Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This week's MENU. Sand mining in the Swartland; Celebrating the Jordan Harvest; Harvest celebration at Muratie; MOK gallery on Muratie; This week's recipe. Rich Chocolate Ice-Cream; MENU’s Wine of the week. Muratie's Isabella Chardonnay

A honey bee harvesting from a pickerel weed flower in our pond (Pontederia cordata; jongsnoekkruid)
The shutter speed was 1/1250 of a second and the bee's wings are still a blur!
This is a lovely time of the year, but it is never complete bliss. We love the sunshine, but we long for the drenching rain our friends in the north of the country are having, even if it is a bit excessive at times. We have enough water in our dams to last about four months if we are careful. It should start raining by May, but we need to be very careful. Of course, this being harvet time in the wine industry, we need dry weather until the grapes have come into the cellars. It seems to be a very good harvest, down on quantity, but beautiful quality, so it should be a good vintage.
Sign the petition! Stop sand mining in the Swartland   The South African wine community is in a state of shock. An application for sand mining rights in the Paardeberg area of the Swartland has been approved by the Malmesbury municipality. An appeal against this decision is in progress. If it is allowed to go ahead, some of the country's best wine producers will be very badly affected, if not ruined. These include Eben Sadie, the Mullineuxs, Adi Badenhorst, Vondeling, David and Nadia and Lammershoek. PLEASE go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-the-paardeberg and sign the petition against this travesty
Celebrating the Harvest at Jordan  Glorious summer brings on the grape harvest in our winelands and many farms are celebrating their success. We hear that this harvest is generally a good one, despite the drought; grapes are smaller but the juice is very concentrated, with good sugar and acids. We were invited to Jordan this week with other media people to taste some of the juice, the newly fermenting wine and last year's bottled wine and we were very impressed

A relaxed Harvest celebration at Muratie   Muratie opens its doors each year for the Harvest celebration and hosts a relaxed day in the garden with food, good music, lots of wine and fun. We saw the new Art Gallery, passed on the opportunity to stomp some grapes (much enjoyed by the youngsters), tasted their new fermenting wines, took a tractor ride through the vineyards and chilled under the trees with a huge box full of grapes, figs, cheese, bread and other delights, accompanied by their wines. It was "Cool bananas" as the chilled Capetonians say

The new MOK art gallery on Muratie  MOK is run by a relative of Rijk Melck, Cecile Blevi. Rijk took us to have a look and we were very impressed. It is in an historic old house on the properly, where freed slave Ansela van de Kaap lived with her German husband Lourens Campher, the first owner of Muratie from 1695

This week's recipe on our MENU   We know that many of you loved the simple strawberry ice cream Lynne published a while ago. Now for another decadent ice cream. Masterchef Australia has been full of ice creams, parfaits and mousses this year and they made them look very complex, especially when chocolate was involved. It is not
Rich Chocolate Ice-Cream
75g caster sugar - 4 egg yolks - 600 ml single cream - 1 Vanilla Pod, split open - 200g plain 70% dark chocolate
Put the sugar with 6 tablespoons of water in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and continue boiling until the sugar reaches the thread stage* – about 110º C. Beat the yolks in a mixing bowl, then pour in the syrup in a thin stream, whisking all the time
Put the cream, vanilla pod and chocolate, broken into small pieces into a pan over a low heat and stir till the chocolate has melted. Take it up to just below boiling point. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the scalding chocolate cream onto the egg mixture, whisking until it is thoroughly mixed. Pass through a sieve. It should resemble a light custard in texture. Cool and freeze for 24 hours. You can use an ice-cream machine if you have one.
[*Thread stage for sugar is when you drop a bit of the mix into a cold glass of water, the syrup will form a loose thin thread]
MENU’s Wine of the week. Muratie's Isabella Chardonnay is luscious, with white peaches, citrus and gentle caramel, and a nice clean, dry finish. The new fermenting juice we tasted from this year's harvest has fresh nectarines & apricots in abundance, with a hint of pine nuts. It points to another lovely wine from the 2017 harvest. Winemaker Hattingh de Villiers showed us the new wine fermenting in the cellar. It sells for R145 on the farm or on line, and is also available at good wine retailers. It is drinking well now but, if you can keep it for a couple of years, it is bound to become even better. Platter awarded the 2016 vintage 4½ stars






21st February 2017
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