Friday, July 01, 2016

This Week’s MENU: Food, cruising, a fishing village & pearls on Ha Long Bay, The Bakery on Jordan, Durbanville, Wine & Recipe of the week

The weekly Cape Food, Wine and Lifestyle E-Journal
The sun sets on Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
This has been the coldest week we have ever experienced in Cape Town. Sea Point seldom sees a temperature lower than 7ºC, but we have had three days when the thermometer showed about 2ºC. But the days are starting to lengthen and we hope that the dams are beginning to fill. Suddenly, the hills are green and daisies are appearing. Positive signs to take one’s mind off Brexit and local political shenanigans...  
A preview of the new menu at The Bakery on Jordan Wine Estate      Jordan has taken over the running of the bakery from George Jardine as he now wants to concentrate on his 2 restaurants, the one on Jordan and his new restaurant in Stellenbosch. It is a sensible move for Jordan as they do have lots of people dropping in for tastings who want lunch and now breakfast, who did not make a reservation and they can now accommodate them. We had a lovely brunch enjoying some of the items on the menu, seated on the deck below the bakery.
Destination Durbanville Food Wine & Travel fair     We were asked to attend this last week and on arrival were given a map of the valley with a star next to the farm we would be visiting. It turned out that we would not be visiting the farm but a stall in the hall at Cassia restaurant on Nitida, although some of our colleagues were taken to visit a farm and were given lunch. It turned out to be an information day with each farm having a stand with people there to tell us what the farm has to offer. Afterward there was a stand with a red and white wine from each farm to taste and some snacks.
MENU goes East - Cruising on Ha Long Bay     If you woke early you could go and do Tai Chi on deck. We did but we didnt feel like it so we just watched the sun come up over the bay. Or you could go to the tiny gym, the spa for a massage or soak in the small on board swimming pool. Lunch was going to be a beach barbeque on the company's private beach and there would be a climb of 100 steps to see a cave and a chance to swim.
MENU goes East - A fishing village and pearls on Ha Long Bay     On our second day we were taken to visit the Vung Vien floating fishing village. Most of the people now live on land but they still earn their income from the sea and it was very interesting to see how they used to live and still work afloat.
MENU goes East - A cooking lesson and dining on Dragon Legend 1, Ha Long Bay     We did two cooking classes on our holiday, the first one was on the Dragon Legend in Ha Long Bay where we learnt to make the Vietnamese version of spring rolls. They use rice paper wraps but they are not the familiar rice paper rolls we associate with Vietnamese cooking. Although we did learn one good tip about softening them
Wine of the week: Saronsberg 2014 Shiraz      A red wine for a change. This is a Shiraz we liked enough to buy it in future, tasted at the Shiraz Showcase last week. It was one of the Top 12 selected by the judges.
Ripe fruit makes it soft and juicy, spicy too and very, very satisfying. Soft tannins and the wood beneath supporting the fruit making it a very well balanced wine. Another to drink now or safely keep. It has won many awards: The 2014 was awarded Gold in Decanter 2016; Double Gold Top 100 SA 2016; Gold Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2016. It costs R190 from the farm and should be available from good wine merchants like Wine Concepts, Caroline's and Norman Goodfellows. Retail prices may differ, but the petrol you use driving to Tulbagh will cost you more
This week's recipe: Vietnamese Fried Rice Paper Spring Rolls - Cha gio     The rice paper pancakes we get here seem to be much thicker than those they use. Instead of dipping them in water, take a plate of about the same diameter and put on it a damp tea towel. You take the rice paper pancake and press it on the tea towel, turn over and repeat till it is soft enough to roll. It does not take long. These rolls are gluten free.
1 cup of cooked thin bean thread noodles, about 1 skein (You soak them in boiling water till soft, then drain well and cool) - 1 cup of grated red onion - 1 cup grated carrot - 1 cup finely sliced spring onion - 1 cup finely sliced mushrooms (wood ear fungus is best but any will do) 1 cup minced pork (or chopped prawns or a combination of both) - 2 cloves of garlic, chopped - 2 T Vietnamese fish sauce - 1 T sugar - 1/2 t salt - 1/2 t white pepper - 1 egg, beaten - canola oil for frying
Then the ingredients are mixed together very well. Keep the egg and oil for later.Try to keep the mixture as dry as possible. Some lazy cooks do the whole mixture in a food processor, just add the noodles at the end and mix well.
On a damp rice paper sheet put just one dessertspoon of the mixture about 5 cm from the top of the roll, then make one fold from the top to cover the filling. Shape into a small sausage. Then carefully fold the sides in and then slowly roll up and set aside on a dry plate. Seal the ends with a dab of beaten egg. Aim for rolls no thicker than 3 cm and 8 cm in length.
 Repeat till you have enough. 3 or 4 per guest as a starter is enough. Refrigerate for when you need to fry them but cover them with cling film or a damp towel to prevent them drying out and cracking. This should make about 20. You can leave out the meat and or the prawns for vegetarian rolls. Just add more vegetables like bean sprouts, or some crumbled tofu
In a wok, add the oil and heat . Do not crowd the pan, fry in batches, 5 or 6 at a time. You need the oil about 8 to 10 cm deep and fry the rolls twice, first at 160C, remove with a strainer, raise the temperature to 175 to 190C and fry again till golden brown. They are meant to bubble up on the skin. Serve with the dipping sauce. Sprinkle the plate with some fresh mint, basil, shiso and coriander. You can wrap the rolls in lettuce leaves to eat.
Dipping sauce - Nuoc cham
5 tablespoons sugar - 3/4 cup warm water - 1/4 cup plus 1 T Vietnamese fish sauce - 2 tablespoons rice vinegar - 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice - 2 chopped garlic cloves - 2 thinly sliced fresh red Thai
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water then add all the other ingredients. Serve in a bowl suitable for dipping.
Click here for Events you can enjoy in July
In Next Week’s MENU

Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and back to SA, Den Anker, Anatoli, Cecilia Forest, DeWetshof Chardonnay

30th June 2016
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