Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A week on the West Coast at Yzerfontein

After the hectic activity of our year, we decided to take a week off and booked a small flat at the side of this house in Yzerfontein, about 1½ hours north of Cape Town
 It is at the edge of a dune. We do live by the sea but a holiday right on the front with  no buildings in front of us, no  traffic, fresh sea air and lazy days are what we crave
  almost on  the beach. The dunes are steep, only John managed to get down the dune and back up. It's about 20 metres and the sand is soft.  But access on other beaches is better and we had several long walks
 with beautiful views 
 and we enjoyed some dramatic sunsets
 Lovely, subtle evening colours
  A kelp gull fishing for mussels
You can see Dassen Island and its lighthouse  on clear days and at night

 A rock in the bay, home for cormorants
looking for interesting shells on the beach - none here. The West Coast has two kinds of mussels, the normal blue mussel and then what they call the white mussel, really a clam. You do need a permit to collect them
 Hartlaub's gull
 and the first time we've come this close to black oystercatchers
 A bulbul on the beach 
 and a flock of oystercatchers in ragged formation 
 People coming back from lunch at Strandkombuis. We had intended to go but it was fully booked at this time of the year
 Oystercatchers and a kelp gull
 Walks on the beach
 watching the waves
 and kids on holiday
 Waaksaam, a local beach dog, joined us for a while
 more purple evenings

 Our flat is through the left arch
 A gazania on the path
 Another oystercatcher - should they be musselcatchers?
 There are more mussels than oysters on this beach
 The one that nearly got away 
 A different beach for another walk, with very soft sand which made it a good workout
 Our friends Ronnie and Loraine came for lunch
 Braaied fish (Panga). This was good but sadly it was frozen fish.  There is a huge shortage of fish and the small local fish shop buys his fish from the same wholesaler in Cape Town as we do, and it is all frozen. There was only one day to buy crayfish, but it was very, very expensive so we didn't.  Now it is on the SASSI red list, we shall miss it a lot
 and salads
  A succulent flower on the beach
 Anemones in a rock pool
 From across the little bay; 
we were in the house with the arches
 Ambition: fishing in a sadly empty sea
 and a last supper before coming home
A simple supper, and then back home to do Christmas!  And try to lose some weight
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

MENU. Friday, 16th December 2016. Marigold Indian restaurant, Jordan Summer Festival, Flagstone, Elgin, Asara, Nederburg, Onion tart, Lanzerac MCC

A bee collecting nectar from a lavender flower. Hillcrest Estate, Durbanville
That was the Year...      It has been very busy, very exciting (not always in the way we’d like) and now it is time to take a break. Actually, we took one last week and spent the time next to a West Coast beach, reading books, enjoying good food and wine and letting the stress ooze out of our pores. So, this is the last issue of MENU for 2016. We’ll be back in about mid-January, having rested, celebrated and done essential things round the house which we didn’t have time for during the year
Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and let us all wish for a less disruptive year in 2017·    
Marigold Restaurant     Franschhoek now has a good authentic Indian restaurant; not Cape Malay, not Durban Indian, but real subcontinent Indian. It opened to the public on December 8th. It is part of the Leeu Collection and is on Main Street/Heritage Square. We were invited to a media lunch just before it opened and sampled a lot of the delicious food


Jordan Summer Festival     Each year, in late November, Gary and Kathy Jordan hold an open day on their wine estate in Stellenbosch Kloof. There is a small entrance fee which is used to help finance animal rescue facilities in Stellenbosch and guests are encouraged to bring dog food, cat food, old blankets for those facilities
Flagstone Wines goes Theatrical, launching new Inner City Tasting Experience      If you want to taste Flagstone wines in Cape Town, you no longer have to go out to the winelands. They have now opened The Flagstone Tasting Room at The Rockwell Hotel in Green Point. We were summoned to be at the venue at 4.30 precisely, handed a glass of wine and then ushered into the theatre there (who knew there was a theatre at the Rockwell?). What followed was a very amusing piece of theatre as they launched their new wines to music, poetry and tasting in the dark! It was hilarious and great fun

Elgin Tweet Up Christmas Lunch at the Pool Room on Oak Valley      We join a merry band of media and bloggers regularly through the year to taste and tweet about different Elgin wines. We are always impressed, it is such a great area for South African wine. Recently the Elgin Valley invited us all to a thank you lunch in Elgin and a tasting of some of the best wines we have tweeted about this year. To follow us on Twitter and learn more about Elgin wines in the new year: @MAININGMENU & @MenuLynne

