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Simply Delicious Home Cooking

"Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Writing 'Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home' has taken me on an emotional and educational journey of discovery that started with a big bang and, once again, proved to me how important it is to 'show up'.

To précis a very long story... I had a really bad motor-car accident in 2010 and was told I needed to spend four days in hospital. I begged and pleaded with the doctor because I had committed myself to a function that afternoon which meant I could spare only four hours! The event was at The Pavilion, a shopping centre in Westville, Durban, and it was the launch of Justin Bonello's recipe book:'COOKED, Out Of The Frying Pan'. I truly looked terribly beaten up and Justin's greeting was, "Jackie, you could have just cancelled". My philosophical reply went something like this: "It's important to always show up". I think when the publisher of Justin's book saw me she knew, in a crazy sort of way, that I had something to offer the publishing house. Two years later all the conversations have been had and now 'Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home' is on the shelves.

So, a massive thank you goes to the Penguin publishing team for allowing me this platform. The supportive Hartford House management team has understood my need to explore, challenge myself and meet my long list of goals. My sous-chef, Elaine Boshoff, took a huge workload off me - without her I would never have managed. Robynne Balcombe played an intricate part in this cookbook coming together. She tirelessly cooked up every single recipe of mine - more than once - and helped me style each photograph. Olivia Schaffer has cast her journalistic eye over every culinary word I have ever written. She offers guidance, makes sense of my industry terms and sometimes has to tone down my foodie enthusiasm. Photographer Sally Chance and I have worked together for many years. We have mutual respect and understanding and always have a happy time together. I love the pictures she takes because they reflect our joy.

And this little team reflects 'girl power'!

Here I shall share three recipes from my cookbook - a little peep into what I prepare for myself at home. One day I'll compile a coffee-table cookbook of my signatures recipes but, for now, I want to share a decade of my tried-and-tested dishes in a user-friendly way.

When I crave savoury muffins I want loads of cheese, corn, biltong, and tomatoes. All those delicious ingredients ensure one mean muffin. Try it, you'll see!

I lost count when it came to debates in our household over what ingredients made the best macaroni and cheese. To enhance the dish my mother always added extra 'goodies', whereas my maternal grandmother preferred to keep things simple. 'Mothers always make it best', I would hear my dad mumble to us girls as we tried to rev up our mother. My hope is that this book inspires readers to take the time to make a proper white/cheese/mornay sauce. With a little extra care a simple dish can be made simply delicious!

Apple crumble with freshly-poached, in-season apples, raisins, loads of cinnamon and a dollop of fresh cream definitely warms my heart. It's without doubt one of my favourite home-cooked puddings.

I am already considering my next book because there are so many recipes to share. Top of the list right now are:

  • Pissaladière, a pastry base - we use homemade puff - topped with well-caramelised onions, tomatoes, anchovies and olives. It's a perfect light-lunch option when served with a green salad, and it takes me back to my French-classical training days. These roots, with happy childhood memories, are the corner stone of what I create today.
  • Citrus butternut cake combines sweet and savoury. It's a delicious little cake and, served with homemade vanilla-bean ice cream, it becomes an irresistible treat.
  • Oozing chocolate tart is, undeniably, the most delicious chocolate tart I have ever eaten - keep space for it. Seriously, you have got to be a true chocoholic to appreciate a slice of this indulgence.Please take these recipes and try them!

Please take these recipes and try them.

home cooking

Savoury Muffins
Chef's Macaroni and Cheese
Mom's Apple Crumble
Butternut Cakes with Citrus Syrup
Chocolate Nemisis Tart

I urge you to go out and buy 'Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home'. It's an unbelievable deal for only R250 at any well-known bookstore, or online.

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
+27 33 263 2713

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429

Jackie Cameron goes Biblical

Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home


Mick Goss Summerhill Group CEO

Mick Goss Summerhill Group CEO

Listen, I'm no gourmet critic, but I know good food and good wine. I earned my stripes in the viticulture world as a first year at Stellenbosch, and like horses and books, it's occupied my curiosity ever since.

I've always said you want to steer clear of creative women if you don't have deep pockets, because they're always looking for new things to do. But in my wife Cheryl, I think I got lucky. Firstly, I always ranked her in the "Top Ten" in the land, and while like me she's getting on now, I'd still rate her in the top ten in Mooi River! Besides, those who know her and know Summerhill and Hartford, will tell you she's extraordinarily gifted. In the creative sense, I mean.

Eleven years ago, she recreated Lynton Hall, and within a year of its opening, it made Conde Nast's Top 50 "Hot Hotels" of the world. Within three years, the man she sent from Hartford to head up the Lynton kitchen, Richard Carstens, had earned Eat Out's title as South Africa's leading chef.

The girl (literally) she recruited into Richard's place at Hartford House, was a nineteen-year-old stripling from St John's DSG in Pietermaritzburg. In ten years, Jackie Cameron has rocketed up the culinary ranks, taking just about every trophy there is to be taken. At 25, she became the youngest chef ever to make the Eat Out national "Top Ten", and these days, she's the pin-up girl in most worthwhile gourmet magazines.

It helps, of course, to be glamorous - she's the kind of blue-eyed blonde we all used to swoon over as youngsters, but glamour isn't part of the Cameron beat. Her feet are well and truly riveted to the soil that yields her vegetables, and she's about the best adjusted thirty-year old I know. What she is though, is obsessed, not only about cooking, but about work. If you're not of a matching passion as an aspiring chef, the Hartford kitchen's not for you.

That she's now one of cooking's most recognisable faces is a tribute to these things, and naturally, to an inborn talent of abiding proportions, nurtured by a doting grandmother from the time she first sat on a potty. Jackie Cameron has come an awful long way, to the point that Penguin Books finally managed to persuade her to put pen to paper in her first about-to-be-published "Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home".

This is the girl we know, the jeans-and-takkies type, sharing the secrets of her upbringing with a worshipping public who've been following her newspaper articles and the columns of this website, for years. I don't pretend to know how she ranks among the most-visited scribes on the internet, but I'm willing to bet the Alexa ratings will have her in the top five.

Besides being one of the continent's best chefs, she's as good a teacher. And she's doing what all good South Africans should be doing. Ten years ago, she recruited a handful of young "casuals" out of the Summerhill stables, and she taught them to wash dishes. And then to wash "veggies", to bake bread, and finally, to cook. Four years ago, one of these Zulu ladies, with just a Grade 7 education, represented South Africa at an international cooking expo in Zurich. Another followed a year later in Prague, while yet another cooked for the country in Shanghai last August; while a third generation member of the farm staff, made the January page of Unilever's "Twelve Inspiring Chefs". Inspiring, isn't it? It gets you up in the mornings.

"Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home" is not about the recipes that've made her famous, nor the cooking that has "foodies" from around the globe making the Hartford pilgrimage. It's about the path she's walked thus far; the tastes, the scents and the scenery that've shaped her life, and the people that've made her the woman she's become. For the home-cooker or the desperate housewife, it's the "must have" Bible of the modern culinary era.

Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za for more information.