Tag Archives: pantry challenge

Crumbly helkornbrød in Accra

img_20190316_115703

The Ghana cedi exchange rate to the US dollar has been going up and down this month, and prices are increasing. Since October, drinking water has gone up from 8 cedi for a 19.5 litre Voltic container to 10 cedis, 25% more. It’s only about 2 dollars delivered, affordable for us, but noticeable. At least the pineapples are still cheap (1.99 cedi is about 40 cents) and very good. Ghana pineapple is amazing, very sweet.

It is a quiet Sunday here, warm as usual, maybe 31C but only 70% humidity so quite manageable. I have baked bread and am waiting for the loaves to cool enough to slice, to be enjoyed with some of the French cheese I brought back. My husband is here, which is lovely, but my pantry challenge continues: what can I cook from the cupboard? We had cassoulet for dinner last night, from a tin but with white beans, Toulouse sausages and duck: just delicious. The Guardian has a whole store cupboard special this weekend,  presumably for pre-Brexit, and some of those look very tempting.

This is baked with fresh yeast, since my dry yeast has given up the ghost, and is quite a wet dough. My flour is also getting old, but this baked well enough. I only made two small loaves, so I can bake again later in the week and enjoy fresh bread again.

Crumbly Accra helkornbrød (with cracked wheat)

125 gr cracked wheat (about 200 ml)
250 ml water

500 ml cold water
12.5 gr fresh yeast (or 6-7 grammes dry yeast)
1 heaping tsp sugar
1 tbs sunflower oil
125 gr medium coarse rye flour
500 gr white wheat flour  (see notes: more recommended)
1 tsp salt

Boil water and cracked wheat for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

In your baking bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add boiled cracked wheat, no draining (the water should be absorbed in cracked wheat). Add oil, sugar, salt, and flours. Stir well. This is a wet dough, too wet to knead. Cover and let rest until it doubles (a couple hours here), then fold again. Line two medium bread tins with baking parchment, and pour dough in. Cover and let rest until it doubles (half an hour here). Bake 50-60 minutes at 200C. Cool on rack before slicing.

img_20190324_132712

Notes: This was a very moist dough, so though I had planned to bake it 45 minutes, it needed another 10-15 minutes for the sides and base to crisp up. These were very crumbly loaves, as you see below, sliced while still warm but mainly due to dough: next time I’ll add more flour, maybe 150 grammes more? Good flavour though, and better structure next time.

img_20190324_133153

Advertisements

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.

img_20190219_124750

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.

img_20190222_090752

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!

img_20190224_135252

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

img_20190224_134901

Fusilli with broccoli and prosciutto

img_20190105_093321

Back in Accra, where it is hot and sunny as usual. Here some handwoven baskets by the roadside, and it is always tempting to pick up another one.

img_20190105_093307

Need a broom or a rake? These are also available by the roadside. I was walking from Cantonments to Osu, on my way to the Chinese supermarket to buy fresh tofu and bok choi. Anyway, this month I am doing a pantry challenge and a no-shop month. Time to excavate the cupboards and the freezer, and to be a bit creative with what is on hand. I had some prosciutto from Rome, slightly out of date but still perfectly edible, so in it went, as a little luxury.

Fusilli with broccoli and prosciutto

One head of broccoli
1 tbs olive oil
One onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
200 grammes prosciutto
400 grammes of pasta
Handful of grated parmesan

Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch them in salted boiling water until tender, maybe five minutes? Fish the broccoli out and boil the pasta in the same water. At the same time, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic. Then add the prosciutto, diced (scissors work well). When the pasta is done, toss it all together and serve with grated parmesan.

img_20190205_173311

If you have safe water, add a little starchy pasta boiling water to moisten the pasta before adding cheese. There is typhoid and cholera here, and I cooked this with tap water, so better to be safe.

Enjoy with season five of Alias: we have three episodes to go before the very end!