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.

Filtering by Category: Recipes

Padkos... Padkos... Padkos

With regular stop-over options on the highways does anyone pack padkos anymore?
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron

I have happy memories of a trip that my sister, Sheldeen, and I did with our Uncle Alistair and Aunty Norah. Their son, our cousin Shaun, was competing in the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. We all - including his brother and sister Peter and Kim - were the support team. The day before, my dad took us to the shops so we could stock up on sweets for the trip and that evening I helped my aunt make meat balls, chicken wings and other convenient, delicious, travelling nibbles. These were happy times.

I feel like going on one of those road trips again. It's a long time since time allowed such frivolous, carefree adventures - yet they are so important. And the padkos would have to fit the occasion - nothing mundane. The usual combinations don't do it for me anymore so I have a few interesting options; nothing over the top.

When I think padkos for a road trip I want hearty, food that will heat me up from the inside out, and that will help me forget about the many kilometres ahead. A flask or two filled with a robust meat-flavoured, smooth, lentil soup works for me.

Instead of the normal rusk-with-coffee option, I suggest my grandmother's jam-drop biscuits. I remember these coming hot out of the oven and the jam still bubbling in the centre. They are deliciously decadent and so simple to make. They weren't Sheldeen's favourites so I always had two helpings!

As we all do, I have gone through stages in life. As a teenager I always wanted the chicken breast - I can even remember giving my dad the crispy skin. That wouldn't happen today! I then moved onto always having a chicken thigh and drumstick - this being the tastiest and juiciest part of the chicken. More recently I have been choosing the chicken wings. I no longer eat huge amounts at one time but rather many little meals throughout the day so I consider a chicken wing the perfect savoury, crispy snack - in fact it can be an indulgent light meal. So, in my cooler bag I'll have a container filled with crispy oat-coated chicken wings with a green-herb mayonnaise. This is just perfect for any trip.

Mince balls are a favourite snacks or finger foods so I thought I'd make it proudly South African - bobotie rolls with traditional fruit blatjang came up trumps. I don't eat enough bobotie at home the slight spiciness and sweetness combines so well with a fresh green salad. (Note to self:  Bobotie for dinner when next I’m off).

I enjoy any food that is slow cooked inside a paper packet - such exciting aromas burst out when the packet is opened. It's an exhilarating experience even before the tasting. Aromas that promise to help you forget you are sitting in a stuffy car include rosemary, mushrooms, roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes. This makes a healthy option to snack on.

Gooey and sticky make a tantalising treat so remember your wet wipes on this trip. My chocolate-dipped pumpkin seeds covered in loads of good-quality cocoa powder are irresistible; and they make an interesting sweet-and-savoury combination.

On your next journey, plan your packing time to allow you to cook up these recipes. Your family will feel a lot healthier - fit and ready to take on the holiday when arriving at your destination.  Once again, I suggest we cast our minds back to what our grandparents did - they knew a thing or two - and encourage family involvement, just as my aunt did.

Here's to happy foodie travels - hamba kahle.

RECIPES

Mince Bobotie Rolls with Homemade Chutney
Lentil Soup
Oats Coated Chicken Wings with Herb Mayonnaise
Veg In A Bag
Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Seeds
Jam-Drop Biscuits

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
+27 33 263 2713

Food styling and recipe development by Elaine Boshoff.

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

The Boerewors Roll... a South African Institution

How does one explain a boerewors roll to foreigners? I tell them it’s a meaty, coarsely-textured, very-savoury, well-balanced, juicy kind-of sausage. Could you do better than that?
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I remember on my first trip to Germany, the chefs who I was working with believed the Big 5 roamed freely in South Africa. Try getting the flavour, aroma and texture of boerewors - as well as the traditional braai philosophy - across to people who lack the fundamental knowledge of our country... Any facts regarding our customary foods took a long time to explain but the information was readily absorbed.

My grandfather owned A and D Butchery in Pietermaritzburg's Commercial Road (now Chief Albert Luthuli Street). Here they called boerewors Dutchman's Delight - DD. My cousin, Mark Berriman, emigrated to live in Australia and the first recipe he asked me for was our grandfather's boerewors. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to chat about food and, in particular, meat with my grandfather before he passed away. Peter Spiers, who owns Manor Butchery in Pietermaritzburg, and who worked with my grandfather, was prepared to share his recipe with me. I believe it is as close as possible to a formula for success.

