Fall Cooking – African Style

For the last week i have not stopped cooking. The weather has been cool and i found out that pumpkins are in season… that is enough reason for me to celebrate the fall, even though we are about to go into our hot season… not the cold. This past week i have made so many things from pumpkins it is almost scary. Did you know that there is an actual website that is dedicated to everything you could ever know about pumpkins? (www.pumpkinnook.com) It is amazing. 🙂 I have definitely learned alot, and have aquired quite a few new recipes. One of my girls, Neema, who works with me and Monica, in my house, brought me back a very nice pumpkin last saturday, when she went to visit her family on the mountain. I had just learned how to cook a pumpkin (so as to aquire the nice pumpkin filling that we get by the can in the states) when i got one from Sharon, from her garden. This being my second pumpkin, i decided to use it as a teaching lesson. Monica and Neema learned how to cut a pumpkin, remove the seeds, wash, dry and cook them, for snacking purposes, and then cook the pumpkin and afterward scoop out the soft insides for further cooking purposes. From this one pumpkin we made: pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies (mom’s recipe 🙂 ), pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin-apple butter, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin spice cake. Not bad for one pumpkin. Needless to say none of us went hungry this week. 🙂 I have never had so many variations of pumpkin in my life. Below are some pictures from when i taught Monica and Neema how to make pumpkin cookies. After those pics are pics from today, when my friend Rafael, came over to teach me how to make pumpkin ugali (ugali is a traditional Tanzanian staple which is a very heavy corn meal mush… easily moldable in your hand and served with vegetables… a nice starch :).) 😀 It was a lot of fun.

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all of the ingredients for pumpkin cookies… look at that nice fresh pumpkin in the container in front of the uncooked pumpkin.. 🙂

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Monica and Neema measuring ingredients… look at those smiles… they love their jobs. 🙂

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Monica scooping cookie dough.

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My ‘good students’ copying the recipe for the cookies… i am so proud! 🙂

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Mmmmm… icing… there aren’t too many things that are better than pumpkin cookies with a carmel icing.

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Us… 5 seconds before scarfing down these scrumptuous pumpkin cookies… who’s excited? 😀

Pumpkin Ugali

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Rafael, cutting the last bits of the fresh pumpkin. Julius and Joel are watching as they have already finished cutting their assigned pieces. 🙂

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Julius and Rafael cooking.

To make the pumpkin ugali you have to cook down the pumpkin, mash it in its liquid, and then begin to add corn meal flour. You then mix it in really well, which means that you have to more than just stir it, it has to be mashed into the side to make sure it gets worked through… you continue to add flour until it is rather heavy. This is usually the point where i let one of the guys start to stir… haven’t quite built up the muscle for it yet. It is great exercise for sure tho. 🙂 In Rafael’s tribe, only the men cook pumpkin ugali because it is so hard to stir. Pretty crazy huh? It was quite the cultural experiance. The ugali is then eaten with vegetables… which is finely cut ‘spinach,’ tomatoes, onions, and oil. The method of eating it is this: Pinch off some ugali with your thumb and first two fingers, let you thumb come off the ugali to grab some vegetables, pressing it into the ugali… this is placed in your mouth, followed by a sip of plain yogurt… It was quite tasty. 😀

The question is tho… how long can i handle having pumpkin in my home if i keep going like this? 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Fall Cooking – African Style

  1. Great pics and story liz 🙂 Thanks for the cultural lesson on cooking pumpkin. Your story sounds like something out of Swiss Family Robinson, learning a million different uses for one item 🙂

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