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africanOz FLAVOUR OF THE MOMENT

As well as the following Fruit Salad, don't forget some previous summer favourites:
Banana icecream (West Africa) (right side page) | West African Ginger Beer | East African Avocado Whip Dessert


African Fruit Salad & Fruit Juice
fruit saladTo start the year, we sing praise to the African fruit salad & juice! In Africa, it's best to buy the ingredients from a streetside vendor, with high quality avadacos, mangoes & other fruits that are often expensive in the West available in cheap and plentiful numbers.

African Fruit Salad For anyone who has lived in East Africa, there's no dessert more nutitious and tasty than a freshly chopped fruit salad. In Kenya it's often flavoured with a touch of sugar. In Ethiopia with fresh lemon and sugar water - truly an edible paradise.

To make one, chop and gently mix any of these fruits: avocado, papaya, banana, mango, melon, orange, pear, peach. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the mix, and (if desired) a little sugar or sugar water. Cover and leave for around half an hour. Feel free to add grated coconut, chopped nuts, or some of your own choice of fruits as garnish! Serve fresh or cold that day.

Ethiopian Fruit Juice Yummm!! Fresh at any Ethiopian buna bet (coffee house) or kek bet (pastry shop) are freshly squeezed juices, usually so thick and tasty your spoon will stand upright in the glass (indeed you'll need a spoon to 'drink' it). To make a rainbow coloured, multi-flavoured juice you'll need a soft avacado, a mango & a pineapple (but you can try a variety of fruits): Prepare 3 tall glasses. Peel and cut one avacado, add it to a blender with just a small amount of water and drops of lemon juice. Once in thick liquid form, pour a few centimetres in each glass. Then blend/juice the mango - adding a layer to each glass. With the pineapple juice, you may wish to remove pulp before adding. Enjoy drinking at a leisurely pace, when you can slowly sip and stir.

Molohia (soup)
spinachGourmet traveller Craig Newcombe cooks up a nice healthy Egyptian hot pot with one of Africa's most popular vegetables.

Molohia (pronounced mol-oh-hee-a) is a thick green soup considered to be one of Egypt's favourite national dishes. It is easy, fun and quick to make and, while delicious, tastes uniquely of Egypt. I brought a hot steaming dish to an Egyptian food night in Melbourne recently, and was amazed at how popular it was and how many compliments I got on my cooking! This version is vegetarian so everyone can be included.

Molohiais a small green leaf plant related to the marrow family. Molohia can be brought frozen from most Middle eastern food shops. Spinach is an equally delicious substitute, although it lacks distinctive taste of Molohia.

Ingredients

500g or Molohia or Spinach
125g of butter at room temperature
A large yellow or red onion finally diced
salt and pepper to taste
A teaspoon of vegetable stock
4 1/2 cups of water
10 garlic cloves - crushed
2 table spoons of coriander

(1) In a large pot, add the onion, stock, salt and pepper, and two cups of water. Boil until soft - about 10-15 minutes.

(2) Next add the Molohia leaves, finally chopped, and the rest of the butter and boil for another five minutes.

(3) Using a small fry pan, add a tablespoon of butter, and fry the garlic and coriander for no more than one minute. This will smell fantastic. Add this to the pot while it is still boiling.

Serve hot with boiled white rice or fresh pitta bread as an accompaniment

Also see:
Egyptian cuisine on Wikipedia

Lamu Coconut Prawns
prawncoconut treeWith images of coconut trees, wind-blown dhows, and majestic Swahili architecture still floating in his mind, food writer & gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe cooks up a beaut little prawn dish from Kenya's coastal island of Lamu.

This rich, salty and utterly wonderful dish is from the isle of Lamu. This is not a place that believes much in progress - or indeed in haste of any kind – life is lived at a leisurely pace, and its physical appearance and character have changed very little in centuries. So enjoy the rich, sophisticated flavours captured in this amazing dish.

This meal may cost a little more than usual but more than worth the price. This delicious coconut prawn recipe is from Lamu’s distinctive Swahili culture and the result of an intermingling over the centuries of many different influences – African, Arabian, Indian, Persian and European to name but a few. But this variety has a distinctive Australian twist. In the traditional recipe the prawns are peeled. But here in Australia people prefer to peel there own prawns. So provide some paper towels and enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 4).

4 table spoons of butter
1/4 cup of chopped cashew nuts
1/2 cup of grated coconut
2 cups of cooked prawns
1 cup of cream
2 table spoons of sultanas
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Serve with boiled rice

Cooking:
In a large frying pan, at a moderate heat, melt half the butter. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Add the chopped cashew nuts and grated coconut and fry until both start to turn brown. Tip into a separate bowl.

Add the rest of the butter to fry pan and once melted add the prawns. Fry no more than 3 or 4 minutes before adding all of the remaining ingredients, including the coconuts and nuts. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and edible. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then utterly enjoy. Also see:
Lamu on Organization of World Heritage Cities
Lonely Planet Lamu

Fuul Medames
Egypt, North Africa

bread and olivesThe smells of North African cuisine have led Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe to cook up a popular dish across Egypt & Sudan, 'fuul'. Great for breakfast, a snack, dip, starter or even main.

Egypt is one of world’s oldest cultures. This dish - a starter to have before the main meal - dates back all the way to the Pharaohs. It clears the palate and readies the stomach. So it is no wonder this popular and versatile dish is one of Egypt ’s national dishes. There are many variations and this one is a dip served with hot bread. It’s easy to make and a really nice start to a meal. And who can really argue with the Pharaohs.

Ingredients (serves 6)
3 cups of dried fuul medames beans. These are also known as FAVA beans, or BROAD beans
1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
A small handful of black olives, pitted (the seeds removed)
A loaf of warmed herb or similar type of bread
Dressing
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and then cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons of oil olive
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons

Soak the beans overnight, and then rinse in a sieve under running water until the water is clear. Next, place the beans in a large pan and cover with water. Boil for about two hours until tender. The beans are ready when you can easily squash one between your fingers. Let them cool. Use a potato masher until most of the beans are mashed.

