Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cooking for Twelve

Two weeks ago today I served chichinga and groundnut soup with omo tuo for my extended family while we vacationed in Maine. I got some stellar help from my Uncle Paul (top left), grill master extraordinaire, and my sister (top right). I also got lots of photo help from my Uncle Jim (left in the photo to the left). The meal went over fabulously, though I forgot just how heavy Ghanaian food can be.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Plantain Adventures, Round 2

Four more of my plantains were starting to look brown, and I knew that with my weekend plans, I'd be pressed for time to save these fruits if I didn't cook them today. So I made tatale. They were pretty good, but not quite what I'd had in Ghana. A few notes that I'd change from the Betumi recipe: stick to the 1/3 cup of each flour rather than 1/2 cup, my tatale just tasted too dry (I also used whole wheat rather than white flour, and used a coffee grinder to make the rice flour from uncooked basmati rice, the food processor was too big). I didn't use two full onions, but I liked that the sweet plantain taste didn't have to compete against the onions as much. I also wish I had had more ginger, I'd used the last of it with the kele wele the other day.

I also made far too many, due to the size of the plantains, but my dad came up with a pretty quick and easy solution: fry all of the tatale, freeze the ones you don't finish, and pop them in the toaster when you want to eat them later. Because mine had been a little drier due to the flour content, it worked like a charm.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cape Coast

The drive west, out of Accra and into the jungle:

Despite the overcast light due to it being the rainy season, isn't Cape Coast just lovely?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kele Wele Made At Home

Wonderfully enough, one of my local grocery stores carries plantains that are both pretty cheap and pretty good quality. Most of them weren't quite ripe enough, but the ones that were I decided to cup up and fry to make some kele wele for my sister, her friend, and myself. I was stuck with using olive and canola oil, and all I've got as far as spices go are garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and onions. Claire and her friend Katie both loved them. I would have liked the plantains to be a touch more ripe, but I can let the other eight (bought twelve, cooked four) sit until they're even more yellow than these were. I'll also want to give using peanut oil a shot, since the olive oil tasted a little bit off.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eve of Departure, Round 2

There's honestly too much to say regarding the past threedays so late in the evening before I hop back on a plane to the US. Between Cape Coast, Kakum, the world cup match between Ghana and team USA, the Eastern Region, and all of the hours and kilometers in between, it's been a long weekend. There's a lot to think about from this trip, a lot to write about, and all of that takes far more energy than I've got right now. In the mean time, I'll put up some pictures and finish packing. I'll be writing more when I get home. Thanks for following me this far, hopefully I'll have more adventures back in the states.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Accra Adventure

This morning, Fran and Naomi worked to grind the corn that had been fermenting for a few days in water into a meal for making banku. Fran also saved the oranges, tangerines, and limes before they went too ripe by squeezing them into juice, which was delicious both with breakfast and dinner.

I spent today down in Accra, meeting up with Maddie. She's the sister of a friend of my boyfriend, and is working on an international internship teaching HIV/AIDS education classes to 12-15 year olds at a school here. She'd already been here for three weeks when I landed in Accra last weekend, and the day finally came when the two of us were free. It was a lesson in traveling solo in Ghana for sure, I had to take a cab to a place I'd never seen before to meet with someone for the first time. One great thing about Ghana, though, is that no matter where you are, you can stop someone on the street and ask for directions. If they don't know, they'll ask someone else who does or point you in a general direction and tell you to ask anyone in that area, they'll know. When searching for a restaurant Maddie had been to a few weeks ago, we were delivered personally by a woman we askedto a place to grab lunch (not the same place, but still good, still close to the ocean). I got some red red with fish, a really popular dish around here. It's ripe plantain and cowpeas (black eyed peas) cooked with palm oil which gives it a bright color, thus the name. My fish watched me as I ate, though. It was a bit uncomfortable.

On the way back, my lesson on travel in Ghana continued, as my taxi broke down on the Motorway several kilometers from the road into Community 18 where I'm staying. I had to wave down another cab, get in with three strangers, and go first to where they needed to go before heading back to the house. No problems, I'm getting familiar with the area enough to find my way back to Abattoir Road and through the more residential streets.

Dinner was some boiled cocoyam, yam, and ripe plantain accompanied by the leftover palm nut soup and some fried beans. All in all pretty good. Dessert, of course, was fresh mango (which is so unbelievably good here, I don't even like mango very much in the states).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baeta, Day Three

Today's lunch was reheated light soup with more smoked fish added, along with some gari. Gari is awesome, it's this slightly fermented cassava meal that has a taste reminiscent of sourdough bread. It swells up to about double its size when water and soup are added, is mostly starch and fiber, but has some protein in it according to the composition index I got form the Food Research Institute. Surprise surprise, it's also a good source of calcium.

Barbara came to see us today at the house to properly finish our series of interviews with her. She has some really interesting stories of the meals she's had to serve, of how she got her school started, of how she tried to make it a practice not to borrow money from anybody (she only borrowed twice in her life, and paid the debt off promptly). She told one story of how she served Jimmy Carter breakfast when he was visiting, and he took a liking to the Tom Brown porridge because it was served with groundnuts, groundnut being the local term for peanuts.

I'm having Maosi make me a dress from the fabric at the top of the stack in the picture to the left. She says it'll be ready tomorrow, I'm very excited. I'll be sure to put up a picture or two!

Things to look out for later in the week: Ghana plays USA on Saturday, any and all of you reading should watch for sure.