Saturday, 28 February 2015

Herby Gari Fortor (Attiéké)

'Gari' is a popular West African food which is made out of cassava. It's used the same way one will couscous. The most popular use of Gari is for 'Eba' ( mixed with hot water and salt and cooked into a dumpling) which best accompanies sauces and soups like Spinach sauce, Okra soup, Melon seed sauce etc. Every student who attended boarding school (especially in Ghana) had Gari in their 'Chop box', a survival ingredient. The best boarding school recipes included a sweet variation of mixing the Gari  with milk, water, sugar and peanuts, (popularly known as 'Soakings') or alternatively sprinkle the Gari with water and mix with Shito ( a black pepper sauce made from chillies, dried shrimp or crayfish powder and dried herring powder, which is synanimous with Ghanaians). Another popular recipe for Gari is 'Gari Fortor', where the Gari is mixed with a spicy tomato based sauce and served alongside the ever popular 'Waakye' (the Ghanaian rice and beans). 
This recipe is inspired by Gari Fortor and it's easy to make. Be inspired and be creative, add Apricots or feta cheese for a different version and serve with your favourite protein.

Serves 6
2 cups of Gari 
1 shallot finely diced
1 green chilli, finely chopped.
50g of chopped coriander
2 tablespoonfuls of garlic infused olive oil
4 tablespoons of cold water

In a bowl mix all the ingredients as above. 
Mix well till you have a breadcrumb effect
Add salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything and taste.

Be creative and add dried Apricot and serve with fried fish as below or with your favourite fish, poultry or meat. 

All photos are by the owner of this blog.

Pan fried Scallops with Avocado


Avocado Salad
1 large white sweet onions cut in half and sliced thinly. 
1 large diced, sun ripened Avocado 
1 teaspoon of horseradish 
A handful  of Greek basil or pea shoots
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lime/ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Seared Scallops 
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of butter
8 hand dived Scallops 

Seared Scallops 
Place a frying pan on a medium heat and add  the butter and olive oil. 
Add the Scallops and fry for 1 minute on one side and 30 seconds when you turn it over. Turn the heat off and leave the scallops for another 15 seconds and toss. 
Remove the Scallops from the frying pan, set aside in a bowl and reserve the oil for the Avocado salad. 

Avocado Salad
In a bowl add the oil from the Scallops, pepper, horseradish and Greek basil. Mix well and then add the sweet onions. 
Add the Avocado and salt to taste. Mix well, be careful not to mash the Avocado and serve immediately with your seared Scallops.

Best served with Melba toast or grilled sourdough bread slices. Wash each morsel down with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. 
All photos are by the owner of this blog. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


The sweet smell of spice and sugar, filling the house when baking on a Sunday is one that I like.  A walk through parks for a couple of hours and settling home for an afternoon tea is rather rewarding. I particularly love listening to jazz fm, sipping a cup tea with a slice of my bake whilst I get lost in the world of imagination and escapism. I have compiled one of my favourite baking  recipe which is easy to follow below. Enjoy!

Serves 4
3 de-stoned Plums and cut in half ( substitute for Apricot, blueberries)
250g of sweet shortcrust pastry (see previous post for recipe)
2 large free range egg
1 teaspoon of Vanilla bean paste
150g of caster sugar
150g of goats butter or salted/ unsalted butter
175g of ground almonds
50g of ground pistachios 
1 ground long pepper
Half a teaspoon of freshly milled black pepper

Place the de-stoned and halved plums in a bowl and sprinkle the milled black peppercorn over it. 

Mix everything together making sure the black peppercorn coat the plums perfectly. 
Leave this to marinade for about an hour in your refrigerator. 

In a separate bowl add the ground Almond, Pistachio, Caster sugar and milled long pepper and mix well. 

Melt your butter and leave to cool. 
Add your eggs to the almond mix and mix well. 
Add your melted butter and vanilla paste and mix well. 

Preheat your oven to 180*c. 
Scoop your almond mix into your pastry case, (making sure you fill it half way) 
Insert each plum ( with the skin side up) into the almond mix or as shown above. 

Place it in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden on the surface. 

Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 5 minutes. 

Remove your tart from the flan tin and serve. 

Best served with Yoghurt,Crème fraîche or Ginger ice cream. 
All photos are by the owner of this blog.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sweet shortcrust pastry

The secret to a perfect fluffy shortcrust pastry is to refrain from over 'working' the dough. Follow this simplified recipe to achieve just that. 

Serves 4
250g of plain flour
50g of icing sugar
125g of cold cubed butter
1 large free range egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of cold milk


Sift your flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the cubed butter.
Using your fingers, rub the mixture together till you have a breadcrumb consistency. Alternatively you can pulse
the mixture in a food processor for about a minute. 

In a bowl whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Fold the mixture gently, making sure not to over work the dough. 

The mixture might look like this, but don't worry. Place the dough in a cling film and roll into a ball as below. 

Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes. 

Oil a 7 inch loose based flan tin with vegetable oil using a paper napkin. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cling film. Place the pastry in the middle of the tin.

Using your finger tips gently spread the dough evenly till the tin is covered as above. Place your pastry back in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 
Pre heat your oven to 180*c

Scrunch a grease proof paper or baking paper and place on top of the dough. Using beans, rice or baking beans cover the surface of the greas proof paper with your preference aforementioned.
Place the pastry in the oven for 19-25 minutes. Remove the grease proof paper with the baking beans from the pastry. Bake the pastry for another 6 minutes till it starts to brown. Remember you don't need to brown it more at this stage as it will go through further baking with a filling later. 

