Thursday, 31 July 2014

Afternoon Tea: Lemon Curd Victoria Sponge, Banana Loaf, Carrot Cake,

Originally I set myself the rule of only trying new recipes I hadn't yet tried. When this didn't work out, I said to myself I was allowed new dishes and only my very favourite after that. That works very well indeed, except it doesn't. Because it includes EVERYTHING. I am convinced come December, they are going to have to roll me out of camps!

Isaac and Dixon's Lemon Curd Victoria Sponge

A unique twist of a British classic, I just love this one!

225g butter
225g castor sugar
225g cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 finely grated lemon zest
4 eggs
4 tblsp lemon juice

Lemon Curd
2 eggs
50g butter
175g castor sugar
2 lemons, zest and juice

Serves 10 people

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. The sugar must be dissolved. Then add lemon zest, sift in the flour, baking powder into the bowl, add the eggs to the cream mixture a little at time. Beating well after each addition to stop the mixture curdling. Add 1tblsp of flour for each egg using a metal spoon. Then gently fold in the remaining flour. Add as much lemon juice as you need to make a soft dropping consistency. Then place your mixture in a tin lined with baking paper and bake for twenty five minutes or until the cake is ready. The oven here is set at 180 degrees Celsius. 

Making the curd, lightly beat the eggs. And then mix all the ingredients together over a pot of boiling water. Keep stirring until it thickens. Do not allow the curd to boil. The curd needs to then be whisked to make sure it is smooth. Once it is ready, chill it. Before icing your cake, make sure the sponge has cooled. Slice the sponge and pour the lemon curd in the centre, take a knife and spread it liberally. Replace the top half of the sponge and dust icing sugar over the top. Dixon then slices lemon to decorate.

Isaac and Dixon's Banana Loaf

150g butter
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
3 bananas mashed
Pinch of cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Syrupy Sauce
75g brown sugar
50g fresh cream
50g butter

Whip together the butter and sugar until creamy. Then add the eggs. Next mash in the bananas. Finally the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture. 180 degrees Celsius is the temperature we set our oven here at Bili but check your own oven guidelines for their recommended temperature for baking cakes. It will vary. As will the time, but we do it for approximately twenty five minutes, just keep an eye on it, and take it out when its ready! To finish heat the cream and brown sugar and butter until syrupy, and drizzle this over the banana loaf slices.

This was intended as an afternoon tea but the guests ran late so we offered it as a second option dessert, hence the snazzy presentation, and it went down a treat!

Joseph from Zunga's carrot cake

1 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup oil
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger 
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 carrot grated 
1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped up
3 eggs

Cream cheese icing 
230g pot of cream cheese
100g icing sugar
Grated carrot on top 

Melt the sugar, oil and margarine in a pot. Remove from the flame once melted and leave to cool. Add the eggs and flour once cool, and all the spices and baking powder, and finally the carrot and nuts and mix it until all mixed in. Put in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for thirty five minutes. Mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and ice the cake liberally.

A traditional Zambian meal at Zungulila

Over the weekend past I covered at Zungulila with the wonderful team there. Their kitchen creators are Joseph and Thomas and they were very happy for me to do a Bushcamp feature on them. It just so happened that one of the days I was there the guests asked to try some traditional local food and so the team prepared some examples of what they might typically eat for brunch. Before I give you some tips on how to re-create a Zambian menu, first let me introduce you to the Zunga chefs, Joseph on the left and Thomas on the right.

So lets give you a bit of background on the traditional foods here in Zambia. Nsima is the main staple of not just Zambia, but Africa as a whole. It is a mealy meal base which when added to water and boiled in a big pot over a hot fire for approximately thirty minutes becomes a solid consistency. (When preparing Nsima, don't be afraid to stir, a lot, with a big wooden spoon!) People often liken it to polenta. 

To go with it the guys will have relish. Relish is anything that comes as a side dish to the Nsima. Now typically they would only have one relish to go with their Nsima, but Joseph and Thomas thought this would be a bit mean on the poor guests, so instead they offered a variety of examples for the guests to try. The first dish on the menu, fried Kapenta. 

To re-create this you would need:
1kg Kapenta
1 onion
1 tblsp oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

For those of you who cant tell what Kapenta are from my extremely amateur photo, they are in fact tiny little fish. First things first you will need to rinse the Kapenta. Then fry the fish in the oil. Next you add a chopped onion to the frying fish, and let this cook for fifteen minutes. Easy! And very tasty!

Boiled bream in tomato sauce. 

1kg fish
1 onion
2 tomatoes
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Chop the onion and tomatoes and put them in a pot. In a separate pot add a tblsp of oil, 1 cup of water and then boil the fish fillets. When they are done add to the onion and tomato. Season with salt and pepper, and leave on the heat for fifteen minutes.

Beef stew. 

1kg sirloin steak
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
2 tomatoes
1 cup red wine
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Chop up the sirloin steak and onions and fry them off together. When brown, add chopped tomatoes and a little bit of water and wait until it boils. After five minutes add potato and carrot, and one cup of red wine. Stew for thirty minutes.

Bean stew.

