(Photo : Jackie Cameron)
"New Flavours, Exciting Experiences and Inspiration"
The dining room tables at Hartford House have offered me unusual opportunities. One of these has been the chance to meet and build lasting relationships with people who have been instrumental in advancing my career. Carla and Alberto Ferrari immediately spring to mind. They have homes in Switzerland and Shelly Beach on the South Coast. It was their love of South Africa - and Hartford House achieving House and Leisure's best restaurant award - that afforded me the opportunity to participate in Michelin Star Kitchens in Switzerland. What an experience!
My five-course South African tasting menu comprised of ingredients such as freshly-picked butternut, springbok, sweet corn, Karoo ostrich and biltong. I am always amazed at the quality of produce sourced by international chefs. Language barriers can pose a problem but I'm noticing more and more that food has no language - except of course the language of love! There's a fusion of the world's many flavours happening. This means traditional tastes are being modernised, reinvented and/or reinterpreted. Countries are adopting one another's flavours and this was illustrated in the meals I ate in Switzerland.
I hope you enjoy some of my latest ideas starting with a crispy, hot pizza topped with room-temperature smoked salmon, creamy cream cheese, freshly-picked, slightly-peppery rocket and a drizzle of lemon olive oil. A perfect light lunch option filled with exciting textures.
A richer alternative is "Vitello Tonnato", a traditional, Italian veal dish topped with a tuna sauce. I viewed this as a new-age, tuna mayonnaise and couldn't wait to get home to try out my version.
We all know how well Parma ham and fresh melon combine. Next time you serve it try marinating the melon in mint syrup before wrapping in the Parma ham. Oh so refreshing!
I unexpectedly crossed the border one day for lunch in Italy. Choosing a traditional Caprese salad with Focaccia bread and Gnocchi Gorgonzola seemed the right thing to do. And it was. What a meal!
On my last evening Carla cooked rare beef fillet. Never have I enjoyed such quality meat abroad. And, the sauce with the beef is without doubt the best and easiest home-cooked accompaniment I know. Try it!
I enjoyed an extremely productive week filled with new flavours and exciting experiences that promise to inspire the creation of many more dishes to be shared with you, my family and friends.
And as they say in Switzerland, depending where you are, bon appétit (French), buon appetito (Italian), mahlzeit (German), bien appétit (Roman) and enjoy your meal (English).
Take these recipes and try them.