We were thrilled to be named as Tour Operator of the Year 2012 by the readers of Food and Travel Magazine and following on from this, on Wednesday 26 September we hosted our first ever food blogger event at the Open Kitchen in Hoxton. It was a great evening with Chef Attoma Mandji showing the bloggers how to prepare two different dishes from a menu specially created for the event.
Romazava Vary (Malagasy beef with greens)
The cuisine in Madagascar is a tasty blend of influences derived from the wealth of cultures that make up Malagasy society. Dishes tend to be simple and flavoursome, but not highly spiced.
Rice is the main ingredient for most of the Malagasy diet, forming the key component of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Zebu cattle are the traditional meat source throughout the island, and beef is a popular choice for traditional stews cooked over an open fire.
Whilst methods of cooking Romanzava varies throughout the country, this 'one pot' beef and rice dish is generally cooked with leafy greens such as spinach. The name itself breaks down to describe the saucy cooking style of the dish - Ro (soup) Mazava (clear) and Vary (rice).
Samaki wa Kakuango (Steamed fish with fried onions )
Tanzanian dishes tend to be based on fresh local ingredients. Cattle are mostly used for their milk and meat is mainly eaten on high days and holidays. Thanks to Tanzania's long stretch of Indian Ocean coastline, as well as bordering on the vast expanses of Lake Victoria, fish dishes are popular in many areas.Ellie Tucker, Cornflowerkitchen.blogspot.com, Andrea Monteiro, Hungrywomanbluesblog.com, Snigdha Nag, Snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk
Samaki Wa Kakuango is a traditional Tanzanian recipe that's also popular throughout Eastern Africa. The fish is usually steamed whole to keep it moist and soft, with the simple flavours of chilli, garlic, onions and tomatoes keeping it flavoursome. It's often served with rice and greens.
You can see see the bloggers in action in our photo gallery above and we have also included the recipes if you’d like to try them at home yourself. If you do, we’d love to hear how you got on!
1 tbsp Oil
450g Braising beef cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 Large onion chopped
4 Garlic cloves chopped
50g Fresh root ginger thinly sliced
2 Tomatoes chopped
450g Leafy greens (e.g. spinach, cabbage, chard)
240ml Fresh beef stock
1 tsp Dried green peppercorns crushed
450g Long grain rice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the meat and brown on all sides.
Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes.
Add the stock, mix well, bring to the boil then reduce the heat slightly and cook until beef is soft. Add the add tomato, green and green pepper.
Add the rice and enough extra water to cover the mixture by 2.5cm bring back to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring once or twice during the cooking and adding a little extra water if necessary to prevent it drying out.
Samaki Wa Kakuango
1 whole fish scaled and cleaned (firm white fish such as sea bream)
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp fresh garlic crushed
1 tsp finely-chopped chilli
200g onions coarsely chopped
200g tomatoes sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 garlic finely slice
Cut gashes some 5cm apart all the way along both sides of the fish.
Mix the salt, garlic and chilli and rub into the gashes along the fish's sides.
Meanwhile fry the onions in the butter, until soft, add tomatoes, finely slice garlic cook for few minutes. Add parsley and season to taste
Place the fish on a rack in a steamer pot. Fill the bottom with water halfway to the rack
Steam the fish for 15- 20 minutes
Remove the fish onto a large platter, spread the onions mixture over the fish and serve with boiled rice.
Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
Eating the fruits of our labour in the Open Kitchen's restaurant...
Read more about our food bloggers:
A Nose for Food - Amanda
Brunch Etc - Maya
Chopsticks to Steak Knives - Kay
Cornflower Kitchen - Ellie
Food for thoughts - Cindy
Food I Fancy - Natasha
Future Foodie - Chole
Hot & Chilli - Rosana
How to be a Gourmand - Jacqueline
Kichen Conversations - Tiffany
London Food Adventures - Amy
London Unattached - Fiona
Snigs Kitchen - Snigdha
Chef Attoma Mandji
Chef Attoma Mandji has been working in restaurants for the past 20 years, starting cooking in 1992 with Antony Thomson for 3 years. Then he moved to various top fine dining restaurant and hotels to develop his culinary arts skills. He has worked in well-known restaurant groups such as group Chez Gerard, Harvey Nichols, Conran group with Chef John Torode one of actual British master chef presenter and People’s Palace with Chef Gary Rode and many more. He now teaches cooking skills at Hackney Community College, training and developing the culinary skills of his students.