Crush and cut and garlic into small pieces, then mix together with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil.

Using six plates, spread the mashed beans flat in the center of each plate. Spread some garlic dressing on the top of the fuul medames and then sprinkle some of the chopped parsley on top. Enjoy!

Also try:
Sudanese Fuul (with dates, eggs) on www.celtnet.org.uk
Egyptian Food & Cooking on www.inmamaskitchen.com
Egyptian recipes on www.recipezaar.com

Vegetarian Babotie
Cape Malay, South Africa

blue cupGourmet traveller Craig Newcombe is back, this time with a taste of South Africa's Cape Malay cuisine, which emerged from around 300 years ago, when Malays (from the former Dutch East Indies colonies) came to the Cape. A Muslim identity and strong culture ensured a lasting Malay influence in South Africa, including the delicious spicy cuisine featuring chillies, nutmeg, cinnamom, cloves and other flavours.

This is a hot contender for South Africa's national dish! The recipe was selected for the prestigious 1951 international recipe book by the United Nations Organisation. Bobotie is a Cape-Malay creation. The Malays spice it up even more using cumin, coriander and cloves. But the dish also has European and of course African input... and, using macadamia nuts, even an Australian input!

This is a variation on most types of bobotie as it is vegetarian. [Most are made with mince meat - see links below] It is a very nutritious dish that is just wonderfully filling for winter, with a sweet topping that makes it a delicious main meal and dessert in one. This gives it a totally unique taste. Now that is one Africa dish you have to impress your friends with.

Ingredients
(Serves 4)
oil and butter
2 medium onions, chopped
100g/3½oz macadamia nuts (unsalted peanuts can also be used)
50g/2oz blanched almonds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cayenne chillies (the small green ones), de-seeded and finely chopped
2.5cm/1in fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, or grated finely
2 large carrots, chopped
2 tsp spice mix (see Tip recipe below) or just use curry powder
2 slices of white bread soaked in 100ml/4fl oz milk
100g/3½oz ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered
juice of half a lemon (zest it before you cut it in half)
4 lemon leaves, (bay leaves work just as well) or the zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to season

For the custard topping:
150ml/5fl oz milk, plain yoghurt, or sour cream
2 small eggs
salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
2. Fry the onions over a low to medium heat in a little oil and butter until they are transparent but not brown. It should take 5-10 minutes.
3. Put the macadamia nuts and the almonds in the oven on a baking tray.
4. Add the garlic, chillies, ginger, carrots and curry powder, and cook, stirring all the time for another 2 minutes. Take the nuts out of the oven and roughly chop them.
5. Add the soaked bread and milk to the mixture making sure you chop up the bread with your spoon or spatula so that it gets evenly distributed. Stir in the nuts and the apricots, then add the lemon juice. Season the mixture.
6. Put the mixture into a baking dish, smooth it out and stand the leaves in it so that they can be removed later. If you re using lemon zest then just scatter it over the mixture. Bake for 5-10 minutes while you make the topping.
7. For the topping: beat the milk, yoghurt or cream with the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the bobotie and bake for another 30 minutes.

TIP: Roast and grind your own spice mix with the following ingredients:
half a cinnamon stick
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cardamom pods
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mild paprika
2 cloves
1 tsp allspice or 6 berries.
2 tsp chilli powder is an option but can be left out if using fresh ones in the bobotie.

Put all the spices in a dry frying pan over a low heat until the cumin seeds start to spit then grind them together in a coffee grinder (easy option) or a pestle and mortar (hard work). Grind them as finely as you can. THE KITCHEN WILL SMELL FANTASTIC!

LINKS TO CAPE MALAY RECIPES:
Cape Malay Bobotie (with beef), Sosaties (Curried lamb kebabs) & more - From www.inmamaskitchen.com
Masala Fish, Boerboer, Sambals - From www.knet.co.za

African Summer Dessert
blue cupGourmet traveller Craig Newcombe brings us this fine Avocado Whip from Kenya (with a dash of lemon or lime) to celebrate the New Year in 2008.

This sophisticated Kenyan dessert makes for a uniquely African taste for that special someone. Say no more.

Ingredients (serves two)
- 2 medium ripe avocado pears - to test for ripeness, hold in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze with your whole hand. If ripe it will gently yield. If hard or squashy it’s either unripe or over ripe so avoid.
- Juice of two lemons or limes
- Four tablespoons of caster sugar
- One cup of vanilla ice cream

Preparation: Use a sharp knife to slice each avocado long ways through to the middle, to the stone. Slice in a circle right the way around the stone. Then place in the palms of both hands and twist the two halves in the opposite direction, pulling apart into two neat halves. To remove the stone cut a single groove into it with the knife and twist – it will pop out.

Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork. Add the lemon or lime juice and caster sugar and mix in.

Add the ice cream and whip until smooth. This can be done by hand but it is easiest to use a beater. Serve chilled in tall glasses, and serve along with a glass of dry white wine.
Indeed heaven for that special someone!

See recipe archives at right for some other tasty summer deserts, including Banana Icecream, West African Ginger Beer, Tanzanian Fruit and Cashew Salad with Rum Cream.

