Article and photo by Josette King
Eagle Creek ORV Gear Bag
The Eagle Creek designers must have been reading my mind when they developed their superb ORV (Off Road Vacation) Gear Bag! I tested it on several trips in recent months and found it was everything I ever hoped for in a duffle bag. Compact enough to meet airline carry-on requirements; it still managed to hold everything I needed for a two-week African safari.
Thanks to its oversized, three-sided top opening, it is a breeze to pack. The two internal zip-up divider panels and the two pockets fitted into the top flap of the bag make the contents easy to organize and access; no need to unpack and repack at each stop of my itinerary. The ORV Gear Bag is equally convenient to carry as it is to pack. In addition to the detachable padded shoulder strap, it features sturdy grab handles at the top as well as both ends of the bag; or it becomes an instant backpack thanks to comfortable back straps hidden in the bottom of the bag.
Although only three pounds in weight, the Eagle Creek ORV Gear Bag is exceptionally sturdy. It is made of tough, lightweight Cordura Nylon, and all exterior seams are double-stitched. The two external compression straps are especially useful when the bag gets over packed.
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Complete Baking Cookbook
Have you been looking for a gift for that someone special in your life who loves to cook or bake? Does he or she have all the gadgets and classic cookbooks? Consider a newly published selection of old favorites; holiday recipes or a completely novel cooking style like safari dishes or modern Indian food to spice up their life.
For baking enthusiasts, the Complete Baking Cookbook (Robert Rose, $24.95) published October 2007, features 350 recipes, from cookies and cakes to muffins and pies. Written by George Geary, a baker and pastry chef, the 448-page soft cover book includes illustrations and color photos. Each recipe also lists tips and variation options. After the introduction about electric equipment, hand tools, baking pans, and common ingredients, the book is divided into sections on Cookies, Bars and Squares; Pies, Tarts and Cobblers Cakes; Frostings, Glazes and More; Confections; Grand Finales, Breakfast Breads; and Holiday Favorites.
A Passion for Baking
The 320-page hardcover A Passion for Baking (Oxmoor House, $29.95) by Marcy Goldman, a pastry chef and home baker, has 220 recipes and many color photos. Following introductory and baking secrets sections, the book is divided into: Loaves, Large & Small; Rolls, Baby Breads & Buns; Pizza & Other Flatbreads; Scones & Biscuits; The Muffin Shoppe; The Cookie Jar; The Biscotti Bakery; Bars & Squares; Quick Breads & Coffee Cakes; Pies, Tarts & Pastries; Sweet Yeast Baking; Cake Creations; Say Cheesecake; Holiday Baking; Grainy Goodness; and Baker in a Hurry.
Williams-Sonoma 286-page hardcover Holiday Entertaining (Oxmoor House, $34.95) has recipes by Georgeann Brennan and drink recipes by Jordan Mackay. Filled with color photos, the book is divided into Occasions, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s; and Recipes: Drinks, Hors d-Oeuvres, Soups & Salads, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Breakfast and Gifts from the Kitchen.
For those looking for something off the beaten cooking path, we recently discovered two intriguing titles, A Kitchen Safari: Stories & Recipes From the African Wilderness (Struik, $29.95) and Modern Indian Cooking, (Silverback Books, $29.95). Modern Indian Cooking was published August 2007. A Kitchen Safari was first published in 2004 and republished July 2007.
In the 191-page hardcover Modern Indian Cooking with foreword by Daniel Boulud, Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna promise easy and quick to prepare recipes, and invite the reader to experiment and substitute ingredients for their own favorites. A brief introduction leads to Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Vegetables, Beans and Legumes, Rice, Poultry, Meat, Seafood, Breads and Desserts, Drinks and Accompaniments sections. A list of ingredients, brief instructions and colorful photos motivate eager cooks to begin their journey of culinary experimentation.
Recipes examples include Orange Chicken with Soy Ginger Reduction, Crispy Pan Fried Shrimp with Tamarind Glaze, Stir Fried Potatoes and Green Beans with Mint, and Duck Vindaloo. For the sweet tooth there is Pure Almond Milk Fudge and Valhorna Chocolate Burgi with Toasted Coconut.
A Kitchen Safari: Stories & Recipes From the African Wilderness
The not-your-grandmother’s-cooking (with rare exceptions) collection of stories and recipes from the African bush can fuel a cook’s wanderlust. The 192-page hardcover book is filled with colorful animal photographs and recipes from Conservation Corporation Africa properties. It is the work of CCA food leader Ivonne Short and Dumi Ndloou, head chef, Ngala Private Game Reserve.
Although some items like springbok (Smoked Springbok Carpaccio with Summer Greens) and Zambezi lager (Beer Bread) may be hard to find at your local grocery store, most of the ingredients listed are more common. Mouth watering names (and large color photos) like Tomato, Tamarind and Ginger Soup, Three Cheese Bread and Butter Pudding, Chocolate Pan Soufflé with Orange and Mint may inspire the adventurous chef.
To purchase click on the title of your choice
The Complete Baking Cookbook
A Passion for Baking
Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining
Modern Indian Cooking
A Kitchen Safari
An elephant at Rattray’s*
Thanks to its location adjacent to the world famous http://simonandbaker.com/kruger in South Africa, the Mala Mala Reserve is ideally situated for Big Five game viewing. Perched on the edge of the larger Sabi Sand Reserve, Mala Mala shares a long fenceless border with the park through which prey and predator alike cross at will. This alone makes Mala Mala noteworthy because this area of Kruger is known for its outstanding game viewing.
Home of a popular lodge, Mala Mala Main Camp, the Reserve also houses the new and exclusive Rattray’s lodge. Where the Mala Mala Main Camp is a good buy for families and game viewing enthusiasts willing to share space with a few fellow travelers; Rattray’s is adult oriented and intimate.
During their stay at Mala Mala, our team appreciated the property’s Big Five orientation and friendly staff. The family owned Rattray’s lodge became a South Africa favorite. Small, intimate and structured to show off its animal guests, Rattray’s offered a fine safari experience. A young university trained game viewing guide doubled as a round the clock staff person assigned to each party of up to four guests for the duration of their stay.
The suites, each in a self contained building, were seductively elegant, comfortable and private. In addition to two full bathrooms, WiFi, and a laptop computer there was a private plunge pool. In the event a guest chose not to go on the early morning or sunset drive, the suite was a perfect place to lounge.
*Photo Elena del Valle