Friday, January 31, 2014

140130 Main Ingredient's MENU - Lunch on Queen Mary 2, Mondiall, Riesling Rocks, Gourmet Boerie

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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A paraglider descends to Clifton with Table Mountain behind him
In this week’s MENU:
* Mondiall
* Riesling Rocks Festival on Hartenberg
* Tour and lunch on the Queen Mary 2     
* Gourmet Boerie
* Light summer lunch
We have been edging toward a change in the way we present MENU to you and it will be very evident to you this week. Using our blogs enable us to give you a much better idea of our activities than just giving you the words in here and then showing you the pictures separately in the blog. So we are only giving you the introduction here and we ask you to click on the links to see the whole story in words and pictures.
We will be very grateful if you click on some of the interesting advertisements in the blog – the payments we get from the advertisers are the only payment we receive for producing MENU
This week’s Product menu Genuine Amaretti biscuits come from Italy. These crisp little biscuits are made from slightly bitter ground apricot kernels. They are perfect for desserts, trifles and for serving with coffee or Amaretto liqueur.  Dip them in dark chocolate for that ultimate friandise. And they make a really good dipping ingredient when making a chocolate fondant. The packet says they are cholesterol free, and they cost only R40 a packet. Check our online shop to see more details and prices.
Mondiall      We were able to choose a nice restaurant this week, as our friend visiting from Greece wanted to take us out somewhere good and, as we have not eaten at this Waterfront restaurant yet, it was our pick. Click here to see the pictures and read the review
Riesling Rocks Festival on Hartenberg     Some festivals really work and this was just so much fun. The wines on offer were really good, interesting and different. Who drinks Riesling nowadays? Well a lot more people than you would expect and many of them were there on Saturday to sample some of the best available in the Cape. Click here to learn about the festival and Riesling
Tour of the Queen Mary 2      We were absolutely delighted to be invited to do a media tour of this magnificent ship while she was in port and even more thrilled to hear that lunch was included. We have both done a few intercontinental trips on large liners but this ship is really something else. Read all about it here, with lots of photographs
Gourmet Boerie     Do you like Boerewors, our iconic South African sausage made with beef and pork and lots of coriander and other spices? This week we were invited to review this restaurant, which is at the bottom of Kloof Street. See what we ate and read all about it here.
Light summer lunch     We had two old friends join us for lunch yesterday and as we are both conscious of expanding waistlines, Lynne decided it was time for some old favourites. We started with humus made with lots of lemon, served with warm olive rolls and lots of vegetable crudités for those of us abstaining from bread. Then a classic Salad Niçoise followed by an Italian dessert we make at least once every summer, baked peaches stuffed with amaretti biscuits and amaretto liqueur. We have given these recipes in the past and if you want one of them, please send us an email.
Wines we enjoyed this week     One of the benefits of writing about food and wine is that we are asked to evaluate wines and tell you about them. This week, we enjoyed a 2009 Ormonde Shiraz from Darling with chicken which Lynne prepared with her own barbecue sauce, which contains allspice – the predominant flavour. The wine has rich black cherries, plums and a spiciness which was a perfect match for the dish. The Salad Niçoise mentioned above cried out for a rosé and we tried it with two. The Meerendal Pinotage Rosé is a delicious summer wine whose ripe fruit flavours matched our starter of crudités and humus very well, but Zandvliet’s My Best Friend Shiraz Rosé, which has a leaner character and is bone dry was perfect with the Salade Niçoise.
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. 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.
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. Events outside the Western Cape are listed here.
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 made 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

23rd January 2014
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 online shop 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 and standard 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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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tradition with a twist - Gourmet Boerie in Kloof St

Another restaurant review this week but rather different from the Mondiall one
Gourmet Boerie features South Africa's iconic local sausage, Boerewors, and it does it well.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it,  Boerewors is a coarsely minced beef (it sometimes has pork  added) sausage, flavoured with nutmeg, cumin and coriander amongst other traditional spices. Bread or other fillers may not be included.  It is our national passion and the one thing that brings us together as a nation is that we all braai (barbecue) it regularly and everyone has a special supplier or even makes their own and guards their recipe.   It resembles Cumberland sausage.

The restaurant is at the corner of Buitensingel and  No 8 Kloof Street on the edge of central Cape Town, opposite the Long Street Baths and St Martini Church. Parking is an issue - be prepared to walk a short distance.  It does not yet have any branches but they are planned and will happen if you support them and like the concept.
Large and modern, it has been open about a year and a quarter. Customers seem mostly local with the occasional adventurous tourist.

