Category Archives: Cuisine

Cooking Up a Storm at Singita Kruger National Park

May 14, 2015 - Community Development,Cuisine,Did You Know?,Kruger National Park,Singita Lebombo Lodge

From the outside, it’s not much to look at: a nondescript building in the heart of the Singita Kruger National Park staff village. Take a step closer and the sound of pots clattering on iron stovetops breaks the bushveld silence. A babble of chatter and laughter wafts out across the dusty courtyard, as a flash of chef’s whites whips past the screen door. Welcome, to the Singita School of Cooking (SSC).

Singita School of Cooking

Students at the SSC with Chef Skills Developer, Louis Vandewalle

A cooking school in the wilderness may seem something of an anomaly, but there’s a good reason the stockpots are boiling furiously out here in the Kruger bushveld. “Communities and conservation can’t function independently, they have to co-exist,” explains Louis Vandewalle, Chef Skills Developer at SSC. “The idea behind the Singita School of Cooking was two-fold: to increase the skill level in our lodge kitchens, but also to provide opportunities for the surrounding communities.”

Singita Lebombo Lodge Dining Area

The dining area at Singita Lebombo Lodge

The SSC opened its doors in 2007, and today offers an intensive 12-month curriculum that sees nine students drawn from local communities untying their brand-new knife-rolls in March each year. A multi-faceted training program combines theory components completed in the classroom and online, alongside intensive practical training in the dedicated SSC kitchens.

Singita School of Cooking

If the course is testing, making it through the selection process is even tougher. In 2014 the School had 85 applicants for just nine places. After interviews by Singita lodge staff and chefs, 30 hopefuls were shortlisted and put through their paces in a series of theory and practical tests. “It’s not about their skills in the kitchen,” says Vandewalle. “We focus on character and attitude. We want to make sure that they have the right foundation for us to build their kitchen skills on. And, most importantly, we want to ensure that those who join the programme will stay the course.”

Singita School of Cooking

Aside from occasional government grants the School is funded entirely by Singita: an investment of $7500-$8000 per student that covers uniforms, equipment, ingredients and a monthly stipend. After months of training, real-world experience is gained in the kitchens of Singita Lebombo Lodge with students rotating through pastry, cold section and hot kitchen. At the end of the 12-month course, students emerge as competent commis chefs.

Singita School of Cooking

Singita School of Cooking

“Unlike many chef schools with longer programs, we focus on the fundamentals,” says Vandewalle, as a stockpot bubbles on the central range. “By the time they leave this kitchen our students have a limited set of skills, but they are extremely proficient at what they do. We’re trying to develop work skills and work ethics too.” He goes on to explain how time-management and forward planning are vital skills for the young chefs to learn. “Each day one chef is appointed to be in charge of the kitchen. The responsibility then rests on them to allocate tasks to each of the student chefs, work out portions and run the kitchen.”

Singita School of Cooking

“We have a very high success rate with students finding employment, either with Singita lodges or further afield,” adds Vandewalle. “Because of Singita’s extremely high standards, we find that’s more than sufficient for what other lodges and guesthouses are expecting.” For most students though, a position in one of the Singita kitchens is first prize.

Singita School of Cooking

“I’ve always wanted to be in the kitchen, but just never had the opportunity,” bubbles Unity Mokhomolo (25) from the village of Welverdiend, who says she’s happiest in the pastry section. “After the course I am hoping to be one of the students that Singita takes to work at the lodges. Singita started my career in the kitchen, so I want to work for them. If that happens, I will grab that opportunity with both hands.”

DISCOVER MORE:

The Singita School of Cooking was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and employment opportunities among local youth as part of Singita’s broader objective to assist communities to thrive, both economically and socially. Visit our website to find out how you can help to make a difference in the lives of our students at SSC, or read about some of our star pupils on the blog.

