Summer at Kurland is a dazzling feast for the senses in every way possible. Whether you’re surrounding yourself with friends and family, or treating your working team to a special retreat in the countryside, here’s our recipe to make the most of the estate – and its gorgeous seasonal produce – for the last of these summer days…

Long, lazy lunches

Hot South African summer days call for long, lazy lunches under the trees.

We like to keep it local and fresh with spinach salads from the garden; salmon fishcakes (using Cape salmon from Robberg Fine Foods and Norwegian salmon) with homemade, wild rocket mayonnaise; and devilled eggs with daring toppings (chives, radishes, crisp chicken skin, spring onions, and fresh dill), served with local chargrilled sourdough bread and olive oil.

Rocket Mayonnaise

Makes 2-3 cups

  •   500g wild rocket
  •   2 cups mayonnaise
  •   1Tbs Dijon mustard
  •   1Tbs lemon juice
  •   Blend and add salt & pepper, to taste

Salmon Fishcakes

Makes 12 fishcakes

  •   1 side fresh Norwegian salmon (+-1kg)
  •   600g white fish/Cape Salmon

Preparation (the night before)

Place the salmon and white fish in a dish and add lemon and onion slices, fish stock and a few bay leaves. Wrap the dish in tinfoil, and gently poach the fish in the oven at 175°C for half an hour (until it’s opaque, but not overcooked). Then remove the skin and bones and drain the cooked fish in a colander. Take out 500g of the salmon and set it aside in the fridge. Keep the rest of the white fish and salmon mixture together for the base of the fish cakes in the fridge, overnight.

Make 500g potatoes by boiling them and mashing them over a dry heat (not adding any cream or butter). Set this aside in a colander and place it in the fridge overnight.

The next day (the day you serve it)

Now mix the poached white fish and salmon and the mashed potatoes. Add the big, chopped chunks of the salmon (that you had set aside the night before). Season with salt and pepper, and add 1 tablespoon chopped spring onion and 1 tablespoon fresh dill.

Shape your fishcakes into plump, round medallions, and then dip first in seasoned flour, next in beaten egg, and finally in breadcrumbs.

Now fry your fishcakes in a pan in a few centimetres of oil until they’re golden brown. To finish them off, bake them in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.

Serve the fishcakes straight from the oven with a slice of fresh lemon on the plate, skinny fries and a generous dollop of rocket mayonnaise for a bit of zing.

While away the afternoon playing games or reading a book on the Homestead’s cool veranda. The vegetable garden’s plum and peach trees are bursting with fruit, attracting lots of colourful sunbirds and busy bees going about their pollination.

For teatime, we’re enjoying big jugs of homegrown honeybush iced tea with lemon and mint, accompanied by delicate honey Madeleines that melt in your mouth.

Honey Madeleines

Makes 2 trays

  •   140g butter
  •   100g flour
  •   3 eggs
  •   100g sugar
  •   2.5Tbs Kurland blue gum honey
  •   Pinch of salt
  •   40g ground almonds

Prep your Madeleine tin by generously coating it with butter and flour. Next, whisk the eggs and sugar until they’ve formed a soft mousse and tripled in volume. Melt the butter, add the honey, and stir until dissolved. Now fold the butter mixture into the eggs, and then proceed to fold in the salt, flour, and ground almonds. Rest for a few hours (or even overnight). Portion this golden batter into the moulds (until the shells are two-thirds full) and bake at 190°C for 12 minutes.

Enjoy them while they’re hot, sticky, and utterly irresistible.

Sundowners and snacks

When the sun begins to set, the frogs down at the dam start their harmonious croaking. In between their serenades you’ll hear the nightjars’ distinctive calls and a few soft bleats from the sheep making their way home through the golden honeybush fields.

As you take in the sights and smells of the countryside, trade your iced teas for refreshing Campari spritzers (with a splash of homegrown honeybush tea for a local twist) and snack on homemade crispy cheese straws, crostini fresh from the oven, lavash flatbread, local Fynboshoek goats’ cheese, and seasonal figs, bursting with flavour and drizzled in Kurland’s very own blue gum honey.

Dinnertime delights

Country cooking comes from the heart and embraces a sustainable, proudly local approach.

We have a lot of sheep in the area, and our neighbouring farm has hundreds of sheep that come to graze on the estate daily. That’s why one of our dinner time favourites is cooking a lamb loin on a hot barbeque braai with fresh rosemary and thyme from our kitchen garden.

We serve the meat off the bone, thinly sliced, and topped with a cheeky yogurt sauce (from Nature’s Way farm stall, just down the road) that is mixed with jalapeno chilli and feta cheese. Sides include fresh beans and chargrilled asparagus from the farm on our doorstep, topped with shavings of parmesan and drizzled with a pungent Karoo bush olive oil.

Marco (owner of the nearby restaurant, Ice Dream Land) makes the most delicious Italian burrata cheese that we love to use in salads, accompanied by tasty heirloom tomatoes from the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Satisfying that sweet tooth

Last but not least is the satisfyingly sweet ending to a perfect day.

The bright orange peaches that grow at the end of the garden are beautifully ripe in summer and it’s no secret that we use them in our cooking as often as possible. They’re wonderful for making peach jam, or a sticky compote served with a subtle honey panna cotta.

Honey Panna Cotta with Peaches  

Makes 4-6

  •   400ml cream
  •   100ml whole milk
  •   50g honey
  •   a strip of orange zest
  •   3-4g of leaf gelatine (2 leaves)

For the peach compote, poach chopped peaches with honey, water and a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the panna cotta, heat the cream, milk, orange zest and honey until just at a scald. Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft, then dissolve it in the warm cream mixture, stirring well to make sure it is all dissolved. Strain your mixture through a fine sieve and decant into your containers of choice.

Allow the panna cotta to set for at least 4 hours in the fridge. To remove, hold it for a few seconds in a bowl of warm water, then turn it upside down onto a dish and gently wiggle until the panna cotta slips out.

Serve with the peaches and some honeybush tea infused syrup.

Honeybush Tea-infused Syrup  

Infuse honeybush tea in 1 cup boiling water for 2 hours. Add 1Tbs honey and strain. Reduce this mixture over the heat to a syrup-like consistency. Cool and serve poured over the panna cotta. Garnish with honeybush flowers (if in season), otherwise rose petals from Kurland’s rose garden.

Good food brings people together and nourishes the soul. For a summer escape in the countryside that offers picturesque, quality time outdoors; secluded, luxurious accommodation; and wholesome, sustainable culinary delights, Kurland is a recipe for success if ever there was one.