Monday, 14 December 2015

PEANUT BRITTLE (NKATIE CAKE)

Christmas is the time of year to say thanks to all your family and friends who've supported you throughout the year. It's also a perfect moment to restore broken relationships, forgive and share with the less fortunate in society.
The essence of Christmas sometimes is lost, when one only concentrates on what presents they can receive, what to wear, what parties to attend or what they'll eat without including extending a helping hand to the less fortunate. 


Christmas needn't be expensive and riddle one with debt, especially when your next pay check will arrive 6 weeks later. Budgeting and being clever with what you give is paramount in achieving a successful Yuletide. 
During my childhood in Ghana, Christmas was centred on food, visiting family, friends, sharing food or clothes with a struggling neighbour, going to church and forming new relationships. 


I've compiled a series of inspiring, competitively priced recipes and ideas for Christmas presents, which will be featured on my blog till Christmas Eve.

 A great and fulfilling thing to do at Christmas is to give to individuals who are less fortunate. Giving to one who cannot reciprocate the favour and knowing you're responsible for placing a smile on their face at Christmas is an amazing feeling. Try it and share your experience.

Homemade presents are a great way of showing appreciation to your loved
ones and equally satisfying to spend the time making it.

I chose to share this recipe as it's a snack that's readily available in Ghana , particularly after church services. Truthfully as a child, I had the dilemma of using the money my Mum gave me for offertory  to buying more of the peanut brittle (Nkatie cake) or (Kubey cake)Caramel coconut bites (not a fair choice) than to use it for what was intended. Mum sussed out my dilemma and gave me the eye to let go of the money and rewarded me later with choice. I would love to hear from you about your childhood experience with Nkatie and Kubey cake. 

Thanks to everyone who contributed in naming the snack (Peanut brittle) in their respective traditional languages. 

Here we have Peanut brittles or Nkatie cake (Ghana), Konkada (Togo) and Granat cake (Sierra Leone). Feel free to share more traditional names by leaving comments below. 

For a cost effective way to wrap your present, use a brown or white baking paper and a ribbon for a festive look. 



Ingredients;
180g  of roasted peanuts 
150g of caster sugar
100g of glucose syrup
10g of butter

A silicone mat is required for this recipe. However if you don't have one a well oiled surface will be idle 

Substitutes
Cashew nuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios or Hazelnuts 

Method 
How to roast peanuts
Preheat the oven to 160*c
Evenly spread 250g of raw peanuts in a baking tray.



Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until it browns slightly. 
Remove the tray from the oven and leave the peanuts to cool down completely. 

Tip
(Peeling peanuts) 
Place the roasted peanuts in a clean Kitchen napkin and rub in between your hands for about 3 minutes.
Shake the nuts (for the skins to settle at the bottom) 
Separate the peeled peanuts from the skins and empty the skins in your bin. Place the peeled peanuts in a bowl and set aside.



Light Caramel sauce
Place the sugar and glucose in a heavy based saucepan. 
Mix everything together till you have a thick paste. 
Ensure the paste is evenly distributed in the saucepan and place on a medium heat. 


Watch the sugars dissolve and turn into a plane brown colour. This should take about 7-10 minutes. 

Tip
Don't be tempted to leave your caramel as it burns quickly.

Remove the caramel from the heat when you've achieved the pale brown colour. 

Add the peanuts and butter to the caramel and mix quickly. 
Tip the contents on top of the silicon mat and spread evenly using a spatula. 

Leave till it cools down and cut lengthways or to your preferred shape. 
Store in an airtight container till you're ready to wrap it as a present or serve. 


All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog. 
Try the recipe, leave a comment, subscribe and share.





Tuesday, 1 December 2015

COCOYAM & GUAVA SOUP

Cocoyam is a root vegetable readily available in Ghana and it's  rich in Vitamin B6 and magnesium. The Cocoyam leaves (African Spinach) traditionally known as Kontomire in Ghana, are rich in Vitamins A & C and contain more protein than the corm.



 The leaves are used for , sauces, stews (Palavar sauce, Kontomire stew etc) and soups in  Ghana. Cocoyams are used the same way one would potatoes and has a slight earthy taste.

