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: Recipes

Padkos... Padkos... Padkos

With regular stop-over options on the highways does anyone pack padkos anymore?
— Jackie Cameron
Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron

I have happy memories of a trip that my sister, Sheldeen, and I did with our Uncle Alistair and Aunty Norah. Their son, our cousin Shaun, was competing in the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. We all - including his brother and sister Peter and Kim - were the support team. The day before, my dad took us to the shops so we could stock up on sweets for the trip and that evening I helped my aunt make meat balls, chicken wings and other convenient, delicious, travelling nibbles. These were happy times.

I feel like going on one of those road trips again. It's a long time since time allowed such frivolous, carefree adventures - yet they are so important. And the padkos would have to fit the occasion - nothing mundane. The usual combinations don't do it for me anymore so I have a few interesting options; nothing over the top.

When I think padkos for a road trip I want hearty, food that will heat me up from the inside out, and that will help me forget about the many kilometres ahead. A flask or two filled with a robust meat-flavoured, smooth, lentil soup works for me.

Instead of the normal rusk-with-coffee option, I suggest my grandmother's jam-drop biscuits. I remember these coming hot out of the oven and the jam still bubbling in the centre. They are deliciously decadent and so simple to make. They weren't Sheldeen's favourites so I always had two helpings!

As we all do, I have gone through stages in life. As a teenager I always wanted the chicken breast - I can even remember giving my dad the crispy skin. That wouldn't happen today! I then moved onto always having a chicken thigh and drumstick - this being the tastiest and juiciest part of the chicken. More recently I have been choosing the chicken wings. I no longer eat huge amounts at one time but rather many little meals throughout the day so I consider a chicken wing the perfect savoury, crispy snack - in fact it can be an indulgent light meal. So, in my cooler bag I'll have a container filled with crispy oat-coated chicken wings with a green-herb mayonnaise. This is just perfect for any trip.

Mince balls are a favourite snacks or finger foods so I thought I'd make it proudly South African - bobotie rolls with traditional fruit blatjang came up trumps. I don't eat enough bobotie at home the slight spiciness and sweetness combines so well with a fresh green salad. (Note to self:  Bobotie for dinner when next I’m off).

I enjoy any food that is slow cooked inside a paper packet - such exciting aromas burst out when the packet is opened. It's an exhilarating experience even before the tasting. Aromas that promise to help you forget you are sitting in a stuffy car include rosemary, mushrooms, roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes. This makes a healthy option to snack on.

Gooey and sticky make a tantalising treat so remember your wet wipes on this trip. My chocolate-dipped pumpkin seeds covered in loads of good-quality cocoa powder are irresistible; and they make an interesting sweet-and-savoury combination.

On your next journey, plan your packing time to allow you to cook up these recipes. Your family will feel a lot healthier - fit and ready to take on the holiday when arriving at your destination.  Once again, I suggest we cast our minds back to what our grandparents did - they knew a thing or two - and encourage family involvement, just as my aunt did.

Here's to happy foodie travels - hamba kahle.

RECIPES

Mince Bobotie Rolls with Homemade Chutney
Lentil Soup
Oats Coated Chicken Wings with Herb Mayonnaise
Veg In A Bag
Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Seeds
Jam-Drop Biscuits

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
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Food styling and recipe development by Elaine Boshoff.

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

The Boerewors Roll... a South African Institution

How does one explain a boerewors roll to foreigners? I tell them it’s a meaty, coarsely-textured, very-savoury, well-balanced, juicy kind-of sausage. Could you do better than that?
— Jackie Cameron
Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I remember on my first trip to Germany, the chefs who I was working with believed the Big 5 roamed freely in South Africa. Try getting the flavour, aroma and texture of boerewors - as well as the traditional braai philosophy - across to people who lack the fundamental knowledge of our country... Any facts regarding our customary foods took a long time to explain but the information was readily absorbed.

My grandfather owned A and D Butchery in Pietermaritzburg's Commercial Road (now Chief Albert Luthuli Street). Here they called boerewors Dutchman's Delight - DD. My cousin, Mark Berriman, emigrated to live in Australia and the first recipe he asked me for was our grandfather's boerewors. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to chat about food and, in particular, meat with my grandfather before he passed away. Peter Spiers, who owns Manor Butchery in Pietermaritzburg, and who worked with my grandfather, was prepared to share his recipe with me. I believe it is as close as possible to a formula for success.

Bread rolls can be bought but homemade is always so much better, if time allows. Hot and soft - fresh from the oven - and slightly sweet smelling is what I enjoy. My cravings are not limited to chicken livers; I also hanker after boerewors, tomatoes and hot peri-peri sauce. With the result a staff meal at Hartford often ends up being a wors roll. Thick lashings of butter, English mustard as well as tomato-and-onion chunky chutney - or a homemade onion relish - more-than meet my craving.

