Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This Week's MENU - Swiss wines, Signal Gun, Hartenberg, Bastille Day, Raath Trade show, Kyoto Garden


A last look at ancient Greece. A temple being restored in Corinth
In this week’s MENU:
* Sampling Swiss Wines      
* Spicy Moroccan Cous Cous
* 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 story with photographs, please click on “Read 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.
We conclude our Greek Odyssey this week with our last days in Greece, where we tasted some wines in Nemea, the area which, we were told, is exciting major wine writers worldwide and then the mini marathon back to Cape Town.
This has been a very busy and very social week, with lots of good food and mostly good wine. The weather has been so mixed that it's hard to remember sometimes that it’s mid winter. when you get a sunny and warm day like Friday, when the temperature reached 24ºC, and then we get one of our huge storms on Sunday and the temperature dropped so low (5.5 degrees early this am) and we have snow on the high mountains today. But, at last, we have some of the rain that the farms have been so desperate for. Not enough yet, but hopefully this el Nino year will provide more.
Sampling Swiss Wines      Lynne belongs to a group called Women in Wine and, through their Facebook site, we learned of the visit of a group of Oenology students from Changins – Haute Ecole de viticulture et œnologie, in Geneva who are here on an exchange visit. They had brought some wines from the different cantons and wine wards in Switzerland and were keen to share them at a tasting with people in the wine industry. Lynne, having skied in Switzerland a few times in the past, is familiar with some of these wines but was very keen, as was John, to see what they are producing now. We took along two bottles of good SA wine for the students to taste and an evening of exchanging wine culture and fun ensued. Read on....
John goes off with a big bang on Safari in Durbanville     We were invited this week to visit one of the Durbanville farms, Signal Gun, which we were not at all familiar with, so we jumped at the opportunity. They have a small game farm with some very unusual animals - we saw emu on the way in, wildebeest at the top of the hill - and we have been invited back to do a game drive, as it was too muddy on the day we were there. They have a new craft brewery, so we tasted two of their new beers, had a wine tasting and ate some pizza from their restaurant Ke-Monate (seSotho for "That’s nice"). But the highlight of the day was the firing of the cannon. And John drew the lucky straw... Read on....
Lovely lunch at Hartenberg wine estate     We go to Hartenberg several times during the year for their Shiraz and their Riesling Rocks festivals and for their summer picnics but, this time, we were asked to come and sample their winter menu at their restaurant. We arrived at 11, had a marvellously long and chatty wine tasting and then an excellent lunch and left at nearly 4! We can say unreservedly that you should go and try it out. It's a small menu but has something for everyone. There is also a good tasting menu. We were lucky and sat outside in the sunshine but, should the weather change, you can move inside to the restaurant/tasting room and sit by the roaring fire. Read on....
Vive la France at the Bastille Festival in Franschhoek     This is one of the unmissable festivals and, despite heavy rain and a chilly winter day, we donned our blue, white and red clothing on Sunday and went to enjoy the festival in the tent at the Huguenot Monument. Read on....
Raath Trade Wine Tasting at The Village Idiot      On Monday afternoon, we attended the Raath Promotions trade tasting at a venue new to us, The Village Idiot in Loop Street. The Raaths act for some great and good wine farms like Bouchard Finlayson, Teddy Hall, Beaumont, Sterhuis, Van Loveren and Boland Kelder amongst others and we could taste several of them, including some exciting new releases. Read On....
Japanese taste sensations at Kyoto Garden     After these trade tastings which usually end at 8 pm we need supper so when we were asked by Scott Wood to come and taste some of his delicious Japanese food at Kyoto Gardens this seemed like the perfect time to go. We have been there recently for the Japanese Whisky tasting and a year or so ago we reviewed the restaurant but he has changed the menu and wanted us to sample some of the new and old offerings. We love good Japanese food, and this is where you get it. And we didn't eat any sushi, although they do make good sushi. We had sweet scallops, huge tender prawns, wild Japanese mushrooms, seaweed, seared tuna, hibachi grilled octopus and many other delicious ingredients and dishes Read on....
This week's recipe      We love Moroccan food with its different spice profiles and, this week, Lynne made some Moroccan chicken, covered in a Ras al Hanout spice mix and roasted in the oven. To go with this, she made some spicy cous cous. This recipe is for 2, but you can double it up for four or more people and it goes quite a long way. The recipe takes quite a lot of pre-preparation, but cooking it takes only a few minutes. And, as a meal, it can be served without the chicken to vegetarians, as it is quite substantial.
