A Sea Point sunset - and a new moon

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Another wonderful week of spending time with good friends and taking them to some of our favourite places. Beautiful weather as we expect of the Cape in late summer, while we try not to be jealous of the excessively rainy weather our Johannesburg family is “suffering” and at the same time commiserate with winemakers who have just returned from ProWine in cold, icy, snowbound Dusseldorf. Greener on the other side of the hill…? Not really. So, click on the links below to see what it’s all about….

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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 mentioned to Johan Malan last week that we planned to bring our Dutch friends to Simonsig this week, on our way to attend our friend Peter's Birthday lunch at Glenelly. And they really pushed the boat out for us at Simonsig and made it such a special day for us and especially for Peter.

Some wine farms, intelligently, showcase their wines at a town venue so that the trade can taste quickly and efficiently without having to drive out to the farm. If you are restaurateur, sommelier or wine retailer, taking time out is not easy, and using your day off to visit farms is nice, but people have lives to sort out. Villiera held their trade tasting last week at the Cartel Rooftop Bar in Waterkant Street 

Another jaunt to the winelands to show our visitors yet another stunning view, taste some wine and eat a light lunch. The view over the vineyards from Cape Point Vineyards is spectacular – Noordhoek’s Long Beach is one of the longest beaches in the country. Here you can visit the Thursday evening market where we used to work, have a meal in the restaurant or order a picnic and have it on the lawns. We stopped to admire the view and then told two young men in the small shop that

We have not been out for breakfast for ages and wanted to get together with good friends we haven't seen for a while.  The original plan was to go to Jason's in Green Point but when we got there we discovered he closes on Sunday (Memo to self - always check the web site first. )  We wandered along the road knowing we would find something open in this area and one of the signs above the door told us this was possibly the place for us.


A winemaker friend recently told Lynne how much he looks forward to her weekly recipes because it helps him sort out Sunday lunch! Very flattering. He wants us to put together a cook book from our past recipes, which we have been publishing weekly since 2003. It is something we have had in mind for many years, but the time involved has just slipped away. Maybe this winter.

As it is Harvest time and winemakers are very busy, this week's recipe needed to be simple and quick. Which set her thinking of a delicious one pan dish for a late summer Sunday lunch. This is not a paella, just a good seafood and rice dish, quick to prepare. If you don't eat seafood, you could use a firm fish like kingklip or monk fish cut into cubes. If you can't find dry sherry, you could use a semi sweet sherry (but not full cream!) or 100 ml dry white wine.

1 T olive oil - 1 large onion, finely chopped - 2 cloves of garlic, crushed - 1 large red pepper, deseeded and sliced – 100 ml dry sherry - 400 ml tomato passata - 1 bay leaf

1 t sweet smoked Spanish paprika - 1 cup of rice - a 500g packet marinara mix - salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 T flaked almonds - 1 T chopped flat leaf parsley - 1 hardboiled egg, sliced

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil till just transparent, then add the pepper and fry until it starts to take on some colour. Pour in the sherry and boil rapidly till reduced by half then add the tomato passata, the bay leaf, paprika and the rice. Allow to simmer, covered, until the rice is just cooked, stirring a couple of times and adding more water if it seems dry. Then add the marinara mix, season, cover with a lid and steam for 3 to 4 minutes till it is cooked. Sprinkle with the almonds, parsley and egg slices and serve.

1 T = 1 Tablespoon 1t = 1 teaspoon

A blend of 89% Syrah with some Grenache, a little Mourvèdre and a splash of Viognier. We had this with a rich, deep-flavoured cassoulet when we had friends to dinner last night. It was a perfect match. The confit duck in the cassoulet (from Woolworths) was quite spicy, which added a rich spice note to the dish. The wine matched it beautifully. Plum fruit developing to a rich, dark cherry flavour at the end with the Viognier giving a lightly peachy overtone. Very complex and intense flavours. A very satisfying wine. Treat yourself and buy it to put away for a few years. The current 2015 will drink well now but will certainly improve. The 2013 still has years of life ahead if we can resist drinking the remaining bottles. It is expensive at around R400 to R450, but the quality justifies the price. Platter gives it 4½ stars, #Winemag Rating: 91/100

It’s almost impossible not to feel the pull of the craft-drinks revolution. Wine Concepts will host their inaugural Craft Festival this evening, 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. 

 In MENU Next Week



Haskell Long Table

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


23rd March 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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