Friday, July 18, 2014

140717 Main Ingredient's MENU - The Black Sheep, Eating vegetarian, Aubergine curry

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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A lonely yacht on the calm but sparkling Knysna lagoon – a monochrome colour photograph*
In this week’s MENU:
* The Black Sheep
* Eating vegetarian
* Tastes of... nostalgia
* Cooking tip
* This week’s Recipe: Aubergine curry
* Food and wine (and a few other) events for you to enjoy
* Learn about wine and cooking
To get the whole of our story, please click on READ ON..... at the end of each paragraph, which will lead you to the related blog, with pictures and more words. At the end of each blog, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to the blog version of MENU.
This week’s Product menu – Remember, if you are thinking of doing Christmas in July, that we stock delicious French pâtés as well as Duck confit in tins. This is also essential for cassoulet, that wonderful warming winter meal in one pot. You are also left with quite a lot of duck fat for those roast potatoes or Banting recipes.  And we can get you the white coco beans. We also have chestnuts for your stuffing......... See them all here
This has, thankfully, been a nice relaxed week for us after all the recent travel, so we have been spending time, mostly incommunicado, at home, tidying and fixing up all those little boring but essential things that need doing: putting up shelves, repairing things and doing masses of washing. And Lynne has had a chance to cook again and is quite inspired, but in a different way, see below.
The Black Sheep      We have had very good reports of this restaurant in Upper Kloof Street and decided to treat ourselves to lunch there this week. We know the chef and owner Jonathan Jaftha from his sojourn at Fork in Long Street and liked his food there very much, so we were curious to see what he is doing with free rein in his own restaurant. We were delighted to know that you don’t have to book for lunch (you absolutely do for dinner) and that means, in a cold and miserable winter, that they are obviously doing very well indeed and we believe that they deserve to. The front of the restaurant is open to the street on fine days and we were there on one of those wonderful clear, sparkling days that we enjoy so much in the winter - unlike today, which is cold, wet and miserable!
We had a chat to Jonathan after lunch and he explained that the lunch menu – which is on a blackboard - is quite short and simple, while the dinner menu is much more detailed and complex. You can check out their menu on line. It is easy to find but parking, as is usual in that area, can be a challenge and you will have to sort out a parking person, often unofficial. We took a sample bottle of rosé wine from Lithos which the owner/winemaker Tim Hoek gave us to try at the Knysna Wine Festival. We were happy to pay the R50 corkage. Their wine list is fairly comprehensive, with nothing below R140, which is a little steep for some of the wines on offer. The restaurant was quite full and many of the people were talking business over lunch. Lynne ordered the pulled pork sandwich and John the beer battered Fish and Chips. Each of us ate half and then swapped plates, as we often do, so that we can each taste both dishes.. READ ON.....
Eating vegetarian      When we came home from our latest trip to Knysna, we realised that we had indulged a bit and both of us had picked up a kilo or two. Lynne has had us on a purely vegetarian diet this week and the kilos have come back off quite quickly. The Banting lifestyle suits us and, yet, we are not eating huge amounts of protein or fat. The best thing is that it is centimetres that are coming off. We have each lost 10 cm around our middles since March and that means that the core fat, which is so dangerous, is reducing. And (hope we are not tempting fate here) neither of us has had a cold or flu this winter. Yes, we do religiously have the flu jab every March, but it seems that this healthy way of eating is keeping us fitter than we were. We don’t usually take supplements, but are now taking a capsule of Omega 3 a day. We still have a plate of fresh fruit for breakfast, John adds a third of a cup of his home-made muesli, made from raw oats, seeds and nuts. This is what we have always done, but then it is Banting for the rest of the day. We finish off the day with two squares of dark chocolate, our daily ‘treat’, unless a pudding rears its head when we are invited out or are entertaining. If you are Banting you might like to use the following as inspiration:
We started on Monday. Lynne made a savoury butternut soup – John hates it sweetened with anything (he says that most butternut soups are far too sweet) and she added a few biltong crumbs on serving. We had the rest on Tuesday night with a grating of strong English cheddar cheese on top. Both worked extremely well. She has also made the tomato egg custard twice, the second time, she doubled the tomato puree, cream and the cheese and had a completely different result. The first attempt was like a frittata, really puffed up and tasted very eggy, the second was more like an egg custard but, next time, she would put it in a Bain Marie and reduce the cooking heat to get more of a set custard. It is one of those foods that tastes better lukewarm than hot. We have also been having very good mixed salads, which include batons of raw rutabaga which we bought in Sedgefield. Last night, we had friends for supper and she made a salmon and avocado tartare, flavoured with Ponzu and lime as our starter, then a mixed salad, an Aubergine curry with pilau rice and yes, a wicked indulgence, as our friends are not Banting, bread and butter pudding made from a chocolate panettone, flavoured with amaretto liqueur. Sooo good for the cold weather. We drank some interesting, aged, 1990 KWV Pinotage, but Lynne thought the 2009 Gabrielskloof Shiraz went much better with the spicy tomato in the curry. John believes that Pinotage needs to age and most is too young. This was given to us by Mike Mills from his cellar at the Belvidere Manor Hotel in Knysna. It was quite like an aged Burgundy, with subtle berry fruit.
Tastes of... nostalgia     Lots of us have things we absolutely hate to eat, but sometimes it is just a taste we dislike. John loves fresh orange juice but absolutely loathes chocolate flavoured with it. Lynne loves good coffee but hates anything flavoured with it. Do you remember the old selection of chocolates in the Black Magic chocolate box? Lynne’s favourite Aunt May used to work for the MD of Imperial Cold Storage and, every Christmas, she was presented with a huge box with many layers, which lasted the family into the New Year. The coffee chocolates were always the ones left in the box. Whatever happened to these superb dark chocolates? We bought a small box a couple of years ago and didn’t recognise any of the flavours, they were not at all pleasant and we haven’t seen them for a while. Remember the shattery butterscotch? ... the hazelnut whirl, the truffle, the Turkish delight, the enrobed brazil nut, the creamy toffee, the Montelimar? (hard centres were favoured in our household). And even the strawberry and orange creams. We need these brought back; there is not enough good dark chocolate in the world.
Cooking tips      It is extraordinary, but Lynne is still learning cooking methods at her late age. She regrets that it has taken so long to find out that you can freeze fresh ginger, which has become very expensive, and she has discovered that grating it frozen, without peeling, is a complete doddle. She used to keep it in the fridge where it went mouldy, because she only uses it a couple of times a month. Now she freezes it. Do try it.
This week’s Recipe: Aubergine curry
This is Lynne’s take on a popular Indian curry which we often eat when we’re out.
750 g aubergine – salt – 1 to 2 T canola oil – 2 large onions, chopped – 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped - 5 cm of grated fresh ginger – 400 ml tin of chopped tomatoes – 2 green chillies, chopped – sugar – salt and freshly ground black pepper – 4 T sour cream or yogurt
Spices: 1 t black mustard seed – 1 ½ t turmeric – 6 cardamom pods, crushed, discard the outer shells – ½ t chilli flakes – 1t cumin seeds – 1 t fennel seeds – 2 t ground coriander
Slice the aubergine into 2 cm thick slices, then salt them and leave them in a colander to drip for half an hour. Fry the onion in the oil for a minute, add a little salt, the garlic and the ginger, stir, turn down the heat and cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes until the onions are soft, but not browned. Add the spices, stir to toast them a little, then add the tomatoes and chillies, salt and pepper and 400 ml of water. Use the can as a measure. Simmer for about half an hour. Add a little sugar if the tomato is very acidic.
Rinse the salt off the aubergine and pat the slices dry. Cut them into 3 to 4 cm pieces. Take a frying pan or a ridged griddle pan  and dry fry the aubergine slices till they begin to brown, but not burn, on all sides. If they stick, just wipe the surface with a little oil. You may need to do this in batches. Add them to the tomato sauce and make sure that everything is covered, add more water if the sauce has thickened. Simmer for half an hour or until the aubergine is soft and melting. Adjust the seasoning, add the cream or yoghurt and serve with boiled basmati or saffron pilau rice.
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 type of event 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 list of wine and food pairing dinners, list of Special events with wine and/or food connections, list of Wine Shows and Tastings and list of special dinner events. All the events are listed in date order and we 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
The Hurst Campus, an accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, will soon start a new series of short courses in baking. Check the ad in our blog page or see the details here
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here.
In addition to the new Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here
Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek 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

17th July 2014
*Photographed with Nikon D5100/Nikkor 55-300mm lens at 300mm – 1/125th at f29 – for the geeks out there!
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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 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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