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Cocktail Recipe: Blueberry Gin Royale

March 19, 2015 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Perched atop a gently sloping hill in northern Tanzania, with a breathtaking view across the Serengeti plains, lies a turn-of-the-century stone manor house with a sweeping veranda that leads down to a lush, rolling lawn. This is Singita Sasakwa Lodge; an elegant property that harks back to the safari splendour of yesteryear.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

From Sasakwa Hill, the eye is irresistibly drawn over the endless grasslands and acacia forests below, to the blue mountains in the distant horizon. Year-round, the area boasts an abundance of game and it is a very special experience to watch the animals scattered across the wide plains, or witness the spectacle of a rainbow after a welcome shower of rain.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Singita Sasakwa Lodge holds special appeal for those with a passion for refined luxury, ensconcing its guests in comfort, charm and old-world sophistication. The food and beverage menu at the lodge reflects this, and traditional cooking methods are approached with a classic but experimental attitude. One such example is the Blueberry Gin Royale – a fruity, refreshing twist on the more typical Sloe Royale. This cocktail epitomises the regal opulence of the classically beautiful Singita Sasakwa Lodge.

Blueberry Gin Royale | Singita Sasakwa Lodge

BLUEBERRY GIN ROYALE

Ingredients – what you will need:
1 cup blueberries + extra for garnish
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bottle of sparkling wine
½ cup gin
4 long sprigs of thyme
1 cup ice

Method – what to do:
1. In a small saucepan, bring the blueberries, water and sugar to a boil
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the blueberries are soft and the simple syrup has turned to a bright pink colour
3. Remove from the heat then drain the blueberries and allow to cool
4. In a cocktail shaker, add the ice and gin and shake until the gin is ice cold
5. Divide the gin between the four Champagne flutes and add 1 tablespoon of blueberry syrup to each glass
6. Slowly pour the sparkling wine down the side of the glass until it is ¾ full
7. Garnish with fresh blueberries and a sprig of thyme

Makes 4 servings

Singita Sasakwa Lodge is one of five lodges and camps in Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The region forms an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration and excellent year-round game viewing. Learn more about the area on our website or watch this video to see its incredible beauty for yourself.

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Art on a Plate: Food Design at Singita Grumeti & Singita Lamai

March 03, 2015 - Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Mara River Tented Camp,Singita Sabora Tented Camp,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Singita Serengeti House

Singita has six different camps and lodges in Tanzania with a common design philosophy but each with a unique style which is complemented by the food design. From the cool neutral palette of Singita Serengeti House and contemporary, organic style of Singita Faru Faru Lodge to the nostalgic tented interiors of Singita Explore, the food at each property reflects the aesthetic of its location.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Keeping all of these food styles in mind, we pride ourselves on serving only the best quality food and try to make each dining experience the best possible. The remote and relatively isolated nature of the Grumeti Reserves poses a considerable challenge to our chefs but with some imagination and ingenuity, every plate is a sensory delight. Executive Chef Frank Louw describes how these plates differ from lodge to lodge:

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Sasakwa Lodge
The turn-of-the-century manor house and private cottages are decorated with a blend of authentic European style and East African influences. This translates to a classic and sophisticated approach to food, without complicating the plating or style of the dishes. Traditional cooking methods are given a new approach by experimenting with texture, feel and taste. Daily pickings from the kitchen garden and local ingredients are showcased on our daily menus.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Sabora Tented Camp
The intimate 1920s-style explorer’s camp is permeated by a sense of sentimental adventure. At Singita Sabora Tented Camp we try to keep the style of food uncomplicated, designing elegant menus that feature old-time favourites given a stylish twist. Guests can also choose to sample dishes from a special Swahili menu to experience the local cuisine. Copper, silver and crystal bowls are used to set the perfect dining scene.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Faru Faru Lodge
This contemporary riverine lodge lends itself to a modern elegant cuisine without any unnecessary complications. Fresh, healthy and vibrant are just some of the words that best describe the food served here, that reflects a sense of “barefoot elegance”. With a true island feel, the kitchen at Singita Faru Faru Lodge also makes use of wonderful Zanzibari flavours and oceanic offerings, including fresh seafood and vibrant spices.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Explore
Singita Explore, always on the move, offers wholesome, hearty food with a campfire ambiance; the smoky aromas capturing the essence of nature. Fires are a priority at every meal, and thus, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner nearly all the food on the menu is prepared on the open fire. The unique experience and flavours that result from this cooking method is one of the things that makes this mobile camp so unique.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Mara River Tented Camp
Laid-back luxury and bohemian glamour is at the heart of this incredible eco-lodge build at the northern-most tip of the Serengeti National Park. Along with everything else at the camp, power for the kitchen is generated by a custom designed solar system and operates entirely “off the grid”. This sensitivity is extended to the food that is prepared here so that guests enjoy a balanced menu offering modern bistro fare made with plenty of local produce.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Singita Serengeti House
There is only one way to describe the feeling of stepping into this exclusive-use retreat: Home away from home. The property is specifically designed to welcome families and friends and create an environment of total relaxation for a carefree stay. The food is therefore simple and homely, and the meals are shared together at the table. Wholesome, family-style food is prepared by your own private chef which offers guests even more flexibility, as they are able to collaborate on a menu to suit every palate.

