Thursday, February 15, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Thali Franschhoek Summer Wines, Lunch at French Connection, Bellevue with the Wine Club, Razvan Macici, Poached Salmon, Mooiplaas Bush Vine Chenin

One of the joys of summer. Sitting under a Stellenbosch oak, tasting wonderful wines
There’s a magic word in the air: “RAIN!” The forecast says that we should have good rain on Friday and Saturday. Even if it only lets us have the thrill of feeling it on our skins, it will be a huge delight. Doomsday, or Day Zero as it is referred to, the day when Cape Town will run out of water, has been pushed back from April to May, largely because the farmers of Elgin and Grabouw have donated the contents of their private dams and because they and other farmers need to use much less water than they did before harvest. We still have no idea what the coming winter’s rain will be like, so we still need to be very careful, It can be done; we have used only 4000 litres in 3 months in our home.

Once in a while you must treat yourself to a top restaurant to see what the food trends are and what the top chefs are doing. This week we joined friends for lunch to try out our Eat Out Top Chef of the Year, Liam Tomlin's take on an Indian restaurant, Thali in Park Street just off Kloof Street in Town. It was quite an experience, expensive, yes, but a great exploration and certainly lots of food. A thali is a collection of small dishes served on a tray for one to combine with rice and flat breads, a complete meal in one. Now being referred to as Indian Tapas (but unlike tapas, you don't choose your individual dishes, unless you order off the a la carte menu), it's seasonal and what the chef makes that day or week or month. Often it is mainly vegetarian with some meat added and usually a textural and flavour experience. Here you get a tray for two to share, which come as courses. It costs R700 for two

We do love attending this annual festival in Franschhoek. It is well organised, well attended, friendly and the wines are always impressive. This year many were more than that. Yes it is hot, it’s summer, but they do put up marquees and lots of umbrellas. It is held on the lawn at Leopards Leap Vineyards where there is plenty of parking. Tickets were a very reasonable R150 pp this year. We were invited to come along and write about it

It only takes a minute to plan and get a good table on the terrace! While we were at the Franschhoek Summer Wines festival we knew in advance that it was going to be very hot, especially at midday. So we decided we would escape the heat and go and have lunch in the village and return to the festival later when it was cooler.  Who has a menu that will allow you to have a small salad or a grand gourmet meal?  Chef Matthew Gordon has at his restaurant The French Connection on Main Road. And he has a great chef there, Shirene Patrick who was head chef at his restaurant Harvest at Laborie (now sadly closed) and who has 'come home' to her roots in Franschhoek

We enjoyed our brief lunch and recent visits to Bellevue so much that we took our Wine Club there for our first meeting of the year on Sunday. Dirkie Morkel did a really thorough tasting and the club members so enjoyed their day and the lunch. They certainly bought a lot of wine to take home

Razvan Macici at Ormonde
Ormonde Wine Estate in Darling has announced that former Nederburg Cellarmaster Razvan Macici has joined them and is responsible for all winemaking activities on the estate. Razvan was Nederburg Cellarmaster from 2001 to 2015, when he was appointed as Distell’s Head of Winemaking, holding that position until 2017. He guided Nederburg to the award of Platter Winery of the Year for 2011 and was 2012 Diner’s Club Winemaker of the year. Nederburg, a Distell label, was Platter Winery of the Year in 2017. In addition to his responsibilities at Ormonde, Razvan will continue to develop his own boutique cellar in Romania. His first vintage there was made in 2017. If you would like more information about Razvan Macici or Ormonde Wines, please contact Berinda Basson at 022 492 3540 or email at We wish him much success and joy in his new ventures.

Most people nowadays sear their salmon and the art of gently poaching fish is being lost. If done correctly, it is quick and keeps the fish soft and moist. We had this with some depodded baby broad beans, a tomato and basil salad and some duck fat confit potatoes. You can use any garden herbs from your garden in the sauce, but if you use very strong herbs like rosemary and basil, they will dominate and overshadow the delicate salmon.
1 small finely sliced onion - 1 medium carrot, finely chopped - 1 stalk celery, finely chopped - 2 bay leaves - 6 whole peppercorns - ½ cup dry white wine - water
4 salmon fillets (170 grams each) or one whole piece of salmon weighing 700g, deboned
In a 25 cm frying pan, combine the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and dry white wine. Add enough water to come to a depth of approx 4 cm. Bring this to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper; place them carefully in the pan skin side down, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand until fillets are opaque, 8 to 12 minutes. Serve warm with the Lemon & Herb Cream sauce.
Lemon & Herb Cream sauce
200 ml double cream - 2 tspns reduced chicken or fish stock - 1 Tbspn chopped chives - 1 tspn chopped parsley - 1 tspn freshly chopped thyme - 1 tspn chopped lemon verbena - 1 to 2 tspns fresh lemon juice - salt and pepper.
Stir the stock into the double cream in a small sauce pan, then add the finely chopped herbs and then the lemon juice to taste. Warm through, do not boil or the sauce will split. Season to taste and serve.

This is quite unusual for a Chenin, with aromas of a rich apple Tart Tatin on flaky pastry, perhaps more like a Chardonnay. It draws you in with mature cooked apples and citrus flavours; it is rounded and delicious with just a hint of lime and salt on the end. It also makes one’s mouth water so it is a perfect food wine. We had it with our Salmon dish and it was a great match.

8th February 2018

© 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 me

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