Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guavas, and what to do with them

Guavamania hit today when Bob brought in about 100 guavas from our tree. I spent the morning making guava sauce, canning guava slices, and making a guava pie. In other words, I treated them like apples, which don't grow well here. (We can get them imported, but the last batch we got smells and tastes like gasoline. I guess they sat in the wrong place in the truck...)

I eat them fresh, seeds and all. But a lot of people don't like the seeds. And of course, you don't want them in a pie. The seedy center scoops out with a spoon. (And the center looks kind of like a little brain!) :P

Guava Sauce:

Wash guavas and remove the blossom end. Dice and place in a stockpot with a small amount of water. Boil till tender. Mill or strain to remove the seeds. Can or refrigerate. The sauce can be eaten like applesauce (you may wish to add a little sugar) or use as a substitute for applesauce in any recipe, like the cake below, which was so good we couldn't leave it alone and three people finished it in two days!

Beth Cunningham's Guava Sauce Cake
1/3 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 1/2 cups guava sauce

Mix together oil and sugar, mixing till fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add alternately to creamed mixture with guava sauce. Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan. Bake 350 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving (optional).

Guava Jam

Guavas, cooked and milled

Cook and mill or sieve guavas as above. Measure and return to the saucepan with sugar-- the original recipe called for an amount of sugar equal to the amount of guava, but I also tried reducing the amount by almost half and actually thought it was more flavorful. Cook, stirring often, until it is the thickness you want (take a spoonful out and let it cool to check). Pour into a jar, let cool and refrigerate.


Guava Pie

This is really tasty!! You can use your own favorite apple pie recipe, using seeded, sliced guavas. Or try this recipe below.

One cup butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

Cut the flour, butter, and salt together with a pastry cutter till crumbly. (Note: Nigerian wheat flour by law must be adulterated with 10% cassava flour; which makes it slightly less absorbent. You may need to add about 1/4 cup more flour to make it dry enough.) Sprinkle with a few teaspoons of water and stir gently. Continue to sprinkle small amounts of water until the dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball that does not crack when squeezed. Roll out and line pie pan.


6 cups sliced seeded guavas
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter

Toss the guavas with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the water and lemon juice and mix to coat. Turn the mixture into the pie crust. Dot with dabs of butter.

Cover with second crust and cut vents. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Poke guavas with a fork to check they are soft. Let cool.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chocolate Syrup

You can make chocolate milk with this or top ice cream or desserts!

2 Cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla

Place the sugar and cocoa in a deep saucepan (I use a ten cup pot) as it will bubble up as you cook it.
Add the water and whisk to blend well. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
When it begins to boil and bubble up, lower the heat slightly and whisk constantly for just two minutes (too long, and the syrup will granulate).
Remove from heat and blend in vanilla.

Allow to cool before pouring into container, or use a mason jar. Stored in the fridge, it keeps for weeks.

Parisian Chicken Stew

Parisian Chicken Stew

If it's possible to have light comfort food, this is it. From my sister, Susan.

1 small chicken, cut-up (a fryer or spent layer is fine)
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. oil
2 c. chicken broth OR 2 cups water + 2 bouillion cubes
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2-3 garlic cloves
1 c. chopped onions
2 c. chopped carrots
1 c. peas
2 c. diced potatoes, red or white, scrubbed, skins on (this is a good way to use up those little potatoes no one wants to peel)

Wash and dry the chicken pieces, removing as much skin as desired. Mix the flour, thyme, salt and pepper and dredge the chicken pieces in it.

Heat oil in a skillet and brown the chicken pieces all over. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and add the remaining flour mixture. Whisk in the broth, wine, tomato paste, broth and garlic, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Return the chicken to the pot with potatoes and simmer 20 minutes.

Add the carrots, peas, and onions, and simmer 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender and chicken is cooked through.

Serve with fresh bread or rolls.

African Chocolate Pudding

I started with the Joy of Cooking recipe for vanilla pudding, edited to use local ingredients, and made it chocolate because I like that better. If you want vanilla pudding, just leave out the cocoa. (I'm going to try coconut next, using coconut milk instead of coffee.)

First, heat up the double boiler* while you assemble the ingredients.

1 1/3 cups full cream powdered milk
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 cups boiling water
4 Tbsp. cornstarch (corn flour)
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the first three ingredients in the top of the double boiler.
Stir in 3 cups boiling water. Use a whisk to blend well.
In a separate bowl, blend the coffe with the cornstarch till smooth.
Add to the hot mixture, stirring till smooth.
Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, till slightly thickened.
Cover and cook 10 more minutes.
Add about a cup of the hot mixture to the eggs and blend.
Add back to the double boiler and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and blend.

You can put these in individual custard cups or a 1 1/2 quart bowl, cover and refrigerate.

*I don't have a double boiler, either. I have a steel bowl that fits perfectly into the rim of a steel pot, and use that, no problem.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tanzanian Smothered Baked Fish

Modified from a dish called Samaki Wa Kukuango. The original dish used a steam broiling method; baking seemed more practical for a small family.

A whole fish that weighs approximately 1kg.
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse red pepper (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced tomatoes

Scale and clean fish very carefully. (Sellers will usually scale it for you.) Remove head if desired and cut gashes 2 inches apart across the entire fish.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic, and red pepper. Rub into the gashes thoroughly. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

In a skillet melt the butter and saute the onions and tomatoes till softened. Place the fish in a baking pan.

Spread the onion mixture all over the fish. Bake at 350~ for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish is done.

Move the sauce to one side of the fish. Cut from behind the front fin, along the spine to the tail and lift one fillet to a plate. Lift the skeleton away and lift the second fillet. Remove as much of the bones as possible.

Spread the onion mixture over the top of the fish as a garnish. Serve with rice or couscous, with the sauce, and with lemon slices.