All posts filed under: Africa

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Eritrean Spiced Bread | Hembesha

This year Ava and I brought a loaf of Eritrean Hembesha bread to the annual Martin Luther King parade. It’s a random sort of thing to bring to a parade, but I’d just pulled batch #3 out of the oven and couldn’t stand the thought of the bread cooling down without being able to enjoy a still-steaming, soft wedge. There are few things better than a steaming-hot piece of homemade bread.  Hembesha is no exception: the east African bread is soft and earthy with whispers of garlic, coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek. The distinct flavor profile is great with hearty stews or even on the side of scrambled eggs (perfect for a savory brunch). That being said, hembesha is traditionally served in the afternoon with tea and a drizzle of honey and/or tesmi (tesemi is spiced ghee made with ginger, garlic, onions, and berbere) While original recipes decorate the flat loaves with nails, I’ve used a ravioli wheel (the idea came from the blog Yesterdish). I learned the hard way – don’t just score the dough – cut through 99-100% of the …

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South African Lunch

An African lunch for a cold day

Below freezing weather means one thing: the thermos goes on double duty. This week I filled Ava’s hot pink Hello Kitty thermos with a hearty bean stew bolstered with a swirl of red palm oil – a typical element in West African cooking. On the side – a fat hunk of mealie bread. This is southern Africa’s answer to corn bread (especially popular in South Africa). The fresh corn kernels add sweetness and interest beyond anything Jiffy Mix can offer. Tips and Tricks If you’d like a little spice in your mealie bread try adding some blackened chilie peppers (I like poblanos – here’s a recipe from Zambia). Try adding some sliced plantain to your kidney beans stew or swapping the kidney beans for black eyed peas. Why show you Ava’s lunch? Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work. In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the …

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South African Around the World Lunch

Ava’s South African Lunch

This week Around the World Lunch takes us to South Africa (thanks to your votes on our FB Page). The result is a hearty meal perfect for autumn, packed with nutrition. Watch a clip of Ava introducing this meal (and showing off her South African flag) on Instagram. Get Creative.  Who says creativity must be difficult? In a sea of bologna sandwiches, leftovers are a great way to mix things up and add interest to your child’s lunch! For dinner we made a batch of South African Yellow Rice (a.k.a. Geelrys), seasoned with turmeric, a touch of brown sugar, and raisins. While it’s amazing hot, it’s also decent cold the next day. South Africa is famous for her enormous coiled sausages, called Boerewors made up of beef and lamb or pork. These aren’t available here, so I improvised by browning a couple of small breakfast sausages. For cute-factor (and ease for small hands), try putting them on skewers. Balance. Nutrition is packed into the rest of this lunch. First up? Corn. Garnish a boiled ear of corn with a puff of smoky chile powder – a popular treatment …

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Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

There’s been a movement to make Enkutatash – a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year – as popular as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you’re invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration. Wear white. Pick yellow daisies. And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food. Waaaay back when “Enkutatash” literally stands for “gift of jewels.” As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 tons of gold and as many spices to King Solomon. King Solomon was quite the host as he, too, showered her with gifts: …in return, King Solomon had assembled an array of gifts for her arrival. Great caskets of sticky Nubian millet beer awaited her party. The gifts were staked on mules outside Solomon’s palace, ready for her people to take to their camp and enjoy. Silks and linens from Gaza, Assyria, and Lebanon. Tapestry from Ma-Wara-Mnar. Dresses, sweet fruit from Iraq, Mongolistan winter melons. And basins of water from the spring at Siloe. Following …

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If your part of the world was a burger, this would be it. (AFRICAN EDITION)

Photos: Moroccan girls by M. Osmenda, Bhutanese girl by C. Michel, & children in Ghana by K. McCormick. The heart of African cooking… I’m so excited about today… because today  we’re diving into the heart of African cooking. I’ll be sharing four burger creations inspired by four distinct regions of Africa. It’s not all the same… Next time someone tells you all African food tastes the same (or that they know nothing about African cooking), send them here. I know firsthand how much they’re missing. You see, when I first began cooking the world, I could fill a thimble with what I knew about African cooking. But there is enormous flavor, history, and creativity in Africa. Consider these four African-inspired burgers a teaser. Once your appetite is whetted, go on to the hundreds of recipes for each of the 54 countries in Africa that my family tried when we cooked our way around the world. Let this celebration of Africa’s culinary diversity be a reminder: Africa is not a country. The North African | Tagine Burger Inspired by the sweet and savory tagines of Morocco …

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Celebrate Name Yourself Day with Nigerian Fried Rice

This Shall Not Die In Yoruba culture, in southwestern Nigeria and Southern Benin, the naming of babies is of the utmost importance – one that the Yoruba people believe will help determine their child’s future – their fate. That’s how a baby might come to be named Kokumo, or “This Shall Not Die.” I’ll be honest, the first time I imagined a baby with the word “die” in their name, I got the chills. But Kokuma is an optimistic, prayerful name. A wish for their child’s well-being – not some morbid statement. Today, in honor of international Name Yourself Day (April 8) I’d like to explore if we can find such power in our names – whether or not where we end up in life can be manifest through clear and purposeful intention repeated like mantra, with something as basic as our very own names. If it is true, then the meaning and sentiment of our names can have a big influence on who we are and what we do with our lives. So we should choose them …

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Monday Meal Review: Zimbabwe

