Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Spiced Banana and Walnut cake

Enjoy this easy to follow recipe for a moist and crunchy Banana cake. Perfect for this cold weather with a hot cup of tea. 

Serves 10

125g butter
100g sugar
1tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp almond extract
4 ripened medium size banana's
180g walnuts
1 tsp of mixed spice 
60ml of milk
Half a teaspoon of Rapeseed/Sunflower oil 
190g of self raising flour
1 beaten egg
1 tsp of black treacle
1 tsp of Demerara sugar


Preheat your oven to 180c

Grease and line a loaf tin

Melt the butter , sugar, vanilla and almond  extract  in a saucepan on a very low heat

Once the sugar is dissolved (please do not let it boil) add the treacle and stir.

Take the saucepan off the heat

In a bowl mash the bananas with your hands. 

Add the banana to the mixture and mix 

Then add the egg and mix till well combined

In a separate bowl sift the flour with the mixed spice.

Then add the flour and milk  and mix till well combined

Finally add half your walnuts and rapeseed/sunflower oil
 and mix gently

Pour your mixture into your grease loaf tin, then scatter the remaining walnut on top of the cake mixture.
 Then sprinkle a teaspoon of Demerara sugar over the cake mixture

Add ice cubes to your baking tray and place your cake in the oven

Bake for 35 minutes ( please insert a skewer in the middle part of your cake.  If your skewer comes out clean, then your cake is done )

Honey and Ginger roasted Fig

Enjoy this simple and tasty recipe which is perfect for breakfast as well as pudding. 

Serves 4

8 large fresh figs
1 tablespoon of honey
A few sprigs of Greek basil
200g of all natural yoghurt.
3 tablespoons of Ginger wine
1 teaspoon of golden caster sugar


Pre heat the oven to 180*c
Cut the figs into quarters, place in an oven proof dish, pour 2 tablespoons of the ginger wine over the figs and sprinkle with sugar. 

Roast the figs for 8 minutes, then take it out of the oven (making sure you have a protective glove on) and
drizzle with honey. 

Place the figs back into the oven and bake for a further 4 minutes. 

Take the figs out from the oven proof dish and place in a separate bowl till it's cool. 

Tear the leaves from the Greek basil sprig and add to the ginger and honey juice in the oven proof dish. Mix it well and add a tablespoonful of the juice to the yoghurt and stir. 

Serve the figs with your flavoured yoghurt, drizzle the remaining juices on the fig and garnish with the tip of the Greek basil.


All photos are by the author of this blog. 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Kontomire in an earthen clay mortar

'Kontomire' stew which is made out of Cocoyam leaves (Ghanaian Spinach) is a popular dish in Ghana and it's eaten with either boiled Yam, Plantain, Cocoyam, Rice etc. 
In this recipe I substituted the Cocoyam leaves for Spinach from the supermarket with a bit of a twist. 

Serves 4

1 bag of spinach, washed thoroughly with salt under cold water.
1 diced large onion
2 diced green chillies
1 tablespoon of Palm oil
2 large tomatoes chopped into cubes
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of roasted pine nuts/ crushed peanuts
1 litre of water. 


In a saucepan heat the water till it boils. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the washed spinach. 
Mix it thoroughly till you see the spinach wilt and shrink into a small amount. This process takes about 2 minutes. 
Drain the spinach into a colander and run it under cold water, (this stops the spinach from over cooking and maintains it's green colour). Make sure you squeeze any excess water out of the Spinach. 

Using an earthern clay pot mortar (if not use your food processor and blitz) add half your onion, green chillies and salt and grind till you have a smooth paste. 

Add the wilted spinach and grind till you have a smooth paste. 

Save yourself some washing by using the same saucepan as before. 
Place your saucepan on a medium heat and melt the palm oil. 
Once melted add the remaining half of the onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining chillies and fry for a further minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. The cubed tomatoes should just heat up and not over cook. It's vital for the tomatoes to have a bite in this recipe. 
Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. 

Pour the spicy Palm oil with tomatoes over the Spinach evenly.

