Take on the world with rice water porridge with banana and honey
This rice water porridge will provide you with a multi-sensory extravaganza that will revolutionise Ghana’s rice water porridge as we know it. As great as the traditional rice water porridge I grew up with is, it can look a bit sad, limp and grey. Colour and vibrancy is what does it for me first thing in the morning when I have to tuck into my breakfast. If like me the real world for you requires running around (hopefully not entirely like a headless chicken), thinking on your feet and staying sane enough in a very insane world to survive much less flourish then you need this.
Start by following the recipe here – easy creamy Ghana rice water.
Then proceed by adding honey, that most sweet of “sugars” made by those buzzy foraging little black and gold bees. My maternal grandmother insisted on giving me a teaspoon of honey a day. Apparently it boosted brain power. Perhaps I owe that BSc and MSc to her! I will on the other hand take full responsibility for reversing my car for half a mile whilst tipsy (understatement) on a country road in Kent, England, whilst listening to hip hop and causing a mini tail back in the same institution I was expected to be sharpening that honey powered “brain power.” Perhaps what dear old gran did not know was that a 100g of honey contains 85% carbohydrates, enough to keep any brain alert but unfortunately enough to make bored minds restless and to trigger less than “brainy” behaviour.
Next comes desiccated coconut. A rather fancy name for grated, dried and unsweetened flesh or the white bits of coconut.
Not entirely necessary but, adds a twist to the toppings. If like me you grew up near a beach then you are likely or will tend to gravitate to all things coconut. If you didn’t and are not a fan you can leave it out.
Next up. Sesame seeds – black. Believe it or not the sesame seed has its origins from the same continent I hail from. It isn’t just the name for a street on a children’s TV show but, an African (feels good to say that) spice of immense popularity. Some folks wouldn’t dare eat a bun unless it is encrusted with sesame seeds. The Chinese…..surely they didn’t take or is it copy our sesame seeds too? Ah well, they use it for its anti-ageing benefits. I bet you didn’t know that!
There is one more addition to this medley.
The simple and slightly curved fruit we all call banana. I mean, where else could you possibly garner all that energy to take on the world. I thank my creator for that potassium!
As if the basic rice water porridge isn’t rich and creamy enough, you can add all these toppings to top it all off.
Whilst we are still on the subject of taking on the world, mother world took on a new significance this week. A day was dedicated to show appreciation for our womenfolk on International Women’s Day. Amidst all the celebrations of achievements one person in particular came to mind.
Her name was Naa Adokailey. I doubt anyone would have read or even heard off her. She died a few years ago in her native Accra. She was an uneducated Makola woman who sold “Dumas” (no not the actress!) or what we all now call African print fabrics. Makola women were women who dominated retail in Accra and sold their wares at the iconic Makola market in central Accra pre and post independence from colonialism. That woman lost her husband four years after the birth of her third son. She remained a single parent until her death. She single handedly gave all three of her boys what she never had – education.
The first born joined the Ghana army, rose fast and eventually became the Minister for Greater Accra. The second sought his fortune and followed his destiny to London, having finished Addisadel college in Ghana. The third read Business Administration at Ghana’s foremost university, University of Ghana, Legon. He retired as the Managing Director of one of Ghana’s top banks, Unibank. That woman has spawned grandchildren whose achievements will put a smile on her face if she were here. In her will she left houses and land for her three boys. She was the ultimate super woman before the term was coined. That woman was my paternal grandmother.
Her legacy shines through in this blog but more importantly I see so much of her traits in other women today. Tenacious, creative, business savvy and taking on the world without much fanfare. As I jog my memory to recall women I know are change makers, a few stand out and are worth a mention, if only to inspire you too!
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to be invited by my African movie distributor friend, Henry Kwao, seen below with the Ghanaian movie Director, Shirley Frimpong-Manso. Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t do African movies. The last African made movie I was Blackberry Babes, years ago. I watched it under duress and it did nothing to change my image of African movies. I could never stomach all that witchcraft and incredibly “post-modern” effects. Henry had me down as a VVVIP….ok it was only actually just the one V, but I was grateful even though a little apprehensive. The movie in question was REBECCA and here I was on a cold London evening (and seen in the second photo striking a rather cool pose with the man who enjoys writing code, Kel Darko), eyeing up all these celebrities as they sauntered on and off the red carpet.
