Tag Archives: food shopping

Catching up: Norway, London, Accra, Rome, Accra…….

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Catching up here after a lot of traveling on the last six weeks: first a white Christmas in Norway, lots of concerts and family. Sledding with our nephew. A bit of Christmas baking: this was sent by my sister, who is very fond of giraffes.

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Christmas presents from my parents: Norwegian food, some for my in-laws in London, some bound for Rome, and a few items for Accra (kaviar, apple jelly, prim). The reindeer sausage was delicious, and with all the cheese Veganuary is being delayed.

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A few days in London over New Year’s, with the English in-laws, who are lovely. Homemade Christmas cake, walks along the Thames, and always on offer: “a nice cup of tea”, which is black and strong with milk  (urrrrghhhh). They know I like my tea terribly weak by British standards. I bought mince pies (4 for 10p!) and flew back to Accra.

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One week in Accra, early January. The harmattan has been weaker this year (dry, dusty winds from the Sahara) but with lower humidity it was actually OK to walk around town. But then I went to Rome for work (such a hardship).

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Deepfried artichoke, mmmmmmm……  I had really intensive days of meetings and work planning, and very little time for seeing friends, but Rome is always lovely (despite the crumbling roads, piles of garbage – it will get better). We also had two nights in Tuscany with friends, during which I made chickpeas cacio e pepe. Really good. More to follow on that.

Now I am back in Accra for a month or so before the next trip, and am looking forward to getting back to regular cooking again. Today I am just making Italian lentil-pea soup, not very photogenic but good winter food (even when it is 31C……) The apple jelly survived the trip, so I need to bake bread soon.  For now it is just nice to unpack and start catching up here.

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A food shopping morning

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Another Saturday for errands: Labone Farmers Shop for certain vegetables (fresh sweetcorn, potatoes), then Fair Way for lentils and tahini, followed by frozen yoghurt at Pinkberry.  Accra has a surprisingly decent shopping selection, besides the roadside stands which can be excellent for pineapple, eggs and avocado. Different shops are good for different items, but you never know what will be in stock. Good bread flour comes in, then vanishes for several months, so I stock up and hope the storage containers are ant-proof.

No, I did not stock up on the Unicorn FrootLoops for 69.50 cedi which is fifteen USD….. or the alien fennel at Maxmart. I bought local pumpkin, ginger, green bell peppers, pineapple, carrots, green beans…. They are marking more items as “Product of Ghana” now, though you can usually tell from the prices what is imported.  Shoprite bananas are sometimes very green, so i got some of those as well as they will be perfect for banana fritters tomorrow.

More to tempt you: the frozen feet selection at Shoprite in Osu. My local supermarket in Rome sells fresh horse steaks, which is also exotic in its own way. Much of the Shoprite meat seems to come frozen from South Africa, but the packages below are produced in Ghana, which is good. So much imported food here, when there is so much potential. There is supposed to be a One DistrictOne Factory programme to create jobs and increase industrialisation, slow going so far but we hear a ceramics factory is on its way, and agro-processing factories are planned. If they create jobs and diminish food imports, that would be good.

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More avoided items: the new frozen cakes, at 135.99 cedi, which is 30 USD. Who can afford that? Very interesting, what shows up here, and where it comes from. The locally produced icecream FanIce is fine, and much more affordable. They sell individual icecreams in plastic sachets, and in a supermarket line the other day, a gentleman had four chocolate FanIces. “For a friend in New York!” he explained. He was flying out that night and was bringing the frozen FanIce pouches to his homesick Ghanaian friend, carefully wrapped in plastic bags. I hope they arrived safely.

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No, I bought my tinned orange marmalade and Ubered home. Maybe a steamed marmalade pudding tonight?  A good 1 May to all!

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“Solrose” bread for terrace drinks

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It’s Easter Monday, andre påskedag in Norway and Pasquetta here in Rome (little Easter), which is often marked locally with a picnic. Lovely sunny day, with a cool breeze, nice on a state holiday, and it’s been very quiet here in Garbatella. Our neighbours upstairs  just got married this weekend, and they have invited the condominium up for celebratory drinks on the rooftop terrace this afternoon. This bread is our contribution.

“Solrose” bread (makes two)

25 grammes fresh yeast
500 ml milk
50 grammes olive oil
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
50 grammes hulled sunflower seeds (plus some for top)
700 grammes plain wheat flour
50 grammes wholewheat flour

Milk for brushing just before baking (or a beaten egg)
Handful of hulled sunflower seeds

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk. Add everything, fold with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is smooth and you feel a bit of spring. Cover the bowl (plastic shower cap works well) and let it rest for an hour so, until it doubles. It depends how cool your kitchen is. Once doubled: tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and divide it in two. This will make two loaves (very handy when  you are heading to drinks at 1830, then dinner elsewhere at 1930…… This also transports well in cake carrier.)

For each half of dough: get your parchment paper ready, and form a round ball for the centre, then roll out a smooth sausage of dough to make a circle around the ball. Maybe 30 cm or so? Pinch the edges together so it is smooth.

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Then cut the ring every two cm or so, to get nice deep slashes right through to the parchment. Cover each sheet with a tea towel and leave to rest another 40 minutes or so, it will rise nicely (above is just rolled out). Heat oven to 220C  (210C if doing one tray at a time). Right before baking, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with more sunflower seeds.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, until nicely golden. I swapped the trays over after ten minutes to get a more even bake, I might try 210C and fan assist next time.

Note: This is adapted very lightly from “Gjærbakst på alle bord”, 1987. A classic! One of my first cookbooks when I left home for university. The original recipe calls for 50 grammes fresh yeast and much faster rises. You could also use 12.5 grammes dry yeast. Also, the recipe uses margarine rather than oil, and only 700 grammes white flour, but I thought the dough looked a bit wet so I added the wholewheat flour. Normally I’d brush the dough with beaten egg, for more shine, but loaf #2  is coming along for a dinner tonight where someone is allergic to eggs, so I used milk for both.

Tomorrow is my last day in Rome before heading back to Accra: coffee with neighbours,  go see the plumber, have pizza with friends, and in between, the last round of food shopping this time. Cheese, more cheese, celery, and zucchini. With limited fridge space there, there will be more longlife items on this trip: flour, crackers, olives, passata….. it will be shared and enjoyed!

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