African "mash" - the Stuff of Life
A look at African 'staple dishes' Fufu, Ugali, Sadza

blue cup Every African household has its favourite "staple dish": in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa it is a porridge-like base topped with vegetable, beans or meat stews (usually best eaten using fingers!). The base is often made from boiling up cereals (such as milet flour, ground yams, cassava flour, cornflour, sorghum) with water until it thickens up. East Africa has Ugali, West Africa has Fufu, To, Banku etc. Zimbabwe has Sadza, Zambia Nshima, Central Africa Chikwangue. Check out these external links for recipes:

Ugali (East Africa) Congo Cookbook & ugali.com
Sadza (Zimbabwe) zambuko.com
Fufu (West Africa) Congo Cookbook
Matoke (Uganda) Chachiskitchen
For Nshima (Zambia) &
Bunku & Kenkey, Baton de Manioc & Chikwangue (West & Central Africa) - see the great overview on Congocookbook.com

Avocado Soup - serves 4
blue cup Avocados are cheap, healthy and popular in Africa. They make great salads in Mozambique, tasty smoothies in Ethiopia, and flavoursome soups across the continent. Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe has just whipped up a 'favourite' avocado soup from East Africa - a region where avocados are exported en masse to Europe.

Many westerners are surprised and delighted that avocados, originally from South America, are used in African cooking, so this is a great recipe to share with friends. It's a soup that is popular all over East Africa - with local variations that usually involve adding chilli. Note that that the vegetable stock in this recipe is added at the start and fried with the onion rather than mixed in with the boiled water (as in European cooking). You will find this adds to the unique African taste.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 large Avocados, firm but not over-ripe. To test a fruit hold in your whole palm and squeeze gently. If it ‘yields’ a little it is ready. If it feels hard or mushy put it back and try another one!
½ a cup of cream
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
1 onion. Finely chopped.
4 vegetable stock cubes.
Salt and pepper.
1 ½ litres of boiled water
Optional: Fresh bread warmed in the oven at a low temperature for about ten minutes, served with fresh butter

(1) Mash the Avocados and cream into a smooth mash.

(2) Next, fry the onions in the butter until they become soft and start to turn brown. You may need to add a little more butter, but not too much. Cook using a moderate heat and stir frequently, gradually adding the flour and then vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Mixed into a smooth paste.

(3) Add the Avocado and cream mash and gradually pour in the hot water, stirring all the time until blended thoroughly.

Serve with the warm bread and enjoy. Avocados are one of the most nutritious vegetables known to mankind!

Some useful avocado Africa links:
Avocado stuffed with smoked fish (West Africa) www.astray.com/recipes
Avocado Salad (Mozambique) www.africa.upenn.edu
Cold Avocado Soup www.animalorphanagekenya.org

Hot Milk Mocha
followed by Mahata (warm Kenyan dish)

blue cup Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe has emerged from winter hibernation with a shot of hot Mocha - later in the day he cooks up a nice warm dish from Kenya's Kikuyu people, Mahata, also below.

Everyone in the world makes Mocha – chocolate and coffee drink - but this one from Africa will knock your socks off! It's big and strong, just like Africa itself. My postman tried it and utterly loves the boost it gives. Not that my mail comes any faster. It’s perfect for winter and couldn’t be easier (and cheaper) to make.

Ingredients
½ a litre of full cream milk
4 teaspoons of drinking chocolate
2 teaspoons of instant coffee
2 tablespoons of fresh cream

In a small pot, ideally with a pouring spout on one side, start to boil the milk while adding the chocolate and coffee. Stir constantly until little bubbles start to form. Pour into mugs (though wash these out first with a little hot water to make sure they are warm). Stir into each a tablespoon of fresh cream. Serve and banish those winter blues.

Mataha (from Kenya)
lemon pieces Nothing like winter to remind you of the cool air of Mount Kenya - and some of the region's nutritious warm dishes.

This is an easy to make vegetable dish from Kenya's Kikuyu people. It makes a very filling side dish for a main meal - or a breakfast full of healthy vitamins that fills the stomach and wards off winter colds. This dish is made with a few variations that make it simpler to make in Australian conditions. Traditionally green maize and pumpkin leaves are used; these have been substituted with sweet corn and Swiss chard or spinach.

Ingredients (to serve 4)
3 Cups of Garden Peas – fresh or frozen to save time. It doesn’t affect the flavour or appearance. Red beans can also be used but for this version we’ll use peas.
3 Cups of sweet corn freshly removed from the cob. If you are pressed for time use frozen sweet corn but never use canned sweet corn – your friends will immediately pick the difference and spoil their enjoyment of this wonderful dish!
3 Green bananas.
5 Medium potatoes peeled (any kind suitable for boiling)
1 bunch of Swiss chard or Spinach leaves
2 tablespoons of butter
1 ½ teaspoon of salt

(1) Boil the peas in water for about 12 minutes until tender but not soft.

(2) Cut the skins off the green bananas with a knife as they don’t easily peel. One trick is to put a little cooking oil on your hands and the knife as sometimes the bananas can leave a black stain. Cut the bananas into large slices. Wash then chop the Swiss card or spinach leaves into large pieces. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Add all this to the peas and boil until they start to become soft.

(3) Now in a large bowl, drain all the water off and mash everything together with a wooden spoon, just like the Kikuyu. A wooden spoon will make a mash without breaking too many peas or the sweet corn up and don’t forget to add the butter and salt. This keeps the very attractive African appearance of the dish. (Using a “European” blender makes it look like baby food!) Enjoy!

Recipes & Archives (cont from right)

For full listing of recipes, link here to top right

Moroccan Grilled Pepper and Tomato Salad (Chakchuka)
lemon pieces Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe loves the tangy taste of salads from Morocco, North Africa - where there are both raw and cooked salad dishes...

It's a nice time of the year for a refreshing but hot salad. And what better salad than one that evokes the smells and tastes of Morocco. 'Chakchuka' is a wonderful side dish that refreshes with the tanginess of preserved lemons, leaving a lovely lingering after-taste. It has real body that doesn’t leave you hungry once you have finished eating...unlike most other salads!

