Sunday, August 18, 2013

Main Ingredient's MENU - Techno meltdown, Mint’s new Menu, Coming attractions, Strandveld dinner pre-tasting, Dunes, Vinimark tasting, Gibson’s burgers, Aubergine, Bottling The Vineyard's first wine, Hot and Sour Soup

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
One of the huge tortoises in the garden at The Vineyard Hotel enjoying some welcome winter sunshine
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       Techno meltdown
*       Mint’s new Menu and modus
*       Coming attractions not to miss
*       Strandveld dinner pre-tasting at The Vineyard
*       Women’s Day at Dunes
*       Vinimark trade tasting
*       Gibson’s burgers
*       Schultz brothers at Aubergine
*       Bottling the first wine from The Vineyard
*       Hot and Sour Soup
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: This week’s recipe is Hot and Sour Soup and we stock the tamarind paste you will need, plus some other Asian spices and a good sambal oelek and Tom Yum paste should you be thinking of warmer food in the cold winter weather.
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.
Meltdown     There are some days in your life when it would have been better not to have got out of bed. Such was last Thursday. There we were both working on MENU when our WiFi went down and we had no internet and email. It looked like our router was faulty. Then Lynne realized that her computer had gone too, fried by a loose screen connection we think. So we spent the morning at MWeb at Canal Walk, bought a new router and got home to find it didn’t work at all. The fault was much, much more complicated and MWeb spent the weekend fighting with Telkom about line speed and “faults on the line”, swapping blame while we got more and more stressed. So sadly we could not put out an ‘issue’ of Menu as it took five more days to get us back up and running. But we are back! And here is a very full issue because life and events do go on. We hope you missed us.
Mint’s new Menu and modus     Mint restaurant at the Taj Hotel in St George’s Mall in town have changed their menu to a less formal selection and are on a mission to attract more walk-in trade. They have made the front of the restaurant more approachable and it will be lovely to sit out in better weather as they now have tables on the Mall. We were invited to taste some of the new signature dishes on the new menu and we thought we would be given a small selection of dishes. We were given 10! It turned into a gargantuan tasting of lovely food. They have moved to a more relaxed, local grill style, using fresh local ingredients, serving organic and biodynamic wine, and the selection will be more healthy and environmentally friendly.
In conjunction with their regular menu, they also have a “Mint Taste Dinner” every first Friday of the month, where they showcase a three course dinner menu, which includes a glass of wine with each course, at R295.00. Or, on the same evening, you can eat from the a la carte menu and enjoy a free wine tasting of the wines being showcased that evening. Click here to see their menu and photographs of what we ate. One thing we can recommend is their incredibly light gnocchi in a rich cheese sauce. Reminded us of the late lamented L’Aperitivo!
Coming attractions not to miss     One of our favourite wine tastings will take place next week on Thursday 22nd at the CTICC: Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase where you can taste some of the many 2013 CWG Auction Wines so do get your tickets from Computicket now.
Sadly, the Shiraz Showcase takes place on the same evening at the Vineyard which should also be good... But we will be at the CWG, we can only do one huge tasting a day. Another one for your diary is the Wine Concepts Sauvignon Festival at the Vineyard on the 30th August where you can taste current and older vintages of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We plan to be there too. Webtickets or Wine Concepts for tickets. More details in our Events Calendar.
We were at the Vineyard hotel last week for the pre-tasting of the Strandveld Wines for a wine-paired dinner which will take place on the 23rd August, which we will attend. Book for this now, the food being prepared is going to be very good, as are all the wines from Strandveld, which impressed us very much. Click here to see what we do at a pre-tasting.
Women’s Day saw us take advantage of the wonderful summery like winter weather we had last week and we sat upstairs at Dunes and ate a light lunch with draught beer. Lovely views. Click to see it.
Tasting more interesting wines     Vinimark /Wineworx held their trade tasting at the One and Only Hotel on Monday and this was a good opportunity to taste through their range of wines and chat to the winemakers. We started with some French champagne and the one we like the most was the crisp, fresh and lively Ayala.
