Friday, May 23, 2014

140522 Main Ingredient's MENU - A Winter Lunch at Laborie, Mellasat Pop-up restaurant, Braised Fennel

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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Sea Point Beachfront, 6pm, 21st May 2014
In this week’s MENU:
* A Winter Lunch at Laborie
* Mellasat Pop-up restaurant
* Braised Fennel
This week’s Product menu – Sadly, our supermarkets keep a very limited range of vinegars and too many people associate the word with the white spirit vinegar which is only really useful as a cleaning material. We keep a good range of French and Italian vinegars: red & white wine, champagne, shallot, Spanish sherry vinegars and, of course the wonderful Protea Hill Farm raspberry vinegar. See them here.
If you can find it in the supermarket, we don't usually stock it, just the products you would struggle to find.... Check our online shop to see more details and prices.
A Winter Lunch at Laborie     It seems only a week or two ago that we were enjoying Matthew Gordon’s summer menu at Laborie. This week, we and other media were invited to sample his new Winter Menu and one of our number liked it so much, he took his family there two days later for Sunday lunch. We can heartily recommend it and think it is very good value indeed for the quality and quantity of food that you get. We started with a welcome glass of their MCC sparkling Chardonnay, which we seem to consume regularly a) because we like it very, very much and b) because it is also extremely good value. While we were standing around chatting they produced some good canapés: large and tender sweet tempura prawns and tempura slices of avocado, something new and quite interesting, we might try at home. MORE
Mellasat Pop-up restaurant     It is the season for lunches and, while you can partake of the excellent lunch at Laborie all year round, the Pop-up lunches at Mellasat are only every month or so and, should you care to drive Paarl to the next one will be on the 15th and 16th of August. You will need to book (for either lunch or dinner) as these are very popular with the locals. Their address is Mellasat Vineyards, Keerweder Road, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl. Contact them on +27 21 862 4525, Email: The cost is R220 for two courses, R295 for 3. A cheese platter costs R70 per person.
Mellasat bills itself as the home of the original white Pinotage, and Steven Richardson’s wife, Janet, used to be the chef at Fraai Uitzicht in Robertson when Axel Spanholz & Mario Motti  owned it and some of you might be familiar with her good food. We were invited for lunch this Sunday and, despite the N1 being closed due to a nasty accident which necessitated a detour, we arrived just after 1 o’clock for a good repast with some well matched wines. MORE
This week’s Recipe     Fennel is a vegetable rarely found on menus or, we suspect, in peoples’ kitchens and we can’t understand why. This large white bulb, found at the bottom of long stems and feathery leaves, has a gentle aniseed flavour. It is extremely versatile and can be thinly sliced into salads or used in stews. It makes a great creamy soup and is wonderful on its own, gently simmered in a little stock. Lynne often uses it underneath roast chicken to soak up the juices and it has a superb affinity with pork.
If you want to try a simple vegetable recipe for the first time, try this one.
Braised Fennel
1 large fennel bulb, cut into 1 to 2 cm slices down the bulb – 1 T butter or olive oil – 30 ml dry white wine – good vegetable or chicken stock, enough to cover – salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the fennel slices well and dry. Place the butter in a small pot to melt.  Add the fennel and then pour over the wine. Reduce the wine a little to get rid of the alcohol and then just cover in stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer very gently until the fennel is soft.  Serve with roast meat as an accompaniment or as a vegetarian option.  You can add a little thick cream to warm just before serving.
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 and drives the wheels that enable us to produce MENU possible. 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. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen 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 Thursday evenings and she has decided to introduce LCHF (Banting classes). The Kitchen Confidence classes, which focus on essential cooking skills and methods, have been expanded and are now taught over 2 evenings. She continues to host private dining and culinary team building events at her home. She trained with Raymond Blanc, and has been a professional chef for 25 years. More info here

22nd May 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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