Asara       Some invitations are worth waiting for. We were invited to stay at Asara a few months ago but, as we were both travelling and working, our dates and GM Pete Gottgens’ didn't collide and he so wanted to be there when we came, as we are old acquaintances. We had a great overnight stay there with dinner in their top restaurant, Mise en Place, at the beginning of December. We have to admit that we hadn't visited Asara for many years and we are so impressed at the many changes that have been made since then. When we last visited, they were a boutique hotel with just a few rooms; now they have a 41 roomed five star hotel, with three places to dine, a gin bar and, of course, their wine. The views are pretty special too

Honouring the old and embracing the new at Nederburg     We were invited, along with other media, to get our hands into old soil and plant new vines at Nederburg "a special vine planting event to honour the 225-year legacy of the winery’s founder, Phillipus Wolvaart, who acquired the Paarl farm in 1791." So there we were in our sensible shoes, hats and covered in sun block prepared for the journey to the top of a hill on a very warm and sunny morning

Happy Holidays     We had some friends to our house for a summer lunch recently and Lynne made a classic French Onion Tart. It is very, very simple and quick to make, great if you have vegetarians to feed and very delicious. Do try and use Gruyere cheese for the authentic taste. If you want to make your own pastry do so, just add some grated cheese and some fresh herbs
1 Kg onions, sliced - 1 T olive oil - 1 T butter - a good pinch of salt - 2 eggs, beaten - 55 g gruyere cheese - 1 t fresh thyme leaves - salt and freshly ground black pepper - a roll of frozen cheese and herb pastry, defrosted - butter paper to grease the pie dish
Fry the onions gently in the oil and butter with a little salt on a slow burner for approximately 30 minutes, until they are soft and beginning to take on some colour. Set aside to cool. While the onions are cooking, butter a pie dish, roll out the pastry to fit and line the pie dish, leaving some overhanging pastry on the tin edges. Then refrigerate for 15 minutes. Turn your oven on to 180C. When the pastry is cold, line the pie dish with a cartouche of baking paper and some baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and take off the baking paper and beans and allow to cool. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and the thyme and some seasoning and stir into the cooled onion mix. Add to the pastry and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the top of the tart is golden too, with a little soft wobble in the centre. Trim off any ragged pastry with a very sharp knife and serve either warm or cold with a salad. Lovely paired with a rich Chardonnay, such as DeWetshof Bateleur
We were sent this newly released wine recently to sample and we drank it with friends while we were on holiday by the sea. A perfect start to lunch outdoors with the sound of the waves. It is crisp and rich from the Chardonnay, notes of apple and nuts on the nose with some nice citrus, apple and ripe peach flavours with a good mousse. Available from Lanzerac's Tasting Room at R220 per bottle
In MENU next week: This is the last issue of MENU for 2016
Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a brilliant, enjoyable and productive 2017





16th December 2016
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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. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.

This week's MENU recipe: Onion Tart from Alsace

Happy Holidays     We had some friends for a summer lunch recently and Lynne made a classic French Onion Tart. It is very easy to make, great if you have vegetarians to feed and very delicious. Do try and use Gruyere cheese for the authentic taste. It is also very simple and quick to make. If you want to make your own pastry do so, just add some grated cheese and some fresh herbs.
1 Kg onions, sliced - 1 t olive oil - 1 t butter - salt - 2 eggs, beaten - 55 g gruyere cheese - 1 t fresh thyme leaves - salt and freshly ground black pepper - a roll of frozen cheese and herb pastry, defrosted - butter to grease the pie dish

Fry the onions gently in the oil and butter with a little salt on a slow burner for approximately 30 minutes until they are soft and beginning to take on some colour. Set aside to cool. While the onions are cooking, butter a pie dish, roll out the pastry to fit and line the pie dish, leaving some overhanging pasty on the tin edges. Then refrigerate for 15 minutes . Turn your oven on to 180C. When the pastry is cold, line the pie dish with a cartouche of baking paper and some baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and take off the baking paper and beans and allow to cool. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and the thyme and some seasoning and stir into the cooled onion mix. Add to the pastry and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the top of the tart is golden too, with a little soft wobble in the centre. Trim off any ragged pastry with a very sharp knife and serve either warm or cold with a salad. Lovely paired with a rich Chardonnay, such as DeWetshof Bateleur
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

Wine of the week: Lanzerac Brut Blanc de Blanc MCC

We were sent this newly released wine recently to sample and we drank it with friends while we were on holiday by the sea

A perfect start to lunch outdoors with the sound of the waves. It is crisp and rich from the Chardonnay, notes of apple and nuts on the nose with some nice citrus, apple and ripe peach flavours with a good mousse. Available from Lanzerac's Tasting Room at R220 per bottle
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016