Alternatively use a fork to make holes in the pastry base, egg wash the pastry with egg white and bake for 20-25 min. This is the simplest and quickest method personally to blind baking a pastry. 

Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 6 minutes before adding your filling. 
All photos are by owner of this blog. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Grilled Prawns and Sardines in Tarragon

A simple and perfect recipe for brunch or lunch. Invite your friends over a glass of wine and serve them this delight. Enjoy!

Serves 4 
20g grated ginger
1 chopped red medium heat chilli
2 green chopped chillies
1 teaspoon of grated fresh horseradish 
1 medium shallot, finely diced
4 tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil
1 rind of lemon and it's juice
15g of chopped tarragon
20g of chopped coriander
10 large prawns deveined with it's tail attached
6 cleaned Sardines

From the top left; Sardines, Prawns, Coriander, Shallot, Horseradish, Lemon, Ginger, Green chillies, Red chilli and Tarragon. 

In a bowl mix the grated ginger, rind of lemon and juice, horseradish, tarragon, coriander, onions, both chillies and olive oil. 

Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste . Divide the marinade in two and pre heat your oven to 200*c on the grill marking. 

Place the marinated Prawns and Sardines in an oven proof dish and grill for about 6 minutes on each side. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 3 minutes. 

Serve with crusty baguette and dunk the in the juice. 
All photos are by the owner of this blog. 

Lemongrass and Pineapple tea

In a rather nostalgic mood, I decided to make this tea,(a natural remedy) a favourite in most Ghanaian homes to beat the 'fever and cold'. Mum made this tea each time we had pineapple skins available. 'Waste not' was her motto, hence whether I had a fever or not this tea was always available. Enjoy the recipe inspired by my Mum. 

1 whole medium pineapple, cut into chunks with the skin and hull attached. ( you can also use the skins of pineapple) 
1 medium sugarcane cut lengthways 
1 large lime cut into quarters
200g of fresh lemongrass leaves (mostly available in tropical countries) or 4 stalks of lemon grass (which is readily available in most supermarkets)
20g of Ginger cut into chunks 
1.5 litres of water

Place the Pineapple, Sugarcane, Ginger, Lemongrass and lime into a saucepan.

Place in a medium heat and cook for about 45minutes, where the juice has halved in quantity. 

Remove from the heat and leave to rest for about 3 minutes. 
Serve in a mug and sip, just like you would a perfect cup of tea. 
Enjoy the flavours and escape into a tropical bliss. 

All photos are by the owner of this blog. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Grilled Pineapple with Pancake

In commémoration of Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day, a day for repenting and building one's spiritual growth, I have an exotic take on a classic pancake and enjoy the recipe.


Serves 4
Pancake Mix
1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of milk
1 egg

In a bowl, add the flour, egg and milk

 Mix well till you have a smooth double cream consistency.

Place a pancake pan or frying pan on a medium heat. 
Add half a teaspoon of butter and 2 drops of sunflower oil ( this helps the butter not to burn too quickly)

Scoop a ladle of the pancake batter to the pan and fry for 1minute or until it browns perfectly on each side. 

Repeat the above process till you finish frying the batter. 

Grilled Pineapple 
1 medium sized pineapple 
10g of grated ginger 
50 ml of orange juice
A handful of Greek basil or Mint (Optional)

 Cut half the pineapple into rings and reserve the other half for the sauce

Use a cutter to shape your pineapple into a perfect ring (optional) dice the remaining pineapple

Carefully using a knife, de hull the pineapple 

Mix half your ginger with the diced pineapple. 

Using a quarter teaspoon of butter to grease your pan, place it on a medium heat and grill your pineapple. Remove and place in a bowl. 
Using a juicer, juice the remaining half of your pineapple and ginger. If you don't have a juicer, blend your pineapple, ginger and orange juice together. Using a colander, strain your smoothie to extract the juice. 

 Cook your juice down on a medium heat till you have a syrup consistency, which should take 7-10 minutes. 

To serve
Place your pancake on a plate, add your grilled pineapple and pour the syrup over your pancake. Sprinkle with mint or in my case Greek basil and enjoy!

All photos are by the owner of the blog

Saturday, 14 February 2015

My clay pot obsession

Clay pots are a central part of most African cooking, right from storing water, baking, cooking, serving and grinding herbs and spices. 
In most Ghanaian homes the clay pot mortar and wooden pestle are used in grinding most things and the mortar works as a bowl for serving most dishes including the ever popular Fufu and Kontomire (Spinach) stew. 

A particular favourite of the clay pot is when water is stored in it. A visit to most villages in Ghana includes a welcome drink from the host of a cool, thirst quenching ,slightly smokey flavoured spring water in a calabash. 

The clay pot offers a slight smokey taste to most dishes. In a bid to enhance the smoky flavour of my clays pots, I used hard wood from  either a fruit or nut tree. This particularly works wonders and permeates the clay pot which then enhances the flavours of most dishes. 

The other great thing about cooking with a clay pot is, it traps  moisture and heat, distributing them evenly, which in turn cuts cooking time in half and an end result of tender, flavourful dishes. Clay pot cooking doesn't require  a lot of juice added to the dish. It slow cooks your ingredients in it's own juices, which then enhances the flavour. Investing in a clay pot is a must have and every household should have one. 

Maintaining your clay pot is important. When you receive your clay pot , fill it with water and heat till the water boils. Leave the water to cool down, pour it out and it's ready to use. 

After cooking, clean your pot and refrain from letting it stand in water. On a monthly basis place your clay pot in a pre-heated oven of 160*c for about 15 minutes and turn the heat off. Leave it till it's cool in the oven, then rub any clear oil inside the pot and store for another day.