African map

The African dinner party was such fun. Thank you to everyone who encouraged my craziness; the planning was worth it. I cooked, shopped, cleaned and enjoyed every moment of a week preparing for this soir√©e. One guest couldn’t attend, but otherwise it was a hit.



Cashews are one of Mozambique’s top exports.

plantain chips

I also served fried plantains and slices of toasted French bread — both pretty common where I’ve traveled in Africa. I added Smitten’s mango salsa for a touch of color.

Mango salsa

Main course:
Peanut soup — this recipe is simple and wonderful. I will certainly make this again.

cutting board

Koki — a Cameroonian bean dish. White beans, palm oil, pepper and banana leaves are needed. The result is something like a Mexican tamale. You wrap the bean mash in a banana leaf and steam them for one hour. These were bland, but the spice in the piri piri shrimp and the salt in the soup created a nice balance.

ingredients for koki
koki on the banana leaf
koki, tied and ready for steaming
koki, steaming

Pretty sure Africans don’t use a rice steamer for their koki, but I wasn’t about to buy a cast iron pot and build a fire — as I watched my Cameroonian friends cook a time or two. When you’ve got electricity, use it.
{You can find banana leaves and palm oil at Lee Lee’s Market, if your grocery list is exotic. That store is such a find! If you are ever cooking an international meal and need an odd ingredient, it is the first place to turn.}

elephant beer
south african wine

We toasted Africa and our upcoming adventure with elephant beer and South African wine. We are very much looking forward to touring the wineries near Cape Town.

Hungry woman’s simple sorbet in mango with fresh slices of mango on top and coconut sugar cookies. Yes, I am still full 18 hours later. And looking forward to left-overs tonight.

gift bags for guests

My guests received a parting gift — a small bag of coconut cookies and a soundtrack. While this may not be the homemaker Hollywood soundtrack I mentioned last week, it does fit the travel bill nicely:

Limpopo River Song — The Bulawayo Church Choir
Get Out the Map — Indigo Girls
Light Enough to Travel — The Be Good Tanyas
Other Side of the World — KT Tunstall
Under African Skies — Paul Simon
Maiden Voyage — Robert Glasper
Back to Black — Amy Winehouse
Stay or Leave — Dave Matthews
Fond Farewell — Elliot Smith
Go Tell the World — Joy Zipper
Graceland — Paul Simon
Y’outta Praise Him — Robert Glasper
You’re the Ocean — Teitur Lassen
Grace — Kate Havnevik
Where the Streets Have No Name — U2
Better Together — Jack Johnson
Home — Sheryl Crow

I need to have parties like this more often. Even though my home is small, it all worked out. I even had enough silverware. Phew.