Tag Archives: pancakes

Sesame banana pancakes on a lazy Sunday

brown bananasA quiet Sunday again: we’ve been off grocery shopping with a neighbour, and are now recovering next to the fan, drinking cold water. After a big thunderstorm last night, Accra is back to 32C and it is a sticky day. The harmattan is due soon, the dry northeasterly trade wind which blows from the Sahara Desert, bringing dust and hazy days. It’s already noticeable in the north, we hear, not so much here yet though humidity is dropping. I am soaking klippfisk for dinner, dried and salted cod from Norway, to try making bacalao later. And our banana glut continues, so this time it was sesame banana pancakes.

Sesame banana pancakes

175 gr all-purpose wheat flour
75 gr wholewheat flour
50 gr quick-cooking oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
500 ml milk, semi-skimmed (here, mixed from milk powder)
2 eggs
280 grammes very ripe bananas, mashed (here, about five small ones) 
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tbs sesame seeds
sunflower oil for frying

Add dry ingredients to a bowl: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oatmeal. Add the eggs and milk, and whisk it all together. Add the mashed bananas. Leave it to rest 15 minutes or so, then dollop a generous spoonful onto a hot oiled frying pan and fry until golden each side. Makes 10-12 depending on size.


We had these for breakfast with tinned pineapple jam from South Africa, listening to a reggae version of Celine Dion’s “That’s the way it is” on the radio. Reggae is popular here, so is Celine Dion. The French cultural centre Alliance Française in Accra hosted a Celine Dion evening here in October, Ghana celebrates Celine Dion, with Dutch and local singers performing. Quite an experience, and it was nice to hear live music – we do enjoy that here. We were at Alliance Française for pizza last week, and it was hip hop night – hmmmm, we enjoyed the pizza and then escaped. I must be getting old.

With two weeks to go until Christmas departure, a neighbour and I did the rounds yesterday: over to Osu for coffee, and gift shopping at Global Mamas. Fair trade (also online), and lovely jewellery, batik clothes and bags.


They also have some items from Trashy Bags, a social enterprise based in Accra that makes recycled eco-friendly bags and gifts from plastic trash. Like here, a toiletries bag from recycled drinking water sachets. They also have an online store.


Then we popped by the Chinese supermarket for fresh tofu, before we finished up at the French Christmas market. Now I just need to sort out who gets what, and supplement this with a book order. Not very commercial or holiday-ish here, which is fine. For some seasonal ambience I’ve tried to watch the start of this year’s Norwegian TV advent calendar Snøfall (yes, for kids) online, which actually works from Ghana!  But our Internet is too slow to watch it, despite our buying more bandwidth on Airtel scratch cards today. Our other Internet provider is down. Oh well. I really cannot complain, we are comfortable enough here and I’ll be able to Skype with friends during the holidays. It is soon time to pull out shoes, socks and the few winter clothes we have here, as we’ll be celebrating Christmas in Norway this year. Brrrr!

Reading the news, I have learned a new term this week: voting skirt and blouse. “Skirt and Blouse is a term in Ghanaian politics where party supporters vote for the flagbearer of the party but not the parliamentary candidate of the same party or vice versa.”  The elections here are on  Wednesday, when Ghana goes to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December for its seventh multi-party ballot since the end of military rule in 1992. Best wishes for that.



Risengrynsgrøt (Norwegian rice porridge)

Since we have been highlighting exotic Norwegian food, here is another classic. Risengrynsgrøt is a long name for a very simple dinner option, perfect for cold weather. Rome is still really hot and sticky, so this may be a bit premature…. This is rice porridge, like a thick congee or rice pudding – but served warm for dinner, often on Saturdays. Porridge rice is another food item I usually bring from Norway, but with a kilo or so stockpiled here, I am trying to use up what I have. It is a white, medium grain rice which must be imported to Norway, though from where? Anyway, risotto rice or English pudding rice should work as well.

Risengrynsgrøt (Norwegian rice porridge)
4 dl water
2 dl porridge rice (a white, medium grain rice)
1/4 tsp salt
1 litre semi-skimmed milk
For serving: butter, cinnamon and sugar.
To drink: Red cordial with water.

Bring water to a boil with rice, and let it simmer for ten minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Add milk and bring to a boil, continually stirring. Then turn the heat to its lowest setting, and let the grøt slowly cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on the rice you use. In Norway you can get five-minute porridge rice, very convenient. However, the 50 minute rice gives much nicer porridge, and that is what I used here. Stir from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn, it neds less attention and stirring than a risotto. The rice and milk will thicken nicely. Add more milk if needed. Add salt (important for taste! You will notice if the salt is not there.) When ready to eat, serve with cinnamon, sugar and finally: a teaspoon or so of butter. This is the smørøye, the “butter eye”.

That “butter eye” is delicious, and there is even an expression in Norwegian: å være midt i smørøyet, which means “to be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge”. It means to be in a very favourable place or situation. Now I wonder what the Italian equivalent of culinary-illustrated state of bliss would be…..? Surely there is one.

Norwegian ski sign on train

From a local train in Norway a couple weeks ago. Pram, something….bicycle….. It took me a moment to work out what the middle sign was for. Can you see? It is skis and poles! Of course the train has a built-in ski rack!

Normally you would mix leftover rice porridge with whipped cream to make riskrem, especally on Christmas Eve. Often with a blanched almond hidden inside, and whoever finds the almond wins a small marzipan pig. But Christmas is many months away, and we fancied pancakes, so that is what we made here the next day. It is easy enough to make a generous portion of rice porridge, to have some for lapper the next day. Norwegian pancakes are thin, but these are smaller and thicker. You could easily make this with leftover oatmeal porridge as well, you just need eggs and flour to bind it together.

Risgrøt lapper (pancakes)
400g leftover rice porridge
2 eggs, beaten
55g flour (1 desilitre)
10g sugar (1 tbs)
A little butter for frying
For serving: jam or sugar

Mix all, let stand a few minutes. Heat a frying pan, fry small pancakes, serve with jam or sugar.
Risgrøt pancakes

Norwegian pancakes (pannekaker) with ricotta and grape coulis

What do you do when you make grape jam and it just will not set? Re-name the runny jam a coulis, and make a quick batch of simple pancakes for Sunday breakfast. Also, be very happy that the other jam batches with plums and pears made yesterday fared better. 20130818-130020.jpg

Norwegian pancakes (pannekaker)

2 eggs
6 desilitres semi-skimmed milk
One desilitre wholewheat flour (60 g)
Two desilitres plain flour (120 g)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp of butter for
the pan when frying

Filling for each pancake, optional
A generous spoonful of ricotta
A genrous spoonful or two of grape coulis ( i.e. runny grape jam….) or other filling you like.


Beat the eggs, add flour and milk and salt. Whisk well. Let batter stand half an hour on the counter. Heat the frying pan, add a teaspoon of butter and ladle enough batter in to barely cover the pan. It should be quite thin. Don’t worry, it will hold together enough to flip. (If not, add a little more flour to the batter). When done on one side, flip and fry on the other side until golden.


Spread a little ricotta on half of each pancake, and some jam on the other half. Roll up, and enjoy!


Notes: Now, what to do with the other three small jars of runny green grape jam……? Sorry, coulis? It is too hot to contemplate re-cooking them, I am fanning myself after the tiny exertion of emptying the dishwasher. English football started again yesterday, so there is no point in asking my husband (currently glued to yet another game). Maybe a dessert with whipped cream, like an English fool (no pun intended). Any suggestions?