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 Medium-sized Green Peppers
3 x 800g cans of Plumb Tomatoes
6 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
½ a teaspoon of dried chilies
1 teaspoon of Paprika
Salt to taste
1 Preserved Lemon (this can be brought from any good delicatessen)
A large handful of Flat-leaf Parsley

Using the oven, grill the uncut peppers on full for 10-15 minutes until the skin starts to blister and turn charcoal black. Let cool and peel off the softened flesh, cut and dice into small squares about 2cm in size. Throw the core of the pepper and seeds away.

Open the cans of tomatoes and drain away the liquid using a sieve. Chop the remaining tomatoes into bite sized pieces and in a large frying pan combine with all the olive oil. Next crush and finely chop the garlic and with the paprika and salt also add to the fry pan. Cook over a medium heat for 15 or 20 minutes until the ingredients become dry and solid. Stir the mixture, taking care it does not burn. Congratulations, you have just made a great Morrocan tomato sauce full of wonderful flavours!

Now, add the peppers, the preserved lemon cut lengthways into strips, and the parsley finely diced. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes to really thicken the sauce. Serve hot and enjoy!

Links to more about Moroccan food include:
www.fescooking.com
Quick Moroccan Salad (Sunmaid site)

Bouillabaisse African Style (fish stew)
curry, clove, bay leaf Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe has been out at sea this season, cooking up a favourite East African fish dish that includes a light touch of the pictured curry, clove and bay leaf...

The hot Australian summer is the perfect time for serving up lighter, more 'delicate' foods. What could be more ideal than African Bouillabaisse, or fish stew. This is one of the great dishes of the world, with Europeans proudly claiming its French origins with its flavouring of saffron, fennel seeds, and orange zest. However, the real origins of Bouillabaisse are the fish stews that ancient Phoenician traders took to Europe from places like Libya in North Africa. So the European chefs need maps as well as recipes when they're cooking up their "European style" Bouillabaisse. Bouillabaisse travelled not only to Europe but also through Africa. This version is from Kenya. It uses hotter spices on a smooth coconut cream base and only one fish. Really delicious and economical.

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 fish of around 500g – some use fresh water fish, but any white fish will do. I prefer cod because it is easily cooked and the flesh will not dissolve in the soup. Ask your local fishmonger to provide the most suitable fish at the best price. And get the fishmonger to fillet the fish, keeping the bones and head for the stock!

2 onions
1 garlic clove (optional)
1 bay leaf or 3 /4 lemon leaves
1 clove
1 small tin of tomato puree
2 potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
2 carrots, scraped and diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons cream or coconut cream
4 cups of water
SERVE WITH boiled rice.

(1) Place the fish bones and fish head in a pan with 4 cups of cold water. Dice and add 1 onion, along with the clove, bay leaf (or lemon leaves), salt and pepper. Heat until it begins to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about an hour, leave the pot uncovered, to bring out the full flavour. The liquid will reduce in size, stir occasionally – add extra water only to prevent the total evaporation of the stock. You may need to put the pot lid on to slow evaporation.

(2) After an hour, finely dice the second onion and fry in the oil until it begins to turn brown. Add the garlic (optional – I prefer not to!) and curry powder. Mix well and add to the stock, along with the tomato puree, diced potatoes and carrots - cook until tender.

(3) As the soup cooks, steam the fish in a colander, this should take a little over five minutes for each side. If you don’t have a colander, poach the fish in few centimeters of water in a fry pan heated to a low simmer. Jiggle the fry pan every so often to stop the fish sticking to bottom. When the flesh turns white the fish is ready but prod with a fork to be sure.

(4) Removed the head and fish bones from the soup using a slotted spoon or fork. Turn the heat up until the soup just starts to boil then remove from heat.

(5) Once cooked divide the fish up into bite sized chunks and add to the soup along with the lemon juice and cream or coconut cream, then serve.

Enjoy, and do casually tell your guests where this dish originates from when they complement you on yet another fine meal.

Links to more African fish recipes include:
Fish Curry (Mauritian Australian Connection)
Avocado with smoked fish, Ghana UK
Algerian Fish Soup, www.theelegantchef.com

Ugandan Bufuke with Onion Sauce
wooden spoons This month gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe samples cooking from the stunning, green and leafy hills of Uganda. Many Ugandan dishes include a subtle-flavoured sauce of beans or meat and nuts plus a starch-based accompaniment such as rice, potatoes, banana or millet porridge.

Here's a wholesome dish from Uganda that is as simple and cheap as it is tasty and filling. The great thing about this dish is you can use up those ingredients that already seem to be in the kitchen, without having to hunt around the specialty grocery shops.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)
4 medium sized sweet potatoes
6 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
3 onions, sliced
1/2 cup of dried kidney beans, soaked in water over night
1/2 cup of mung beans (dengu)
1 cup of peanuts
1 cup of milk or light cream

oil for frying
1 teaspoon of flour
salt and pepper
A little butter
chili pepper
1 cup of boiling water
1/2 a vegetarian stock cube

Firstly, put the kidney beans, mung beans, and peanuts in a large pot and cover with water. Gently boil for about 15 minutes until half cooked. Add peeled and diced sweet potatoes.
Then add salt and pepper to taste, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes (a fork should go gently into the sweet potato cubes). Drain water but keep hot and mash together using a table spoon of butter.
To make the sauce. Fry the onions and tomatoes in a fry pan using hot oil. Before it starts to brown, add the cup of hot water and simmer until hot. Let it gently simmer until the mixture starts to thicken.
Now, using a cup add the flour then the milk or cream a little at a time stirring to ensure mixed with a fork. When evenly mixed add to tomato and onions, stir until the mixture becomes thick (you will need to do this over a gentle heat).
Heap the Bufuke onto a large serving dish and pour over your nice thick sauce. Enjoy!

