Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.


Rice Krispies and Date Bars / Jackie Cameron (p)

Rice Krispies and Date Bars / Jackie Cameron (p)


Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Excitement mounted in the Hartford House kitchen when Justin Bonello of Cooked in Africa fame, and his talented crew, stepped into our kitchen! We may be off the well-worn tracks but we’re right up there with the best, and Hartford is one of 13 venues to be featured in the next series of Cooked IV (BBC Lifestyle). Here viewers will have the opportunity to see top South African restaurants and watch their celebrated chefs host this larger-than-life personality.

I asked Justin his opinion regarding the optimum age for introducing young children to the basics of cooking. He told me, Dan, his 12-year-old son was already a “pro” at making fun, good-tasting items such as crumpets, pancakes, jaffles and “the most wicked spaghetti and meatballs”. 

With the extra-long June holiday looming some homemade goodies will keep children entertained. Bear in mind this time in the kitchen will be for personal pleasure so sweet, chocolatey items that require little effort will be winners. The first treat that springs to mind is a deliciously simple chocolate fridge tart. A rich, textured flavour that is most dad’s favourite. Remember to save him a slice!

Justin reminds me about rice krispies-bars. His version sounds more like a rice krispies brittle. My straightforward, rice krispies-and-date bar recipe results in a crispy texture meeting the sweetness of dates. Another variation is mixing rice krispies with melted marshmallows. Scrumptiously sweet!

From an early age, my sister and I would whip up a chocolate sponge cake when craving a little sweetness. This recipe has been made more times than anyone can remember. The page is yellow with age and the words splattered with ingredients but it doesn’t matter because we girls know the recipe by heart.

Every Christmas my sister and I would give our teachers a large glass jar filled with picture-perfect homemade coconut ice. We’d cover the lids with pink and white gingham material. So pretty! We still claim we made them but Mom smiles because she knows better…

Fairy cakes, as we called them, are another popular tasting treat. Before cooking sprinkle with sugar. This eliminates the need for icing. Served hot with the crispy, crunchy topping of caramelised sugar these cakes are decadently more-ish. Invite friends for tea!

In my opinion, pancake making is the key to a balanced, well-rounded childhood. Everyone enjoys showing off flipping skills. Entertaining in-deed!

These activities, as well as opportunities to experiment with flavour combinations, will ensure your children get pleasure out of cooking. They will learn food cooked with love has a flavour no recipe can provide.

Take these recipes and try them.

cup cake