Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This Week's MENU. Degustation Menu at Azure Restaurant, Breakfast at Newport Deli, A marvellous Chenin party, Wine of the Week. Meerlust Chardonnay 2014, Classic Tarte Tatin

Common waxbills (Estrilda astrild)
photographed from the verandah at David van Niekerk’s High Constantia winery
We live in a wonderful country. People from all walks of life are voicing dissatisfaction with the President and his cohorts, but it is done without violence by members of our nation from all our diverse ethnicities and faiths. It will take time and, we hope, patience, but the will of the majority must ultimately prevail. Meanwhile, life continues for most of us. Money is tight, rain (in the Cape) is slight, but we manage and, speaking for ourselves, we have a huge amount of fun doing the things that provide the material for our stories. We hope you’ll enjoy what we have for you this week
Food for Fanatical Foodies: A Degustation Menu at Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel     
From the 5th of May and on every first Friday of the month thereafter, The Twelve Apostles Hotel is offering you the chance of experiencing a six course degustation menu. Limited to between six and 12 guests, you will have the experience of eating at the Chef's Table in Azure restaurant. Hosted by Chef Christo Pretorius who is ably accompanied by Head Sommelier and co-host, Gregory Mutambe, a six-course surprise menu - all about textures and flavours, will be prepared especially for the guests. Each dish will be paired with a selection of South Africa’s best wines, chosen by Gregory. The cost to book an exclusive place at the Chef’s Table is R2150 per person - price includes meal, wine/tea pairing, water and gratuity. We think that this might also suit the corporate market when they need to entertain overseas guests
We were invited last week, along with other members of the media, to sample the food and wine that will be on the menu. It was quite a tour de force with some excellent wines
Breakfast at Newport Deli      
On a fairly miserable morning after a night of (much appreciated) rain we ventured out to Mouille Point to Newport Deli to try their breakfasts. We did not realise that they keep a kosher menu so were a little bit disappointed to discover no bacon but turkey macon, something we avoid. We are not fans of pretend food and miss the fat on the bacon!
A marvellous Chenin party      
We were so delighted to see the Chenin Blanc Association open up their annual Chenin Blanc tasting to the public. The Magic of Chenin and All that Jazz! party was held last week at The Grand on the Beach in the Waterfront from 5 to 10 and was sensational. A chance to taste Chenin from every member of the association, old and new and some very different. We had a ball....
Wine of the Week: Meerlust Chardonnay 2014

We had this wine at the farm two years ago at a lunch with owner Hannes Myburgh and talented winemaker Chris Williams. We loved it then and it has become even better. We had it again last week at the Degustation Dinner at Azure Restaurant. What a superb wine. It was a beautiful match with the food it was paired with: a lightly citrus and vanilla cured Norwegian salmon with roasted hazelnuts. We knew the wine pairing was a Chardonnay of great provenance, but did not guess it correctly as we thought it was from a cool area like Hemel en Aarde or Elgin. Indeed it was great; the elegant Meerlust 2014 from Stellenbosch, served in Riedel Montrachet glasses, was weighty, full, with some beautiful oaking, the clean lemon lime Chardonnay flavours shining through, silky and intense but not blousy or over ripe as Chardonnays from warmer areas can be sometimes
What's on the MENU this week: Classic Tarte Tatin     
Cool Autumn weather has been showing its face this week and we were entertaining over the Easter Weekend. We had been given a bag of lovely Elgin apples so the choice of our dessert was easy. This recipe is very original, from the French; it uses lots of wicked things like sugar and butter and is absolutely irresistible. Lynne usually uses short crust pastry but decided this time, as time was short, not to make the pastry but to buy the (you need a small mortgage) butter puff pastry from Woolworths. It rose like a dream but was thin and, despite leaving it in the oven a bit too long - the apples were melting - was still soggy when turned out. The Americans have made adaptations to the recipe which Lynne does not like. They always want things easier and quicker. They are using huge chunks of apple and are cooking them in a butter and sugar caramel before applying the pastry, which is always puff. We prefer a paté brisée (a rich short crust pastry) and normal sliced apples. Peel them if you like, don't if you prefer. Lynne makes this is in a heavy bottomed sauté pan with two handles (see photo). First you make caramel in the pan, then you arrange the fruit, then top with pastry. Remember, Caramel is not pale, honey-coloured, nor is it dark burnt brown. A nice red brown is enough
Rich Shortcrust Pastry
175g plain flour - 50g icing sugar - a pinch of salt - 90 g butter - 1 egg yolk - 2 tablespoons iced water - squeeze of lemon juice
Sift flour and sugar with the salt then rub in the butter until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Mix the yolk and 1 tablespoon water with lemon juice and mix into the flour with a knife. Use one hand to quickly and gently press into a firm dough. Add more water if necessary, but do not make the pastry too wet. Wrap in cling film and chill till ready to use. You can also make this in a food processor.
Making the caramel : 1/2 cup white sugar
Have ready a bowl full of cold water large enough to take the base of the pan, so that you can cool the caramel quickly to stop it burning. Put the pan on the heat and cover the base with half a cup of sugar. Watching it carefully, allow it to turn itself into caramel. Do not leave it alone, never stir and do not let it burn. Do not touch it, you will get burned. When the caramel has reached a good red amber colour, turn off the heat and put just the base of the pan into the cold water to stop the caramelisation. Do not get any water into the pan. Let it cool to a hard set
1 kilo Granny Smith apples - 2 t lemon juice - 50 g butter - 50g brown Treacle or Demerara sugar - 50g vanilla castor sugar - 25 g butter
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Peel, core and slice the apples, approx 2 cm thick half moon slices . Sprinkle with lemon juice. Put small teaspoonfuls of the soft butter on the base of the pan on top of the set caramel, sprinkle over the treacle sugar. Then arrange the apple slices in  tight concentric circles in the pan on top of the sugar and the butter. Sprinkle with the vanilla sugar and add the 25g of butter. Roll out the pastry into a circle just larger than the pan and lay it on top of the apples, tucking the edges in down the sides of the apples. Put into the oven for half an hour or until the pastry is golden and crisp
Turning out. You will need a dish larger than the pan, with a good lip - Lynne uses a very large quiche dish. Put the dish over the pan and, using tea towels to protect your hands, carefully and quickly flip the pan over so the tart upends into the dish. Do this over a sink and make sure you flip away from yourself. This is where you get loud applause from anyone looking. Get someone to help you if you are nervous. There is always someone brave at a dinner party. There will be lots of buttery caramel juices. Serve immediately. We always flame the apples with a little calvados or brandy. Serve with thick cream and or real vanilla custard. Serve with chilled calvados or a Noble Late Harvest dessert wine

18th April 2017
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
If you like the photographs you see in our publications, please look at our Adamastor Photo website for our rate card and samples from our portfolio
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.

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017

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