Bread rolls can be bought but homemade is always so much better, if time allows. Hot and soft - fresh from the oven - and slightly sweet smelling is what I enjoy. My cravings are not limited to chicken livers; I also hanker after boerewors, tomatoes and hot peri-peri sauce. With the result a staff meal at Hartford often ends up being a wors roll. Thick lashings of butter, English mustard as well as tomato-and-onion chunky chutney - or a homemade onion relish - more-than meet my craving.

I'm often asked "with real butter?" as though it is a treat - something not commonly used. Remember butter is butter and the rest is margarine. I'm aware that butter is the more expensive option but, as the saying goes, trust the cow rather than the scientist. As children we often used to over-whisk cream so, on special occasions, my mother would buy double quantities - just in case. If you happen to over-whip your cream, continue the whisking process and it will end up as butter.

Try my fancy boerewors roll. Can/should a wors roll be fancy? Some foods are fit for kings and, I might add, queens! Does a boerie roll qualify? I'll leave you to answer as you celebrate our heritage with a boerewors roll in one hand and a beer in the other - even better if it's a craft beer created by Megan Gemmell of Pietermaritzburg... contact her at megan@clockworkbrewhouse.co.za. I grew up with Megan's brothers who I met through my friend Kelly Clarke; we were all around the same age. I always advocate supporting local artisan companies - knowing the brewer, in this case, makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

I suggest ending on a sweet note so a beer-and-peanut butter parfait with a thick, buttery tennis-biscuit base and hot caramelised bananas (heated, skin on, on the cooling coals) is my decadent choice for you!

RECIPES

Bread Rolls
Home-made Butter
Boerewors
Wholegrain Mustard
Chunky Tomato and Onion Relish
Peanut Butter and Beer Semi-Freddo

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
+27 33 263 2713

Food styling and recipe development by Elaine Boshoff.

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Delicious Thai Flavour Combinations

I can truly pen this down as the best foodie experience I have ever had - yes ever; and I have had the privilege of eating in some of the best restaurants in the world. This was genuine value for money. Oan’s food, simply made with generous lashings of love and care, was inspirational.
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I recently returned from holiday in Thailand with my sister, Sheldeen and her fiancé, Roan - the first in many years that didn’t revolve around eating in top restaurants. I was instructed to leave work at home - my laptop and all else relating to my career.

Directions from Sheldeen, who I hadn’t seen for a year or so as she had been teaching English in South Korea, went something like this, “fly into Bangkok and go to Khaosan Road to meet at McDonald's”. The minute we met up I was handed the most delicious, thick, sticky-pork rashers on a skewer. That’s when I knew the trip would be about food, flavours and culinary experiences. I fear to count up how many of those pork rashers I consumed during my time in Thailand. I must hold the record!

I have often heard that visitors should not eat street food in the East. Well, with hygiene spray in hand, these comments were not holding us back. I was amazed at how reasonably priced and delicious the food was. Every mouthful I had was perfectly cooked. I must admit to being a little cautious so I ate more the skewer-type foods that had just been grilled in Khaosan Road. Seafood was a no-no and plated dishes I left for later in the holiday. Think savoury, glazed livers, pork rashers, chicken strips grilled or fried to perfection. I also reminisce over those hot, crispy banana pancakes/rotes freshly made at the end of Khaosan Road. They are what a foodie’s dreams are made of!

On the way to ‘our’ island, Koh-Chong we downed one or two Singha and Chang beers. A few packets of crispy, sesame-fried seaweed proved irresistible too! They seemed so much healthier than the potato crisps we get here and would make a quick snack when you need to impress guests.

I am not in favour of the instant noodles available here so I was interested to investigate the pot noodles in Thailand from the 7-Eleven stores. I was met with a pleasant surprise when I tried the creamy, Tom-Yum pot noodles - definitely a healthier option to a burger in the early hours of the morning. However, nothing could compare with sitting in the little plastic chair-and-table hut that became our favourite eatery. Oan’s provided us with delicious Thai food. By the time we left ‘our’ island we had eaten everything off her menu twice over! Her soups were a taste sensation - good, quick and promised to cure a long night out. Tom Yum by far was my favourite of all. 

