Saturday, January 24, 2015

150124 Main Ingredient's MENU - Laborie, Franschhoek, Food Barn, Vinpro, Kofta Kebabs

Early morning shadows on a road between the vines at Laborie in Paarl
In this week’s MENU:
* This week’s products:
* This week’s recipe: Kofte kebabs
* Learn about wine and cooking
We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit.
This is the first MENU of 2015. Several of our readers have written to ask why there has been no word from us since before Christmas. There has been very little activity in that time and we took a break to do some much-needed maintenance to our rather neglected home.....
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      We hear a lot from some quarters about “the Mediterranean Diet”, but they don’t make it clear which part of the Mediterranean they mean. This week’s recipe originated in the north-east corner of the Med, but we thought that some of the delights of the south-west corner also fit our summer lifestyle. We can supply Moroccan delicacies like argon oil, rose water, orange blossom water, ras al hanout and preserved lemons and another useful ingredient from just across the Pillars of Hercules is Spanish smoked paprika. Find them here.
Laborie - From the deck      We were invited to Laborie to stay in the newly refurbished three bedroom, self-catering Jonkershuis this week and, while we were there, we discovered that Laborie’s motto “Where good things abound” is so true. The house is beautiful, spacious, cool and supplied with everything could want if you are inclined to self cater, its own private terrace and access to the pool next door. But, of course should you care not to, Laborie offers all sorts of options.
On the tasting room deck, we look out at the dark green of the burdened vines, the mid-morning heat rises and the harvest has begun. All one can hear is the hum of bees and cicadas in the vines and the cooing of a dove in the distance. So what is on offer? A tailored wine tasting of 5 wines, Bubbly with macaroons; a wine and chocolate pairing or would you like to do it with biltong? ... Read on...
Onward to Franschhoek      John has a booking for a large tour party in February, who will start their tour in Franschhoek and we wanted to recce some of the places he will be taking them. The first is Chamonix, where we were delighted to find winemaker Gottfried Mocke, preparing for harvest in a day or two. He gave us a tour of the wine cellar and a tasting of his 2014 Chardonnay, made in an oxidised style in one of his ceramic egg fermenters, two delicious Cabernet Francs - one matured in barriques and one in a large vat - and a classic Pinotage, all from the tanks, where they await bottling in the next few days. We suspect there may be some winners in that group. They were all 2013. Read on...
La Bri      We had an invitation a while ago to visit La Bri, from GM/winemaker Irene Waller, so this was a good time to go and to congratulate her on her recent engagement. She gave us a tour of their very full & busy wine cellar, currently bottling and labelling and getting ready for this year’s harvest. We had a walking tour of the vineyards to see how all the grapes were doing, inspect the new trellising controls, where the canopy management gives the grapes more sun and see the soil conditions. Then it was back to the tasting room for an extensive and very informative tasting of whites and reds
We began with the 2012 Chardonnay, which is golden with hints of smoke and lime-lemon marmalade crispness. It will benefit from still more time in the bottle in your cellar. The 2013 is perfumed with golden berries and is lovely. Next was the Cellar Door Blend of 50/50 Chardonnay and Viognier. Full of melons and peaches on the nose, it’s a terrific food wine, with a lovely blend of crisp acidity from the Chardonnay and white peach softness from the Viognier. Her 2013 Viognier is in the restrained elegant style we like; Cape gooseberries and quince on the nose with some nectarine and nice lean crispness, with lees showing first and then, later, ripe fruit appears. Then it was time to taste the red wines. Read on...
Landau du Val      We had made an appointment to go to Landau du Val that afternoon because we wanted to meet owner Basil Landau and taste his renowned Semillon. Basil is legendary and is as charming and interesting as people told us he was. He told us all about the farm’s history while we tasted. He bought the farm in 1986 when there was very little interest in the area and has restored the property very sympathetically. He also grows Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Pinotage but sells that and only vinifies the Semillon from an historic Semillon vineyard, planted in 1905. There is also a 25 year old vineyard. Landau de Val produces a classic French style Semillon, which has mutton fat on the nose and a full mouth of honeyed fruit, which is steely dry with lemons, limes and complex layers. Read on...