1 cup of beans
1 onion
1 tin tomato paste
1 tblsp oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Boil a cup of water and add the dried beans. Leave for thirty minutes, until the beans are completely soft. Then add tomato paste, salt and pepper, and a tblsp of oil. Cook until they are tender. 

I asked the guys what type of beans they were, and they told me they were just beans. They explained that in Bemba they called these beans chilemba, and in Tumbuka they call the beans nchunga. But if you asked for beans in Zambia everyone knows what you are talking about. Not so helpful if your looking for them in Tesco's, my recommendation would be to use kidney beans as a substitute.

Rape and peanut.
(Rape is oil seed rape, a brassica - like spring greens)

2 bundles of rape
1 cup of ground nuts
1 onion
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Chop the rape and the onion. Bring a cup of water in a pot to the boil. Put the rape in the boiling water. Take the rape out of the water, and put the ground peanuts in the pot and add another cup of water. Stir all the while. Then add the rape to the peanuts. Season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring until it becomes thick.

Fried cabbage. 

1/2 green cabbage 
2 tomatoes
1 onion
1 tblsp oil
Pinch of salt 
Pinch of pepper

Put the tblsp of oil in a pan. Chop the onion, tomatoes and slice the cabbage. Fry the onion, and then add the cabbage and tomato. Salt and pepper. Leave for five minutes until cooked.

When plating up, make sure that the Nsima is separate from the relishes, like Adrian and Vicky are doing in the picture below.

These relishes are all enjoyed using the Nsima as essentially an edible spoon. You need to roll the Nsima into a ball, using your thumb to make an indentation and scooping up the tasty dishes. If your Nsima has relish already on it this makes rolling it a tad tricky. Either way, the best way to enjoy this meal is using your hands! As demonstrated by Vickie and Michek.

You are now fully equipped to lay on a Zambian dinner party for your family and friends, as directed by Joseph and Thomas, two very experienced Zambian's! However, the beautiful views of the Kapamba river and the surrounding Miomba habitat make the meal even more tasty. Sadly I won't be able to give you the recipe for these!

Dreamy Desserts: Chocolate Moussee and Banofee Pie

Isaac and Dixon's Chocolate Moussee

Serves eight generously (or twelve when you have an extra full camp!)

300g chocolate
160ml fresh cream for the Moussee 
130g castor sugar
4 eggs separated
2 tsp vanilla essence 

50ml cream whipped
Mint leaf

Melt the chocolate over boiling water. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar. Separately whisk the cream until thick but not stiff. Then whisk the egg yolks with vanilla essence. Add the egg yolks to the cream. Next add the chocolate to this mixture. Fold in the egg whites. Pour into glasses and chill. Just before serving, decorate with whipped cream and a mint leaf.

Joseph from Zunga's Banoffe Pie

Serves eight people.

1 packet of Marie Biscuits
1 Tbsp butter
1 condensed milk tin
3 bananas 
1 cup of fresh cream
1 cup icing sugar

Put the condensed milk (still in the tin) in a pot of boiling water on a flame and boil for two hours. Next leave the tin to cool for approx thirty minutes. Break the Marie biscuits, melt the butter,once melted take from the stove and add the broken Marie biscuits. Then put them in a serving dish, perhaps a ramekin. Slice the bananas, whip the cream and add the icing sugar to the whipped cream. The next stage is layering! 

Take the condensed milk and put that onto the base of the biscuit. On top of the condensed milk goes the bananas. On top of the bananas goes the cream. Then another layer of condensed milk. Finally a last layer of cream. Garnish with a slice of banana and dust with chocolate flakes.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Bili's Summery Salads

 Now we all know the main reason for coming out here is the wildlife! 

What a handsome fellow!

But the thing that makes this place extra special is the whole Bushcamp experience. And for me one of the absolute highlights is the food. Isaac and Dixon are constantly coming up with such delicious culinary delights, I often get guests asking for recipes and suggesting the chefs make a cook book. That may be a while in the making so in the meantime, my two chefs at Bili and I decided we would start a foody blog. We agreed it might be quite nice to share a few of their secrets! 

So for those of you who dont know, below are the two Bilimungwe chefs - Dixon on the left and Isaac on the right.

We decided to start with some Summery Salads for those of you looking for packed lunch inspiration. Nice and easy so no excuses not to give them a go!

Isaac and Dixon's Healthy salad

Green and yellow pepper
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots all should be steamed until tender

You can add baby corn and baby marrow but today we were out of these goodies.

Coriander (or any fresh herb you have in the fridge is Isaac's suggestion)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Isaac and Dixon's Apple and Brocolli Salad

Sliced Apple
Steam Broccoli until tender
Blue Cheese
Iceberg lettuce 

Olive oil

I realise the big plates might not be so practical for taking to work with you, I may have to get my Mum (a certifiable expert in the field of plastic storage devices) to write me a Tupperware feature.

But if it is presentation you are interested in, why stop at just the plates?!

Jason our waiter has some very neat little tricks for making your table look as delicious as your food.

I understand of course that most of you won't have Elephant Biscuits from the Winterthorn Tree floating around your back garden, but get creative!

This was just a taster to get an idea of interest in this blog. So feedback would be very much appreciated, and if there are any recipes you wished you'd asked for on your last visit please let me know so that me and the team can feature them in our next blog! Emails to

Happy eating!