Thursday, February 26, 2015

150226 Main Ingredient's MENU - Kalk Bay fish & chips, Franschhoek Cellar, Beer batter

Take Off and Landing...
In this week’s MENU:
* The 2015 AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction
* 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.
A day by the Sea with Fish and Chips     The Cape has so many wonderful places to visit we find we do unwittingly neglect some of them and rather take them for granted.  We have not been to visit the seaside ports on the other side of the peninsula for at least three years and thought it was time.  So on a lovely Saturday last week we took along some friends and had a marvellous day out in Kalk Bay and Simonstown.  Read on
The Franschhoek Cellar New Venue Launch      The Franschhoek Cellar is a familiar landmark as you enter Franschhoek but how many of us have actually visited it?   DGB (Douglas Green Bellingham) produce, wholesale and distribute wines and spirits including familiar names like Boschendal, Bellingham, & Douglas Green, acquired this winery several years ago and MD Tim Hutchinson was keen for them to redevelop this iconic building as a tasting, function and sales venue to compliment the winery.
They have much improved the outside facilities as well.  On Monday night we drove through to Franschhoek for the launch of The Venue. Read On
The 2015 AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction, which took place on Saturday 14th February, ascended to new heights when an astounding R10.565 million was raised for education in the Cape Winelands, achieving a significant 50% increase on the R7.045 million raised at the inaugural 2014 Auction. The entire proceeds of the 2015 Auction, without offset or deduction, will go to the Auction beneficiaries, charities actively involved with education, from infancy to adulthood, across the Western Cape. For more information, see
This week’s recipe: Beer Batter for Fish
This makes very crisp and crunchy batter with a flavour when making deep-fried fish or battered seafood or vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper but you can add other spices and herbs according to your taste, even paprika – smoked or sweet, chilli, garlic powder, etc.
If you don’t want to use beer you can use soda water instead.  Make sure they are ice cold.
Canola oil for frying - 285 ml Bottle of cold beer - 225g cups self raising flour, plus more for dusting - seasoning to taste
Season whatever you are going to batter first, and then set aside. This helps to remove moisture.
Heat your oil to 190°C this is one of the secrets of this dish.   Whisk the beer, flour, and seasoning together until it resembles thick double cream and use immediately.  Dust the food with a little flour to stop the batter sliding off, then dip into the batter a piece at a time and slide carefully into the hot oil. You need to fry just a few things at a time.  Fry for approximately 4 minutes until the batter is beautifully crisp and golden. Serve immediately. Always improved by a good slice of lemon to squeeze over the dish and, if fish, with some tartare sauce.  This batter is enough for four servings of fish.
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.

26th February 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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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Opening of the refurbished Franschhoek Cellars tasting and entertainment facility

The Franschhoek Cellar is a familiar landmark as you enter Franschhoek but how many of us have actually visited it?  DGB (Douglas Green Bellingham) produce, wholesale and distribute wines and spirits including familiar names like Boschendal, Bellingham, & Douglas Green, acquired this winery several years ago and MD Tim Hutchinson was keen for them to redevelop this iconic building as a tasting, function and sales venue to compliment the winery.

 They have much improved the outside facilities as well. On Monday night we drove through to Franschhoek for the launch of The Venue. We have to say that one think we don’t like is functions that start at 5.30 in the winelands, as we then spend nearly 2 hours stuck in going home traffic, which is what happened on Monday. It makes for a very long evening
Two new very impressive cut steel logo boards with steel candle braziers flank the front door. This is now a very impressive venue
It was a gathering of the great and good of Franschhoek
Beautifully planted garden areas flank the ‘Platform’ covered area which is suitable for functions and the central walkway. There are plans to enclose in the Platform area to make it weather proof and more comfortable in the winter months
The view down towards the gazebo, lovely for wedding ceremonies in the garden
Guests included Chef Chris Erasmus of Foliage, his restaurant Manager Lee-Ann Fouché and Hein Koegelenberg, CEO La Motte Estate and Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards
A good band with a Latin flavour played throughout the evening
On offer on arrival was the Franschhoek Cellar MCC Brut rose, caramel popcorn and rather messy Jaffles stuffed with bobotie, something we haven’t had for a couple of decades
After about an hour we moved inside. The colourful Brampton Wine Studio inside the front door also had music.
The tasting area filled with busy servers
Up a short flight of steps into the Main tasting room which is divided into four areas. Here we stood around for quite a while and enjoyed some of the Franschhoek chenin or sauvignon blanc on offer. There was also a rosé and Brampton red wine. You can do chocolate or cheese and wine pairings; they serve cakes and you can buy wine
This is The Venue all set up for the function. If you book it they supply tables, linen, cutlery, crockery & chairs. It has its own entrance and loos
Filling glasses for the guests in the tasting room
This was the best canapé of the evening. Small toasts topped with brie and pickles & artichokes
Winnie Bowman CWM, Jenny Prinsloo, Head of Franschhoek Tourism and Allister Rogan, director of Graham Beck Enterprises
Jacques Roux, Marketing Director of DGB, was the MC for the evening
The cocktail party in full swing while we wait to sit down for the speeches
The snacks for supper. It was “retro” party food and I am being kind. Small hamburgers 
and rather dry chicken on toothpicks
Baby meatballs and tomatoes
Spring rolls
Cheese on sticks, all that was missing was the melon to stick them into

