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.


Justin Bonello / TVSA (p)

Justin Bonello / TVSA (p)


Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I've been away with the Justin Bonello's "Cooked" TV crew and what an adventure it has been. A series of this nature required long hours of hard work and Justin and his team displayed dedication and commitment to getting the best shots for us, the viewers.

I was constantly reminded of the extraordinary beauty of our country. We stayed at Thonga Beach Lodge where perfect conditions allowed us to snorkel with dolphins, scuba dive and enjoy sundowners in the company of a bloat of hippos. This idyllic setting was the backdrop for Justin's birthday. Carl, the head chef, made him an extremely decadent chocolate cake which reminded me of my past birthday cake a red velvet chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

The welcome from the Kosi Forest Lodge team included South Africans' favourite dessert - Malva pudding. It's always a winner especially when served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Our time there was minimal but the experience maximum we were charged by a family of hippos while we were canoeing down one of the estuaries. This could have ended up as a horror documentary instead of a laid-back cooking/travel show! The experience left us ravenous and ready for a feast of hearty dishes. Supplies in the market place were limited but we made the most of what we had. Justin braaied a spicy beef fillet and cooked up a textured amadumbi and potato creamy mash. I selected shiny green avocado pears and made a typical guacamole that we served on the side of the main course. Oozing decadent chocolate and pecan nut brownies were up next. Juicy oranges provided a fresh component for the star anise marinated orange slices. This was served with a simple honey mascarpone.

The few days away from the Hartford House kitchen were educational and inspirational. They left me with a new respect for nature, the movie industry - and most of all they illustrated how much scope there is when it comes to preparing innovative and exciting dishes.

Take these recipes and try them.