The young chicken at the grilled plantain shack, on my way to work. My sister sends pictures of happy Norwegian allotment chickens in the green, I send her back my urban Accra chickens. There are chickens all over, even near our office in Ministries: they roam, forage, cross the road, and even manage to hatch chicks. Of course, you do not see many cats out, they tend to get eaten. The chickens are however prolific, and seem to manage well.
After the ant debacle last week, I made pizza and brownies for Saturday night movie night at home. I do like Accra, but there are increasing reports of kidnappings and violent home invasions (guns, AK47s), also in gated compounds, and not just for expats, so I try to be home well before dark (630 PM) most nights unless I am going out with friends. Normally December is high crime time, now locals blame Nigerians. Friends are more chill about this, but now I see mentions of fellow expats looking to buy guns, which is not encouraging. I do a lot of walking in the morning in Accra, and generally have no problems. Taxis will honk, kids will say “Obruni! Good morning!” (obruni is foreigner). Bored guards will try to chat you up (“You are so beautiful! Are you a Christian?” despite my being redfaced and sweat-dripping. I usually say I am an atheist, that works well. Here’s a basic focaccia style pizza, as I am trying to use up my old flour, frozen cheese and nduja (a spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Calabria). Nduja keeps for ages in the fridge in a glass jar, as long as it is covered in olive oil.
100 grammes wholewheat flour
400 grammes plain wheat flour (we used 00, though 0 is recommended)
20 grammes olive oil
4 grammes dry yeast
350 grammes water
Later: 10 grammes salt.
2-3 tbs oil, to oil the baking parchment
Mix, leave for an hour, then add salt and fold again. Leave dough covered to rise 6-7 hours at room temperature. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge, 24 hours there is recommended. It will rise and should become very elastic. It needs to be handled carefully, to keep the air bubbles in the dough. No rolling pins. It was a little heavier this time with the wholewheat flour, but tasty.
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
100 grammes tomato paste
about 100 grammes water
3 tsp nduja
Enough grated cheese to cover the pizza lightly (maybe 150 grammes?)
Gently fry the chopped onion, then add tomato paste, water and nduja. Cook for a few minutes while you heat the oven to 250C (with oven tray inside) and stretch out the dough. I used a silicon baking sheet with a little olive oil on (2 tbs or so), baking parchment would work too. The dough is poured out, then eased out using fingers to stretch into a rectangle. You want to keep the air bubbles, so gentle is the way to go. Gently spoon on topping and grated cheese. Slide the silicon sheet with dough over to the hot tray: much easier if you are two, one holding the hot tray and one pulling the silicon sheet over on to it. Bake at 250C until done (8-12 minutes, depends on your oven) and enjoy.
Not pretty but tasty, three of us ate most of it. I still do not know how much longer I will be in Accra (three months? three years?) so I am continuing my pantry challenge, more specifically a freezer challenge. Lots of frozen cheese (parmesan freezes well, cream cheese does not) and frozen bananas, leeks and celery: maybe a baked tuna casserole? Filo pastry with bananas? We shall see.)