 It's popular in most Asian cuisines and readily available in both African and Asian grocers. 


Dishes made from Cocoyam includes Fufu, Chips, Pottage to mention but a few. 
During my childhood, Cocoyam wasn't as popular as Yam, hence I'm creating new ways of incorporating Cocoyam in everyday dishes. 




I was rather surprised about a trip to Thailand (stayed in the Sarojin hotel, Khao Lak) where we were given complimentary snacks of Cocoyam crisp. My husband couldn't understand my excitement and I had to explain the limited ways it was used in Ghana.

I pinched myself to think an ingredient that wasn't popularly used had many uses and nutrition contents. My personal mission is to create as many recipes from Cocoyam. 

Anyway back to 2015, I found  the Cocoyam in my local Asian grocers and I couldn't help but grab a few. 

The grocer then informed me he's just taken stock of some fresh Guava's. Naturally I bought more than I needed, simply because it's been a while since I tasted fresh Guavas.




After my grocery trip, I was  too tired to cook and wanted to create a one pot dish. I started imagining the flavours I wanted for this dish. 
I wanted something that would compliment the moorish, earthy taste of the Cocoyam. The idea to incorporate the Guava was to add a tangy and sweet flavour to the soup. 

I've always loved Cocoyam pottage or just steamed to accompany any vegetable sauce or stew. 

I wanted an unusual colour to the soup, as this will get any guest guessing and question the dish. 

My husband saw the soup and I silently grinned at his  uncertain reaction to the colour of the soup. A taste of the soup, got him going for seconds and I knew I just cracked another recipe.


Why not try this recipe  in your Kitchen, leave a comment on the blog,  subscribe and share. 
Enjoy the recipe.

Ingredients 
1 large peeled and diced Cocoyam 
2 tablespoonfuls of Olive oil
2 large chopped Banana shallots
200g of chopped purple cabbage
2 peeled cloves of Garlic 
100g of diced Guava
700ml of Vegetable/ Chicken stock
20g of peeled and diced Ginger
7g of Guinea Pepper or black peppercorns 
Salt and Pepper to taste




Method:
Place a saucepan on a medium heat, add the olive oil and Guinea pepper.
Add the onions and fry for a minute
Add the diced Ginger and fry for 2 minutes. 
Add the garlic and Cocoyam cubes. 
Stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the stock and cook for 15-20 minutes. Then add the Cabbage and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until everything is soft to touch.    



Blend everything to a silky smooth consistency. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour cream, a drizzle of Olive oil and a rustic bread. 

All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog. 


Saturday, 14 November 2015

YAM FISH PIE

Yam is a popular tuber used in most African and Caribbean dishes. There are over 600 varieties of Yam (supposedly 95% of them are grown in Africa) and generally they have a tough brown outer later with a white or pale yellow flesh. Yams are used the same way you would potatoes and it's used in this recipe for a fish pie.


Ingredients
Serves 6

Yam Mash
300g of Yam peeled and cut into chunks 
2 tablespoons of butter
100 ml of double cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Yam


Sautéed Leek & mushrooms 
1 large finely chopped leek
1 shallot cut length ways
50g of Oyster/ Chestnut mushrooms ( optional)
Shallot and Mustard sauce
1 finely diced shallot
2 tablespoons of English mustard 
1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon of malt vinegar 
500g of mixed fish (Smoked Haddock, Cod and Salmon)
Most supermarkets stock the mixed fish.


Method 
Place your washed sliced Yam in a saucepan and add water. The water should cover the Yam completely and bring it to the boil on a medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, (insert a fork to the Yam, if it permeates without any resistance, it's done).

Sliced Yam

Drain the water from the Yam (using a colander) and leave to dry for 2 minutes. 
Pass your steamed Yam through a ricer into a bowl. 

Add the butter and cream and mix well, 
Season with salt and pepper. 

Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped leeks

Sauté the leeks for about about a minute and add the sliced shallots. Cook for another minute, add the mushrooms (optional) and cook for another minute. 
Set aside until ready to use. 