I can truly pen this down as the best foodie experience I have ever had - yes ever; and I have had the privilege of eating in some of the best restaurants in the world. This was genuine value for money. Oan’s food, simply made with generous lashings of love and care, was inspirational.  Each dish was made fresh to order and presented at exactly the correct moment. This meant one person might be served before the other guests and could be finished eating before the others were served. This took some getting used to but it made sense when freshness and flavour were paramount.

Sheldeen is Pad Thai (a stir-fried, rice noodle dish typical of street food) crazy - to the point that she compiled a Pad Thai dance. Yes, my family can be creatively different at times! This robust noodle, tamarind, bean-sprout and peanut dish screamed flavours and textures of mouth-smacking goodness. Another winner was coconut sticky rice with the freshest-of-fresh, juicy mango. I’m battling to put into words how special this combination was.

The last recipe is a favourite of Travis Finch, one of my chefs at Hartford House - one mouthful and he is transported to Thailand. He spent four and a half months in South-East Asia so we worked together on these recipes, by memory rather than actual recipes. We also had to use ingredients available here in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands so these recipes are not traditional but carry the flavours we remember. Basic items such as pig-ears mushroom and lime leaves were among the stumbling blocks.

This was one of my favourite photo shoots with photographer Karen Edwards. We delighted in tasting all we photographed and this took me straight back to happy times with Sheldeen and Roan. It was a holiday of note - even though my luggage and I were separated for the duration of my time away; and I came back with a sprained thumb as well as cholera.

Here is to Thai flavour combinations in your home kitchen - happy cooking.

RECIPES

Street Food
Sesame Seed Fried Seaweed
Tom Yum

Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
Pad Thai
Stir Fry

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
jackie@hartford.co.za
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Coffee Recipes With A Twist

What a gem Terbodore Coffee Roasters is... in the already sparkling crown of the Midlands. If you’ve never visited this welcoming, off-the-beaten track place, there is every good reason for you to do so. It surpassed all my expectations.
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

For almost six years my column has appeared in The Witness and, as an avid coffee drinker, I am embarrassed on two counts. The first being that I have never written an article on this particular beverage and the other - as I hang my head in shame - is that I only recently visited Terbodore Coffee Roasters in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. And it was established in 2004!  So much for my belief that I'm on top of all the local happenings...

What a gem in the already sparkling crown of the Midlands. If you've never visited this welcoming, off-the-beaten track place, there is every good reason for you to do so. It surpassed all my expectations.

After spending a morning chatting to Marian over a couple of cups of coffee - or more - she generously gave me a variety of coffees to taste; this provided much fun-filled interest over the last week. It is quite startling how one cup of coffee can taste so different from the next. Taking into account the bean type, where it is grown, how it is roasted as well as when it is roasted and stored. My suggestion to all readers who appreciate good coffee is to find a coffee house and to taste your way through the different coffees until you find the perfect match for your palate. I now know that my favourite Terbodore coffee is a toss up between Mac Espresso and Great Dane. Like everything, even taste buds change so, if your cuppa isn't giving you the kick you desire, get out and start the sampling process again. It's an educational and fulfilling way to spend a few hours - and most of all it's fun.

In this article I'm choosing to offer 'something completely different'; keeping well away from the usual coffee cake / icing / muffins / biscuits and so on...

First up is a moist nutty coffee and cranberry loaf. The diverse textures are interesting in every mouthful and there is an exciting burst of sweetness from the cranberries.

Risotto need not be always savoury. Thinking rice pudding, this sweet and spicy coffee risotto was born. Serve with fresh berries, chunks of chocolate and thick dollops of cream for a quick dessert option.

Chocolate, peanut butter and coffee frozen delight combines two of my favourite quick-and-easy desserts into one. This combination of sweet and savoury is decadent on all levels.

More is less and it's the simplicity in Amber-Rose's Amarula Frappe that impressed me. She is a trainee and when she walked into my office with this coffee frappe I knew she would slot right into our team. Try it as a refreshing alternative to a hot drink.

I can't imagine why Id never thought of coffee muesli before this. It successfully mixes two of my favourite breakfast combinations into one making an ideal start to any morning.

Coffee-marinated beef fillet caramelises exceptionally well on a braai and adds an unusual savouriness. I'm sure this will go down particularly well with the men folk.

