Monday, February 29, 2016

A visit to Hout Bay with supper at Dunes

We have friends here from Holland and, on a recent Sunday afternoon, we took them for a trip to Hout Bay and ended up at Dunes for some good beer and food. We do try to get out and enjoy our wonderful city with friends
Harbour seals feeding off fish trimmings thrown to them by the fishermen
They say most people would like to come back as a cat but a seal's life, although a little more dangerous, does seem to be all fun and play
A queue of seagulls on top of a fishery building, awaiting their turn
A precision landing
A view across the beach to Dunes, our favourite seaside pub/restaurant in Hout Bay
Their take on the Portuguese dish Trinchado (steak cooked in a sauce of red wine, stock, chilli and LOTS of garlic) has tomato, which is not in the recipes we prefer, and the flavour was a bit too sweet
The calamari has always been good: tender and fresh
The rack of spare ribs was superb but very large, some went home. The chips were commanded to be crispy, but were very disappointing
The sun sets quite early in Hout Bay, as it sets behind the mountain
So we drove home via Camps Bay to see the real deal
And the lovely afterglow lights up the sky in a different way each sunset
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

Friday, February 26, 2016

This week's MENU. Hidden Valley re-launch, Durbanville Feast of the Grape, Champagne Ruinart at Cape Art Fair, Picking grapes at The Vineyard, Grande Provence harvest fun, Full Moon dinner at Westin Grand, Incipio 2014, Chilled soba noodle salad, Coming events