Sprinkle the pine nuts over the Spinach mix and serve with either boiled Rice, Yam, Plantain, or Cocoyam

Best with grilled Mackerel or Salmon. 

All photos are by the author of this blog. 

Friday, 26 December 2014

A touch by 'The Safari'

We arrived at Johannesburg airport and my excitement of a private flight to Sabi Sands was short lived when I saw the propellers of the small aircraft we were about to board. My husband on the other hand could not wait to board the flight. All I could think of was, how this small aircraft will keep me safe in the sky and against turbulence. The thought frightened me and my husband painted a picture of the beautiful landscape with a view from the sky (a picture perfect moment) was worth the experience. I quietly disagreed with him but I refused to make a spectacle of myself and promised to suffer in peace. 

A decision which was pointless to make as I was quite verbal with the 'torture', particularly when there was turbulence and the aircraft felt like it was about to fall from the sky. I found it particularly funny when I caught myself peeking through the window,admiring the landscape meanwhile screaming. 

We shared the flight with two other couples (A German couple and a Russian Couple). I remember sharing a table with them earlier for coffee, we only made brief eye contact with a smile that barely touched the lip, the men sharing a Cigar and puffing the smoke away from us, with this air of slight arrogance and speaking in both German and Russian. I figured one of the ladies, dorned in expensive jewellery couldn't understand the Russian language, hence her husband was doing the interpretation. The two couples lighted at  Mala Mala another game reserve and we continued to Chitwa Chitwa. 

I was apprehensive about our stay in Chitwa Chitwa ( a surprise holiday from my husband) who described it as one where we will stay in a tree house in the middle of no where. I was worried about animals or insects that could crawl, climb or fly  and maybe into our tent.  The thought frightened me and left me rather vunerable. We landed on a dusty air strip and were met by Victor (whom I got to know as one of the designated drivers of the hotel) in a roof top jeep (with the hood off the jeep) with Chitwa Chitwa beautifully etched on it, he loaded our luggage into the jeep and we drove for about 20 minutes to the hotel. 

On our way to the hotel, my husband quickly grabbed his camera and spotted a Giraffe with it's calf; this was exciting to watch but I was tempted and quickly followed suit in taking pictures. I underestimated how addictive picture taking in the wild will be, a lesson I experienced for most part of the trip. 

The entrance to Chitwa Chitwa was rather simple but oozed quality and one that made me smile but apprehensive as I imagined the tree houses, animals everywhere (finding out from Victor there were a pack of about 10 lions the night before around the enclosure).

We picked a couple from America who were domiciled in Singapore  on our way to the lodge and we exchanged the relevant pleasantries. I liked the couple instantly as they were full of smiles and rather down to earth (a trait I most love about people). We arrived just on time for breakfast and were ushered to the breakfast area whilst our luggage was checked into our rooms. 

The breakfast area was very romantic (with soft linen curtains, catching the sun and wind, swaying in a seductive move, with the chandelier made of animal bones) but no sign of any tree houses, but private Chalets dotted selectively across the acres of land. 

The host or maybe manager of the establishment showed us around and I was simply blown away. I quickly asked the lady where the tree houses were located as I couldn't connect this beautiful entrance, bar area, communal lounge overlooking the lake, their garden, with simple scary tree houses. The look on her face suggested my husband was pulling my legs. This was indeed an interior designers treasure trove of inspiration and haven. 

After showing us around she then took us to our 'room', where we headed towards a simple hut. 
This wasn't a 'room' but an amazing, private beautiful lodge with breathtaking interiors, a swimming pool, porch and an outside shower. 

The view from the bed was the porch, lake (filled with crocodiles and hipopotamus) and trees. 
The view from the bathroom was the same as that of the bedroom including the swimming pool. I quickly turned to hug my husband and thank him for such an incredible surprise. 

The host showed us where everything was, how things worked , making sure we always locked the door and re-iterated the importance of leaving our chalet with a guide at all times after 6pm. I sheepishly asked why we needed a guide? The host confirmed  my fears of wild animals roaming actively  after sunset and the fact that they had an elephant visit them the the previous night. How do you know it was an Elephant I asked? She took me outside to point at two uprooted trees, the trampled  garden and big paw print by the lake. I quickly said to myself 'run for your life and not climb a tree if you're being chased by an Elephant'.

