Thursday, February 13, 2014

140213 Main Ingredient's MENU - The International Wine and Spirit Competition, Franschhoek Summer Wines, Elgin Tweet up, Saronsberg Lunch at the Cape Grace, Szechuan stir fry

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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Evening on the Sea Point beachfront
In this week’s MENU:
* The International Wine and Spirit Competition
* Franschhoek Summer Wines
* Elgin Tweet up
* Saronsberg Lunch at the Cape Grace
* This week’s recipe:  Szechuan stir fry
Change in the way we present MENU Thank you to all who gave us feedback about the way we are presenting MENU. One pertinent comment was that it was not easy to go back to MENU after reading one of the blogs. We have inserted a "Return to MENU" link at the bottom of each of the related story blogs and it will take you back to the blog version of MENU
This week’s Product menu - Just to remind you that we carry a huge range of unusual spices from all over the world. Lynne has used Szechuan pepper in this week's MENU. We have whole nutmegs, cardamom pods, great Spanish saffron, Za'atar and Sumac from the middle east; pink peppercorns, grains of paradise and many other hard to find spices.  If you can find it in the supermarket, we don't usually stock it, just the ones you would struggle to find... Check our online shop to see more details and prices.
The International Wine and Spirit Competition is held in London once a year and wines from all over the world are entered. First, a contingent of local judges in each country meets to judge the local wines entered into the competition. Their best wines are then sent to London for the large competition. Some of these same judges also go to London to judge international wines. So it was with great enthusiasm that we accepted an invitation to taste the South African wines which won Gold and Silver awards last year and some of the International trophy winners. Click here to see what we tasted and read our feedback.
Franschhoek Summer Wines      Sunday was a lovely day to drive through to Franschhoek for the Franschhoek Summer Wines festival held on the lawns at Leopards Leap The festival started at midday and was extremely well attended. Click here to see our photographs and read about this successful summery festival, the wines and the good food.
Elgin Tweet up      On Tuesday afternoon we took part in a "Tweet up” at Caroline's Fine Wines in central Cape Town. This was done in conjunction with the Elgin Winemakers who were in Elgin, watching the tweets of the media in town and adding their own spin. Iona winemaker Werner Muller was with us in Cape Town to give us local information about soils and climate. Elgin is not especially known for Chardonnay; that needs to change. We all know they produce great Sauvignon Blancs and really superb Pinot Noir. Now the Chardonnays and Shirazes being produced are showing that this area has length and depth with different varietals. We tasted some very, very good Chardonnays from the area, some of which are prize winning wines every year and others you have probably not yet discovered. Yes, the Paul Cluver, Iona, Richard Kershaw and Oak Valley are chardonnays about which we have written enthusiastically in the last year and thoroughly recommended. But have you discovered Almenkerk, Corder, Elgin Vintners, Lothian, Oneiric, Sutherland and Winter's Drift, all of which are worth a look. Click here to see some photos. If you would like to follow us on Twitter, our handle is @mainingmenu. We will be doing more Elgin Tweet Ups in the future and we do regularly tweet at wine and food events we attend.
Saronsberg Lunch at the Cape Grace     On Wednesday we were invited to the Cape Grace Hotel for the first media tasting ever of all of Saronsberg’s wines. Saronsberg’s owner Nick van Huysteen, his wife Mariette and their very skilful, informative and likeable winemaker Dewaldt Heyns have been working successfully together for the last 10 years on the two farms in Tulbagh that make up Saronsberg and they are producing some really exceptional wines. It is a good partnership that works. Dewaldt guided us through a tasting of all the wines and then we sat down to lunch. The hotel also came to the party and, as we have said in the recent past, is producing some great food and is artfully matching that food with the wines. Some of these matches were spot on and it is so exciting to see both complimenting each other in this way. Click here to see what we drank and what we ate.
This week’s recipe is something we eat regularly. This version is quite spicy but not too hot. We use an unsweetened commercial chilli sauce, quite a mild one. We just vary the protein, the vegetables and some of the sauce ingredients. Stir fries are fairly quick to make, but there is a bit of preparation time on the vegetables. If pushed for time, you can buy a pack of prepared stir fry vegetable, sometimes with cooked noodles, from good supermarkets. All you need is some good protein, a little marinating time and a hot wok. You can serve this with noodles or rice or if you are avoiding carbs, this is a very filling dish on its own.
Lynne has noticed that many Chinese recipes add a little corn flour (maizena) to their sauces. She thought it was there to thicken the sauce, but now is convinced that it seems to tenderize meat or chicken. Try the recipe with the corn flour and try it without and see if you think the meat is more tender with it. She is convinced.
Szechuan stir fry
200 to 300g lean pork , beef or chicken breast, sliced thinly across the grain into bite sized strips – 2 T honey – 2 T soya sauce – 1 T medium chilli sauce – 1 T fish sauce – 1 t sesame oil - 2 t corn flour – 1 t Szechuan pepper
Crush the Szechuan pepper in a pestle and mortar and add to the other sauce ingredients. Marinade the meat in this sauce for half an hour while you prepare the vegetable.
You can use a selection of any of these vegetables. The choice is up to you. We often have them in our fridge. Fill a large salad bowl with the selection and you will have enough for four people.
2 carrots, peeled and cut into batons – 2 courgettes, ditto –a cup of bean sprouts – 2 cups of sliced cabbage or bok choi –a red pepper, sliced – mange tout or sugar snap peas – baby corn – spring onions – chopped leeks – broccoli and or cauliflower broken into small ‘trees’ – green beans - a roughly chopped sweet onion – spinach or chard – celery – asparagus – your favourite crisp vegetable
A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped – 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped – 1 T peanut or canola oil
Add the oil to your wok and heat till it is almost smoking . Throw in the ginger and garlic and quickly stir fry for one minute. Add the meat and stir fry till browned on all sides and then add all the vegetables and the rest of the marinating sauce. Stir fry until they are just cooked but still crisp, then serve. This all takes less than five to 10 minutes. The sauce will coat everything.
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. Nad├Ęge 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

13th February 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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