It’s been over a year since I’ve had roast chicken.
Since M’s cholesterol level is very high, and for health reasons in general, we’ve cut back on consumption of red meat. M doesn’t eat pork so I don’t eat it very often – usually if we’re at a restaurant. Chicken is really our animal meat of choice.
But the chicken supply has diminished dramatically. The Lebanese grocery stores used to stock whole chickens imported from France. Then they used to stock kilo bags of chicken breasts. Both were very expensive but it was worth the $10-$20. Local chickens are called “marathon chickens” because they look like they’ve run a marathon. They are that scrawny.
The imported chickens are no longer available. Probably because of the threat of avian flu. Avian flu hasn’t been officially recognized here yet but it has been in Niger which is about 4 hours by road from our house.
So now we get our chickens from a guy named Bruno. Nice, fat, juicy chickens. Bruno imports both his chicks and his chicken feed from France. And they’re certainly delicious.
From one 3 kilo chicken, M made a chicken tagine, and then a couple of days later I made Cameroonian peanut chicken. Since I’m just not keen on making stock (scandal!) I gave the leftover bones and skin to the guard to leave out for the neighborhood cats. I didn’t know at the time, but M had snuck to another bedroom to peer out the window. He wanted to see what the guard did with the leftovers.
Pascal took a few morsels out for the cats, and then carefully wrapped the rest of the leftovers to take home.
From Mandy’s blog:
My culinary roots
I wanted to throw something together quick for dinner and had a revelation. There was some chicken in the fridge, I didn't have a load of veggies, and when I opened the refrigerator the peanut butter jar was right in front of me. This could only mean peanut chicken--one of my main staples back in the days when I lived in Cameroon.
It's as easy as pie to cook up:
2 or 3 T. ginger
2 or 3 T. garlic
a little hot pepper
1/2 c. peanut butter (mixed smooth about 1/2 c. water)
salt to taste
You just pound the ginger and garlic with a mortar/pestle, fry the onions, brown the chicken, add a little water and everything else and wait for it all to cook. Super yummy over rice.
oooh, i'm going to try that at home and surprise the usual cook.
hi, by the way! just thought i'd drop in and let you know you can access my journal now.
we've invited some locals over tomorrow night and my boy, who is from Togo, is planning to cook fish with a peanut sauce and serve it with ablo (don't know how to spell that)... do you know ablo? like steamed buns things that taste like a cross between chinese pork buns without the pork, and ethiopian flat pancakey bread, whose name i've forgotten. i love it so much when i eat it with something hot and spicy i get overcome with a great feeling of wellbeing, like i love everyone in the world. strange, i know :)
I think I've had that. Yum! I've been to Lomé a couple of times and for the life of me I can't remember the excellent resto on the main drag in town that had all sorts of seafood goodies.
I thought Aussies got that well-being feeling from copious amounts of Vegemite? (Not sure if I've mentioned that I spent a year in Canberra at the ANU. Very fond if blurry memories.)
heh heh... no, not me anyway. i don't mind the occasional smear of it on toast, but i can take it or leave it. i get that feeling from oysters and mainly really spicy dishes. plantain and something spicy does it to me too. i was so destined to hook up with a west african i think :)
was the restaurant on the semi circular road with a date for a name? like january 14th or something like? If so, and if it was only a block or two back from the beach, it may have been the restaurant on the corner of the street where we were living over christmas to early jan this year.
i'm looking forward to learning more about burkina faso through your journal. i've always had a bit of a yen to go there, but i couldn't convince anyone that was a good idea when i was down there this time. but i have a sort of promise for the next trip...
The restaurant was on the main drag in town parallel to the beach and near the BCEAO (or whatever the central bank is called) building. If any of my colleagues comes back with a name I'll let you know.
Poor Burkina Faso. I'm sure I don't do it justice in my blog. There really isn't much to see here. But the people are lovely. Maybe you guys should come for FESPACO 2007, the big film festival?
ah, ok, different restaurant. but yeah... would be good to check it out one day. i was so hanging out to go to a good restaurant, but my hosts, and there were lots of them, favoured cooking at home or eating at street stalls.
i'm sure there probably isn't much to see there. as there wasn't a whole heap to see in Lome either.
I'd love a film festival. funny thing to be going to burkina faso for when i think about it! i can't get H to go to the cinema here though. he and his friends seem to prefer the control one has at home with a remote for some reason.
My colleagues were also unable to remember the name of the restaurant but it was excellent Togolose food. Probably not as good as home-cooked though.
BF seems to try to compensate for its lack of natural charms by hosting a lot of festivals every year. If not the film festival, there's always le Festival de Viande or the Arts & Crafts Festival.
Earlier in my blog there are some photos from the Mask Festival including the group from Togo.
ah cool... festival of meat might get him over the border :) heh heh
will do some more research shortly!
yeah, i must admit, the food at restaurant chez nous was pretty darn good. as it is here in geneva as well. i'm very spoiled... and very lazy when i comes to cooking myself. so a perfect fit, as i do like to eat
and the street food was great as well. i loved my morning beans with chilli bought from a vendor down the street. i wish i could get that here every morning and not just when h feels like making it
Mmm...I love those warm bean sandwiches that were street food in Cameroon.
Our gender division of labor for meals is as follows: I cook during the week (20 minute dinners) and M cooks on the weekends and the blockbuster Moroccan meals for guests as he takes hours and hours since he refuses to touch any appliances and the couscous has to be fluffed just so. (That is, just like his mum in their village. I hate couscous by the way.)
hmmmm... moroccan meals with fluffed just so cous cous... sounds excellent! i love cous cous. i love most things actually :)
H won't eat much other than his own cuisine, plus occasional kebabs, macdonalds chicken burgers and steak and chips at a restaurant. so it curbed my zeal in the kitchen when he wouldn't eat the mainly asian food that i liked to cook. In the end it was just easier if he did the cooking and i sorted the dishes and prepared the more boring meals that my 12 year old wants to eat. but it's become clear over time it doesn't work every day if i have to wait til he feels like it to cook and things like that. i've learnt a few basic things he'll eat as well but i'm kind of reluctant to learn too much lest i get landed with the cooking AND the dishes :)
no, he hasn't had the pleasure of australia yet... though i'm slowly preparing him over time by showing him things on the internet about it.
and just last night he said something about the weather becoming nearly good enough to have a barbeque somewhere. and i'm like "oh yeah!" though i'm sure our respective ideas of what a bbq entails are somewhat different!
on the topic of pavlova... i had many a post a year ago about how my then french flatmate (who had also studied in oz) was attempting to perfect the pavlova in our tiny kitchen in geneva with a french recipe. he was forever making carbonara and having loads of egg whites left over. I'm pretty sure H never tried it then and i can't imagine a piece getting past his lips...
Yeah...a good pav is definitely hard to do! And a little intimidating to look at as well!
Speaking of Frenchies in Oz: one time we returned to the US I ended up talking to the Air France rep who had an Aussi accent in English but spoke French like a native. He told me that his parents were French chefs who decided to immigrate to Oz and settled in Brisbane. He went to university in France. Knowing how difficult uni is in France, I asked him how he kept up his French while growing up in Oz. He told me that his parents made him and his sister do dictées before they go could play. Could you imagine? Typically French!
hahahah! but good on them for doing it! I know plenty of people who've so regretted rejecting their parents' language when they've grown up in another country - specially in, as vasco calls it, straya where english is so dominant. luckily for my daughter, she spends probably equal portions of her life in either language and at home we flip between one and the other. occasionally she and i say something in french to each other absentmindedly and it makes us dissolve into the giggles.
i wouldn't even attempt a pav. but my mum was excellent at them and growing up they were traditionally the birthday cake of choice.
Not really sure what we'll do if we have kidlets. Mohamed speaks French, Arabic (Moroccan dialect and modern standard), and Berber. The cous-cous fluffing in-laws only speak Berber. My parents speak English, Visayan, and Tagalog.
Gives me a freakin' headache when I have a hard enough time functioning in English.
Could go for a nice pav right now. With some kiwis on top.
hmmmm... yes and some grated chocolate :)
argh! that's quite the language cocktail! i occasionally try to collect a few more words of Ewe as i go along, but yeah, in the same situation we'd still only have 3 to juggle.. heh heh, bad enough! Your's is giving me a headache thinking about it too!