Tag Archives: market

Back in Accra, making ricotta zucchini dumplings

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Back in Accra, where it is rainy season and a cool 26C. Nice! The monthly Goethe market  has moved to the W.E.B. Dubois centre, and was very nice indeed. First Saturday of the month, if you are ever in Accra, it is great for presents. Fabric, bags, jewelry, carvings, shea butter soap, and much more. Me, I bought bagels, eggs and spinach.

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Window shopping for future present needs: the batik bags are gorgeous. And I was very happy to see Afrisocks there.

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I’ve seen Afrisocks online, and plan to get some for Christmas presents. Nice to actually see the real thing, though. New patterns coming in October or November, and the current ones are great too. Also ladies socks are planned.

With rainy season in swing and some household items going moldy (suitcases, toiletry bag), best to not do any Christmas shopping too early.  I bought spinach from Sowgreen (behind the market, usually at Dubois every Saturday) and went home to make these ricotta, courgette and spinach dumplings. Normally that would be challenging here, but I am just back from Rome and had brought back fresh ricotta and zucchini. Yes, I make the most of my checked luggage. Then I saw the recipe in The Guardian yesterday and thought: it is a sign! Whoohoo! I can make that!

Normally I read through well-traveled BBC Good Food magazines, or my increasingly mottled cookbooks, noting recipes to try (preferably with available items like sweet potato, banana, avocado, eggs) while sighing over all the ingredients which are not available here (or are insanely expensive) and debating substitutes. It was fun to just follow the recipe for once.

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See  Thomasina Miers’ recipe for ricotta, courgette and spinach dumplings which were quite labour intensive, but very tasty.  I followed the recipe as indicated, just with a splash of KLM red wine from last flight in the tomato sauce. Lots of dumplings left so maybe I will try to freeze some. Or have them with cheese, hmmmm…..

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A good weekend to all!

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Port in Porto

Porto! Port, tiled churches, amazing views, lots of hills and layers of history. Walking downhill was the main plan. Where to start? We opted for Bolhao market, as it was near the metro and is due for renovation soon. And I love markets. This was mainly on the lower  level, not much fish as it was Monday morning. Lovely cherries though.

Live chickens at Bolhao. Next to it there was a cafe with live pigeons, not sure what those are used for. I’ve had pigeon in Beijing and would not eat it again. 

The sardines, however, looked great.

So did the octopus. 

We popped into Sao Bento train station to get tickets back to Lisbon two days later. Not necessary, but easy enough (30 euros, three hours) and the station itself has amazing tiles! 

 We headed down towards Ribeira for lunch, which everyone else seemed to be doing. However, we had an excellent lunch up a side street, grilled sardines and grilled tuna. Coffee took a while as they had a power cut (just like being back in Accra: lights out….) but we enjoyed the view and rested sore feet. No complaints!

Across the river, and off to a port tour. There were port houses wall to wall, and the little tourist booth have us a map with prices for yours and tasting. We went to Ferreira (10 Euro, 2 port types) and followed the Portuguese tour. At least our port vocabulary is improving.

Port tasting #1, perfectly nice but not amazing. Tawny and ruby.

Port tasting #2, at Noval. Just tasting, no tour which was fine by us. Gorgeous view!

 We splurged and got the five ports, 40 euro tasting. Interesting, the extra dry white port can be used with tonic for cocktails, we might need to get some for our planned Portuguese evening. The last two were very nice indeed, especially the 40 year old port. Just delicious, it spoils you for lesser ports. 

Our friend went back to another port house the next day and decided to go straight to the very good port. Amazing paired with chocolate, she reports. 

Slightl tipsy, getting the funicular up the hill. Well worth 2.50! 

We wandered to the Bolhao metro stop, after stopping for mystery custard tarts. Not pasteis de nata, but similar. And we passed this church with azules facade, which I know is in the guidebook but we were too tired to look it up. 

Porto is definitely worth another more in-depth visit, to be planned!

From Agbogbloshie Market, and shop selfies

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I thought I’d be shopping more at local markets here in Accra, but I confess, groceries are generally gotten at the supermarket. Our area (North Ridge) is pleasant but market-less, though there are always street vendors with fried plantain, pies and bread rolls. It’s a weekend hop by taxi to one of the supermarkets, since we do not have a car, and we manage. I went to Agbogbloshie Market one weekend with a colleague, near the river, where you can smell rubbish burning and going in is easier by taxi as the road is rough. It is a great market, though – we only looked for vegetables and fruit, which seemed to be sold primarily by female stallholders.

from Agbogbloshie Market
An olunka (large can) of tomatoes, twenty oranges, two watermelons…. you wander from stall to stall, looking at produce and discussing price. It gets heavy, carrying all of this, but you can get someone to carry it for you (on a metal bowl on their head)  which feels a bit odd but is practical, as the maze of stalls stretches out and you are still looking for good avocados. It was really nice, having a wander in a good market again. Of course I know that hygiene is an issue, but the quality was good and everything was washed well before consumption. It’s not easy to get there, but I might try Nima market soon, that is closer and smaller. Makola market here has EVERYTHING but it is huge, and a bit more intimidating. Foreigners were scarce at Agbogbloshie market – some colleagues say they think the market is dirty, so they just send their maid or shop at one of the supermarkets. I miss markets, but am a terrible haggler and supermarkets are easier, as well as more accessible by taxi. No buying imported imported red bell peppers there though – those are 79 cedi/kilo, almost 20 USD. The local green bell peppers are fine, at a fraction of the price.

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I still find supermarkets interesting here. They are generally South African or Lebanese, and the selection and prices can differ  quite  a lot, so it takes some trekking around to get what you need. Getting groceries in Accra is actually much better than expected. Most good are imported, and expensive, though here the vaguely Disney-themed Vietnamese rice was cheaper than the local brown rice. There are sometimes weevils in some items, so we have learned to keep cereal in the fridge (sometimes after freezing it to kill off remaining wildlife) and I decant everything to sealed containers. At home ants are omnipresent, and they are fast and fierce if anything is left out, so my husband is getting much better at wiping up crumbs. The ants haven’t gone for dry pasta yet, I am not sure why.

It seems to be somewhat aspirational to shop in supermarkets, many people will buy only a few items (no wonder, groceries are expensive!) and well-dressed younger people will often pose for selfies in the aisles and post it on the shop site. There I am, pushing a small cart with French UHT milk, Coco Pine cordial (it’s coconut and pineapple), wondering about the ridiculous price of toilet paper and when Shoprite will have bread flour again, it’s been several weeks, and  – oh dear, I wandered into someone’s photo shoot again, in the detergent aisle. Three teenage boys posing with baseball caps and cool-dude gestures, and the slightly sweaty obruni (foreigner) walking into the picture frame. I apologise, scoot past them and continue my search for a plunger while they continue their stylish selfies, next to ant spray and laundry detergent. You would not see that in London or Rome (“Whoohoo, I am at Tesco’s! Or Carrefour!”), I have not quite figured out yet why this is so popular.

Today I found very small green cucumbers in the produce section! Very exciting! So I’ll be making pickles this afternoon, something I had not planned to do in 33C but we have been pickle-less for ages, so I shall try. A very good Sunday to you all!

(For reference, if you are looking: no plungers at present at Shoprite Osu, Koala, or LaraMart, but we found one at Marina Mall.)