Food Friday: “Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards”

Every Friday, we at Casemate IPM bring you a delicious recipe hand-selected from one of the many cookery books we distribute. You should definitely try this at home!

Happy Friday! This week, we’ve selected a very unique book: Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyard. It comes to you from Penguin Random House South Africa, and in addition to providing delicious recipes and wine selections, it describes life at a prestigious vineyard through the seasons, beginning with spring. The month-to-month format includes recipes for a complete menu for each month. The recipe you’ll find below is a staple that you’ll want to make as a starter for every meal!

9781431700929Book Synopsis

Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell frequently entertain guests on their prestigious estate, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, situated in the Hemel en Aarde valley in South Africa. Wanting to showcase the best local produce, Olive has developed and adapted recipes to incorporate seasonal and indigenous ingredients from the surrounding fields, orchards, vineyards and seas. The book follows the seasons, beginning with spring, the time of bud-break and the start of a new cycle of growing and making wine. Each month contains a complete menu, with a starter, main course, side dishes, and dessert. Olive believes in sustainability and in using what Nature provides, and her recipes include produce such as black mussels from Walker Bay, fresh figs from her garden, fynbos honey made on the estate, and edible indigenous plants, like ‘kooigoed’ and wild sorrel. Naturally, wine features, not only in some recipes, but in recommendations to accompany each dish. With superb photography by Sean Calitz, and inspired design, this is a book for lovers of fine cuisine, wonderful wine and anyone who wants to ‘taste’ the winelands of the Cape. It includes twelve seasonal menus featuring 50 recipes, substitutions for indigenous ingredients that make it possible to replicate recipes at home and wine recommendations by top sommelier Miguel Chan.

The recipe I’ve chosen today is a delicious take on one of my favorite foods: bread! This Foccacia recipe is sure to be a hit as a starter at any dinner party, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. Keep reading for the full recipe and a look at the finished product!


This is household staple which we love to serve with drinks before the meal.

190 g white bread flour
pinch of salt
10 g (1 sachet) instant yeast
110-150 ml lukewarm water
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Maldon salt flakes
fresh rosemary leaves, olives, pine nuts or cashews, chopped (see Cook’s notes)

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Add the yeast, and stir to combine.
  2. Slowly add the water, while mixing with a wooden spoon, ensuring the mixture does not become runny.
  3. Knead the mixture until it forms a firm ball. Cover with a tea towel ad leave for 30 minutes to prove.
  4. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  5. Place the dough on a clean, floured surface. Punch down, then roll out as thinly as possible.
  6. Grease two baking trays with a little olive oil. Cut the dough to fit the trays.
  7. Place the dough on the trays, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
  8. Bake for approximately 15 minutes on the top oven rack, until golden.
  9. Remove from the over, cut into strips or squares, and serve warm, with extra olive oil for dipping.

When I serve the focaccia with Sauvignon Blanc, I sprinkle about 2 ml (1/4t) finely chopped fresh rosemary and 15ml (1T) chopped olives over the dough just before baking. If I serve it with Chardonnay, I use a tablespoon or two of chopped pine nuts or cashews instead.

Serves 8

The finished product! (Photo and all recipe text from Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyard)
The finished product! (Photo and all recipe text from Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyard)

For more delicious recipes, purchase your copy of Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyard here.

Are you interested in a particular cookery book from Let us know in the comments, and you might see it featured in the next Food Friday!

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