Thursday, November 30, 2017

The annual Street Smart Awards ceremony

Lynne spent several years of her (long and varied!) career working for two charities in London, so she has a special place in her heart for NGOs that make as much difference as StreetSmart. You may notice, when you dine out at good restaurants, that you have the opportunity to add R5 to your bill which goes to StreetSmart to support homeless children. They have been very successful indeed this year and your generosity has contributed R1 120 000 to this worthy cause. We were invited to the annual presentation of this money to the various NGO's they supportThe event was held at the Silesian Institute in Somerset Road, Cape Town and was well attended
The event was held at the Silesian Institute in Somerset Road, Cape Town and was well attended
MD of StreetSmart Melanie Burke told us an important fact; every penny you donate via the restaurants goes direct to the recipients. The organisation and its sponsors raise all the money needed for administration, salaries and infrastructure separately. This year the total donated by the R5 addition in restaurants raised was R1 120 000. They fund 31 programmes which individual aim to prevent, to cure, to educate and to get the children back into society
These are the certificates which go to the top restaurants for their contributions
The childrens’ choir sang us two songs, both à capella (unaccompanied by music or instruments). They do have the member who beats time on a djembe drum. They sang ‘Judgement Day’ and a moving song called ‘I know who I am’. And they do have potential. However, we feel they so need some musical support and hope one of our readers will be tempted to volunteer to assist. A pianist, a guitarist or a band would give them a much better range of notes and rhythm. You can see how some of them love to sing, aided by their choir master. They so need some joy and fun in their lives as they rediscover their place in society
Margi Biggs, who started StreetSmart 12½ years ago, did the draw of lucky numbers; a number of prizes had been donated. She told us how the organisation was growing. First they get a representative in a town, others join and then they form a group. Some accommodation partners are coming on board, like the Cape Town Backpackers and François Hayden with his "Farm for Real"
Then it was time to hand over the cheques to the Agencies working with the street children. If you are interested in what they do, we have put in the links to their organisations. R90 000 to Cape Town Multi Service Centre.
Sue Birch, a Trustee, presents a cheque for R90 000 to Home from Home
Caroline Bagley, owner of Savoy Cabbage restaurant and a Partner, presented R90 000 to Learn to Live
Margie Biggs handed a cheque for R90 000 to Ons Plek (Our Home) which is a place for girls
R90 000 went to T.L.C. Children's Home
and another Cheque of R90 000 went to School of Hope Centre for Education Innovations
Caroline Bagley, who is a partner, told us a moving story of a donation from one of her regular customers who wishes to remain anonymous. He was celebrating with a large group of friends at Savoy Cabbage as they were all off to Antarctica and has made very big donations before. This time his donation was for a staggering R40 000! "It is the right thing to do", he said and everyone cheered. She said it is so great to collect these donations and then see how they are used
We then heard from this brave young lady who has come from the School of Hope. She shared her story of what it has done for her. At 13 she was on the street and addicted to Tic (crystal meth) and uncontrolled. StreetSmart has provided her with schooling, counselling, given her many chances and she is doing her matric again, even though returning to school was very difficult for her. "Education" she says, "is my stepping stone"
Chef Richard Chamberlain of Out of this Planet Caterers donates his and his staff’s time and the food to StreetSmart events
The event's sponsors
Certificates were presented to some of his staff for their individual contributions
Angelo Casu who runs Grand Dedale Hotel in Wellington with his wife Tina, took part in this year's Cape Epic cycle race and raised R35 353 for StreetSmart. He has also donated his racing sweater to them. He will be doing the same next year in the 2018 Cape Epic. And what an epic that cycle race is! He has called on you to help sponsor him and his cycling partner Johan so that he can raise even more money for them this year. You can find him on Facebook or Linked In
Here presenting his donation to MD Melanie Burke
Time for some wine
And some canapés - sundried tomatoes on goat's cheese
Salmon mousse topped with capers
Tuna and salmon ceviché topped with sesame and soy mayonnaise
Tiny filo tarts with olives and cream cheese
And outside, mini gardens developed by Francois Hayden; how to produce sustainable produce and feed people in a small space

Friday, November 24, 2017

This Week’s MENU. White Blends, Platter 5 star brandies, “Finer Things in Life” Champagne Affair, Bientang’s Cave, Wine & Recipe of the week

This has been a rather interesting week with some quite different functions to attend. We had a short but welcome break at the weekend at De Kelders and have now re-entered the week running. Welcome rain over the last two days and nights has filled our 'water tank' almost to the rim and the fish are very happy indeed


And to our many American friends and readers, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving celebration

