Category Archives: Cuisine

Explore Camping…by far the best at night!

October 29, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Explore

Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, spends a few days at one of the Singita Explore tented camps, helping out the team.  We asked her to share her” insider” insights into the experience…and her favourite time of the day.

When the sun sets, the cool of the evening starts to rest over the comfortable tents of the Singita Explore. The fires crackle, the lanterns flicker and the evening sounds become loud, musical choirs against the pitch-black silence. The stars are scattered like twinkling Tanzanite and appear brighter than diamonds. There is a certain clarity among the guests’ voices that eagerly share stories about their adventures from the day.

For many, evenings at Explore are perfection beyond words. You cannot fathom the quiet that acts as a backdrop to the sounds of the wild – the hyena calling in the distance. . . “whoo-hoop” – and the muffled roars of lion far, far away. As your chef prepares a culinary treat – baked, grilled, steamed or fried over the open flames – you sip on the drink of your choice and are entertained with bush stories from your guide.

As the local Swahili staff will say “lala salama” ~ sleep well”.  And indeed you will!

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Chocolate and Walnuts

October 01, 2012 - Cuisine,Safari

When on safari at Singita Pamushana, your day is spent in a multitude of ways:  early morning and sunset game drives interspersed with bird-watching, swims, long and restful naps, meeting locals in the neighbouring communities, learning about star constellations in the night skies, boat cruises, exploring age-old rock art sites, and finding out more about the protection of pristine wilderness on the reserve.

One of our favourite safari rituals is that time of the day when the game ranger finds a perfect spot during the morning drive and sets up for a leg-stretch and coffee break.  The cold mist of the early morning has lifted, the sun’s warmth encourages layers of sweaters and pullovers to peel away, and the view at the spot is incredible while you stand right in the heart of African wilderness.

Coffee is French-pressed right in front of you, mugs of hot chocolate are blended, and tea-bags dipped to make a steamy brew.  One of the best parts is the luscious treat that is unpacked from tin camping containers – something surprising every day and perfect for dipping into a hot beverage.  Crunchies, biscotti, rusks…but we don’t want to spoil all of the surprises!

Here’s one of our all-time favourites – and we truly had to bribe Peter for this special recipe.  Enjoy!  (Peter Liese heads up the star kitchen team at Singita Pamushana Lodge – we can’t wait to hear more from him.)

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti


2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

6 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup walnuts chopped

¾ cup semi-sweetened chocolate chips

1 tbsps. confectioners’ sugar

Putting it all together:

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and granulated sugar for 30 seconds. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture; dough will be stiff. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Halve dough. With floured hands form dough into 2 slightly flattened 12-by-2inch logs on baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Bake logs until slightly firm to the touch about 35 minutes (leave oven on).

Transfer logs to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ¾ inch slices. Arrange biscotti cut sides down on baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

The biscotti keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Happy baking from Singita Pamushana Lodge!

Singita Pamushana Lodge is situated in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, 124 000 acres of wilderness in the southern corner of Zimbabwe, bordering the Gonarezhou National Park. It is a spectacularly diverse and beautiful piece of Africa, boasting geological diversity, habitat variability and a wide variety of plant and animal species. Home to one of the highest concentrations of the endangered black rhino as well as fourteen species of eagle, the area is known for its magical sandstone outcrops, mopane forests, and majestic baobab trees.

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Opening Singita Serengeti House

September 10, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Donna Patterson, Chef at Singita Serengeti House, reflects on the first days with guests at Singita’s newly opened homestead on the plains of Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

The recent opening of Singita Serengeti House was an exciting time for all involved.  Carefully guided by Boyd Ferguson, master creator at Cecile & Boyd’s, who has thoughtfully directed design strategy for Singita for almost two decades, Singita’s latest project was no less a marvel.

As everything came together in the last few minutes before opening, in a bloom of dust the magic helpers disappeared and a vehicle full of delighted guests pulled up.  We were open!

Serengeti House oozes the opulence of a locally-styled East African home.  Guests walk in and immediately become part of the family.  There is a wonderful feeling of ‘arriving at your own private homestead’, derived from the serenity and beauty of the location and the stature of the house on the plains of Grumeti Reserves.

