Thursday, April 21, 2016

This Week's MENU: Lismore Wines, Veritas Wines dinner, A Mad Hatter evening, Biltong loves Pinotage, Backsberg's 100 years, Thai Fishcakes, Ken Forrester's Dirty Little Secret

A gull flies into the sunset, taking the last of summer
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Another busy week, not helped by John developing a painful abscess in his lower jaw over the weekend, which knocked him out for the first couple of days. Now on a fierce antibiotic which fights with wine, so he has to be teetotal through this weekend. A dash of verjuice makes the water a bit more interesting. Now we have long awaited rain, signaling the start of winter, so it’s water that we really need to end the awful drought.
Our Jewish friends will celebrate Passover this weekend and we wish you all Chag Sameach. We hope that you will have a wonderful weekend with your families.
Lismore Wines     Did you know that wine is grown in Greyton and that it may turn into another wine area if more winemakers and farm owners move there and plant some grapes? There are now 3 cellars growing and making wine in Greyton: Lismore, Andy Mitchell Wines & Swallow Hill. Certainly tasting some of Samantha O'Keefe's wines (launched in 2003) which she has produced there, point to it being a good terroir for complex layered white wines. We met her last week at a tasting of four of her wines at Kyoto Gardens Sushi restaurant in Kloof Nek Road and were very impressed. Read On.....
Veritas Wines dinner at Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel     Top Veritas Award winning wines are hard to come by unless you are determined and buy them immediately after the awards (which are held in September each year) when 1600 bottles of each must be available to the public. Veritas is the oldest wine competition in South Africa. Last week we were invited by Veritas vice-chairperson and Cape Wine Master, Bennie Howard to taste some of these wines, perfectly aged, at a dinner where they were paired with food produced by Executive Chef Henrico Grobbelaar who has moved to the Cullinan from the 12 Apostles Hotel. It was an excellent dinner. Read On.....
A Mad Hatter evening at A Touch of Madness, Observatory     You can't say we are not game for a fun event. We got dressed up in eccentric garb on Friday night as we were invited to the 'relaunch' of this pub/restaurant in Observatory. Walking through those rather dodgy streets in weird clothing needs bravado. It is now under the ownership of locals Richard Andrew and Olivia Andrews. Read On.....
Biltong loves Pinotage      Sunday broke fair and fine and off we went to L'Avenier to the Biltong and Pinotage Festival sponsored by Joubert and Monte Biltong. Lots of the South African Pinotages from top producers could be tasted and many farms brought along a couple of other wines. There were two wineries to each stand and they shared a biltong pairing. You were given a card on entry and, after you had tasted the main pinotage or the biltong pairing, the card was stamped to show you had done so. But any extra wines could be tasted free. We had a lot of fun. Read on.....
Backsberg Celebrates 100 years of making wine      The rags to riches story of the Back family is inspiring. The original Charles Back arrived as a penniless refugee from Lithuania in 1902 and worked his way up from bicycle delivery 'boy' to owning his own butchery. He and his wife were offered the farm Klein Babylonstoren on the Paarl-facing slopes of the Simonsberg mountain in 1916 and jumped at it. They sold the butchery and became farmers. They farmed some grain, some live stock, some fruit and in time, some wine grapes. The farm was renamed Backsberg. Charles Back also bought the farm Fairview in Agter Paarl and he left a farm to each of his sons, Sidney (Backsberg) and Cyril (Fairview). Today cousins Michael and Charles Back own these two farms. After years of the hard work of four generations, the Back family have grown very successful and produce wines of good reputations that sell. This week, current CEO Simon Back (son of Michael) invited some media and wine trade to a lunch to celebrate the end of harvest in Backsberg's new restaurant. This was to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Back family making wine at Backsberg and taste some of the newly released wines with lunch. Read on.....
Foodfact: Did you know that you should never store potatoes in a fridge? The cold converts the starch in the potatoes to sugar giving them a sickly sweet taste and making them discolour. Never wash them before storing them in a dark, well ventilated space, they will go mouldy. Do it just before you use them.
Wine of the Week      Ken Forrester's Dirty Little Secret totally natural Chenin Blanc. Can you afford it? R1000 a bottle. Very limited quantities available. We will tell you all about the launch of this spectacular wine next week. And yes, it is from the Swartland. The experienced winemakers do know how. See it here
It is a very quick recipe to make once you have assembled all the ingredients as they all go into your blender. Then you shape the small fishcakes and quickly fry them. It makes a lovely starter to a meal, or you could serve them as canapés. You need to serve a sweet chilli or other Thai dipping sauce of your choice.
500g fresh hake (or other white fish) - 5 red peppadews, chopped - 1 or 2 red chillies, according to your heat tolerance - 2 Tbsps fresh coriander, roots and all - 3 whole spring onions, finely chopped - 2 cloves of garlic, chopped - 1 or 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender part only, finely chopped - 1 Tbsp fish sauce - 1 Tbsp red Thai curry paste - 125 ml coconut milk or cream - 1 whole egg - 125g fresh green beans - canola or coconut oil
