August 1st, 2011 § 6 comments

Demo day arrived. Duck and Pinot Noir pairing for an audience of 30 at the annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival. Thanks to chef Mark Radnay and his ICA students I didn’t have much cooking to do. I prepared the beetroot relish and the jelly in advance (several times, as documented in The Jelly Olympics), which is a good thing as I had to interact with the audience for 45 minutes. I think the whole thing about women being such great multi-taskers is complete crap. Devised by men in the sixties to encourage us to do both paid and domestic work and not moan too much about the increased workload. I’ve worked in the film industry and publishing and can assure you that women in demanding positions are invariably… tricky. I for one lose my top lip when strung out. It’s a family thing.


But I gain a chin when baffled


I never went to the Stellenbosch Wine Festival as a student* because I only started drinking wine at the ripe old age of 27. I know. Missed out on years of booze cruising through the winelands. So I was ill-prepared for the onslaught of very young wine lovers. Fortunately my audience was mostly mature and sober. Even the young ones. I had the 12 o’clock slot. Here’s me pretending to read a Clover cookbook while they filed in.


It took a little bit of prompting and some Pepin Conde Pinot Noir but the audience eventually asked questions and laughed at some of my jokes.


Good people


To cut a long story short, I had to cook two duck breasts – the rest was prepared and served by the ICA students – and I’m blaming the test kitchen stove for the fact that I undercooked the duck. Or maybe it’s the awkwardness of cooking with sixty eyes on you. I’m not mad for bloody duck and the audience agreed that they’d prefer theirs succulent and pink, rather than raw in the centre. But time doens’t always behave in exactly the same way… if you know what I mean.


Sharp focus on the sizzling duck


So I popped them in the pan again… (tres unprofessional)


Stressy face... yes no yes NO. Still too raw

By most restaurants’ standards they were perfect. This lovely young lady bagged a bottle of L’avenir wine for being the perkiest person in the audience. Sy’s ook nie bang vir bleu eend nie.


Thanks lady. I could do stand-up comedy with folk like you


I talked them through the relish (shredded beetroot, horseradish cream, lemon, olive oil and seasoning) and then I tackled the jelly by mauling a rock hard sheet of pinot jelly set with agar agar, just to show how it’s NOT done.


Agar agar is a no-no

With 15 minutes left to go and on the verge of line dancing my way to the end, the kitchen pumped out lovely little taster portions for the audience.


Voila! Duck breast with beetroot relish and pinot jelly


Jelly number 4, which featured at the demo, was made with pectin and was silkier than the gelatine-based jellies that I made, and with the warm duck it oozed around the bowl. They said it was good. Point to the whole exercise was that bar one, nobody had cooked duck at home and there wasn’t a Pinophile in the room so everyone felt they’d learned something. Which is good, right? I certainly learned a few things. Like, with thirty people in the room, I’m better at talking than cooking…


Post-demo geselsie


According to this gentleman, the Pepin Conde Pinot Noir was the best wine he’d tasted at the show. Granted, it was early in the day but I hope the impression lasted.


Cheers to the good stuff


A huge thank you to Stark-Conde Wines and the Wild Peacock Food Emporium for their delicate, affordable Pinot and flavourful local duck breasts, respectively. And a big thank you to the team behind the Clover Demo Kitchen. And muchos gracias to my friend Corina, aka Kaptein Wyn, who asked her friend Megan to rock up and take these pics about an hour before the show started.

I think I’ll take this wine jelly thing further but not with Pinot Noir. I just love it too much to mess with it. In any way. But duck and pinot, they do make a fine pair.


You know? Mos...


In retrospect, the food & wine pairing theme was an inspired choice. A little glass of wine goes a long way to calm a woman’s nerves.

*Just realised that the SWF has only been going for about 10 years. By then my student daze were long gone. Thought I’d mention that in case anyone felt like getting overly factual and ageist.

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§ 6 Responses to D-Day"

  • Kaptein Wyn says:

    Loved this post – and so sorry to have missed the show. I was trying to work in the other tent. Glad Megan worked for you, she does fabulous work, and I use her for all my stuff 🙂

    Look forward to having a glass of wine with you soon!

    Keep well Vixen,
    die Kaptein.

  • Guy Harcourt-Wood says:

    He He Bianca, you have in stitches, looks like you had fun after all!! 🙂

  • Kobus says:

    Hey, that brave bleu-eend-eating lady is designer, illustrator and all-round cool person Naomi Botha! http://naomibotha.com Cool post btw – nogal spyt ek het die demo gemis.

    • admin says:

      Sy was awesome! My demo would have been hell without her. Dankie Naomi, nou dat ek weet wie jy is. Ek dink die edited weergawe van die demo was dalk beter as die real deal. But don’t ask me, ask Naomi.

      Dankie Kobus

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