They do represent a wide range of wines from very popular and reasonable brands like Wolftrap, Landskroon, Darling Cellars and Flagstone, to some of the excellent top brands like Glen Carlou, Glenelly and Rustenberg. We love the new and interesting wines from farms like Edgebaston: try the Berry Box white and the Pepper Pot or their 2012 Chardonnay which is very French in style or the delicious 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a blockbuster of a wine. Le Riche had the Cabernet which impressed us so much at Caroline’s and was again our favourite red of the evening. Altydgedacht charmed us with their green figgy sauvignon blanc and absolutely wowed us with their Gewürztraminer, full of rose petals and litchis. Rietvallei has a Special Select Chardonnay 2012 which is golden and superbly wooded but gentle and full of fruit.
Reyneke’s Reserve Red (60% Shiraz 40% Cabernet) was a four star stunner. Two more whites that really impressed were Shannon’s Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2013 with 11% Semillon topping it off with rich elegance and Warwick’s The White Lady Chardonnay 2011 was very crisp and elegant and shows huge promise for awards.
Gibson’s     When you do a tasting like this you need to fill up quickly with something substantial and Lynne had read about the Monday special at Gibson’s in the Waterfront. Two burgers for the price of the more expensive one. We had good beefy flame-grilled burgers (great flavour), good crisp chips for John and a baked potato for Lynne, two Windhoek Light lagers and then it was time for home. The bill was a very reasonable R130. See the photos here.
Schultz brothers at Aubergine     Wednesday was Lynne’s birthday and, to celebrate, we booked for this very special annual event . They charged only R495 a head for owner chef Harald Bresselschmidt’s superb five course meal paired with wines made by the four Schultz brothers from Hartenberg, Thelema, Sutherland and Kleinood. We had an absolutely splendid evening, with lots of spoiling – a dessert birthday plate and two bottles of wine as a gift (and embarrassing singing!) for Lynne. Click here for the photographs of the food, wines and this glittering occasion.
First wine from The Vineyard, bottled    On Saturday before last, John dropped Lynne to work at the Neighbourgoods Market and drove to Klein Constantia to participate in the bottling of the first wine (a sauvignon/Semillon blend) to be made from grapes grown in Newlands in 200 years. The grapes came from the small vineyard on the bank of the Liesbeek river at the Vineyard Hotel. The first harvest was very small and we bottled about two cases of wine. Not a commercial quantity by any means, but a start nevertheless. After the bottling the assembled company went to the little vineyard to prune the vines (instructed and supervised by Waterford’s Kevin Arnold). This was followed by an excellent lunch, accompanied by wines from the wineries who are the mentors of the vineyard, Klein Constantia, Simonsig, Warwick and Waterford. See the pics here.
Recipe     This week’s recipe is something perfect for our current cold, wet and stormy weather and it doesn’t take a lot of time to make. You can obviously vary the amount of heat you add and go from a mild glow to a huge kick of chilli. This version should produce a medium hot soup. There are many different varieties of this soup in Asia from Szechuan with mushrooms and pepper, to a Thai Tom Yum Kah but this is another variation.
Hot and Sour Soup
3 dried birds eye chillies – 2.5 cm fresh peeled ginger root, roughly chopped - 3 peeled cloves of garlic – 1 small sweet onion or 2 shallots, chopped - 1 t shrimp paste – 1/2 t palm sugar – 2 T tamarind paste OR 3 T lemon juice
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock – 3 T Thai fish sauce (nam pla) – 3 oz fresh green beans cut into 3 cm pieces – 2 bok choi heads or two baby cabbages sliced into 2.5 cm pieces or 50g baby spinach leaves (washed) – sliced fresh red chilli/s to add heat - 200g peeled prawns or firm fish and/or squid, scallops, mussels to the same weight - fresh coriander to garnish
Put the first 7 ingredients into a pestle and mortar or a food processor and work into a coarse paste, adding a little water if necessary. Bring the stock to a simmer then add the paste to it and cook for 10 minutes. Strain through a muslin or fine sieve. The finer the sieve, the clearer the soup. Add the beans and the Thai fish sauce to flavour and cook for a minute. Taste and if it is not hot enough for you, add some fresh red chilli. Then add the bok choi and cook for another minute. Then finally add the prawns or the other seafood until they are just cooked – do not overcook. Serve sprinkled with coriander and a little fresh chilli.  You could follow this with some Chinese dumplings or other dim sum.
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

15th August 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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