I'm often asked "with real butter?" as though it is a treat - something not commonly used. Remember butter is butter and the rest is margarine. I'm aware that butter is the more expensive option but, as the saying goes, trust the cow rather than the scientist. As children we often used to over-whisk cream so, on special occasions, my mother would buy double quantities - just in case. If you happen to over-whip your cream, continue the whisking process and it will end up as butter.

Try my fancy boerewors roll. Can/should a wors roll be fancy? Some foods are fit for kings and, I might add, queens! Does a boerie roll qualify? I'll leave you to answer as you celebrate our heritage with a boerewors roll in one hand and a beer in the other - even better if it's a craft beer created by Megan Gemmell of Pietermaritzburg... contact her at megan@clockworkbrewhouse.co.za. I grew up with Megan's brothers who I met through my friend Kelly Clarke; we were all around the same age. I always advocate supporting local artisan companies - knowing the brewer, in this case, makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

I suggest ending on a sweet note so a beer-and-peanut butter parfait with a thick, buttery tennis-biscuit base and hot caramelised bananas (heated, skin on, on the cooling coals) is my decadent choice for you!

RECIPES

Bread Rolls
Home-made Butter
Boerewors
Wholegrain Mustard
Chunky Tomato and Onion Relish
Peanut Butter and Beer Semi-Freddo

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
www.hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Food styling and recipe development by Elaine Boshoff.

Photography courtesy of :
Karen Edward's Photography
082 441 7429
karene@bundunet.com
www.karenephotographysa.com / www.midlandsphotographers.wordpress.com

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

Pastry Delights

Over time I have learnt the necessary techniques, and with many years of experience under my apron, I could never resort to ‘buying’ over ‘making’.
— Jackie Cameron
Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

As most people gather kilos over the festive season I'm inclined to shed weight. This is a busy time for chefs and, while keeping guests well fed, the last thing on our minds is feeding ourselves! Yes, we taste a lot but seldom sit down to a real meal.

So, as we moved into January, my craving was to make hearty food in my own kitchen that would ooze the aromas of pastry delights. If I remember correctly, my love of cooking stemmed from my desire to bake something sweet and pleasing that we, as a family, could enjoy.

Over time I have learnt the necessary techniques, and with many years of experience under my apron, I could never resort to 'buying' over 'making'.

Regardless of how many times I make puff pastry it's always thrilling to see the perfectly laminated layers of butter. Remember to bake this pastry between 200 - 220°C to ensure the oven is hot enough to crisp the pastry otherwise you'll have butter oozing out, spoiling all your hours of love and labour. It really is very easy if you follow this step-by-step recipe. Puff pastry is versatile for either sweet or savoury dishes. A perfectly-roasted beef Wellington wrapped with chicken-liver-flavoured mushroom duxelle and blanketed with hand-rolled puff is my idea of a hearty meal.

Brioche - this enriched bread is jam-packed with a sugary butter that adds a savoury but sweet flavour. It delivers an interesting fine, almost-aerated crumb and it freezes like a dream. If defrosted properly, your guests will think it has been newly baked! In a perfect world I would always have a loaf by my side!

Doughnuts... Wow, they bring on childhood flashbacks! We spent every holiday at our family beach cottage in Pennington Park. The local baker lived opposite us and before I was even awake my younger sister had walked to the bakery and had munched through her daily fix of a jam doughnut. In those days (oh dear I sound just like my parents!) it was safe for us to walk around, unaccompanied by an adult. The doughnuts were so memorable, and I have tried to create a recipe worthy of the man who thrilled our sweet teeth many years ago. The only person who'll be able to tell me whether I have succeeded is my dear sister who, I know, will willingly take up the challenge!

Genoise, used for making several different types of cakes, is a basic ingredient for many French patisseries. I, however, believe it was originated in Italy. If you have a good genoise recipe you will never get stuck. Think a flan base, in-season, fruity cream cake, drenched with liqueur; use in a trifle; or as 'lady finger' biscuits in a tiramisu. Use less flour and add cocoa for a chocolate genoise. It's so versatile and well worth memorising the ingredients.

Phyllo pastry... this is something I haven't made in years but I was recently inspired when a local resident brought me a few tastings of her homemade Greek specialities. If she could do it then so could I! Time is of the essence but the result is worth it. Sweet or savoury - phyllo pastry has a place in the kitchen.

