The cuisine that hails from South Africa is just as complex and multicultural as the country itself. Known as "rainbow cuisine," indigenous cookery and food from the many settlers in the country make up the broad spectrum of South African dishes. There are influences from as far as Malaysia to the Netherlands, and all come together to form a rich cuisine that is deeply loved. Generally speaking, the cuisine is heavy in meat, spices, and cooked vegetables. Find out some of the most notable and delicious South African foods — from a distinctive spiral sausage called boerewors to dried biscuits, known as rusks, that are dunked in coffee or tea — when you keep reading.
This may come as a surprise, but if we had to eat one cuisine for the rest of our lives, my pick would be Ethiopian. There's something incredibly natural about the act of eating with one's hands, and the spiced, slow-cooked, home style preparations.
But to someone who's not familiar with East African cuisine, deciphering an Ethiopian recipe or the menu at an Eritrean restaurant can be sort of like trying to understand hieroglyphics in the year 2011. Continue reading to get to know a few staples of Ethiopian cooking.
We're halfway through Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. Although it's a time of spiritual reflection, there's also a focus on food and Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sundown. This is no exception in the food-centric North African country of Morocco, where nearly 99 percent of the population practices Islam.
Moroccan cuisine is distinctive and unique, thanks in part to the historical Arab, Persian, Moorish, Mediterranean, and Berber influences. It's characterized by food heavily flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, and saffron, plus herbs such as mint and parsley. Don't know how to decipher a Moroccan menu? Continue reading to get to know a few staples of this North African cuisine.
After a weekend of opulence and seduction, perhaps you're craving a return to the simplicity of Winter basics. For that, turn to a stew that's soothing yet also a refreshing departure from, say, mother's pot roast.
With the production of African cocoa beans in a serious decline, the future of chocolate is questionable. A crop that's naturally grown in the rainforest, two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans are now harvested in in West Africa. However, the African soil degrades quickly, shortening the lifespan of the plants to 30 years or so. The director of Ghana's Nature Conservation Research Council, John Mason, explains the situation:
I think that in 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it. The way we farm is just not sustainable. I'm afraid by the time we wake up to that fact it will be too late. I've worked in Ghana for 25 years and I can show you huge areas that can no longer support a crop.
Drastic changes need to be made in order for the world to meet the chocolate demand. Together with international environment charity Earthwatch, Cadbury (which gets all of its cocoa beans from Ghana) is looking for a solution to the problem. I find this highly disturbing and can't imagine a world without chocolate. How about you? Will you start stockpiling chocolate now?
Last week before interviewing Marcus Samuelsson, I ate his African spiced lamb chops and mango lime couscous. The pairing was delicious: the meat was moist and succulent and the couscous flavorful and exotic.
While the ingredients were not grossly insane, the method for eating the dish was out of the ordinary. There were no serving utensils and the chef requested that we eat the lamb while using the bone to scoop the couscous out of the bowl.
I greatly enjoyed sucking on the lamb bone as it doubled as a spoon, however I can understand how some people might not be interested in eating without utensils. Do you have a problem with it?
Last week I was invited to a demonstration hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson. An awarding-winning chef and cookbook author, Samuelsson is known for his role as chef and owner of Aquavit, New York City's innovative restaurant devoted to Scandinavian cuisine. Taking inspiration from his Ethiopian roots, the chef recently opened his first African restaurant, Merkato 55. His love for African cuisine was illustrated at the demo where he cooked shrimp piri piri in lettuce wraps and rack of lamb with couscous. In San Francisco to promote BlueStar cooking ranges, Samuelsson took some time out of his hectic schedule to speak with me. To see where he likes to eat in San Francisco and hear what he has to say about his buddy Rocco DiSpirito, read more
Tri-tip is one of my favorite cuts of beef because it's affordable and feeds a crowd. Besides being lower in cost, tri-tip is also incredibly flavorful with a lower fat content. If you have never experimented with it before, I suggest you do so tonight.
This simple recipe coats the steak with a spicy African sauce known as harissa. While the meat cooks, the sauce forms a delicious crust.
To see how it's made, read more
I was flipping through a catalog and stumbled across these African Safari Martini Glasses ($42 each). Each one is hand crafted in South Africa and would make a great gift for the safari lover in your life. Having said that, I just can't get behind these. I think they're a little on the tacky side, and question how easy it would be to hold them. Especially the rhino, that one looks downright dangerous. What do you think? Would you buy them?