Hartlaub’s gulls on a roof In Hout Bay harbour
To get the whole story with photographs, please click on the paragraph title, which will lead you there. At the end of each story, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to MENU.
This has been a VERY busy week, filled with things you can go and experience yourself
Hidden Valley re-launch     Dave Hidden sold Hidden Valley Wines last year to Riaan Stassen, the now-retired CEO of Capitec Bank. We were invited to meet him and his partner this week to find out what changes they are making to the farm, to drink the newly released wines and to eat Bertus Basson's lovely food. Read on.....
Durbanville Feast of the Grape brunch at Diemersdal - Twelve Characters working together towards a  goal. This was the media launch of the Feast of the Grape festival which will be held this weekend, 27th & 28th February, (we will be there with friends on Sunday). We were invited to come and have brunch and taste the Durbanville 12, a wine made by using one ton of grapes from each ofthe 12 farms in Durbanville. Our expectation of brunch is not high and we were very pleasantly surprised; we had a slap-up lunch produced by talented chef Martin de Kock of the Diemersdal Farm Eatery and the company of many of the winemakers of the area, for which we are very grateful. It is the busiest time of the year for them and they had to make time for us in their busy day. Read on.....
Champagne Ruinart at the Cape Art Fair     Champagne Ruinart is re-launching in South Africa and we were invited to taste it in the VIP lounge at the Cape Art Fair held last week at the CTICC. They were one of the sponsors and very kindly gave us tickets to the Art Fair. Read on.....
Picking grapes (and falling on face) at The Vineyard     It was time to harvest the grapes from our vine and some others at The Vineyard Hotel on Friday and we had to get up bright and early to get there by 07h30. Despite the strange el Nino weather this year, the vineyard produced some lovely grapes and it will be very interesting to see how good the wine is in future years. It will be vinified by Waterford this year. Read on.....
Grande Provence opens its doors to a day of harvest fun for the family     An early start again last Saturday to get to Franschhoek in time for the 'OFF' for a tractor ride into the vineyard to pick some grapes with the other families. Then you could stomp some and make your own juice, which they will turn into wine. We arrived in time for a good coffee and rather healthy muffin and then picked a row and a half of Cabernet on our own, getting to be good at this. Then the day just got better and better. Read on.....
Full Moon dinner at the On19 Restaurant at the Westin Grand     From sunset to the fabulous full moon this week. The Westin Hotel has a restaurant on the 19th floor called On19 with spectacular views over the Waterfront and looking at the mountain. They invited members of the media to join them and celebrate the full moon, have our astral charts plotted by Astrologer Dianne Garven and enjoy a really impressive dinner. All this was accompanied by wines from Avondale, which owner Johnathan Grieve presented. Read on.....
FOOD FACT: " Did you know? Kale has more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk and provides of 100% of a person's daily vitamin A and K requirements." Quote from Checkers. (Pity it isn't more palatable, Lynne).
Our wine of the week is Incipio 2014, a blend of Shiraz and Chenin Blanc, made by Martin Lamprecht of Doran Vineyards in the Voor Paardeberg. We tasted it at Christian Eedes' Winemag Wine Label Design Awards 2016 on Tuesday. An unusual blend of one white and one red Swartland standard. The chenin softens the shiraz in a marvellous way, it is silky and intensely fruity, with hints of expensive oak on the nose with pepper, spice and vanilla. It has flavours of ripe black plums with ginger and cinnamon and a little salty liquorice, a tongue tingling surprise.
This week’s recipe is: Chilled soba noodle salad with roasted sesame, fresh asparagus, lightly smoked salmon trout      Chinese and Japanese friends have always told us that when their weather gets hot, they eat a comforting salad made with soba noodles. Lynne decided to try making one and this is the recipe she came up with. She bought the Salmon Trout at Woolworths, who always stock it. Soba noodles contain buckwheat, which is gluten free. If you are gluten intolerant, check that the packet you buy is 100% buckwheat. It is a great lunch dish.
1 piece of lightly smoked salmon trout, approx 250g -  3 or 4 thin slices of lemon - 2 teaspoons of butter - 2 T of sesame seeds - 9 or 10 fresh asparagus spears - 150 g dried soba noodles - cup light soy sauce - 2 tbsp rice vinegar - 1 tbsp sesame oil - 1 tsp sugar - 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger - some green salad leaves
Lay the salmon trout fillet on a piece of foil more than twice its size. Place three or four thin slices of lemon on top of it and three small knobs of butter then wrap into a loose but sealed parcel. Bake in a 180⁰C oven for no more than 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Tear into large flakes, leaving the skin behind and set aside. Cook the soba noodles in well salted boiling water till al dente, about 5 minutes, refresh in cold water, drain and allow to cool. In a very small heavy bottomed pan, lightly toast the sesame seeds until they change colour [Lynne Ross Jarché] but do not burn. Remove any hard ends of the asparagus by snapping them off and steam for only one and a half minutes. You can also cook them on a ridged pan till just al dente. They do need to be a little crisp, not overcooked and mushy.
Mix up the Soy, rice vinegar and sesame oil, half the toasted sesame seeds , ginger and sugar in a small jar and shake well. Taste and adjust to your own taste. Pour over the soba noodles and allow to permeate.
Time to assemble: On a wide salad serving dish, place the washed and drained salad leaves. Pile the soba noodles and dressing in the centre, put on the asparagus spears and the flaked salmon trout. Sprinkle over the rest of the sesame seeds and serve.
We enjoyed it with a Rivergold Chenin blanc 2010 from Robertson
Here is a list of coming events up to the end of the first week in March. There may be more, but we will add them as we receive them. We will be at the Durbanville Feast of the Grape on Sunday and we hope to see many of you.