Guests are treated to one of Serengeti House’s top attributes of it being entirely private and secluded from anyone or anything else on 350,000 acres of private reserve. The home hosts its own tennis court and pavilion, 25 metre infinity pool, four plush bedrooms and endless living areas for relaxation at any stage of the day. There is also a waterhole just in front of the house, which has become a favourite drinking spot for general game as well as a breeding herd of elephant.

The food at Serengeti House is personalised to guests’ requests and we tend not to use a menu.  As the chef, I interact directly with the guests throughout their stay and discuss their meals with them. The food is locally sourced, healthy and styled around simple but robust recipes.  All of the guests enjoy the ‘family-style’ dining which entails the kitchen team preparing platters of food and serving it in the centre of the table. Be it delicious cakes for afternoon tea, banana bread and coffee before the sun rises or a fresh lobster braai (BBQ) to end off the day, the food is designed and catered to whatever whim is the preference of the group. The kitchen is also part of the home and guests are more than welcome to pop in at any time and get their hands messy with the chefs.

I know that wonderful memories will be created here and return visits have already been mentioned among departing travellers.

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The Last Day

July 04, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Kruger National Park

Today was Lucien Green’s last day in the kitchen at the Singita School of Cooking.  He managed to squeeze in one more demo before he left:  confit duck gizzards, duck hearts, and orange segments all drizzled with a Dijon mustard dressing.  I was worried I might not sample the duck delicacy as there was a sea of students in front of me destroying the delicious salad by the fork-full.  As a thank-you to Lucien he was given a cooking school jacket with his name embroidered on it, a Singita book and an invitation for him and his wife to return to Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges.  His remark?  “I’ll certainly return but not in summer.  I hear there are a lot of snakes around at that time!”

This has been a remarkable week.  The students have gained mountains of knowledge and also a new friend.  Everyone is looking forward to the return of Lucien Green.

The End…for now.

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Competition Day 2

July 03, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Kruger National Park

Four points separated the teams in the end, but let’s start at the beginning. Lucien Green, Senior Training and Development Chef from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme, started the day by presenting his demo for plating carpaccio.

Then the students split into their teams to begin their own creations and Amos started the clock-watch – a 25 minute challenge!  All teams finished in time so the first challenge was met.  Some great dishes were created by all and the sirloin was delectable and tender.

After the judging it was time to announce the winner. In 4th place with 39 points was team D.  In joint 2nd and 3rd place with 40.5 points were teams B and C and in first place with a whopping 43 points was team A. The grand prize?  Each member of the winning team proudly accepted a chef’s jacket from Fifteen, together with a Fifteen-branded apron.  The smiles couldn’t have been any bigger.

(Written by Archie Maclean, Head Chef at Singita Lebombo Lodge.)

Here’s the winning team A and their scrumptious creation.

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Turning up the Heat

July 02, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Events,Kruger National Park

The excitement at Singita Kruger National Park has been contagious this week.  What’s been causing the stir?  Lucien Green.

Visiting from Jamie Oliver’s “Fifteen” Apprentice Programme in London, Lucien Green (Senior Training and Development Chef)  has hailed an energy at the Singita School of Cooking like never before.  Each day has been jam-packed with activities, revving up from one day to the next.

Day One – the Singita team whisked Lucien out into the bush to look for lions.

Day Two – stepping into the kitchen at the Singita School of Cooking for the first time, Lucien observed students elbow-deep in dough and perfecting their focaccia-making skills.

Day Three – Lucien took some time out to review curriculum.  He gave the cooking school a thumbs-up!

Day Four – this was a special day – it was marked as the official opening of the Singita School of Cooking.  Mark Witney, Singita’s Chief Operating Officer was also present for the honours.

Day Five – then it was back to the kitchen.  Lucien conducted a day of teaching, introduced the students to carpaccio for the first time, and iniated a competition to see who could produce some winning results. For the competition the students were split into teams and over two days they’ll compete for the top prize.  It is going to be a gruelling, fast-paced stretch.  Stay tuned!

