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 Tag: Breakfast Recipes

WHAT COMES FIRST? THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

Deviled Eggs

'Deviled' or Stuffed Eggs
(Photo : Jackie Cameron)

"For me it's breakfast so I believe the egg precedes the chicken!"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

In the Hartford House kitchen, I impress upon all that an order should take as long as the eggs take to cook. A good few hours are spent preparing for this important meal and I believe an aspiring chef should spend his / her first month on the breakfast shift because it teaches precision, speed and the importance of maintaining a high standard. No one wants a badly fried egg first thing in the morning.

Slow-cooked, creamy, chive-flavoured scrambled egg is top of my breakfast list. This is best served with a smoked salmon rosette. A classically-poached soft egg with tart mustard velvety sauce and wilted baby spinach comes a close second.

Some believe that adding water, rather than cream, to an omelette mixture increases steam and results in a lighter omelette. Call me old fashioned but I believe there is no substitute for cream's richness. An omelette is defined as beaten egg cooked in a pan in a round shape which can be rolled or folded. Childhood memories include soufflé cheese omelettes prepared by my mother. We, however, serve a Japanese-styled omelette at Hartford House. Both preparations have their place. Fillings can include mature camembert and chunky cranberry sauce or hand-pressed basil pesto with sundried tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella cheese and hot thyme-seared cherry tomatoes.

Other fond recollections I have are making and eating 'toad in the hole', and boiled eggs with toasted dipping soldiers. I am amazed at how many people are unfamiliar with these dishes.

I refuse to accept orders such as a 'four-minute boiled egg' from the front-of-house team. I need to know how the guest wants the egg done and then we cook it accordingly. The size of the egg, its age, inner temperature, water temperature and altitude all play a part. The higher the altitude the slower the egg cooks; the reason being that water boils at lower temperatures the higher the altitude. In the kitchen we have a list of boiling times for our specific location, and the outcome for boiled-egg 'doneness'.

A French-toast sandwich, filled with carved gammon and finely sliced pecorino with a spicy tomato relish, is always impressive. It's a grand way to start a weekend.

And who could forget Devilled or stuffed eggs? These are regulars on a 'grown-up's' cocktail or snack menu. Dating back to ancient Roman recipes, Devilled describes a dark food, spicy and highly seasoned which is either chopped or ground and served hot or cold.

I tried a Parma ham and chive 'oeufs en cocotte' recently. It was baked in a ramekin and could be called baked or alternatively shirred eggs. Another idea is a one-dish, baked breakfast topped with whole eggs. As a refreshing change I suggest a perfectly-poached egg and crispy bacon in an individual toasted-bread basket.

Use these recipes to add a completely new dimension to your breakfast table.

Egg Basket

RE-INVENT YOUR CHRISTMAS LEFTOVERS

Leftover Cheese with extra Nuts, Dried and Fresh Fruit finished with Caramelised Sugar

Leftover Cheese with extra Nuts, Dried and Fresh Fruit finished with Caramelised Sugar

CHRISTMAS LEFTOVERS

In true festive-season spirit we serve all the traditional fare from honey-glazed gammon and succulent turkey to flambé Christmas pudding and hot brandy sauce. Our Christmas lunch table, as a matter of course, groans with abundance. Although my family is guilty of over catering, there is never any waste because what I enjoy most at this time of the year is the chance to be creative with leftovers. The more the merrier – to put a different slant on the phrase...

The kitchen door will hardly have closed on Christmas supper when it’s reopened for breakfast the following day. Vegetables from yesterday’s gourmet lunch can kick-start day two’s laid-back celebrations. I create an irresistible “bubble ’n squeak” corn fritter and serve it with scrambled egg to which I’ve added freshly-picked herbs. With smoked salmon rosette, cream cheese and the optional caviar, I add a final delicious touch. This, served with crispy, crunchy homemade bread drenched in butter, is scrumptious.

Lunch on the Day of Goodwill should be relaxed and stress-free. I could suggest recipes for pizza, pasta, risotto and quiche with all the leftover meat but, because my mom makes the very best glazed gammon, I choose to serve it on an elegant platter with a few mouth-watering salads. These include a creamy, spiced rice salad using the left-over rice. I wait 365 days for this treat! Its simplicity never ceases to impresses me.

Yesterday’s traditional eggnog – if you have leftovers, that is – can be frozen using the same method as you would when making ice cream. Serve this with fresh cherries and hot cherry sauce. You’ll never have made too much!

Christmas cake made into balls, drizzled with brandy and coated in crumbled shortbread and a dusting of icing sugar makes an unusual, morish treat.

One of my favourite flavour combinations is rich fruitcake with mature cheddar. The union of sweet and savoury tickles the taste buds while tantalising the appetite.

Most occasions call for a selection of cheeses and this, generally, results in many small portions of cheese leftovers.  Place the off-cuts neatly together and top with fresh or preserved fruit, nuts and hot caramelised sugar. This crispy, crunchy extravagance oozes splendid flavours.

I hope these unusual ideas help you re-invent your Christmas leftovers.

May the festive season be an indulgent, gourmet treat. Kiss your waistline goodbye – you have the whole of 2010 to get it back!

Happy cooking!

Take these recipes and try them.

santa hat

CHRISTMAS LEFTOVERS BREAKFAST
CHRISTMAS LEFTOVER LUNCH
CHRISTMAS LEFTOVERS DESSERT

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