Food at Singita's lodges in Tanzania

Our chefs work closely with local farmers to grow everything from potatoes to passion fruit for use in the kitchens, and in so doing supporting the nearby communities and helping these suppliers to expand their businesses. We also run a dedicated training programme at the Singita School of Cooking to teach culinary skills to the local youth. You can find out more about Singita’s community projects here.

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Summer Salads: Poached Nectarine and Rocket

January 20, 2015 - Cuisine,Singita Castleton

Singita Castelton (picnic)-1-10

Few things epitomise summer more than long, hot afternoons spent around a generously-laden table in the company of friends and family. Such appetizing scenes are a regular occurrence at Singita Castleton where the dedicated kitchen team, at this incredible private-use lodge, serve light but hearty fare to groups of up to twelve guests. One such dish, shared by Head Chef Calum Anderson, is this delicious salad packed with fresh, bold flavours and would make the ideal side for a summer barbecue:

Summer Salads at Singita

POACHED NECTARINE AND ROCKET SALAD WITH PARMA HAM,
GRILLED HALLOUMI AND PISTACHIO

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

For the nectarines:
- 3 firm but ripe nectarines
- 150g sugar
- 300ml water
- ½ vanilla pod
- Small pinch saffron (optional)

For the dressing:
- 1 lemon juiced
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper

For the salad:
- 200g washed rocket leaves
- 80g thinly sliced Parma ham
- 200g halloumi cheese
- 8 mint leaves
- 60g toasted pistachios, chopped finely

Summer Salads at Singita

Method – what to do:

For the poached nectarines:
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Split vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the saucepan along with the saffron.
Bring the syrup up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool slightly.
Cut nectarines into wedges (about 12 slices per fruit) and place them into the sugar syrup and allow to infuse for a few hours.

For the dressing:
Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.

For the salad:
Strain syrup off of the nectarines and prepare to use for the salad.
Heat up a griddle pan on the stove until smoking hot, then quickly grill the halloumi cheese, looking for clear grill marks when it’s done.
In a salad bowl arrange the rocket, Parma ham, halloumi, mint and nectarines neatly and finally sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
Serve the simple lemon dressing on the side.

Serves 6

Calum’s other heavenly creation in the Summer Salads series includes a bright and healthy Yellow Salad. Be sure to keep following for more of Calum’s fresh and healthy recipes. You can also explore the Cuisine category on our blog for more delectable recipes from all of our chefs at Singita.

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Festive Recipe: Hazelnut & Coffee Christmas Cake

December 10, 2014 - Cuisine,Kruger National Park,Singita Lebombo Lodge,Singita Sweni Lodge

What do you think of when you imagine the smell of the holiday season? For many of us, it’s the rich aroma of Christmas baking; cinnamon-dusted cookie dough, spiced fruits and freshly baked gingerbread. It’s not much different in the kitchen at Singita during December, as the chefs prepare to welcome visitors and families from all over the world to our uniquely African Christmas table.

Fruit & nut tart

Fruit & nut tart

Hazelnut and Coffee Christmas Fruitcake

Hazelnut and Coffee Christmas Cake

Here Singita Kruger National Park‘s Chef de Partie, Christien Schrecker, shares her recipe for Christmas cake with a delicious nutty twist:

Ingredients – what you will need:
250g sultanas
250g dried cranberries
250g chopped dried peaches
50g glace cherries
250g hazelnuts
250g pistachio nuts
1 cup sherry
1 cup brandy
1 cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
1 cup strong black coffee
125g butter
½ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
½ cup warm water
½ cup plum jam
1 cup cake flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method – what to do:
1. In a large mixing bowl, soak the dried fruit and nuts with the alcohol and cup of coffee for 24 hours.
2. After the 24 hours, strain the fruits and nuts and keep the liquid for later.
3. Mix the tablespoon of coffee powder with the jam and water and keep aside.
4. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until white and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, mix thoroughly, then add the jam and coffee mixture.
6. Add the fruits and nuts and all the dry ingredients.
7. Press into a greased tin and cover with foil.
8. Bake the cake at 140˚C for 2 hours, then brush the cake with the leftover alcohol mixture when it comes out of the oven.
9. The cake can get basted with liquid until all of it is absorbed, this can be done at 12 to 24 hour intervals over a couple of days.

