Sunset over the Atlantic

The year is rushing to its end, too fast as usual. We have done a lot, seen many wonderful things, visited beautiful and interesting places, but we have to admit that it is tiring and we need to take a break. This evening, we will be at a quiet place by the sea, looking at the sunset and contemplating very little other than the glass of wine in hand and the beauty around us. Unless something spectacular needs to be communicated, this is the last issue of MENU for 2019. Thank you for following us, for communicating with us and for contributing to our expenses. We hope that you will have marvellous, delicious festivities and that 2020 will see an end to all the uncertainties and political stupidity (some hope..) and that it will be a year of growth, achievement and, above all, fun for us all. See you in the New Year…


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How could we refuse an invitation like this, to celebrate Anniversaries with friends. The lovely, crisp Jordan Blanc de Blanc MCC as a welcome drink, served outside the new Tasting room on its deck. A perfect early summer evening. Read on…

Penny Streeter OBE, who owns Benguela Cove winery in Hermanus, also owns two properties in England, both in Sussex, where she also grows grapes and is planting new vines. When she heard we were going to be in the area, she invited us to visit both. First we went to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, which has suddenly become very famous as her talented chef Jean Delport, who is South African, has just been awarded a coveted Michelin Star for their Interlude restaurant. Read on…

After our visit to Leonardslee, we were invited by the Streeter family to spend the night at their other property, Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate near Horsham in West Sussex, a few miles away. The vineyard was established about four years ago. Read on…
The last week of our trip was in London. It still feels like home to Lynne, who was born there. Her family emigrated to South African in 1948 but she returned and lived there for 27 years from 1967 to 1993. But it has changed a lot, so many new buildings. Apologies to all friends we didn't manage to see; our time in London was very short. Read on…

On our last Sunday in London, we had made an appointment with friends to have some Dim Sum in Chinatown. It is something we have done together since the early 1970s. Old friend Chris Hutton is half Burmese (we call him Buddha! you can see the resemblance) and we have him to thank for introducing us all to the panoply of good Asian food over the years; we are all quite adventurous. Read on…

This week’s recipe is something calming and easy for the holidays. Soba are buckwheat noodles and are usually served cold as a salad. Sriracha Chilli sauce is hot stuff, cut the quantity in half if you don’t like too much heat. And if you have any left overs of turkey or ham or from a braai you can use them instead of the steak. We had some left over deboned leg of lamb from the braai which worked very well. Read on…

A perfect wine to have with your Christmas dinner, so full of life and good fruit; their top wine, an oh, so elegant classic; a new world Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Read on…

5th December 2019

All verbal and photographic content used in this site are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor and Bacchus, unless otherwise specified

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 your support

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We want to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola which we wish to build on our deck, which has no protection from the sun. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, or even loose staves from old barrels, we’d love to have them. Condition is not important, we just need the staves. Please let us know


We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are still in trouble. 2018 has seen the lowest rainfall of any year since 2010 and even though 2019 looks as though we're having good rainfall, we still need to be careful; we don't know what the future holds. 

It is not difficult to be careful; 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 may, 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. We are planting succulents and other water-wise plants which will tolerate the conditions and still give us pleasure

So don't think that it's OK if it's raining; the trouble is that it is not raining enough. The dams are only, on average, not sufficiently full. We need to try harder. It is no use hoping that more rain will come. If it does, it will be a blessing, but the long term forecast still does not encourage optimism. Tapping into aquifers and installing desalination plants will help in the long term, but we must face up to the fact that water will always be a scarce, precious commodity in the Western Cape. The world's weather is in trouble. Europe is experiencing temperatures that we are used to here in Africa. Vineyards are being planted in England. It might be normal in Spain, but when we hear stories from chilly Scotland and often icy Norway about temperatures in the 30s.....

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