Tag Archives: living in Accra

Another Saturday craft market trip, Accra

img_20190302_121635289092853.jpgAfter my scouting for groundnuts last Saturday, we went to the monthly craft market at the W.E.B. Dubois centre in Cantonments, Accra. First Saturday of each month. It is so much nicer than the old location at the Goethe Insitute, there is more room and more vendors. Very expat focused, there are crafts and fabric, clothes and soap, black soap, Ghana coffee, jewelery, carvings and paintings and overall a good selection if presents are needed.  Some of the same vendors are at other markets other weekends, but it is easy when they are all on one place this one day a month.  You bump into friends, talk to seamstresses, it is good fun.

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Glass beads. I have not been to a bead making place yet, but that is on my list. You can also find craft popsicles (5 cedi, about 0.9 USD),  yoghurt, bread and muffins, vegetables, drinks….. and yes, bagels! They are actually quite nice, though pricey at 6 cedi each. We always buy more and get a discount, which is very nice.  Today we were late, so they only had two kinds left.

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Mmmmm, toasted bagels….. I know how to make them, but when it’s a humid 33C it is such sweaty work…… My last bagels from New Year’s in London are safe in the freezer, but will be liberated soon to continue my pantry challenge.

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Oh, the colours and fabrics here! Wonderful! As my clothes from three years ago get increasingly ragged, they are replaced with some clothes in local fabrics. We do wonder when we would wear some of these later, but that will be an issue later.

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Batik: what would look good as what? 20 cedis a yard  (3.6 USD), three yards for  fabric for a full-skirted dress, two yards for a straight dress no sleeves.  I will have to think about this.  Same time, next month.

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On a groundnut hunt in North Ridge

new buildings in North RidgeI am traveling next week, and had a request for Ghana groundnuts. They are delicious: roasted, not salted, a very nutty flavour. Groundnut soup here is amazing. I went for a walk in my old neighborhood this morning, to see if our chop shop lady where we always bought eggs and groundnuts had any.

img_20190302_094153But the shop was closed! So I walked on, being honked at by passing taxis. This is a typical ex-container shop. No goats or chickens seen on the street, there used to be a little flock out there. Quite a bit of construction, so maybe they have been moved on. There were new buildings there, and more coming.North Ridge

The wheelbarrow is a fresh coconut seller. Very refreshing on a hot humid morning, they lop off enough to poke a straw through and voila, coconut water. My goal: the next chop shop, in a green ex-container towards Alisa hotel. You can see the deep open gutters along the road. A friend fell in one and broke her leg a while ago, I have also seen cars get a wheel in them. Still, with with heavy rains like yesterday, good drainage is needed. At least these did not have sewage in them.

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Yes! Groundnuts for 3.5 cedi a bottle: about 64 US cents, the cedi just fell more so 1 USD=5.5 cedi. It was 1 USD=3.8 cedi  when I arrived, exported goods are going up in price. A small bottle of groundnuts used to be 3 cedi here, 2 cedi at our egg lady. Anyway, I was very happy, and quite sweaty by now.

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Fante kenkey at the second chop shop: fermented maize dumplings, wrapped in plantain leaves. Or is it maize leaves? Being fermented, these are quite temperature stable, but I resisted getting a couple kenkey for the trip. With short connections, luggage does go missing now and then. Ghana chocolate is a safer bet.

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Heading home: this little roadside shop had groundnuts mixed with popcorn,  for one cedi (which seems unusually cheap), so now I am all set. North Ridge is a nice green part of Accra, embassies and gated compounds, not very lively and no restaurants or supermarkets, but quiet. The neighborhoods of Osu and Labone are nearby for going out, and it’s close to work for us. There is a good jazz club nearby (+233). I also found a couple new fruit stands.

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Success! Time to go home and shower!

Use it up banana bread with chocolate biscotti filling

Accra traffic

Flagstaff House through traffic yesterday: this is the presidential palace in Accra, renamed last year to Jubilee House. February is still a pantry challenge month for me, but I must confess, I am getting very bored of pasta variations and mystery soups from the freezer. Tonight we are watching Bohemian Rhapsody as Oscar countdown, so time for some cake. After defrosting the chest freezer yesterday, I had some frozen bananas, some cream cheese, and some damp chocolate biscotti. Those had I put in the freezer to save them from the ants, but they had become rather damp, though still edible. Hmmmm, maybe a banana cream pie with biscotti base? No, cream is really expensive in Accra, so banana bread it was. Cream cheese survives freezing but was also not improved, so I dolloped that in as well. The crème fraîche was well over best before date, but tasted fine.

I even did a freezer inventory while defrosting: lots of chicken, lots of parmesan and grana  padano, several bags of icy sliced leeks, some pesto and even some crumpets and muffins from Christmas. And Tuscan pâté from last July! This is a shared freezer between three of us, so we corralled each items into different bags, which should help navigate the frozen depths better.

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We are following the elections in Nigeria and Senegal this weekend. Ghana has elections late next year, and things are already heating up. NDC is the main opposition party, NPP is currently in power. Elections were  relatively peaceful in 2016, we hope that continues.

It is also still mango season! There is a lady with a fruit stand near our office, normally she makes fruit salad but I get a special mango-only order. Do I want a five, seven or eight cedi mango? (1 USD=5.27 cedi, from 3.8 cedi to the dollar when we arrived.) It is a small luxury, getting my takeway mango these weeks while mangoes are still good.

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Use it up banana bread with chocolate biscotti filling

60 gr butter softened
85 gr white sugar
2 medium eggs
240 g mashed bananas  (about 4 small ones), peeled
200 ml crème fraîche  (or 1/2 cup sour cream)
1 cup  plain white wheat flour
1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Filling:
120 gr chocolate biscotti, crumbled
100 gr cream cheese

Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and whisk, then add mashed bananas and sour cream. Add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, vanilla sugar and salt.

Pour half the batter in a loaf pan (buttered, with parchment paper in base). Crumble the chocolate biscotti over the batter, then spoon over the cream cheese. Finally, pour over the rest of the batter and smooth it out in loaf pan. Bake in the middle of the oven at 200C for 50 minutes. Test with a wooden cake test stick or chopstick that the cake is baked through (no raw batter if you poke through it). Cool for 15-20 minutes (well, it is 33C here, your kitchen is probably cooler), then turn the loaf out onto a cooking rack. Enjoy with the movie of your choice!

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Note: we have very sweet bananas here, so you might need more sugar.

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