African Hot Drinks
garlic, chilli, ginger & red onionsIn Africa, regardless of the weather, kettles, pans, cappucino machines and tiny kerosene stoves will always be running hot, brewing up local blends of tea, coffee and other hot beverages. In the west too, we can enjoy a taste of Africa in our mugs:
Rooibos tea from southern Africa gets its name from the Afrikaans words for 'red bush', a plant that is native to southern Africa. 'Bush tea' is a favourite of Mme Ramwotse from the famous No 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels, and has a huge international market. (You can buy bush tea like Rooibos at Woolworths and other local supermarkets). Caffeine-free and packed with minerals, including iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium, the tea is credited with easing all manner of complaints from eczma to insomnia. It's a hugely versatile drink, delicious hot or cold, with milk and sugar, honey and lemon, or on its own.
Masala tea (“chai”) in Kenya is warm and spicy with cardamom and ginger. In Kenya, this Indian-derived tea is often brewed up with frothy milk and enjoyed with a "mandazi" (donut-tasting snack - see recipe on www.bellaonline.com). The Kenyan (grown and mixed) masala tea is available from Indian groceries in Oz, and tastes great boiled up with milk and sugar, but is also refreshing on its own.

'Hot drink' favourites from africanOz recipe archives include:
North African Mint Tea tasty, refreshing and best drunk with friends
West African Hot Chocolate a great recipe from the land of the cocoa bean!
Ethiopian coffee often available from gourmet coffee specialists and of course all good Ethiopian restaurants

Spice it up: Ethiopian Easter
garlic, chilli, ginger & red onionsEthiopian injeraIt's that time of the year again when many followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (a religion dating back the 4th century) are fasting in the lead-up to Easter - eating only vegetable dishes with no animal products. Fasting favourites are lentils or ground chick peas flavoured with chilli, garlic, cardamom, fenugreek and other spices, that are often sun dried and ground up in a pestle and mortar.

During Ethiopian Easter, people hold a huge family feast to break the 'fast', including dishes such as 'doro wat' a spicy chicken stew. Many of the Lent & Easter dishes in the links below use 'berbere', a spice mix available from Ethiopian restaurants in Australia, such as 'Lalibela' in Melbourne (see listings, right). The dishes are eaten with the traditional Ethiopian flat bread, 'injera' (pictured) which has a dimpled, pancake-like texture and a tangy flavour. (You can either try cooking your own or substitute with unsweetened pancakes or chapatti). Try these delicious external recipe links:
Doro wet (chicken stew) on EthiopianMillennium.com
Injera (traditional flatbread) on EthiopianMillennium.com
Ethiopian mixed RECIPES and cultural info from UPenn Ethiopian RELIGION on selamta.net
Ethiopian EASTER on whatsonwhen.com

rice trays


Coconut Rice
Gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe is recovering from the festive season with a simple (yet tasty) summer base dish, which goes well with a variety of 'main course' dishes and salads...

An email today from my good friend Henri, the Ghanaian chef, with the wise words “rice can never be rice when it comes out of Africa.” And does he have a point! All over Africa rice is served in surprising and totally delicious ways from delicate saffron dishes in the North to curries in the West. Speaking of West Africa, no rice menu is complete without coconut rice. This is another straightforward recipe that makes a wonderful base for many other dishes. Your cooking implements include a hammer - for breaking the coconut. The coconut must be fresh so shake it before you buy it to make sure it's full of coconut milk (check for a heavy slosh sound!). If it’s dry or there’s only a little milk, that means it’s old.

Ingredients (for serving 4 to 6)
1 fresh coconut (producing 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk)
(or substitute with 400ml can of coconut milk, adding water to make 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup of rice
3 to 4 very small and very ripe tomatoes
¼ of a cup of finely chopped onions
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A little salt, to taste.

(1) Henri says the trick here is to catch all the milk from the coconut for added flavour. His simple but effective method is to place the coconut in a strong, clean plastic bucket and hit the three eyes (a triangle of small rounds spots) where there is a weak point with a hammer! Then pour the resulting liquid through a tea towel into a jug. Of course you can just smash the coconut on a nice piece of concrete and use water instead – it’s up to you. Set this liquid aside, there should be about 2 ½ cups, if not top up with water.

(2) From the broken coconut grate the white flesh. You might have to prise some off with a strong knife. Soak the grated flesh in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain this using a colander then squeeze the pulp out with your hand. There should be around 2 more cups of coconut milk, if not, you might need to top this up with a little water.

(3) Bring this liquid to the boil, adding a little salt to taste, then carefully stir in all the rice and reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover with a lid. Remember to stir frequently until the rice had absorbed most of the coconut milk.

(4) Next stir in the tomatoes, chopped onions, and pinch of cayenne pepper, then add the rest of the coconut milk from step (1). When the water is totally absorbed and the rice is dry to look at you are now ready to again delight your guests with another amazing surprise from Africa. This will make a wonderful rice accompaniment to your main dish. Serve it up on a big round plate in the centre of the table and enjoy!

For a history of rice in West Africa, see www.odi.org.uk

West African Ginger Beer
gingerTo celebrate the festive season, gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe is washing everything down with a jug of refreshing West African Ginger Beer...

This is a quick and easy way to make a genuine West African Ginger Beer - usually sold by street vendors in Africa. To my tastebuds it’s a lot nicer and a whole lot more refreshing than what normally passes for Ginger Beer in the supermarket - as the special sweetness of the honey balances the spicy taste of the fresh ginger. Perfect with friends for that hot summer's day!

Ingredients:
3 litres of water
500g of fresh ginger very thinly sliced (washed but not peeled as the skin adds to the flavour)
½ cup of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of dark honey (avoid light ‘processed’ honey that lacks flavour)
Ice cubes

(1) Using a saucepan add 2 cups of water and the ginger. Simmer on a medium heat for about 20 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice and honey and allow to cool completely.