Singita Ebony Lodge

Singita Ebony Lodge

singita_ebony_2

We would love to hear what your favourite Christmas recipes are – please share with us in the comments! If you need any assistance with metric measurements, try this handy online conversion calculator.

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Summer Salads: Yellow Salad

December 02, 2014 - Cuisine,Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton, Sabi Sand, South Africa

The weather in the Southern Hemisphere is warming up as we approach the festive season, which means more time spent outdoors with loved ones. The al fresco dining table at Singita Castleton, shaded by the branches of the marula tree overhead, makes the perfect location for a casual summer meal. The table is laden with freshly baked breads, cured meats, homemade preserves and ice cold drinks, but the spread wouldn’t be complete without a deliciously crisp salad. Chef Calum Anderson shares his recipe for a crunchy yellow salad that complements a simple, mezze-style lunch; perfect for the whole family:

yellow_salad

YELLOW SALAD

Ingredients – what you need:

½ punnet yellow cherry tomatoes
1 large yellow pepper (bell pepper/capsicum)
2 small yellow pattypan squash
¼ pineapple
1 cup fresh sweetcorn, cut off the cob
4 baby corn
1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method – what to do:

Prepare the vegetables:
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
- Slice the pepper very finely into long strips
- Slice the patty pans thinly into rounds
- Core the pineapple and slice thinly
- Blanch and refresh baby corn in iced water and then cut in half length ways
Add all the ingredients to a bowl, along with the sweetcorn.
Mix salad together with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste.

Serves 4

Singita Castleton is an exclusive use lodge set within 45,000 acres of private reserve at Singita Sabi Sand. The property comprises a main house with communal living spaces, and accommodation located in six individual cottages within the grounds, catering for up to 12 people. Facilities include a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room, all of which overlooks a popular waterhole where animals regularly gather to drink. Discover more on our website.

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Cocktail Recipe: Wild Hibiscus Spritzer

November 05, 2014 - Cuisine,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

A tall, refreshing drink on a hot summer’s afternoon as you overlook the Malilangwe Dam is just the ticket after a long journey. Luckily for guests arriving at Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe, that’s exactly what they get served when they first step onto the magnificent pool deck. The Wild Hibiscus Spritzer is a non-alcoholic cocktail that contains an exotic flower grown exclusively in Australia, whose petals slowly unfurl in the bottom of the glass as you drink it. It’s an unusual and beautiful detail that perfectly complements the stunning location of the lodge, set amongst 130 000 acres of wilderness.

Wild Hibiscus Spritzer

To recreate this drink at home, simply place one flower along with a dash of the syrup in the bottom of a glass and top with equal quantities of soda water and sparkling apple juice. The syrup gives the drink a delicate blush that creeps up the glass – it’s almost too beautiful to drink!

It makes an especially eye-catching Christmas cocktail and would look beautiful served at any festive function. Simply replace the soda water and apple juice with champagne and you have the perfect party tipple.

Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe

You can buy Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup from their website for delivery worldwide or visit one of their stockists.

Singita Pamushana Lodge is the ecotourism arm of the Malilangwe Trust in Gonarezhou National Park in southeastern Zimbabwe. Its role is to help foster the sustainability of the wildlife and broader ecology, while enabling guests to share the magic of the lodge and the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Learn more about the Trust and our conservation efforts in the area on our website.