The host advised lunch will be served at the breakfast area and at 3pm we have our first Safari trip. Come back and read about the Safari Trip. 

All photos are by the author of his blog. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Handcut Yam Chips and Mackerel Mousse.


500g of Yam peeled and cut length ways into segments
Pinch of salt
1 litre Vegetable oil

Mackerel mousse

500g of smoked Mackerel 
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black peppercorn
Finely diced 30g of spring onions or sweet onions 
2 tablespoon of Yoghurt
1 teaspoon of lime / lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Horseradish 
2 de-seeded green chillies, finely diced
Pinch of salt to taste. 


Pour the oil into a saucepan and place on a medium heat 

Wash your hand cut Yams and discard the water

Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the Yam and mix

Test the oil is hot by adding a slice of Garlic (or anything that can fry and add flavour to the oil). If the garlic sizzles you know you have a hot oil . (Please treat hot oil with utmost care, preferably handle with a glove) 

Add the hand cut Yams to the oil and fry for about 4 minutes. 

After 4 minutes lower the heat under the Yam and add 160ml of water. ( please do this gently and with care) Once the water hits the oil there will be loads of bubbles caused by the reaction of water and hot oil. When the initial bubble has settled down to manageable reaction increase the heat to it's initial 'medium heat'.

Adding water to the Yam, gives the Chip a soft, moist and crumbly inner part with a crunchy exterior. 

Watch as the water disappears from the oil, the chips forming a crispy exterior when touched with a slotted spoon ( this should take about 4 minutes).

Once the water has disappeared , the chips will be crunchy, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon to a clean kitchen napkin or paper to blot off excess oil. 

Make the Mackerel Mousse whilst the Yam is cooking

Take the skin, bones and head off the Mackerel ( if using a whole smoked fish with it's head on) or  better still you can use a pre dressed Mackerel (available in most supermarkets in the UK)

In a seperate bowl add the olive oil, horseradish, yoghurt, black pepper and ginger; mix it together to form a dressing. 

You can blitz your Mackerel in a food processor ( I prefer to use the back of a fork to mash the fish into a rough paste in a bowl) 
I like my mousse to have a crunch and a bite. 

Add the mashed Mackerel to your dressing and stir till well mixed and a fluffy. 

Add your onions, lime/lemon juice and chillies. 

Please taste before adding the salt. I recommend just a pinch as the lime juice and natural yoghurt add a salty taste to the mouse. 

Spoon a portion of mousse into a bowl / plate garnish with strips of red peppers (optional) , drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately with your hot 'Handcut Yam chips'. 


All photos are by the author of this blog. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Ndudu by Fafa: Recipe for Tangy & Spicy Pork Ribs

Ndudu by Fafa: Recipe for Tangy & Spicy Pork Ribs: Ingredients Serves 6  2kg of Pork ribs Marinade 1 teaspoon of Yuzu (sold in Waitrose) 1 tablespoon of grated ginger...

Recipe for Tangy & Spicy Pork Ribs


Serves 6 

2kg of Pork ribs

1 teaspoon of Yuzu (sold in Waitrose)
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
1 diced medium sized onion
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 tablespoon of diced green chillies (remove the seeds for a milder heat)
1 teaspoon on grated galangal 
15g of chopped Tarragon
1 teaspoon of thyme. 
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste. 


Pre heat the oven to 180*c
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the ribs. 

Using your washed cleaned hands gently massage the ribs with the marinade 

Leave the ribs to marinade for a minimum of 4 hrs. 

Using a clay pot, Casserole pot, Tagine or roasting tray, pour ribs in your preferred pot or tray and place in the oven. 

Reduce the heat to 150*c after 30 minutes and cook for a further 3 hrs with the lids on for the pot or Tagine or if using a tray cover with foil. 

Remove the ribs from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve in a warm bowl. 

Best served with a tomato and sweet onion salad. 

All photos are taken by the author of this blog. 



