Category Archives: fruit

Banana oatmeal pancakes


In honour of Shrove Tuesday, which is on February 13th this year: pancakes!  These were also a pre-travel, clear out fridge cooking effort (not much of an effort, really). I must confess, I do not particularly like bananas, but will eat them in banana bread and pancakes.  Freshly made pancakes with jam? Excellent start to the day! It really should be fastelavnsboller, Norwegian Shrovetide buns filled with whipped cream, but given the massive cost of whipping cream in Accra, this is close enough!

Banana oatmeal pancakes

2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 small eggs
50 ml milk
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/2  cup plain all-purpose wheat flour
butter to fry pancakes

Mix everything, beat with a fork until smooth. I had small sweet Accra bananas and small eggs, you might need more or less milk and flour depending on batter consistency. I made this the night before, and left batter in fridge so I could have pancakes when waking up with minimum effort.

Heat your frying pan, add a little butter and fry pancakes until golden and cooked through. Serve warm with jam (also very nice with Biscoff).


Note: these were veering towards hockey puck firmness, after the batter sat in fridge overnight. Another small egg or a splash of milk might have lightened them. Very tasty though, and it made about 8-9 of these, so this will be another breakfast as well.  Last time I added sesame seeds to the pancakes, which was a good addition.

As another house move is coming up soon, my pantry is mainly in boxes or given away, but I am looking forward to unpacking in March and restocking at Relish (flax/sesame/chia seeds) and the Great Wall Supermarket (mirin, bok choi, rice noodles, soy sauce, good fresh tofu). Accra is OK for certain items, if you know here to go and can afford them. I just heard that Saagar (Indian shop in Osu) has frozen paneer, so that is also on my list. Given that it will be a shared kitchen, some discipline will needed for what can actually fit. Still, it will be nice to soon cook and not wonder which box the thyme/chili flakes/Worcester sauce/etc are stashed away in.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.