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Recipe: Mango and Caramel Swiss Roll

September 29, 2014 - Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps

Singita Lebombo Lodge

Mango and Caramel Swiss Roll | Singita

Did you know that the Swiss Roll isn’t even from Switzerland? The first references to this teat-time favourite are in fact British, and variations now abound as far afield as Hong Kong, India, Portugal and Spain. Each region has its own twist on the original, including Singita Kruger National Park‘s mango-and-caramel-flavoured one. Chef de Partie and pastry queen extraordinaire, Christien Schrecker, shares her recipe for this delicious sponge cake roll:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
For the yellow sponge:
5 egg yolks
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
yellow food colouring
45g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
20g melted butter

For the chocolate sponge:
5 egg yolks
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
30g self-raising flour
15g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
20g melted butter

For the filling:
1 cup whipped cream
¼ cup Caramel Treat or dulce de leche
2 cups diced fresh mango

Method – what to do:
1. Whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs, sugar and vanilla together until white and fluffy.
2. Add the yellow colouring a little at a time until the desired colour is achieved. (We use 2-3 drops of a concentrated colouring gel)
3. Gently fold in the flour and xanthan gum and then fold in the melted butter.
4. Spread the batter onto a Swiss roll tray (2cm thick) and bake at 160˚C for 10 minutes.
5. As soon as the sponge comes out of the oven, turn it out onto a clean, dry tea towel.
6. Roll the sponge up tightly while still warm, and keep aside until cool.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 with the ingredients for the chocolate sponge.
8. Unroll the yellow sponge and spread the caramel over it then sandwich the chocolate sponge on top. Spread the cream over the chocolate sponge and scatter with mango.
9. Roll the cake up tightly and trim the edges for serving.

Here’s a handy online volume converter if you need help with the metric measurements and you can find more great recipe ideas here.

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Cocktail Recipe: The Sabora Special

September 04, 2014 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Singita Sabora Tented Camp

cocktail_sabora_3

It’s often the simple things in life that are the most rewarding; a good book, soft, fluffy towels and a quiet afternoon by the pool. At Singita Sabora Tented Camp in Tanzania, moments like these are easy to come by, as guests unwind in the peaceful seclusion of 350,000 acres of untouched wilderness. Simple pleasures also come in the form of the camp’s signature non-alcoholic cocktail, the recipe for which is shared with us by Lodge Manager, Wilson Owino:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
Equal parts:
* Fresh passionfruit juice
* Fresh mango juice
* Fresh lime juice
And then:
* A drizzle of honey
* A splash of grenadine syrup

Method – how it is made:
The fresh juices are all shaken together with ice, with a small drizzle of honey for sweetness. The concoction is then poured into a hurricane glass in front of the guest at check-in along with a splash of grenadine to give a feeling of a sunrise in the glass.

Cocktail Recipe: The Sabora Special

You can spike the Sabora Special with vodka or rum for some extra zing, or add pomegranate seeds for a fruity twist. Share your version with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out our other delicious recipes here.

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Recipe: Frozen Guava Parfait

August 28, 2014 - Cuisine,Kruger National Park

Frozen guava parfait | Singita Kruger National Park

Tea time | Singita Kruger National Park

Chef de Partie at Singita Kruger National Park, Christien Schrecker, is well known for her delicious and imaginative creations that take inspiration from Africa. Past delights include giraffe-shaped cinnamon doughnuts and chocolate and mint macarons made with a dash of Amarula!

Today she tells us how to make this refreshing frozen guava parfait, which makes for the perfect conclusion to a lazy summer meal. It is served at the lodges with coconut sorbet, crumbled red velvet cake and a raspberry coulis – is anyone else’s mouth watering now!?

Ingredients – what you will need:
190g guava puree
190ml cream, whipped
75g caster sugar
13ml water
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
2 egg whites

Method – what to do:
1. Fold the guava puree into the whipped cream and keep aside.
2. Place the whole eggs and egg yolks in the bowl of a freestanding mixer and whisk on high speed
3. Meanwhile, place the first amount (75g) of caster sugar and water into a small sauce pan and bring to the boil.
4. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and slowly pour the syrup into the whisking eggs in a slow and steady stream. Do not let the syrup touch the whisk or it will splatter onto the sides of the bowl.
5. Leave the mixture on high speed until cool, then fold it into the guava cream.
6. Make a stiff meringue with the remaining (40g) of caster sugar and the egg whites, and fold it into the guava cream.
7. Spread the mixture into a lined tray and place in the freezer for at least four hours, or ideally, overnight.
8. When serving the parfait, allow to defrost slightly and then slice with a clean, hot knife.

Share your homemade parfait with us on Instagram by tagging @Singita_ and follow Christien for more scrumptious photos from the kitchen at Singita Kruger National Park. You can also find more great recipe ideas here and here’s a handy online volume converter if you need help with the metric measurements.

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