I look forward to uncovering more Midlands gems and I raise my coffee cup in celebration of the many exhilarating country outings we are privileged to have on our doorstep. Who knows, with the copious amounts of coffee I consume everyday, maybe a Jackie Cameron coffee blend will come about! Remember life is too short to drink bad-quality coffee.

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Coffee, Cranberry and Nut Bread
Spicy Coffee Risotto
Coffee & Dark Chocolate Marquise & Peanut Butter Semi-Freddo
Amber-Rose's Amarula Frappe
Coffee Muesli
Coffee Marinated Beef Fillet

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
jackie@hartford.co.za
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Chef Jacket, Kiddies and Dish

This month’s article is dedicated to children so I invited a few local Midlands youngsters to model my Jackie Cameron aprons and to bring along their favourite recipes. The children were charming and their contributions promise to tickle your taste buds.
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

With leisure time becoming an important part of family life, Hartford House has relaxed its no-children-under-12 policy. We always ensure families with young children have their own private dining space so that parents, youngsters and guests looking for romance and tranquillity all find what they expect - and more. It pleases me to see the many children who pop into the kitchen and then want their picture taken with me. Long may their interest in food last! MasterChef has been greatly instrumental in rekindling culinary enthusiasm in the young - and the young at heart too. This interest inspired me to create aprons for the young 'uns remembering full well how much mess they can make. So, I have my existing women's chef range and now a range for aspiring chefs. I have been promising to launch my male range, and as soon as time is on my side I shall fulfil that undertaking.

This month's article is dedicated to children so I invited a few local Midlands youngsters to model my 'Jackie Cameron aprons' and to bring along their favourite recipes. The children were charming and their contributions promise to tickle your taste buds.

Philippa Farley, who delivers farm-fresh ingredients from whole quails and quail eggs to birthday macaroons, has become one of my friends and her daughter, I'm told, is my "biggest smallest fan". Zoë is two and a half - don't forget the half! She started off shyly as she presented her beautifully-made macaroni and cheese topped with a thick layer of bacon, chopped tomatoes and feta but eased up when I 'oh-ed' and 'ah-ed' over her contribution. Besides baking, Zoë, a true little farm girl, spends most of her days playing with her puppies, dogs and horses.

Many of the Hartford Hotel team's children have spent time with me over the years. They all seem to enjoy being in my company - but, if I'm truly honest, it is probably the cookies and chocolates that keep them coming back! Happy Anatoria Dube works in the housekeeping department. She loves to help us bake so her daughter Ntando invariably gets stuck in too.  Her freshly-baked hot amagwinyas go down as a treat with all of us. Most of the women eat them plain - not me. I take half with layer thick lashings of butter and marmalade jam on it. I am tempted to eat the other half - but resist. With her apron on, Ntando was ready to strike a pose for the camera.

Agricultural manager at Summerhill Stud, Mark Jonsson, and his wife Jodie, brought their three little girls to see what was going on. Paige (6) was a somewhat apprehensive about having her photograph taken but warmed up to Karen Edwards, the photographer, and gave us some lovely shots. Paige seems to have an adrenalin-junkie streak in her because I see her riding her bicycle or motorbike at speed - and she has the motoX shirt to go with it. However, stepping into her mother's kitchen and helping make banana cake or muffins is always considered a treat. The twins, Georgina and Annabelle (3), were not one bit interested in having their photographs taken no matter what the dangling carrot was. After much persuasion we finally got them stepping up to the table and each character shone through the lens of the camera. Their crumpets were mouth watering.

Merrick van der Bank (3) arrived with a fractured arm. He was the only boy and he charmed us all. How we envied his stunning blue eyes and long, enticing eye lashes. Apart from his interest in riding and swimming he has creative flair in the kitchen. I believe my apron will get some good wear in that home. He brought the most deliciously-simply baked-bacon and baby-marrow frittata with him. People often complicate things. A frittata, with available ingredients, is an ideal light meal when time is tight.

Megan James arrived with her daughter Phoebe and a large tin filled with the tastiest chunky chocolate cookies. This little lass is truly mischievous - an authentic farm 'meisie' who loves baking and getting her hands full of a butter-flour mixture. Besides food, she loves animals and is often found carrying her chickens around with her.

