Category Archives: fruit

Cherry pancakes

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Back in Accra, counting down to holidays. It’s a nice cool Sunday and I have been doing some DIY, fastening the TV to brackets and hoping they hold. There are pillows strategically placed on the floor in case of sudden bracket failure… No need for much groceries as I leave again in ten days, though the thought of yet another overnight flight is not appealing. I had a small box of fresh cherries, brought from Rome, and had plans for a clafoutis today before they go moldy. However, a flatmate is roasting a chicken and it is resting in the oven while she is at yoga (as it is not quite done), so a tortilla-style cherry pancake was the solution. This was breakfast today, and will be dessert in my lunchbox the next few days.

Cherry pancakes (2 large ones)

Batter:
2 medium eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pitted cherries
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp butter

Mix all ingredients for batter and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. I was hungry and did not wait, which made these a little rubbery. Next time, patience!

Tip half the cherries in a hot skillet with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of sugar. Gently fry them for a few minutes, then pour half the batter over. Once the pancake is set and hopefully slightly golden, slide it on to a dinner plate. Quickly invert the plate and slide it back into the skillet. This was quite a robust pancake, easy to do. Cook until you think it is cooked through. Then repeat with the other cherries and remaining batter.

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Note: Not so pretty, and I had no icing sugar to tastefully dust over it, but tasty. These cherries are very sweet, otherwise you might want to add a bit of sugar in the batter. A little vanilla sugar or almond paste might be nice with these.

As usual I came back from Rome with well-packed suitcases: for friends, biscotti, parmesan, stroopwaffels. For me: ant traps, muesli, running shoes, olive oil, capers, migraine medications. Availability of items has gotten much better in Accra, by all means, but quality and cost of imported goods can be an issue. Now I’ll be looking for some nice Ghanaian products to take back on holiday: local chocolate, plaintain chips (Sankofa ones are very nice), and dried mango.

 

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Banana bread with yogurt and chocolate chips

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Right before Eid I made two banana breads for the office: one with butter, lemon and yogurt, and this one with yogurt and chocolate chips. Both were assembled based on the bananas and yogurt I had to use up, and both were very nice! The chocolate chips were courtesy of my American flatmate, and much appreciated: otherwise coconut chips or nuts would have been nice too.  Though I am not a banana fan, they come my way (canteen desserts, office coffees) and are good and plentiful here, and they do freeze well unpeeled. As our next chest freezer is already full (mainly due to ant invasions), I thought banana breads were a better destination for these.

Banana bread with yogurt and chocolate chips

2-3 small very ripe bananas, mashed (I used about 145 gr peeled)
150 grammes plain yogurt (here there is only full-fat local yogurt, but very good)
2 medium eggs
50 ml vegetable oil
250 grammes all-purpose flour  (until I thought the batter had right consistency)
125 grammes sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
a restrained handful of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a medium loaf pan with parchment paper (mine is maybe 20x5cm). Whisk together eggs, bananas and oil. Whisk in the rest, and stir in a handful of dark chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate. Bake at 180C for 50-55 minutes or so. I test with a wooden chopstick, this one took a bit longer than the lemon cake. This would probably be faster if not baking two cakes at same time. Cool on a rack for a bit before serving (easier to slice next day).

Here are the two banana breads, lemon and chocolate chip, freshly baked. Watched with an episode of Alias season 1, which is still enjoyable!  We have not paid for DSTV here, but not having actual TV is fine as long as you have hard drives and DVDs. I am really really forward to seeing Jennifer Garner in Peppermint. Most movies I watch on planes these days, though we did go see Deadpool 2 recently at Accra Mall, which has a very good cinema. DP2 was gory but very funny.

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New shorts, and banana bread with a lemon twist

shorts from woodin material

One thing to enjoy in Accra is the wonderful fabric: lots of colours! I had another trip to the tailor this week: going to Woodin on Oxford Street a few weeks ago for fabric, then debating what to make. My wardrobe is becoming increasingly colorful, as my Europe-bought clothes are washed to death after 2.5 years here and fading, and thus being replaced with brighter clothes in Ghanaian fabrics.  Our tailor uses Pinterest and is very good at working with the shape you are. We debated styles and patterns: this time, it was three pairs of long shorts for my husband, and a cold shoulder dress for me. They all look great!

Another thing that is plentiful here is bananas….. B-A-N-A-N-A-S….. ! Small and sweet, I just wish I actually liked bananas. Which I do not. However, if they are hidden in a smoothie or a cake, it is manageable, and I do like to bake. This is a simple banana bread made for the office today. Tomorrow is Eid al Fitr, and a public holiday in Ghana, so I made two banana breads to take to work: one with lemon, one with chocolate chips. Here is the lemon one. Eid Mubarak!

Banana bread with yogurt and a lemon twist

110 gr butter, softened at room temperature  (softens fast at 30C)
125 grammes white sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice (mine was bottled)
3-4 small ripe bananas (150 gr)
1/4 tsp salt
100 grammes yogurt
220 gr flour
1 tsp. baking soda

To glaze after baking:
2 tbs white sugar
1 tbs lemon juice

Heat the oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Whisk eggs, butter, sugar and mashed bananas. Add the rest and whisk briefly.  Pour into loaf tin, bake on middle rack for 50 minutes or so, until a test chopstick comes out clean. This batter rose a fair bit. Take it out the loaf tin and cool on a rack. While cake is still cooling, baste the top with lemon juice and sugar. Enjoy!

Note: I had extra batter so baked that in a greased ramekin, for an early cake taste.   Next time I might poke more holes in the cake, like for a lemon drizzle, and use more lemon juice.

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The two banana breads went fast! We did hiring interviews recently, and one question to candidates was on team work and what they would contribute to a team’s success. I am not sure cake would have been the right answer, but must say cakes do contribute to office goodwill.  😉

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