Africa

144. Namibia: Potjiekos

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Namibia is not the cheapest but it is one the safest and cleanest places to visit in Africa and that is worth something. Namibia is a very dry country (the driest in Sub-Saharan Africa) and has a lot of desserts, even on the coast. The North Coast of Namibia is dangerous for sailboats the Portuguese called it “The Gates to Hell” and the Bushmen called it “The land God made in anger” but nowadays it’s commonly known as “Skeleton Coast”. Why all these spooky names you ask… Well because of rare geological phenomena in which the colossal dunes merge with the ocean. You could say that an ocean of sand meets an ocean of water. A lot of ships sank there and you can find a lot of shipwrecks in the middle of the desert. Shipwrecks are not the only spooky thing you can find in the desert there is also Kolmanskop ghost town in Southern Namibia. It was once a very rich mining village, now it’s swallowed up by the desert.

Most of the Namibian population lives in the North of the country because that is where you can find the most cultivable land. Namibia’s main industries are diamonds, meat, and fish. But especially diamonds since they are one of the top 10 producers worldwide.

Things you didn’t know about Namibia:

  • The name ‘Namib’ translates as “vast place”, which is apt given that Namibia is one of the least crowded destinations on the planet. Only Greenland, the Falkland Islands, Mongolia and Western Sahara (in that order) have fewer people per square kilometer.
  • If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the fastest land animal on the planet, Namibia is the place to go – for it is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs.
  • In the south of Namibia you can find the largest Canyon in Africa “The Fish Canyon”
  • In the Namib dessert, there is a strange natural phenomena known as fairy circles. Fairy circles are only found in the dry regions of Africa and Australia. The grass naturally grown in a circle pattern with an empty dirty or sandpit in the middle. Scientists have theories as to why this happens, but so far no exact explanation.

Potjiekos is a one-of-a kind dish. The Dutch brought the dish to South Africa and Namibia, when navigator Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape of Good hope in 1652. As African trade increased the Africans were introduced to many new herbs and spices. These spices made Potjiekos into the unique dish it is now, very far from the dish I know from living in the Netherlands my entire life “Hutspot”. There is a question what distinguishes Potjiekos from a stew. Well I have the answer for you stews are for stirring, a potjiekos should not be stirred! The flavours of the ingredients should mix as little as possible. Yes this dish takes a while, but you can put it needs to simmer for a few hours but the work itself is really really easy and you can do other stuff in the meanwhile.

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142. Mozambique: Chicken Piri Piri

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Mozambique, a tiny country located north of South Africa. Famous for its beautiful beaches and for being the only country with all 5 vowels. Mozambique has 3 main island archipelago: The Quirimba’s, the Primeras y Segundas, and the largest one Bazaruto. The island of Mozambique is the island where the country derives its name from. A sultan named Ali Musa Mbiki. The country is rich in biodiversity and you can find the “Big 5” (leopard, lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo). The Big 5 are Africa’s undisputed superstars and the reason tourists set out eagerly on dawn and dusk game-viewing excursions. Dance is huge in Mozambique! Almost every tribe has their own traditional dance! The Makhuwa have stilt dance with colorful masks, The Chopi people have a hunting dance that reenacts battles, The woman in Mozambique have a rope-jumping dance, Gule Wamkulu from the Chewa tribe even has a dance thats classified by the UNESCO as a masterpiece of Oral and intangible beritage of humanity.

Things you didn’t know about Mozambique:

  • There are over 40 local languages spoken in Mozambique, most citizens speak more than one language.
  • You don’t just say “Hello” as a greeting in Mozambique. Asking after one’s family’s health is an essential part of greeting each other.
  • Over 50% of Mozambique’s population is under the age of 15. If you thought you were too old for that college town you lived in, imagine an entire country with young people everywhere.
  • Mozambique has some of the best coral reefs in the world, especially those lining the Bazaruto Archipelago. Over 1,200 species of fish have been identified off the coast of the country and it’s also one of the largest marine reserves in the world.
  • The Church of San Antonio de la Polana is a religious building located in the city of Maputo. The church is of modernist architecture, build in 1962 according to the project architect Portuguese Cavreiro Nuno Lopes. It is shaped like an inverted flower however, it is known as many the ‘Lemon Squeezer’. This church was restored in 1992.

This was a tough one guys! I was trying to find a dish. Something that natives themself eat. I contacted a group on Facebook called “Mozambique for All”, and if you have any more questions about the food in Mozambique or traveling there, I recommend joining them! They are a super helpful group of people!!! This recipe turned about great because of their help! My boyfriend bought a rotisserie for his BBQ at home recently. As some of you know he is also a chef, he specialized in BBQ for a year by working for a BBQ catering company. This recipe was the perfect opportunity for us to try out our new toy! I made the marinade and he made sure his new BBQ toy worked properly and cooked the chicken just right. If you don’t have a rotiserie you can always spatchcock the chicken. That also works really well.

