Shrimp risotto in Norway


From a small island in Tuscany to a small island in Norway: Utsira, well known for listeners of the BBC Shipping Forecast. We are here for a family holiday, a nice respite from the heat of Rome with rain and wind and some very nice days. It is a small island, great for birdwatching and with about 200 residents. Lovely trails to walk, though very wet this week.


Nordvikvågen, the north end where you can see the ferry has arrived. Excellent connections to Haugesund. Lots of tourist information here, in several languages. Utsira has lots of interesting street art as well, and people are very nice. Highly recommended.


Anyway, we’d had some excellent fresh sjøkreps for lunch, bought at the very well-stocked grocery store in the south end of the island. These are also called scampi, Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn or langoustine. We volunteered to make risotto for dinner, using the sjøkreps shells to make stock. My parents wanted some shrimp in as well, so I peeled those and threw the heads in the stock pot as well, with a little celery. It simmered for an hour so, then I sieved it through kitchen roll to get the grit out. Just use fish stock if that is easier (I buy fish stock cubes when I am in Norway).

Shrimp risotto for a rainy day

Knob of butter (I made do with rapeseed oil)
One onion, peeled and finely chopped
Three sticks of celery, finely chopped
One cup of risotto rice (I had brought Vialone Nano)
Half a glass of white wine
One litre of seafood stock, just on the boil
Chopped celery leaves
Chopped chives, a generous handful
A cup of peeled shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of dried chili

Have two pots ready, one to make the risotto in and one for to keep the stock just on the boil. Melt the butter in pot #2, add onion and celery and cook a couple minutes. Add dry rice and let it toast gently with the onion and celery. Add wine. Keep stirring gently. Now start ladling in the hot stock, one ladle at a time. Once that has been absorbed, add another ladle: keep going for 20-25 minutes. Risotto is not complicated, it just takes patience and attention, and a lot of stirring. Nice to do in a holiday kitchen with the windows getting steamy, rain beating against the window and English football on the radio (for my husband).

You’ll be able to feel the rice getting to the right consistency, not too soft but not al dente either. Add the chopped celery leaves and chives, and when it is almost done stir in the shrimp and taste: does it need salt and pepper? Serve and enjoy.
















More Accra snapshots


Oh, the joy of the rainy season! Amazing what a few degrees temperature drop means in terms of ambling around town actually being pleasant. Rather than Ubering, I have been walking and exploring new streets in our area of Accra.


Walking to Osu one day: goats! Small but glossy. I have a work trip coming up and wanted to get some Ghanaian chocolate as gifts for the hosts: Niche has a new multipack, good for sharing.  I was quite pleased to see this new coffee in Shoprite: still robusta coffee, but the packaging is very Accra, with the the Jamestown lighthouse. Definitely need to get some to try. 37 cedi is about … 7 USD.


New street explored, new food place to try when open.


Food for the soul as well: they do like religious events here. Prophets, apostles: there are always posters for past and upcoming encounters.


Some modern skyline for you, at the African Union roundabout.


And some outfits in the gorgeous local fabric: here, you can wear this every day. The longer I am here, the colorful my wardrobe gets.


Accra catch-up


It’s been a while: too much traveling, too much work. Nice to be back in Accra to enjoy the cooler weather. Under 30C, a little overcast many days: I’ve been walking and walking, enjoying being outside without immediately dripping with sweat. The rainy season is here, which is such a nice change.


A kenkey shack.  Kenkey is a sourdough dumpling usually served with pepper sauce and fried fish or soup, stew. Many great signs, but it is hard to take pictures here so when it’s a weekend, I try to capture a bit of Accra. It’s not just deep choked gutters, goats and poverty, there are also modern buildings, a lively arts scene and very nice people.


The National Theatre, very sweeping and white.


Two Canadians were kidnapped in Kumasi. Thank goodness they have been rescued, and of course we are told the kidnappers were all Nigerian. Nigerians are blamed for a lot of crime here.  There have been several kidnappings here in the last months, so we are keeping an ear out. Being told not to take taxis or Ubers is not really practical for many of us, and generally Accra is not that unsafe so far.


So I’ve had my walks, looking at chop shops (food shacks) which are often seem to have bits of shipping containers in their structure. Trees and churches, bored guards on plastic chairs, chickens, compound walls with “PROPERTY NOT FOR SALE”  or “DO NOT URINATE HERE”, discarded water sachets, carefully swept sidewalks. Lottery booths, kids in school uniforms, early morning joggers, ladies selling bread rolls or bananas, tro-tros (minibus taxis) with Shatta Wale pictures.


Beautiful baskets, of course. (Yes, I bought another one.)

shatta wale on tro tro

Here you are: tro-tro with a) religious phrase and b) Shatta Wale!