Friday, August 02, 2013

130801 Main Ingredient's MENU - Honouring Graham Beck, Namaste Indian restaurant, Caroline's Red Wine Review, Cassoulet

MENU
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 redwing starling surveys the world from a Sea Point balcony
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       Caroline’s Red Wine Review
*       Honouring Graham Beck
*       Namaste
*       Cassoulet
To take a look at our Main Ingredient blogs, follow the link: http://adamastorbacchus.blogspot.com/ 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: This week’s recipe is cassoulet, South West France’s perfect winter food. It has confit duck as its central ingredient – you’ll find it on our table and in our shop.
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, then you pay and then we deliver or post. 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.  Click here to see our OnLine 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.
Caroline’s Red Wine Review     This huge show of Caroline’s choice of her top 60 red wines is held annually at this time of year. Last night’s venue was the Table Bay Hotel. Very well attended, it gives you a chance to taste the top wines of many of the good wine farms, some of which are so expensive you might never get to taste them elsewhere. The entrance fee of R150 is about half the price of a bottle of most of these wines and is well worth it. We always find some absolute gems and last night was no exception. Some new to us and some surprises as well (never prejudge or get stuck in your opinions; we find wines do evolve.) It is without question that South Africa is producing some seriously good quality wine. We didn’t manage to taste them all, who could? But we had a darn good try and we had a lot of fun doing it. One farm, Hamilton Russell, obviously didn’t bring enough wine as they were “sold out” and off their table by 7 – bad planning guys, the show finished at nine. We especially loved the effect Petit Verdot is having on many of the wines it is used in, adding lovely perfumed elegance to the blend.
We can only mention our absolute favourites and they were 2008 Constantia Glen Five which was the most approachable wine of the evening, lovely and soft and full of fruit. Peter Allan Finlayson’s Crystallum Pinot Noir was elegant beyond belief. MM Louw red blend 2011 from Diemersdal has absolutely no faults and lovely deep flavours of dark fruit and some salty liquorice. The Ernie Els 2011 Proprietors Blend has got it all, but still needs time. Glen Carlou’s Grand Classique 2010 has huge fruit and lots of depth. Vilafonté Series M 2010 is lovely and soft and drinking well now. Shannon did not disappoint with their Mount Bullet 2010 and Bruwer Raats has produced a wonderful savoury food wine with his Cabernet Franc 2010.
Lots of people were talking about the Hartenberg 2008 Gravel Hill Shiraz which has huge concentrations of fruit and will have to wait a while in your cellar. The Cyril Back 2009 Shiraz from Fairview also impressed as did the Glenelly 2010 Lady May, which has all the necessary building blocks to become a really sensational wine in a year or two. But our all time favourite wine of the evening had to be the Le Riche 2010 Cabernet Reserve, made by Christo Le Riche, which is complex and complete and a classic expression of Cabernet. He is definitely carrying on the family tradition. We predict awards for all of these and indeed some already have achieved recognition here and overseas. Click here to see the pictures
Graham Beck: Celebrating Diversity, Expressing Individuality, Honouring Excellence   Graham Beck died three years ago and the team at Graham Beck Wines have now grouped some of their best wines together with a new wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz called Ad Honorem – literally, in his honour. Today, some of the media were invited to taste these lovely wines and then have a fireside lunch at the Camps Bay Retreat. Well, we certainly didn’t need a fireside lunch today as, suddenly, we have wonderful mid-winter champagne days and the temperature was a balmy 26 degrees. We had the wine tasting on the terrace and then moved into their dining room. It was rather like being on the Riviera!
Cellarmaster  Erika Obermeyer introduced us to the wines, some of which are very familiar, others not and told us about her philosophy of wine making with each of these wines. Two whites, the tropical Pheasant’s Run 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the upfront Bowed Head 2011 Chenin Blanc started the tasting. The Pheasant’s Run is full of granadilla and figs with lime on the end and made to age well, the Chenin full of golden fruit with a crisp acidity balancing the creaminess of the French oak. It is redolent of loquats and butterscotch and  is all made from 40 and 50 year old vines. The Ridge 2011 Syrah is full of vanilla and spice and cream with rhubarb and mulberries and chalky soft tannins with plums on the end. Then the Joshua 2011, 94% Shiraz softened by the use of 6% viognier. The wine is full of red and black plums with soft sweet fruit and has quite intense tannins, showing that it needs to age, but the viognier does play a role. Matured in 90% new French oak and 10% American for 15 months, the wood adds incense, spice and vanillins. We found The William (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinotage, 5% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Franc) to have hot, sharp red fruit notes, nice smooth tannins and a long, long finish. It is a food wine and went very well with lunch. The Coffeestone 2011 Cabernet named for the koffieklip soil, not a coffee style, has an absolutely classic Cabernet nose and follows through with red and black cassis berries, and very chalky tannins, so it also still needs some time. The best was yet to come with the introduction of the 2009 Ad Honorem - a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Shiraz. Spicy, elegant with a full-on nose showing cassis and mulberries, Lynne wrote Wow! when tasting it. A lovely smooth mouthfeel with full fruit and lots of elegance, quality and style, this is drinking perfectly now and will for several years to come. This wine spent 27 months in selected first fill French oak barrels and it shows.
Finally the wine made to honour Mr Beck’s wife, the Rhona Muscadel 2012 made from 100% Muscat de Frontignan. It is wonderfully packed with honey, spice, perfume and apricot jam on the nose. And a wonder of sweet delight on the palate with golden delicious apples, ripe apricots and loquats and loads of honey, although it contains no botrytis. Definitely a dessert or rich paté match.
And then it was time for lunch. Click here to see the photos and the descriptions of the delicious food we ate matched with these wines.
