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February Is Black History Month - Enter to Win Our Book Package

By Mustafa Salemwalla on May 4, 2017 6:16:00 PM

February is Black History Month. Last fall, we participated with our friends Bravo Niagara, in The North Star Festival: Voices of Freedom. And we're so glad we did!

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Black History Month: Viola Desmond - Canada's Rosa Parks?

By Mustafa Salemwalla on May 1, 2017 6:12:00 PM

We thought you might be interested in a book we've recently read and highly recommend.

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Black History Month: Josiah Henson - Author, Abolitionist, Minister

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 30, 2017 7:54:00 AM

Josiah Henson was born into slavery in Maryland. He escaped to what was then known as Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1830 and founded the Dawn Settlement (near Dresden, Ontario).

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Lessons in African Art – 6 Quick Buying Tips

By Penny Baldwin-French on Apr 29, 2017 6:08:50 PM

 

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A Taste of Africa: Jollof Chicken & Rice

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:45:10 AM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

We love to read Jamie Oliver's recipes because we always learn something from them other than just the ingredients and instructions. Jamie uses food to tell a story - about where the recipe came from, the diaspora of people and the spread of cultures (and therefore their cuisine). He makes food interesting and we follow him closely.

So, although we'd been making this recipe for years and years, we suddenly thought "why is it called Jollof Chicken & Rice". So we turned to Jamie Oliver to find out why! His explanation follows:

"Jollof rice is more of a concept than a recipe, because it’s found in various guises all over West Africa. Its other name is Benachin, which means “one pot” in the language of the Wolof people who invented it – evidently throwing lots of lovely food in a pan and letting the heat do its thing has always been a popular cheat."

Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

The Wolof people ruled in what is now known as Senegal (1360 to 1549). They were quite powerful and wealthy and before their empire disintegrated, The Wolof traded with Europe. Before their kingdom disappeared, The Wolof spread through travel, trading with others and conquests.

Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

As a result, Jollof Rice is a popular dish in Ghana - over 2,000 km from The Wolof homeland in Senegal. It is also found in Nigeria and Cameroon. This "spread" of the recipe has resulted in varying ingredients but the basic recipe has stayed pretty much the same.

Jamie Oliver often says that "the devil is in the detail" and recommends using the best ingredients you can find and ensuring you use long grain rice. Jamie's recipe is amazing - we highly recommend checking it out!

Here's an interesting fact! The word Ghana means “warrior king”, so they can probably stand the heat of the Scotch Bonnet Pepper often used in this delicious dish.

Our family recipe doesn't include a Scotch Bonnet Pepper, although we have prepared this dish with one in the past. We warn you, it does add quite a bit of heat!

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Aquamarine Gemstones: Water of the Sea

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:43:16 AM

The name "Aquamarine" is drived from the Latin word for seawater. While aquamarines range in colour, value has always been placed on the more blue varieties of this gorgeous gemstone. The birthstone for the month of March, Aquamarine is on our list of favourite stones - not only for it's beauty, but also for it's affordability!

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A Taste of Africa: Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:41:16 AM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

Black-eyed Peas are a big deal in West Africa! They show up in a wide variety of soups and stews.  This particular recipe is very tasty and you can vary the vegetables to change it up a bit.  You can make this recipe "thick or thin"! Add more vegetables and less liquid and it becomes more stew-like.

This recipe is technically vegetarian, although we admit we often substitute chicken broth for the water.  Which makes it decidedly NOT vegetarian. Up to you!

 Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

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A Taste of Africa: Ugali - The Polenta of Africa

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:39:49 AM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

If you like Polenta, you're going to just love Ugali! They are both made from cornmeal. Whether an accompaniment to a soup or stew or alongside meat, chicken or fish dishes, Ugali is a delight.

And, it's remarkably simple to make.  Basically just a combination of cornmeal and water, stirred until well thickened.

 Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

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A Taste of Africa: Matoke - Plantain Stew

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:38:17 AM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

While this recipe is often quoted as originating in Uganda, we've encountered all sorts of variations, all over the place! No matter where it comes from, it is a simple, delicious and very appetite-satisfying dish. 

Matoke is a reference to plantain (sometimes known as plantain bananas). This dish can be prepared with or without the meat and beef broth.  It's equally tasty as a vegetarian dish.

 Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

As with all our recipes, we often vary this dish. We've added carrots or sweet potatoes or yams, different types of peppers. Used vegetable broth instead of beef broth. Sometimes putting together a stew at our house involves tidying up the fridge. You know - "let's use this up" or "a bit of this and a bit of that". Experimentation with recipes is fun, in our opinion, and often creates a tasty result!

 Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

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A Taste of Africa: Veggie Cakes

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Apr 29, 2017 7:35:46 AM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

We don't know what others call these delicious little patties, but in our house, they're called "veggie cakes". They are vegetarian (maybe even vegan), so make a terrific meal if you're trying to eat less meat. About the consistency of a crab cake, they are very flavourful and relatively easy to make.

We try to have several "meatless" meals per week so this really fits the bill! You have to make sort of a paste with the chickpea flour but it isn't at all difficult.

 Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse 

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