Wednesday, March 14, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Lunch at Nom Nom, RMB Starlight Classics 2018, Wines of Portugal, Moussaka, Perdeberg Malbec

From our deck, late evening
After a couple of relatively quiet weeks, we are suddenly in a maelstrøm of events, some of which were very exciting and resulted in a huge number of photographs to select and edit. So we have done our best to get this week’s MENU out on schedule, but beg forgiveness because we are a little late. We have visited a re-branded restaurant, attended a fabulous open-air concert and experienced a selection of interesting wines from another country, picked grapes on an historic wine estate and helped to stomp them, and been to a preview of a great traditional festival. Not all of these are below; you’ll read about some of them next week….
Nom Nom is the new identity of the restaurant on the corner of Main Road and Coronation Avenue in Somerset West which used to be Benguela on Main. Owned by Penny Streeter who owns Benguela Cove winery in Hermanus, this opened in December and is a welcome addition to the dining selection in the area. They have swapped the fine dining of Benguela on Main, which did not suit the locals, for a concept that allows the customer lots of options all day. As the manager JC van der Merwe says, "If you want a steak early in the morning and breakfast at four you can have it." Or just sit and have tea, milkshakes and nibbles at lunchtime as some ladies at an adjoining table were doing when we were there. We were invited to sample the food and the experience at the restaurant by Penny Streeter
This Afro Symphonic tribute to our beautiful country brings together a collection of diverse musical talent and incredible singers and instrumentalists, under the legendary baton of Maestro Richard Cock. It was founded 20 years ago. It is held each year at Vergelegen in Stellenbosch and in Johannesburg at the Johannesburg Country Club and we were delighted to receive an invitation again this year.

Duorum wines of Portugal from João Portugal Ramos    

We were very pleased to be invited to a tasting of some special Portuguese wines this week. The tasting was to be at Muratie Wine Farm and would be followed by lunch. We do not see many good Portuguese wines in South Africa, most often Port and entry-level Vinho Verde. Both of us are familiar with Portuguese wines from travelling and our studies and it was a really good opportunity to see what the current Portuguese industry is producing.

We haven't made a substantial dish for a while and, as we are getting ready to entertain, Lynne wanted to try out one of her old recipes. You should use minced lamb, but you can also use beef mince if the current price of lamb scares you to death. It is a rich dish so, usually, just accompanied by a classic Greek salad of tomato, olives, green peppers and feta. You can add sliced potatoes to make it go further, or just serve with crusty bread. If you add a little macaroni, it's called Pastitsio - from the Italian influence.

150-175ml olive oil - 1 large onion, finely chopped - 3 garlic cloves, crushed - 900g lean minced lamb - 50ml white wine - 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes - 1 x 5cm piece cinnamon stick - handful fresh oregano leaves, preferably wild Greek oregano, chopped or 1 t dried oregano - 3 large aubergines - salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping
75g butter - 75g plain flour - 600ml milk - 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated - 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a pan; add the onions and garlic and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the mince and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes while you make everything else. Preheat your oven at 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
Slice the stalks off the aubergines and cut them lengthways into 5mm slices. Heat a frying pan until it is hot, add one tablespoon of the oil and a layer of aubergine slices. Fry quickly until tender and lightly coloured on each side. Lift out with tongs and put a layer of them in the base of a 2.5-2.75 litre shallow ovenproof dish and season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick from the mince sauce, season to taste with some salt and pepper and spoon a layer over the top of the aubergines. Repeat the layers, seasoning each as you go. Have a mince layer on top.
For the topping, melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for one minute to cook out the flour. Gradually beat in the milk; bring to the boil, stirring, and leave to simmer very gently for 10 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. You can also make a quick roux in your microwave. Stir in the cheese and some salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly and then beat in the eggs.
Pour over the topping and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden-brown and bubbling.
We used this wine in a blend we were asked to make this week at a function at Perdeberg cellar - more about that next week - and the wine really impressed us, again.  We have bought it previously

On the nose it is quite sophisticated and integrated, with echoes of French Malbecs. On the palate this big wine is savoury at first with salty liquorice then opening to robust dark fruit, shy supporting wood and good fresh fruit acids to help it last. It made a good blending wine especially with Pinotage, adding structure and depth. Great value at R98 per bottle ex cellar
7th March 2018

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
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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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