Fishing from the rocks at De Kelders, Walker Bay

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This has been a rather interesting week with some quite different functions to attend. We had a short but welcome break at the weekend at De Kelders and have now re-entered the week running. Welcome rain over the last two days and nights has filled our 'water tank' almost to the rim and the fish and lilies are very happy indeed

And to our many American friends and readers, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving celebration

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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

This is the second time WineMag.co.za has held this competition. Wines entered need to contain some Chenin Blanc (more than 15% and less than 85%). Why do they insist on a Chenin Blanc blend? The panel of judges feel that "If we were to make Chenin Blanc non-compulsory, then producers forfeit a significant point of difference relative to wines from elsewhere in the world. With approximately 18 000ha of Chenin in the ground, it's our most planted variety and we should find ways to celebrate it". Chenin is what we do best, it is a wine with a unique character, identifiable but also able to appear in many different guises and it always adds something unique. Still there is no sponsor for this very important wine blend; it really does showcase the very best of what South Africa can make in the white wine field. South Africans need to be encouraged to drink these delicious blends too,

What a great invitation and they promised that a special canapé menu had been created to pair with the four award winning potstill brandies, while Van Ryn’s Master Distiller, Marlene Bester, would be on hand

We love this annual celebration of Champagne as it is a real opportunity to taste the top Marques of French champagne and not pay a fortune for a tiny taster. This year there were also lots of Cavas and Proseccos and a Lambrusco or two as well. It is the 16th year this event has been held  
We stopped off in Hermanus to do our Christmas dinner shopping at Woolworths; they have good gammons and then could not resist a walk along the front to see if we could spot any whales, but they were absent all weekend. As we finished our walk, we realised we were a bit peckish, so we went down the (new and no longer so steep!) stairs to Bientang’s cave, one of our favourite places in Hermanus for a quick seafood meal and a sensational view. We were given a table so close to the water, it was marvellous,

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Lynne made this to take with us on our break in De Kelders with vegetarian friends and it was very well received. The rich cheese pastry is a doddle to make in a food processor. We used very large asparagus spears and didn't cut them up. You might wish to. We also put them in raw; you could steam them for a minute or two or even use a large tin of asparagus if you want to make this out of season. It does make a very large quiche. Be careful with your pastry when you line your tin, so there are no cracks or leaks (it has happened to Lynne.)  As a precaution, wrap it in aluminium foil. Or just use a large ceramic quiche dish

Click here to open the recipe

A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. This is an appealing dusty, grassy warm land wine. A lovely rich and full blend of golden fruit, apples, gooseberries, ripe cling peaches and more, on both the nose and palate. Showing so well with more of everything than most of the other wines in the competition; it went very well with food too.

Price: R165. It scored 93 points in the recent WineMag.co.za Cape White Blends Report

We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are now being told to expect water rationing. We, and others whom we know, are consistently using less than 3000 litres per month in our homes but we keep hearing of people who complain that they cannot possibly use less than 20000 litres per month. When they are forced to by our lack of resource, we hope that they will regret their profligate, selfish attitude, realise how foolish they were and not just blame the politicians

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 37mm, which was more typical of average Cape Town rainfall. At the end of October last year we had received 555mm for the the year to date. This year, 430mm. The annual average at our home in Sea Point at the end of October was 547mm, so we are way behind

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 forecast does not encourage optimism

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 In MENU Next Week

Street Smart Awards

Diners Club Winemaker of the Year

Jordan's 25th Birthday

Lunch at Overture

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

23rd November 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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