You don’t book, you can sit where ever you like, as long as it is on benches next to other people or up at the bar. Here we are welcomed by their manager Gerald Veltman, who treated us very well indeed. Thank you.
and our friendly waiter
Only local beers like Jack Black are served. This was the Jack Black Amber Ale, rich malt with hops and a perfect match for the sausage and the accompanying sauces
with a couple of other choices
Something new for us, a phone charger in the restaurant. You put in R10 and plug in your phone in a private coded compartment to charge
We loved the purely South African decor: lamps with shades covered in local floor polish advertising, pictures on the wall of Mrs Ball’s Chutney, All Gold Tomato sauce and many other iconic well-loved products.
They run daily and weekly specials. Check out their web site or Happy hour sounds fun if you are going to a later movie or show
And all the food and drink they use is purely locally sourced. Their own sausages are specially made for them and they use only the best ingredients, we were told.
A solar charged four LED lamp in a Consol Jar is used on each table instead of candles
The drinks menu
The food menu
We started with a plate of sliders (mini one or two bite rolls) giving us a small taste of several of the combinations on the menu. We cut each in half and then we were able to see which one we would choose to eat full sized. These are all traditional beef with some pork added. You can have pure beef, lamb, ostrich, and chicken. Spicing of the sausages is good and they are moist and meaty. We didn’t encounter any fillers.
From right to left the flavours are Gorgonzola, Tomato Madness, Chakalaka, Mexicano, Pure Sophistication, Hangover, Old School – see the menu for details.  You can order this plate for R74.90
These come with a small portion of chips
We were also given a huge portion of fried onion rings, which perhaps needed longer in the fryer, as the onion was a little uncooked and the batter definitely needed seasoning. The best accompaniment was the large bowl of very crispy sweet potato (yam) chips. Crisp texture resembling duck fat potatoes, these stayed crisp and delicious even when cold. Go try some.
After trying all these, we will admit that having a whole Boerie roll was perhaps a little silly, but they were very enjoyable indeed, even if we did pay with a few hours of fullness afterwards. John really liked the very spicy Chakalaka with a pure beef Boerie, which was not at all to Lynne's taste and she chose the Hangover. This came with a lamb Boerie. It has a thick cheese sauce, chunks of avocado and pineapple and nests in the roll on a strip of crisp streaky bacon.  The white rolls are not stodgy and don’t overshadow the sausage. In fact, you hardly notice they are there, until about an hour later, when you realise how full you are.
Would we go back?  Definitely, if in the area and needing quick reasonable sustenance, rather than fast food, and more of those sweet potato chips.  They do takeaways too
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Riesling Rocks at Hartenberg

The Riesling Rocks Festival is held on Hartenberg Wine Estate every year at about this time and included some of the best Rhine Rieslings being produced in South Africa. We did wonder why Jordan and Paul Cluver who both produce excellent examples of this varietal, were missing this year and hope they will attend next time

It was an absolutely perfect summer’s day. Nice and warm but not overwhelmingly hot, with a cool breeze and no sign of a South Easter. Well not until much, much later in the afternoon. 
This lass is cellarmaster Carl Schultz’s daughter, Michelle
There were 9 farms represented and we started with Jessica Saurwein on the Klein Constantia stand. Their Riesling is very dry with no residual sugar showing at all.
Lots of tables and cushions and blankets under the shady trees make for a great tasting and there was also good food to purchase for lunch. We were very kindly supplied with a delicious duck salad with orange slices and a cheese platter with Dalewood cheeses
Bennie Stipp Is the Marketing manager for de Wetshof wines in Robertson and their Riesling seemed to be the most popular one of the day, if one listened to what people were saying. It certainly is one of ours, and is full of crisp limes and lemons with lots of depth. It is off dry, with 20gm/litre of sugar, but the acid balances the sugar so well, that it is almost dry on the palate. Very refreshing too and a good food wine
Our other favourites were the fragrant and delicious and quite complex Groote Post and while it is completely different in style to all the others, showing much more of the rose petal characteristics, we loved the Altydgedacht

None of these show signs of heavy or heady terpenes
The wines are served from a barrel top and here are all the farms in a row, so you can walk up and down tasting and then retire to a table in the shade for something to eat and drink
The Hartenberg stand saw lots of happy tasters for their excellent Rieslings and they also treated us to some older vintages, as did some of the other farms
We met someone fairly new in the wine trade on the Nitida stand. Faith Pienaar, originally from Johannesburg, is studying Oenology at Stellenbosch University, but is on an internship at Nitida over harvest time.  She has great character and is already fairly knowledgeable about wine. We think she has a great future in the industry
This is also a day for the family to enjoy and there were some delightful children to watch at play.
Now we wait for the next Hartenberg festival, which should be the Shiraz & Charcuterie festival in June
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus  2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Supper at Mondiall, V&A Waterfront

