Thursday, December 14, 2017

This Week's MENU. Overture, Giulio's, Waterford, Christmas starter, Rosés

The water lilies in our fish pond are thriving, fed by the fertiliser provided by the fish

2017 has been a very hectic and busy year, full of great events and experiences. some superb wine and food as well as an interesting and fun north European road trip, most of which we have enjoyed very much. Not all has been roses, but everything we do teaches us something more. Next week’s MENU will be the last of the year and will probably be a compact edition with a recipe and another wine suggestion. And then we will close for a holiday until mid January.....
To celebrate John's recent birthday we were taken to Overture by our friend Angela, who was visiting from London. We wrote a week or so ago that both John’s SD card on his camera was corrupted and the photos on Lynne's phone also disappeared, so we had no photographs - technology! Angela has now sent us her pictures, we so wanted to tell you about our excellent lunch

Overture is on Hidden Valley wine estate, high up in the Helderberg mountains in Stellenbosch. You turn up the Annandale Road and follow the signs after Peter Falke Wines. The views of the Cape are sensational. The restaurant has a large terrace with see-through screens if the wind is blowing or the weather is inclement. In the winter you can eat inside. It is run by renowned award winning top 10 chef Bertus Basson, who is very talented
We went to Giulio’s on the corner of Loop and Riebeek Street for breakfast several months ago and told you how good it was in our article then. He serves breakfast and also lunches, as well as his baking. We were informed that he is now going to be open for dinner every Friday and Saturday night from now on and we were invited to the media preview of some of the food he will be serving. The invitation was for 6.30 pm and we were told it would be over by 8.30. Not a chance! Media, especially the young and inexperienced bloggers are often late and many guests arrived more than an hour late. There were many dishes to try so the evening did turn into a very joyous and fun event

How could we resist an invitation from Mark le Roux, Waterford's wine maker, to come, with other media members, to a tasting on the farm of recent releases and some of his special selections from the Waterford cellar. We were also to do a short vineyard visit which would be followed by lunch. And they organised a pick up from everyone's home, so no problems with drinking and driving. Thank you Waterford

Starters for Christmas dinner     Usually the main course at Christmas is big, like a turkey or a roast and is accompanied by many vegetables, stuffing, gravy and roast potatoes. Even if you are being South African and doing it on the braai, you can expect to be super full after the main event as most people do 'go to town'. So starters need to be something light and luxurious and delicious.
These recipes are two of our all time summer favourites and would be perfect for a hot summer day.
Ajo Blanco - White Gazpacho
225g whole blanched almonds - 750 ml iced water - 75g stale white bread, crusts removed, soak in cold water - 3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1 level teaspoon of sea salt - 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - 3 Tablespoons dry sherry vinegar - 200g white seedless grapes, preferable muscatel, cut in half - sea salt and white pepper - Balsamic reduction
If you can only find raw almonds with their skins on, start with 250g and soak them in boiling water until the water is cold. Then sip off the shells and use the skinned nuts. In a food processor grind the almonds as fine as you can, they should stick to the wall of the machine. Turn off the machine and loosen the nuts, then add 5 Tablespoons of iced water and blitz until the almond paste is fluid enough to turn back on itself. Squeeze the water out of the bread and add it to the almonds, along with the garlic, combine till smooth. Add the olive oil and then the rest of the iced water until you have the consistency of single cream. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. You need a nice balance of almond, garlic and sherry. Chill for at least an hour or longer. Just before serving, check the seasoning again. Ladle into bowls and distribute the grapes evenly. Dot with a little olive oil and the balsamic reduction.
If you are doing a non-traditional Christmas, how about another refreshing cold soup as a starter? Tomatoes and peppers are in season and really good at the moment
Tomato and yellow pepper cold soup
500g very ripe tomatoes, core removed – 1 sliced yellow pepper, seeds removed - half a red chilli, seeds removed – 1 peeled clove of garlic – juice of one large orange - 1 t sherry vinegar – 1 sesame hamburger bun – sea salt – freshly ground black pepper
Put everything in your liquidiser and blend till smooth. Put in the fridge till the next day then adjust the seasoning. Add just a little sugar if it is too tart. Serve chilled with sliced peppadews, black olives, torn basil leaves and a few toasted flaked almonds. You can add crushed ice at the last minute as well if you want it colder and less thick. Serves 4
Our wine pairing suggestion for the starter is some of the best and most interesting rosé wines of the week which we have recommended this year
Summer is with us and so is the holiday season. We'll all be eating and drinking special meals and the variety will probably be almost infinite, so we've chosen a few of our favourite Rosés to go with that delicious festive food, Rosés being the most versatile of wines
Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir - Summer has arrived with this wine. Well, if you are not convinced, all you have to do is open a bottle and you will feel the sun on your face. It is so reminiscent of the rosés of Southern France. A Merlot led blend of noble varieties, it is full to bursting with strawberries, raspberries, a good bite of juicy white peach and sunshine. So good with food. If you tasted this blind you might think it was a serious red, but its light, fruity floral nose and beautiful lipstick pink will convince you otherwise. Makro is advertising it at R49, a real bargain
L'Avenir Glen Rosé - This sophisticated Pinotage rosé really impressed us. From the first mouthful, you get perfumed raspberries and mulberries. It is seductively silky on the palate, the soft juiciness has a background of structural chalky tannin to support it and the wine develops in layers on the tongue. It took us right to the South of France, imagining what it might be like with a Salade Niçoise or a rich fish soup. A food wine of note. We also have to mention the special bottle which has the punt carved out to look like a protea and a glass Vinolok stopper. At the luxury end, R200 from the farm, but they also have entry level Rosé de Pinotage at R65
Bartho Eksteen Wijnskool Blom Rosé –This palest of pale rosé wines is made from Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and a dash of Viognier. Bartho took a risk. He says the grapes were producing such beautiful juice this year that he blended the juice first and then made the wine. It's a risk, and very hard to repeat. The wine was so pale that he had to add a dash of red to give it some colour and it still very pale. It has produced a delicate wine, with a floral perfume of rose geranium on the nose and the palate. If you close your eyes, it smells and tastes like a gentle Rhône red wine, but it is so pale. Pure gorgeousness, how all rosé's should be. We cannot wait for summer holiday lunches on the deck. R98 a bottle from the farm
Newton Johnson Felicité Rosé – We’re always looking for something easy to drink with our lunch choices, which are always varied. What better than Newton Johnson's Felicité Rosé, made from Shiraz? Fresh pomegranate and cherry aromas with a touch of spice. Crunchy palate, delightful fruit sweetness, and juicy acidity to finish, such a good wine to share over a Sunday lunch. Expect to pay about R65

14th December 2017

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 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.

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