When it came to profiteroles/éclairs we, as a family, were guilty of overindulgence. I clearly remember the excitement of going to functions when my aunt, Molly Cameron, was catering because at dessert time the tables, groaning with the weight, would be laden with these delightful treats! For my final exam at St John's School I made a perfect savoury profiterole/gougere (a bite-size variation on the long éclair) and I knew Aunt Molly would have been proud of me... many years of perfecting the art of eating them gave me insight into the making!

Here’s to stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, or perfecting a skill you have been considering for years - 2014 is the time for this. May it be kind to all of us...

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Puff Pastry
Brioche
Apricot Jam Filled Doughnuts
Genoise
Phyllo Pastry
Choux Pastry - Profiteroles

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

Recipes that 'Take the Cake'

This has been a jam-packed year for the Hartford House kitchen team; and as we discuss recipes for this month’s article we reminisce over what we have achieved and managed to tick off our list.
— Jackie Cameron
Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

We have decided to share a banquet of recipes that generated the most responses over the year. Our readers continue to overwhelm me and I thank you greatly for your continued support and encouragement. All your comments are greatly appreciated; and I have learnt so much from the questions you have asked - so thank you for indirectly feeding me, or pushing me, to explore more deeply into specific culinary topics.

Recipes that take the cake...

I have recently returned from a trip to Thailand (watch this space for the article and tantalising recipes) and the night before we travelled home we went to the Bangkok Chinese market. What a delicious feast! I thought it appropriate to highlight my Trout Spring Roll recipe for you to try during the festive season. It's different, quick and easy.

Little bite-size, sweet or Savoury Macaroons have become extremely popular. I have chosen a recipe for the orange-flavoured variety which is still my favourite. Try them - I'm confident you'll agree.

The number of comments I receive for baked items always delights me and this Quinoa Bread recipe, with an unusual twist, screams healthy and promises to delight. The oozing-chocolate tart was highlighted in an article showcasing my cookbook: Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home in which I mentioned that I was considering featuring this recipe in my next book. And yes, we have started talking about a follow-up cookbook but definitely no time soon. Please look out for the paperback copies of Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home that will be on the shelves in February 2014. This is another exciting development - and leaves me with the task of selling more books! And now to announce more exciting news... my book has just been awarded 'Best Woman Chef Book in South Africa' by Gourmand the world cookbook awards. My gratitude goes out to the team that helped with the book - the team that makes me look good.

And speaking of teams... the Almond and Peach Tart recipe was developed for Olivia Schaffer, one of the most special people in my life. She has directed and mentored me in all my written work, making sense of my non-journalistic words and phrases. I often wish I had more hours in my days so I could sip copious cups of tea with family and friends over one-too-many slices of this tart.

With festive-season celebrations in the air, it probably makes sense to round off the year with the best hangover cure: Croque Monsieur. Enjoy every oozing, cheesey mouthful.

Please take these recipes and try them :

RECIPES

Trout Spring Roll and Sweet Chilli Sauce
Orange Macaroons
Quinoa Bread
Chocolate Nemesis Tart
Peach and Almond Pie
Croque-Monsieur

Every year I tell the team not to worry; 'next year will be calmer', I say. It never is! However, who wants calm? Make every hour of your days count...

Here is to a fantastically productive 2014 with many exciting projects. Happy cooking, eating and celebrating.

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

Brookdale Health Hydro - A World Class Experience

I am reluctant to admit that it’s only recently that I made a long-overdue visit to Brookdale Health Hydro. It was a birthday gift for my mother’s - and she really deserved to join the many people who, since 1992, have been escaping from daily pressures and revitalising body, mind and soul at this KwaZulu-Natal haven - a tranquil sanctuary that promotes holistic recuperation.
Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Brookdale is not a spa but a 'real' hydro; having never stayed at a hydro, I learnt this very quickly - and imagine my shock and horror when I was told that even if it was a birthday celebration there was no chance of popping a bottle of bubbly - not even a gin and tonic on a Sunday afternoon! Instead we were served a cup of ginger, cinnamon and lemon infusion. If you read between the lines you’ll detect a distinct lack of enthusiasm! While sipping on our tea my mom and I reminisced on previous indulgent birthday celebrations and we, with trepidation, wondered what we'd got ourselves into.

That evening we were briefed about the day's activities and it was only then that I realised some people stayed for the three days while others opted for the six-night rejuvenating package. At that stage I was pretty relieved that we had only booked for three days because I was already wondering how I was going to manage three full coffee-free days. I started conjuring up great plans to smuggle coffee into Brookdale. It was clearly evident who the regular guests were; they were already in their robes and comfy slippers - unlike us who were still in our party frocks!

Spa treatments, yoga, pilates, sundecks, indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, juice bar, outdoor pool, labyrinth, fully-equipped gym, private mosaic steam room and hydrotherapy baths... we were spoilt for choice. I was fast getting into this. There was a lot I hadn't tried before and my mother is always game for anything so I thought I'd better keep up with her over the next few days.