A friend visiting us from Europe took us out for dinner on Friday to Mondiall in the Waterfront which opened just before Christmas. Owned by Chef Peter Tempelhoff of the Cellars Hohenort, the resident chef is Oliver Cattermole (he was not on duty the night we were there)
This modern, smart and fairly industrial themed restaurant is situated in the building that used to be the Green Dolphin jazz club and is on the dockside at the end of the Victoria and Alfred Hotel building. 
Mid-century modern, comfortable dining chairs and slate tables without cloths keep the feeling informal and clean. If you sit inside you get a full view of the open kitchen with very busy industrious staff. We had really great and attentive service and met another young and going places sommelier, Elton Damon and our waiter, Scott Lewis

They also have a popular bar area and when the weather is good you can sit outside.
The fairly straightforward menu has something for everyone and the food is slightly more complex than the menu indicates. A three course menu worked out at approximately R330 per head, but we only had one bottle of wine, a superb Paul Cluver Chardonnay our host had bought, which we took with us and paid corkage, and two glasses of the house red, a shiraz from Vondeling, which was good and suited the food. Lynne’s main was a salad, so it is in the mid to getting pricey range for the Waterfront
Warm French bread, humus, good unsalted butter and flaked salt are brought to the table when you sit down and they were happy to serve us tap water, which we prefer. Our host had a bottle of sparkling mineral water.
Three wild oysters from the West Coast with a vinegar and shallot dressing
Peruvian inspired seafood ceviche was a very intriguing starter of salmon, calamari, mussels and another fish. It had great fresh tastes of the sea, enhanced by lime and tomato, sour cream panna cotta and tiny sesame wonton pastry triangles
Lynne opted for a large Caesar salad for her main course and was a little underwhelmed, as it had not much flavour apart from the few white anchovies and slices of parmesan cheese. Terrible soft ‘croutons’ need more attention and the poached egg was overcooked.
Our host said his Cape Malay curry was very good indeed, the best he has ever had. It was accompanied by a tomato and onion sambal and a rather interesting lime-flavoured sauce which, we think, was a dip for the poppadom.
John’s Café de Paris Sirloin Steak, ordered medium rare, was a little bit more done than that, but had very good flavour and was tender. The steak is not enormous at 300g (we prefer it to be that size, anyway) and is served with crisp French fries. If you want any vegetables or salad, they need to be ordered as extras on the menu, something we did not notice and it was not pointed out to us. It also normally comes with mushrooms, but John asked for them not to be served to him.
For a change, we could not resist dessert. Our host loved his small slice of the Maple and Pecan pie with bourbon syrup, blueberries and milk ice cream
Looking for a light dessert, Lynne ordered the delicious pineapple tart tatin with superb sticky lemongrass caramel sauce. We see from the menu that the ice cream was supposed to be a tonka bean flavoured, a fairly new and exciting flavour for us. Hmm, just creamy vanilla, but the tart was wonderful and the pastry very crisp
John ordered what looked like a Knickerbocker Glory, a kids layered delight of nut tablet, chocolate, strawberries, cream, ice cream and more chocolate, called the Mondiall Chocolate Sundae. His one complaint? The soup spoon which came with it was too broad to reach into the bottom of the glass, and could not scoop up the last of the delicious, gooey chocolate sauce and fruit syrup. The manager made a plan and got him a sundae spoon. You might need a bib if you are younger than a certain age... Or older.
How to serve an Espresso coffee so you know you have a correct measure! A little tricky in the glass though, as you need fireproof fingers if the coffee is as hot as it should be. Little biscuits to accompany.
Rating: Would we go back? Yes, for informal special occasions we might. It has a very easy vibe and we felt very relaxed. A large party of wine industry people whom we know arrived while we were there and they were having a ball. We calculate that the meal came to somewhere in the region of R1000 for the three of us, so fine dining prices. With a tip, that means the whole meal cost £54, €65 or US$88 at today’s rates (30th January 2014), for our overseas readers, good value if you are visiting Cape Town
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

Lunch aboard Queen Mary 2

There are some invitations we receive that really, really make us happy and a tour on Monday of Cunard’s magnificent ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, including lunch while she was in port in Cape Town, had us jumping up and down with excitement.  Now 10 years old, she is Cunard’s flagship and was the world's largest passenger liner until overtaken by the Oasis of the Seas. She is not just a cruise liner and she is really the best built ship to tackle Transatlantic waters. Once a year, she leaves her regular beat on the Atlantic crossing and cruises the world. When she left Cape Town, she was headed to Durban, Mauritius and onward to Fremantle in Australia, then to China, and back through Suez to Southampton on a 119 day cruise

