairing and then charcuterie boards. Creation have a really good range of wines. We particularly liked the 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, which fills the nose with roses and violets and the mouth with liquorice, toffee, cinnamon, forest floor and sweet berries. The easy to drink Syrah Grenache has Rhubarb and umami aromas on top of beautiful sweet fruit with a long warm juicy end. Click here to see the photographs. Creation hold tailored tastings regularly using these glasses; contact them on
Langtafel at Mooiplaas     This was an event organised by Lynne for our Wine Club, the Oenophiles. We have attended a Langtafel lunch previously and we knew how superb they were. Mooiplaas means Beautiful farm and is in Bottelary, near Stellenbosch, on the highest hill in the Peninsula. It has magnificent views of almost the whole peninsula from the top of their hill, with views to False Bay and Table Bay. It was established in 1700 as part of Hazendal estate, subdivided as a separate property in 1806 and the current farm house was built in 1832. It is owned by the Roos family. Louis Roos is the winemaker, his brother Tielman Roos is the Viticulturalist. Dirk Roos, their cousin, does the marketing and the Langtafel lunches, which are held approximately every six to eight weeks through the year.  Dirk is a keen cook and the food was absolutely delicious. Mooiplaas is a conservation area; they have a mountain bike trail and lovely flower walks in the Spring.
We met in the historic tasting room. It was built as a  kraal early in the farm’s history. Some time later, probably about 1806, the walls were built higher and given a roof, which turned it into a stable for the farm’s draught horses. It was attached to the first small, humble house. We were given a taste of their current Sauvignon Blanc and small canapés of smoked snoek. When all our members had arrived, we moved to the lawn in front of the Mooiplaas farm house, now a national monument, where we tasted their MCC Mooiplaas Duel NV, which Louis opened by sabrage. This is one of the best Cape Classique bubblies we have tasted in a long time; a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is very French in style with brioche on the nose and crisp clean and long flavours and a bargain at R127 on the farm.
We then proceeded into the farmhouse, where the long table seating 27 stretches through the voorkamer (parlour) into the lounge beyond. This farmhouse is still occupied by the Roos elders, who generously give up their main rooms for the lunch. Click here to see the photos. We had a marvellous time and many of us went home with some wine. If you want to take part in one of these lunches you need to contact Dirk Roos at The tasting room is a good place to start and is open from 9 to 4 Mondays to Fridays and 9 to 2 on Saturdays.
Overture     John was hired to take a Belgian couple on a wine tour last Saturday. After a brief history lesson at Groot Constantia (it was too early for them to taste wine, they said, we visited Jeremy Walker at Grangehurst for a taste of his great wines. They were very pleased to hear about his upcoming trip to the Netherlands and are looking forward to meeting him there. Then a taste of Hempies du Toit’s rare and delicious reds in his historic cellar at Annandale. This brought us to lunch time, so we drove up the road to Overture at Hidden Valley. The first thing that impressed our guests was the near perfect silence. Hidden Valley is up the hill from most other farms on the Annandale Road near Stellenbosch. It has panoramic views over the valley and the Cape Flats to Table Bay.
We were greeted with a complimentary glass of Hidden Valley MCC to enjoy while we perused the short but well designed menu, which changes daily. All the dishes are matched to wines by the chef, Bertus Basson. Our starters were a parcel of braised buffalo and pig’s trotter (rich and full of flavour. The menu suggested Hidden Valley pinotage, but Walter wanted a white wine, and the sommelier recommended Bouchard Finlayson sans barrique chardonnay, which was a delicious match) and thin slices of raw trout served with angelfish croquettes and accompaniments. This was well-matched by the fresh, lively Kanu chardonnay pinot noir. You can see the menu and photographs here. We all chose the springbok rump as a main course. It was served thickly sliced, just medium rare and was tender, juicy and a delicious match for the Hidden Valley Secret blend of shiraz and tannat. Desserts followed: chocolate fondant (rich, dark with a properly runny centre, made with Callebaut 70%) with fennel ice cream, and a platter of local cheeses. Our service was efficient, friendly and attentive without being intrusive and the bill for three with wine came to R1280 plus a tip. Overture has an excellent reputation; it is richly deserved.
Taste of Cape Town     This annual event was held last weekend at the best venue it has had, the Cricket Club on the Green Point Common. There were fewer top chefs exhibiting this year, sadly, but there did seem to be many more stalls than before. There were certainly lots of booze stands with free tastings and some interesting stands with smaller producers showing and selling their wares. We did a fun tasting at the Jack Daniels stand which set us up for the evening. However, it is a concern that, with so many different sorts of alcohol to taste, that people would watch their consumption and not drive afterwards. It was good to see the chauffeur companies well represented.
We were given media passes with some pre-selected free tastings, so we did not buy any crowns. This was a mistake; the restaurant dishes we tasted on a media pass appeared to be less sensational than others tasted by our friends and customers at some of the other stands. We had been to an event lunch that day, so were not very hungry and, sadly, we had no other opportunity to revisit later in the weekend.  We thoroughly enjoyed the two dishes that we were treated to by the staff at the Twelve Apostles Azure stand and the salmon with lemon verbena foam on Thursday’s Pop-up restaurant La Colombe’s stand was terrific, if a bit small to share.
We did find it rather strange that most of the dishes we tasted had polenta as their starch. We suppose that it is because it is something that can be made in bulk and served throughout the day, without it going off and needing a great deal of attention. However we find it intensely boring.
Long may this festival continue to captivate the foodies of Cape Town. We have had several really enthusiastic reports from customers and winners of free tickets in our three competitions. Click here to see our photographs.
This week’s recipe came as an idea from one of the Masterchef programmes, where the contestant was criticised for making a plum crumble because plums were tasteless. Huh!? Use sour plums, not prune plums. Local plums are certainly not tasteless and we have had a couple of plum tarts recently which have been delightfully sour, with good flavour. We had some plums in the fridge the other night, meant for a dinner that didn’t happen, so Lynne decided to use them to make a crumble, as she was using our oven to roast a chicken and this is an economical way to make a pudding. You can apply this recipe to any autumn fruit, just taste and add flavour to your own satisfaction.
Plum crumble
500g blue plums, cut in half, stones discarded – 4 T of verjuice or grape juice – 250g white sugar – 1 t almond or vanilla extract – ½ ground allspice
½ cup plain flour – 30 g of butter – half a cup of dark brown sugar – ½ t ground allspice - a good grating of nutmeg - a pinch of salt
Put the plums in an oven-proof bowl and stir in the verjuice, sugar, spice and extract. Cover with cling film, punch four holes in the cling film and microwave for 2 minutes at full power. Stir and cook another 2 minutes until they are soft and falling apart. Discard the cling film. You may have to remove some of the juice to serve with the crumble later. The plums should not be swimming in juice. You can do this in a pan on top of the stove, but it will take longer.
To make the crumble: With your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until you have large crumbs. Stir in the sugar, salt and spice and put on the top of the warm fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crumble is crisp. Serve with the extra juice and some cream or thick yoghurt.
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 Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca 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).

18th April 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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