Wednesday, July 31, 2019

On the MENU this Week. Spanish chicken with peppers, chorizo and olives

This is a tray bake which we love doing when we are busy but hungry; easy to assemble and pop in the oven with no fuss. And it was absolutely delicious. Full of flavour from many of the ingredients, especially the garlic, thyme and tomatoes

4 large cloves of garlic – 1 teaspoon and a few sprigs of fresh thyme – 4 tablespoons of olive oil – 8 skinless chicken pieces, drumsticks and thighs – 3 tablespoons of water – 1 onion, sliced - 800g mixed peppers (red green and yellow ) cored , seeded and roughly sliced – 150g spicy chorizo, sliced - 1 fennel bulb, sliced and some of the green fronds – 20 pitted black olives – 200g cherry tomatoes – 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar– salt and freshly ground black pepper
Turn on your oven to 180°C.
Make a paste from the garlic and the teaspoon of thyme leaves with a little salt and pepper, using either a small blender or a pestle and mortar. Coat the chicken generously with this paste and set it aside. Put the water into the blender or the mortar that has contained the paste and stir, you will add this flavoured water to the dish before you bake.
In a large roasting tin, layer the onion, peppers, chorizo, fennel, olives and tomatoes. Toss with the remaining oil. Drizzle over the vinegar and the water from your blender. Top with the chicken pieces and then cover the dish with aluminium foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked and almost falling off the bone, but not dry; about another 15 to 20 minutes.
Season and serve with crusty bread to dip into the sauce, baked potatoes and green vegetables. Serves four, generously.
We had this with a bottle of Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc that we had been sent by the farm to sample and it was a really perfect match. The wine is quite Mediterranean in character, spicy and rich with quince fruit, granadilla. It has minerality and lees palate weight. It reminded us more of the Alentejo style white wines we had in Portugal and Spain, often made with the Fernão Pires, also known as Maria Gomes, grape as a component, that go so well with this style of food, it is less crisp than the usual green South African Sauvignon Blanc
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

MENU’s Wine of the Week, Erika O Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cinsault 2016

from talented winemaker Erika Obermeyer, whom Platter voted their 2019 Newcomer of the Year. We tasted it this week at Caroline's Red Wine review and were so impressed. The wine shines brightly above many, many excellent wines tasted that the evening 
Erika has had a long and varied carrier, in which she made her mark as red wine maker at Kleine Zalze and Graham Beck
Following Graham Beck's decision to concentrate solely on sparkling wine, she has now gone independent, with considerable success.
We tasted this at Caroline Rillema’s 2019 Red Wine Review at the Table Bay Hotel last week and it shone brightly above many, many excellent wines we tasted that the evening. With hints of pine nuts on the nose, with incense wood and dark red berry fruit, it was different and delicious with layers of fruit and flavour, some soft chalky tannins  and ending with a continuing flavour of ripe cherries
We scored it 19.5 out of 20 points
R605.00 at Caroline’s Strand St and Tokai

All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

The Winter Menu at Kyoto Garden

It is Winter Special time at Kyoto Gardens Sushi restaurant in Kloof Neck Road, so we were invited to sample this year's offering
And we enjoyed it very much indeed. This is the Special menu
We think the price of R230 is very reasonable indeed, given the quality of food on offer
Japanese simplicity. The lighting in the restaurant is low and warm

