Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Main Ingredient's MENU - Chestnuts, Ayama, Klink Awards, Bosman’s Celebration, Diners Club Winemakers of the Year, La Residence, StreetSmart , Disabled Access, Feta & Spinach Chicken breasts

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Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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The vineyards at La Residence, in the shadow of the Franschhoek mountains

In this week’s MENU:
* Disabled Access to restaurants
* This week’s recipe: Feta and Spinach stuffed Chicken breasts
* Tastings and Festivals
* Learn about wine and cooking
To get the whole of our story, please click onREAD 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      Next week, the USA will celebrate Thanksgiving and if any of you need chestnuts for your turkey stuffing, we have some. And, of course, if you are planning ahead for Christmas, this is a reminder to get them soon as the supply often runs out. We can also get that amazing luxury, Marrons Glacées. And sweetened chestnut purée for Mont Blanc dessert, a lovely alternative to Christmas pudding. See them here
Planting the future on Ayama    Some of the best wines you are drinking contain grapes that are grown in an area called Paardeberg. It is a small but very fruitful area between Durbanville and the back of Paarl Mountain. Although the direct translation is horse mountain, it is believed that it was where Cape Mountain zebra were seen in abundance when the first settlers arrived in the Cape and they mistook them for horses.
Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz bought Slent Farm 10 years ago, renamed it Ayama (a Xhosa word meaning “someone to lean on” – as the owners believe their Slent adventure leans on friendship and love) and have been making their wine and selling their grapes with great success. Now they want to do something different and, last week, we visited the farm to help them plant the first Vermentino grapes in the Cape. And what a fun day they made it. Vermentino which comes mainly from Sardinia and Corsica, is very popular in Italy. We quote “Vermentino is a perfect match for our terroir, which is hot and windy and features mostly clay soils with sandy areas from disintegrated granite. The berries and bunches are large and the grapes are late ripening, all of which fit perfectly with the existing varietals on the farm and the harvesting schedule. ... it produces aromatic white wines which can handle wood and give you a beautifully powerful wine”. We helped to plant it. Read On.....
Klink Awards     Sadly, we could not attend the awards ceremony held last Thursday, as we had previously committed to Ayama. It was held at Silvermist Estate in Constantia.  To see the list of winners, click here
Bosman’s Annual Release Celebration      This was held on Lelienfontein estate in Wellington on Saturday and Sunday. It was a chance to taste all the newly released wines and have a fun day enjoying music, food and the new wines. We had a ball and we really liked the food that was on offer. And yes we did buy some of the new wine. Their new Malbec is wild and sassy and full of lovely soft fruit. And the new Nero d’Avola is dark and sensuous and deep. So some of each came home with us. Read On.....
Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year     The award ceremony was held on Saturday night at an apparently glittering dinner at La Residence. We only made the Brunch list on Sunday, where we were allowed to interview both the winners. Jacques Erasmus of Spier entered his Creative Block 2 2014 dry white wine blend and won Winemaker of the Year and JD Pretorius entered the Steenberg Merlot 2012 and won Young Winemaker of the Year. We know them both well, so it was great to talk to them both about their wines and about what they are going to do with their prizes.
Besides the Trophy, they both won 2 tickets on Delta airlines to San Francisco and five nights accommodation in Napa Valley. Jacque Erasmus won R50 000 and JD Pretorius won R25 000. They are planning to enjoy their trips next September/October when they may be able to take part in a harvest if they can extend their stay. JD has already spent one season there and looks forward to returning to re-establish connections and friendships. Both the Winemaker and the Young Winemaker of the Year qualified with more than one wine – Jacques had two wines in the finals and JD had three, proving that their winemaking skills are consistent and worthy of their awards. JD told us he thought he had won with the 2011 Merlot and was surprised and delighted that it was the 2012 that was awarded the ultimate prize. Read On.....
La Residence     We also took this opportunity to visit the La Residence Manor house to see what it was like. It has been wonderfully decorated and appointed by the owner Liz Biden. It is full of ormolu French furniture, huge Indian glass chandeliers and many paintings. The rooms are spacious and elegant and there is a feeling of opulence, quiet seamless service and relaxation. If you can afford this 5 star boutique hotel, you are in for a peaceful and luxurious stay. Read On.....
StreetSmart Annual presentation of the donations     This year, StreetSmart has raised an impressive R480 000, all from the R5 donation, voluntarily added to your bill, at participating 32 restaurants in some of the major centres in South Africa. Why only 32 restaurants? This was the first time we had been invited to see the presentation of the cheques and they all go to support agencies looking after street children (a constant problem in our country) to get off the streets, get back to their families where possible or to make a better life for themselves. If you are interested in the work that the projects who receive the awards are doing, we have put their website addresses on the blog, so you can read about them and StreetSmart.
One question we want to ask of all our readers and those of you who own or work in restaurants. What is holding you back? Diners: please ask your favourite restaurants why they are not taking part in this worthy effort. Restaurants: please look at the scheme. Every single cent you raise goes to the projects. StreetSmart have other donors who support the administration and running of the charity. Read On.....
Disabled Access to restaurants      A regular reader, who has a disabled husband, has asked us to try to tell readers if the restaurants and farms we visit are friendly to the disabled. We realise we have not recognised this need and want to do this in future but we need your help. Please let us know how you find access in places you go to – we want to know about the good AND the bad. There are rules existing but we do see that even when someone builds a new venue, these rules are being ignored. Perhaps by putting some pressure from their users, we can change things.
Recipe     This is a very simple recipe and quick to prepare. You wrap the stuffed breasts in bacon or smoked ham but if you don’t want to use this, you could just leave on the chicken skin which will act as a barrier to prevent them overcooking. We used Feta with black pepper for extra flavour, you could use herb or any other favourite flavour. If you don’t want to use butter, just add another Tablespoon of oil
Feta and Spinach stuffed Chicken breasts
4 large chicken breasts, skin off – 500g spinach or chard – 150g feta cheese – 1 T oil – 1 T butter – salt and freshly ground black pepper – 2 rashers of bacon for each breast – 2 sprigs of fresh thyme – 100ml water or chicken stock
Cut a deep pocket in each breast and set aside. Wash the spinach well, then chop and cook in a dry covered pan for 5 to 10 minutes until it has softened. The moisture on the wet spinach should be enough to steam it. Drain it well, and then squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop up the feta and add to the spinach, season (taste as the feta is very salty) and mix well . Divide into four portions and stuff into the chicken breasts. Take each rasher and using the back of a knife, stretch it carefully till it lengthens. Then wrap 2 around each chicken breast. Heat your oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and oil in a small frying pan that will go into your oven. Add the thyme leaves. Carefully fry the wrapped chicken breasts for five minutes on both sides. Add the water to the pan and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, then put into your oven for 8 minutes. Be careful of the hot handle when removing. Rest for 5 minutes then serve. We had this with a mixture of sliced fennel, baby carrots and courgettes simmered in stock with a knob of butter till tender. Serves 4.
It is Festival season; we may see you at one or all of these
Wine Concepts will celebrate their thirteenth year of staging their “Finer Things in Life” Champagne Festival with the theme of Ebony & Ivory on Friday, 21st November from 6pm. They will be offering taste bud tantalisers from more than 40 cuvées of premium and boutique French Champagne Houses. Expect names like Taittinger, Piper Heidsieck, Drappier, Mumm, Ruinart, Montaudon, Jacquart, Philipponat and many more. For the price of one bottle of entry level Champagne, R380, you will be able to taste many of the best ‘marques’ in France. There will be a lucky draw, canapés and prizes for the best dressed. This year’s theme is Ebony and Ivory and dress will be smart (and formal if you wish). Tickets from R380.00 if purchased from Wine Concepts stores or online on Tickets will be on sale for R400 at the door on the evening if all the available tickets have not already been sold. Best to make sure beforehand and book at one of the stores or on the internet.
Franschhoek’s “The Magic of Bubbles Cap Classique and Champagne festival will be held this year on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November from 12 to 5 pm in the gardens of the Huguenot Monument. Their theme this year is Parasols and Panama Hats, very suitable for the usually hot weather. Tickets here There is a reduction if you pre-book using a MasterCard.
The Cape Town Festival of Beer Yes, we also like beer. John used to brew at home. and will one day have the time to do so again. Lynne is British, so it’s a given. And Cape Town is having its annual Beer Festival at Hamilton’s Rugby Club on Green Point Common from Friday, 28th November to Sunday 30th. Get your tickets now. This is very popular and gets very crowded, so go early.
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, has a variety of courses. 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.
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

19th November 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.
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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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