(2) Strain the ginger mixture into a large jug or bowl and add the remaining water. Thoroughly chill with the ice cubes.

Aaah... Cool, tasty, refreshing.

Other West African ginger beer recipes include Liberian Ginger Beer which uses pineapples - see the recipe on UPenn web pages on Liberian cooking at
www.africa.upenn.edu

East African Eggplant Curry

curry powderGourmet Traveller Craig Newcombe continues his journey through East African and Swahili cooking...
this time with a touch of spice!


Africa has not only added many dishes to the world’s palate, it has absorbed the flavours of its many migrants. This mild eggplant curry dish was inspired by the migration of Ismaili Muslim Indians (followers of the Aga Khan) to East Africa. It is a delicious dish that is not only easy to cook (needing only one pan), it has its own built-in timer - when the potatoes are nice and soft you know the whole dish is ready.

Ingredients (to serve four people):
2 Onions, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
3 medium-sized Eggplants
2 medium-sized Potatoes
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 medium can Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Cup Water
2 Cloves, crushed – optional

Finely chop the onions. Heat the oil in a large cooking pan. (To check the oil is hot enough, dip a small piece of onion in, and if it quickly starts to bubble it’s ready. If not wait a little longer or turn up the heat). Cook the onions for a few minutes, stirring every so often until a golden colour. Dice the eggplant into cubes (about 1cm) and stir in.

Next add the washed and peeled potato diced into 1cm cubes (the size IS important for the quality of the dish). Cook on a high heat for several minutes until the eggplant starts to soften, lose volume and shrink in size. Keep stirring to make sure everything is cooking evenly!

Next add the two garlic cloves. (The best way to prepare garlic is break off each clove from the head and don’t peel, but crush by putting the broad FLAT side of your knife on top of it and firmly hitting with your fist – being careful not to cut yourself). Add the crushed cloves to the pan, along with 1 teaspoon of curry powder, ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir all ingredients thoroughly.

Then add the can of tomatoes (fresh, finely chopped extremely well-ripened tomatoes are preferred) and a tablespoon of tomato paste and cup of water. Mix well.

Turn down the heat and simmer the juices to let the full flavour come out, while stirring occasionally. After about 20 minutes the mixture will have dried out indicating it is almost ready (This is a dry dish and shouldn't have any liquid sauce left). Using a fork, prod the potato cubes and when they are very soft the dish is ready. If the potatoes need a little more cooking add just the smallest amount of water.

As they say in Swahili: "Karibu Chakula" (Enjoy your meal!). Your guests certainly will.

- For tasty meat & veg Swahili recipes (with Indian, Arab, African influences) see Swahili Online
- For more on Indians in Africa, see Asians in Africa website.

Tanzanian Fruit & Cashew Salad with Rum Cream

coconutA tasty desert from gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe. With coconut, pineapple and honey - all common & accessible ingredients in Tanzanian cooking - this recipe brings up the sea breezes and palm-rimmed promenades of Tanzania's Indian Ocean Coast. Fresh fruit is a favourite for Tanzanian dessert. And you'll find the optional addition of rum cream irresistable...

This dish is a very rich concoction designed to utterly complement that perfect evening! It serves 6 to 8 people and is very easy to make.

1 large ripe pineapple (A good ripe pineapple has a golden cast, a little give when squeezed, a sweet smell and the leaves pull out easily – but you knew that already).
½ a cup of heavy (whipping) cream
½ a cup of dark rum (for adults only!)
2 table spoons of honey
2 tangerines peeled and quartered
½ a cup of unsalted cashews for garnish
½ a cup of coconut flacks (desiccated coconut) for garnish

(1) Peel the pineapple and remove the ‘eyes.’ Then quarter the pineapple and remove the hard core from each quarter. Cut the pineapple into bite sized cubes and place in a bowel
(2) In a separate bowel whisk the cream, rum and honey. Stir this in with the pineapple pieces. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (about two hours).
(3) Stir the tangerines into the mixture
(4) Chop the cashews coarsely and sprinkle along with the coconut on top of the salad. Serve and enjoy!

For more on Tanzanian ingredients and cooking see the University of Pennsylvania's useful pages on preparing/presenting dinner in Tanzania, along with some tasty recipes at Cookbook - Tanzania

ingredients for fried okra


Cooking with Okra
The vegetable 'Okra' (also known as ladies' fingers/gumbo) originated in northern Africa. It is a popular ingredient in African cooking, from spicy Ethiopian dishes such as 'bamya alicha' to West African soups eaten with foo-foo. Since the time of the slave trade it has been popular in southern American and Creole/Cajun cooking: as a stand-alone dish (fried, boiled, cooked in spices); as a thickener for soups and stews; and as a lovely pickle. One popular dish is fried Okra, the latest 'favourite' from gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe. Okra is a great source of vitamins C & A, and is available at your local fruitshop or Indian grocery.


Fried Okra from West Africa
This simple, pre-dinner nibble is a great way to introduce Okra or Ladies Finger to people who have never eaten it before. When Okra is sliced the vegetable becomes slippery (hence its popularity in stews and sauces). However, in this recipe, it remains unsliced, so you can enjoy the fine taste of Okra without the slippery texture. All you need for this recipe is:

500g of fresh Okra – top and bottoms trimmed
(careful not to slice into the vegetable)
2 large eggs
1 cup of plain flour
2/3 of a cup of water
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Enough oil to cover the bottom two and a half centimetres of your fry pan. The oil can be cooled and saved afterwards.

(1) Wash the Okra well and pat completely dry using paper towels
(2) To make the batter, in a separate bowel mix the eggs, flour, water, salt and cayenne pepper. Whisk until smooth.
(3) Using a large fry pan heat about two and a half centimetres of oil in the bottom. Make sure it doesn’t smoke!
(4) Gradually toss in the Okra after coating thoroughly in the batter
(5) Fry until completely golden brown – in about four minutes
(6) Drain on paper towels and serve hot! A great winter nibble!

