Thursday, May 02, 2013

1st May 2013 Main Ingredient's MENU - Muratie vertical tasting, A Day’s Jaunt to Wellington: Ridgeback, Twist, Klein Optenhorst, Recipe - Puy Lentil,cherry tomato & Haloumi salad

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 Cape Town evening: The 92 year old Russian four master Sedov leaves Table Bay, while a gentleman paddles his surf ski
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       Muratie vertical tasting
*       A Day’s Jaunt to Wellington: Ridgeback, Twist, Klein Optenhorst
*       Puy Lentil, cherry tomato & Haloumi salad
*       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
This week’s Product menu: Products of the week are our pulses: Puy lentils, Beluga lentils and a variety of beans. Winter is on the way and these are some of the best base ingredients for nourishing, warming meals and a great source of vegetable protein. See them here. Our order of the sensational Grains of Paradise, a richly flavoured, hot, spicy pepper from West Africa, which we mentioned last week,  has arrived.
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 which you are unlikely to find elsewhere in South Africa. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our on line shop. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa. 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.
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, May 3rd.
Muratie     What is a vertical tasting? It is a tasting of a progression of the same wine, starting with the oldest vintage that is still available and working your way to the most current. Not all wine farms seem to keep vinoteques of their wines, so it is always an extreme pleasure to be invited a tasting like this, especially when it is a farm which we respect and which has a faultless reputation, like Muratie. And to find that we would have vertical tastings of three separate wines was even more of a treat. Unless someone you know has a very good cellar and buys the same wine year after year, or you can afford to go to an expensive restaurant where they have a good selection of different vintages, the only other time you are likely to experience a vertical tasting might be at a good wine show.
Last Thursday, we drove through autumn tinged Stellenbosch vineyards to the Muratie estate for a vertical tasting of their wines. This is such a charming, rustic old farm in the Knorhoek valley. It was founded in 1685. We were welcomed by the owner Rijk Melck and taken through the wines by Francois Conradie, the winemaker and farm manager. The room the function was held in was previously one of the concrete wine tanks or Kuipe and the tasting room has centuries old cobwebs and ancient leaded windows. Some say they are a national monument! They also have a small restaurant run by Mrs Kim Melck, which serves farm and local produce.
We tasted the Isabella Chardonnay 2008 through to 2012; the Ansela van de Caab Bordeaux red blend from 2005 through to 2010 and the Muratie Shiraz 2005 through to 2010. We found the chardonnay had changed the most. They stopped using screw caps after 2010 and this has improved the depth and flavour of this wine. It has become much more French in style, lightly wooded , full of honey and citrus notes but crisp and dry on the palate with lovely minerality. The 2012 is the most exciting, but we would happily drink all the last three vintages.
Next was the Bordeaux red blend, Ansela van de Caab. The range does vary quite a bit. The oldest, the 2005 is drinking beautifully now, which shows that this wine needs keeping, but we were excited by the 2009 with its very concentrated fruits, tomato, chalky tannins and smoky background and, while the 2010 still needs lots of time, we think it has good potential.
The Ronnie Melck Shiraz’s are packed full of flavour and character, they just got better and better throughout the tasting. The 2010 has got everything going for it and is definitely a wine to buy to drink now and to put down for the future. They have concentrated spicy fruits, vanilla, liquorice and violets and are wonderful food wines.
We were then treated to a lovely farm style lunch. All the dishes we had are on the winter menu and if you want to enjoy the best lamb shank we have ever had, make a booking. These are, apparently, cooked in an old woodstove in the farm’s own kitchen and are amazing. And, of course, you can also spend time in the tasting room, finding the wine you want to drink with your lunch. Click here to see the photographs of this most enjoyable day.
A Day’s Jaunt to Wellington     What makes a really successful jaunt out with friends? Variety and good company. Four of us set out at 10 on Sunday morning to drive to Wellington. Our purpose: to have fun, discover some new wines and eat some good, but not expensive, food and to see a beautiful garden and perhaps buy some plants. We love Wellington and, sadly, they will not have a wine festival this year, so we needed to visit.
Despite the lack of any road signage, we finally made it to Ridgeback. The council won’t let them put up a sign at their entrance, so we drove nearly all the way to Paarl and when we turned back found a sign facing the other way, about 10 meters from the turn off from the R44! The winery overlooks a large pond which is inhabited by swans, geese and ducks and, as the weather was very pleasant, it was a delight to sit outside on the deck. Normally, you can taste up to 5 of their wines, but they recognised us as previous retailers of their wines and so took us through nearly all of them. It is quite an extensive list and we were delighted to see that all of their wines are priced at under R90. Several have won awards and their Vansha White, a blend of Sauvignon, Chenin and Viognier, has a 2013 Best Value award at R50. We especially liked their Viognier, with light wood smoke on the nose and packed full of ripe white peaches. This crisp wine would be a great foil for spicy food. Impressive are the Ridgeback 2008 Cabernet Franc, and the 2008 Shiraz. These are both high end wines; they sell for only R85 a bottle and are drinking beautifully. The classic Bordeaux blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, Journey 2011, is absolutely delicious and has years to go. We also tasted one of the specials they have on offer, The Lion Hound, which is made for the Chinese market and is currently selling for R28 on the farm. A light and fruity shiraz, it tastes more like a pinot with spice! A case of 12 accompanied us home for everyday drinking. Our friends bought several cases of the red wines. We are so glad we visited.
By now we were feeling the need for food and rushed off to Twist Restaurant on the Hexberg Road in Wellington. We’d had several recommendations from locals to try this and we were impressed, so we’d made a reservation. We had wanted brunch but, because of the long stop at Ridgeback, we arrive half way through lunchtime. They have a good menu on a chalkboard, which the chef changes regularly. The food is all freshly cooked. Chef Johan van Schalkwyk comes out and describes it all to you. He could have been an actor, his presentation is so faultless. You can see the sort of food by looking at their web site. Three of us plumped for one main dish each, another had two vegetarian starters and we all tucked into the very delicious fresh foccacia bread they make, while we were waiting for our food. Click here to see the place and what we ate. We ordered a bottle of Nabygelegen Chenin Blanc; this very good wine matched all the food very well. The bill with service and wine came to R118 each.
Then it was off to our final destination, Klein Optenhorst, for their open day. On arrival, we had a look at the plant sale, then bought a bottle of their just released Cap Classique, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot noir, strolled through and admired the lovely gardens and then settled down for a cup of tea and some freshly baked scones, which were included in the entrance fee of R30 a person. We met several people who read MENU and we heard that the farm had had a very busy and successful weekend. We hope those of you who went enjoyed it as much as we did. This is truly one of the best and most peaceful gardens in the Cape and Mrs Ferreira is a true plantswoman. She has what is probably the best collection of salvias we have ever seen. We have some photographs.
Autumn is upon us, but some days are so pleasant that we are still in salad mode. Having a substantial salad as a main course is always a good idea for supper and this week’s recipe contains Puy lentils, which require only a little cooking and stay firm. They are the base of this salad. You can vary the salad ingredients, but you do need the lentils and the Haloumi cheese.
Puy Lentil, cherry tomato & Haloumi salad
150g Puy lentils – 400ml vegetable stock - 250g cherry tomatoes, halved – 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced – 200g green beans, cut into 2 cm pieces – 200g artichoke hearts – 1 small garlic clove, crushed – 2 T lemon juice – 2 T olive oil – 1 t basil or Dijon mustard – a good handful of fresh mixed herbs roughly chopped: rocket, flat parsley, coriander, basil, mint, sorrel according to your taste – salt and pepper – 250g haloumi cheese
Cook the lentils in the stock until just tender. Drain. Blanche the green beans for just a minute in boiling water then drain. Mix the lemon juice with the olive oil, mustard and garlic and add seasoning. Pour over the tomatoes, green beans and fennel and let them marinate for half an hour. Grill the cheese until golden, cut into cubes and then combine all the ingredients in one bowl. Check the seasoning 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 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).

1st May 2013
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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.
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