Here's hoping many more children get into the kitchen with their parents. Learning how to cook from a young age produces confidence for later years. I hope my little aprons (R80 each, ordered through my website - or contact me directly on jackie@jackiecameron.co.za) are an inspiration to all. Happy cooking!

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Zoë's Macaroni and Cheese
Ntando's Amagwinya
Paige's Banana Muffins / Bread
Georgina and Annabelle's Crumpets
Merrick's Bacon and Baby Marrow Frittata
Phoebe's Chunky Chocolate Cookies

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
jackie@hartford.co.za
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Pastry Delights

Over time I have learnt the necessary techniques, and with many years of experience under my apron, I could never resort to ‘buying’ over ‘making’.
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

As most people gather kilos over the festive season I'm inclined to shed weight. This is a busy time for chefs and, while keeping guests well fed, the last thing on our minds is feeding ourselves! Yes, we taste a lot but seldom sit down to a real meal.

So, as we moved into January, my craving was to make hearty food in my own kitchen that would ooze the aromas of pastry delights. If I remember correctly, my love of cooking stemmed from my desire to bake something sweet and pleasing that we, as a family, could enjoy.

Over time I have learnt the necessary techniques, and with many years of experience under my apron, I could never resort to 'buying' over 'making'.

Regardless of how many times I make puff pastry it's always thrilling to see the perfectly laminated layers of butter. Remember to bake this pastry between 200 - 220°C to ensure the oven is hot enough to crisp the pastry otherwise you'll have butter oozing out, spoiling all your hours of love and labour. It really is very easy if you follow this step-by-step recipe. Puff pastry is versatile for either sweet or savoury dishes. A perfectly-roasted beef Wellington wrapped with chicken-liver-flavoured mushroom duxelle and blanketed with hand-rolled puff is my idea of a hearty meal.

Brioche - this enriched bread is jam-packed with a sugary butter that adds a savoury but sweet flavour. It delivers an interesting fine, almost-aerated crumb and it freezes like a dream. If defrosted properly, your guests will think it has been newly baked! In a perfect world I would always have a loaf by my side!

Doughnuts... Wow, they bring on childhood flashbacks! We spent every holiday at our family beach cottage in Pennington Park. The local baker lived opposite us and before I was even awake my younger sister had walked to the bakery and had munched through her daily fix of a jam doughnut. In those days (oh dear I sound just like my parents!) it was safe for us to walk around, unaccompanied by an adult. The doughnuts were so memorable, and I have tried to create a recipe worthy of the man who thrilled our sweet teeth many years ago. The only person who'll be able to tell me whether I have succeeded is my dear sister who, I know, will willingly take up the challenge!

Genoise, used for making several different types of cakes, is a basic ingredient for many French patisseries. I, however, believe it was originated in Italy. If you have a good genoise recipe you will never get stuck. Think a flan base, in-season, fruity cream cake, drenched with liqueur; use in a trifle; or as 'lady finger' biscuits in a tiramisu. Use less flour and add cocoa for a chocolate genoise. It's so versatile and well worth memorising the ingredients.

Phyllo pastry... this is something I haven't made in years but I was recently inspired when a local resident brought me a few tastings of her homemade Greek specialities. If she could do it then so could I! Time is of the essence but the result is worth it. Sweet or savoury - phyllo pastry has a place in the kitchen.

When it came to profiteroles/éclairs we, as a family, were guilty of overindulgence. I clearly remember the excitement of going to functions when my aunt, Molly Cameron, was catering because at dessert time the tables, groaning with the weight, would be laden with these delightful treats! For my final exam at St John's School I made a perfect savoury profiterole/gougere (a bite-size variation on the long éclair) and I knew Aunt Molly would have been proud of me... many years of perfecting the art of eating them gave me insight into the making!

Here’s to stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, or perfecting a skill you have been considering for years - 2014 is the time for this. May it be kind to all of us...

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Puff Pastry
Brioche
Apricot Jam Filled Doughnuts
Genoise
Phyllo Pastry
Choux Pastry - Profiteroles

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
jackie@hartford.co.za
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com
www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Recipes that 'Take the Cake'

This has been a jam-packed year for the Hartford House kitchen team; and as we discuss recipes for this month’s article we reminisce over what we have achieved and managed to tick off our list.
— Jackie Cameron
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

We have decided to share a banquet of recipes that generated the most responses over the year. Our readers continue to overwhelm me and I thank you greatly for your continued support and encouragement. All your comments are greatly appreciated; and I have learnt so much from the questions you have asked - so thank you for indirectly feeding me, or pushing me, to explore more deeply into specific culinary topics.

