One of the benefits of working in remote areas like Singita Sabi Sand is the abundance of local farming communities around the reserve. I was fortunate enough to have found one, Saringwa farm that is only a few kilometers down the road in the town of Belfast.
They have a wide variety of freshly picked vegetables on offer, and with such fresh produce available it’s a sin not to utilize them when they are at nature’s best.
I could not wait to get hold of the sun- ripened tomatoes that were on offer and make one of my all time favorites: tomato and chili jam with local tomatoes and chilis out of the herb garden that we started behind the Boulders’ kitchen. You’ll want to store this recipe deep in your recipe chest because it is an absolute winner – and something to pass down the generations.
Peter Liese – Sous Chef, Singita Boulders Lodge
Tomato and Chili Jam
500g plum tomatoes
100g golden sugar
100 ml white wine vinegar
2 red chilis
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion
Making the Jam
Wash the tomatoes, chili and peel the garlic and red onion. Place in a food processor and puree until liquid. Pour into a heavy bottomed pot and add the vinegar and golden sugar. Bring to a simmer on a gentle heat and cook for about 40 to 80 minutes. Occasionally stir the pot to ensure the mixture will not burn. Place two suitably sized jars into rapidly boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to sterilize. Fill the jars with the hot jam and seal immediately.
Pair the jam with crispy tempura vegetables, calamari or cheese for some delectable flavors.
Tips: If you would like less bite to the jam feel free to take the seeds out of the chilis first.
For more texture to the jam you may also chop a third of the tomatoes roughly and add them to the liquid when you begin to cook it.
Something easy and special from the Singita Grumeti Kitchen.
Roast Chicken Caesar Salad
Everyone’s favourite classic Caesar with delicious roast chicken turns it into the perfect main course.
1 Lemon and herb roast chicken
4 boiled eggs (8 minutes), peeled and cut into quarters
3 slices white bread, crusts cut off and cubed
Lettuce greens (classic uses Cos lettuce but mix it up according to preference)
Drizzle bread with olive oil and bake in a moderate oven until golden. Cool and then put into a mixing bowl with chicken, lettuce, tablespoon finely grated parmesan, a little dressing and drizzle of olive oil; lightly toss. Place on a platter or in individual bowls followed by the boiled egg with extra dollops of dressing. Using a peeler make Parmesan shavings and place on top. Serve.
½ cup Homemade mayonnaise
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Capers, chopped fine
40 ml Parmesan, finely grated
Juice of one lemon
3 Anchovy fillets
Combine all ingredients – for smoother consistency, blend. Refrigerate until needed. Should last up to a week.
Do you ever wonder what takes place in a day in the life of a chef? And for that matter, a chef who lives on the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania running the Singita Sasakwa kitchen, delivering world-class cuisine, and managing staff and an interesting national and international supply chain?
Take a peek into the world of Frank Louw – Sasakwa Chef, Singita Grumeti Reserves.
Working in the Serengeti is one of those dream jobs that you always think “other” people have. Then you wake up and can’t believe that the surreal “other” reality actually involves you. It must however be said that as with most romantic adventures in life there is always a lesser known side of the story.
Reality? It is an adventure…a chance of a life time…but there are hidden difficulties and challenges that do make every day unique. Sourcing the best available produce can fray even nerves of steel; flexibility is key as dishes change and new ones are created as, and when, orders arrive. Planning, planning and planning become your new best friends. The highs and lows of sharing skills and mentoring others, always aiming for higher standards, coming up with new ideas, keeping it fresh, and having fun all at the same time, are all part of a day in the life of a chef in the wild! Not to mention the odd monkey running off with a loaf of bread.
Boring? Not for a second. Surrounded by people who believe they can improve, become better and never give up, and all striving for common goals that creep closer every day. Laughing and working together, creating bonds that will last forever; you know these moments are the ones you will look back on and smile.
Written by Frank Louw, from his kitchen desk at Singita Sasakwa Lodge – and photos courtesy of Frank.