Cut the fish up into 4 cm pieces, place it with the peppadews, chilli, coriander, spring onions, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce and curry paste into the blender with the egg and the coconut milk. Blend well to a smooth paste. Remove and place in a mixing bowl.
Top and tail the green beans then slice them finely into 3mm slices and stir into the fish paste. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight to let the flavours develop.
Shape the mixture into small patties, approx 4 or 5 cm across. Heat a large frying pan and add a good coating of oil. Fry in batches till they are crisp and golden brown, turning once or twice. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Keep them warm until you have finished the whole batch then serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Serves six as a starter. Dress with more fresh coriander, finely sliced chilli or Vietnamese mint
SEE YOU THERE? We will end the month at Elgin’s Cool Wine & Country Food Festival. It will take place on the weekend, the 30th of April and 1st May, in the lovely Elgin Valley. See it below.
Other events this month:
Friday, 22nd April, 18h30 for 19h00 AN ULTIMATE FOOD AND WINE PAIRING EVENING LE FRANSCHHOEK The Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa invites you to the ultimate food & wine tasting experience. Enjoy a gourmet meal paired with a wide range of carefully selected wines from Quando Vineyards and Winery. R595 per person Wine & Dinner Only ENQUIRE TO BOOK. R2695 EAT & STAY per couple Includes: Dinner, room and breakfast. ENQUIRE TO BOOK. Booking is essential. Please provide your payment upfront to secure your booking because seating is limited.
Sunday, 24th April (10h00 to 15h00) GROOTE POST APRIL COUNTRY MARKET. Groote Post wine estate, near Darling, brimming with delicious and beautiful country offerings. Guests can expect artisan foods, arts and crafts, home-ware and décor, and Groote Post wines will be available for tasting and purchase by the glass, bottle or case, including the Groote Post Rosé which is made exclusively for the monthly markets. Local is lekker with locals presenting a selection of Darling gourmet produce including organic mushrooms, Weskus Worswa, divine breads, Udderly Delicious cheese, charcuterie, olive oils, pomegranate products and juice, organic preservative free chilli sauces,  delicious handmade toffees from Darling Sweet, popular craft beers from Darling Brew and much more.
Please note that although pets are welcome – all dogs must be on a leash at all times.  Visitors arriving without their dogs on a leash will be given an option to buy one from the SPCA stall or hire one at the Information stall.  The Groote Post Country Market is assisting the West Coast Way Twitter Blanket Drive - now in its second year - by inviting people to donate a blanket to this worthy cause.  The Groote Post Country Market will be a drop-off point for blankets – there be a crate at the entrance to the market for all blankets donated.  Last year 500 blankets were collected and this year they are aiming for 750. The West Coast Way Twitter Blanket Drive runs from Monday 4 April until Saturday 21 May. For further information on the Groote Post Country Market, contact Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or Website: Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual – however, booking is essential. And please bring a blanket to donate to the West Coast Way Twitter Blanket Drive for charity. Directions: Follow the R27, the West Coast Road towards Langebaan. Turn right onto the Darling Hills Road opposite Grotto Bay turnoff. After 10 km, turn right to the Groote Post cellar. Alternatively, take the R307 out of Darling towards Cape Town and turn off at the Darling Hills Road. After 7km turn left to the Groote Post Cellar.
Saturday, 30th April & Sunday, 1st May Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival. Full details can be seen at Early bird entry tickets to the festival cost R120 per person (over 18's) and can be bought online from and include your festival tasting glass, festival programme, access to participating farms, live entertainment and wine tasting of a selection of three (3) wines of your choice at any of the participating wine estates. Tickets may be purchased on the day at the Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food festival office at the Peregrine Farm Stall – these tickets are priced at R140 per person. Tasting glasses and guest passes must be collected at the festival office at Peregrine Farm Stall prior to visiting any of the farms. Please note: All children younger than 18 and accompanied by an adult may enter for free. Guests are advised to pre-book activities and meals as space is limited and payable separately. Wines will be available for sale at each farm, both by the glass and by the bottle. Wineries reserve the right to refuse service if deemed necessary.
The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships     During the month of April anyone can vote for their favourite steakhouse, via Facebook and SMS, and stand a chance to win fabulous prizes of The Wolftrap wines.
So please cast YOUR vote, and please spread the news to get the public voting like crazy, via and SMS 32845

21st April 2016
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