Thursday, July 18, 2013

130718 Main Ingredient's MENU - Happy birthday Madiba, Cooking vegetables, Andy’s sushi, Bulk wine exports

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 Franschhoek winter sunset
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       Cooking vegetables
*       Andy’s sushi
*       Bulk wine exports
*       Happy birthday Madiba
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: We expect to pick up another order of Prego sauce tomorrow. Duck fat is back in stock and we have a good supply of chestnuts and chestnut purées. The French Fallot “mustards with attitude” are still popular and the prices have not changed - yet.
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.
To the man for whom we have huge respect and love, Nelson Mandela: Happy Birthday Tata. May you feel loved and appreciated, you have given so much to South Africa.
Different ways of cooking vegetables     As we have mentioned before, Lynne’s mission this winter is to cram as many vegetables into our diet as possible. She hopes that when we eat all this warming winter comfort food, at least we will be getting less calories and more nutrition. But eating steamed beans and boiled carrots alongside a dish can get very boring, so we find that we have to be really creative in how we cook with them. Obviously one way is to put them into every soup and stew you are making – start with a conventional mirepoix: onion, carrot, celery, and then add others, chopped up. Don’t ignore spinach, it is great in soup, whether baby leaves, Swiss chard or other green leaves. When making Bolognaise ragout, Lynne adds grated carrots (as you should) but also puts in grated courgettes, celery and you can even put in grated parsnips.
But looking at each vegetable individually, there are many ways of making them more appealing. Turn peas into a pea puree, braise fennel in some stock, do the same with baby leeks, roast small onions with sun dried tomatoes, make vegetable spaghetti with grated carrots and courgettes and then steam them quickly in the microwave. Poach baby carrots in a little stock and butter till they are just done. One super simple dish is a roasted and stuffed butternut – use other vegetables, nuts and pumpkin seeds for texture.
The easy way to roast a butternut, a squash or an aubergine is to prick them all over with a knife then cook for a few minutes on full power in the microwave until they are soft. Then scoop out the flesh and prepare in a way you like. If you start softening aubergine like this for just a few minutes, you will find you need much less oil when you come to fry it. We love mashed butternut with butter, salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
We love spices and often prepare vegetables using Asian recipes. Fry some onions until caramelised, throw in some baby spinach until just wilted and then scatter over some garam masala.
What we made last night to serve with some good country boerewors (sausage) was Champ. Make some good creamy mash. Finely slice about two cupfuls of green cabbage and two leeks. Braise them in some water and a little butter and then stir them into the mash, and season. You can use spring onions instead of leeks. Cook Savoy cabbage the same way and add a teaspoonful of caraway seeds.
And don’t forget the age old Stamppot from Holland. Put a mixture of carrots, potatoes, onions, leeks, kale or cabbage, turnips, parsnips, butternut or squash in a pot, add seasoning. Just cover with water and top with a large smoked sausage (Rookworst). Cook until the vegetables are just soft. The sausage will flavour the dish. Remove it, mash the veg and serve it with slices of the sausage on top. Now this is comfort food at its best.
Go on, be adventurous, the supermarkets are full of wonderful fresh vegetables at this time of year.
We found Andy      Sometimes, when there is a new restaurant in your neighbourhood, you hear an undercurrent of comments. We had heard mutters of ”Tiny new restaurant in Sea Point, ex Willoughby’s chef, does the same food but at about a third of the price” but they didn’t know exactly where it was. Interested, we told friends who are fans of Willoughby’s and they had heard about it independently from someone else. So the search began. On the net, only a restaurant which was opened in 1996 and wasn’t there anymore. We don’t often drive down Main Road so we asked other friends to look for us and then we found him. It is a very tiny shop indeed in The Firmont, the old El Rio building on the Signal Hill side corner of Main and Firmount Roads, right next door to where Kebab Mahal used to be.
So, today at 1 we arrived, just as another winter storm was hitting Sea Point, to find that we were only the second customer. We were closely followed by someone ordering a take-away. As we could tell from the impressively printed full colour menus, Andy was indeed once a sushi chef at Willoughby’s and his food is very similar to the fresh seafood salads and sushi they serve. As it was so cold, we all decided to start with soup. Two of us ordered the Tom Yum, which is vegetarian, and the other two ordered hot and sour with prawns. All were packed full of fresh Asian flavours and heat. The Tom Yum had fresh tomato slices in it, straw mushrooms, fresh cucumber and Chinese cabbage and was delicious. Lynne loved the unusual tomato and we will definitely add this when we make some at home. The hot and sour was classic, nice and chilli hot and had several prawns. The bowls are large and generous. We ordered two large different platters of sushi and the four of us shared them. Good fresh fish, nicely prepared, with perhaps a touch too much vinegar in the rice, but that is a personal taste preference, not a criticism. Our delight was that Andy was offering a 30% discount on the sushi as an opening special and our bill was really very reasonable. It is NOT a third of Willoughby’s price but you will not spend a fortune. We took along wine and he did not charge us corkage. He uses Paris goblets. Click here to see the pictures. We are planning a return visit soon and hope that Andy becomes a fixture in Sea Point with your and our support. His English is not good, but he says his wife (who was not there today) does speak it well.
Bulk wine exports     According to Wines of South Africa, bulk wine represents 66% of the wine exported from this country this year. Total wine exports are up 40% on last year, helped by the relative weakness of the Rand against other currencies, but our growing reputation for good quality has helped. It is indeed fortunate that wine which has been bottled and labelled at source is showing healthy growth in export sales. We believe that, while the income from bulk wine (exported in large tanks and bottled and labelled at the export destination) is welcome to the producers, it is also very dangerous to our wine industry. Reports on our wines in international publications, like the Wine Spectator feature we mentioned last week, are boosting our reputation, but too much of the South African wine on supermarket shelves in other countries is bottled under labels none of us would recognise and under conditions which are beyond the control of the producer. We have tried a few of them and the quality was such that the consumer’s impression would be of a cheap and nasty product. Su Birch, WOSA CEO, believes that the growth in bulk wine exports is not sustainable, as the world supply will return to a better balance in 2014. We hope she is right, because our impression is that they are not good for our wine industry in the long term.
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

18th 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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