Tag Archives: cuisine

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:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Enjoy!

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)
water
salt and pepper

Method:

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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Making Memories

November 02, 2012 - Accommodation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti

Spending time with family and treasured friends, and making memories for a lifetime, is what Singita Serengeti House is all about.  Comfortable furnishings and details, seamless inside-outside lounging, a tennis court dedicated to the house, a swimming pool that invites an afternoon dip for everyone, and a personal team of staff, all help to make this exclusive-use retreat a place for total relaxation.  But more than that, looking out over an expanse of the Serengeti wilderness and sharing those moments with people you care about, is priceless.

Eating at Serengeti House is designed to do the same thing – untangle the normal daily stresses of our city lives.  How wonderful to wake up to home-baked, gluten-free muffins – or enjoy a picnic on the veranda overlooking the elephants at the watering hole in front of the house – even stop for tea while the chef whips up a milk tart made right there in the kitchen.  And if you haven’t tried milk tart yet, then you’re in for a special surprise.  This is a South African tradition but steeped in Dutch influences, and until you plan your next trip to Tanzania, here’s a little something to help you think about us.

Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, Grumeti Reserves – sharing my favourite recipe for Milk Tart.

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The pie crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 cup sugar.

Add 1 egg and beat until mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture just until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Press mixture into bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Putting it all together:

In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes.

Pour half of mixture into each pastry shell.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Chill before serving – easy as that.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me how your baking goes.

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Explore Camping…by far the best at night!

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

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 Mobile Tented Camp. 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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Working with Local Farms

October 20, 2011 - Cuisine,Sabi Sand

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.

Enjoy!

Peter Liese – Sous Chef, Singita Boulders Lodge

Tomato and Chili Jam

Ingredients

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.

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Getting Fraiche with Prawns

July 21, 2011 - Cuisine,Sabi Sand

Relax in warm winter sunshine on the deck overlooking the Sand River with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Chef Loraine Pienaar at Singita Boulders Lodge has created a zingy starter for you to try at home, while reminiscing about your stay at Singita Sabi Sand.

CHERMOULA PRAWNS WITH PAPAYA DRESSING AND POTATO SALAD

12 prawns cleaned and deveined

CHERMOULA

Chermoula is a traditional Moroccan dipping sauce that originally would have been made using a mortar and pestle. It is quite acceptable to use a food processor these days.

1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2–3 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ roasted red pepper (fresh is best but canned also works)
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

- Blend all ingredients in a food processor
- Marinate the prawns in the Chermoula for at least 2 hours

    POTATO SALAD

    2 Large potatoes (+-650g)

    3 Sprigs spring onion sliced finely

    2 ½ tbs Crème fraiche

    - Peel the potatoes and dice into even small blocks
    - Blanch in salted water until al dente and cooled
    - When potatoes have cooled, add crème friache and spring onion, mix well.

      PAPAYA COULIS

      ½ medium sized papaya

      ½ red chilli chopped finely

      1 tbs sugar

      100 ml white wine

      2 cm cinnamon stick

      - Boil all the ingredients together until the papaya turns into pulp
      - Puree in a food processor and strain through a fine sieve

        Putting it all together

        - Pan-fry the prawns in olive oil until pink and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice

        - Arrange the potato salad onto 4 plates and stack the prawns on top

        - Dress with papaya coulis, garnish with fennel (optional)

          Bon Appetit from the kitchen at Singita Boulders Lodge.

          (For more Singita recipes, take a look at the Singita Facebook page where there is something for everyone.)

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          What’s on the Menu at Singita Explore

          June 08, 2011 - Cuisine,Experience

          Catherine Garden, Sous Chef at Singita Grumeti Reserves, talks about the menu that she has created for Singita Explore, and about how much fun they are having cooking over an open campfire.


          Singita Explore like all Singita locations has its own unique bush signature with elements that echo the feel and structure of the camp.  The simple yet comfortable is replicated within the cuisine.  Food is slightly more interactive as chefs cook eggs to order in front of guests, meals are prepared on the coals, and wood scented fires are very much a part of the camp ethos.  The kitchen creates the backdrop to camp life.  There are camping staples like potjies, barbecues, pot breads and the full cooked breakfast with the focus on unprocessed, wholesome food.

