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A Taste of Africa: Gages - Eggplant, Tomato and Onions - Oh My!

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, May 15, 2018 @ 02:46 PM

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

Gages is a deceptively simple vegetable dish that originates in Sierra Leone. We say "deceptively simple" because the taste is extraordinary!

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A Taste of Africa: Chickpea, Red Pepper & Spinach Curry

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Aug 02, 2016 @ 01:41 PM

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

this curry is just the best for hot summer weather!

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Yum! Yum! Yum! This amazing curry dish is just the very best for hot summer weather.  Technically both vegan and gluten free, this fresh tasting curry is a snap to make.

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A Taste of Africa: Bran Rusks

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 01:52 PM

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

We grew up eating these bran rusks!

They are delicious no matter what age you are. A lovely crunchy treat to enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea. We call them our version of biscotti.


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Every one of us makes them slightly differently. We have experimented with the dried fruit ingredients. We've tried dried cranberries, blueberries, dried mixed fruit (chopped up), a variety of different types of raisins, dried dates . . . just use your creative culinary imagination! You can omit the dried fruit entirely, but we think they are better with the addition of fruit.

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A Taste of Africa: Veggie Cakes

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 05:16 PM

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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A Taste of Africa: South African Chutney Chicken

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, May 03, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

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

Three ingredients? Under an hour? This recipe is just not to be believed! So simple. So delicious.

You can use any chutney you like, but we prefer to get Mrs. Ball's Chutney when we can. Any store that sells African (or South African) groceries should have it. For those of you in the Toronto area (like we are) - we suggest a trip to The South African Store in downtown Toronto.  You can also order online from them. They have quite a variety of Mrs. Ball's Chutney for sale.

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You can, of course, make your own chutney! Here's a link to a recipe we found at Foodgeeks for a chutney they claim is very similar to Mrs. Ball's. We haven't tried it yet. If you do, please let us know how you like it.

We try to keep these three ingredients on hand pretty much all the time. Because this recipe is so easy and so quick, it makes for a great meal when you're all busy. It's also saved us when people have dropped in and we're "casting about" for something tasty to serve.

Buy chicken thighs or boneless breasts ahead when they are on sale.  Keep at least a couple of jars of chutney and packets of onion soup mix on hand and "Bob's Your Uncle", you've got the making of a great meal.  Add some rice on the side and a little salad and you're good to go.

There is a wide variety of chutney chicken recipes around - just do an internet search and you'll see! We have made this one for years, though and keep returning to it because it's both easy to make and easy to keep ingredients on hand for. Don't mess with perfection, right?

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A Taste of Africa: Matoke - Plantain Stew

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 09:45 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.

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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!

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A Taste of Africa: Thieboudienne - Senegalese Fish and Rice

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Fri, Apr 08, 2016 @ 02:13 PM

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

Often considered to be the national dish of Senegal - Thieboudienne - basically means fish and rice. Some other African countries refer to this dish as "riz au gras" or "Jollof Rice".

You will see a wide variety of spellings of the name.  Cee bu jen, theibou dienn, tie biou dian, etc. 

Classic recipes for Thieboudienne contain netetou (also sometimes called soumbala or sumbala). Many cooks substitute the more readily available South Asian Fish Sauce.  How much to substitute is really a matter of taste. We use about a tablespoon but you may want to experiment to suit your own taste.

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A Taste of Africa: Ugali - The Polenta of Africa

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 01:41 PM

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.

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A Taste of Africa: Liberian Black-Eyed Pea Soup

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Sun, Mar 20, 2016 @ 03:07 PM

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!

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A Taste of Africa: Chakalaka (South African Vegetable Stir Fry)

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 02:10 PM

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

We love the name of this simple vegetable stir fry! Sounds like the lead in for a disco song - Chakalaka - Chakalaka! Can't you just hear it?

You can pair this recipe up with almost anything! It can be a side dish or, as we mostly enjoy it, all on it's own!

Super simple to make and just plain delicious. The trick is to not over-cook the vegetables. We like ours still a bit "crunchy".

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A Taste of Africa: Jollof Chicken & Rice

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 @ 12:51 PM

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."

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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.

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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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A Taste of Africa: Shuku Shuku (Nigerian Coconut Balls)

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Fri, Feb 05, 2016 @ 10:35 AM

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

Make these for your sweetie pie!  Now, we have to confess, we've never made these ourselves. Although, we can say with certainty that they are truly delicious. 

This recipe comes to us from a favourite "Auntie". We've enjoyed these special treats since we were quite little!

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A Taste of Africa: Moroccan Meat Cigars

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Sun, Jan 03, 2016 @ 12:16 PM

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

Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar! These little "wrap-ups" are cigar shaped morsels of goodness and (as we thought everyone would be a bit sick of both turkey and holiday cooking by now) a terrific quick recipe that's sure to please.

