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.

FOOD TRENDS FOR 2011

Red Wine Poached Pear

Red Wine Poached Pear
(Photo : Jackie Cameron)

"Garden Fresh, Light and Delicate"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Food trends for 2011 conjure images of garden fresh, light and delicate - ingredients that are refreshing and require pickings from your garden, visiting farms and shopping at markets. It's worth the effort

Let us dive into this in more detail. After some research and a little more thought I expand on my opening statement.

I consider myself a locavore (one who eats food grown locally wherever possible) and it's heartwarming to notice more people are adopting this trend. I am sure this is the result of the increase in popularity of the re-born farmers' markets. Farmers who strive to consider the environment and are dedicated to quality will definitely outshine the rest. I'm committed to supporting local growers, butchers, bakers and cheese-makers, where possible. We all need to 'live' locally. By drawing from local resources we can reduce our carbon footprints. And always remember 'local is lekker'! With the ever-increasing demand more wholesome food is being produced – this often with a cheerful twist. Simplicity is the keyword but remember simple does not always mean quick and easy.

Initially your time will be spent identifying and evaluating the ingredients which satisfy your needs. This in turn puts pressure on the independent grower to meet customers' requirements. Suppliers will bring new and interesting flavours to their respective markets which means you will learn from the farmer, who will, hopefully, share a few gardening / farming tips with you. This will lead to healthier eating habits and increased awareness of the value of local in-season fruit and vegetables compared with out-of-season imported goods. Hopefully this awareness will inspire you to grow your own. There's a certain thrill in stepping out of your kitchen and handpicking fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Why not grow it, serve it and then preserve surplus ingredients (called "putting up")?

Ironically, going back to our roots and remembering what our grandparents did seems to be the way forward. As the home cook becomes more skilled and well informed, his / her expectations increase when dinning out. This should see chefs becoming more innovative in their ideas, cooking styles and use of fresh produce. The abundance of readily available fresh produce will entice people to eat less red meat and improve both their and the environment's wellbeing. Fish will be more in demand but remember... eat fish with a clear conscience. When in doubt refer to SASSI (The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) which illustrates in green, orange and red lists which fish are endangered species. SASSI information can be downloaded from the website: www.wwfsassi.co.za or you can text the name of the fish in question to 079 499 8795 and you will immediately get a response message telling you to tuck in, think twice, or avoid completely.

Obesity in children is no longer accepted. Schools and parents are becoming more aware of feeding their young ones correctly. Food is traditionally about nourishment and a cultural connection but in 2011 it is going to be about keeping us awake, on form, active and energised for this busy year ahead. Energy or superfoods are important in preserving vitality and delaying the aging process. The demand for a variety of dietary requirements will be on the increase. Keep this in mind when hosting a dinner party to avoid any embarrassing or uncomfortable situations for the guest or the host.

Men are stepping into kitchens more regularly these days. Maybe it's because there are more females in the workforce or maybe because today it's 'cool to cook'! The result of this phenomenon is the increase in gadgets used in the kitchen - gadgets that are innovative, imaginative and oh so useful!

I'm sure you have gathered that my new year's resolutions for 2011 are a healthy diet, a wholesome lifestyle and lots of exercise. Let us see how long it lasts.

Take these recipes and try them.

farmer

HEALTH BREAKFAST
THYME ROASTED MUSHROOMS ON GOAT'S CHEESE
"COQ AU VIN" PASTA
COUNTRY LAMB SHANK WITH GREMOLATA
RED WINE POACHED PEAR

 

Here are a few local suppliers :

  • For all those gadget crazy people, I suggest going onto Yuppiechef (www.yuppiechef.co.za). They offer free delivery, on all orders, anywhere in South Africa. A foodie person's paradise, such innovative and exciting items from cookware, tools, knives, appliances, bake ware, to books, home keeping gadgets and kiddie's appliances.
  • Visit Conscious Seafood Consumer website: www.wwfsassi.co.za or text 079 499 8795 with fish in question.
  • Dargle Valley Pork (the best streaky bacon, sliced Gammon and Pork Pies) - Caz 0332344159.
  • Swissland Goat's Cheese (World class Goat's Cheese - my favourite is the Ash Chevin and Drakensburg) - Fran 033 2344042.
  • La Petite France (Best Camembert in the country) - Gerè 033 3433487.
  • Chrissie's Cheese (Electric traditional Cheddar - Beetroot and Sage is delicious) - Chrissie 031 7811791.
  • Erwin's (Flavoursome Parma ham styled meats and salamis) - Erwin 033 2632275.
  • Hatting's Sausages (Gourmet Sausages-hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. Try Honey, Ale Mustard - YUM!) - Jarrod 033 343 4135.
  • Wayfarer Trout (Pin boned smoked or fresh Trout - stunning quality) - Sue 033 2344665.
  • Romesco Olives (Campfire Olives are my choice always) - Claire 033 3308345.
  • Dargle Ducks (Portioned Duck is available so if you are wanting to confit a few thighs you can. Another bonus they sell Duck fat.) - Dean 033 2344227.
  • Local Rabbits (New Zealand White Rabbits) - Ziggy 033 2632528.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713