Category Archives: fruit

Apple-coconut sponge pudding

20170218_111626.jpgWho knew there was an Accra version of Monopoly? I’ve only seen a banner for it at Accra mall, but will keep en eye out. I was at the mall looking for a yoga mat (Game, 82 cedi or so, depending on colour) and had a cold coffee at Second Cup, when we spotted the banner for Accra Monopoly. Accra Mall is actually listed as #4 of TripAdvisor’s top things to do in Accra, which I might not agree with. But it  has A/C, cinema, Shoprite and Game, and it can be a nice change of scene. We just went to see “Hidden Figures” there. And there is a Woodin store, wonderful Ghana fabrics by the yard, just a riot of gorgeous colours. Or is this the Vlisco window? Both are lovely. There  is a bigger Woodin store in Osu, on Oxford Street, nice ready-made men’s shirts and fabrics by the yard.

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Inspired by Beb’s RecipeDrawer‘s Apricot Sponge Pudding,  which uses dried apricots, I made a sponge pudding with fresh pineapple. Counting down to holidays, there were also some apples in the back of the veg drawer, and I had found nice flaked coconut  (at Palace, for those who know Accra). Food shopping here is better than expected, as long as you are prepared to try a few different shops for very specific things. Strong bread flour can be a challenge; the local Tema flour can normally be found but is sometimes very moth-infested, but a new French brand just showed up in Marina Mall (another mall, #15 of 55 things to do in Accra – mysterious) which is OK. So we manage. Anyway, back to the pudding.

Apple-coconut sponge pudding with pineapple

4 red apples (peeled, cored and diced – about 300 grammes)
150 grammes fresh pineapple
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp potato flour

Sponge topping:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
3 eggs
1/4 cup butter

Bake 30 min in moderate oven, 180C.The recipe notes that the fruit mix needs to be hot, so I quickly boiled up the apple slices and sugar, then thickened this with potato flour. Pour in glass dish, then mix topping together and bake. I used less butter and less sugar, as the fruit was quite sweet, so the top did not get very golden. Nice quick weekday dessert.

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The sun sets just after six PM, and the kitchen is dark at the best of times, so the photo is not great. But the pudding was good! Lots of fruit flavour.  It probably would have been even nicer with more butter, but this worked fine.

One last Ghana@60 photo, a banner-festoned roundabout.

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Banana bread with butterscotch, take two

20170318_115621.jpgAfter a week of visitors, it is a quiet Saturday with just us here. I do get some friends and colleagues travelling through Accra, so it’s been a sociable week. We went to Kakum National Park and Cape Coast Castle (more on that later),  we’ve been out to dinner and and it was great. Nice today though, to catch up at home: wake up early but get up late, fold laundry and tidy up, take stock of the fridge. As usual, there were blackening bananas in the fridge, along with 4-5 pineapples, so I made granola with banana, and banana bread.

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We may just have avocados on crisp bread (and banana bread…) for an early dinner, as we are going to the theatre tonight. A friend has kindly invited us to “The Prince of Egypt” at the National Theatre, with students from the Ghana International School. Should be interesting.  I’ve never been inside there.

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Banana bread with butterscotch chips

4 small very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed  (about 230 grammes peeled weight)
2 small eggs
60 grammes sunflower oil
60 grammes thick plain yoghurt
25 grammes brown sugar
200 grammes all-purpose wheat flour
60 grammes wholewheat flour
25 grammes large oatmeal flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Optional: 60 grammes butterscotch chips

Mash bananas with a fork, then whisk in eggs, sunflower oil, and yoghurt. Whisk in the rest (I did this all with a fork, too sweaty to dig out mixer) until flour is mixed through. I was making granola, so I threw in the last handful of oatmeal here.  I also used some of my precious butterscotch chips bought in Ithaca last summer:  some in the middle of the cake, some strewn on top. I used a parchment lined loaf tin. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes, until a testing stick comes out clean and top is golden.

Notes: This was in for about 40 minutes but with the tray of baking granola over it in oven part of the time, it is probably faster if alone in oven. Not much sugar as the bananas here are really sweet, as are the butterscotch chips.  I was thinking of a peanut-butter espresso banana bread, but went for butterscotch again.

