Saturday, 12 November 2011


I am a big fan of well done wine dinners, the sort of occasions that see chefs putting a bit more punch on their plates and winemakers bragging about just how good they really are. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend quite a few in recent times and I don’t think I've ever walked out unhappy.

The latest of these events, a tasting of Morgenhof at Scotty's, in Plettenberg Bay, sits at the top of my scoreboard and will be there for a while. The 5 courses of exquisite fare was flawless; great food cleverly and perfectly paired with good wines. The stand out for me was the marriage of the Merlot with the meat course, a grilled fillet of beef with peppered blackcurrant jus served with a pumpkin puree and parsley mash.

Morgenhof’s wines were very good but struggled to shine on an evening dominated by a very talented kitchen. The wine estate, nestled just outside Stellenbosch on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, is owned by Anne Cointreau, a lady with a family tree that has aged roots in the business of making Cognac and liqueurs. Their Fantail range seems very affordable and even though the Pinotage was by far the most reasonable of the wines tasted, it was, in my opinion, probably the best.

If you ever find yourself in ‘The Garden Route’ make sure you ask around and find Scotty's, you won’t be disappointed. Owner/chef Scott Rattray came second in the Sunday times chef of the year in 2010 and Delvin Reck, who recently joined the team, won 'The Stalwart of the Kitchen' award in this years competition. They certainly don't show off, with food that is unpretentious, interesting and bold at the same time, and there’s something for everyone. Scott has given me his delicious Blackcurrant jus recipe. Give it a try.

Blackcurrant jus


- 50ml veg oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 500g beef trimmings – not fatty
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 6 white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 stick celery, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp white flour
- 200ml cassis
- 500ml red wine
- 3 litres chicken or beef stock
- 25g lump of chilled butter
- 2 cups of fresh or frozen blackcurrants


- heat a large pan, add butter and oil
- add meat trimmings and fry for 20 mins
- add onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, pepper, garlic and salt
- cook for another 15 mins, until veg has taken colour
- add tomato paste and flour, cook for 5 mins more
- add cassis and cook it off until dry
- add red wine and reduce by half, then add stock
- gently simmer for 30 mins, then strain through a fine sieve
- return to a clean pan and reduce the sauce down to about 600ml
- if you need, thicken with a bit of cornflour
- check seasoning, stir in lump of butter
- just before serving, add the berries, bring back to the boil, skim and then serve

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