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: South African Recipes

FABULOUS FAVOURITE HOME-COOKED MEALS

Beef Lasagne / Jackie Cameron (p)

Beef Lasagne / Jackie Cameron (p)

"While transactions build turnovers, relationships build value."

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

I have been blessed with some extremely special staff over the years at Hartford House. I consider myself very lucky. Pressure of work is a great tester, and while transactions build turnovers, relationships build value. If you can stand together in adversity, you can manage anything, and cooking together is the pressure tester for character building. My kitchen team is my second family and with any family, when one is in need, everyone jumps in to help out. My kitchen team was involved in the first "Taste of Durban", at Suncoast Casino, and we were attempting to run Hartford at the same time. Desperation is the mother of most inventions with me, and here was an SOS for help from past staff members. Hence, I thought we should get them to share their favourite home-cooked meal for you to taste this month.

Kezia Duke was my Sous Chef at Hartford, second in charge, for over two years, a true perfectionist. One just has to look at her handwriting to know exactly what she is about. Last weekend we celebrated her hen's/kitchen tea, and can you believe, after working with me that long, she still wants me to be her maid-of-honour! I do feel honoured. She sent through a recipe for a quick-and-easy bacon and courgette crustless savoury tart; wonderful for its simplicity. Use any of your favourite ingredients to make it your own.

Paula Mackenzie, where do I begin? She started at Hartford as a trainee from "ICA", a cooking school in Stellenbosch. Her roles changed significantly as the years went by, with short intervals elsewhere: from trainee, to pastry chef, to sous chef to manager, and eventually, to General Manager at the tender age of 24. Her passion for all-things hotel, not only the food side but the magnificent Hartford gardens and the award-winning wine list, convinced her to hang up her chef's jacket and step over, as us chefs say, "to the dark side." Milk Tart is as South African as Nelson Mandela, and it is appropriate that Paula submitted a recipe for this national favourite, because she too, is proudly South African and I believe her forté is pastry.

Robynne Balcomb, whom I refer to as "my little one," is a past trainee whose arm I have been trying to twist to leave her new-found passion for teaching children and to join us permanently. Her roots are still very foodie, she's an absolute "natural", and she jumps at any opportunity to help out. She recently assisted me in compiling my recipe book "Jackie Cameron at Home," which Penguin Publishers will have on the book shelves early next year. I couldn't have managed without her with all the food preparations for the photo-shoots, and her wonderfully creative food styling, critical to meeting our deadlines. More recently she was my "chef-model" for the launch of my 'all-female chef range' shoot. She sent through two recipes, which I can't wait to try. The cracker biscuits with her "Mum's chicken and broccoli bake" is wonderfully savoury and her coconut and yoghurt fridge tart of condensed and coconut milks, sounds like a hit in the Cameron household.

My right-hand lady, Elaine Boshoff, present Sous chef at Hartford, made the "Taste of Durban" exhibition possible for us, as she held the fort, immaculately, as she always does, while I was trekking between Durban and Mooi River. While running Hartford's kitchen, she was prepping up stock levels and doing my daily demonstration preparations for the show. Our favourite staff or home-cooked meal is our ultra-rich lasagne, an irresistible Elaine speciality.

Here we were, a gathering of my past assistants, aged from 21-30, all in retirement as none of them are cooking professionally these days, and we had a "ripper" of a time; I just hope I can rope them in again next year. The cherry on the top was the visit of Deena Naidoo, Masterchef South Africa, and his wife Kathy, who made the special effort to come and visit us and meet my team. A superb weekend, don't miss it next year; it's one of those not-to-miss dates in the "foodie" calendar, and is bound to grow from strength-to-strength. As cherished a weekend as I can remember in my culinary adventures, time spent with lovely people, doing what we love most. The recipes they have shared with us will bring you the essence of their personalities.

Take these recipes and try them.

chef hat

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

SUNDAY TIMES FOOD AWARDS 2010

vanilla bean panna cotta

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
(Photo : Hartford House)

"When a chef labels a dish panna cotta... it must be so..."

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

My job morphs into many different forms depending on the day and what is required of me.

A few weeks ago I was invited to help judge the Sunday Times Food Awards 2010, hosted in association with Foodcorp. Our task was to look for the hottest talent in our South African kitchens. Written entries were reviewed and a short-list of six contestants competed at the South African Chef's Association kitchen in Joburg. A first-class experience!

The requirement was that all meals were to express an African feel. A lack of imagination was evident – and we were completely Amarula"ed" out by the end of pre-judging with Amarula Crème Brule, Amarula Parfaits, Amarula Chocolate Mousse and Amarula Crème Anglaise. We were grateful Amurula did not feature as one of the compulsory ingredients in the final cook-off! The contestants were required to make interesting dishes from ingredients such as guavas, rhubarb, white peaches, fennel, strawberries, pigeon, springbok loin and lamb kidneys.

Terminology and an understanding of foodie words excite me so chef/judge table discussions around topical flavours and recipes were stimulating. Call me a purist – and I'll agree! When a chef labels a dish panna cotta it must be so - cooked in the traditional way in accordance to its name or custom. Panna cotta is the Italian word for boiled cream hence the method should reflect this.

A satisfactory sign for the competitors must have been witnessing the amount of food we judges ate over the two-day period. It was enlightening being in close proximity to the competitors and judging the unusual combinations they created in the tight conditions. Their standard of work was highly impressive. Entrants in all the categories (Sunday Times Chef of the Year, Sunday Times Young Chef of the Year, Sunday Times School Challenge and a new category: Sunday Times Stalwart of the Kitchen) had worked extremely hard to get to the final and each was as nervous and enthusiastic as the other. As a mark of respect I took my role as a judge very seriously. Their's was not an easy task and I take my hat (apron!) off to them.

I came home motivated to work with the ingredients used in the competition and to create my own methods. I'd like to share the following ideas :

Silky-smooth Amarula crème brule. Refreshing guava sorbet which, when served with a creamy gorgonzola and honey, makes for an interesting cheese course. Quick-and-easy vanilla-bean panna cotta, with "sexy hips" - not toO firm or too soft. A skilfully-textured Frangelico and pecan nut parfait, when served with a simple berry sorbet can be magical. Classical orange and Cointreau Belgium chocolate mousse – a favourite standby.

Straightforward strawberry crème anglaise served with fresh fruit is a perfect summer dessert. Rhubarb and strawberry compote is so versatile and can be served sweet, in a tart, or savoury, with a seared duck breast. Bring on your sweet tooth this month!

Take these recipes and try them.

amarula

SENSATIONAL WORLD CUP FEVER SNACKS

Gorgonzola Samoosas / Jackie Cameron (p)

Gorgonzola Samoosas / Jackie Cameron (p)

FIFA WORLD CUP 2010
SOUTH AFRICA

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

The reverberation of vuvuzelas, and motor vehicles of all makes and shapes sporting a flag or three, heralded a national unity unseen since 1995. The 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has arrived – and anticipation is behind us.  Continued enthusiasm, spirit and ubuntu are inspiring and I’m stirred by a warm, fuzzy proudly-South African sensation. With the month-long festivities and little time to indulge in cookouts, I suggest a selection of sensational bites.

Ensure you always have available thinly sliced biltong, the cheesiest-of-cheesy cheese straws and a selection of lightly-salted hot nuts. An assortment of olives and pickled onions are also an option. These quick-and-easy nibbles are the basics of my 'emergency kit'.

The easiest samoosas are the gorgonzola-filled option and they never fail to impress. I relish the warm centre of oozing gorgonzola surrounded by the crisp spring-roll pastry. Simplicity at its best!

A smoked snoek spread brings South   Africa into your television room. Serve this with paper-thin Melba toast, bowls of roasted garlic, caper berries and sundried tomatoes. Scrumptious!

I enjoy something slightly spicy when having a drink or two. This sparks memories of Dodo’s vegetable market in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg where my mom would stock up on supplies and my dad would buy a large paper packet filled with greasy chilli bites for my sister and I. The outer crispness and the inner slightly-spicy softness - almost sponginess - is a texture sensation. I add onion, tomato, pepper and lots of roughly chopped dhanya. For its intensity and versatility I rate dhanya one of my favourite fresh herbs and served on Camembert it makes a memorable meal with a homemade sweet chilli sauce, or with curry, or in samoosas, or in salads or with chicken livers. The options are endless.

On a healthier note, an avocado guacamole served with crudités (raw vegetables cut into bite-size strips) is light and satisfying. Nearby, place slices of old-style homemade cumin flavoured white bread and excellent-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This will allow guests to drizzle vinegar and oil on the bread and, for a more substantial portion, finish with a spread of guacamole.

I am sure these quick, uncomplicated snacks will serve you and your guests well. Keep the spirit alive… Ayoba!

Take these recipes and try them.

zakumi

LIGHT SUMMER DISHES SERVED WITH FRESH SALADS

summer salad

SUMMER IN SOUTH AFRICA IS HOT!

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