Sunday, 2 August 2009
Ghana Food Night with London Food Bloggers
When i saw the invite for the Ghanaian Food eveningh sponsored by Cadbury to promote their Fair Trade initiatives with Ghanaian cocoa farmers i was thoroughly excited.
In 1994 i spent 8 months in Ghana, travelling to and fro between Old Nima, a suburb of Accra the capital, and Anyako, a little village on the banks of the Keta Lagoon in the Volta Region.
Since the evening last Tuesday, lots of food memories about my time there have come back. Street food is ubiquitous from the city to the bush. My favourites were beans and gari at a particular stall in the car park across from the National Theatre. In Makola market you could pretty much find anything either in living or cooked form. Goats, chickens, turkeys, the most amazing fresh fish and seafood, snails, vegetables, and then stall after stall of chop each with their own speciality. I tried most things there including kenkey and pepper, grilled tilapia, fried plantains, groundnut stew, fufu and even akpetesie.
My memories of Ghanaians are that they are extremely generous, welcoming and full of vibrancy. The family and community are core.
Fast forward to last Tuesday evening where Kelsie and I and a choice handful of London Food Bloggers congregated at the Underground Cookery School to participate in a Ghanaian cooking workshop and then enjoy a meal. The event was organised by Lea and her agency on behalf of Cadbury, with help from Jollof Pot catering.
We split ourselves into two groups. One group got to listen to a brief overview of the food culture of Ghana presented by Albert from Jollof Pot.
And the other group set about preparing the spice mix and zebra meat for our meal. Yes zebra meat. Not sure why they chose zebra, i don't remember ever seeing a zebra in Ghana and would have preferred goat.
The evening was quite animated with lots of wine flowing and the excitement of putting faces to twitter names. I made a beeline for the kitchen where the kind UCS chefs let me 'help' prepare the meal with Evelyn from Jollof Pot.
For starters we had an assortment of canapes: cassava chips, fried plantain rounds with mackeral, fried rice balls. The main meal was one of my favourites -- jollof rice served with the zebra stew.
We were sent home with goodie bags containing more Cadbury fair trade chocolate and recipes from Jollof Pot so that we could try the dishes at home.
All in all it was a very enjoyable evening, well organised and informative.
If you want to learn more about Ghanaian food and culture there's a wealth of info online. Here's a sample of my favourites: