Wednesday, May 03, 2017

This week’s MENU. Breakfast at The Twelve Apostles, Graham Beck at La Colombe, A Taste of Darling, The Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival, Braised Lamb shanks, Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2012

The Palmiet River at Shannon Vineyards, Elgin
Another week of brilliant sunshine and a very small amount of rain. We've enjoyed the sun, although 36 degrees at the end of April is pushing global warming a bit too far! This, after all, is supposed to be the end of autumn, going into winter; log fires, lovely red wines with warming casseroles etc. So we have a suitable dish for you in the hope that the weather will become more civilised.... Enjoy it anyway with a suitable glass or two of a good red
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Our stories this week:

There can't be many places with a view like the panorama from the deck of Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, which is on the road from Bakoven towards Llandudno and Hout Bay. We were invited for a breakfast meeting this week and were delighted that our current Indian Summer was continuing. When we arrived at nine, the sea was calm, the weather warm and yes, we would like to sit out on the terrace to enjoy the view. The hotel is part of the Red Carnation Group of International Hotels
It is always rather special to be invited to a wine event at one of our top restaurants. This last week, Graham Beck invited us to lunch at La Colombe in Constantia. Pairing the food with Graham Beck Mèthode Cap Classique bubblies is an exploration of textures and flavours and aromas. We really enjoyed the way these wines and the food went together. Graham Beck now only makes MCC sparkling wines and their range went very well with the food
The Swartland village of Darling was Hopping on Saturday. We enjoyed the Taste of Darling Country Festival in a blast of Indian Summer heat. 36ºC at what should be the threshold of winter.....
 Held last weekend, this festival was held on individual farms in the Elgin Wine Valley, who organised their own events. You registered at Peregrine Farm stall, were given your bracelet and wine glass and a comprehensive map (all included in the ticket price) and headed off. It has to be said that you did have to prebook for some of the most popular events
This week's recipe is comfort food, good enough for a dinner party or just to sustain you.  The lamb is soft and falling off the bone with a reduced red wine spice and herb sauce. It uses the French spice mix Quatre Epice (yes, they do add spice to food) meaning four spices. (Confusingly, there can be five, the other being cinnamon, but that is mostly used in sweet foods). Mix beforehand for this recipe.  The remainder will keep well in a spice jar till you need it again. Wonderful as a rub on meat or duck, used in pates, terrines and sausages, soups, ragouts or on roasted vegetables. Wonderful for the coming winter's food
T = Tablespoons    t = teaspoons
Quatre Epice
3T White peppercorns  - 1 T grated Nutmeg - 2 t Cloves - 4 t powdered Ginger
Grind the peppercorns with the cloves, grate in the nutmeg, then add the powdered ginger and mix together. Bottle in a spice jar with a tightly fitting lid. Use within 2 months. (You can of course use all powdered spices, but the mixture will not have the pungency or last as long)
Braised Lamb Shanks in red wine
1⁄2 cup flour - 1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper - 1 t Herbs de Provence (mixed herbs)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil - 6 lamb shanks (trimmed of fat) - 2 large onions, sliced - 4 garlic cloves, chopped - 2 sticks celery finely chopped - 2 carrots finely chopped or sliced - 3 cups good beef or lamb stock - 1 cup red wine -1 tablespoon Quatre Epice - 4 Allspice berries - 4 bay leaves - salt and pepper
Turn your oven to 180⁰C.  Combine the flour, herbs and pepper in a large ziplock bag.  Put in the lamb shanks and shake the bag well until they are coated
Heat the oil in a large oven proof casserole with a lid. Fry the shanks until golden brown on all sides, using tongs to turn them. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pot and fry them till they are beginning to take on a little colour. Add the Quatre Epice and warm it. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and fry for another minute or two to soften. Pour in the red wine and let it come to a boil and, stirring all the time to deglaze the pan, let it reduce to half. Return the lamb to the pot and add the bay leaves, allspice berries and the stock. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the heated oven for two hours, checking mid way that the liquid has not boiled away. Add water if it needs topping up
Remove the shanks and vegetables to a serving dish and keep warm, removing the bay leaves and allspice berries. Then reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon and has a good glaze. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning with some salt.  Pour over the shanks and serve. Wonderful with a Rhône blend red wine or a spicy Shiraz. Serve with peas and mashed potato
We enjoyed this sparkling Chardonnay with lunch at La Colombe. Fresh limes on the nose with a hint of bready brioche. More toasty brioche on the palate with gentle citrus fruit, a hint of apple. Good acid balance and a lively mousse and a long full flavoured finish
It was served with a seared scallop, perfectly cooked, fresh and sweet with flavours of the sea, with some sticky melt in the mouth char sui belly of pork, nice crisp pork crackling, pressed apple disk and a cauliflower, apple and black forest ham velouté, topped with pea shoots. The apple flavour in the Blanc de Blanc made this a very good pairing
Lynne bought John a case of the 2009 (a Platter 5 Star and winner of various other accolades) for his 70th and we still have a little for another special occasion. Expect to pay about R300 per bottle

2nd May 2017
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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.

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017

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