Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Situated on the water in the Wilderness National Park area of South Africa's Garden Route, Serendipity Restaurant and Lodge provides 5 Star accommodation and food in a peaceful environment.  The word 'serendipity' is a tricky concept to translate.  Essentially it means a pleasant experience or incident that happens unexpectedly, like receiving a cheque from the taxman in the post.  The restaurant is relatively well known and chef Lizelle Stolze has a vast collection of awards and a wealth of knowledge on all things gastronomic, so stumbling upon this place accidentally would be seriously serendipitous.

To indulge in the 5 course menu is to embark on a culinary adventure through Lizelle's philosophy of creatively and elegantly showcasing South African food culture in a way that retains ingredient flavour and form.  Using both a refined technical ability and a powerful creative flair, she presents wonderful combinations and distinct flavours on the plate.  She seems to have a real knack for this and it shines brightest with her desserts.   

Beautiful oak-smoked Franshhoek trout

Kudu with luscious maize and mushroom risotto

Lizelle has given us 2 recipes that are well worth trying.
Pumpkin and maize risotto (serves 4)
  1. 400g Pumpkin, peeled & diced into 2cm cubes
  2. a dash of Balsamic & Olive Oil
  3. a sprinkling of cinnamon
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  6. 50g butter
  7. 1 cup dry maize rice
  8. 100ml dry white wine
  9. 750ml vegetable stock (or chicken if not for vegetarians)
  10. salt & pepper
  11. 50g Parmesan, shaved with a peeler (keep some to sprinkle over when serving)
  12. 50ml Cream
  • prepare the vegetables & preheat the oven to 200º C
  • toss the pumpkin with a bit of Balsamic & olive oil
  • season with salt, pepper & Cinnamon
  • roast for 20 – 30 minutes, until cooked but not too soft (It must still hold its shape)
  • in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then add the onion & garlic and sauté until soft and starting to caramelise
  • add the maize rice & stir to mix the maize with the onions & butter
  • deglaze with the white wine, and when absorbed, add half the stock
  • stir, turn the heat to low & cover the pot
  • stir occasionally & when the stock is absorbed, add more, stir & cover again
  • when cooked (approximately 30 min), remove from the heat & stir in the cheese & cream
  • season to taste with salt & pepper and stir in the roasted pumpkin
  • serve as a Vegetarian main course on roasted large brown mushrooms, or as an accompaniment to roast chicken

Chocolate coffee mousse

  1. 250g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  2. 150g mascarpone
  3. 80ml strong espresso coffee
  4. 1 tsp ground coffee
  5. 60g icing sugar
  6. 3 free-range eggs, whites only
  7. 4 Tbsp Whipped Cream, to serve
  8. ground coffee, to serve
  • melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water
  • remove from the heat and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes
  • beat the mascarpone with the coffee and icing sugar, until just combined. (If overbeaten, it will split)
  • in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks
  • carefully, but quickly stir the mascarpone into the chocolate mixture then beat in a quarter of the whisked egg whites
  • fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to knock out all of the air, and spoon the mixture into cappuccino cups
  • place in the fridge for at least an hour to set
  • just before serving, top each cup with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground coffee

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