Thursday, February 19, 2015

150219 Main Ingredient's MENU - Cape Point Vineyards, Dombeya, Rotolabel label design Awards, Bistro 13, Clos de Ciel Chardonnay, Seared tuna

Hout Bay harbour
In this week’s MENU:
* This week’s product: Verjuice
* This week’s recipe: Ponzu Seared Tuna with Sesame
* 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      Verjuice is the juice of unripe grapes, which is used in cooking or as a non-alcoholic drink. The Romans wrote about it; it is as old as history and has been around as long as vines have been grown. Vines need thinning out and, usually, the  excess grapes are wasted. But they can be used to make Verjuice, which is wonderful in soups, stews, gravies, emulsions, sauces, mayonnaise and, mixed with soda water, makes really refreshing crisp summer drink. It is unsweetened.  Find it here
Dombeya      An invitation last week to Dombeya vineyards to take part in a blending competition with members of the other media was quite a draw card, so we were rather disappointed to discover on arrival that this had been cancelled. It seems it was difficult to organise in the middle of harvest, which is understandable. So instead we did vertical tasting of five of the Dombeya Chardonnays and then five Dombeya Shirazes. This was followed by lunch at their Long Table. Read on
Harvest at Cape Point      We needed to call in at Cape Point to book a tour and winemaker Duncan Savage VERY kindly took time out of his busy day to show us some of the new tank samples. Read On
Rotolabel Wine Label Design Award     Wine Magazine has come up with this novel annual competition conducted on line. On Tuesday night at Beau Constantia, we were present at the awards ceremony. There certainly were some controversial, some new and innovative, and some well deserved and long awaited choices amongst the winners. You can see them here for yourself.
There was lots of discussion about what a wine label should contain and there were a couple that had very little information on the label. Is it enough to put just three random words that do not seem to relate to the wine and not inform the buyer what they are buying? As ex-wine retailers we know that customers need to know what is in the bottle, as they will move swiftly on to something with clear information. We would like to see a retail sponsor fund a Retailers Award next year where the retailers can pick the labels they think will (or do), sell the best, one’s that jump out at the buyer.
BlankBottle, the overall winner’s labels were self designed with no input from professional designers. There did seem to be a few noses out of joint about that! And one award winner’s bottles looked as though they were mock-ups with cardboard labels. Read On
Bistro 13 on Stellenbosch Vineyards      The R310 road from the N2 through to Stellenbosch is nearly completed and this will be a huge relief to Nic van Wyk and Roxy Laker as the chaos has lost them and other places along the route customers. This bistro opened last Spring and we were invited to come and see what exciting things Nic and his staff are cooking up. We also managed to taste some of the Stellenbosch Vineyards wines with lunch and a couple in the tasting room afterwards. Read On
To Longridge for the release of their Clos du Ciel (Heavenly vineyard) Single Vineyard Chardonnay      Later that afternoon, we drove to Longridge for the release celebration of this very elegant organic and biodynamic Chardonnay from a nearly 30 year old vineyard originally planted by John and Erica Platter. Longridge have revived the vineyard which contains not one but 9 different clones of Chardonnay – something the French do in Burgundy. 5000 vines were planted incredibly close together so there can be no mechanical farming and everything has to be done by hand. An enormous amount of lime was added to the soil by the Platters to mimic the French growing conditions. John Platter spoke about why they did it and winemaker Jasper Raats told us how he resurrected the vines and made the wine. The vineyard was rented out for several years by the owner after the Platters left the farm and Longridge were then able to hire it. They have taken over the management of the vineyard to restore it to its former glory and to produce this lovely wine in the Burgundian style. Read on

This week’s recipe      We have so enjoyed the fresh tuna this season and wanted to give you an easy way to cook it. Do make sure that the tuna you buy is pink, not dark black in colour – that is old and mistreated tuna and is not worth eating. Sadly, that is what we have seen in some large supermarkets.
Fillets should be 2.5 to 3cm thick. Ponzu sauce is a Japanese citrus flavoured soya sauce, it’s amazing with sashimi. You can use sushi soy and add a good squeeze of lemon juice, if you cannot find it.
We like a mix of black and white sesame seeds, they look very attractive, but white on its own works well.
Ponzu Seared Tuna with Sesame
4 Fresh Tuna fillets – 3 T Ponzu soya sauce - 3 T sesame seeds – a few drops of sesame oil – 1 T canola oil – lemon wedges
About 15 minutes before you cook the tuna, pour over the Ponzu sauce and allow it to marinade for a few minutes. Heat your frying or griddle pan till nice and hot. Remove the fish from the Ponzu and sprinkle some sesame oil on one side. Pat on a thick coating of sesame seeds to that side. Put the canola oil in the pan and then put the tuna, sesame side down into the pan and sear for a few moments. Turn once and sear on the other side. We like it just seared, you might like it done a bit more, but if you cook it through it will be tough and dry. Serve with more Ponzu, a slice of lemon or lime, a good green salad and an avocado salsa.
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.
19th February 2015
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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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