Archive for May, 2011

De Wetshof “The Site” Chardonnay and white sand mussel chowder

Preparation Time: 60 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Yield: 4

White sand mussel chowder paired with Danie De Wet's fabulous 2009 "The Site" Single Vineyard Chardonnay

A recent holiday in Knysna found me on the beach at Brenton-on-Sea in search of white sand mussels. Commonly used for bait by fishermen all the way along our coastline, I’ve often wondered what sort of chowder they would make.

I’d taken a bottle of Danie De Wets’ 2009 “The Site” Chardonnay on holiday with me (along with a whole bunch of other wines, naturally!) and I had this plan to pair a white sand mussel chowder, made with crème fraiche, with this single vineyard Chardonnay. More about the wine and how it paired with the chowder later on. Read more…


The liquor business: An industry under siege

Wine Cellars SA chairperson Henk Bruwer speaking at the WCSA annual congress.

Sitting listening to Wine Cellars SA (WCSA) chairperson Henk Bruwer deliver his annual report last Thursday at the WCSA Annual Congress at the Spier Conference Centre, it was easy to conclude that the wine industry is facing desperate times. Deviating from a prepared speech, he chose to speak from the heart, saying that the industry was facing some of its greatest challenges yet. Things are so bad, says Bruwer, that if something dramatic does not change in the next year, the impact on the industry will be catastrophic.  He’s not alone in this view, if the extent of head nodding that accompanied his (at times) emotional delivery is anything to go by.

The current state of the market locally and overseas notwithstanding, there is a growing, government-led assault, on the liquor industry in general, clearly aimed at addressing the enormous alcohol abuse problem that bedevils our society. Read more…

Beguiling mountain rye

Preparation Time: 3 days Baking Time: 90 minutes Yield: 2 loaves

Portuguese mountain rye

 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s fabulous book “Home Baking” started me on a bread-baking odyssey some months ago. One of the recipes I tried, is for a Portuguese mountain rye loaf, well two actually. It’s kind of a bulk recipe.

Anyway, the dough seems to be very moist, and therefore difficult to work with. I’ve made it about a half dozen times, with mixed results, until I decided to exclude one of the cups of water. What a difference! I finally figured out that what appears in the book is actually wrong, and tweaking it the way I did makes all the difference.

Read more…