Add the sliced shallots to the frying pan previously used. 
Sauté the shallots for 2 minutes on a medium heat and remove from the heat. 

Add the sautéed onions to your Béchamel sauce (Click here for recipe) on a medium heat.

Add the English mustard and whole grain mustard to the Béchamel sauce. 

Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat and add the vinegar. Quickly mix everything together and leave on the side.

To assemble
Preheat your oven to 180*c.

In a casserole bowl or a clay bowl, layer the following; 
Add your sautéed leeks, your assortment of fish and your mustard sauce.




Using a piping bag or spatula, pipe your mashed Yam over the filling making sure you cover it entirely. 



Using a fork, draw lines lightly on the surface, making sure not to break the seal, as above.


Place your pie in the oven and cook for 18-25 minutes or until the surface is golden. 


Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 minutes. 
Serve hot with your favourite steamed vegetables. Enjoy!

All photos are by the owner of this blog. 





PLANTAIN & SUYA CRUMBLE

In the coming weeks, find inspiring Christmas recipes on my blog with the 'Ndudu twist'. 

Ingredients are carefully selected to ensure they're readily available to everyone and alternatives are offered. 

Let's start with this easy but equally impressive nibble. 



Thinking about ways to incorporate similar but unusual flavours to traditional recipes enabled me to create this recipe. 


This recipe is inspired by 'Kelewele' (a spicy fried, cubed ripened Plantain) which is a popular street food in Ghana. 
Click here for the Kelewele recipe. 


KELEWELE
Kelewele is served with peanuts , hence the idea of making a Suya crumble(made from peanuts and African spices) to accompany the Plantain would be a match made in heaven. 

Enjoy this nutty, sweet, spicy snack and don't forget to comment and leave a feedback.  

Ingredients: 

2 large ripened , peeled Plantain cut in half and into long strips. 
100ml of Coconut oil




Herby Suya mix
15g of finely chopped fresh Oregano or your favourite herb. 
30g of finely diced spring onions 
10g of finely diced fresh Parsley 
50g of Suya mix
20g of crushed roasted peanuts
Salt and pepper to taste 

Alternatives;
 Mint, Lemon rind, Coriander or Basil


Method;

Add the Coconut oil to a frying pan, place on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the Plantain strips, fry for 2 minutes on each side and set aside.

Mix all the Suya ingredients (to create a herby Suya mix) together into a crumble texture and set aside.  

Toss the hot Plantain in the Suya mix and serve immediately. 

Perfect with Apple juice, Palm wine or Cider. 


All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog. 




Wednesday, 11 November 2015

TOM BROWN RECIPE


'Tom Brown'  is the name of a popular porridge in Ghana. I've always wondered why this roasted corn porridge is known as 'Tom Brown '. I'm sure once this recipe goes out, someone might have an explanation or the history behind the name.

Ghanaian breakfasts are varied and surprisingly gluten free. Even though the recipe is easy to follow, one can end up with a lumpy porridge. 

The key to achieving is a silky smooth porridge is to stir constantly, especially at the initial stage of cooking. 

The roasted corn flour (the base for this  porridge) is made from harvested corn on the cob , that is dried, separated from the cob and roasted. 

The roasted corn is then milled into flour, which is then used for various recipes including 'Zowey' (a spicy peanut ball). 

The flour is mixed with water and cooked on a medium heat till you have a silky smooth double cream consistency. 

The porridge is traditionally served with sugar, milk and bread. 

The recipe here has my own nutty and spicy twist, the Ndudu twist. Enjoy 


Serves 4

Ingredients 

170g of roasted corn flour
600ml of water
3 tablespoonfuls of brown unrefined sugar 
Half a teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of ground Ginger 
A pinch of red chilli
1 tablespoon of smoothly ground peanut butter 


Method 
Add all the ingredients including the water to a saucepan. 

Using a wooden spatula mix everything together till completely mixed with no lumps. 

Tip;
The key to  a smooth porridge is to constantly stir the mixture, till you can feel  it thicken like a custard.