Recipes that take the cake...

I have recently returned from a trip to Thailand (watch this space for the article and tantalising recipes) and the night before we travelled home we went to the Bangkok Chinese market. What a delicious feast! I thought it appropriate to highlight my Trout Spring Roll recipe for you to try during the festive season. It's different, quick and easy.

Little bite-size, sweet or Savoury Macaroons have become extremely popular. I have chosen a recipe for the orange-flavoured variety which is still my favourite. Try them - I'm confident you'll agree.

The number of comments I receive for baked items always delights me and this Quinoa Bread recipe, with an unusual twist, screams healthy and promises to delight. The oozing-chocolate tart was highlighted in an article showcasing my cookbook: Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home in which I mentioned that I was considering featuring this recipe in my next book. And yes, we have started talking about a follow-up cookbook but definitely no time soon. Please look out for the paperback copies of Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home that will be on the shelves in February 2014. This is another exciting development - and leaves me with the task of selling more books! And now to announce more exciting news... my book has just been awarded 'Best Woman Chef Book in South Africa' by Gourmand the world cookbook awards. My gratitude goes out to the team that helped with the book - the team that makes me look good.

And speaking of teams... the Almond and Peach Tart recipe was developed for Olivia Schaffer, one of the most special people in my life. She has directed and mentored me in all my written work, making sense of my non-journalistic words and phrases. I often wish I had more hours in my days so I could sip copious cups of tea with family and friends over one-too-many slices of this tart.

With festive-season celebrations in the air, it probably makes sense to round off the year with the best hangover cure: Croque Monsieur. Enjoy every oozing, cheesey mouthful.

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Trout Spring Roll and Sweet Chilli Sauce
Orange Macaroons
Quinoa Bread
Chocolate Nemesis Tart
Peach and Almond Pie
Croque-Monsieur

Every year I tell the team not to worry; 'next year will be calmer', I say. It never is! However, who wants calm? Make every hour of your days count...

Here is to a fantastically productive 2014 with many exciting projects. Happy cooking, eating and celebrating.

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). 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
jackie@hartford.co.za
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com
www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

Best Remedies for Over-Consumption

With all the upcoming end-of-year functions, I suggest you make use of these suggestions. Here’s to happy times with family and friends. Eat clever and enjoy the morning after.
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Most of us have experienced those over-indulgent evenings - too much superior wine, irresistible bubbly and fine food. I have only to glimpse upon a bottle of gin, wine or bubbles and the next morning I feel terrible. Don't get me wrong... of course I enjoy a party - who doesn't - but the consequence has reached the point of ridiculous. Surely after a drink or two it is not possible to feel as I do? Among my family and friends I have been labelled the person who suffers the worst after a night out - and I can't deny this fact!

I am always on the look out for the best remedy for over-consumption - or just consumption in my case... Recently I was sent a link to explain the reason 'Sprite' was good. It had something to do with the lemon and lime flavours that allow the body to process alcohol, resulting in a reduced hangover. Sounds intriguing... I will be sure to give it a whirl when next in need.

There are foodie combinations which I suggest - and I consider myself well versed in this regard - but remember without sleep no food will help. What actually does work well for me is going into work really, really early - may sound crazy - and doing a frantically busy breakfast service. I guess this can compare with going for a run. It gets the toxins through the system quickly. The thought of wasting a cherished morning off because of an over-indulgent night before, kills me. A busy breakfast, Sprite in hand and one of my foodie combinations works for me - I hope you can find solace too!

I normally eat as per my craving because it makes sense to me that the food I crave when not feeling 'too healthy' is actually the food that will best help me get through the morning.

Simple is always best. A rich and creamy banana and cinnamon smoothie will replenish potassium and magnesium. A lack of potassium in the body can lead to nausea, weakness and tiredness so stock up on bananas if planning a night out! They are natural antacids so help reduce stomach acid and are ideal as an energy boost if you have a busy day ahead. I believe kiwi fruit is a useful alternative.

