The Elephant Café

Outside, looking into the Elephant Cafe Photo credit: Sean Edington

Annabel Hughes

Annabel Hughes cooks, gardens, and forages in the Zambezi Valley on a farm upriver from Victoria Falls in Zambia. Read her blog at www.SavannaBel.com.

Thai-inspired Tilapia Ceviche with Sesame-Infused Lime, Cucumber, Avocado & Pickled Radish

Thai-inspired Tilapia Ceviche with Sesame-infused Lime, Cucumber, Avocado & Pickled Radish Photo credit: Anthony Grote


For the tilapia ceviche:
Fillet the tilapia and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Put the lemongrass, garlic, lime juice and zest, fish sauce, and palm sugar into a blender and puree until smooth.

Pour this mixture over the fish, with the chili and shallots, making sure all of it is well-covered. Let the mixture soak for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours, in the refrigerator.

For the sesame salad dressing:
Whisk all the salad dressing ingredients together until the oil is fully incorporated. Set aside.

For the salad:
Top and tail the lime. Using a serrated knife, cut down the sides, following the natural curve, to remove the skin and pith. Over a small bowl, remove the segments by slicing between the membranes. Squeeze out any remaining juice over the segments and discard the rest. Soak the lime segments and juice in 3-4 tablespoons of the sesame salad dressing. Set aside.

Just before serving, carefully mix the avocado and cucumber cubes in with the lime segments and dressing, making sure not to break up the avocado.

To plate:
Strain the tilapia ceviche, shallots and chili out of its marinade, and discard the marinade.

Lay two slices of cucumber neatly on a serving plate. Carefully portion out the avocado and cucumber on to each plate, the length of the cucumber slices. Add the ceviche and spoon a little more of the Asian dressing over the top. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro over the salad, and finish garnishing each plate with pickled radish slices, edible flowers, and lengths of green onion.

Mongongo Nut Florentines

Inji Masawa & Mongongo Nut Ice Cream with Seasonal Mulberries & a Mongongo Nut Florentine Photo credit: Anthony Grote


1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), and lightly grease a baking sheet or nonstick baking liner.

2. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, and then mix in the raisins and nuts.

3. Melt the butter and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Add to the flour mixture and combine well. (It will resemble a sticky dough.)

5. Scoop out the mixture, a teaspoon at a time, onto the baking sheet, pressing it down into an oval as flat as you can. Be sure to leave ample space between each one because the mixture spreads while cooking.

6. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven, about 12-15 minutes. (Keep a close eye on them; they burn easily.)

7. Remove and cool, quickly reshaping the cookies into circles if they have spread awkwardly. Transfer to a cooling rack, and repeat the process until you have used up all the mixture.

8. Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, making sure it isn’t in any way submerged. Stir occasionally while it is melting. Remove from the heat after it has melted and cool until the chocolate has thickened a little. Very gently paint the bottom of the Florentine with the chocolate. Allow to cool and set. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.