We begin in Tanzania. A country of superlatives and one which has given so many happy experiences, meetings and adventures. So much so, that I consider it a spiritual home. Each time I arrive, the moment I step off the aircraft, the smell of the red dust, huge sky and heat, makes me unspeakably happy.
Then we head west to the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda.
To some extent still in the shadow of 1994 and learning to live with lessons which all of humanity should never forget.
However, Rwanda is a beautiful country. The capital Kigali is the most scrupulously clean I have seen almost anywhere, including many European cities. This is partly due to Umuganda, held on the last Saturday of every month, where members of the community join together to clean and tidy their streets and towns. This is not a volunteer project, it's compulsory, borne out of the Rwandan tradition for self-help and co-operation. Rwanda has pioneered laws to reduce plastic waste and was one of the first countries in the world to impose a blanket ban on the import, production, use or sale of plastic carrier bags. Tanzania and Kenya have since followed suit.
We conclude this edition on the Swahili coast, at Kipepeo, just south of Dar. Here a warm breeze mingles with the fresh sea air and light scent of a charcoal braai carries over the golden sands. Perhaps we have just arrived after a long journey along the TanZam highway after a safari in Mikumi National Park and seeking the charismatic African painted dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Ruaha.
Or we may have arrived from the north. After trekking along the Crater Highlands, from the stunning Ngorongoro crater through Masai lands to their mountain of God, Ol Doinyo Lengai.
Tomorrow, we have our alarm set for sunrise. To run along the miles of beach with the local lads, enjoying the stillness and tranquility as the light turns from purple, to pink, then cadmium.
But for now, we turn to the bar and seek another bottle of Kilimanjaro beer.
2lb Sukuma greens (collared greens) chopped. I used spring greens
1 Onion, chopped
2 Tomatos, chopped
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1) Heat oil, add onion and saute
2) Add tomato and saute for 2 mins
3) Add greens and saute for 2 mins
4) Add 100ml water and salt, simmer for 5-10 mins
5) Serve with Ugali or Rice
This dish is very simple and quick to prepare.
Makes a nice accompaniment to a main meal, as seen here with pan fried salmon and saute new potatoes.
Igisafuliya literally means 'pot' in Kinyarwandan
Timings can be reduced for a vegetarian version, to keep the distinct textures and colours of ingredients.
4 Chicken thighs (I left this out, for a vegetarian version)
2 Onions, chopped
2 Leeks (white and green parts), thinly sliced
4 Green bell peppers, seeded and cut
4 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (I used a tin of chopped tomatoes)
5 Celery stalks, chopped
6 Plantain bananas, sliced 1/4 length ways (I didn't have plantain, just slightly green bananas. So fried these separately until slightly caramelised then added to the top of the Igisafuliya on serving)
3 tablespoons Tomato paste
4 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 Hot pepper (I used a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes)
1) In a pot, heat oil, sear meat on med-high heat
2) Add onion, leeks, peppers. Stir and leave 10 mins, stirring occasionally
3) Add tomatoes, celery, tomato paste. Mix well, medium heat, 15 mins
4) Cover, add a cup of water, salt, pepper. Boil and then reduce to summer, 15 mins
5) Remove meat, place plantains in pot, cover them with spinach, place meat back on top. Add more water if necessary
6) Add hot pepper. Cover, simmer for 25 mins. Should be a lot of sauce left.
Not all pizza is Italian. Zanzibar pizza is legendary and very much part of the Swahili coast culinary culture. Similar to a savoury crepe. It is cooked in a frying pan rather than a pizza oven.
1 cup All purpose (plain) flour
1 tablespoon Salt
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Water
1 Onion, chopped
2 Tomatoes, diced
1) In mixing bowl, add flour, salt, oil, followed by water. Add enough water to ball the dough. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
2) Form the base - Oil counter top. Pinch off small piece of dough. Start stretching dough into large disk.
3) Add filling of choice. Include egg, cream cheese, mayonnaise for an authentic Zanzibar pizza.
4) Carefully lift and put into hot pan with a little oil. Cook each side 8 minutes.
5) Serve while or cut into smaller pieces. Serve with chutney.
Not chocolate in the European sense. Zanzibar chocolate is more like a sesame bar.
Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan.
Do not add any oil, the sesame seeds will release their own oils on heating.
Keep stirring, careful just to toast not burn the seeds
Add runny honey to the pan. Enough to bind the seeds not so much that the seeds are swimming.
Keep stirring, the honey needs to boil for 5 minutes.
Pour the mix onto grease proof paper and leave to set
Cut the Zanzibar Chocolate into triangles, strips or squares for your preferred style.
Served here with natural yogurt and a black cherry coulis (jam 😉 )