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: Jackie Cameron Recipes


chocolate fondant

Chocolate Fondant
(Photo : Sally Chance)

"...a World Class Experience"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

My 10th year in the industry means it's my 10th Christmas away from home. Making a festive-season impression is a family tradition and this custom came with me when I started at Hartford House. This means Christmas lunch guests at the hotel can expect a lavish affair with many scrumptious tastings. The menu's first draft is complete and now the trials begin so we can confirm the finer details of each course. This involves tastings and kitchen discussions. We all know there are busy days ahead.

Contrary to my family's preference I've planned a fine-dining braai and salads. They will be joining the celebrations at Hartford House so the pressure is on! I believe in the old adage "when in Rome…" so I'm encouraging you to do the South African thing! But you have to be innovative and present unusual and exciting dishes.

I'd like to share a few of the recipes on the Hartford House Christmas tasting menu - a sneak preview of the 12 or so courses, you may say. One of the first dishes will be a garden-fresh pea soup with a bright green-pea puree, gammon "brawn", Bacon-infused panna cotta and a creamy crème fraiche. A delicious hint of Christmas! This dish may be a bit "over kill" for those of you at home but any of the options with the soup will work well.

Duck is a favourite of mine so I've planned a crispy duck confit with hummus, sultanas and local honey mead, the drink of the gods. Duck thighs cooked in their own juice for three hours are delicious. I prefer doing this on the stove rather than in the oven. It gives me full control and I like to witness the changes as they take place. Serving this with hummus (a crushed chickpea puree) takes the richness from the dish and adds a pleasing creaminess. The sultanas and the honey mead add a sweetness that balances the duck flavour.

A recent trip to Spain inspired the next dish, and is the basis of my Christmas menu. I had the most luscious beef tartar and foie gras "tapas" burger, served with a mouthwatering fresh truffle mayonnaise. So my take on this is : hay-roasted Midland's beef fillet with truffle oil aioli and beef tartar toasty. Home-grown beef from the Summerhill farm coupled with the award-winning Hartford restaurant promise a world-class experience.

The cheese course comprising camembert with fresh asparagus, rocket and pear delivers a savoury light freshness with a slight sweetness. This prepares the palate – and the mind – for dessert, which is still many days of preparation away but it will include toasted marshmallows, chocolate fondants (oozing decadent Belgium chocolate) and lots of fresh summer fruits and berries.

Cheers to your Christmas celebrations. May they be the success we at Hartford House are working towards.

Take these recipes and try them.

christmas angel


summer salad


Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Summer in South Africa is hot! It renders my kitchen as steamy as any sauna; even with an industrial extractor fan working overtime. The team and I survive on large jugs of iced water with lots of fresh lemon and mint. The current heat wave inspires me to create light, summer dishes that can be served with a large, crisp, freshly-picked mixed salad of your choice.

I always “shotgun” the cleaning, deboning and portioning of fresh Norwegian salmon because there are always a few slivers that go begging. Nothing is more tantalising than this salmon drizzled with Kikkoman soya sauce. The combination will be remembered for its freshness and sheer simplicity. For the ideal light lunch I suggest preparing a few slices of fresh salmon, or any fresh fish of your choice, cured with soya sauce. Serve this with red onions, freshly-picked fennel, croutons and homemade mayonnaise. This satisfies the appetite leaving you feeling fulfilled not gorged.

Another favourite is what I call a beef salsa. Guests often refer to it as a ceviche because it’s citrus marinated. However, it’s actually a tartar as it’s finely-chopped, raw beef fillet. Some guests are apprehensive when hearing the word “tartar”. Fear not; this is a taste explosion! Crunchy, finely-sliced snap peas add texture and all the flavours are enhanced with a creamy homemade aioli. Every mouthful embraces a harmony of ginger, chilli, garlic, sesame seeds and snipped chives.  

Roasted vegetables are delicious. My particular preference is to roast Mediterranean veggies. Think courgettes (zucchini / baby marrow), aubergines (brinjals / eggplant), sundried tomatoes, olives and mushrooms. I include butternut and lots of rosemary to add a South Africa flavour. Place these vegetables on a crusty whole-wheat croute layered with gorgonzola, white caramelised onions, and finally a coriander crème. This offers a scrumptious savoury kick of note!

Every household should have a roll of phyllo pastry in the freezer at all times. Phyllo is so very versatile. It lends itself to sweet (apple strudel and baklava) and savoury (meat and /or vegetable fillings in the form of pies). In this instance, I suggest individual Parma ham, broccoli and country mushroom filled phyllo tulips. This “new-age” quiche looks great and tastes even better!

Here is to hot summer days and mouth-watering cuisine.

Take these recipes and try them.

south africa sun