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Stuffing Focaccia

June 27, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Kruger National Park

First day at Singita School of Cooking, Lucien Green, Senior Training and Development Chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme in London arrived this morning to find the students all huddled around a bench paying attention to Amos, the chef in charge, giving instruction on stuffed focaccia.  Amos was enthusiastically demonstrating how to prepare the fillings, which looked world-class: tomato, caramelized onion, mushrooms, all roasted with rosemary and garlic.  He placed the filling in the middle of the bread then folded the bread around. Then the challenge was presented: Group A against Group B – whose baked delicacy will win?  While the bread baked it gave Chef Lucien time to talk to some of the students individually as they continued with their prep duties. Forty minutes later with the smell of freshly cooked bread, the focaccia was done.  In true chef style everyone approached, not giving time for the bread to cool and everyone waiting for a bite. Lucien was asked by Amos to do the honor of judging.  All of the breads were mouthwatering but there could only be one winner and group A took the prize. Group B was a close second and poor Amos came third. It takes a good teacher to lose to his students!

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Resourcefulness in the Wild

June 21, 2012 - Cuisine,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

You can imagine how difficult it might be to source fresh and interesting greens and speciality vegetables in the far-reaches of the Serengeti.  This was the challenge that Frank Louw faced when he took over the helm of the Singita Sasakwa Lodge kitchen a few years ago.  In an effort to add some pizzazz to menu items and maintain the high standards set by Singita excellence, Frank set about to establish a kitchen greenhouse that would produce some delicate garden products not normally sourced in the surrounding wilderness areas.

We thought our blog followers would like to hear how the Greenhouse is doing at Singita Grumeti.

The green house is doing well. We are using it to the full extent and gathering herbs and lettuce from it every day.  Just yesterday I picked some Zebra tomatoes…they are scrumptious and pretty.  We are also growing spinach and our very own purple basil.  So nice for our salads. (Frank Louw – Sasakwa Chef)

Frank Louw, Singita Sasakwa Executive Chef and Michael Matera, Senior Chef de Partie – caretakers of the kitchen greenhouse, now in its second growing year.

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Campfire Feasting

June 20, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore

One of the highlights of spending nights under canvas at Singita Explore is the feasting experience.  Nothing like dining with china and crystal in the permanent tented camp of Singita Sabora – instead Singita Explore presents something that harks back to an earlier explorer experience where tents are pitched in remote locations to follow the wildlife.  Pots are settled into camp fires for slow stewing and hot water heated over the coals for morning coffee.

Loraine Trollip, Operations Manager Mobile Division (Singita Grumeti), describes one of the firm favourites on the menu at Singita’s mobile camp in Tanzania – a potjie.

A potjie is a stew that is simmered for hours over an open fire in a three-legged cast iron pot.  Oxtail is often the traditional choice of meat for a potjie and provides a rich flavour.  Other ingredients that meld together for mouth-watering taste, include beef stock, red wine, sherry, mushrooms, garlic, leeks, bay leaves, and tomato.

Now that’s something to warm up an evening under the stars.

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Crunch This!

March 29, 2012 - Cuisine,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

If you have ever started the day at Singita Sasakwa Lodge with their famed breakfast spread then you will remember the delectable homemade pastries…including Sasakwa’s breakfast seed bars.  That’s Justina Munuo in our photo above displaying mouthwatering morning fare.

This is a recipe that you will want to tuck into your most-loved recipe file and pass from generation to generation.

224g flour (1 cup)

256g sugar (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons)

128g coconut (1/2 cup)

128g oats (1/2 cup)

56g Rice Crispies (4 Tablespoons)

120g honey (1/2 cup)

200g butter (7 oz or almost a cup)

8g bicarbonate of soda (1/2 Tablespoon or 1 1/2 tsp)

50g condensed milk (1/4 cup)

20g sesame seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g poppy seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g chopped almonds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g sunflower seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g pumpkin seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

Not for the faint of heart – so close your eyes and fold in the condensed milk and butter – then enjoy these purely delicious squares!

Instructions – melt the honey and butter.  Mix all the other ingredients together and then add the melted butter and honey mix.  Mix well and place into a baking tray, pack down well, and bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees Celcius.  Cut into squares while still warm.

The above link is a helpful baking resource for calculating conversions from grams to cups.

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