Some notes on buying and storing Okra: Okra is best when it's tender but not soft, and without blemishes or bruises. Try to buy the Okra 'fresh' the day you are cooking it. If you can't, it will keep in a paper bag in the fridge for 2-3 days (but not in the coldest area, or it will decay quicker).

Other tasty Okra recipes from external websites include:
Fried Okra East African style: Hot Okra with Ugali
Bamya (Egyptian beef & okra stew)
Curried okra from Africhef.com

You can reach Craig via africancooking@gmail.com

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African Restaurants... chilliesafricanOz Directory has listings of restaurants in Australian cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra - including South African, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Moroccan cuisine LINK HERE TO AFRICAN RESTAURANTS DIRECTORY

africanOz Recipes & Archives

African Dessert | Bouillabaisse African Style (fish stew) | Banana icecream (West Africa) | West African Ginger Beer | Tanzanian Fruit & Cashew Salad with Rum Cream | Hassan M'Souli's Moroccan Zulu Zaalook | Ugandan Bufuke with Onion Sauce | Coconut Rice | Peanut/Groundnut sauce | East African Eggplant Curry | Ethiopian Easter | Fried okra | African hot drinks | West African hot chocolate | Moroccan mint tea and harcha | Home of the coffee tree: Ethiopia | Moroccan Rice Pudding | Fried Plantain(West Africa) | African vegetarian recipe links

Fried Plantain...
Another recipe from gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe. You can buy plantain from your local Fijian grocery or large fruit markets.saltnpepper

Plantain is any variety of banana that grows in the wild. With its green skin and firm pink flesh, it's a staple in parts of East and West Africa. It's usually flatter and longer than the banana, with more starch and less sugar. The major difference is that plantain is cooked like a vegetable while banana can be eaten raw. Any method of cooking plantain brings out the full flavour, and it usually accompanies rice or stews. If purchased green, plantain needs to be boiled whole in salted water until soft, depending on ripeness between 15-45 minutes. Ripe plantain can be cooked immediately. (See links after this recipe for more about the plantain)

50g unsalted butter
The required number of plantain
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger
a pinch of cayenne pepper

In a frying pan at a fairly low temperature add a large knob of unsalted butter (about 75g). Peel the required number of soft plantains and cut into 2cm slices. Add to frying pan once the butter starts to sizzle and, turning gently, let the outside turn a light brown. Grate a small piece of fresh ginger (about a 1/2 a teaspoon) and add just a pinch (only what you can hold between you fingers!) of cayenne pepper which you shouldn't be able to taste but will bring out the flavour. Add these when the plantain is browning. Serve on hot plates and enjoy!

Extras: Walnuts or peanuts can also be added at the start of cooking if desired and boiled white rice is an excellent accompaniment. For a sophisticated dish late at night add a little brandy just before serving. But be warned! The delicious smell will soon attract hungry friends and even neighbours - so best cooked alone or when you have plenty of spare plantain.

For more information on the amazing plantain, see:
Bananas and Plantains - Description and recipes from the Queensland-based 'Know and Enjoy Tropical Fruit' site

Banana ice cream
Not content with wicked Ghanaian fried plantain and cheeky Moroccan creamed rice, Craig Newcombe is back to bust our diets with this delicious banana ice cream from West Africa. bananas

This banana ice cream uses fresh, local ingredients and is quicker and easier to make than other ice cream recipes - just the thing for busy people! The use of sugar and rum (or vanilla) flavours originated from the times of the slave trade - when these ingredients were cheaply imported from the Caribbean to Africa. Despite the at-times tragic history of sugar, this recipe won't leave a bad taste in your mouth. It is perfect for hot days, delicious on cold - with a subtle flavour and sorbet-like texture on the tongue that is simply irresistible. For adults, the rum flavouring adds to the recipe and the flavours are balanced out by the bananas. For kids, you can use vanilla instead. Use only approximate measurements as it's a very robust recipe and, like all good African recipes, best made using your own personal touch.

Ingredients
(To make about a litre of banana ice cream)
6 medium-sized Bananas
2 large cups of Sugar
1 large cup of Water
The juice of 1 large Lemon
For adults - add some rum (adjust to suit taste)
For kids - use vanilla essence

Equipment
Food blender
Freezer
Frying pan

Peel six soft, but not over ripe, bananas of about medium size (the skins are better yellow with no black patches). The juice of one large lemon for every six bananas.
Mix these together in a blender until smooth.
In a frying pan add about the same volume of sugar syrup using two parts sugar to one part water. For a litre of ice cream, add about two large cups of sugar to one large cup of water. Boil rapidly, stirring all the time. This will take no longer than 10 minutes, by which time the sugar and water will take on the consistency of running honey. Don't boil until it turns brown, as it will have caramelised! The sugar syrup sweetens the ice cream and also stops its freezing solid - natures own anti-freeze. Add the syrup to the banana and lemon in the blender and again mix.

Next, add the flavours. If it's for kid's put a little vanilla. If it's for adults, add the rum - as little or as much as you like (I put in about half a cup but you could add more, or even just a tablespoon. But do warn those driving cars it is alcoholic!) Leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight to freeze and then serve to friends on a lazy afternoon - simply heaven.

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African vegetarian recipe links
Recipe Sudani includes the vegetarian Fettat Adis (with lentils), wonderful salads (Salata) and tasty sweets - as well as the spicy Sudani rice, all from Sudan.



cookbook


Cuisine of Modern Morocco...
A delicious recipe from African Australian chef Hassan M'Souli (pictured left), from his recent publication, 'Moroccan Modern', in which he shares over 100 of his favourite recipes. Hassan makes great use of fresh produce available in Australia, combined with herbs and spices to give an exotic Moroccan flavour. Hassan was born in Casablanca and moved to Australia in 1985. His successful Out of Africa restaurant in Manly has been nominated by the Catering Association as a finalist in Sydney's Best Restaurant Awards.