The truly ambitious cooks can make their own phyllo dough but, we can assure you, we buy the frozen dough when we make this recipe!  New York Times - Cooking has a great recipe for making your own dough, including a handy video on rolling out the phyllo - something we find rather challenging!

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A Taste of Africa: Leftover Turkey and Peanut Soup

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Sat, Nov 28, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

Running out of ideas for using up all that leftover Turkey?

We make this fantastic Turkey & Peanut Soup, which we began making from an Emeril Lagasse recipe that is just incredibly good.  Emeril uses ground turkey and, yes, at first we did too.

Then, we realized that this soup would be a great way to use up leftover turkey and - VOILA! - our version came to fruition.

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A Taste of Africa: African (Leftover) Turkey Stew

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

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

While Canadian Thanksgiving is past, American Thanksgiving is coming up soon! There are still lots of good buys on turkey at local supermarkets.

Whether made with inexpensive turkey legs or (as we usually do) with leftover turkey, this stew is a great "warmer upper" for those nippy fall days.

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A Taste of Africa: Harissa Roasted Turkey

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 @ 02:36 PM

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

After Thanksgiving, each year, you can often take advantage of post-holiday turkey sales at your local grocers.

Try this North African inspired recipe. Harissa is a spice often used in Moroccan foods. Basically, a hot chili sauce comprised of several varieties of peppers, spices and herbs.  This kicks up the flavour immensely! You can keep any leftover rub in the fridge for a couple of weeks and enjoy it on all sorts of things.  We use it on both chicken and steak.  Delicious!

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A Taste of Africa: Spicy African Chicken Stew

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Oct 06, 2015 @ 12:02 PM

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

There's just nothing like a hot, satisfying bowl of stew to cheer everyone up as the weather turns cold. This is our "go to" recipe for the fall season.

Topics: Recipes Food
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A Taste of Africa: Easy Peasy - Chicken Marrakesh in the Slow Cooker!

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

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

Although the temperature is an astounding 87 degrees Fahrenheit today, we looked at the calendar and realized that September - and back to school time - is just around the corner.  In our house, we get much busier between work and school and everything else, so the slow cooker is our good friend!

Chicken Marrakesh hails from (obviously) Morocco.  It is a hearty, filling dish and super easy when prepared in the slow cooker. There are a number of online recipes for the slow cooker but don't hesitate to experiment.  For example, AllRecipes and food.com both have a terrific recipe which calls for garbanzo beans.  We use red kidney beans, or, frankly, whatever we have in the cupboard.  Quite by accident, we ended up using black beans, and the results were quite delicious!

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A Taste of Africa: Sambal - A Fresh Tasting Side Dish

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 @ 01:31 PM

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

Sambal is the perfect summer side to accompany almost any dish. Fresh and flavourful, this lovely combination is easy to prepare. Grated carrots and apples pair up with garlic, ginger and rice wine vinegar to produce a tasty slaw.

There are many varieties of Sambal, showing up from Sri Lanka to South Africa, incorporating different ingredients - cucumber, tomato, onion and even pineapple!  Most Sambals have a common trait - they are crisp and fresh versions of a slaw salad.

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A Taste of Africa: Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Sun, Aug 02, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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

Spicy Ethiopian Red Sauce has long been a favourite in our family.  You can prepare the spice blend ahead and use it on all sorts of things.  We use it to flavour salmon, chicken breasts or thighs, steaks or even on shrimp.

We guarantee you'll love this dish.  Some recipes we've seen suggest a dollop of yogurt on top just before serving.  It is delicious!

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A Taste of Africa: Peri Peri African Chicken - A Perfect Summer Dish

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

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

Spelled "peri peri" in Africa, Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin.  Peri Peri African Chicken is popular in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.  We say you can't go wrong with this combination of ingredients!  Yum Yum, indeed.

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A Taste of Africa: No We're Not Ftat. We just like to eat 'em!

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 @ 04:14 PM

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

Actually, this summer our bike riding has pretty much eliminated the winter love handles!  That said, we simply love "ftat", which is a simple flat bread.  Easy to make, can be stored for up to a week and pairs well with lots of different meals.

Ftat is a tasty addition to pretty much any summer meal and is often served with salad. Usually this "cooked on the stove top" flatbread is just roughly torn up and either covered with soups, stews or salad, or is used as a "dipper" for a variety of foods. Many cultures have similar recipes.

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A Taste of Africa: We're Coocoo for Kuku Paka

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Jul 06, 2015 @ 02:10 PM

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

We're (as the headline suggests) absolutely coocoo for Kuku Paka.  What's that you say?  Simple - Coconut Chicken Curry.

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A Taste of Africa: Ngege (Tilapia) in Groundnut Sauce

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 @ 02:13 PM

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

We love Tilapia and this simple, straightforward version is easy to make. African cuisine uses peanuts in a variety of different ways to create tasty culinary treats.  This one will become a favourite, we're sure!

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