Emperor salad, 15 on Orange, February events

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Emperor salad, 15 on Orange, February events
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The latest news from John & Lynne ford, owners of Main Ingredient, one of the many gems in Cape Town.
Emperors Chicken Salad
OK, Lynne started with a Caesar Salad recipe and then adapted and tweaked and added, so we don’t think it can be called a classic Caesar. Quantities are for a two person meal-sized substantial salad. She is experimenting with some of our new products. This one used Pink peppercorns and Pistachio oil, both very aromatic. You could use seared tuna, salmon or other seafood to advantage, instead of chicken. 

Cooked chicken (1 breast and one leg cut into bite sized pieces)
1 small Cos lettuce broken up
2 Roma tomatoes
Quartered 1 stick of chopped celery
1 raw carrot
Julienned - half a red or yellow pepper, cut in strips
6cm piece of cucumber, peeled and cut into julienne strips
2 T croutons or broken bagel chips 

1 t pink peppercorns, ground in a pestle and mortar
1 lightly poached egg
1 T grated parmesan cheese - juice of half a lemon
1 or 2 anchovies
2 T olive or avocado oil - seasoning. 

Put all into a small liquidiser, blitz, adding more oil if you need to, adjust the seasoning and pour over the salad and mix well, so everything is coated. It should be quite a thick dressing. If you have any, add a drizzle of Pistachio Oil and a shake of Cayenne pepper. Toss in the croutons and serve.

Tastings and other events The Kromboom Rotary Club is helping to organise the annual Rabbie Burns celebration, which takes place at Kelvin Grove on February 6th. In addition to being a fun evening, it also helps raise money for the Nonceba Trust, which takes care of abused women and children.

Late February will bring a rash of events worth visiting, so making the right choice becomes a bit of a challenge: De Krans Wine Cellar, in Calitzdorp, alongside the well known Route 62, will offer visitors to the area the opportunity to pick delicious, sweet Hanepoot grapes. This fun-filled picking experience will take place daily (except Sundays) from 10th to 27th February, between 08h00 and 16h00.

The Robertson Wine Valley will host its second Hands on Harvest Festival from 26th to 28th February, giving you a chance to experience the magic of harvest for a day - without having to quit your day job! Groups are small and intimate, so you are sure to have a hands-on experience you’ll never forget. Many of the activities are 'kiddie-friendly' and, on Sunday, the Harvest Market promises to be a true family affair. Other activities include grape picking, grape stomping, vineyard tractor trips, grape vs wine tasting, and loads more. 

For the Love of Sauvignon Blanc Constantia Fresh Festival will happen on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February. There is an exciting programme of events. Click here to check it out.

Darling Cellars will host their annual Crush Day on Saturday 27th February. The day begins with breakfast at 08h00, after which you can pick and crush your grapes (your wine, with your own label follows 10 months later), participate in a label design competition and enjoy a traditional West Coast lunch. The price is R190 per person. Contact Cornel Loubser on phone 022 492 2276 or tasting@darlingcellars.co.za 

A date for the future you should try not to miss is the Taste of Cape Town 2010 between 24th and 28th March at the Granger Bay Extension – V&A Waterfront 

We’ve visited two new 5 star hotels in Cape Town recently. African Pride, the premium arm of the Protea Hospitality group, has opened Crystal Towers in Century City and 15 on Orange which is in central Cape Town, next to the South African Museum. Each hotel displays a fair amount of bling, uniquely styled, with very modern furnishings and enough chandeliers to light and decorate all the mansions in Clifton with change. They are both extremely luxurious. Each is in an area which is a hub of business activity, with 15 on Orange also being very well situated for visitors to Parliament. Our focus, naturally, was on the food. At 15 on Orange, the chef hails from Mauritius, but has been in Cape Town for several years and has spent 7 years as chef on The World, the ultra luxurious floating apartment block. Our meal began with an amuse which was delicious: a fairly generous portion of tuna tartare. Lynne’s starter was a crab cake, which was not exciting. Crab is not a local delicacy and this may have been tinned crab. John had a superb dish: a plate of thinly sliced Parma ham, with two fresh figs which had been filled with Gorgonzola and warmed just enough to soften the cheese. Something to try again as soon as possible. Our host had a steak tartare, which was excellent. Lynne’s main was a very mild, tender duck curry in coconut milk, made for delicate palates unused to the South-East Asian heat we like. John’s seared fillet of tuna in a fruity sauce was beautifully crisp outside, perfectly soft inside. Our host ordered a sirloin, which was delivered medium, although he had ordered it rare. The last two dishes were accompanied by very good chips which had been dressed with grated parmesan and a sprinkling of truffle salt. Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay was a good match for all the dishes. Service was discreet and very competent. We were guests, so did not see the bill. Our host’s room was really comfortable, large and beautifully designed and equipped.

The next evening, after the Wine Magazine sauvignon tasting, we joined friends at Table Thirteen round the corner from the Victoria Junction in Green Point. They focus on lunch and only open for evening trade on Thursdays. Our vegetarian friends enjoyed a soft leek, feta & dill pie with avocado and asparagus salad and a huge salmon salad, both of which were delicious. We opted for the evening’s two R99 specials with a glass of wine: delicious and very tender grilled chicken with roasted fennel and asparagus on butternut mash and slow roasted pork in red wine with cannellini and wilted spinach. The pork was a little dry, but the flavour was excellent. We all spoiled ourselves with something from the dessert table: American pecan pie, huge chocolate brownies and excellent butternut and lemon polenta cakes. Service was friendly and efficient and the atmosphere warm and very comfortable. Prices fit comfortably in our R100 per person target. Restaurants and picnics Please let us have more feedback about the restaurants in our list of specials. Your input is very valuable to all our readers.

We’ve enjoyed picnics at Buitenverwachting and Allée Bleue and we look forward to trying Rickety Bridge and the new picnic at Warwick. We are so lucky to live in a beautiful environment, where we can enjoy wonderful wines and food in such lovely places.


John & Lynne
Main Ingredient
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