Fusilli with broccoli and prosciutto


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.


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 I had some prosciutto from Rome, slightly out of date but still perfectly edible, so in it went, as a little luxury.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.


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!

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage


Thanks to travelling, I had zucchini again. They can be found in Accra, but as those were imported and cost 17 cedi each (USD 3.45), they are just too expensive for me. This was an impromptu dinner, a cross between pasta con ricotta e salsiccia and spaghetti tossed with fried zucchini, garlic and cheese. A friend had chicken sausage, so we added that and hey presto, dinner!

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage

300 gr spaghetti
2 tbs good olive oil
3-4 chicken sausages  (or other meaty sausage you like)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 zucchini, sliced into medallions  (not too thick)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of chili flakes

to serve:
250 gr ricotta

Boil the pasta in salted water. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the sausages. I like to squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings, into bite-sized pieces. The chicken sausage was not very greasy so I added olive oil. Add chopped garlic. Once the sausage starts to be cooked through, add the sliced zucchini to the pan and continue to fry until they are cooked through. Add a little salt and pepper, and some chilli flakes. If you have some leftover wine, a splash would be nice.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little cooking water, then put it back in the pot off the heat. Spoon in ricotta, and stir through the zucchini and sausage. Add a little starchy pasta cooking water if it looks dry. Serve with grated pasta.


And from Accra: the ex-Ghana Airways plane which is now a restaurant was painted white over the summer.


Aiports, and pasta with radicchio and pancetta


Airport shopping, Accra style. When you travel a lot, but do not have access to airport lounges, you tend have aiports you like and ones you try to avoid. Ones I like: Schiphol (poffertjes, good wifi, cheese, lots of seats) and Joburg (good wifi, interesting, food shopping, lots of seats) and ones more mediocre: Addis (chronically overcrowded,  but freshly coffee beans if you can find them among all the Chinese duty free – look for date stamp and gold foil packets), and CDG: fancy but meh. Most charging ports are broken. So we have been quite excited about the new terminal in Accra. The old terminal 2 was not bad, but this is much nicer. There is a chocolate shop, a shea butter shop, and a food court I have not tried yet as it is before security.

shea shop Kotoka

Anyway, back to food. We have a canteen at work, but I pack my own lunch. I love the bitterness of radicchio, and this came together very quickly while the pasta boiled.

Pasta with radicchio and pancetta

150 gr smoked pancetta (or bacon)
Half a head of radicchio, sliced and chopped
250-300 grammes of short dry pasta

to serve: grated parmesan or grana padano

Boil pasta in salted water until just al dente. In the meatime, fry the pancetta until beginning to crisp and then add the sliced radicchio to the frying pan. Toss with the pancetta until the radicchio wilts slightly.  When the pasta is done (I taste it – careful, it will be hot), then drain off the water and add the radicchio-pancetta mix to the pasta. Stir it through, and serve with some grated cheese.


This was three servings. Here is the pasta the day after, just microwaved for lunch. Nice!


A fire truck!  Hardly ever seen here. An ex-president lives in that compound, and there is roof building work there: they might have been using the ladder to help with that. Or there might of course actually have been a fire, but it was very calm there.