Tag Archives: apples

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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Another easy apple cake, and a goat

goat at 233 jazz barIt’s Good Friday, a public holiday here in Ghana and another sunny day. We just went for a walk in the neighbourhood. Actually we just meant to go to the bakery nearby, we overlook their backyard and they were cooking something that smells amazing: goat pepper stew, and maybe jollof rice? They have cooked lunches some days. But the bakery itself was closed, so we went for a slow amble nearby. We met this goat at the 233 Jazz club, and even managed to buy phone scratch cards in a tiny shack of a shop. Success!

wp-1458912796918.jpgYesterday was a big football day: the Black Stars of Ghana played the Mambas of Mozambique, at the Accra Sports Stadium. It ended 3-1 in favour of Ghana. The national football team stays at the hotel next door when they are in town, so we heard the cheers as they arrived last night. Here they are heading off this morning. I had vague plans of an overnight trip to Cape Coast over Easter, but after a long week of power cuts, increasingly bad Internet and intermittent (then no) running water one day at work, I just wanted to stay home and enjoy some modern comforts. The rainy season is starting, and it is going to get worse, my colleagues say. So a little apple cake and iced tea here feels wonderfully luxurious — not to mention having a toilet that flushes!

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Another easy apple cake 
3 small eggs
100 grammes sugar
100 ml milk
40 grammes soft butter
170 grammes all-purpose white wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder

2 apples, peeled cored and sliced
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Use a 24 cm baking tin, with baking parchment in base. Whisk eggs and sugar, add softened butter, and stir in rest. Toss apple slices with sugar and cinnamon, bake at 200C for 35 minutes or so. Cool slightly. Serve with ice-cream, if you have some.

Happy Easter to all!

Notes: this was slightly overbooked but good. And one nice surprise is OK ice-cream here, though it has often melted and been re-frozen. It  is a challenge to get ice-cream home when it’s a really hot day (every day is hot), so I have plans to try making some at home with a powdered milk base and fresh fruit. 

 

 

Mors eplekake: a proper Norwegian cake, via South Africa

Mors eplekake

Sunday morning, another sunny day in Accra and three power cuts so far this morning. Thank goodness we have a generator! No, it’s OK, we made oatmeal and sat on the balcony enjoying the breeze, looking at the city. My lovely husband has finally gotten us a 500 Gb/month Vodaphone connection, after much patience and waiting, which means we can actually listen to BBC radio! And use Internet without less worried counting of data use, which is great. It’s still slow and flaky, but a vast improvement, at 400 cedi a month, about 100 USD. To celebrate, and because the oven would be on (electricity is expensive here!) to make pizza, I made a quick apple cake as well.

This is “Mors eplekake”, Mother’s Apple Cake from “Mat for all”, Food for Everyone. It was my first cookbook when I left home at 19 to go to university, and was a present from my youngest brother, who was 11 at the time. It’s a great basic cookbook: porridge, soups, bread, lutefisk, meatballs, and yes – cakes. When I was choosing which books to bring in our initial shipment to Accra, where every kilo counted, I packed two cookbooks: “Mat for alle” (for practical cooking) and Rachel Roddy‘s “Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome”, for Roman inspiration and to both inspire and address twinges of homesickness for Rome. Much like the smell of an apple cake baking will do, though Accra is slowly becoming more home.

Mors eplekake: a proper Norwegian apple cake, via South Africa

3 eggs
120 grammes sugar
1 tsp baking powder
135 grammes plain wheat flour
100 ml milk
75 grammes butter, softened

3 apples, peeled cored and sliced into slices
To toss apples in:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar

Whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, milk, and softened butter. (In Accra, butter will currently soften after about one minute out of the fridge. Five minutes, it has melted….) Heat the oven to 190C. Line the base of a round 25 cm baking tin with baking parchment, and pour batter in. Toss apple slices with a little cinnamon and sugar, and stick in then into the cake batter (pushed down a little,m the cake will rise. Fancy apple pattern optional.)  Bake at 190C for 30 minutes or so, until done when tested with a cake wooden skewer and nicely golden on top. Very nice!

Notes: The cake was a little low, probably because the eggs were quite small, but very buttery and delicious. I might use four small eggs next time. Eggs are randomly odd here, even supermarket ones, so I crack each individually before adding them to batter as some are weirdly opaque and strange in texture. I would have added ginger, if I’d had some. This was made with strong white bread flour, not cake flour. Great for bread baking, I am so pleased to have access to good flour here. It would have been good with vanilla ice-cream, which is quite nice here (and not imported! Fan Ice!) though getting ice-cream home before it melts is an ongoing challenge. 
south african butterWhy call this apple cake via South Africa? Well, I was assembling this and looking at the ingredients: despite good intentions, there is a lot of imported food in our kitchen. Here, eggs from Ghana, yes, but apples, butter and flour from South Africa, bought here (Shoprite is a South Africa store). Semi-skimmed UHT milk from France (preferred for coffee, though I am learning to use the powdered milk from Ghana, which is fine but full-fat) . Ground cinnamon and baking powder from Norway. You can get baking powder here, but I know how this one behaves so I brought some the last time I went back, along with ground cinnamon, which I have still not found here, only cinnamon sticks. I have heard that there is a spice section in the market of Nima, a nearby neighbourhood here in Accra, so that is on my list to explore. A bit less daunting than the large central Makola Market. The quest for ground cinnamon continues! I might also find some local peppers, this article “Neglected & forgotten spices & seasonings of Ghana” describes some look really interesting!