Monday, August 27, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Birthday lunch at Chefs Warehouse, Top Ten Pinotage Awards lunch, Bottling Vineyard Hotel's Sauvignon, New vintage De Wetshof Limestone Hill, Sopa de Garbanzos, MENU’s Wine of the Week

A male pin-tailed whydah (Vidua macroura) in non-breeding plumage
Last weekend began with a bang and ended with a mess. In between, we had a great time in the Overberg, but we’ll tell you about that next week. Sometimes you have a week which has exceptionally high points and some dreadful lows and this was one of them. We enjoyed some wonderful wines, great food, beautiful places and lovely company. That was the good part. On Friday morning, on our way to Klein Constantia on a wet road, just as we entered the freeway behind the Convention Centre, a truck changed lanes without warning and the cars behind it had to brake very quickly. The car behind us didn’t, which is why our car’s rear end needs a bit of plastic surgery, not serious but a nuisance nevertheless. Then, after a super weekend with our wine club, we arrived home on Monday evening to find that burglars had forced the back door and trashed a lot of the interior of our house – without, it seems, stealing anything. The police say that they must have been after a safe with guns or money. We are impecunious scribes, we don’t have those things. We had a long list of stories for you, but sorting out our home has stolen some of the time we needed, so some of them will appear next week. We hope you’ll enjoy these…
We are great admirers of Chef Liam Tomlin and the innovative food he and his chefs prepare. On Lynne's birthday last year, we celebrated at the Chefs Warehouse in Heritage Square in town. We have since been to Thali, his Indian restaurant. This year, she chose to go to the Chef's Warehouse at Beau Constantia. It was a grey and fairly chilly day but the views from the farm do make up for it.

The Top 10 Pinotage Awards lunch was held this week at Cavalli Estate in the Helderberg ward of Stellenbosch. The panel of judges for the 2018 competition consisted of Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines (chairman), Samarie Smith, Benguela Cove’s Brand and Business Manager, winemaker Francois Haasbroek, wine educator Nomonde Kubheka and Francois Rautenbach, wine buyer for Singita. First. we met in the tent to taste the top 20 finalists.

The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands has a small vineyard which produces Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. They are vinified each year by one of the partner wineries and this year it was the turn of wine maker Mathew Day at Klein Constantia.  On Friday we were invited to help with the bottling of the new wines from the 2018 vintage at the farm

An invitation from De Wetshof to the launch of this year's Limestone Hill Chardonnay. The launch was held at the recently opened Upper Bloem restaurant which, rather confusingly, is nowhere near Upper Bloem Road in Bo Kaap, but is on Main Road in Green Point, near the Stadium. This is a new venture for Chef Henry Vigar and his wife Mari, who have been very successful with their restaurant, La Mouette in Sea Point, where they played a great part in re-establishing Sea Point as a place to eat

On the MENU this week Sopa de Garbanzos (Moorish Chickpea and Spinach Soup) 
Given the cold and thankfully wet winter we have had, Lynne took a risk and planted a pot full of spinach. No, not chard, real spinach. It was needing a first harvest of rain-drenched leaves, so she went searching for a suitable recipe. The weather has been SO cold for Cape Town and soup is again on the menu. This is from the Casa Moro cookbook, a favourite in our household, by Sam and Sam Clark of Moro restaurant in London
400 g home cooked chickpeas (see below) or 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained – 1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda - 150 ml extra virgin olive oil – 300g fresh spinach, washed and well drained – 75g white bread, crust removed, cut into 2 cm cubes – 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced – ¾ of a teaspoon cumin seeds – 2 heaped tablespoons of fresh, roughly chopped oregano – 1 small dried chilli, crumbled – 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar – 700-800 ml water or chickpea liquor, or a mixture of the two – 60 threads of saffron, infused in 4 Tablespoons of boiling water – ½ teaspoon of sweet Spanish paprika – sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
If using dried chickpeas, place them in a bowl with plenty of cold water and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and leave to soak overnight. Drain in a colander, rinse well, then place in a saucepan with half an onion or 1 head of garlic. Cover with 2 litres of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, skimming off any scum, for 1 to 2 hours or until soft and tender. (Lynne: it’s so much easier to open two tins!)
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 1.5 Tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt and stir well. Remove when the leaves have wilted and are just tender. Cool then chop quite finely and set aside
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the bread cubes until golden brown all over, then add the garlic and cumin seeds. When the garlic begins to colour, add the oregano and chilli, and continue cooking until the garlic is brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or food processor with the vinegar and mash to a paste. Now put the bread paste into the saucepan, add the drained chickpeas, water, saffron infusion and paprika and simmer for 10 minutes. Whizz the chickpeas until almost smooth (we prefer a little bit of texture to the soup). Return to the pan if necessary and season with salt and pepper. If the consistency is too thick (a bit thicker than double cream is right) add some more water. Stir in the spinach until it too is hot. Check seasoning and serve
MENU’s Wine of the Week. De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2018
We tasted this wine at the launch last week and it so impressed us. It is the top seller of the six De Wetshof Chardonnays and is unwooded. Limes and lemon blossom perfume on the friendly nose with some brioche, butter and marmalade hints from the lees. A good prickle on the tongue; the wine is fruity and rounded with citrus, apple, white peach and a little tropical hint, followed by some nice soft chalky tannins and minerality. It pairs with all sorts of food really well, from soups to fish to meat and goes especially well with rich sauces

24th August 2018

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2018
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169

Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005

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

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