It was admittedly my first ever movie premiere, hence the wide eyed antics. In true movie premiere style the show started fashionably close to midnight. To say I was gripped from the first minute doesn’t quite describe it. In fact, to use an athlete’s parlance, I was gripped from the B of the starter official’s gun’s bang. The story line, the acting and the entire concept of the movie was definitely not the stereotypical African movie I had in mind. It was first-rate, riveting, unpretentious and absorbing. You can see the trailer here – REBECCA. The last time I saw a movie that was almost exclusively made in as small a space was a big budget psychological thriller made in Hollywood called – The Phone Booth – which was shot in a telephone booth. My perception of African cinema and film hasn’t shifted but I would swap anything on NETFLIX for a Shirley Frimpong-Manso film any day.
My choice of change maker number two goes to Yvette Ansah of Cafe Kwae. A little birdie had me convinced I had to visit this cafe on my annual sojourn to Ghana. From my abode in Adjiriganor, Airport City, was far to go for coffee. I was motivated though and recruited my favourite cousin Baaba to come along. She is based in South Africa and was just as excited to explore the culinary scene in Accra. After chinchinga and ice cream along the Oxford street, Osu, we headed to Cafe Kwae. Unfortunately we got there too late as it was closed. A security guy in the building next door who really should dabble as a salesman, whet our appetite even further when he said “massa the whole place was full last night, they closed very late.” Unperturbed and keen I went back with Princess, a few days later. As I waited to get in I heard my name called. It just so happened that my colleague in London, Aku Ohene-Dotse, was right by the exit coming in for a quick bite before catching her flight that evening. In fact she later mentioned that she was a cousin to the owner. Small world!
As I entered Cafe Kwae a lady came right up to us beaming from ear to ear as she apologised and said they were about to close. She did add that we could still come in though but warned that what was available was limited. This was all done with utmost grace and excellent customer care. The blogger instinct in us triggered a mini interrogation. Why the name Cafe Kwae? What did it mean? How difficult was it to set up? The lady was incredibly warm and seemed just as enthused as we were. Her name l later learned was Yvette Ansah.
A quick google search revealed a bit more about Yvette Ansah in what is a pretty admirable effort by one of my favourite blogs – Circumspecte.
The third change maker I had in mind is Bernice Dapaah or Miss B as her staff affectionately call her. Miss B is the founder and CEO of Ghana Bamboo Bikes.
I believe Oprah Winfrey, once reiterated the need to take note when a person or their name “crosses” your path more than once. A video of Bernice Dapaah kept stalking me on every social media platform I dared poke my head into. Each time I watched or saw the video clip of Bernice riding one of her bamboo bicycles I’d promise myself yet again that I’m heading to Kumasi to get one for myself! It’s not so much the bamboo bikes that drew me to this social entrepreneur but, her whole business ethos and vision is totally inspiring. Watching her dance with her staff in the video below will put a smile on your face as it did on mine.
My final change maker is Nicole Amarteifio, the creator and producer of the web series, An African City. I watched this web series at a go. Like many “born and bred in Ghana but spent millions of years in abrokyre” folks, I readily identified with the characters. The frustrations and excitement of being at “home” are equally palpable. Just as I completed the series, my movie distributor friend, Henry, phoned to ask if I had seen An African city. It transpired that he had actually met the creator whom he fondly described in complementary terms.
What I love about Nicole Amartefio, which she alludes to in the interview below, is what I admire about most successful people. An absolute belief in their product and an equally sizeable doze of perseverance and a never say never attitude to go with it.
I Hope these change makers inspire you to take on the world even if it is just so you can blow your own mind in your own way…….lest I forget, whilst your at it, don’t forget to fuel yourself with our rice water with banana and honey combo.
Click here for the recipe – Easy creamy Ghana rice water porridge