          For lunch we love to spread out a tantalising smorgasbord of cold meats, cheeses served with pickled red onion and cucumber, raw beetroot relish, sesame bread sticks, rustic olive loaf, and a fresh, green salad.  A special hot item would be traditional pilau with kachumbari (local salad made of sliced tomato, onion, lemon juice and chilli) and Greek yoghurt.  We opt for delicious and light for our dessert selections – one of our favourites is roasted pineapple and strawberries with Almond praline cream.

          For high tea at the camp we are creating simple but mouthwatering delights, such as a banana walnut loaf served with raspberry jam and butter.

          After evening game drives, guests love to position themselves around the roaring campfire.  Nothing is more comforting as the evening settles in, than Stok brood (bread cooked over the fire by the guests themselves) dipped into chilli dipping sauce and savoured under the stars.

          Then follows a full dinner feast of pork chops, lamb mishkaki (skewers), potato bake (creamy garlic potato), butternut chakalaka, and a garden salad.  There is always a little room leftover  for warmed apple crumble with vanilla custard.  Is your mouth watering yet?

          Some of the menu items that are gaining the greatest rave reviews – oxtail potjie, chicken apricot sosaties and our famous chocolate Malva pudding.  We will have to share some recipes in the next blog articles, so keep watching this space.

          For more information about our introductory offer at Singita Explore follow this link to read more.

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          Chef in the Wild

          March 16, 2011 - Cuisine,Singita Grumeti

          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.

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          Fresh from the Grill

          February 18, 2011 - Cuisine,Sabi Sand

          Another delicious recipe posted by Singita Chef at Boulders Lodge, Loraine Pienaar

          Singita Boulders Lodge – Swordfish Nicoise salad

          Vinaigrette

          1/2 cup lemon juice

          3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

          1 medium shallot, minced

          1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves

          2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves

          2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves

          1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

          Salt and freshly ground black pepper

          Salad

          2 grilled or otherwise cooked Swordfish steaks (100g-200g)

          Pickled quail eggs cut in halves (3-4)

          2-3 small new potatoes, each potato cooked and cut in half, and grilled

          Salt and freshly ground black pepper

          A small handful ripe cherry tomatoes cut in halves

          1 small red onion, sliced very thin

          130g green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise

          1/4 cup NiçoiseCalamata olives

          Instructions

          1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside

          2 Then in a bowl place, grilled potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, olives and quail eggs. Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and dressing with vinaigrette

          3 Place the mixture in the centre of the plate and place the grilled swordfish on top, garnish with a few rocket leaves

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          Ravishing Relish

          January 25, 2011 - Cuisine

          Singita Grumeti Kitchen Tales – by Frank Louw, Sasakwa Chef

          Summer is still in the air and with all the seasonal produce surrounding us it is only natural to go “fruity”.  Mango is one of my favourite fruits and is so versatile.  Instead of using it only in desserts or cocktails, try using it in salads or as a salsa with seafood.  This is one of my all-time outstanding recipes and I use it often. Great with grilled lobster, slow braised pork belly or roasted chicken.

          Mango and Spring Onion Salsa

          2   Ripe medium mangos

          1   Small bunch of spring onions

          1   punnet (200g) cherry tomatoes

          Half bunch mint

          Bunch coriander

          Half small chilli

          Juice of 1 lemon

          Juice and zest of 2 limes

          1 cm ginger stem

          50ml sesame oil

          50ml olive oil

          (For help with measurement conversions, take a look at http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cooking-conversions/conversions.aspx)

          Cut the mango and tomato into cubes, roughly the same size.  If you prefer to deseed the tomato do so at this stage.  Slice the spring onion as thinly as possible.  Chop the mint, coriander, ginger and chilli very finely and add to the mango mixture.  Add the lemon juice, sesame oil and olive oil into a small bowl, whisk well and add to the mango salsa.  Place in the fridge for an hour and serve with your grilled lobster…

          For more information about our Singita Grumeti Lodges, you may want to read more on our website.

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