Category Archives: Ghana

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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Happy Independence Day Ghana

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It’s March 6, and today Ghana celebrated Independence Day. The Gold Coast region declared independence from the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957 and established the nation of Ghana. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan nation to break free from colonial rule. Parades and heads of states today, flags on cars, and a long weekend for most of us.

The BBC has some news clips from 1957. And The Guardian has a couple interesting articles this week on the modern side of Accra today:

Accra at 60: concrete heads and colonial questions in Ghana’s capital

Artful Accra: Ghana’s 60th marked by the birth of an ambitious gallery

Such a city of contrasts. We popped out for dinner tonight at Burger & Relish in Osu, a burger place with some great cocktails. As we waited for our Uber home, we listened to loud dancehall music from nearby, while two small goats walked by down the road. It had rained, so the power was out in our neighbourhood again. Only lights where there are generators. But it was a lovely day overall. Congratulations!

 

 

Ghana elections 2016 and inauguration 2017

Catching up with posting: other elections and inaugurations have also been taking place. On 7 December, Ghana held general elections, to elect the President and members of Parliament.  It was peaceful, with voter turnout over 68%, and very lively discussions. The former foreign minister Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party was elected President on his third attempt, defeating incumbent President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

20161207_071348.jpgThe inauguration of Akufo-Addo was 7 January, see BBC article: Ghana: Nana Akufo-Addo is sworn in as president  He was wearing beautiful custom-woven kente.  Kente is a very colourful fabric, entirely hand-woven by Ghanaian weavers, and each design has a story with meaning, giving each cloth its own distinction.

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Normally you’d see Kente cloth woven in narrow strips, which are then sewn together. Here, the Kente cloth was a patchwork. From Charles Benoni Okine, Daily Graphic:

“He’s taken the best of the various peoples represented throughout Ghana, and created a beautiful patchwork tapestry reflecting the traditions and the unity of the Ghanaian people. Ashanti kente with proverbs such as “Akokobaatan” – compassion and discipline, and “Nkyimkyim” – life is not a straight path. Obama kente which is derived from the Ga and Ewe people’s Adanudo cloth, and created with embossed and appliquéd patterns. Adinkra symbols, an Akan tradition, such as “Akoma” the heart and a symbol of love, “Bese Saka” a bunch of cola nuts and a symbol of abundance, and “Ohene Aniwa” which is a symbol of vigilance.  There are also pieces of Gonja cloth from the North of Ghana.”

If you enjoy textiles, this has more gorgeous photos from the inauguration: These photos from Akufo-Addo’s inauguration will make you feel proud as a Ghanaian

It was impressive to see the peaceful election process, the smooth transition (especially looking at the situation in The Gambia this week, with regional military forces sent in from neighbouring countries), and the strong engagement by voters throughout. It was a little tense while they were waiting for the results to be announced, and we were sent home early from work that day, but it all went amazingly well. Impressive work by the Electoral Commission. Many challenges remain, and the economy is struggling, but Akufo-Addo has plans to cut taxes and open new businesses. Ghana was also praised internationally for peaceful elections.