Friday, July 05, 2013

130704 Bubbles with Bubbles Classic lemon tart, KLM postscript, flat to let

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 pair of ducks in a Hemel en Aarde pond
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       Bubbles with Bubbles Ferreira
*       Classic lemon tart
*       KLM postscript
*       Sea Point flat to let
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: The exchange rate is biting. We have already had some massive price increases, especially on French poultry products (we were warned a while ago) and we are seeing rises on some of the more ordinary products as well. The adage “buy while stocks last” was never more true. We are also seeing the more slow-moving products being discontinued, and we have started to remove some of these items, like aged balsamics, from our online shop. We saw the increases on the shelves in France and the dip in the value of our own currency amplifies the effect. One of the wine dealers who imports wines from Europe has discontinued all imported labels for the present.
Buying from us on Line 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. Sadly, the market in Long Beach Mall, Sun Valley, Fish Hoek has not been working for us and the expenses have outweighed the income, so we will not be there again until we see better potential.
Making Bubbles with Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck      Pieter (Bubbles) Ferreira makes some of the best bubbly in South Africa, which gets a lot of international kudos and recognition and more importantly, sales. Yesterday, at the Westin Grand Hotel, we tasted seven of his best at a serious tasting for the media. All were made by the Methode Cap Classique method – the same way Champagne is made - and one thing that sets the Graham Beck wines apart from most local and French bubblies is that they do not go through malolactic fermentation, a process which reduces the fresh crispness of the wine, so all the GB bubblies show a very lively freshness and, we find, added complexity.
We started the tasting with a slide show titled “In Search of the Perfect Bubble” and Pieter led us through his methods from the vineyard right through to bottling and marketing. They grow 85% of all their grapes on the Graham Beck properties and source the rest from 12 different geographical areas in the Western Cape. Pieter is very hands-on and believes that the terroir, healthy soils, the right clones, the grape selection in the vineyards and the health of the vines all contribute greatly to the final quality of the wines. The juice forms the basis of the best bubbles. During harvest, he travels over 3 to 4,000 kilometres every month visiting all the properties that supply their grapes, and his challenge is to keep finding better grapes.
Every vintage is an expression of the best production of the year. Every block he uses is like a business unit. It must perform or be declassified.
He then tries to get the whole bunches into the press within 20 minutes of picking and the grapes are pressed very lightly. He told us that from filling a press to emptying can take four hours as they are looking for quality fresh juice. Where they do use barrels, they all come from the Tonnelier in Champagne who supplies Bollinger: Jean Prieur of Tonnelerie Artesanal. Graham Beck has an allocation of only 15 barrels a year, which are given a very light toast. They have a stock of 190 barrels used on only 8% of the wines and the average age of the barrels is 9 years. Cuvée Clive gets more new oak and for longer than any other wine. Pieter follows biodynamic processes and uses wild or natural yeasts. Prestige cuvées are wines with no rules, they are made by gut feel, specific to the conditions each year.
Their bottling line is very impressive and they have specialist machines to freeze the caps. They also use giro pallets for remuage. Pieter says he likes cork, it is a very tight fit, as it is compressed from a diameter of 30mm to a tightly compressed 19 mm. He has not seen a better closure for MCC’s and he would also miss the romance of popping them.
Pieter does have a wine that has been 10 years on the lees and wants to release it as a cork matured wine which will be called RD (recently disgorged) So: in their words “ The journey continues..... “
We then proceeded to taste their seven Methode Cap Classiques and then on to lunch where the same wines were paired with the food. Click here to see our tasting notes and the photographs.
This week’s recipe is a Classic Lemon Tart
Lynne has been searching for something new to make, instead of our usual winter favourites and this was inspired by our visit to France where it is a classic.  Please note, this is NOT a lemon meringue pie. As we are in the middle of the citrus season, you can also use limes or other citrus to make this tart. Lynne does not like zest in the custard but you can put it in if you like the rather gritty texture. She prefers a silky smooth custard. DO NOT OVERCOOK or this becomes like cheesecake. It should still have a good wobble in the centre when it comes out of the oven.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
120g plain flour – a pinch of salt – 20 g icing sugar– 80g butter, cubed – zest of 2 lemons –1 egg yolk a little iced water
Sieve the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor, add the cold butter and the lemon zest, and blitz using short bursts until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and if necessary a few drops of iced water and blitz again until the pastry starts to come away from the sides. Gather it gently together, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out and line a greased and floured, loose-bottomed flan tin. Do not trim the edges. Lightly prick the base with a fork and rest again in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Line with baking paper or foil and fill with baking beans to bake blind at 160°C for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and put the tin back into the oven to crisp up the bottom for another 15 minutes or until biscuity and pale gold. Brush the bottom of the tart with milk or beaten egg to seal it. Cool.
Lemon filling
5 eggs – 140g caster sugar -150ml double cream – juice of 2 or 3 lemons (about 100ml)
Beat the eggs and the sugar together till the sugar has dissolved then add the cream and the lemon juice. Heat the oven to 160°C. Slowly pour the mixture into the pastry base (Lynne does this in the oven to avoid spills) and bake for 30 minutes or until just set. Carefully trim off any excess pastry. Cool and slice.
If you want a traditional decoration, slice two lemons and poach the slices gently in a sugar syrup (50% water to 50% sugar) till they are soft, then put them around the edges of the tart with one in the centre).
A short postscript note about KLM. We went through merry hell booking our tickets to France as the prices kept rising, so we checked KLM’s partner Air France and were quoted a much cheaper price - in the same seats, on the same KLM plane, on the same day. It definitely pays to shop around. The last quoted (cattle class) KLM return fare for the two of us, Cape Town – Bordeaux, was R73 000 and Air France quoted R24 000. KLM told us no, that is our summer rate, we are full, take it or leave it. So we left it and paid Air France. And, after we booked, we found out that we could have gone through Pick ‘n Pay using our Blue shoppers card and the fare would have been R20 000 plus the added points. The airline food was horrible except that, on the way back, we actually had the first edible airline pudding we have ever had. A light vanilla mousse topped with profiteroles, stuffed with cream and covered in chocolate sauce. At last we can say “Well Done” on one count! And they do keep you topped up with lots of water, juice and snacks throughout the day or night. We love the daytime flight back and would love to fly that way in both directions in future.
The Fourth of July    We hope all our American readers are having a wonderful holiday. We were very pleased to welcome your President last week.
Flat to let  We have a small studio flat in Sea Point that will be available from August 1st.  It is 54 square metres in size, with a large main room, a good kitchen, a dressing room and a bathroom with shower over the bath and loo, so it is quite spacious, has been kept immaculate by the wonderful tenant we have had for four years and is in a very good block, right behind the Winchester Mansions. We renovated it after we bought it. It is only available for a 6 months or longer let (a condition set by the body corporate) and we do require good references. Contact us quickly if you are interested or know someone who is looking.
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. It needs updating and we’ll do that tomorrow. 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. We plan to visit their French establishment after Vinexpo. 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). Lynn Angel runs the Kitchen Angel cooking school and does private dinners at her home. She holds hands-on cooking classes for small groups on Monday and Wednesday evenings. She trained with Raymond Blanc, and has been a professional chef for 25 years. More info here

4th July 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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