Tag Archives: food shopping

Two days in Cairo, no sightseeing: but kaviar!

downtown Dokki

What a week…… After a bout of presumptive malaria and feeling like death warmed over, rapid treatment with Coartem did the trick. I recovered, and was cleared to travel a few days later – which was good, as I had a work trip to Cairo coming up. Still exhausted, though, so no sightseeing whatsoever. Just work, and back to the hotel to rest. Such a pity! Cairo is huge, and there is so much to see. Population of 9.5 million, massive concrete flyovers and neon billboards, many political as elections happen soon. Dense traffic, towering buildings with satellite dishes and A/C units with extensive external wiring. Friends in Accra recommended sunrise trips to see the pyramids, dinner Cruises on the Nile, museums…. Next time.


The exciting hotel room view. The pyramids were only 30 minutes drive away, but they close at 4 PM (so I was told). Maybe I’ll need to plan a holiday later this year? We have friends in Alexandria, which is supposed to be lovely. Oh well, another time.

The second day, I got back to the hotel before dark, so I wandered off to look at the neighbourhood (Dokki) and to see if I could find fresh hummus. They had wonderful hummus in Cairo. I did find a excellent supermarket (Seoudi), but the deli counter was absolutely mobbed, it did look delicious. Asking for hummus in the shop got me dried chickpeas; despite trying to explain dried chickpeas + tahini and miming spreading and eating, no luck. The staff were super nice though, and I really need to learn a bit more Arabic. Shukran!


But look what I found! Norwegian kaviar! I was SO excited!!! I hoard this when traveling from Norway, and try to streeeeeetch each tube out so until the next trip home.  It is smoked cod roe paste for sandwiches, not the fancy Russian kind, but delicious.


Who does not love a foreign supermarket? I had emptied out workshop papers, so my suitcase was stuffed instead with rather random groceries going back to Accra —  blocks of feta, cream cheese, oatmeal, excellent crackers, mystery cake mixes, cereal, Fairy liquid, honey, and the precious kaviar  — all this for about 23 USD.  Cheese for everyone! My flatmates were happy.

Next trip to Cairo will be more cultural, I swear. People were really nice, and I definitely want to go back.


Coconut carrot cake, Stranger Things round two

Fante kenkey

Fante kenkey (fermented maize dumplings), steamed in plantain leaves. Ga kenkey is not dissimilar, but is salted and wrapped in corn husks (if I have not gotten them mixed up again….). There are some interesting fermented foods in Ghana. Kenkey can be stored unrefrigerated, is produced from local crops, and has probiotic properties. This was at my local corner shop in Accra, where I had gone to buy eggs.

local shop Accra

Groundnuts, toilet paper, biscuits, drinks: what do you need? I needed eggs.

buying eggs in Accra

We are still waiting for travel clearances for our return to Italy, so today I’ve defrosted the freezer and scrubbed the balcony, both sweat-dripping processes. Clothes and bookshelves are being given away, cupboards are emptied. Next weekend we might be moving all we have into three taxis and moving into an Airbnb, but everything is on standby, so I have just collapsed under the fan to watch “The Wedding Planner”. And yesterday, we finished the last four episodes of Stranger Things season two, with a friend, homemade pizza and this cake.


It’s basically BBC Good Good Food’s Coconut carrot slices  which looks amazing. See link for recipe. But the recipe calls for 250g butter and 300g light muscovado sugar, which a) seems like an awful lot and b) we did not have. We are emptying the kitchen and making do with what we have. So I made it roughly following the recipe, but with only 100g butter and 100g sugar + 2 tbs honey, and it turned out just fine. The grilled coconut topping makes the cake really good, with a pinch of vanilla salt added.

Note: the recipe calls for 2 tsp mixed spice, which we did not have either, so I used cinnamon and allspice. Maybe 3 tsp next time, or fresher spices. The buttery coconut topping reminds me of Danish Drømmekage, which is on my to-make list. But looking at what is left in pantry and fridge, I think sticky toffee pudding is next, also to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Despite all being so uncertain about our move, we have to breathe a bit. 

The rest of Stranger Things was also excellent!


Saturday: grocery run to Osu


Another action-packed weekend in Accra  (ha……) with laundry and a grocery run to Osu, where the closest supermarket is. Here’s the fruit stand opposite Koala, at the top of Oxford Street, which has expanded and has a quite good selection. I still haven’t found the nearby lady with green zucchini.


Uber-ing down Oxford Street: phone cards, sunglasses, football shirts, fabric, phone, cards, what do you need? With no car, and my deep dislike of haggling with taxi drivers (“It’s always 20 cedi to Osu!”), Uber makes it so easy to get around town.


Oh no! Shoprite already has Christmas trees! And tinsel on all vertical areas! Well, we are still preparing to leave Accra in 4-5 weeks, though paperwork is pending, and our lease is cancelled, so we just needed milk (UHT or powdered…) and vegetables to help keep the pantry challenge going. It’s getting easier to find “Product of Ghana” vegetables in the supermarket, like beetroot, green beans, pumpkin, cabbage, chilis, eggplant. Nice, also as it is getting too hot for market shopping.

Accra street

Waiting for our ride home again: Though you cannot see it, the Shoprite guard in the yellow vest is trying to shoo out a hen with chicks who are under the grey car. The car driver is trying not to run over the chickens, who would refused to budge  – it all went well in the end.


On the way home, we passed this funeral gathering (obvious from red and black tents) for a female professor. Funerals are often huge events here. The red and black are colours of mourning, whereas white and black are colours to celebrate someone’s life. Apparently the owner of the bakery next door just died, and they are starting a week to commemorate her from tomorrow: hence the white and black decorations.


Sunday afternoon update: the week of commemorative celebrations has begun next door. Lots of people gathered under canopies, big turnout, with religious music and hymns on the sound system all day, interspersed by speeches and sermons. All very loud. Our friends in Tamale had a church next door, with services and music every night  – their windows kept neither mosquitoes nor shouted sermons no tinny gospel out, much more invasive, so we really cannot complain over one day of noise here. Normally we only hear fragments from the nearby churches and mosques on the wind. Time to make Thai chickpea curry with coconut meat and green beans.