Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Heritage Square, Chefs Warehouse, Durbanville, Robertson Hands on Harvest,Granadilla and Raspberry Charlotte Russe, Bemind Cinsault


A Southern Double-collared Sunbird on a pink hibiscus flower, Van Loveren winery, Robertson
This has been a busy week. We have friends with us who come here from Holland every year and so we have been adventurous. They also love good wine and food, so we have taken them to several places that we have all enjoyed, some in the course of work, some not. In the past week we have visited Durbanville and then Robertson at the weekend, the latter meaning that we missed all the drama of the wind-blown, cancelled Cape Town Cycle Tour and the disastrous fire that destroyed over 3000 homes in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. Returning from the peace of the Robertson Wine Valley to watching the fire fighting helicopters off the Sea Point beachfront was a big reality check

A look at Heritage Square, Cape Town     On our wedding anniversary last Wednesday, I had an hour to kill between doing my bit at a casting in Loop St and meeting Lynne at The Chef's Warehouse for a celebratory lunch. It had been a while since we had visited any of the fine collection of food and wine venues in this historic square complex, so I stuck my lens into a few corners. It is a collection of eighteenth century buildings which came frighteningly close to being demolished to make way for a freeway in the 1990s. The quadrangle in the middle of the square is the home of what is believed to be the oldest grape vine in the country, possibly planted in the 1770s 

Anniversary lunch at the Chefs Warehouse     Last Wednesday was our Wedding Anniversary. We are rather surprised to find we have been married for 14 years, it has gone so quickly and been so much fun. We like to celebrate with a good meal out, somewhere we have heard about before but not yet been to. Liam Tomlin opened this store/restaurant in 2014 when they moved from their old site in Bree Street and we have been trying to go for a very long time. Quite difficult as we are invited out to restaurants and wine farms, often several times in a week. It is on the corner of Heritage Square with the entrance in Bree Street, Number 92



A day in Durbanville    We wanted to take our Dutch friends on a local wine tour and Durbanville is very close to town. The weather was perfect and we began at Bloemendal, had lunch at Diemersdal (Lynne had heard very good things about the restaurant and we knew the wine was superb) and finished the day with at last sigh at the view from De Grendel. We began at Bloemendal, which we haven't visited for a while....

Robertson Wine Valley's Hands on Harvest - Saturday    Robertson beckoned and we responded. We saw details of the festival on the internet and, as we haven't been to their Harvest Festival for many years, we decided to take our Dutch friends. Lynne managed to find reasonable accommodation on Bookings.com. Each farm does its own thing during this festival and some need booking so we made some, helped by Mira Weiner of Hot Oven Marketing and had a great weekend with our friends

Robertson Wine Valley's Hands on Harvest - Sunday    What a contrast! After Saturday's blistering heat, we woke to wonderful soaking rain in our valley on Sunday. We had bacon and eggs and hot cross buns to soak up the intended wine, tidied up, packed and set off to return the keys in Robertson, all by 10 o'clock. We then headed for the Festival market at Viljoensdrift

Robertson ramblings    John woke to the welcome sound of rain on the roof and took a solo walk in the soft rain while the others slept; he was joined by an enthusiastic companion.....
Granadilla and Raspberry Charlotte Russe     This classic dessert was invented by Antoinin Carème, a master of French Cuisine who cooked for kings during his stay in St Petersburg, cooking for the Tsar in the early 19th century. A lovely summer dessert, this is fiddly but not at all difficult to make. You will have seen it on Great British Baker if you have been watching; they did make it look very complicated. You do need to make it in the morning to allow time to set, or the day before. You can use seedless pulp, but a few seeds tell what the fruit is. If it is not sharp enough, add a little lemon juice to taste. You can also use all sorts of different fruit. Bananas (use 5, mashed) make a lovely Charlotte, so do puréed berries


1 packet of lime or lemon jelly - 450 ml double or whipping cream - 50 ml granadilla pulp or freshly squeezed juice - 125 g fresh raspberries (or other berries) - a packet of finger (boudoir) biscuits - optional, juice of half a lemon

You need a deep dish with straight sides so that the finger biscuits can stand up. Lynne uses a 17 cm soufflé dish
Boil a kettle. Melt the jelly in 150 ml of boiling water; stir till the jelly is clear. Then add 300 ml cold water. Put a little jelly into the base of your dish, about 1 cm deep. Put the dish into the fridge until set. Keep the rest of the jelly mixture out of the fridge. While it is setting, trim the edges of the sponge fingers so that they will fit closely together. Shake off and discard the crumbs. Arrange some of the raspberries around the edges on the set jelly, use about 10 or 12 evenly spaced, and one in the middle. Add a little more jelly and return the dish to the fridge to set. Whip the cream until stiff, stir in the granadilla pulp and the raspberries. When the base jelly is nearly set, start dipping the finger biscuits briefly into the remaining jelly and line the sides of the dish with the fingers, sugary side outward. Make sure that they fit closely together; you don’t want leaks. Then add the remaining nearly set jelly to the cream mixture and spoon it into the dish. Chill till firm. Just before serving, trim off the tops of the biscuits so that they are level with the filling. Dip the base of the dish into hot water for a moment and put a round serving dish over the dish, invert it and lift it away. The charlotte should stand up on its own and show its beautiful jelly 'face'.
See the photograph.
TIP: If it looks like collapsing, tie a ribbon around it before serving

The wine we really liked and ordered for supper at Ilse Schutte's Bemind garagiste cellar in McGregor was the Cinsault. It is jewel bright almandine garnet. At first, dusty musty on the nose, then boysenberries arrive, fruity sweetness on the nose and ripe berries on the palate. It’s gentle and wild at the same time with some prune plum flavours on the end. So nice to see such a good expression of a much neglected grape. One to watch. Platter awarded it 3 stars in the 2017 edition. It sells for R120 from the cellar





14th March 2017
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