As I said in my last post, we are adapting not only to a whole new way of shopping, but also a much changed shopping list. There are no longer 200 different types of yogurt to choose from, which, to be honest, comes as a relief. And in Ghana here, the tomatoes are RED! Amazing huh? Not picked green and kept in nitrogen for our visual stimulation, while forgetting our taste buds.
Tomatoes are always available. Cheap, even for obrunis, and are available in 2 sizes: baskets or large baskets! No buying just 2 tomatoes thank you very much. An average buy is 2kg, and costs around GHC4-5. First thing is to sort through the ubiqutious black plastic bag and fish out the sqaushed ones. Put these aside for soup. Ghanaians use tomatoes in a variety of dishes, and are commonly ground before adding to a dish.
While there are Ghanaian dishes I really enjoy, it would be absurd of me to post them here, as I am a rank amatuer when it comes to Ghanaian cooking, and all I can share with you (at a later date) is Sly’s jollof rice. But today, we’ll head to a cuisine I feel much more capable of, Greek!
From the island of Kythera, comes a salad called Vrechtoladea, or tomato and fetta salad with rusks. My cousin’s cousin, but not my cousin (still with me) runs a beautiful beachside cafe/restaurant where we were introduced to the dish, and let in on the secret to make it so much more than tomatoes and soggy bread. Through trial and error, I bring you my version of Vrechtoladea.
:: 1kg ripe tomatoes
:: unsliced good bread, enough for 4 thick slices
:: fetta cheese
:: 1tbps honey
:: 100mL vinegar (I use apple cider, but any would be fine)
:: dried oregano
:: salt and pepper
:: good splash of olive oil x 2
:: pre-heat oven to 180C
:: Cut the bread into thick slices, and then into fat fingers
:: Arrange bread on a baking dish and splash with olive oil to lightly coat
:: toast rusks until lightly browned (about 20-30mins)
:: mix honey and vinegar, stirring to dissolve the honey, and season with salt and pepper
:: Chop the tomatoes roughly into cubes
:: Pour honey-vinegar dressing over the tomatoes, and give them a good squeeze with your hands to mash them, then put in the refridgerator to steep
When the rusks are ready,
:: pull them out of the oven and leave to cool.
Ready to serve?
:: Arrange rusks in a bowl or shallow dish
:: pour tomatoes and dressing over the top. Go easy here, as sometimes you don’t need all the dressing. You want the rusks to soak up the dressing, but not to create a soggy mess.
:: Grate fetta cheese on top, add a splash of olive oil, and sprinkle with dried oregano.