Last week end a group of friends and I stayed in a stunning house on Druk My Niet stud farm in Tulbagh. This spacious house was recently renovated and decorated and is now available to rent via the Perfect Hideaways website, which you simply have to visit if you want to see some of the most incredible hidden property gems in South Africa. These are not just nice houses on a rental site, these are hand picked, loaded with charm offering retreats into special homes in spectacular locations. I constantly click onto it to dream away about places I would love to visit.
Druk My Niet farmhouse has the perfect kitchen to cook a feast around a huge central island cooking station, which is amongst my best activites to do. People can mill around, chat or dig in and help, and there is a big raised fire-place which was extremely cosy on a chilly night. In fact it was abig highlight having so many fireplaces around the house.
It was a week end of eating and drinking in abundance, as you do, and on the Friday night we made pizzas in the wood fired pizza oven which is located in a separate entertainment area but was fun to hang out in too. On Saturday I made a huge Spanish omelette for breakfast with fresh eggs collected from the chicken coop and they were so bright yellow it looked like I had added turmeric or saffron. Later in the day as friends explored a few wine estates in the area and Tulbagh town, I whipped up a feast of stuffed roast loin of pork and a few side dishes (the recipe is a at the end of the page).
As this is a stud farm there are horses everywhere. A few were about to give birth and we were holding thumbs the foals would arrive while we were there, and another pair were a mating couple, so that was pretty interesting to watch over the course of the week end. I have never really spent much time with horses but after bonding with one particular mare, I totally see what all the horsey fuss is about. What amazing creatures they are.
I fell in love with the small herd of goats who are so adorable you just want to pet all day. They literally ‘talk’ to you when you go and visit. There are chickens and fresh eggs and lovely fields to go for walks in, so this is the perfect house for animal lovers and families.
There are so many lovely wine farms and places to visit in the area (including the neighbouring waterfall), but the house is so wonderful and relaxing, it is actually difficult to leave.
Cooks notes ~ It is unlikely you will find this particular cut in your butcher in South Africa, so you will need to find someone to do it for you. Its part loin of pork – the nice meaty ‘pork chop’ part, and part belly, but next time I’m going to go with pork belly only as the stuffing is so delicious and I found the meaty loin part was a little dry. The Most important thing is very crispy crackling as its the best part about a roast pork. To do this you need to cut thin scores in the meat through the first (hard layer of fat) and not through the second soft layer. You need to stop cutting as soon as you hit the white part. I find it almost impossible to cut – even with my sharpest knife, so I always ask the butcher to do it for me. Score the meat about 1 cm from each other. Ensure that the skin is as dry as possible (pat it dry) and rub salt generously into all the grooves. Do not add any oil to the skin.
The roasted apples are so soft they make a lovely apple ‘sauce’ for this roast.
I’ve also started roasting using the convection part of my oven (fan forced) as I’m finding the even cooking of the food favourable as well as being able to maintain the same temperature throughout thus allowing multiple things to cook simultaneously. I have always preferred baking in a conventional oven, so I am going to start experimenting with the fan to see if I prefer it too.
Recipe – stuffed roast loin of pork with apple, sage and pine nuts – serves 8 – 10
- 2.5 – 2.8kg loin of pork with belly cut (half loin half pork belly)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter
- small handful parsley and sage finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- 250g pork sausage meat
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 apples, peeled and cored and grated
- 80g pine nuts
- 6 small apples
Pre heat the oven to 240C fan.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and gentle fry the onions and garlic for a bout 5 minutes until it has softened and gone translucent but not browned. Set aside to cool.
Remove the pork sausage meat from its casings and mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients. season with salt and pepper.
Lay the pork flesh side up on a work surface and pack the stuffing inside. Carefully roll it all up and with the seam side underneath, tie string along the length of the body to secure it all together. I found 4 pieces of string sufficient. Place this in a roasting pan.
Roast for 30 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 180C and roast for a further 30 minutes. Add the apples to the roasting pan and then roast again for another 30 minutes. The internal temperature of the meat should be 73c – 75C on a meat thermometer. All to rest and serve
*adjust cooking times slightly depending on the size if your roast.
I served this with my roast beetroot and red onion tart tartin with balsamic caramel, smashed new roasted potatoes and grilled zucchini.
I also discovered the hidden gem of the boutique Druk My Niet Wine Estate in Paarl (towards Wellington side). High up the mountain this farm is making some lovely wine. The owners are are super friendly and also own the Druk My Niet stud farm. I managed a quick visit on the way to the house to collect wine which we tasted over the week end. We were super impressed. They also bottle their own spring water in recycled glass which guests at the stud farm can enjoy. Wine tastings to the estate are available by appointment only, but well worth gathering a few friends and adding it to your next wine route. and they also have 3 self catering guest cottages on the farm. Check these out here.
*Disclaimer – I did not pay for the rental of the house as it was an opportunity for me to shoot a photographic reportage of the property. All the content in this blog post was created at my discretion.