The marathon is complete. We did it. We ate every country in the world. (Breathe in, breathe out) The first thing Ava said about completing our challenge? “Can we start cooking the world all over again?“ And, later: “When are we going to start another Global Table Adventure, mama?” This child was barely seven months old when we started. Here she is with Afghanistan… (sigh) I can’t look at this photo without tears coming to my eyes. I just… can’t. It symbolizes how much happens in four years. How much changes. I had the strangest sensation as I was taking my last bite of candy cake for Zimbabwe. Every time I blinked my eyes, I’d open them expecting to find my seven month baby nestled in my arms. All over again. That’s probably not what Ava meant when she suggested we start over. But every time I opened my eyes… there Ava was…  all grown up, four and a half years old, talking about staying “hwydrated.” I kept blinking. I kept hoping for a moment of …

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Zimbabwe Candy Cake | Chikenduza

Candy. Cake. From Zimbabwe. Given the name… and the fact that we needed a celebration recipe (this being the last recipe of our ‘official’ adventure to eat a dish from every country in the world)… well, I had to make it. That’s not to say there weren’t other choices for celebration food. I could have made sweet potato cake (spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg) or sliced mango with custard. But I was sold when I saw the shiny pink glaze on the mound of cakey bread. I would have never known this cake existed, if it weren’t for several homesick Zimbabweans who shared their pinings on Fiso’s Kitchen. This is a treat you’d find in Zimbabwe’s city bakeries. From what Fiso says, Candy Cakes are usually big and dense, made in a double a standard muffin, but I made mini ones in my muffin tin so I wouldn’t have to go buy special equipment. Though her version is yeasty, she also mentions a recent trend of baking powder being used in Zimbabwe’s Candy Cake. Personally, I’m …

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Zimbabwean Pumpkin & Squash

Everywhere I go, I see the rust, orange, and gold of pumpkins and squashes. Some smile from my neighbors’ front stoops. Some have been tagged for this year’s Thanksgiving pie or pumpkin pancakes (Hello, Russia!). Even Pinterest looks like a digital pumpkin patch of late. All this for good reason. These beautiful gourds are autumn. They represent breathless hikes to pick out the biggest, the gnarliest, the cutest in the bunch. But for all that, I can only look at so many pumpkin recipes before my eyes glaze over. Until Zimbabwe. In this southern African country, gourds are served up in fun and fresh ways. In my wildest dreams I never considered putting peanut butter with butternut squash. But my goodness… it works! Here are three recipes from Zimbabwe to add interest to your global fall fest. 1. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheddar & Corn Oh man, oh man, oh man. Seriously. I’d be proud to call this lunch any time of day. This recipe was originally made with a “gem” squash in Zimbabwe, which I can’t obtain in Oklahoma. …

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Witch doctor of the Shona people close to Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe. Photo by Hans Hillewaert.

Menu: Zimbabwe

I don’t think I’ve ever done this. I’ve always told you the menu. Every Wednesday for 195 weeks, my choices have been in this space, recorded in black and white. But today… I’m just not ready to tell you what I’m making. Perhaps it’s panic. What if I make the wrong choice this week? Or perhaps it’s denial. What if I’m not ready for it to be over? I can tell you this much: there will be pumpkins and squashes. There will be peanuts and peanut butter. And there will be, I assure you, some kind of dessert. Because I just don’t know how to celebrate the ending without a little something sweet. So, bear with me, friends… The first recipe will be up tomorrow. UPDATE: 3 Quick Recipes for Zimbabwean Pumpkin and Squash [Recipe] Three amazing recipes: 1) Acorn squash roasted with corn and cheese 2) Peanut Butter Butternut Squash 3) Cinnamon Pumpkin Zimbabwe Candy Cake | Chikenduza [Recipe] A dense, yeasty cake with sweet icing. A favorite in Zimbabwe’s city bakeries. And here’s a proverb …

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Zimbabwe Sunset. Photo by Steve Evans.

About the food of Zimbabwe

Yesterday, I mentioned my fear of crossing “the chasm”, towards the final post of this Adventure. And yet, here we are. Time stalls for none. This is the first step over Victoria Falls from Zambia to Zimbabwe. There are a few restaurants near the falls, like the Rainforest Cafe, where you can get a Crocodile Tail Wrap with wasabi. Talk about fusion! As one travels further into the heart of this southern African country, more traditional foods appear, like pumpkin greens (bowara) cooked with peanut butter, peanut butter stews, and even pumpkin and peanut butter. (Here are three recipes for pumpkin and squash enjoyed in Zimbabwe) Not enough peanut butter for you? Next time you boil up rice (white or brown), stir in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter – just enough so that you can shape the rice into balls.  This is called Mupunga une dovi. Serve your meal with anything from the tradtional sadza (a maize-based, stiff porridge), to the cities’ sweet buns made with yeast and sugar. Many foods you might recognize from …

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Monday Meal Review: Zambia

Between Zambia and Zimbabwe lies the stunning chasm of mist and water called Victoria Falls. The water flows through both countries like some stealthy border walker, never fixed to one particular country. Never tied down. In this poetic space, where rapids, danger, and sparkling, spraying joy all tumble together, I see meaning for our own little cooking adventure. I’m on one side of the end, metaphorically sitting in Zambia, looking at Zimbabwe. Wondering what comes next. I’m so close to reaching my goal of eating every country in the world. So. Close. And yet, the “end” feels so, so, so far away. Almost unattainable. By this, I don’t really mean the cooking . Cooking one more country will be easy. I know how to research recipes. I know how to cook them. Sure, I make mistakes from time to time, but after four years, the process feels like breathing. No. It’s something else that feels far away, that feels unattainable. Perhaps it’s that I don’t know how to reach a goal of this magnitude. Not …

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