This and that: April 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goat soup you say......

   The first time I was in Togo was in 2005 and during this time I was able to go to an African Market which was near my husband's home town... although I  didn't know at the time as I hadn't met him yet.  As we were walking through the market I saw many people eating  soup from a vendor.  So, being curious I wanted to check out what they were eating.  To my dismay, the soup had the goat's head in it.  I am not one to eat anything with the head in the food or attached.  I have been known to send back food that I have ordered to have the head  cut off or also have covered up the head with a napkin as I am eating.  I just can't eat something that is staring at me....

Needless to say my first experience with goat soup wasn't a truly pleasant one.  I have though, over the years, come to love it.  It is probably one of my favorite soups.

                                                      Goat Soup
1/ 2 lb to 1 lb goat meat
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste ( I buy this at an African Market)
1/8 cup of onions or to taste
    Place all these ingredients in large pot.  Add water to just cover the meat and boil for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  I do sometimes boil the meat longer if it is old as that will  make the meat tender.
 2-3 cups water
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 roma tomatoes,
1/4 cup onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp anise
1 tsp ginger - fresh if you have
salt to taste
hot pepper to taste.
    Once the meat has finished it first boil, add 2 -3 cups of water and 1 tbsp tomato paste (if you would like a darker soup, add more tomato paste).  Bring to a boil.  At this time I take out my mortar and pestle and grind the tomatoes and onions.  Add to soup, continuing to boil .  Next I grind the garlic, anise and ginger and add to soup.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Once the soup has boiled for about 10 minutes or so, I will taste it and add salt.  The salt will bring out the flavor of the other spices but if you still need more flavor add more garlic, anise and ginger to taste.  Prior to serving I add the hot pepper and also add more onions.  Serve with rice or fufu.
     The rice is served on the side and a spoonful of rice is dipped into the soup and eaten.  I will write about fufu for those of you that don't know what it is at a later date.
soup boiling

As I have many pictures of Togo, I am going to leave you with some of the market pictures I took on my first trip there in 2005.
the soup market

I thought this lady was beautiful, took the picture more because
of her then the things she was selling.
This was the kettle that the soup was in
Til next time, enjoy and happy eating..... Marlys


Monday, April 23, 2012

Our favorite breakfast food

   Today as I was making breakfast, I thought why not write a post about our favorite breakfast food... It is not African by any means but I didn't say everything would be African did I?  So as I sit here drinking my morning chai, I will try to write a post that hopefully will have some meaning to it.
    I grew up knowing that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, my mother always had breakfast ready for us.... but she made PORRIDGE! (hot cereal to my American friends).  I hated porridge and felt that the benefits of not eating breakfast outweighed the benefits of eating breakfast.... and also when I did have to eat porridge I had so much sugar on it that it probably just gave me more cavities.  I ate a spoonful of porridge with at least 2 spoonfuls of brown sugar, so not very healthy in my book.... So, what did I do ~~ I stayed in bed, and jumping out just in enough time to get ready for school and leave.. with no breakfast.  My poor mother, she tried but she was from the era that breakfast needed to stick to your bones and living through a Saskatchewan winter~ ~ you need good hot porridge to stick to those bones. So I was never one to eat breakfast, until after I got married.
     After I got married, I started flipping through cookbooks to try and figure out what would be good for breakfast.  One weekend, we had company so as my husband and I were getting up we were trying to decide what to make them... pancakes...NO... waffles...NO..... eggs....NO.  By the way the no's were coming from my DH.  So down I went to grab my cookbooks and I came across a recipe for oven pancakes.  I thought, this sounds good and yes, I do make new recipes for company It turned out delicious and has been a staple breakfast food for us. Over the last couple of years I have tried many different things when I have made them, especially with the cooking time as we like ours really crispy and each time I make them they turn out just a slight bit different..but they are very easy to make.

                                                         OVEN PANCAKES
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk ~~ at Christmas time I use a half and half mixture with eggnog
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Melt butter and spread in 9X13 baking pan ( I use a glass one and think it works better).  Mix together  the rest of the ingredients and pour into pan.
Place in cold oven and turn heat to 450 degrees.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Turn down heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.  Eat with toppings of choice.  We eat ours with powdered sugar (or icing sugar as this Canadian's would say) and fresh fruit.

I found this recipe in a church cookbook and it is pretty easy.  A couple of tricks I have learnt... I do preheat my oven slightly -- as I have a gas oven, I find that it does turn out better to turn the oven while I am mixing the batter.  I also mix the batter with a spoon just so everything is mixed.  After the last 20 minutes of cooking, I turn off the oven leaving the oven pancake in until it is crisp.  We love it when it is crisp, so I just leave it in as I am getting everything else ready.  I have also left it in for a few more minutes at 350 degrees if it isn't as brown as I would like it.  

  Hope you enjoy this... til next time.  Marlys


Friday, April 13, 2012

How it all started.....

A little bit African, this started on the day I married my husband in Togo, Africa.  As I am a Canadian, the only way we could get married was to do it in Africa and then I would have to petition my husband to join me here in the United States... So on April 15th, 2006, we were married in Lome, Africa in a civil ceremony (our legal wedding).  On April 19th we had our religious ceremony and after this ceremony we donned the traditional garb that a couple would wear for a tradition ceremony.  The picture of us is when we wore the traditional garments and beads which were placed on me by my husband's family. The girl beside me is my sister-in-law (isn't see beautiful?).

During the six weeks that I spent in Togo with my husband, I did most of the cooking in the apartment we rented on a small camp stove.  My husband called my kitchen "quick and sweet" as most of the food I prepared was sweet compared to his standards and everything was made fast... I did watch as my mother and sister-in-laws make their traditional foods but because of the language barrier, was only able to watch.  It didn't look easy and I didn't ever think that I would learn to do it... Once my husband arrived here in the states,  he has taught me how to cook properly.. although I still won't pound fufu or make Akume (corn porridge) as I just can't get it right... or maybe I don't want to ;-) but mainly because it is much too hard and I am a wimp by nature.  I can say that I do try, but I last for about a minute before I am played out . Maybe before I die, I will be able to pound fufu or make Akume to the right consistency.  But one thing I can say is that I do like my conveniences ~~ like a stove, not sure if I would want to start a fire every time I need to eat.

I will leave you  with pictures of preparing food in Africa and how my journey first began....

What I cooked on in our apartment in Lome.
As you can see it was hot by my red face. Oh, by
the way the shelf that the stove is on has a bit of a lean
but that will be a story for another time.

cooking over an open fire.
carrying water
Pounding yams to make into fufu
pounding fufu... I am not doing it correctly!