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: Karen Edwards

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

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

Cooking with Craft Beer

Beer... Beer... Beer!

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Beer is constantly being reinvented and remains as fresh and as sparkling as it was some 6000 years ago when it was invented. It should be celebrated as a triumph of humankind over wild yeast and acknowledged as a cultural phenomenon as well as a great conversation companion - as good natured as most of its fans. Craft beers, known to most hip-hop-and-happening beer drinkers, even manage to tickle my champagne-loving taste buds and succeed in quenching a summer thirst. They may be a little more expensive but the proof of this pudding is in the tasting! Craft beer - crafted from natural ingredients such as malt, yeast and water, and brewed using traditional methods - is produced by small, independent brewers or artisans; hence the verb 'crafting' a beer. They are unpasteurised which means the flavour is full and rich. I hope all these interesting facts will encourage you to research and to appreciate all that goes into craft beers. I was inspired so chose to share some appropriate recipes with you. As with any food component, always use the best ingredients - in this case beer - that money can afford. This will make a difference to the final product.

'Can-Can' Chicken is simply delicious! My first trainee at Hartford House, Werner Wolff, taught me how to do it. After a few years he came back as my sous chef (for those who know my kitchen - yes I have had males cooking with me over the years even though I presently pride myself with having an all-female team). We were preparing for a braai demonstration and I was showcasing interesting and different ideas. I had never heard of 'Can-Can' Chicken so put this braai brilliance down to him having grown up in Bloemfontein. The crowd was amazed. These days, however, popularity has led to it being less uncommon. If you have never made this before I strongly recommend you do. The result is the most succulent beer-infused, crispy chicken that you could ever imagine.

On another braai note, why not marinate your meat, such as beef fillet, in beer? It brings out a caramelised sweetness which is decadently delicious.

Beef-stew pie, topped with homemade rough puff pastry, is perfect for these chilly evenings. It's my kind of home-cooked, winter meal, especially when paired with a glass of fine, red wine. Rough puff is simple to make compared with the traditionally-made puff pastry. Try it, you will be amazed. We always keep a few batches in our freezer so when needed we pop it into the fridge to defrost overnight. The freezing process does not spoil the quality; it gives you the opportunity to stock up when time allows and be ahead of the game when time isn't on your side.

We should all be serving beer bread in our homes. South Africa is a beer-drinking nation so this perfectly crusted; fine crumbed; slightly sweet bread, served with thick lashings of butter, compliments any meal time.

We have always caramelised onions in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, red and white wine - now, think beer! Why not? Try this recipe and serve with the next cheeseboard you present. It could also accompany your marinated, braaied beef fillet. The options are endless.

Beer ice cream is the piece de resistance - the ultimate cherry on the top. I have to admit to scepticism when I embarked on creating this recipe. The result, however, was so successful that I decided to serve it with my Peanut Butter Semi-freddo, a recipe in my book Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home; impressing your beer-drinking friends is guaranteed. When taking the photos for this article, photographer Karen Edwards suggested a beer float (I wish I could claim the idea). So a beer topped with beer ice cream and served as dessert evolved!

Allow your creativity to flow and remember no idea is bad - especially when it comes to food. Try it all, experimentation is always fun!

You'll find more recipes in my recently-launched book Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home. At R250 from any well-known bookstore, or online, it's a worthwhile buy. I look forward to receiving your comments.

Please take these recipes and try them.

Can-Can Chicken
Beer Marinated Beef
Beer Stew Pie
Beer Bread
Caramelised Beer Onions
Peanut Butter Semi-Freddo and Beer Ice-Cream

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 Elaine Boshoff for recipe development and food styling.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@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

 

'Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home' Launch Success

Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home

The launch of Hartford House Head Chef Jackie Cameron's new book, 'Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home', at our School Of Excellence function venue on Mother's Day was a fabulous success.

Here is a wonderfully light and fresh and fun video of the day shot by Midlands Photographer Karen Edwards of Karen E Photography.

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