Working on his laptop and phone at the counter table while enjoying some sushi!
You get a glass of either Gabrielskloof Sauvignon Blanc or Gabriëlskloof Red "The Blend" with the special
We must mention Kiera, the manager, who really made it a superb evening for us and spoilt us a lot with extras on some plates
They really spoiled us; this is not part of the special, but a small sample of the yellowtail sashimi, very fresh and tender
with a very good marinade of citrus, possibly ponzu or yuzu?
This is the Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, very soft, yielding and flavourful with a hint of wasabi,
served with seaweed and shredded daikon radish
We ordered the mixed vegetable tempura which comes with asparagus, sishu leaf, butternut, carrot, aubergine and broccoli. Also on the plate and not included in the Winter special are two large prawns and two superb scallops, another treat from the management. The tempura batter is light, fluffy and crisp. Served with a fresh ginger dipping sauce, a slice of lemon, daikon and some salt. If you too want to sample the seafood tempura, you can order it off the menu as an extra course - there will be a separate charge
You can chose from four main courses. The sushi platter has 2 tuna and 2 salmon rolls, 2 slices of sashimi and four nigiri,
prawn, tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Good hot pickled ginger too
The udon noodles with duck had great broth, the duck is cut like a blanket and the noodles were good to shlurp
We shared this and the sushi
Oh ice cream time. This is the miso ice cream which completely captivated us
Imagine the best salted caramel you have ever tasted
This is the cherry blossom ice cream with lovely pieces of cherry and lots of chocolate nibs and bits - not on the winter menu,
but they wanted us to taste this as they have changed their ice cream supplier and we have had the previous version
This is much better
The chocolate ice cream is really densely dark chocolate in appearance and flavour
We didn’t end with Sake as John was driving, so we both had some of the Toasted Rice Green tea,
so lovely and malty from the roasted rice, a good digestif and very, very refreshing after a large meal
 Go and try it, we know you will enjoy it

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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MENU has appeared nearly every week since March 2003, initially as a free newsletter from our shop, Main Ingredient, and has been sent to our subscribers by email. Many of our subscribing readers have followed us from our earliest days and we appreciate their support

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Friday, July 26, 2019

This Week’s MENU. DGB & Raath Wine Trade Shows. Journey’s End, A Stellenbosch Weekend, Daube of Beef with Prunes, Bosman Twyfeling Cinsault

The old farmhouse at Spier, #StellenboschisCool
Another very active week, totally centred on wine, but nearly all of it accompanied by very good food, and we had a night in a very good Winelands hotel for good measure. Our diary is almost too full for the next three weeks and we are juggling assignments while we plan our next excursion to points north, more about which we’ll tell you in another issue of MENU, when we’ve finalised our arrangements. So keep on reading, please, and enjoy this week’s stories and stay in touch for the coming episodes
Two wine trade shows this week and they could not have been more different. The first was Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB) held at the Mount Nelson. We began, as we usually do, with a tasting of the MCCs from Graham Beck and once again fell in love with the Blanc de Blanc so crisp and seductive. We chatted with Chris du Toit, CEO of Graham Beck Enterprises…
This year's Raath Trade Show was held at The Athletic Club and Social on Buitengracht in Cape Town. They took over the entire place. Didn’t see a single item of gym equipment thankfully, we were worried we would have to work out…
Journey’s End is high up in the hills behind Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village with good views of False Bay and they benefit from its cooling breezes. We were invited there this week to meet winemaker Mike Dawson, taste their wines and have some lunch with a small group of fellow members of the media…
A great invitation from Stellenbosch Wine Routes to "Experience Winter in Stellenbosch" with them last weekend. #StellenboschisCool. We joined several other members of the media for the first event, a wine tasting at Haskell Wines with Armand Swart the Tasting Room Manager…
When we arrived at Blaauwklippen, we were welcomed with a glass of MCC… but, first, it had to be opened. One of the staff members demonstrated sabrage on a bottle of their Zinfandel bubbly to welcome us. And bang went the cork with the top of the bottle! And one of member of our media group also had a go, with explosive result…
The next stop on our Stellenbosch Wine Routes "Experience Winter in Stellenbosch" last weekend was to the hotel at Spier wine estate where we would spend the night, have dinner at PJ Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery on Spier and, after breakfast, go to the tasting room for a wine and soup pairing. We checked in and then were taken by golf cart to our room…
The final stop on our Stellenbosch Wine Routes "Experience Winter in Stellenbosch" last weekend was Jordan, for lunch at the Bakery. The sun was shining and we were well wrapped up and so were very happy to sit out on the terrace. The tasting room is open, should you want a wine tasting…
It is amazing how television chefs often trigger a memory of a dish you cooked long ago. This happened this week to Lynne who went searching for her recipe and thankfully found it. We had this for dinner this week and it made enough for two nights and there was still some for our once a week queen of the vacuum and ironing for her lunch. It produces a rich, unctuous dark beef stew with lots of flavour…
made by winemaker Natasha Williams. We tasted it tonight at Caroline's Red Wine review and it was a revelation. Cinsault is coming of age in South Africa. No longer the disliked harsh and metallic wines mostly used for blending in the past, but wines with such fruity freshness and style that they just beg to be drunk with good food. They are not pretentious wines, just ones you want to enjoy often…

PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information

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 our website and ancillary works are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are often 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.

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On the MENU This Week. Daube of Beef with Prunes

It is amazing how television chefs often trigger a memory of a dish you cooked long ago. This happened this week to Lynne who went searching for her recipe and thankfully found it. We had this for dinner this week and it made enough for two nights and there was still some for our once a week queen of the vacuum and ironing for her lunch. It produces a rich, unctuous dark beef stew with lots of flavour

It is a dish you start in the morning, cook in the late afternoon/early evening and it braises and is ready to serve for dinner. There are some different ingredients from a normal beef stew recipe and they make all the difference. Do try and use very good beef stock. The recipe comes from the South of France. Use good robust red wine, you can drink the rest with the meal. We used Nymphomaine 2014 from La Vierge in the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Serves 6, so great for a dinner party

A kilo of lean stewing beef or deboned shin of beef , cut into 3 cm cubes – 100g streaky bacon cut into 2 cm slices – half a bottle of good red wine – 75 g butter or olive oil – 450 g peeled and sliced carrots – 450 g of finely sliced onions – 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced – 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped – 2 tablespoons of flour or corn flour - a 10 cm strip of orange peel – a bouquet garni or 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves and 2 teaspoons of chopped rosemary leaves - 500 ml good beef stock – 2 rounded tablespoons of tomato puree – 10 prunes

Put the cut up beef and bacon into the red wine in a mixing bowl and marinate for 3 to 4 hours. This helps to tenderise the cheaper cuts of beef. If you want to add the marrow bones from the centre of the shin of beef to this, it will add so much richness. Just remove before serving 

Drain the meat from the wine, but keep the wine. Set your oven to 150ºC. In a heavy casserole with a lid, fry the meat in half the butter or oil until nicely browned on all sides. Remove it and set aside, then put in the onions with the rest of the butter or oil and some salt and fry till soft and just beginning to take on colour. Add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes until softening. Add the flour and stir through well to cook it a little. Then stir in the tomato purée. Add back the meat, the wine, the stock, the orange peel and the herbs. Add a teaspoon of salt and several good grindings of black pepper. Put on the lid and cook for two and a half hours. Check once an hour to see that the liquid has not cooked away. Add water if it is becoming too thick. With half an hour to go, add the prunes. At this stage you can add baby potatoes as well. Before serving remove the bouquet garni

This is traditionally served with creamy mashed potatoes. Or with ribbon noodles. And fresh broccoli or beans. Warn your guests to look out for stones in the prunes if they have not been de-pipped

A day at Journey's End

Journey’s End is high up in the hills behind Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village with good views of False Bay and they benefit from its cooling breezes. We were invited there this week to meet winemaker Mike Dawson, taste their wines and have some lunch with a small group of fellow members of the media

First a visit to the wine cellar... taste a tank sample of this year’s aromatic Sauvignon Blanc
Mike was at Steenberg before he joined Journey's End. They have three large Foudres in the tank cellar
A Foudre is a large wooden vat, it can contain up to 300 hectolitres and more
Then into the barrel cellar where we tasted a sample of the barrel fermented Chardonnay

And two pottery Amphorae made in Italy from a special clay
This as Mike says, chews wine and gives a more oxidative character to wine made in it

