Neighbours, and chicken curry with pineapple and coconut milk

wp-1479558855684.jpgOur balcony overlooks the neighbouring garden, which belongs to a bakery. There is always something going on: laundry to hang out, feeding time for the dogs (doghouse on left), amazing smells of cakes or chicken roasting, or like this Saturday, palm tree pruning. A small brown puppy gets let out now and then, otherwise we never see the dogs. There is often a radio playing music, which we hear faintly, and people chatting while working under trees on the right. Some days we hear the thwack-thwack of chicken being chopped, probably for their jollof rice takeaways. Very tasty.

Accra neighboursAnother day they pruned the big tree on the left, which really opened up the view to the next lot. We’d heard the low house on the left is boy’s quarters, which our compound does not have: living quarters for household staff. We could always hear music, chickens, kids playing and people talking there, but now we suddenly see them. Most have very tidy yards. Days like today, I’ll be hanging out laundry, as the lady in the yellow skirt does next door. She seems to like to sit in her front step, as I do on the balcony until it gets too hot. It’s already 32C mid-morning in the shade, we can feel the hot season approaching. It is a little odd, living in a compound with electrical fences and a pool and privileged comfort, when you see your neighbours managing with very little. They have tap water, but that may not be safe to drink. Many in Ghana still lack access to potable water, and the most prevalent water-borne diseases here are typhoid, cholera and dysentery. There is a cholera outbreak in Cape Coast now, though no deaths yet, thank goodness.

Another neighbour just popped by. We are having a small BBQ tomorrow with neighbours on this side of the fence, and he dropped off sliced beef from his Lebanese butcher so we can prepare it for tomorrow. “Wash it, layer it with sliced onions, garlic and vinegar, and leave it overnight to rest.” We shall do as instructed. I’m making risgrøt for tonight (Norwegian rice porridge) so we can bring riskrem as dessert for the BBQ, made with cold rice porridge mixed with whipped cream, served with red currant sauce. I’ll try making it in the slow cooker, to avoid dissolving in a sweaty heap while stirring it on the stovetop for 40-50 minutes. I’ll never complain about Ferragosto heat in Rome again!

Speaking of slow cookers, here is a tasty (though not so photogenic) recent dinner. We love the slow cooker — it is perfect in the heat, and hopefully more energy efficient than stovetop cooking.

Slow cooker coconut chicken curry with pineapple

2 medium chicken breasts
One onion, peeled
Four cloves garlic, peeled
a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or use powdered ginger)
4 small peppers (we used local green peppers as red/yellow ones are too expensive here, otherwise I’d use red)
A tin of coconut milk (we used coconut milk powder and mixed it up, 350 ml or so)
About 300 ml of stock
5 tsp medium curry powder, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chili flakes

Cooked rice to serve with it

Chop your chicken, and fry it lightly in a frying pan. (Probably not needed, but for hygiene reasons I wanted to make sure the chicken was well-cooked.) Put chicken, onion, garlic and ginger in the slow cooker. Pout in stock and coconut milk, and cook on high for 2-3 hours. If it looks very wet, a little desiccated coconut can help firm up the curry. Taste and add salt, pepper and more curry powder if it’s a bit bland. We added chili flakes as well at the end, to give it it a bit more kick. Flavours are deeper the next day.

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