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.

KWAZULU-NATAL MIDLANDS PRODUCE SUPPLIERS

Sunday lunch at Hartford House

Sunday lunch at Hartford House

"The rest of the country is becoming aware of the excellent produce available here in KwaZulu-Natal."

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Albeit slowly, the rest of the country is becoming aware of the excellent produce available here in KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier this year I was in Cape Town as a judge for the EAT IN Awards. The panel included Anelde Greeff (EAT IN editor), Pete Goffe-Wood (Master Chef SA judge), Abigail Donnelly (EAT OUT editor), Anna Trapido, (editor of Food to Freedom, featuring Nelson Mandela), Deon van Wyk (head buyer for Melissa's) and myself. Two days of intense tasting lead us to experience the extremely interesting quality of ingredients in and around South Africa. I was pleased to note the local KwaZulu-Natal suppliers who had entered. Here's to next year and to putting even more KZN products on the map.

Back to 'local is lekker' and the suppliers I am currently using. Pork pies, sausages, sliced gammon and well-smoked, streaky bacon from Caz, of Dargle Valley Pork, are top class. They help make breakfast memorable. Pork mince balls with chunky barbeque/pineapple sauce is an unusual dish and worth a try.

From Dargle Valley Ducks I order Serene and Dean's whole birds and they also sell the thighs separately, which is good to know should you want to make confit. I recently tried their sausages and duck liver pate and was very favourably impressed. We make our own at Hartford House but I recommend this pate for home use. Serve with crispy, thin Melba toast and sweetened strawberry-and-rosemary relish.

Nothing can compare when it comes to goat's cheese from Fran's Swissland Cheese. If you live in KZN I suggest you visit her farm on the Midlands Meander. Her St Maure, slightly warmed on a bruschetta with home-marinated beetroot, is a delicious snack.

Chrissie'sfarmhouse cheddar is on my list of favourites. I always include a serving of this with Christmas cake. All her cheeses tickle the taste buds - and look out for her Stilton; it's full of character.

La Petite Francecamembert, made in the classical French tradition, oozes creaminess. Try it on a water biscuit with their rose syrup, which includes delicate pink petals, or with their fig preserve.

Croft Farm Chickens are free-range, happy hens. I use Candy and Chris' delicious, plump livers and their whole chickens and can also recommend their pies, rolls, spatchcocks and stuffed roasts too. What is a tasty roast chicken without a super crispy roast potato? Try the accompanying recipe. It promises to please.

Sue's trout from Wayfarer Trout can only be explained to the initiated - once bitten you won't go anywhere else. Hers are pin-boned and tastefully presented - seared with lemon is my choice, alternatively you could use the smoked trout in a spread.

I would like to see more rabbit dishes on our country-restaurant menus. It is often our best seller on a Sunday at Hartford House. Try Ziggy's New-Zealand rabbits and make a superb hot terrine or casserole.

Speak to Greg from Greg's Farm Stall for anything a little unusual with regards to vegetables. Think micro herbs, coloured carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and fresh horseradish.

I look forward to judging the EAT IN competition next year and to welcoming many more KZN entries - olives, pickles, preserves; in fact all things edible. Remember to send your whole range because that gives a better overview. Should you produce something special or know of someone making or producing something unique, please let me know. The better informed I am the better I can inform the rest of the country.

KZN MIDLANDS PRODUCE SUPPLIERS

Dargle Valley Pork - Caz - 0824570987
Dargle Ducks - Dean - 0824220806
Swissland Goat's Cheese - Fran - 0824183440
Chrissie's Farmhouse Cheddar - Chrissie - 0825586049
La Petite France Camembert - Geri - 0824916623
Croft Farm Chickens - Chris or Kandy - 0823398892 - www.croftfarmchicken.com
Wayfarer Trout - Sue - 0824153780
Ziggy's Rabbit - Ziggy - 0827353821
Greg's Farm Stall - Greg - 076674552

Take these recipes and try them.

zulu shield

PORK MINCE BALLS
STRAWBERRY AND ROSEMARY RELISH
MARINATED BEETROOT
CRISPY ROAST POTATOES
SMOKED TROUT SPREAD
RABBIT CASSEROLE

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
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Assisted by Elaine Boshoff for recipe development and photography