The advent of dinner saw my anxiety re-arise. What was I going to have to eat? Then I remembered my Heavenly & Healthy Foods - Brookdale's 21 Days to a Healthy Lifestyle. It's a cookbook on my bookshelf at home. The recipes and the pictures looked scrumptiously healthy and I was now keen to experience a hydro meal plan - to see whether the lettuce-leaves and carrot-sticks perception held true. Well, from my first mouthful - the most delicious, thick, farmhouse, vegetable soup - to the last breakfast, every mouthful was filled with love. Juliet Stephenson and her team are a remarkable force. Many of our top restaurants lack the quality of professionalism that you can expect at Brookdale, where you’ll find an authentic concern for everyone's wellbeing. Each meal is a  tasty explosion, yet they scream health as do the well-balanced, inspiring afternoon snacks. I loved the fresh, crispy Granny Smith apples with peanut butter - not a carrot stick or lettuce leaf in sight; only freshly-picked herbs, the freshest of fresh vegetables and top-quality, free-range KwaZulu-Natal Midlands meats. My eating patterns are true to most chefs and I realised I needed to re-look my diet. My mom and I were overwhelmed with the abundance of food. Lunch was the main meal of the day; dinner was light and I appreciated getting up from the dining room table knowing that I had eaten only 'good, fresh and healthy'. Our specific daily starch, vegetable and meat requirements had been analysed and balanced. This took dining to a completely different level.

All activities were geared to wellness and lifestyle management through diet, exercise and stress relief. The staff exceeded our expectations,

Gemma Dawn, in particular, stood out as not only someone I know from the area but as a person who was eager to share her knowledge. She conducted our aqua aerobics classes. I wish Gemma, the indoor pool and I were in closer proximity so I could do this daily. Fifteen minutes in the pool is equivalent to a 45-minutes workout on land. Now that's time management!

So impressed with the food was I that I asked Juliet's permission to showcase a few of her recipes in this column. These are just a taster to whet your appetite for a Brookdale visit where you’ll learn to cook with interesting textures and in-season ingredients. Your family won’t even question your new health kick because your meals will taste so good.

Brookdale's team supplied all the photos and some of their recipes include:

Whole-wheat scones served with avocado, pumpkin seed pesto and smoked salmon.

Baked oats with cinnamon crusted apples. I add cinnamon to as much as possible; it got me through three days of no coffee! I loved the crusted-apples suggestion. I may use it for a light-dessert option - a new take on apple crumble.

Wheat-free mixed berry, almond and polenta cake specifically for those who are gluten intolerant but ideal for all palates. I like it served in a new-age, stylish tin cup.

Ostrich moussaka stack with a lemon-herb yoghurt drizzle. Ostrich is lean and easy to digest. It is fast becoming available in our local groceries stores. I could eat yoghurt breakfast, lunch and dinner so I like the fact that it is used in many of the recipes - so much better than a lemon-butter sauce.

Roasted-vegetable cottage pie with sweet-potato mash is an interesting twist to this age-old dish. I like to add chickpeas too.

Lasagne - think vegetable and bean which can be made with corn or rice pasta for those who are gluten intolerant. I'm going through a bean phase and returned from my recent American trip with a variety of packets for my sous chef, Elaine Boshoff, and me to work with.

Recipes

Asparagus & Strawberry Salad
Baked Oats with Cinnamon Crusted Apples
Beetroot with Fresh Orange Segments & Mint
Mixed Berry & Almond Polenta Cake
Ostrich Moussaka Stack
Roasted Vegetable Cottage Pie
Vegetable & Bean Lasagne
Whole Wheat Scones

The three days went by so fast... I could hardly remember my initial apprehension and was sad to be leaving. I don't remember ever being so well rested. The treatments were the cherry on the top - they induced complete relaxation, with the therapists really listening to my personal needs. Brookdale placed me on a level which I would never have reached on my own. It's not a luxury; it's a necessity and I shall certainly return. There's no better way to kick start a healthy living plan than to spend a few days at Brookdale.

On the way home my mother bought a box of green tea; if she could do without coffee for three days she was going to kick her old bad habit. I drink mostly tea these days and have been pretty good when it comes to my eating habits - in fact I have impressed myself! Thanks

Tony and Wendy Somers-Cox as well as their team for a world-class experience. I will be back - six nights for sure and who cares about coffee, bubbles and all those terrible temptations when you can leave a place feeling rejuvenated, healthy, slimmer and ready to take on the world. The Brookdale bite has bitten.

www.brookdale.co.za

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
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

 

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