Wheat fields, clouds and hills in the Overberg

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You will have noticed that our last few weeks have been somewhat fraught. Just now, we are enjoying a small respite while we look forward to times which promise to be as frenetic as those just past. So we are taking the opportunity and publishing MENU with just two stories, each of which we believe to have special significance, plus our usual recipe and Wine of the Week before we gird our loins for the fun to come. We live in an exciting, still evolving country. It has some of the most beautiful, very varied, scenery; challenging, but fermenting and constantly developing politics, kept under control by free courts and media and, importantly for us, a very exciting food and wine environment. We do our best to keep you up to date with all of that, so read on and, we hope, enjoy....

Please read on... 

or click any of the links above to follow us or the following links, headings, green buttons or photographs to look at a complete story. When you reach the end of a story, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to MENU

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 keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are consistently using less than 3000 litres per month in our home. 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! 

This July, we received 56mm, August 86mm of rain (a slight relief), 31mm in September and 12 mm to date in October. Last July, 247mm, August 74mmSeptember 62mm (double last year), and October to date 12mm, which was more typical of average Cape Town rainfall. At the end of September last year we had received 540mm for the the year to date. This year, 393mm

So don't think that it's OK, we've had some rain. 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 prospect does not encourage optimism

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

Simonsig Estate was recently crowned top producer at the 16th Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. Last week, we were invited to a tasting of older vintages from Simonsig’s range of Cap Classiques, hosted by cellarmaster Johan Malan. This was followed by lunch at Aubergine restaurant with a paired menu to match these excellent wines. They were innovative pairings by Chef Patron Harald Bresselschmidt,

This year the awards were held over lunch at Franschhoek Cellars. We are great fans of this refreshing, crisp white wine that can have many different characters and styles, so we were excited to see which ones have risen to the top this year

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Broad beans are in season and, if you are lucky enough to find some, this is one of our favourite recipes to try. Easy peasy, no cooking required. You can make toast can't you?

250G shelled broad beans – salt - 1 small clove of garlic – 1 t of lemon juice - a handful of mint & parsley a dribble of olive oil - slices of bruschetta – 1 clove of garlic

Plunge the beans into boiling salted water and cook for no more than 2 or 3 minutes. Drain, refresh with cold water and then slip the beans from their tough outer coating. This is easy to do if you make a small nick in each bean and squeeze. Put them into your blender with the roughly chopped herbs, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Blitz them but leave them a fairly rough consistency - you do not want a smooth paste. Taste and add salt. They will make a beautiful bright green spread. Toast the bruschettas on both sides, and wipe the cut edge of a clove of garlic twice across the surface of each. Spread on the paste and enjoy

We had this wine with one of our favourite suppers, witlof wrapped in ham and cooked in a cheese sauce. Some wines would not cope with the flavours of witlof or the heavy smoked ham and thick cheese sauce. This Chenin not only coped, but it added a lot to the dish.

A refreshing food wine with hints of spice, ginger and honey on the nose and a little petricor, which is rain on hot stones or earth. A tingle on the tongue from pineapple acidity, crisp citrus flavours followed by green melon and pear, lots of layers. John's comment? "It's a bloody nice wine". Often mistaken for another, very expensive, Chenin Blanc.

The current vintage is available from the farm at R110. They also have a barrel fermented Chenin in the same range for R115. Don't forget that Perdeberg has their open day on the 28th of this month, when you can go and sample all their wines and bring cases home with you 

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 In MENU Next Week

Groot Phesantekraal

Caroline's White Wine Review

Veritas Tasting

SASSI Trailblazer Awards 2017

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

18th October 2017

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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