Friday, January 30, 2015

150129 Main Ingredient's MENU - Darling, Festivals, Green electric power, Gazpacho

Sunbird agapanthus breakfast
In this week’s MENU:
* This week’s products: Sherry vinegars
* A busy weekend of wine festivals
* Green electricity
* Landau du Val
* This week’s recipe: Gazpacho
* 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.
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      Many Spanish dishes, including the gazpacho we include this week need Spanish Sherry vinegar. We have aged Sherry vinegars, all excellent. Like balsamic vinegars, they increase in concentration as they age. Find them here
High summer and Harvest     Harvest has begun in our winelands and we have guests from overseas. We love taking them on wine tours and sightseeing trips and we do always do the normal round of what to see in the Cape. But did you know that there are several smaller wine areas which don’t get so many visitors and who will make you incredibly welcome. Our guests have been here for a while, so planning a trip to an area they have not visited before was special. Which led us to Darling.
The day began warm and clear and we only took just under the hour to get to Darling on the Malmesbury road. Our first stop was to Ormonde where Zia du Toit welcomed us with open arms and a tasting with Riedel glasses was set up in the cool tasting room. Zia is about to move to Lammershoek as marketing manager and we wish her great success. Read on
It’s a busy weekend     There is so much on in the Cape in Harvest time. None of you should be sitting at home with nothing to do. This weekend, we will be at Riesling & Rarities Rocks at Hartenberg on Saturday and then dash to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which will be holding the second annual Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration and we have been invited to Creation for a vertical tasting in the evening. We will be back in Stellenbosch at Delheim on Sunday for their Start of Harvest Celebration. We might see you at all or some of the above. We can’t get to Constantia Fresh, but wish we could. It is at Buitenverwachting and many other farms have events on – have a look at our Events Calendar. There is also the Stellenbosch Wine Festival to visit this weekend.
Energy is the all-consuming topic right now, with “load-shedding” (Eskom speak for blackouts) inconveniencing everyone. Our power went off from 6.30pm to 2am a few days ago. This situation, the result of government neglect and ineptitude, will probably continue for several years. We are already using gas for cooking and solar energy for our hot water, and have now decided to invest in a photovoltaic system with battery backup, which should reduce our dependence on Eskom to almost nothing. We have several potential suppliers and are waiting for final quotes, but it looks as though the monthly repayment for a suitable installation, financed through our mortgage facility, will cost about the same as our average monthly electricity bill. Many other households have decided to take similar action and the suppliers have all been swamped. One told me he is receiving 400 email enquiries per day. Several wine farms have already taken this step with great success. We’ll keep you posted.
This Week’s Recipe     If you are like us, you are living on salads and quickly prepared food. It is just too hot to be in the kitchen cooking over a hot stove. The fruit is marvellous, we have fresh fruit salad for breakfast every morning and at the moment is has mango, litchi, fragrant raspberries, nectarines, kiwis and melon. Dips with crudités, olives, cheese, grilled fish and meat and cold soups are the order of the (rest of the) day.
Tomatoes are so beautiful at this time of year that one of our favourites is a simple tomato salad using heritage tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, dressed with torn basil, a little balsamic and good green olive oil. The best use of good ripe tomatoes is of course the classic Spanish Gazpacho – I do my prep in a cool place like our deck or in front of TV.
1.5 kilos ripe tomatoes – 2 slices of stale white bread – 2/3rds of a cup of good extra virgin olive oil - 1 peeled cucumber – 1 small red onion – 2 or 3 peeled cloves of garlic - 1 red peppers & 1 green pepper (deseeded) - 2 or 3 T sherry vinegar – salt and freshly ground black pepper – a little sugar
Make a tiny slash on every tomato and put in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover and leave for five minutes. Drain and peel the tomatoes (this is not essential but makes a much better texture). Soak the bread in a little water to soften, then squeeze out the water. Roughly chop up the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and onion and put into a liquidiser with the oil, bread and the garlic and blitz. You may have to do this in a couple of batches and mix well in a bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sherry vinegar and then taste. It depends on how acidic the tomatoes are. You may need more if they are very sweet, you may need a little sugar if they are sharp. Season to taste and put into the fridge in a non-metallic bowl to chill. It will be thick.
To serve
Have approximately 500 ml of ice water ready and add it to the soup just before serving. (You need to add about a third of the quantity of your soup. )
You can garnish (or serve for guests to help themselves) with chopped cucumber and peppers, Spanish ham, crisp bacon, croutons or chopped hard-boiled egg
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.

29th January 2015
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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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