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Food & Wine Q&A - COVID-19

Eat. Drink. Stay Home. Be Merry!

April 16, 2020

‘Food’ and ‘Wine’ – two of our favorite words. And if you’re anything like us, you’re going to love today’s Q&A!

We’re doing things slightly differently and featuring not just one mastermind, but two, very talented ladies who share our passion for food and wine. Meet the Wine Fairy, Katie Barratt, and Private Chef, Preeti Bardolia, who will be sharing their perspective on the Covid-19 situation and beyond.

For many of us, a glass of wine is what we use to unwind after a long day, however, many are turning this into a crutch during these uncertain times. How do you suggest maintaining a balance between wine appreciation and using wine as a coping mechanism?

Wine is a thing of beauty, an ever-changing life force, created through science, driven by passion, and offered to all for interpretation. Each of us finds pleasure in varying varietals on different occasions, often dictated by mood, food, company, the weather, and time of day. 
However, it is easy to reach out for solace in these surreal times and although I often say balance is about having a glass of wine in each hand, today I’d rather highlight another concept of mine in that if you don’t find what you’re looking for from the wine within the first few sips you certainly won’t find it at the bottom of the bottle. So rather sit back and savor this liquid art and appreciate all the joy and serenity it brings.

Follow the Tasting steps, the 3 sip tasting protocol, really take the time to appreciate the primary, secondary and tertiary aromas. Focus on the weight and body of the wine, assess the fruit/acid/tannin balance, and allow the lingering mouthfeel to take you on a journey of delight.

I find that wine, like music, is filled with memories and can ignite the imagination of days gone by and memories still to be made. Whilst it is my duty as Wine Fairy to encourage you to drink, I do ask that you do so responsibly.

While the sale of alcohol is prohibited in South Africa during lockdown, other more fortunate countries are not subjected to the same regulations. What factors should one take into account when selecting a bottle of wine from a general supermarket?

Besides the usual price and pretty label theory, take a moment to consider what is on offer from smaller garagiste producers. These Boutique wineries will be the hardest hit in these times and going forward will certainly rely on your support to stay afloat.
Try a little experimentation with varietals that are new to you or wines from different countries too. You could do a themed tasting, comparison tastings, food, and wine pairing experiments.  You have such a broad selection of international wines available to you, the learning opportunity here is priceless.

Yet please do make sure to keep a good stock of your typical ‘go-to’ wine, one wouldn’t want to be caught short!

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Have you stocked up on any specific wine for the lockdown period, and have you discovered any meal that has paired particularly well with it?

Aaah, now that would be telling…and forcing me to pick a favorite. Here are a few for you…
A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, chilled perfectly (approx 6-8 degrees Celcius) served with a grilled fillet of white, light and flakey fish, splash of olive oil, squeeze of lemon. Chargrilled asparagus and fresh microgreens. This could work equally well with a Pinot Grigio too.

Richer styled white wine, lightly to medium oaked Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay (ideal temperature here at 8-10 degrees deserves a dish with equal weight. A creamier dish or an ingredient with more fat. A pork belly roast or a mushroom risotto with lashings of butter and parmesan would be a treat.

The options are pretty endless here, there are some basic food and wine pairing rules to follow but ultimately, don’t forget to drink what you love. All this talk of food has made me hungry now, and as you know, I’m always thirsty.

The vibrant culinary industry in South Africa has been put on a firm hold while the focus is now on providing basic food items to the most vulnerable. Can private chefs like yourself play a role in this different food priority?

Absolutely. As we are to adhere to the rules of lockdown, the best we can do as private chefs is to take care of those around us. Food donations to our kitchen staff and their families, the elderly and homeless shelters, donating funds to special feeding projects and preparing food parcels to those in need really go a long way.
Once out of lockdown, there is more freedom to be able to create platforms to assist in getting fresh and nutritious food to the vulnerable and elderly.

Being one of Cape Town’s best private chefs, bookings for exclusive events and functions must occupy a huge part of your calendar. With these on hold or cancelled, what will you be doing with your time instead?

I love that the culinary industry is multi-faceted. I’ve been keeping myself busy with a handful of consultancy projects in product development, menu reconstructions, healthy eating plans for clients and of course I’ve been doing a lot of home cooking and posting step by step recipes on my social media.
Click here to follow Chef Preeti Bardolia on Instagram

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During lockdown, have you created any new dishes that you will be launching post-lockdown? If so, could you give us a sneak-peak into what that is?

During lockdown I’ve experimented with different cuisine types from fresh and vibrant Vietnamese, Greek style slow-cooked lamb in tomato with orzo rice, some awesome vegan dishes and a divine baked banoffee cheesecake with caramel sauce!
The dish I’m most proud of is a chocolate souffle (a real treat that is quite daunting), served with a botanical spiced ice cream that I’ve practiced and would love to treat my friends and clients to.

Pad Thai by Chef Preeti Bardolia

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Pad Thai Sauce:
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ fish sauce
¼ cup tamarind puree
(or substitute with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce with juice of half a lime)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime

Components:

300g rice noodles
1 egg
Oil for frying
Vegetables of your choice:
10 tenderstem brocollini
2 carrots – julienned
4 small zucchini – julienned
A big handful of spinach
30g bean sprouts
2 stalks spring onion, finely sliced

Protein of your choice:

400g Tofu, chicken, shrimps, pork fillet

2 cloves garlic

Oil for frying

Garnish:

¼ cup salted peanuts, chopped
Chilli flakes to taste
1 lime
Few sprigs of coriander

Method:

Start off by preparing the sauce by combining all of the ingredients together in a bottle. Place the lid on and shake well until combined.

Next boil the rice noodles for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Drain, rinse in cold water and coat with a bit of oil to stop the noodles from sticking. Set aside until later.

Prepare the egg by whisking in a small bowl with some salt. Heat up a small non-stick frying pan and fry in the same way you would an omelette, over a medium heat. Once cooked on the surface, roll up as you would a pancake. Once cool, cut into slices. This is the garnish for the pad thai.

Prepare the filling by cooking your vegetables now. Heat up a pan and add the hard vegetables first ie. Tenderstem broccoli and carrots. Once slightly cooked through, add the zucchini. Cook further and then add the spinach. Season with salt. Remove from the pan.

Next cook the protein by adding oil to the hot pan. Fry the garlic gently over a medium heat, stirring consistently. Increase the heat and add the protein to the pan, season and fry until cooked through, tossing continuously.

Add the vegetables back to the pan with the protein together with the noodles. Toss through well and season with 5 tablespoons of sauce. Add more sauce if necessary. Add the chopped egg omelette, spring onion and the bean sprouts and toss through again.

Place in a beautiful bowl, garnish with peanuts, chilli flakes, lime wedges and coriander leaves.

Eat immediately