Place the saucepan on a medium heat and stir ) in the figure of eight)  for 7 minutes or until you have a slightly firm ,smooth, silky consistency. 

The recipe makes for a thicker porridge to accommodate the milk. Alternatively  use your preferred milk (Tiger nut or almond milk) or just add 150ml water instead for a single cream consistency. 

Take the saucepan off the heat and serve in a bowl or calabash. 

Add your milk and serve. 



All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.







Sunday, 1 November 2015

PEANUT BUTTER SOUP

On the 'Ndudu by Fafa' cookery show on ABNTV, Sky 235 this week, I paid homage to a classic Ghanaian Sunday lunch 'Omo Tuo', which is 'Rice balls' usually served with Peanut butter soup 'Nkatie Kwan', Palmnut soup or a mixture of both. 




I've also noticed the addition of cooked black eyed beans, served alongside the dish, as I serve mine with steamed Okra. 

The peanut butter soup can be made with Chicken, Lamb, Goat, Beef, Fish or Vegetables. 

On set


 Nigerians refer to the rice balls as 'Tuwon Shinkafa' and the similarities of ingredients for both countries(Ghana & Nigeria) fills me with intrigue, even though different methods of cooking are involved. 



Serves 6
Ingredients:


Spiced Peanut paste
400g of Peanut butter / Groundnut paste
1 large fresh Tomatoes
1 medium onion
20g of peeled Ginger
600ml of water / stock


Soup
2 litres of Chicken stock
1 Habanero chilli or Scotch Bonnet
1 large red Onion
2 medium tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Tomato purée 
12 steamed Okra (heads and tails cut off)

Chicken
1.4 kg of Chicken, cut into sizeable chunks. 
30g of freshly peeled Ginger
2 cloves of Garlic
1 large onion
3 Green Chillies 
100ml of water
1 Habanero chilli / Scotch Bonnet.

Rice
350g of ground rice or rice flour 
150g of rice
800ml of water
1 teaspoon of salt


Method: 

Spicy Peanut butter paste;

In a blender add the Peanut paste, Ginger, Onion, Tomatoes and stock or water. 
Blend everything together till smooth. Transfer the contents to a saucepan and place on a medium heat. 


Cook gently for 30 - 45  minutes, stirring frequently or till you have a thick and oily paste. (see below)


Chicken

Blend together the Ginger, Onion, Garlic and Green chillies together. 
Marinade the Chicken with the Ginger and chilli mix for at least an hour. 

Transfer the marinated Chicken into a saucepan and place on a medium heat.

 Add the whole Scotch Bonnet and steam the Chicken in its own juices for 10 minutes, on a low heat. 

Add 100 ml of water and cook for a further 5 minutes and set aside. 


Soup
Add 1 litre of Chicken stock to the spicy peanut paste and mix till well combined. 

Using a fine strainer, pass the spicy peanut mixture through into a saucepan and place on a medium heat. 

Add the tomato paste and mix well. 
Add the 2 medium tomatoes , Scotch bonnet and red onion. 

Cook gently on a medium heat for 30 minutes or until the onion and tomatoes are soft. 


Remove the tomatoes, onion, chilli and place in a blender 
Add the remaining litre of Chicken stock and blend to a smooth consistency. 
Pass the tomato mixture through the fine strainer into the Peanut soup. 


Cook the soup gently (still on a medium heat) for 10 minutes. 
Add the steamed Chicken to the soup and cook further for 10-15 minutes. 

 Tip:
The soup is done when the peanut oil settles on the surface



Rice:
Mix the rice , salt and water in a saucepan and place on a medium heat. 
Place the lid over the saucepan and steam the rice for 25 minutes, on a medium heat. 

Tip:
The texture of the rice ball should be moist and firm. 


Using a wooden spoon, stir the rice mixture to release the starch of the rice. 
The rice is done once it's soft to taste. 
Scoop a ladle of the rice into a bowl and shape into a ball. (See above)

                            
   


To serve
Scoop 3 ladles of the peanut butter soup into a bowl, add a rice ball, some chicken pieces and the optional steamed Okra. 

Best served with a chilled beer or Riesling wine. 

All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.