The sample of the barrel fermented Chardonnay certainly showed promise. They use the very best French barrels
Mikes' lovely dog Addison on the barrels, she has a very sweet nature and is very much at home in the cellar
Back in the tasting room we began tasting their current releases. Weather Station 2019 Sauvignon blanc is very aromatic with green pepper. Crisp, lean and herbal with long flavours, it has undergone slow cold fermentation
  The 2018 Haystack Chardonnay is their entry level unwooded, made with whole bunch press and tank fermentation. Orange on the nose, crisp and lean with some butter and lemon lime flavours
  The 2018 V1 Chardonnay has heady floral aromas with a hint of honey. Round on the palate, then crisp lemon lime and hints of wood, honey and buttered toast. They do whole bunch press, cold stabilisation, put free run juice into 300 litre barrels, 30% first fill. They avoid malolactic fermentation on all the wines
  Next the single vineyard 2018 Destination Chardonnay with Chanel Cristal perfume and incense wood on the nose. Mature softness first, then very crisp citrus, grapefruit & lime with chalky tannins and butter on the end. Wood supports almost invisibly. The wine has a lanolin fatness on the end palate
  The 2017 Huntsman Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier has smoke and dark berry fruit, some richness and has a slight medicinal note on the nose. Dark berries, then dry grippy tannins take over. It needs time. It spends 6 months in tank and 6 months in barrel
  The 2018 Pastor's Blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc is slightly bruléed on the nose with very ripe dark berry fruit. Grippy tannins on soft strawberry raspberry juice, good grape acidity and is quite reminiscent of a Beaujolais
Winemaker Mike would like to make most of the wines by Carbonic maceration
Winter had arrived in full force. It rained heavily on and off during the day and was extremely cold that weekend
The view from the tasting room. Sadly, too misty to see the bay below

V2 2016 Merlot has a good characteristic Merlot nose, richness of cherry and cassis, which follows through on the palate with lovely ripe fruit. Some lactic flavours chalky tannins and dark toasted wood on the end but it is not intrusive. Made with carbonic fermentation with skin, pip and stalk contact gives the chalky tannins. The 2016 V3 Shiraz is naturally fermented. Spicy sweet fruit, incense wood with cinnamon and vanilla on the nose. Grippy tannins, and sharp red mulberry fruit with rhubarb and more chalk on the end. The final wine will be called Identity 2018 and is a Shiraz which has gone through 100% Carbonic maceration in the tank. Very spicy, herbal and balsamic. with mouth gripping tannins, mulberry and rhubarb fruit

The 2018 V1 Chardonnay is priced at between R150/165. 92% of Journeys End wines are sold overseas
The Gabb family from the UK took control of the farm in 1995
and Roger Gabb was Founder and Managing Director of Western Wines,
which has now been now sold. His son Rollo is now in control of the farm
Outside we found some very attractive Coprinus comatus (Shaggy Mane) Ink cap toadstools
This is when they are more mature and you can see the ink caps
A beautifully planted indigenous garden ...
... with lots of winter aloes flowering
We then drove up to the manor house for lunch
The more mature Journey’s End 2015 V5 Cabernet Sauvignon had been decanted
Rich and complex on the nose, dark cassis; fruity with long, rather crisp cassis flavours
The 2016 had green leaf cassis which follows through on the palate
We also drank the Cabernet Franc which is savoury on the nose, herbal and aromatic,
lovely savoury fruit, dark mulberry with licorice wood
Just right for the chilly day was this warming butternut soup with nutmeg, served with crisp herb croutons
The main course was perfectly cooked chicken pieces in a good gravy with courgettes, carrots, butternut
and caramelised red onion and accompanied by boiled potatoes with herbs. A simple but very good dish
We could also taste the 2017 Journey's End Chardonnay which has matured nicely, with lovely golden fruit, very enjoyable
And dessert was vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce and cranberries on a bed of chocolate soil and nuts
We so enjoyed the day and the very good hospitality. Winemaker Mike Dawson is one to watch
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus