March 6, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson
African Jollof with Beans and Roasted Sweet Potato with Curry Powder
When I was little, Princess Svetlana (of Lucky “Peeking” Peking Pork fame) and I were inseparable.
We spoke alike, we dressed alike and liked pretty much the same things.
Sometimes it was scary HOW much we were alike, as can you image that instead of looking in the mirror to see your own image, you had a “live” version of YOU!
We both “thought” we would “always” be together as “lifelong friends” THEN...
Through no one’s fault, we drifted apart and away (someone moved overseas TWICE!), but I “pined” for Princess Svetlana MANY times (even making a nightly wish upon a star like we “used to”) HOPING fate and destiny would bring us back together one day!
THEN….(can’t give away the ending when I am only beginning)
One day, I started thinking IF I am SO PASSIONATE about cooking and food, than “surely” Princess Svetlana MUST be too!
I know this might sound a bit “sooky“, but I started to write a book called POSTED WITH LOVE (still unpublished ) about my search for Princess Svetlana online in food forums or food groups around the world HOPING, just HOPING I would see her online or she would see me; a word, a phrase or a memory we both shared!
I never mentioned my “yearning” to reconnect as (based on my dad’s philosophy “instilled” in me) …Che Sera Sera…Whatever WILL be, WILL be; Dad and I were BIG Doris Day fans!
When I wrote the book, it made me feel closer to her somehow.
I started with A is for Africa…where we “both” used to dream of visiting SO long ago.
This African Jollof recipe is POSTED WITH LOVE today and I hope I can “inspire” people to not only make this “slightly” adapted recipe from Confessions of a Messy Kitchen but pursue their dreams too!
Ingredients for African Jollof
3/4 lb. (~350 grams) chicken thigh, diced
2 red onions; one sliced; one cut in wedges
2 carrots, peeled; cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
8 Il Bello Rosso Baby Roma Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 truss tomato
2 red chillis, sliced diagonally
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 400g can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup kidney beans, canned; drained well
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup baby spinach, finely sliced
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons coconut oil
I used up tomatoes had on hand, but I personally love the sweetness and freshness of the baby roma!
In a food processor, process “wedged” onion, garlic, ginger, chilli until ground; not liquid.
In sauce pan, bring chicken stock to simmer.
In large fry pan, heat pan on medium heat, add coconut oil; cook diced chicken until brown on both sides; remove; place into chicken stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes; remove chicken.
In a fry pan, saute onions for 5 minutes, until soft.
Add carrot and kidney beans, saute additional 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste.
Pour rice “evenly” over the top; add in mixed spice; Pour in chicken stock.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. (see NOTE)
Add diced chicken; frozen peas, baby spinach; stir until spinach is wilted; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Roasted Sweet Potato with Roasted Curry Powder (recipe below)
Rice is done when all liquid is absorbed and (per original recipe) “tender to the touch”
Ingredients for Roasted Sweet Potato with Roasted Curry Powder
“Slightly Adapted” Ease and Simplicity provided via With Style & Grace
1 large sweet potato
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons “roasted” curry powder
pinch of sea salt
Pre heat oven to ~200C (400F).
Cover baking paper with aluminum foil.
Using a mandolin, cut sweet potatoes in desired thickness.
Place ingredients into a ziplock bag; “Shake, Rattle and Roll”; coating well.
Adjust seasoning for personal taste.
Lay sweet potato slices on aluminum foil.
Roast for 30 – 40 minutes or until “nice and crispy”
Hint and Tip
I turned them once half way through.
Stop here if you wish
For those curious what I wrote to Princess Svetlana about A IS FOR AFRICA…read on…
I welcome any comments on the post about African Jollof with Beans and Roasted Sweet Potato with Curry Powder or about Chapter 1 A IS FOR AFRICA too!
A IS FOR AFRICA
“Lions and Tigers and Giraffes, OH MY!”
Do you remember when we were little girls and used to dream of visiting Africa one day? (if only in our minds) We used to laugh about how we would run barefooted through the African meadows with all our imaginary and real animal friends in tow. We had devised our own language so we could talk to the animals and you affectionately gave me the title of Dr. Doolittle, which I am still known by today!
As my role of Dr. Doolittle, I would teach all the animals to say, “How do you do!”
We used to laugh with the hyenas, run with the cheetahs and roar like the lions too! We tried to blow our own trumpets pretending we were a part of a special herd of elephants! Oh, how I wish today I could do!
How I dream we could return to our childhood where we had no cares or worries in the world and how each and every moment was spent!
We never thought further than to live in the moment of how we would enjoy our day!
Do you remember how we loved visiting the zoo? We used to assign names to the African flamingos as if we were a part of their unique family too!
I have thought of you often since life took us in different directions and always hoped one day, in some way, a sign would be relayed to me. One that would reassure me that one day we would reconnect and our childish laughter we would once again hear as it would be most precious to me!
But until such time as I figure out how I am going to find you, do you remember how we used to lie at night time in your backyard “on safari”, and wish upon our African star?
We used to dream that our friendship was forever and we would never be away from each other very far?
Remember how we used to eat Milky Ways, while viewing the Milky Way too! We thought it might bring the stars closer to our own imaginary galaxy too!
I wish I could tell you these things in person, as your face I YEARN to see! I always wonder, do you ever think about me?
You might think this is silly but I named a star after you! I thought when I look up at the stars at night, somehow on the other side of the world, maybe, just maybe, you would be looking at the same star at the same time too!
Remember how we laughed non-stop , and everyone thought we were silly?
Remember how we thought we were “so mature” in getting our first library card. And the expression on the librarian’s face when we asked for books to learn African languages and we didn’t think it would be that hard?
Oh, I could go on with so many memories. I wish I could click my heels and let you know there is no friend before my 50th birthday I would rather see.
All this reminisces has now made me hungry!
Remember when we asked could we spend one of a safari night in my walk-in pantry with nothing other than a torch and pillow? Mum left us strict instructions, we could only open anything that we would eat. Remember how we weighed our options, of our exotic African safari meal.
I can still close my eyes and remember the exhilaration we both did feel.
Remember how we snuck in some cooked rice? And we opened a can of beans and thought our African cuisine by candlelight torch was very nice.
When I have had some simple beans and rice recipes over the years. Sometimes, enjoying the experience brings me close to tears. Of our exotic safari nights we use to dream about long ago. If only I could find you, then you too would know.
As I have grown up, developing a passion for cooking foods from all world cuisines, is me!
Remember how we used to re-enact cooking over our imaginary campfire our unique recipe?
As to the origins of this African dish, no one can really agree. So if A is for Africa, than this African Jollof with Beans “Dish with a Twist” will always remind me of when we went on safari.
FOLLOW UP NOTE
This story has been “on the list” for a long time and now that it is “off the list“, I am proud and happy to share it with you!
“Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I WONDER where you (Princess Svetlana) are!
Up above the world so high,
I WONDER if we are “destined” to reconnect one day….SIGH!”
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