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141. Morocco: Lamb tagine with plums and apricots with couscous

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Morocco, this beautiful country is very familiar to me. Part of my father’s business is located in the North in Tangier. My parents own an apartment there, so we go there a lot. As a matter of fact, my parents are there right now. Morocco is tailor-made for adventurous travellers. With its seemingly endless dessert, its rusty mountains, its colourful souks, and dreamy medinas where you lose yourself the minute you enter the labyrinth of tiny alleys. Moroccan people are known for their hospitality, and that is not a myth. Every building you enter, people are offering you traditional super sweet mint tea (which I love!) or harrira (a lentil soup). In short, Morocco is a magnificent country with kind and generous people, and you should definitely visit should you ever get the chance!

Things you didn’t know about Morocco:

  • It is the only Islamic country where women’s rights are enshrined in the constitution
  • Tangier used to be known as a center for sex and drugs during the era of Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac, and William S Burroughs
  • Under Moroccan Constitutional Law, no party can have an absolute majority
  • Chefchaouen is Spanish rather than French-speaking as it was a Spanish enclave for many years
  • You can ski in the winter – in Oukaimeden

Tagines are cooked on the stove, or on an open fire, not in the oven. I love tagine and this recipe is amazing, and I’ve made it a bunch of times. I got it from a local woman. The sweet stickiness of the prunes blends perfectly with the lamb and all the warm spices like cinnamon and cumin.

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132. Mauritania: Pudim d’Avocat

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Mauritania is located in the West African region. both a desert spring and coastal haven. Much of the country is left to its natural state, undisturbed by urban infrastructure. Mauritania has one of Africa’s grandest scenery. If you go to Mauritania as a tourist, keep in mind that a holiday here doesn’t mean big, fancy all inclusive resorts and touring busses ; it means enjoying what Mauritania was naturally blessed with. One of the sites to visit would be Parc National du Banc D’Arguin where millions of migratory birds winter along the coast.

Things you didn’t know about Mauritania:

  • It is not acceptable to eat with or in the presence of one’s in-laws, and eating with the left hand is forbidden.
  • People are expected to slaughter an animal according to the number of wives and the wealth of the husband. At the end of Ramadan and at the sacrificial feast that ends the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, a married man is expected to offer a lamb. The meat must be eaten up within three days or it is thrown away. It is customary to offer an animal in connection with name-giving, initiation, marriage, and funeral ceremonies and when people return from Mecca or other important places. Only circumcised adult men are allowed to slaughter animals.It is not acceptable to eat with or in the presence of one’s in-laws, and eating with the left hand is forbidden.
  • Mauritania is one of the top 10 least visited countries in the world.
  • The capitals name Nouakchott means “place of winds
  • Mauritania has the largest ship graveyard in the world left abandoned by various outsiders that bribed the local officials and nowadays over 300 of them are stranded at the beaches

This avocado pudding is surprisingly light and delicious. It is not overly sweet which i like! I think you can even eat for breakfast on the weekends, instead of an avocado toast :P.

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128. Mali: Chicken Peanut Stew

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It’s been a while guys I know! So sorry but i have been crazy busy, which is no excuse at all of course. But I hope this epic Chicken Peanut Stew makes it up little 😀

For centuries Mali was a big mighty and rich empire. They used to trade in gold and a lot of the trade routes that traveled through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert led through Mali. At the end of the 19th century, the French colonized Mali, but they barely left any western influences. Since their independence in 1960 is Mali one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. Going to Mali means going back in time, markets with latrines on the side of a road, happy little baby’s running around naked followed by their moms in colorful dresses and hats, potteries with hundreds of pots in different shapes and size for sale, fishermen waiting to make their catch in the Niger river.

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Things you didn’t know about Mali:

  • The bogolanfini cloth, which is made from handcrafted cloth dyed with mud, is produced only in this part of Africa.
  • When Mansa Musa, emperor of the Malian Empire in the early 1300s, made his Mecca pilgrimage, he made Mali famous by bringing with him 12,000 slaves, 60,000 men, 80 camels that each carried between 50 and 30 pounds of gold, and building a mosque every Friday during his journey.
  • Mansa Musa left so much gold to the people along his way, he inadvertently caused inflation in the regions he passed.
  • Historically a lively African intellectual center, Mali’s literary tradition is passed primarily by word of mouth. “Jalises” recite stories or histories of a community by heart.
  • Woman do all the work for the family but they are held in high regard. Women are always consulted, particularly in community decisions, because they symbolize harmony and peace.

This is a good one guys, full of veggies and a lovely rich peanut flavour!!! Plus bonus: a great way to use leftover roast chicken!

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125. Malawi: Chicken Kwasukwasu

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Malawi a country with extreme geographical differences. Desserts, beaches, grasslands that strangely resemble the Scottish Highlands, forests full of exotic wildlife, mountains that are every hiker’s wet dream. Malawi was once dismissed as a safari destination, but all that changed with a lion-reintroduction program at Majete Wildlife Reserve, which is now one of a few worthwhile wildlife-watching destinations nationwide. Also one of the biggest “attractions” in Malawi is the Leper Tree. A hollowed-out baobab tree that became the horrific final resting place of leprosy sufferers. As recently as the 1950s, one particular tribe living in Liwonde suffered an outbreak of leprosy. In order to keep the disease from spreading, individuals were rounded up and led to a giant baobab at the base of Chinguni Hill. According to park guides, the infected individuals – those still living along, with the bodies of the recently dead – were bound and forced into the tree’s hollowed-out trunk and left there for nature to take its course, removed from the rest of the community for the greater good. The “Leper Tree,” as it has become known, remains standing today though it doubles over to one side, and its bark peels and bursts in spots.

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Things you didn’t know about Malawi:

  • In 2013, President Joyce Banda sold the presidential jet and a fleet of 60 luxury cars to feed the poor and fight malnutrition.
  • Lake Malawi has been called the Calendar Lake as it is 365 miles long and 52 miles wide
  • Thirty percent of Malawians have the surname Chirwa, Banda, Piri or Manda.
  • Tobacco accounts for more than 50 percent of Malawi’s exports.
  • Lake Malawi was once called “The Lake of Stars” by the famed Scottish explorer David Livingstone. He named it the Lake of stars because of the way dances across it during the day and how the stars reflect in it. He saw how the lantern lights from the fishermen’s boats resembled the stars at night.
  • Malawi’s Lake Nyasa contains more fish species than any other lake on earth

This chicken is so crispy and fruity and spicy!!! I can’t imagine anyone not liking this! and it’s so easy as well!! Just serve it up with some rice and your good to go!

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124. Madagascar: Godrogrodo (Coconut Vanilla Spice Cake)

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We all know Madagascar from the animation movie but what do we know about the actual country. Madagascar was settled best we can tell around 700 AD by people from what is now Indonesia, later by Africans. In 1895 the French came around and left the French language and a couple of great buildings. When they became independent in 1960 it was sudden and ill-prepared for the big change. Because of political incompetence, most Madagascans live on less then 2$ a day. Madagascar used to be rich in natural resources, they have a lot of things other countries want. I have to stress I am not some crazy nature nut but when 90% of a countries jungles and forests are gone something is really really wrong… Luckily the world finally started waking up and are only now making national parks of the scarce nature that is left on the island.

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Things you didn’t know about Madagascar:

  • Ranavalona I is known by many as Madagascar’s “mad queen”. She started out as the daughter of a commoner, she married the king’s son and when he died, she had the rightful heir murdered, and took the throne herself.  During her reign she was brutal, ridding the country of Christian missionaries, ending agreements with France and England, enslaving many of her own people, and sentencing anyone who defied her to death.
  • 90% of the wildlife is unique to the island.
  • As practicing animists, one of the customs you may still witness today is the funerary tradition of famadihana. Also known as the turning of the bones, this ritual sees Madagascans bring the bodies of their ancestors out of their crypts and dance with them accompanied by music.
  • During the 17th and 18th centuries, the golden age of piracy, the island was a haven for pirates thanks to its multitude of secluded coves and the fact that the land wasn’t owned by a European power. It was the ideal place to stop to repair their ships without drawing attention and find fresh food.

This recipe a delicacy from the coast of Madagascar, the way of cooking is soo different from a regular cake. Luckily I love looooove everything coconut and spiced so this cake was a dream for me.

coconut spice cake

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119. Libya: Fish with Spiced Tomato Sauce

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Libya is an ancient crossroads of civilizations. On the Libyan coast, you can some of the finest Roman and Greek ruins in existence, among them Leptis Magna, Cyrene, and Sabratha. Libya also has some of the most beautiful corners of the Sahara Desert, from seas of sand the size of Switzerland and as well as mysterious caravan towns (Ghadames) and an isolated black-as-black volcano (Wawa al-Namus) in the desert’s heart. A country with so beauty much to explore… yet so much unrest. The country has been as unstable ever since the revolution 2011. The whole country remains off-limits to travelers with chronic instability and ongoing conflict.

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Things you didn’t know about Libya:

  • Much of the central and eastern area of the country is covered by the Libyan Desert. The Libyan Desert is one of the most sun-baked and arid places on earth. There is no average rainfall — the land may go for decades with no rain and the highlands for five to ten years without it
  • Tripoli the capital is also known as the Mermaid of the Mediterranean for its turquoise waters and whitewashed buildings.
  • The Berbers identify themselves with their village or tribe before their country.
  • Food is eaten with three fingers on the right hand. The left is considered unclean. Good manners dictate you leave a little food on your plate to indicate that your host is a gracious and generous provider.
  • Saving face is important to Libyans, who are non-confrontational. They avoid disagreeing or saying no

This Libyan fish is really good the spicy sauce is really tasty and a great change from what I normally do with fish.

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118. Liberia: Okra Plantain stew

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Liberia it was supposed to be a sort of Utopia. The American Colonization Society founded Liberia in 1821 as a place for free African Americans to migrate to. More than 10,000 made the journey across the Atlantic. Of course, there were already 500.000 living there. Which wasn’t the best mix, to say the least.

Liberia has a history of bloody civil wars involving child soldiers and other gruesome acts. Fortunately ever since the previous President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came in office things have been relatively peaceful. Unfortunately just when things seemed to have calmed down politically the EBOLA virus hit Liberia hard in 2014! Now the nation is officially Ebola-free per the WHO, and it’s struggling economically to recover.

With travel restrictions lifted, tourism can play a huge role in this. So here is a peace I 100% copied from the lonely planet website “Liberia, a lush, green, friendly and vibrant land, offers everything from excellent surf spots and shops selling wares by edgy local designers to days spent lolling in a comfy hammock on the edge of the rainforest while listening to tropical birds sing. It’s home to one of West Africa’s best national parks and still hangs on to a confident American spirit mixed with West African roots. And despite the ravages of the past, it is a fantastic place to travel, full of hope and energy.”

Soooo everybody go to Liberia! It’s beautiful and they could really use your money 😛 .

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Things you didn’t know about Liberia:

  • The vast majority of African countries have never had a female leader. But Liberia has one right now. Introducing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president since 2006 and known as Africa’s Iron Lady.
  • Liberia is among the 20 countries on Earth that smoke the fewest cigarettes per capita – just 104 per adult per year. Montenegro, where 4,124.53 cigarettes are smoked per adult per year, according to 2014 figures from the WHO, is top of the pile, while Belarus, Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia and Bosnia also make the top 10
  • The second largest tropical rainforest in West Africa, the Sapo National park is located here. It has around 125 species of mammals. It is home to the rare pygmy hippopotamus.
  • Oprah Winfrey had traced her ancestors back to the Liberian region of Kpelle.

Okra is something you have to get used to, you either love the gelatinous structure or you don’t. Luckily I happened to love it! Which I why I really liked this hearthy stew!

okrastew

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117. Lesotho: Spinach and Tangerine Soup

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Lesotho, a tiny tiny tiny country completely surrounded by South-Africa. Lesotho is a very mountainous country, hence it is often called The Mountain Kingdom. The entire country is at least 1000 meters above sea level. Which makes it the highest country in Africa.

And don’t think just because it’s Africa it’s hot. No way!! Up in the mountains, it gets pretty cold, but don’t worry you can buy traditional beanies everywhere! That’s not the only thing you can do up in those mountains. This might be is very touristy but they have donkey pub crawls!!! Imagine being completely wasted going from pub to pub on a freaking donkey!! That just sounds hilarious and totally something I would do with some friends!

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Things you didn’t know about Lesotho:

  • Lesotho is ruled by a constitutional monarchy and is one of the 3 remaining kingdoms in Africa. (The other are Morocco and Swaziland). King Letsi III is the reigning king of Lesotho since 1990.
  • Not many countries can say that their traditional dress is a blanket. The Basotho blanket is a very common sight in the kingdom of Lesotho, often with colorful patterns. The blanket is not only used to protect the Basotho against the cold but is also worn as a status symbol and cultural identification. Almost entirely made of wool, they protect very well against the harsh cold winter. Another typical feature is the woolen balaclava (which only leaves their eyes free) and the gumboots
  • Lesotho is home to the highest altitude pub in Africa in 2874 meters above sea level. It’s located right at the border with South Africa, and the end of the iconic Sani Pass (or the beginning if you come from Lesotho). A cold beer is very welcome when driving this scenic pass starting in South Africa and to top it all off, you’ll have an amazing view from the top (while sipping that cold beer).
  • You would not immediately associate Africa with snow, but Lesotho is home to the highest ski resort in Africa. Afriski is situated at 3050 meters above sea level.
    Lesotho has 28 airports. Only three of them have properly paved runways. Hold on tight…

Well, this was surprisingly good I never knew putting tangerine in a soup would be so amazing! A great meal for a healthy quick mid-week meal!!!

spinach tangerinesoup

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