Serves 8
4 large fresh corn on the cob
1 teaspoon of Yuzu (juice of a Japanese sour Mandarin) or lime juice. 
I tablespoon of butter
50g of chopped Coriander
2 fresh coconuts (remove from it's shell) and cut into slithers. 
Salty water. 


Preheat your oven to 180*c

Take the corn out of it's husk and divide into two equal parts. 

Place the corn on a rack in the oven and roast for 25 minutes taking care to turn then around for an even roast. 
Please make sure you use a tong for this as the oven will be hot. 

Once the corn is cooked and has an even golden brown look, remove from the oven dip each one into the salty water and to a serving dish 

In a saucepan melt the butter and take it off the heat.
Add the Yuzu or lime juice and chopped coriander. 
Then pour the mix over the corn and serve warm. 

Dip the coconut slithers into the salty water, add to the roasted corn and distribute evenly. 

Your guest will love this and it's a perfect accompaniment to most dishes and it helps with your vegetarian guest. 

Recipe for slow roasted Pork


Serves 8

4kg of Pork belly or Shoulder of pork. (You can get your butcher to score the skin or alternatively using a sharp knife score the skin)
1 tablespoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of fresh or dry thyme
1 teaspoon do dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of grated ginger (optional)
2 diced green chillies (optional)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 large onion cut into chunks
2 medium sized carrots cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
500ml of stock or cider.
1 whole garlic cut sideways in two
1 cup of water


Pre heat your oven to 220*c or has mark 7
Boil the water.
Place the meat with the skin side up in a tray.
Pour the hot water quickly on the skin, you will notice the cuts on the skin open up. 
Quickly take the meat out of the water and pat it dry with a kitchen towel.
Discard the water.

Mix the spices together.

Using the salt rub it into the skin, then turn the pork over and rub the spices into the meat. 

It's best to marinade your meat at least 12 hrs in the fridge to allow the spices to permeate the pork.

Take the meat out of the fridge and bring to room temperature 

Using a clay pot with a lid, Tagine or roasting tray (I prefer to use my clay pot from Tierra Negra as it cooks the meat in it's own juices).

Place the onions, garlic and carrots at the bottom of your tray, pour the stock/ cider into the tray and place the Pork on top with the skin side up. 

Place the pork in the oven for 30 minutes till you see the skin crackling. Turn the heat down to 160*c, if using the roasting tray use double foil to seal the meat and if using a clay pot or Tagine then cover it with it's lid. 

Cook this for another 5hrs and then take the pork out of the oven. 

Gently lift the pork and transfer to a chopping board to rest. Cover with a foil to rest the meat

Strain the juice from the meat (making sure you push the sticky bits from the vegetables) into the saucepan. Scoop the excess fat from the sauce and use to roast your potatoes.

Add 100ml of port to the jus and cook till the alcohol has evaporated. 
Transfer your jus into a sauce bowl and serve alongside your roast. 

Best served with crispy roasted potatoes, steamed Kale, red cabbage and apple sauce. 

An alternative roast for Christmas. Merry Christmas. 
All pictures are from the author of this blog. 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Recipe for 'Kelewele' (Spiced cubed ripened Plantain)

'Kelewele' (cubed and spiced ripened Plantain) is a famous street food in Ghana. Interestingly it's available in the evenings and by 6pm there are long queues for this Ghanaian delicacy. Paying homage to all the 'Kelewele' sellers in Ghana, here is a simple and quick to follow recipe. 

Serves 6

4 Ripened plantains cut in cubes
1 teaspoon of all spice mix
Half a teaspoon of powdered red chilli
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of finely diced onion
Half a teaspoon of oregano (Optional)

1 litre of vegetable oil. 


In a bowl add the spice mix, powdered chilli, ginger, onion and (optional) oregano.
Add the diced Plantain and mix well. 
Place a saucepan with the vegetable oil on a medium heat till it's hot or reaches 190*c

Add the spiced Plantain and fry till it's golden which should take about 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the golden and caramelised looking Plantain to a clean kitchen napkin to blot the excess oil.
Serve warm and enjoy with a Chilled bottle of beer (Club, Guilder or Star beer) or better still a chilled calabash full of fresh Palm wine.