Sunset picnic on the rocks, Clifton

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We say it often and we sometimes have to pinch ourselves to make sure that it’s real, even though we have both lived here on and off since the late 1940s and consistently for about the last 30 years. This is one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places. We are entertaining friends from the Netherlands, who visit every year at about this time. One comment from them is that people at their home ask why they come back each year; don’t they get bored with seeing the same thing over and over again. Their reply is that they are never bored. There is so much to see that they seldom re-visit any of the places they have seen 

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We have been producing MENU for many years, in which we have written about many interesting things. You can find them all in the Blog Archive in the right hand column of our blog page and in the Previous MENUs page on our websiteEntering a word in the “Search this Blog” window on the blog site should bring up everything we have ever written which relates

We are avid listeners to Cape Talk Radio; it accompanies most of our working days at home. We have our Dutch friends here for a couple of months and Yvonne grew up in Clifton so when we heard about Moonstruck, a free concert organised by Cape Talk on Fourth Beach last Saturday night, we made plans to go. But, as both men hate sand between their toes, we decided to have it on the rocks overlooking the beach. The weather could not have been more perfect. Shaded by our hats, 

To say we have been trying to get to this restaurant for a long time would not be an exaggeration. We know the Chef Owner Jonathan Japha from his days at Fork Tapas restaurant in Long Street. It says on their website that he has love for UK gastropubs "that inspire his love for honest, uncomplicated good food made with the best local ingredients". But time and tide washed us to other shores. So when friends phoned to say they had a reservation but family had postponed and were we free, we jumped at the opportunity. It is their favourite restaurant in Cape Town, probably because there is a good selection of vegetarian options on this large menu, which changes regularly

It was all about the views. Oh and some restaurants. And of course wine. We took our Dutch friends to Franschhoek this week, at their request and showed them some beautiful wine farms, good restaurants and amazing views on the trip. And we tasted a few wines and had lunch. They are looking for a special restaurant to celebrate a birthday next month

It’s almost impossible not to feel the pull of the craft-drinks revolution. Wine Concepts will host their inaugural Craft Festival on Friday 23rd March from 17h00 to 20h00 at The Vineyard Hotel, where they’ll showcase a fine selection of diverse and enticing Beers and Ciders along with creative Spirits including Gin, Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Brandy, Absinthe, Grappa, Vermouth etc. The Festival offers the opportunity to taste a range of craft beverages from over 20 of the country’s top producers. All the showcased products will be available for purchase at special prices from Wine Concepts on the evening. Cost: R200.00 per person – includes tasting glass, tastings and light snacks. Tickets can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of the Wine Concepts branches or at the door on the evening subject to availability http://www.wineconcepts.co.za. 

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The heat is getting to us so we can only think of cool things. Which made us think about a sorbet. They are not difficult to make if you have a freezer or an ice cream machine, but they must be made with strong flavours as the ice can make them bland. This is John's daughter Clare's favourite sorbet. Limes are coming into season, so you should be able to find them. Great if you are dairy challenged. Limes are sometimes difficult to juice, make sure you buy enough and that they are not stone hard.

1 cup of water - 1 cup of sugar - 1 cup of lime juice - 1 teaspoon of finely grated zest of lime

Heat the sugar in the water till the sugar melts, then add the lime juice. Simmer gently for three minutes. Cool completely and then add the zest. Put into your ice cream machine and churn till set. Freeze, covered, till ready to use.

If you don't have a machine, pour the mixture into a shallow metal baking tin and cover. Put in your freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours. Then break the frozen mixture into pieces and place in a blender; blend until smooth. Place in a container and store, covered, in the freezer until ready to serve

which blew our minds. Wow. This complex wine plays a tune on your palate - we foresee lots of awards for this vintage. It is an absolutely delicious rendition of what we would like Chenin to be. Wood shows on the end but Pianissimo. It has flavours of lemon, lime, golden peaches, loquats and litchi. R135 per bottle from the farm

 In MENU Next Week

Watch this space...

We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are now at a crisis point. This week, the City Council published an interactive map on the web, from which one can look at one's own neighbourhood and see which houses are being careful and which are not or are just using water as if there were no crisis. We have neighbours who still have lovely green lawns and they show up on the map as problem users. Please be careful. We caught a neighbour hosing down her steps; water running down the pavement past our house like a river. She didn't see the problem, said that the restrictions will only be effective next month....

It is not difficult, just be aware of what you do with water and look after this precious resource. Don't leave the shower running while you soap, use grey water to flush, don't run the dishwasher until it is full..... We're in crisis. Think about it! Your garden will, like ours, become a desert. Sad, but necessary and a minor sacrifice in comparison to queueing at a hose for your daily 25 litre allowance.

At the end of 2016, we had received 580mm for the the year to date. In 2017, 492mm. The annual average at our home in Sea Point at the end of November in previous years was 667mm. "Day Zero" is creeping closer.

So don't think that it's OK, we might have some rain next week. This is close to Kalahari desert level. We need to try harder. It is no use hoping that rain will come. If it does, it will be a blessing, but the forecast does not encourage optimism

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22nd February 2018

We are planning to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, we’d love to have them. Please let us know

We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wineCathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here

The Hurst Campusan accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here

In addition to his Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here

We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit. 

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