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.

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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


Rice Krispies and Date Bars / Jackie Cameron (p)

Rice Krispies and Date Bars / Jackie Cameron (p)


Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Excitement mounted in the Hartford House kitchen when Justin Bonello of Cooked in Africa fame, and his talented crew, stepped into our kitchen! We may be off the well-worn tracks but we’re right up there with the best, and Hartford is one of 13 venues to be featured in the next series of Cooked IV (BBC Lifestyle). Here viewers will have the opportunity to see top South African restaurants and watch their celebrated chefs host this larger-than-life personality.

I asked Justin his opinion regarding the optimum age for introducing young children to the basics of cooking. He told me, Dan, his 12-year-old son was already a “pro” at making fun, good-tasting items such as crumpets, pancakes, jaffles and “the most wicked spaghetti and meatballs”. 

With the extra-long June holiday looming some homemade goodies will keep children entertained. Bear in mind this time in the kitchen will be for personal pleasure so sweet, chocolatey items that require little effort will be winners. The first treat that springs to mind is a deliciously simple chocolate fridge tart. A rich, textured flavour that is most dad’s favourite. Remember to save him a slice!

Justin reminds me about rice krispies-bars. His version sounds more like a rice krispies brittle. My straightforward, rice krispies-and-date bar recipe results in a crispy texture meeting the sweetness of dates. Another variation is mixing rice krispies with melted marshmallows. Scrumptiously sweet!

From an early age, my sister and I would whip up a chocolate sponge cake when craving a little sweetness. This recipe has been made more times than anyone can remember. The page is yellow with age and the words splattered with ingredients but it doesn’t matter because we girls know the recipe by heart.

Every Christmas my sister and I would give our teachers a large glass jar filled with picture-perfect homemade coconut ice. We’d cover the lids with pink and white gingham material. So pretty! We still claim we made them but Mom smiles because she knows better…

Fairy cakes, as we called them, are another popular tasting treat. Before cooking sprinkle with sugar. This eliminates the need for icing. Served hot with the crispy, crunchy topping of caramelised sugar these cakes are decadently more-ish. Invite friends for tea!

In my opinion, pancake making is the key to a balanced, well-rounded childhood. Everyone enjoys showing off flipping skills. Entertaining in-deed!

These activities, as well as opportunities to experiment with flavour combinations, will ensure your children get pleasure out of cooking. They will learn food cooked with love has a flavour no recipe can provide.

Take these recipes and try them.

cup cake


justin bonello cooked in africa

Justin Bonello
(Photo : Cooked In Africa Films / Penguin Books)


Hartford House has been selected as one of the prized venues to be featured in the new season of Cooked IV! Selection depends on the venue representing Exceptional Quality and Outstanding Service. These criteria are blended and upheld with the great pride and effort we put into the food and wine experience of our guests. 

"The hugely successful cooking and lifestyle show COOKED with shooting star Justin Bonello – South Africa’s Outdoor Cook, will present us and the few top South African restaurants and their celebrated chefs, while honing his skills under their expertise.

Watch us on BBC Lifestyle from August 2010. We are proud to be broadcast locally to almost one million DSTV viewers in Africa and internationally to over 100 countries.

Justin Bonello has produced 3 seasons of his original cooking and lifestyle show COOKED, the first season of the Getaway to Africa travel series as well as the Exploring the Vine wine series. In addition, the first Justin Bonello cookbook entitled Cooked In Africa which is published by Penguin was the Exclusive Books Book of the Year 2009!"