Namaste for Thalis     “Do South Africans understand real Indian food?” was a question posed by friends on Tuesday, when we went to have supper at Chandani’s new branch, also in Roodebloem Road, called Namaste. Chandani is always chock-a-bloc but we were the only people at Namaste on Tuesday night, hence the question. We got the feeling they had opened especially for us because we had booked. They serve a different variation of Indian food: Thalis and Dhosas. We were treated like royalty and had a very good experience with lovely food. We were served some crisp poppadums as an appetiser; they came with a green coconut chutney, a lentil, chilli & onion chutney for dipping. Then we had a plate of crisp onion bhaji’s – spiced gram flour (chick pea) balls filled with onions, chilli and sometimes other vegetables, which were delicious and we could have polished off another plate in minutes. They have absolutely nothing to do with your favourite feathered birdcaged pet! Click here to see the photos
The main course was a Thali which has six different Indian dishes which come on an individual metal tray, with the rice and paratha (flat breads) put in the middle for you to mix in the different dishes. You can eat with a fork or get involved with your fingers. We ordered two vegetarian Thalis and two for John and Lynne which had one chicken and one fish dish. They are quite small portions of deliciously spiced food, all different. Lots of paneer, lentils, beans and other pulses are used and combined they taste marvellous. A very good place for vegetarians. Finally we were brought a small cup of vermicelli in a thick condensed milk custard – not for everyone, two of us loved it, the other two didn’t. We declined the spiced masala tea and were so surprised when the bill came. We paid R420 for four, including tip. One of the most reasonable meals we have had in a long while and it was very filling. They do have a small wine list, but we took our own and we were not asked to pay corkage. We had a Checkers Oddbins 2009 Viognier and a Bovlei Gewürztraminer, both of which complemented the spicy food well. DO go and try this, be adventurous, nothing was too hot for us and we would hate to see such a good innovation fail. Now we have to go back to sample the Dhosas.
Sunday lunch     We had good friends and family to lunch on Sunday and Lynne decided the weather was just perfect for some cassoulet. It was a variation on our normal recipe and was really good. Cassoulet is often a moveable feast in this country, as sourcing some of the required ingredients can be a huge challenge. So no Toulouse sausages in this one because, when we asked at Joostenberg, we discovered they have stopped putting the obligatory parsley and garlic in theirs – because customers complained. (?!@!?#?**) Now we consider those to be the quintessential ingredients in a Toulouse sausage, so we won’t be buying those again. We hate it when people dumb down food.
So what to use? On Googling recipes, Lynne discovered that you can also use a very garlicky coarse but soft sausage and this was solved by buying a Kosher beef sausage from Checkers called a Warsaw and adding it in thick chunks. It worked very, very well. (Do NOT use chorizo, it does not work well). Cassoult doen not have smokey spicy flavours.  We did buy a pickled hock of pork from Joostenberg – just pickled, not smoked and it was very meaty. Then we used two entire legs of tinned French Confit of duck which, of course, we sell. We opened a four leg tin, removed almost all the duck fat (which that has gone into the freezer for the next roast potatoes), and separately froze the other two for another cassoulet or duck confit dinner. Confit is getting rather expensive but it was so worth it, as the rich flavours it adds to the dish are truly wonderful. We served it with a 2006 Glenelly Shiraz Cabernet Merlot blend, which suited it very well.
Confession: You can use dry white haricot beans (PLEASE don’t use butter beans, they are too bitter and too large) but the soaking takes ages and you use up so much power trying to get them soft that Lynne uses tinned Italian haricot beans instead, which absorb lots of flavour. This recipe takes four tins. Drain them well.
We realised that we have never given you the recipe before so here is our version:
CASSOULET
600g dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight in 3 times their volume of water OR 4 tins of drained haricot beans - 1 T duck fat or olive oil - 1 celery stick – 1 small onion – 1 large carrot - 6 whole garlic cloves - 2 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered – bouquet garni of fresh bay leaves, thyme, rosemary - 1 clove, lightly crushed - 2 tsp lemon juice – freshly ground black pepper – 1 ham hock or 800 g belly of pork in one piece - 250 g garlic sausages or half a packet of Toulouse sausages, cut into large chunks - 2 confit duck’s legs – sea salt to season, but only at end
Plus 1 garlic clove, finely chopped - handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
If you are using soaked beans, drain them, cover them in fresh water and bring to the boil for fifteen minutes, then drain them again and discard the water. Roughly chop the onion, carrots and celery and add them with the whole garlic cloves to a large oven proof casserole with the duck fat and sweat them off for five minutes. Add the tomatoes, the beans, sausage, pork, bouquet garni and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim off any rising scum, then add the black pepper, clove and lemon juice and transfer to the oven. Cook uncovered for two hours, stirring every now and then, till the beans are soft and creamy in texture and the juices have thickened. You may have to cook it longer to get to this stage. DO not let it dry out ever, top up with a little water if it starts to.
Take out the casserole, cut up the pork to bite sized pieces, put it back in and bury the two duck legs in the cassoulet with the chopped garlic. Return to the oven and cook for another hour or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add salt at this point, but the pork may have added enough. Remove the bouquet garni. If there is a lot of oil on the surface you can sprinkle with breadcrumbs and brown under the grill for a crisp topping. Sprinkle with parsley and serve in bowls. When serving share the duck between all the bowls and discard the bones. All you need to accompany this is a mixed green salad. This feeds six.
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





1st August 2013
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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.
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