Spicy Moroccan Cous Cous
1 onion, finely chopped - 1 clove of garlic, chopped - 1 T olive or canola oil - 1 aubergine, in small cubes - 1 courgette, in small cubes - 1 red pepper or some jarred roasted red peppers (pepperoni) in small cubes - 1 cup of butternut , in small cubes - 1 T pine nuts or flaked almonds or a mixture of both - 2 t Ras al Hanout - 500 ml stock (vegetable or chicken) - 5 dates, stoned and chopped - half a tin of chick peas, drained - 1 cup of cous cous - salt and freshly ground black pepper - 3 spring onions, chopped - 1 T fresh coriander or mint, roughly chopped. Optional: preserved lemon and/or rose water
Do all the preparation of the vegetables and have them ready and waiting in small bowls. Salt the aubergine and leave it to sweat for about 15 minutes, then wash off the salt and dry it off. Dry roast the nuts in a small pan and set aside.
In a large table-ready casserole, fry the onions and the garlic for a few minutes until transparent, then add the aubergine and continue to fry until it and the onions are beginning to colour. Then add the courgette, red pepper and butternut and fry together for five minutes. Then add the Ras al Hanout spice and temper it in the pan with the vegetables. Pour on the stock and bring the pot to the boil. Add the dates and the chickpeas, and then the cous cous. Bring it back to the boil, let it simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover and leave it until the cous cous has absorbed all the liquid and swelled. Fluff with a fork, taste and adjust the seasoning. As you serve it, sprinkle on the nuts, the coriander or mint and the spring onions. You can serve this with chopped preserved lemon and a small sprinkle of rose water.
COMING EVENTS:
Friday, 24th July at 19h00  Italian Dinner at Ottimo Cibo. Nikki Booth spends many weeks a year at her home in Orvieto, understands Italian cooking deeply and passionately, and put Caroline Rillema and her together at one table and you have a veritable feast of food and wine. One long table in Nikki’s magnificent home setting in Bishopscourt sets the scene for a 4-course meal served with (all top end single-vineyard) Gavi, Barbaresco, Barolo; then Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and the most sublime Moscato d’Asti you can imagine. R900 p/p all included. At 15 Winchester Avenue, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. To book, please fill in the booking form.
Saturday 25th July   Winelands Chocolate Festival at Lourensford Wine Estate. A culinary celebration of the best in the South African Chocolate Industry. The Winelands Chocolate Festival exhibitors list is growing daily, check back regularly to find out who’s exhibiting and what confections and cocoa concoctions will be on display. Book your tickets. View detailed flyer HERE (PDF)
Saturday, 25th July, 10h30 until 16h00  Mini Port Festival at Muratie Estate, in conjunction with Juvenal Corks. Cost: R100 per person including a tasting glass. Due to limited space, visitors are advised to book in advance. Telephone: 021 865 2330 or Email: info@muratie.co.za
Wednesday, 29th July, 17h00 to 21h00     Caroline's Annual Red Wine Review  at the Table Bay Hotel @ R200 p/p which includes a crystal tasting glass & programme. Bookings open at Computicket now (no bookings through shop)
Thursday, 30th and Friday, 31st July, 17h00 to 21h00 FNB Free State Wine Show at Emoya Hotel and Conference Centre, 7 Kleynhans Avenue, Groenvlei, Bloemfontein. www.freestatewineshow.co.za for a full list of exhibitors from end of June. Ticket Price: R150 (includes unlimited tastings and wine tasting glass); no under 18s, nor babies and prams. A complimentary show guide includes producer information and informative notes on wine variety characteristics, food matching and serving temperatures. Tickets can be purchased via www.computicket.com, Money Market counters in Shoprite Checkers stores and at the door, subject to availability. Enquiries:   011 482 5936/5/4
Friday, 31st July, 18h30 for 19h00. Avondale’s “Once in a Blue Moon” La Luna Dinner with Bertus Basson. A superb 6-course meal paired with Avondale’s wines. Dress: Smart. Cost: R950 per person. RSVP to Caelli on wine@avondalewine.co.za or 021 863 1976 best before 10th July
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
In addition to his 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
Nicolette van Niekerk runs baking courses at La Petite Patisserie in Montague Gardens
George Jardine will be running a series of winter cooking courses and other activities at Jordan. Details here




15th July 2015
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