Jacques Roux begins the speeches by telling us of the line up of speakers
Carla, Malherbe Marketing Manager for Franschhoek Cellars, told us in detail about what they have planned
The party snacks were laid out on tables for guests to help themselves. In the background is the line up of staff who work at the Franschhoek Cellar as they were introduced to us
The Executive Mayor of the Stellenbosch Municipality, his Honour Conrad Sidego, was there to give a blessing to the Cellar. His speech was inspiring and interesting. He said that the heart of the wealth in our wines is in this community. And he wants to turn this valley (which stretches from Wellington through Paarl and Stellenbosch to Franschhoek) into the Innovation Capital of South Africa in wine, cuisine and tourism. He said: “Although SA faces huge challenges, this valley can do it. We have had 21 years of the New South Africa, it was a promissory note. When will we deliver? “ he asked. The wine industry must do its part. He hopes that the directors of DGB are a blessed bunch and that they will deliver to the winning nation and continue to show sensitivity to the environment in which they operate.
CEO of DGB Tim Hutchinson thanked the Mayor and told us about how DGB was progressing with Franschhoek Cellars, and its other properties. He introduced and thanked the architect of this project Ernst Zieman, Operations boss at Boschendal. He told us of the charities they support: the Andrew Murray Orphanage in Wellington, and the Fair to All Project which has a truck fitted out with 32 computers and a library that circulates to needy schools in the winelands. They plan to have 3 to 4 more soon but need help from the wealthy to fund them.
John Gnodde, an Executive Director of Brait
And finally chocolates and coffee in the Bernhard Premium lounge on the way out, where we were presented with a generous gift bag containing coffee, a bottle of Franschhoek Cellars red wine and a chopping board.
Lynne chatting to Boschendal Cellarmaster, JC Bekker
The Bernard Premium lounge. We arrived home at 11.30 pm
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

A day by the Sea with Fish and Chips in Kalk Bay and Simonstown

The Cape has so many wonderful places to visit. We find that, unintentionally, we neglect some of them and rather take them for granted. We have not been to visit the seaside ports on the other side of the peninsula for at least three years and thought it was time. So on a lovely Saturday last week, we took along some friends and had a marvellous day out in Kalk Bay and Simonstown

A church in Kalk Bay that has been turned into the local theatre
We needed refreshment and our friend Anne, visiting from Australia, wanted to visit an old haunt, The Brass Bell. We were not impressed at all by the state of the place, it needs a lot of TLC and they do seem to have commandeered half of the beach and the tidal pools, leaving rather small space for the locals or visitors to enjoy the beach
Off to the harbour to see what was for lunch
A fishing boat had just arrived with a large catch of mackerel. Not a fish the locals know very well; we see them canned more often than fresh
Bright and shiny and fresh from the sea, they are sold in threes
The harbour seals were vying for heads and entrails
We didn’t have a booking for anywhere and most of the upmarket restaurants were full, so we decided to try an old standard for the first time. Kalkies is on the dockside and this is the menu. Very good prices for very fresh sea food. It is now on our list of places not to miss. Certainly the locals patronise this place a lot
Rules, damn rules. We certainly didn’t see anyone sleeping on the tables in this busy vibey place. And, sadly for the men in the party, no bare chest undress
This must go down as the bargain of the month! R25 usually buys you a sandwich, if you are lucky. We did see a couple eating the Crayfish too, but they had one and a half rather small crayfish for their R160
Another menu, showing what was available on the day
Inside, out of the wind
We chose outside for the fresh air
Basic, but it works for them - no washing up
The friendly and very efficient “front desk”, where you order and pay. Food is then delivered to you via a number system. We were amazed at how quickly we were brought our food
Our waitress was a real character, full of fun, amusing quips and fast comebacks. She really took to our friend Ronnie. She told us she had been there 20 years, so Lynne said she must have started at 6 years of age. “No, two” was the fast riposte! And when we asked what was for dessert, she said “Cake... fish cake!”
Most of us ordered the hake, calamari and chips. Crisp batter and superbly fresh fish, cooked to perfection. The calamari were tender, but you need to eat them while they’re hot. The chips were a mix of crisp and some ‘slap’ – barely cooked - the way most Capetonians love them. We just don’t get this, why would you like flobby chips, but they do, slathered in vinegar and salt
We also had two portions of Greek salad
It is still very much a working harbour for the fishermen
Opportunistic redwing starlings are everywhere, grabbing what they can find
The fat harbour seal knows that if he poses on the dock he might get fed fish scraps by the tourists. Do approach with caution though
There are the usual souvenir stands all around the harbour and we liked the meerkat carvings, something we hadn't seen before
Then it was off to visit historic Simonstown, our Naval base, full of unused Naval ships and Victorian houses
We were in need of a coffee and some cake and found this nice place called Monocle and Mermaid
It had a rather familiar looking interior for those of you who remember our Main Ingredient shop in Sea Point
So we sat down to enjoy slices of some flourless chocolate cake, a slice of red velvet cake and some Florentines for those of us who don’t like cake that much. And the coffee is really good
Time to head home
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015