Saturday, 27th February, 7pm A beautiful evening of food and music: A buffet including dishes such as Chicken tagine, platters of Roast beef, honey roasted sweet potatoes and delicious salads and side dishes. And you can look forward to arias from the great Operas- Carmen and Samson and Delilah as well as some beautiful lieder by Brahms and Strauss. And Monika Voysey will be performing two show-stopper songs from the Musicals Evita and Oliver. Venue: Parish Hall, Campground Hall, Rondebosch. Price: R240pp. Drinks: Cash bar. To book please e-mail
Saturday, 27th February  Constantia Fresh Fine Wine and Food Festival. Local produce, gourmet canapés and over 200 wines are ripe for the picking at this popular annual event. The fresh green lawns of Buitenverwachting Wine Estate are where you’ll find foodies and wine enthusiasts for the seventh annual Constantia Fresh Fine Wine & Food Festival. Over 200 wines will be available for you to swirl, sip and savour, while you nibble on gourmet canapés prepared by some of Constantia’s most talented chefs (Peter Tempelhoff, Christian Harbeck, Brad Ball, Edgar Osojnik, Annemarie Steenkamp and Garth Almazan, among others). Your ticket includes a festival glass, tasting of over 200 wines, as well as the gastronomic extravaganza on offer. Live music will be part of the afternoon’s entertainment. The event runs from 15:00 to 19:00. Tickets cost R495 each, and available from or participating wineries. For more information, visit, e-mail or phone 083 265 2405
Saturday, 27th February at 15h00        Muratie presents Robin Auld in an evening of music, wine and plenty of fun!  R100 per ticket. Please book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. For further information contact Jean-Mari Strauss at Muratie on 021 865 2330 or
Saturday, 27th & Sunday, 28th February       Durbanville Wine Valley’s Feast of the Grape. Kick off your shoes for some squishing and splatting at this year’s Durbanville Wine Valley’s Feast of the Grape, a weekend of harvest fun hosted by 12 wine farms in the Valley. The festival will take place at D’Aria Wine Farm with an abundance of seasonal wines and entertainment to enjoy. The 12 farms coming together from the Durbanville Wine Valley to take part in the grape festivities are: Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, D’Aria, De Grendel, Diemersdal, Durbanville Hills, Groot Phesantekraal, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Meerendal, Nitida and Signal Gun. Tickets costs R120 and include entrance to the festival, a wine glass and tasting coupons. Tickets will be available via For more details and the festival programme visit
Sunday, 28th February    The Backsberg Centenary Picnic Concert Series continues with a performance by Blues Broers. Come and enjoy your Sunday afternoon by relaxing on the lawns with a glass of wine whilst listening to some great SA music. Tickets are R120 from and R150 at the gate. Students pay R60 and there is no charge for children under the age of 12. Delicious food and snack boxes will be available on the day. Snack boxes can be pre-ordered at at a cost of R160 for two persons. Gates to Backsberg Estate Cellars open at 15h00.
Wednesday, 2nd March  Join Tintswalo Atlantic for 'The Rise of the Phoenix' dinner in aid of charity. After the devastating Cape fires of March 2015, which engulfed almost the entire lodge, the luxury lodge reopened in November 2015 and is better than ever. Being such a pertinent factor in assisting with immediate access to the site’s surrounds after the fire, Tintswalo have decided to donate all proceeds from tickets sold for the night to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). Tintswalo CEO, Lisa Goosen, says of the NSRI, “They are selfless and truly heroic in all that they do. They gave us great hope in humanity when we were faced with our loss, and we hope to give a little back to them by holding this event in their honour.” Tickets for the dinner cost R3000 per couple and R9500 per suite for the night (including dinner and breakfast). Further to an opulent evening of great cuisine, exquisite views and wonderful entertainment, sensational prizes will also be auctioned off. Join the Tintswalo Atlantic team and guests for what promises to be an unforgettable evening. Tickets can be bought directly from Tintswalo Atlantic via phone on 021 201 0025 or via email at or
Thursday, 3rd and Friday, 4th March 17h00 to 21h00        FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show – East London at Hemingways, cnr Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, East London. Ticket Price is R160 per night which includes unlimited tastings, wine tasting glass and wine show guide. Light meals will be available for sale at Hemingways. Queries to 011 482 5936/5/4 or Tickets can be purchased at one of the following options from 1st February: Online, Money Market counters in Shoprite Checkers stores or at the door
Thursday, 3rd March       Summer Sounds at Haute Cabrière, featuring Nuka, a singer-song writer from Stellenbosch. She is a creative song writer and a free spirit. Her sound can be described as a fusion of folk, old blues and Jazz. This is the perfect way to enjoy a delicious light meal paired with great wines. The breathtaking views and sunsets provide a splendid setting for the entertainment on the Terrace area at Haute Cabrière with seating on the Terrace and the lawns which overlook the magnificent Franschhoek Valley. Booking is essential as each event has a maximum capacity of 60 people. Please note only the Terrace menu is available at these events and no cover charge applies. For reservations and enquiries e-mail or call 021 876 3688
Saturday, 5th March to Sunday, 13th March  Woordfees Picnic Concert at Neethlingshof Wine Estate. Bring picnic blankets and chairs to laze on the lawns of the historic Neethlingshof grounds, whilst enjoying an exciting line-up of top vocal talent. Gates will open an hour before each event and the music will start at 18h30. All sales will be cashless, only debit, credit or the Woordfees cash card may be used. As Neethlingshof wines will be on sale, guests are not permitted to bring their own alcohol. Tickets can be purchased through or at any Computicket outlet. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Erfurthuis, Ryneveld Street, 37 – Monday to Friday 9:00 – 17:00. Alternatively tickets will be available from the farm on the evening.

