Thursday, March 01, 2018

This Week's MENU. Durbanville; Nitída, Durbanville Hills, De Grendel, Savoury pilaff with Chimichurri, Golden Orb Sauvignon

Mating dragonflies in a pond at Nitida wine estate, Durbanville
A day in Durbanville. Another jaunt into the winelands with our friend Terry took us to Durbanville, only half an hour from the city and now part of Wine of Origin Cape Town. It was a very hot day and we didn't want to travel far, so this is a perfect location. The vines look beautiful, fecund with trusses of grapes and so green and lush. Harvest has begun in certain areas; Durbanville is a week or two off. We did want to visit places with water as Terry has a specialist interest in dragonflies. He is on the hunt for four special ones, but you never know what you are going to find.
Harvest is close and we are very grateful to winemaker Danie Keulder for guiding us through many of the excellent Nitída wines including one new one just about to be released. There are some new developments about to take place at Nitída which we hope we can reveal soon.
After the extensive and superb tasting at Nitída, we fancied just a light lunch and it was getting late. So we headed off to Durbanville Hills, where we knew they had a cafe serving snacks and light lunches. We ordered a bottle of their great Chardonnay with lunch.
Lovely views from De Grendel’s terrace of the city and the mountains are just some of its draw cards. But the reason why we all flock there is the lovely wine produced under the guidance of Cellarmaster Charles Hopkins. The staff there is so professional, friendly, helpful and informed, even though many of them are University students. All this makes one relax, as does doing tasting some of the wines. Oh and they do have a rather good restaurant
This is leesy with asparagus, green capsicum notes and a touch of grapefruit, very like a Sancerre in its clean minerality and sophistication and with a lovely golden colour to match its name. Price from the cellar is R280. Platter awarded it 4½ stars and it was the 2016 FNB Top 10 Sauvignon blanc winner. From a single vineyard. Their Sauvignons Blanc have always been on our best list, Lynne insisted that we served Nitída at our wedding 15 years ago
This is made in an oven proof dish with a tightly fitting lid that can also go on the hob. A Pyrex casserole or a cast iron and enamel one works very well indeed. You can use cooked chicken as well as raw. And if you don't like the heat of chimichuri you could marinade the chicken in your favourite barbeque sauce or other flavourful marinade. It needs to be robust, the Pilaff is very gentle. Oh and we used some of the leftovers to stuff red banana peppers the next day.
1 shallot, very finely chopped – ½ t olive oil – 1 T butter - 2 cups of rice - 5 cups of chicken stock – 100 ml dry white wine - 3 sprigs of thyme – 1 bay leaf – a generous pinch of saffron – 2 T dried blueberries or cherries - 1 or 2 courgettes, quartered and sliced - salt – white pepper - a sheet of greaseproof or baking paper
500g chicken , cut into 4 to 5 cm pieces - 5 T chimichurri paste - canola oil
Rub the chicken in the chimichuri and set aside in the fridge to marinate
Fry the onion gently in the oil and butter with a pinch of salt. When it is soft, add the rice and stir till all the grains are transparent. Add the white wine and let it bubble away. Add the stock, a good shake of white pepper and the herbs and saffron. Stir then cover the pot with some greaseproof paper, then its lid and put into a 170°C oven for 30 minutes or until the liquid has almost all gone and the rice is very moist and glossy. Under no circumstances let it overcook and dry out. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
When the rice is ready, quickly fry the chimichurri chicken in a little oil till it is cooked. Serve the two together, accompanied by a mixed salad. Really good with a bottle of chilled Chenin Blanc.

1st 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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