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.


Zucchini carrot ricotta-pesto rose tart, #3, and clothes shopping


Fall! Crisp underfoot, leaves, pumpkin, bonfires…… Here in Accra there is no sense of fall, just temperatures creeping up after the rainy season and unseasonably early Christmas decorations in the supermarkets. Trees are flowering and I am so glad I stocked up on allergy medications while recently in Europe. As usual I brought some ricotta, which ended up in this rose tart. I first made this in 2013, which seems like ages ago. A little fiddly to make, but very satisfying.

Zucchini carrot ricotta-pesto rose tart, #3

One package ready-made puff pastry
3 zucchini
3 carrots
120 gr fresh pesto
250 gr ricotta
Salt, pepper

Roll out your dough into a pie dish. (Here it came with carta al forno, baking paper.)  Slice the zucchini and carrots lengthwise into long thin strips, with a potato peeler or a mandolin. Here I used a cheese slicer, which made the slices a little too thick. I doubled the ricotta and pesto and soldiered on.

Mix pesto and ricotta, half of each, with a little salt and pepper. Spread some ricotta-pesto mix on the strips of carrot and zucchini. I did this directly on the pastry. Roll the strips somewhat tightly together, so they looks like a rosebud. (Yes, albeit a pesto-smeared, green one.) This time I smeared some ricotta mix on the pastry base, which made it easier to assemble the rose roll when cooking alone.


This is finicky, but the rolls held together well. Alternate carrot and zucchini, rolling until you have a good sized roll. Add last strips to fill the dish. Tuck the pastry edges over.
Bake at 180C until it looks done. Twenty minutes or so? Slice into wedges and enjoy. We did!


For some colour: shirts at the small craft market at the WEB Dubois center. My wardrobe contents are gradually getting replaced by locally made clothes, generally tailored, but the craft markets are fun. After almost three years in Accra, sweating through clothes at least once a day, my old work tops are fraying and fading. However, my dress sense and current outfits are definitely getting brighter after three years in Accra. This time I bought a dark blue batik jacket with bell sleeves, relatively sober: definitely too hot for Accra, but this will be good for work trips where the airconditioning can be fierce (or absent), and layering can be key. This cost 120 Ghana cedis, which is about … 24.5 USD, with a bit of a discount. I find it hard to bargain as a privileged foreigner here, but love these textiles.


Soon to be seen at a workshop somewhere!

Fennel soup with zucchini, to cure a cold

Ah, Rome and Garbatella….. I had two days at home before flying back to Accra, and made the most of it: prosciutto e melone, gelato, pizza bianca slathered with fresh ricotta with truffles. Here we’ve just had cappuccini at the bar before the August heat became too oppressive.  We bumped into neighbours, some complaining about the caldo africano (“African heat”…) and the state of the streets, with grafitti, uncollected garbage piling up and a multitude of potholes. I was also updated on  #flambus, the Atac buses catching fire.  Still, it was lovely to be back, especially to see friends and wander round the neighborhood before it got too hot.

Even early in the day the cicadas were noisy. I did my usual grocery shopping for Accra (pasta, tuna, six kinds of cheese) with some fresh vegetables added in. Once back  in Accra I went down with a terrible cold, so besides a little mushroom risotto, this soup was the only thing I have actually cooked yet.  It was really just to salvage the fennel, which had gotten a bit battered, but it was very good when down with a bad cold.
Fennel soup with zucchini

2 tbs olive oil
2-3 medium large fennel bulbs, cored and diced
3 cloves garlic
1 lone zucchini that did not fit in the box, diced
1 litre vegetable stock
pepper (I was heavy-handed)

Fry the chopped fennel for a few minutes, then tip in zucchini and garlic and stock. If you have an onion, chop that and chuck that in too. Bring to boil and cook gently for ten minutes, until the fennel is tender. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a mug while you sniffle and cough and watch an episode of “Take Two”.  Neither will tax you.