I normally can't do coffee in these situations, so nibbling on an espresso ginger cookie is good. Ginger in any form settles the stomach and relieves nausea. I would imagine it best to chew on fresh ginger. This, however, isn't very pleasant so grate a piece into hot water and drink it. You could also add a bit of ginger to your favourite freshly-squeezed morning fruit/vegetable drink. It's so simple really!

I have, over the years, given out my tomato-soup recipe which is a firm favourite of mine. It immediately springs to mind after a night on the town... Filled with untold goodness it promises to help you feel healthier. I know one should avoid a Bloody Mary and rather drink the virgin option. This is not only to avoid the alcohol but what example would you be setting if you added a splash of vodka to the start of your day! Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body; the salt in the tomato helps retain water; and the high levels of vitamin C give the liver a boost. Feel-good spoonfuls of tomato soup are a must.

We all know Croque-Monsieur but when last did you make or have one? This French, gourmet toasted sandwich comprising gammon ham, cheese sauce, grilled Parmesan and loads of butter is ideal if your stomach can cope.

Nothing shouts 'wild-night-out remedy' like a bowl of mom's chicken soup. It might not be the most conventional hangover food but it works. By adding a cup of noodles you will restore your body's sodium and water levels. Chicken, and some vegetables, contain cysteine which gives the liver a much-needed pick up. Chicken soup simply prepared is best. Start with a home-made flavoursome stock and you are A for Away.

Mince, umami or any savoury flavours are what I crave; and more so at times like these. Serve this with a fried egg. A fry up is somewhat controversial regarding whether it works or not. Eggs are rich in protein which helps raise mood-boosting serotonin levels. This, in turn, helps reduce nausea and amino acid helps fight alcohol-induced toxins. I suggest including freshly-picked, blanched asparagus to your fried egg and mince. Eating asparagus before drinking - and even after - helps prevent a hangover because it boosts the levels of key enzymes that break down alcohol.

With all the upcoming end-of-year functions, I suggest you make use of these suggestions. Here’s to happy times with family and friends. Eat clever and enjoy the morning after.

Please take these recipes and try them.

Recipes

Banana Smoothie
Espresso Ginger Cookies
Tomato Soup
Croque-Monsieur
Chicken Noodle Soup
Savoury Mince

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  

and visit my website, 

www.jackiecameron.co.za

. Assisted by Travis Finch for recipe development and food styling.

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

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com
www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

 

Brookdale Health Hydro - A World Class Experience

I am reluctant to admit that it’s only recently that I made a long-overdue visit to Brookdale Health Hydro. It was a birthday gift for my mother’s - and she really deserved to join the many people who, since 1992, have been escaping from daily pressures and revitalising body, mind and soul at this KwaZulu-Natal haven - a tranquil sanctuary that promotes holistic recuperation.
 Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Brookdale is not a spa but a 'real' hydro; having never stayed at a hydro, I learnt this very quickly - and imagine my shock and horror when I was told that even if it was a birthday celebration there was no chance of popping a bottle of bubbly - not even a gin and tonic on a Sunday afternoon! Instead we were served a cup of ginger, cinnamon and lemon infusion. If you read between the lines you’ll detect a distinct lack of enthusiasm! While sipping on our tea my mom and I reminisced on previous indulgent birthday celebrations and we, with trepidation, wondered what we'd got ourselves into.

That evening we were briefed about the day's activities and it was only then that I realised some people stayed for the three days while others opted for the six-night rejuvenating package. At that stage I was pretty relieved that we had only booked for three days because I was already wondering how I was going to manage three full coffee-free days. I started conjuring up great plans to smuggle coffee into Brookdale. It was clearly evident who the regular guests were; they were already in their robes and comfy slippers - unlike us who were still in our party frocks!

Spa treatments, yoga, pilates, sundecks, indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, juice bar, outdoor pool, labyrinth, fully-equipped gym, private mosaic steam room and hydrotherapy baths... we were spoilt for choice. I was fast getting into this. There was a lot I hadn't tried before and my mother is always game for anything so I thought I'd better keep up with her over the next few days.