The Grand Hotel of the seas looks absolutely enormous as you approach her
With our ID’s ready, we wait in a very short queue to board, while many of the 2500 passengers queue for coaches to go on tours of Cape Town while they are here for two days.
Security is necessarily very thorough and tight but they do welcome you on board at the top of the very steady “gangplank”
We started on Deck No.2 of her 23 decks
and assembled in the Grand Lobby near the Pursers' desks
Our guide, Jessica Burke, shows us some magnificent bronze ‘tapestries’ (their words) showing all the continents Queen Mary visits
As an amusing signature, the artist hid a tiny depiction of Homer Simpson in the Northern American bronze
in which many North American places and activities are depicted
The Popular Golden Lion British pub where they hold quizzes and game shows each evening, there is a pianist and the pub lunch is free for passengers every day.
The Empire casino, closed while in port
The stairway map helps you to find where you are going.
This diagram by the lifts shows only 14 of the 23 deck levels. Some are mezzanine decks and others are crew and engine levels
One of the levels of the huge Britannia restaurant.  Breakfast and lunch are open sittings, Dinner is in two sittings. Dinner is in formal dress approximately every third night and smart every other evening. There are several more restaurants to choose from and some more relaxed options on the ship.
The Captain's and Officers' Tables in the Britannia Restaurant
Some of the wines on offer: They say they are mostly priced between $30 to $50 a bottle.
Another view of the Casino showing the slot machines
Paul Clarke, the director of Cunard’s office in South Africa, which is in Johannesburg, helped to lead the media tour. We are in the photo gallery which has concessions behind each of those boards, closed in port.
A model of the ship
The Queen's Room, which Jessica runs, They have a proper ballroom floor as this is where they hold the balls, the crossing of the Line, Neptune Ball, Black and White Ball, New Year’s Ball. They even have dance hosts to dance with ladies travelling on their own. They have bands and an orchestra, they do lectures, dance classes and bingo. And this is where they hold the famous White Star Line Afternoon tea from 3.30 to 5pm
One of the many pieces of art on display and for sale on the ship in the Clarendon Art Gallery
They sell an amazing amount of art on every cruise
The Boston Cup, c.1840. Presented to Sir Samuel Cunard in Boston on the arrival of his first vessel, RMS Britannia
The Royal Court Theatre is larger than many of the West End theatres in London
Illuminations Cinema is also the only floating Planetarium at sea. This is also used for mass in the morning, 3D and other movies and three lectures a day
The dome is lowered over the middle 150 seats and they can see five different half hour programmes.
The makers mark!
And then it was time for lunch
Our menu offered some tempting choices.  Most people went for the crab, as it is such a luxury in Cape Town. We do not have edible local crabs
Red wine was a Syrah from the Pays D’oc in France
We get seated. Our waiters were apparently mostly Filipinos and it was all Silver service, prompt and efficient with a little oriental cheek thrown in for amusement
The white wine was a palatable Sicilian Chardonnay, which went well with the fish and seafood
We both started with the Tian of crab with avocado and tomato vinaigrette. Scrumptious
Lynne chose Halibut for her main course and it was perfectly cooked, set on a Thai purée with lemongrass and topped with shiitake mushrooms. This large North Atlantic / Pacific fish of the flounder family was also a popular choice as we do not get it in South Africa.
John’s choice was the fillet steak with mash, vegetables and a great jus. Yes, Lynne enjoyed the mushrooms on top
Desserts had to be tried. Lynne chose the Passion Fruit Mouse cake with coconut ice cream and a tropical fruit salad. Light and gentle, a great ending to a good meal
Of course, John could not resist the Dark Chocolate Fondant with caramel ice cream and a coffee anglaise
A long walk down the stateroom corridors took us to
the huge library, which is situated right in the front of the ship and has seats with superb views
of the spare propeller blades, the prow of the ship and the port
This is the Todd English restaurant; he is a well known American chef. This restaurant is private and you have to book and pay
His menu with prices
In February, the ship will feature a South African wine tasting on board in the Britannia Restaurant and an Australia vs France wine tasting, something we would love to host and conduct for them in the future.
Then it was time to see the decks with the swimming pools
and hot tubs and just a few passengers not needing to go ashore
Those tall  windows above the deck are the most luxurious suites on the ship, double storey with their own private decks above the pool. There is only one available on the next Transatlantic trip in June should you wish to book. Starts at $18,000 plus per person!
Another swimming pool on a lower deck
Help yourself to a lounger
and a towel
This is the very Informal Kings Court restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day for breakfast lunch and dinner and anything you fancy in between. Not fine dining, but lots of familiar food choices.
Another of the comfortable lounges
Embarrassingly, this is what Cape Town had to offer the passengers, as it was the only catering on offer outside the temporary embarkation tent, while people queued for coaches or taxis.  We SO need to build proper cruise liner reception buildings with facilities. There were three passenger ships in port that day
A full view of this magnificent liner from the other side of the Duncan Dock
We absolutely loved our tour and lunch and send a huge thank you to all involved
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014