Nedbank VinPro Information Day     We spent Thursday this week at this annual wine industry conference at the CTICC. There were some very interesting presenters, some very amusing, some extremely informative and some left a little bit to be desired. The South African wine industry is contributing R38 Billion to the economy and is the 6h largest wine producing country in the world. We were told this in a riveting presentation, drilling down into what the SA Economy has been doing by Nedbank Economist Nicky Weimar. She made many things very clear and easy to understand in a very entertaining way.
We learnt from Minister Alan Winde that tourism is the best performing centre in the Western Cape, bringing in R18 Billion a year with 6.8% growth and 7.8% job growth – all very positive, but we need to sustain this. Primary Agri grew 3.2% but jobs only 3.4%. Agri Processing added R12 billion to the economy but grew only 1.8%. However, employment in the sector grew by 7.7%, which is excellent.
We need to focus on overseas marketing especially in markets we have not yet conquered like USA, China and Japan, said Jancis Robinson, who told us that the ‘Geek’ overseas market is drinking wine made from rare and unusual varieties (some of which we are already growing) and that we are not in the right price bracket for wine to get taken seriously, we need to charge more, and she is confident about the UK market for SA wine. It seems more people are buying wine on line or from smaller select shops than from the powerful supermarkets who drive prices down and damage our industry. Bulk wine is a concern. Read on...
Buitenverwachting     We have overseas visitors here this month (and in February and March) and we take them to places we know they will like. We dropped in to Buitenverwachting in Constantia last week and had a lovely tasting of their Sauvignon Blancs. Everyone in the party loved the Hussey’s Vlei and we discovered that they currently have stock of both the 2009 and 2011 vintages of this wine at the same price as the current vintage 2013 (R100 a bottle). These wines are excellent, extremely good value and we think the 2009 is showing beautifully. Winemaker Hermann Kirschbaum also gave us a bottle of his 2012 which he thinks is the best wine he has ever made, so we have had some lovely meals with these beautiful wines. Do go and try them while they still have stock, they are only available in the tasting room
The Food Barn     After Buitenverwachting, we found our way to Noordhoek, where we had booked lunch at Franck Dangereux’s restaurant. We are fans of his cooking and he uses locally sourced ingredients, cooked with a French influence. The meal was really delicious. See what we ate here
To Agter Paarl and beyond to Vondeling and Ayama      Over the Christmas break we made a couple of visits to the winelands. We took our tour guide friend Terry who lives in Greece for a day trip to Agter Paarl and beyond, to Vondeling. Read on...
This week’s recipe      This was inspired by braais we had over the Christmas break.. It was not a happy period for us as our best beloved cat Hamish was diagnosed with kidney disease and departed this life just after New Year. Lynne could not get her head around entertaining or cooking much, so she just did easy dishes and thinks you will like this kebab recipe. These are made with minced, spiced meat and formed into long sausage shapes on the skewer and are popular in Turkey and the Levant. You can use lamb mince or beef. You can add Tzatziki as a sauce but we are not keen on cucumber so Lynne invented a mint yogurt and avocado cooling sauce. They are served with a salad.
Kofte kebabs
½ kilo finely ground beef or lamb mince – 1 medium grated onion – 6 cloves of garlic, chopped - 2 t sweet paprika – 1 t ground coriander seed – ½ t ground cumin - ½ t cinnamon – ¼ t cayenne pepper - ½ t allspice – ¼ t ground ginger – ¼ cup of chopped flat leaf parsley - freshly ground black pepper and salt
It is better to make this a few hours before so the flavours can meld. Mix everything together with your hands in a large bowl and make sure it is a well mixed and seasoned. You can cook a teaspoon of the mixture to see if the flavours are right. Put covered into the fridge until you need it. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water to prevent them burning. Form the mince meat around skewers to make long sausage like shapes, about 2 to 3 cm thick and about 8 to 9 cm long. You should get about 6 to 8 kebabs from this amount of mince. Grill on a hot open fire for about 4 to 5 minutes each side. You can do these under a grill if you are not barbecuing.
Mint and Avocado Sauce:
1 small tub of plain yoghurt - 1 T freshly chopped mint – half an avocado, peeled and chopped –a squeeze of lemon – salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blitz these together and season to taste. You might like to add another squeeze of lemon juice and more mint to taste. Serve the Kofta on pilau rice and top with the sauce. One or two per person.
After we lost Hamish, we felt that his friend Tom looked a bit lonely, so this little fellow, Rufus Biscuit, came to join us
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
Nad├Ęge 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.

24th January 2015
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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