Celebration of Cape Cuisine - Aubergine

Monday, 23 February, 2004
Wines of South Africa
The finest food and wine

One of the highlights co-inciding with Cape Wine 2004, also open to the local public, is Celebration of Cape Cuisine at the Castle of Good Hope. Twenty top Cape chefs, such as Peter Goffe-Wood, Graeme Shapiro, Margot Janse and Eric Bingo will each prepare a sample-size signature dish, accompanied by a local wine. Tickets to the event, on the night of April 1, entitles visitors to indulge in all 20 combinations.

Booking for Cape Wine 2004, entitling visitors to attend for two days, at R200 a head and for Celebration of Cape Cuisine at R300, can be made on line at www.capewine2004.co.za


Cuisinier Harald Bresselschmidt describes his style as 'Eurasian cuisine with African ingredients – it opens the whole world of flavours.' This could result in a classical approach to venison, or an East meets West treatment of the freshest tuna. His dynamic hands-on approach keeps guests coming back again and again to dine in this historical setting where Cape-Dutch and modern touches blend harmoniously, and an impressive winelist complements the cuisine. The namesake vegetable naturally features in everything from wall colours and artworks to on the menu, in starters, mains, even desserts.

Trio of blue cheese-filled wontons with figs in port, caramelized chicory and baby aubergine in an orange reduction
SERVES 4 for cheese course
12 wonton sheets oil for deep frying
240g blue cheese (choose 80g each of three different cheeses)

For the condiments
100g baby aubergines, washed and cut in half
juice of 2 oranges
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
1 teaspoon blackberry vinegar
5 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons sugar lemon juice
100ml red port
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 tablespoons red port
2 large figs
1 tablespoon butter
sifted icing sugar
1 head chicory
50g walnuts, blanched in hot water and peeled

Deep-fry the wonton sheets in hot oil using a wine cork on a stick to form it into a basket shape. Place a 20g portion of each the three different cheeses inside four of the wonton 'baskets' (each serving comprises three wontons, each filled with different cheeses).

Prepare the condiments: slowly braise the baby aubergines in the orange juice until soft. Roast the pumpkin seeds in the oven and mix with the pumpkin seed oil and blackberry vinegar to make a vinaigrette.

To make the figs in port, first prepare the marinade: cook the water and sugar in a pan to a light caramel. Flavour with a squeeze of lemon juice and add the 100ml port. Boil for about 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Mix together the cornflour and 2 tablespoons port, and whisk into the marinade. Cut the figs in half, add to the marinade and cool to room temperature.

To make the caramelized chicory, heat the butter in a non-stick pan and dust with icing sugar. Add the chicory and fry for 30 seconds. Flavour with a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter over the walnuts.

To assemble
Warm the cheese wontons in a moderate oven for 2 minutes. Plate the condiments on four plates, keeping them separate in order to taste the different blue cheeses with the various accompaniments. Add the warm cheese wontons, decorate with spots of vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Wine note
Accompanied by Asara's cleverly named Spirit of Chenin 1998, an unusual white port, Harald Bresselschmidt's pairing rounds off a meal perfectly. 'The blue cheese goes well with port, particularly this one, which has a balanced acidity and doesn't have the 'jammy' character of some ports.' This mature fortified Chenin has nutty notes, with hints of peaches. Other suggestions: Boplaas Cape White Port, De Krans White Port, Simonsvlei White Port.

Aubergine, 39 Barnet Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0) 21 465-4909
Email: aubergin@mweb.co.za

Issued by: Wines of South Africa (WOSA)
Contact: Su Birth, CEO
Tel: +27 (0) 21 883-3860