The advent of dinner saw my anxiety re-arise. What was I going to have to eat? Then I remembered my Heavenly & Healthy Foods - Brookdale's 21 Days to a Healthy Lifestyle. It's a cookbook on my bookshelf at home. The recipes and the pictures looked scrumptiously healthy and I was now keen to experience a hydro meal plan - to see whether the lettuce-leaves and carrot-sticks perception held true. Well, from my first mouthful - the most delicious, thick, farmhouse, vegetable soup - to the last breakfast, every mouthful was filled with love. Juliet Stephenson and her team are a remarkable force. Many of our top restaurants lack the quality of professionalism that you can expect at Brookdale, where you’ll find an authentic concern for everyone's wellbeing. Each meal is a  tasty explosion, yet they scream health as do the well-balanced, inspiring afternoon snacks. I loved the fresh, crispy Granny Smith apples with peanut butter - not a carrot stick or lettuce leaf in sight; only freshly-picked herbs, the freshest of fresh vegetables and top-quality, free-range KwaZulu-Natal Midlands meats. My eating patterns are true to most chefs and I realised I needed to re-look my diet. My mom and I were overwhelmed with the abundance of food. Lunch was the main meal of the day; dinner was light and I appreciated getting up from the dining room table knowing that I had eaten only 'good, fresh and healthy'. Our specific daily starch, vegetable and meat requirements had been analysed and balanced. This took dining to a completely different level.

All activities were geared to wellness and lifestyle management through diet, exercise and stress relief. The staff exceeded our expectations,

Gemma Dawn, in particular, stood out as not only someone I know from the area but as a person who was eager to share her knowledge. She conducted our aqua aerobics classes. I wish Gemma, the indoor pool and I were in closer proximity so I could do this daily. Fifteen minutes in the pool is equivalent to a 45-minutes workout on land. Now that's time management!

So impressed with the food was I that I asked Juliet's permission to showcase a few of her recipes in this column. These are just a taster to whet your appetite for a Brookdale visit where you’ll learn to cook with interesting textures and in-season ingredients. Your family won’t even question your new health kick because your meals will taste so good.

Brookdale's team supplied all the photos and some of their recipes include:

Whole-wheat scones served with avocado, pumpkin seed pesto and smoked salmon.

Baked oats with cinnamon crusted apples. I add cinnamon to as much as possible; it got me through three days of no coffee! I loved the crusted-apples suggestion. I may use it for a light-dessert option - a new take on apple crumble.

Wheat-free mixed berry, almond and polenta cake specifically for those who are gluten intolerant but ideal for all palates. I like it served in a new-age, stylish tin cup.

Ostrich moussaka stack with a lemon-herb yoghurt drizzle. Ostrich is lean and easy to digest. It is fast becoming available in our local groceries stores. I could eat yoghurt breakfast, lunch and dinner so I like the fact that it is used in many of the recipes - so much better than a lemon-butter sauce.

Roasted-vegetable cottage pie with sweet-potato mash is an interesting twist to this age-old dish. I like to add chickpeas too.

Lasagne - think vegetable and bean which can be made with corn or rice pasta for those who are gluten intolerant. I'm going through a bean phase and returned from my recent American trip with a variety of packets for my sous chef, Elaine Boshoff, and me to work with.

Recipes

Asparagus & Strawberry Salad
Baked Oats with Cinnamon Crusted Apples
Beetroot with Fresh Orange Segments & Mint
Mixed Berry & Almond Polenta Cake
Ostrich Moussaka Stack
Roasted Vegetable Cottage Pie
Vegetable & Bean Lasagne
Whole Wheat Scones

The three days went by so fast... I could hardly remember my initial apprehension and was sad to be leaving. I don't remember ever being so well rested. The treatments were the cherry on the top - they induced complete relaxation, with the therapists really listening to my personal needs. Brookdale placed me on a level which I would never have reached on my own. It's not a luxury; it's a necessity and I shall certainly return. There's no better way to kick start a healthy living plan than to spend a few days at Brookdale.

On the way home my mother bought a box of green tea; if she could do without coffee for three days she was going to kick her old bad habit. I drink mostly tea these days and have been pretty good when it comes to my eating habits - in fact I have impressed myself! Thanks

Tony and Wendy Somers-Cox as well as their team for a world-class experience. I will be back - six nights for sure and who cares about coffee, bubbles and all those terrible temptations when you can leave a place feeling rejuvenated, healthy, slimmer and ready to take on the world. The Brookdale bite has bitten.

www.brookdale.co.za

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 and visit my website, www.jackiecameron.co.za.

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