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: Fishing


Mussel Potjie Pot / Jackie Cameron (p)

Mussel Potjie Pot / Jackie Cameron (p)

"The South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

As the years go by I become more and more conscious about our world and what is - and isn't - going to be available to us within a few years. How sad to think of never being able to eat another piece of perfectly-seared and cooked kingklip.

Unsustainable fishing worldwide has driven some fish populations to their lowest levels. This is no different in South Africa where many well-known line-fish species have been severely depleted. The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi) aims to inform the public so each one of us can help, and determine, the health and productivity of our oceans in the future. An understanding helps us make a conscious decision about the seafood we select. With more and more people eating fish/seafood because it is considered a healthy alternative to meat, we need to start making wise choices.

With Sassi's help we can all be 'aware' lovers of seafood. Visit www.wwfsassi.co.za for details, or text the name of the fish you're planning to eat to FishMS at 079 499 8795. You will immediately receive a message stating whether you can tuck in, think twice or avoid completely. Try it - it works and it is amazing how good the fish tastes when you know you're working toward a sustainable environment!

To explain in more detail Sassi has an easy-to-follow listing as follows:

  • Green - most sustainable choice - South African sardines, calamari, dorado, mussels, oysters, West Coast rock lobster.
  • Orange - reason for concern - kingklip, prawns, tuna (local long line) and yellow tail.
  • Red - illegal to buy/sell - cob, tuna (imported long line) and black mussel cracker.

Always ask a supplier / restaurant where the seafood comes from, how it was caught and what species it is.

It concerns me when fisheries aren't selective and incidental mortality occurs. This happens when non-targeted species such as sharks, dolphins and seals are 'trapped' in the catch - and when albatrosses are caught on long lines.

Look out for the MSC eco-label which is on certain fish products in our grocery stores. This is a sustainable fishery operation that is completely traceable, and if eating at home I recommend only eating these items.

Read the above, try the recipes below, go onto the website, find out more and make your decisions.

We can all make a difference.

Tuna Fish


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.


Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)

Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)


We’ve had a great time of it in recent weeks at Hartford, and we’re always flattered by the visits of people who travel thousands of miles to see us. Not only do they add to the tapestry of our life experiences, but they’re the reason we exist. You see, to serve is a matter of dignity for those of us who live here, and through their visits, our guests provide us with the opportunity to express our pleasure at having them here.

Though Hartford has become a “must do it” for a good number of our self-respecting countrymen, most of our traffic at this time of the year comes from across the world, mainly the northern hemisphere.

At dinner last evening, in a dining room of twenty-odd, we were just four locals, with the rest from Ireland, France, England and the United States. And what a company they were. We felt we’d known them for years, and by the end of lunch in the stud office the following day, there was something of a “raucous caucus” at the boardroom table.

While he was with us, Paul Helmbold gave the lie to those who claimed in recent days that there were no fish in the Hartford lakes with a haul of five fish over 2.5 pounds, while his wife Rachel, gifted horsewoman that she is, couldn’t resist the temptation of teaching the Goss grandchildren the disciplines of good horsemanship.

Our lives are built on memories of these visits, and we hope, whenever our guests pass this way, they’ll feel they’ve done the same.

Fine Rainbow Trout fishing in Hartford's dams

Chris Helmbold displays his 54cm Rainbow Trout / Hartford House (p)

Chris Helmbold displays his 54cm Rainbow Trout / Hartford House (p)

Chris Helmbold was delighted with this fine 54cm rainbow trout which he caught in Hartford's Panjandrum Dam on the first cast with an egg pattern on a whiskey streamer dropper. This happened "on the evening rise when the fish were porpoising for snails in the sub-surface".

"I would guess the weight was around 2,72kg," says Chris. "She jumped seven times and fought ferociously for 15 minutes. After posing for the pic she was released to jump another day!"