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.

Jackie takes on Bacchus

Posh Kitchen Scrub and Lappie / NitWitCloths (p)

Posh Kitchen Scrub and Lappie / NitWitCloths (p)

"Wine, Intoxication, Posh Scrubs and Lappies"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Never did I think I would say, 'no more'... 'please, no more'!

After a month of wine shows in Durban I'm wined out! The DGB, Meridian and Vinimark trade-shows meant the meeting of minds as restaurateurs made their particular wine suppliers' portfolios available for tasting. With food and wine providing my income as well as being my hobby, I made the most of chatting to the wine makers and enjoyed learning about their latest products - and of course I had to sample all that was new.

To crown an already fruitful month, Hartford House was presented a 'Diamond Award' (the highest achievable) at the Diners Club International Wine List Awards 2012 for our comprehensive 48-page wine list.

For wine lovers I suggest something a little unusual. Red-wine poached oranges with Midlands' fresh lavender is simply scrumptuous. The longer the oranges marinate the more distinct the red-wine flavor. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone or crème fraiche. It's so easy to make, yet impressive on the eye and to the taste buds.

My first position, after training, saw me for a few months heading the pastry section at Mount Grace Hotel and Spa in the Magaliesberg. Whenever I was overwhelmed with numbers I always fell back on my sanity saver. Wine jelly was the quickest and easiest dessert to add to an already groaning dessert buffet. Serve this rosé-champagne-violet-and-fruit jelly with a ball of vanilla-bean ice cream. It is the perfect finish to a hot summer's lunch.

With the erratic and unpredictable climatic conditions we are currently experiencing, I always have my favourite gluhwein recipe close at hand. Remember not to boil, only simmer the wine otherwise all the alcohol will evaporate and the effect will be... let's say disappointing.

While driving along the R103, it came as a surprise - but I suppose it shouldn't have - to see so many people out with their portable braais as snow turned the Midlands into a winter paradise. Does this only happen in South Africa? Keep my red-wine-marinated-steak recipe for next year - you won't be sorry. Or you may prefer to try it on a few friends this weekend.

Coq au vin... we can't get more French traditional than this. I am sure you too will be captivated by its olde-worlde charm.

The most important thing to remember when cooking with wine is never put any wine into the pot that you wouldn't put into your glass.

Cooking at home is fun, however, everyone needs time out so I suggest you come to Hartford House where you can enjoy some of these recipes as well as the appropriate wines from our award-winning list.

My latest find is a very posh lappie. Julia Schaffer of Vredehoek in Cape Town has started NitWitCloths, a production company that creates home-based, self-employment opportunities for women. A fresh alternative to those nasty disposable cloths, the Posh Kitchen Lappie (R70) is hand knitted using thick-and-thirsty South African cotton which has a soft texture and good 'wring' ability. The Posh Kitchen Scrub (R35) is super strong and abrasive without ever scratching. Hand knitted from sisal, it may just last forever! NitWitCloths will last up to one year and freshen up remarkably well when run through the dishwasher with your dishes. The cost is R100 for the SmartSet. Order via www.nitwitcloths.co.za or phone Julia at 083 273 8334.

Take these recipes and try them.

Glass of Red Wine

Rose Jelly with Mixed Berries and Violet Flowers
Red Wine Marinated Oranges
Red Wine Marinated Beef Fillet
Coq au Vin

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you. For the latest on local foodie news add me as a friend on FACEBOOK. Find me on Twitter - jackie_cameron.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
+27 33 263 2713

Assisted by Elaine Boshoff for recipe development and photography.