Zulu Zaalook

Zulu Zaalook4 Eggplants (aubergines)
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) Olive Oil
3 Ripe Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic crushed
2 tsp Sweet Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
Salt and freshly groud black pepper to taste
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) White Vinegar
1/2 Bunch Coriander - chopped
1 Preserved Lemon -sliced
12 Green Olives
Bread to serve

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6). Cut the eggplants in half, then score deeply into large cubes (do not slice through the skin). Brush the cut surfaces with half the olive oil. Place on an oven tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the oven and cut into large cubes.

Make a small cut in the skin of the tomatoes, plunge into boiling water. Drain, then when cool enough to handle remove the skin and seeds. Dice the flesh. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan, fry the garlic briefly then add the tomatoes, paprika, cumin, pepper and eggplant. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar, coriander, half the sliced preserved lemon and simmer for 10 minutes.

Let stand for a few minutes (should be served warm - not hot), garnish with olives and remaining sliced preserved lemon. Serve with bread.

'Moroccan Modern' is avilable from bookstores or the Out of Africa restaurant in Sydney's Manly.

Ernest von Rosen www.amgmedia.com

West African Hot Chocolate
Mmmm… frothy and tasty. A drink recipe that gourmet traveller Craig Newcombe sent from multicultural London. Try it before the heat sets in!

With its smooth, strong full-bodied taste this drink is popular in Ghana and also with West African ex-pats in London like my friend, Henri. Henri says this drink is like a rich African Guinness made with milk. Its origins are North African. The rum is a local addition! It makes a great nightcap - a nice way of winding down after a hard day's work or a special meal. Serves 2.

500mls whole milk
100g best quality organic fair-trade dark chocolate (also called bitter chocolate as it is produced without sugar).
2 teaspoons of clear runny honey
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (try to use real extract)
1 cinnamon stick
For Adults - Add 2 to 3 capfuls of dark rum to taste.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan then add the chocolate - broken into small pieces - along with the honey, sugar and cinnamon stick. Heat and stir gently until the chocolate melts. Add the vanilla and rum. Remove the cinnamon stick just before serving in two large mugs -- or best of all, in two small drinking bowls. Extra sugar can be added to taste. Enjoy!

Photo: Ernest von Rosen www.amgmedia.com


Nutty, Spicy, Yummy, Easy: Groundnut Sauce
africanOz coaxes the peanut out of its shell...
peanuts
African Peanut or Groundnut sauces and soups are highly versatile, making a tasty accompaniment to all types of meat and vegetable dishes. Delicious over chicken, beef, goat, vegies, yams, rice, everything! To prepare a simple sauce, roast a cup or two of peanuts in the oven (remove any skins), then grind and crush them up into a paste. In a saucepan, boil some water (about half the quantity of the peanut paste). Then add the peanut paste to the water. Stir and simmer until it makes a smooth sauce (you can add salt and/or more water as you cook). To make a really tasty sauce, use chicken stock instead of plain water, and add a pinch of cayenne pepper (or other spices) to the sauce. Even better, add a finely chopped, fried onion and some chopped fried chilles as well. Voila!


Mint Tea & Harcha
Following our earlier focus on African coffee (see below), africanOz is lightening up the palate with MINT tea.
mint leaves
In Morocco, hot mint tea is a favourite - made from a blend of green tea, fresh mint and lots of sugar! The tea is prepared in a variety of ways. To make a pot at home add enough green tea leaves (Chinese) to make a strong brew. Then add boiling water, a handful of fresh mint and sugar to taste. Purists would argue you need to pour the tea into a glass (preferably from a height) to help mix the ingredients - but generally steeping it for a few minutes is fine (jiggle to mix sugar). You can try adding a touch of lemon juice or grated ginger to add to the flavour.

A special treat with mint tea is 'harcha' - another fine recipe from 'gourmet traveller' Craig Newcombe:

Semolina Galettes (Harcha)
Traditionally cooked over a charcoal grill and served with mint tea, which complements the flavour, this is a traditional quick meal served in the Moroccan countryside. This deliciously filling winter dish is very easy to make and can be served hot or at room temperature.

Ingredients to make about 25 galettes:
200g fine semolina
55g standard semolina
1/4 tea spoon of salt
30g sugar
55g butter
additional butter for frying and/or dribbling over the galettes

(1) Leave the butter out of the fridge until it is softened at room temperature. Then in a bowl using just the tips of your fingers mix the all the semolina, salt, sugar. Once thoroughly mixed gradually add 60mls of tap water and continue mixing until you have a firm dough ball.

(2) Roll out the dough on a board with a rolling pin until it is about 1cm think. Cut into squares with a knife.

(3) At a medium heat add butter and as many galettes as will fit. Turn over when they start to change colour (don't over cook by turning brown as they go hard). Place on a hot plate and dribble either butter or honey over top and serve. Delicious.

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Here, we pay tribute to African coffee:

Origins of Coffee in Ethiopia
Ethiopian coffee pot The coffee plant was first discovered growing wild in Ethiopia's Kaffa province around 1,000 years ago. Legend has it that a goatherd tasted the plant when his goats began bouncing around in a cheerful state after munching on the berries. He took the berries to local monks who declared them "devil's work" and tossed them on the fire. Soon the aroma of roasting coffee beans filled the air… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Coffee was originally consumed as food by Ethiopian nomadic mountain tribes who ground the beans up and mixed them with fat. But it may not have been until coffee arrived in Yemen that it first became popular as a drink. Its popularity soon spread throughout the Middle East and to Europe by the 17th century.

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