This is the second time WineMag.co.za has held this competition. Wines entered need to contain some Chenin Blanc (more than 15% and less than 85%). Why do they insist on a Chenin Blanc blend? The panel of judges feel that "If we were to make Chenin Blanc non-compulsory, then producers forfeit a significant point of difference relative to wines from elsewhere in the world. With approximately 18 000ha of Chenin in the ground, it's our most planted variety and we should find ways to celebrate it". Chenin is what we do best, it is a wine with a unique character, identifiable but also able to appear in many different guises and it always adds something unique. Still there is no sponsor for this very important wine blend; it really does showcase the very best of what South Africa can make in the white wine field. South Africans need to be encouraged to drink these delicious blends too, they don't know what they are missing
What a great invitation and they promised that a special canapé menu had been created to pair with the four award winning potstill brandies, while Van Ryn’s Master Distiller, Marlene Bester, would be on hand to guide us through the tasting.
We love this annual celebration of Champagne as it is a real opportunity to taste the top Marques of French champagne and not pay a fortune for a tiny taster. This year there were also lots of Cavas and Proseccos and a Lambrusco or two as well. It is the 16th year this event has been held at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.
Lunch at Bientang’s Cave     We stopped off in Hermanus to do our Christmas dinner shopping at Woolworths; they have good gammons and then could not resist a walk along the front to see if we could spot any whales, but they were absent all weekend. As we finished our walk, we realised we were a bit peckish, so we went down the (new and no longer so steep!) stairs to Bientang’s cave, one of our favourite places in Hermanus for a quick seafood meal and a sensational view. We were given a table so close to the water, it was marvellous, but still no whales.
Lynne made this to take with us on our break in De Kelders with vegetarian friends and it was very well received. The rich cheese pastry is a doddle to make in a food processor. We used very large asparagus spears and didn't cut them up. You might wish to. We also put them in raw; you could steam them for a minute or two or even use a large tin of asparagus if you want to make this out of season. It does make a very large quiche. Be careful with your pastry when you line your tin, so there are no cracks or leaks (it has happened to Lynne.)  As a precaution, wrap it in aluminium foil. Or just use a large ceramic quiche dish.
Pastry: 140g plain flour - 85g cold butter, cubed - 85g good mature cheddar cheese - (optional) 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - ice water
For the filling: 6 eggs - 225 ml cream - salt and white pepper to season - 100g cheddar - 300g fresh asparagus spears, washed and dried
Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheddar and cayenne and mix. You can do this quickly in a food processor. Add 3 tbsp cold water and mix until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the asparagus.
Snap the hard bottoms off the asparagus spears - you can freeze the bottom pieces to make asparagus soup later
Heat oven to 160ºC. Butter a 20cm x 5cm deep loose-bottomed tart tin, or a 35 x 12cm rectangular tart tin. Dusting your surface with some flour, carefully roll out the pastry and line the tin. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes, then blind bake the pastry case, first lining with baking paper, and filling with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, and return the pastry case to the oven for more 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
In a jug, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the cream. Season. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the pastry case, then add the asparagus and egg mix. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (if using a rectangular tin, you may not need all the mixture, so add it gradually). Bake in the lower half of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until it is just set. We had this with a butternut, beetroot and creamed goats cheese salad and a bottle of Vondeling Chenin blanc

A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. This is an appealing dusty, grassy warm land wine. A lovely rich and full blend of golden fruit, apples, gooseberries, ripe cling peaches and more, on both the nose and palate. Showing so well with more of everything than most of the other wines in the competition; it went very well with food too.
Price: R165. It scored 93 points in the recent WineMag.co.za Cape White Blends Report

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What’s on the MENU this week: Asparagus Quiche

Lynne made this to take with us on our break in De Kelders with vegetarian friends and it was very well received. The rich cheese pastry is a doddle to make in a food processor. We used very large asparagus spears and didn't cut them up. You might wish to. We also put them in raw; you could steam them for a minute or two or even use a large tin of asparagus if you want to make this out of season. It does make a very large quiche. Be careful with your pastry when you line your tin, so there are no cracks or leaks (it has happened to Lynne.)  As a precaution, wrap it in aluminium foil. Or just use a large ceramic quiche dish
Pastry: 140g plain flour - 85g cold butter, cubed - 85g good mature cheddar cheese - (optional) 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - ice water
For the filling: 6 eggs - 225 ml cream - salt and white pepper to season - 100g cheddar - 300g fresh asparagus spears, washed and dried
Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheddar and cayenne and mix. You can do this quickly in a food processor. Add 3 tbsp cold water and mix until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the asparagus.
Snap the hard bottoms off the asparagus spears - you can freeze the bottom pieces to make asparagus soup later
Heat oven to 160ºC. Butter a 20cm x 5cm deep loose-bottomed tart tin, or a 35 x 12cm rectangular tart tin. Dusting your surface with some flour, carefully roll out the pastry and line the tin. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes, then blind bake the pastry case, first lining with baking paper, and filling with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, and return the pastry case to the oven for more 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
In a jug, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the cream. Season. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the pastry case, then add the asparagus and egg mix. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (if using a rectangular tin, you may not need all the mixture, so add it gradually). Bake in the lower half of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until it is just set. We had this with a butternut, beetroot and creamed goats cheese salad and a bottle of Vondeling Chenin blanc

MENU's Wine of the Week. Olifantsberg Blanc 2016

A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. This is an appealing dusty, grassy warm land wine. A lovely rich and full blend of golden fruit, apples, gooseberries, ripe cling peaches and more, on both the nose and palate. Showing so well with more of everything than most of the other wines in the competition; it went very well with food too.

Price: R165. It scored 93 points in the recent WineMag.co.za Cape White Blends Report

Lunch at Bientang's Cave, Hermanus

We stopped off in Hermanus to do our Christmas dinner shopping at Woolworths; they have good gammons and then could not resist a walk along the front to see if we could spot any whales, but they were absent all weekend. As we finished our walk, we realised we were a bit peckish, so we went down the (new and no longer so steep!) stairs to Bientang’s cave, one of our favourite places in Hermanus for a quick seafood meal and a sensational view. We were given a table so close to the water, it was marvellous, but still no whales
It was a lovely sunny but not too hot day and just right for a long walk along the sea front
There are two ways down to the restaurant; one has less steps than the other. You will find it on the extreme right of the restaurant
Initially we thought we wouldn't get a table on such a lovely day but not only did we, but on the lowest level of the restaurant right on the rocks with the sea crashing below us
No, we didn't get wet, despite a turning tide. Had there been any whales in Walker bay, we would have had a ringside seat
Lovely views of the mountains going up the coast and you can see down the coast to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa
Lynne ordered the calamari and chips; there was so much, she took half of this home for supper
John had a hamburger with barbecue sauce and chips. But he didn't eat the bun, he rarely does. We each had a pint of Birkenhead draught lager. Our bill came to R330 with service
Those waiters must get very fit going up and down the stairs

Gulls lining the roof tops told us bad weather might be on its way and this week we have had lovely, welcome rain

Wine Concepts “Finer Things in Life” International Champagne & Sparkling Wine Affair at The Vineyard Hotel

We love this annual celebration of Champagne as it is a real opportunity to taste the top Marques of French champagne and not pay a fortune for a tiny taster. This year there were also Cavas and Proseccos and a Lambrusco or two as well. It is the 16th year this event has been held at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands
The girls who organise: Karen Glanfield Pawley and Renette Muir from Wine Concepts manned the front desk and dealt with the tickets, glasses and wine orders - all the bubblies for tasting could be ordered and were at a discount for the evening
There is always a good jazz band playing. And Porsche has come on board as a sponsor this year and showcased a couple of their 911 sports cars at the event
Sue Proudfoot of Wine Concepts in Kloof Street enjoying a tasting of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, it is nice and dry, very much to our taste
Tarryn Vincent of Reciprocal Wine Trading Co had some interesting bubblies for tasting. This Champagne was made by Gratiot et Cie from 15% Chardonnay and 85% Pinot Meunier from Charly-sur-Marne, in the Aisne Department in France called Almanach No.1
Terrance van der Walt of Siris Vintners had the Valdo range of Proseccos from Italy. The one with the very pretty floral bottle is made for Milan Fashion Week.
Sarah Revell and Dax Bailey of Vinimark were showing the Nicolas Feuillatte Champagnes from Epernay
Tracy James-Elphick of Vinimark, seen here talking to Neil Proudfoot of Wine Concepts in Kloof Street, had one of our favourites of the evening, the Bollinger. "Definitely the Special Cuvée Dahling... definitely good Bolly."
Journalist Fiona MacDonald was having fun
Nice to see Allan Mullins, CWM with his wife Therèse and his carer Richard. Allan did his Cape Wine Master thesis on Champagne and really knows his stuff
Michael Bampfield Duggan, owner of Wine Concepts in Newlands, doing the lucky draw for the evening. There were some very good prizes
CocoAfair had lots of their chocolates for sale and some generous tasting portions
The theme this year was International Relations and people did dress accordingly. Here is the ever glamorous Tshepang Molisana dressed for the occasion in her French beret
The Australians were there too, showing their rather commercial bubblies from Hardys and Nottage Hill
On the Drappier stand, there was the Brut of the evening for Lynne, the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2013 from the English Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent, which dates back to 1410. Andrew Weber took over the estate in 2004 "with the goal of making English sparkling wines that would stand up alongside the very finest offering from across the globe". If this is the future of the British bubbly, we are very excited. Made from 55% Pinot Noir, 27% Pinot Meunier, 18% Chardonnay, it is crisp, lean and dry, with a warm brioche nose and lots of class.
Many people were flocking to the stand to try it
GM of the Vineyard hotel Roy Davis with two of our favourite sommeliers, Mercy Mwai from Nobu at the One and Only hotel and Greg Mutambe of the Twelve Apostles hotel. Greg is Zimbabwean and has probably been celebrating this week with some good Champagne.
Trying some Mumm Brut, which has a lovely prickle and some nice leesy age notes
Allan Mullins trying the Gusbourne with Maryna Calow of WOSA
Maryna and Tshepang. Two happy girls enjoying their Champagne. It was a great evening