Here are some more Ghana@60 images: decorations on a fence, and commemorative free doughnuts delivered by Uber. Yes, we have Uber in Accra! Makes it so much easier to get around town and not have to haggle about fares. There are still Ghana flags all over town, and banners and decorations on red, yellow and green.

Another enjoyable point of the week: we got our one and only Christmas card sent to Accra! Mailed in mid-November, it finally reached us. Our office has a PO box, as there is no street mail delivery, and even then, some things do not arrive. Apparently Ghana and Italy were the two countries where my friend mailed Christmas cards, and they all arrived after 2-4 months.  We just tell family to send mail to our Rome address and someone will scan it for us. It was thus unexpected and very nice to get an actual card.

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Sesame banana pancakes on a lazy Sunday

brown bananasA quiet Sunday again: we’ve been off grocery shopping with a neighbour, and are now recovering next to the fan, drinking cold water. After a big thunderstorm last night, Accra is back to 32C and it is a sticky day. The harmattan is due soon, the dry northeasterly trade wind which blows from the Sahara Desert, bringing dust and hazy days. It’s already noticeable in the north, we hear, not so much here yet though humidity is dropping. I am soaking klippfisk for dinner, dried and salted cod from Norway, to try making bacalao later. And our banana glut continues, so this time it was sesame banana pancakes.

Sesame banana pancakes

175 gr all-purpose wheat flour
75 gr wholewheat flour
50 gr quick-cooking oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
500 ml milk, semi-skimmed (here, mixed from milk powder)
2 eggs
280 grammes very ripe bananas, mashed (here, about five small ones) 
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tbs sesame seeds
sunflower oil for frying

Add dry ingredients to a bowl: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oatmeal. Add the eggs and milk, and whisk it all together. Add the mashed bananas. Leave it to rest 15 minutes or so, then dollop a generous spoonful onto a hot oiled frying pan and fry until golden each side. Makes 10-12 depending on size.

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We had these for breakfast with tinned pineapple jam from South Africa, listening to a reggae version of Celine Dion’s “That’s the way it is” on the radio. Reggae is popular here, so is Celine Dion. The French cultural centre Alliance Française in Accra hosted a Celine Dion evening here in October, Ghana celebrates Celine Dion, with Dutch and local singers performing. Quite an experience, and it was nice to hear live music – we do enjoy that here. We were at Alliance Française for pizza last week, and it was hip hop night – hmmmm, we enjoyed the pizza and then escaped. I must be getting old.

With two weeks to go until Christmas departure, a neighbour and I did the rounds yesterday: over to Osu for coffee, and gift shopping at Global Mamas. Fair trade (also online), and lovely jewellery, batik clothes and bags.

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They also have some items from Trashy Bags, a social enterprise based in Accra that makes recycled eco-friendly bags and gifts from plastic trash. Like here, a toiletries bag from recycled drinking water sachets. They also have an online store.

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Then we popped by the Chinese supermarket for fresh tofu, before we finished up at the French Christmas market. Now I just need to sort out who gets what, and supplement this with a book order. Not very commercial or holiday-ish here, which is fine. For some seasonal ambience I’ve tried to watch the start of this year’s Norwegian TV advent calendar Snøfall (yes, for kids) online, which actually works from Ghana!  But our Internet is too slow to watch it, despite our buying more bandwidth on Airtel scratch cards today. Our other Internet provider is down. Oh well. I really cannot complain, we are comfortable enough here and I’ll be able to Skype with friends during the holidays. It is soon time to pull out shoes, socks and the few winter clothes we have here, as we’ll be celebrating Christmas in Norway this year. Brrrr!

Reading the news, I have learned a new term this week: voting skirt and blouse. “Skirt and Blouse is a term in Ghanaian politics where party supporters vote for the flagbearer of the party but not the parliamentary candidate of the same party or vice versa.”  The elections here are on  Wednesday, when Ghana goes to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December for its seventh multi-party ballot since the end of military rule in 1992. Best wishes for that.