Category Archives: Cuisine

Sweet Tooth: Buttermilk Scones

January 11, 2013 - Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Boulders Lodge

Breakfast at Singita Boulders Lodge

The talented team of pastry chefs at Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sand private reserve have quite a job producing a banquet of tasty treats for our guests in the relative isolation of the African bush. Visitors to the lodge are spoiled for choice throughout the day including morning game drive bush stops, breakfast-time pastries, a sumptuous spread for afternoon tea and delectable after-dinner desserts. Using local ingredients and inspired by the regional cuisine, the uniqueness of these kitchen creations is matched only by the spectacular setting with sweeping views of the Sand River.

Pastry chef at Singita Boulders Lodge

Breakfast in the bush is a particular highlight, and features an array of home bakes; wholewheat cranberry and pumpkin seed muffins, peach and almond Danish pastries, crispy croissants, hand-made granola and fresh-out-of-the-oven breads. Served with freshly-squeezed juices and steaming hot coffee, these early-morning feasts are always a big hit. Chef Christien van der Westhuizen has kindly shared her recipe for the best buttermilk scones which are a highlight of the menu:

Ingredients – what you need:

500g sifted flour
125g cold butter
25g baking powder
125g sugar
280ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Method – what to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Rub together all the dry ingredients (incl. the butter) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Add the milk and lightly mix together (we suggest using a fork), being careful not to over mix as the dough will get tough
Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 3cm and cut into your desired shape
Brush the top of each scone lightly with egg wash
Bake for approx. 10-15min until golden brown

Christien will be sharing more recipes and photos with us over the next few weeks so be sure to check back soon. If you need to adjust the metric measurements, here’s a handy online volume converter.

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Not Your Average Camp Cuisine

December 03, 2012 - Cuisine,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

One of the most remarkable things about Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the exceptional food that is whipped up in the kitchen by our resourceful team of expert chefs. In the Lamai’s hot climate guests are kept cool with light, healthy cuisine conducive to refreshing and re-energising the body. Restorative fresh fruit smoothies, iced Fair Trade coffees and teas, crunchy salads and ethically sourced ingredients, such as organic eggs and grass-fed meat, are the order of the day with luscious desserts and homemade ice-cream adding a touch of sweet decadence.

Chef Donna Patterson, who forms part of the kitchen team at Singita Grumeti, has kindly shared the recipe for her delicious chilled carrot and spicy mango soup. Its bright, zingy flavours and refreshing lightness epitomise the type of beautiful and surprising meals our guests enjoy.

Ingredients – what you need:
1 white onion
5 large carrots
1 red chilli (medium heat)
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 ripe mango
1L mango juice
White pepper
Mascarpone to garnish

Method – what to do:

Chop the onion, peeled carrots and chilli roughly into equal sizes.
In a medium saucepan fry the chopped carrots, onion and chilli for a couple of minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick lastly cover with the mango juice. Allow the soup to simmer slowly until the carrots are soft.
Blend in an electric processor and strain through a sieve.
Season the soup to taste with salt and white pepper.
Place the soup in the fridge to cool down.
Lastly finely dice the fresh mango and keep refrigerated until serving.
To serve, place the diced mango into the soup and serve in bowls. I like to garnish it with a dollop of mascarpone.


Chilled carrot and spicy mango soup

Like the sound of this soup? Why not browse more of Chef Donna’s delightful recipes on the blog. Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

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Let them eat cake!

November 26, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Spoiling our guests with delicious food has always been a key element of the Singita experience. From gourmet feasts and grassland picnics, to delectable bakes and alfresco breakfasts, we aim to make every meal something to remember. We asked chef Donna Patterson at Singita Grumeti to tell us about one of her favourite tea-time treats to serve at Singita’s lodges, and she kindly shared the simple steps for putting together her world famous Apple Caramel Cake.

This cake recipe is a favourite among all our guests, far and wide. It is baked time and again at all the Singita lodges throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and is by far the most requested recipe by guests! It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make, as you’ll see:


3 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 Tblsp melted butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 apple


For the cake:
Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until it doubles in size. Add the cream and melted butter and continue to mix.

Sift the flour and baking powder onto the surface of the egg mixture and fold through lightly with a metal spoon.

Thinly slice your apple and arrange in a spiral around the top of the cake mixture in your prepared baking tin.

Bake at 160°C until golden brown.

For the glaze:
In a pot boil together, 100g brown sugar, 100g butter and 100ml cream.

Pour this sauce over the top of the cake when it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool in the tin before serving.


Apple caramel cake | Singita Grumeti

Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

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A Special Cooking Class

November 09, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Mtori is a traditional Swahili dish prepared from the unusual combination of green bananas and stewing beef. Guests at Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania were recently treated to an expert cooking demonstration of this local speciality by chef Donna Patterson.

Chef Donna Patterson at Sasakwa Lodge

The tennis pavilion became a stage for what could have turned into a Masterchef class. While the children challenged each other to a game on the court, I carefully shared the recipe with the adults, that had been taught to me by one of the local chefs in our kitchen.

Traditionally the soup is served to Swahili mothers when they are pregnant and breastfeeding as it is a rich source of nutrients for the diet. It has evolved into a dish for the whole family, with the recipe being handed down from generation to generation.

Chef Donna Patterson at Sasakwa LodgeIngredients (serves 4):

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbls vegetable oil
6 green bananas, peeled and chopped
300g stewing beef, cubed (off the bone)
salt and pepper


Fry the onions and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat in a heavy based pot.

Add the cubed beef and stir to brown all sides of the meat.

Add the peeled and chopped green bananas and stir for a further 3 minutes.

Cover the mixture with water, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the bananas become soft.

Traditionally the soup is mashed together with a wooden spoon and served as is. I tend to remove the meat, shred it and keep it aside and then blend the banana part of the soup in an electric blender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the meat back to the soup. Enjoy the tastes of Tanzania!

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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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