25th February 2016
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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.
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Grand Provence Harvest lunch

Grand Provence Harvest Menu
Assorted estate breads and butters
Italian burrata salad, rosemary and parmesan shortbread, aged balsamic emulsion
Sous vide free range coronation chicken
Franschhoek trout gravadlax, smoked beetroot aïoli, wild rocket
Deconstructed west coast lobster cocktail, mayonnaise espuma, peppery micro herbs
Beetroot pickled baby carrot and quails egg salad, foraged vineyard herbs, wild mustard pods, fermented exotic mushrooms, mixed sprouts
Live action Mediterranean seafood station - a selection of fresh sustainable seafood prepared with your selection of spices
Thai butternut and roasted chickpea curry, traditional accompaniments
18 hour Indonesian braised organic pork belly
Slow braised Karoo lamb neck, rosa and saffron tomato ragout
Poached Turkish apricots, toasted almonds and sultana pilaff
Individual Wild berry Pavlova, hazelnut Chantilly cream
Interactive Ice cream station, sugar cones, Mauritian vanilla ice cream with various toppings
Chocolate truffles

The crayfish cocktail, very popular with Lynne
Chalkboard menu
Table decorations
The starter salads
Delectable Trout Gravadlax. Love the contrast of the orange trout with the purple beetroot aioli
The roasted almond sprinkled Coronation chicken that Karl said was a special recipe they developed
Oh so creamy Burrata salad topped with rosemary shortbread on baby tomatoes 
Soft boiled quails eggs on mixed beets and baby carrots topped with foraged vineyard herbs
A selection of fresh bread rolls
Sticky 18 hour Indonesian braised organic pork belly
Poached Turkish apricots, toasted almonds and sultana pilaff
The vegetarian option: Thai butternut and roasted chickpea curry
Slow braised Karoo lamb neck, rosa tomatoes and saffron ragout
Long queues as there was so much to choose from. It was an impessive spread
Prawns on the seafood station. We found them a bit mushy, probably frozen too long.
Frying with onion, two pans on the go
Music was provided by Stanislav Angelov, who serenaded us with lovely French and continental tunes
John loved this guest's T shirt
Grande Provence Executive Chef Darren Badenhorst
Entertainment for the children was a good magician who also made balloon animals
He couldn’t do a cat for Lynne, so she got a rabbit. John got a rather phallic looking sword
Then it was time to help yourself to dessert. This was the ice cream station where we tasted our first ever popping candy. It messes with your mind. You expect it to pop in your mouth but it pops loudly in your brain.
Small individual fruit pavlovas
Chocolate brownie crumbs

A child's delight. And some adults too
There is a very good art gallery with some exceptional pieces, well worth a visit
A last view of the vineyards, some rather old vines. A marvellous fun filled day with great food and wine, thank you to all at Grande Provence

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus