Imagine having the following- resources that speak of beauty and endowment, a diverse culture and history. These factors surround African cuisine like defining traits. With years of interrelations and various ethnicities, Africa has become a melting pot of past cultures, colonies and trades. With these at hand, it is only fitting to describe that African cuisine speaks of nothing but a spectrum of different flavors and tastes.
In the past, African cuisine was not well known in the Western part of the world. However, many westerners are beginning to appreciate the interesting mix African food tends to bring. Travelers are often surprised with the way African cuisine is made, all because every part of it entails history and an interesting mix of cultures.
Exotic game and fish, fresh vegetables and traditional fruits-these are all considered bases of African cuisine. The continent’s oceans, sub-tropical wetlands, plains and deserts comprise a haven of what could have been the clear sources of the most natural and fresh ingredients. The continent’s regions are distinctive and known for developing various styles of cookery that transcend indigenous traits and foreign influences. The cuisines of these African regions are likewise developed either by colonization, trade or adherence to international food. More so, many of today’s ingredients come from the so called New World including peanuts, pepper and corn.
Traditional African meals are noted for its constant use of starch-based foods. To this day, the natives are using either yams or cassava as prime root vegetables. In addition, foods such as steamed greens, chicken and stew comprise the base of this cuisine along with peanuts and tropical fruits.
Ingredients Utilized in African Cuisine
Yam, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes
Melon, Watermelon, Banana, Coconut, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Pineapples
Herbs, Condiments and Spices:
Ginger, Cayenne, Lime Juice, Onions, Saffron, Cinnamon, Cloves, Chili, Pepper
Peanut oil, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Chili Oil
Scallions, Black eyed Pea, Beans, Peas, Tomato
Meat and Seafood:
Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Game meats, Fish
Since Africa is composed of many regions, the choice for food items and ingredients tend to vary as such is based on what is merely available. Moreover, foreign influences likewise left a mark that clearly added to a specific region’s culinary history. For instance, Portuguese influence is clearly felt to most of Africa’s regions except Mozambique and Angola. Also, the Portuguese have said to influence Africa’s cookery through spices, roasting and marinating techniques.
Cooking techniques and food selection also vary, depending on the extent of foreign influences. For example, the cooking style of West Africa normally combines meat and fish. Meat such as mutton and beef are not very common as compared to fish. Specific regions like East Africa rely heavily on a starch-based diet while Africa’s Eastern regions make use of animals as currency and not as sources of meat.
Regardless of how subtle or strong these foreign influences have been, the fact remains that such has brought likely changes to African cuisine. Generally, Africa serves as a medium in which people of diverse cultures interact for the love of food. With foreign influences blending in perfectly with local preferences, it is safe to say that the cuisine brings in a little of everything including climate, history and natural resource.
Authentic African Recipes
4 broiler-fryer chicken drumsticks, skinned
4 broiler-fryer chicken thighs, skinned
Lime Sauce (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth, warmed
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 carrots, sliced across
2 ribs celery, sliced across
1 (15-ounce) garbanzo beans, drained well
1 (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, drained well
Raisin Couscous (recipe follows)
- Spread Lime Sauce over chicken drumsticks and thighs and set aside about 15 minutes.
- In large Dutch oven, pour olive oil and heat to medium high temperature. Add chicken and cook about 5 minutes. Turn chicken; add onion and garlic stirring as chicken continues to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour chicken broth and lime juice over chicken; stir to loosen pan drippings. Add carrots and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add celery and bring to a boil over high temperature. Stir in garbanzo beans and gently place artichoke hearts across the top. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes more. With slotted spoon, remove chicken and vegetables to warm serving bowl. Skim off any fat in pan, boil juices about 5 minutes and pour into gravy boat with spout.
- To serve, mound Raisin Couscous, top with chicken and vegetables and pour juice over all.
Makes 4 servings.
Lime Sauce: In small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, tumeric and pepper.
Raisin Couscous: In small saucepan, mix together 1 3/4 cups chicken broth, 1/3 cup raisins, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Boil 2 minutes over high heat. Stir in 1 cup couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, fluff with fork and serve immediately.
Recipe provided courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Used with permission.
East African Sweet Pea Soup
This recipe is adapted from _Sundays at Moosewood
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp homemade garam masala, which we happened to have on hand, OR
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp turmeric (I don’t like it and didn’t use it, but Moosewood does)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 3 cups fresh green peas (took me 45 minutes to shell them!)
Braise/deglaze onions and garlic in a pot for 5-10 minutes.
Mix in the ginger, salt, and all spices and cook for a few minutes, stirring often.
Add tomatoes and sweet potato, stir. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, stir.
Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the peas and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add remaining 2 cups of water.
Puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, add the last cup of peas, and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
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If you are thinking of pursuing a career in the culinary arts, graduating from culinary school is the easiest part. What is even more challenging is finding a job. You need to know how to prepare your resume in order to find a good position in a good establishment. You need to be able to create a really good resume. This may be easy when you are merely starting. Executive chef resumes, however, are another matter. You need to be able to present your work experience, training and education properly. Here is a guide on how to prepare an executive chef resume.
- Create an outline. In order to be able to present your work experience, training and education well, it is a good idea to create an outline. Writing these things down as an outline will help you organize your thoughts. You will be able to describe all your qualifications.
Remember, executive chef resumes should be able to demonstrate clearly the qualifications perfectly. This means that the person’s skills for culinary design, recipe creation, food presentation, budget management, food storage and ordering are clearly presented. There are some things that you have to think about when preparing your resume and you need to write them down:
- Write down your goals or objectives.
- Describe your work experience.
- Write down your educational background.
- Create the rough draft. The outline you prepared in Step 1 will serve as your guideline for your rough draft. You can create a resume of one to two pages, but not more. Remember to provide your contact information in the first paragraph. You need to include your full name, address, email address and phone numbers. Basically, you need to fit all your information – personal information, work experience, educational background – under these headings:
- Summary of Qualifications
- Professional Experience
- Devote some time to writing down good job objectives. Your objective will depend upon your expertise. You can develop this in different ways. You can choose to offer a description of your qualification as an executive chef. This will offer your potential employee an idea about your goals and experience. You need to sell yourself using the objective section of an executive chef resume.
- List down appropriate information under the proper headings. List down your skills under the “Summary of Qualifications” heading. This is appropriate for executive chef resumes. A newly graduate can, however, put an “Achievement and Skills” section instead since he or she may not have much to put yet. You need to be able to convince your potential employer that you possess the skills of a really good executive chef.
You can place your work experience under the “Professional Experience” section of your resume. Make sure that you include the name of the business, your position and a description of your responsibilities. If you are a recipient of awards, make sure that you include an “Awards” section where you can place a summary of your awards. It is very important that you place an “Education” section where you can place a summary of your educational background.
Before you prepare your resume, you might want to check out samples of Executive Resumes online. You will find numerous samples online. Get a good idea of how you can best present your resume before you start creating your outline and draft.
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Rich and diverse, this is how Australians regard their food and culture more so their cuisine. The variety of foods and resources is a reflection of the land’s immense vegetation thus providing key ingredients. These are then considered elemental in preparing widely-known dishes and homegrown meals. For instance, the lush greens and forests of the South are instrumental in raising cattle and lamb while its southern waters provide prime produce namely scallops and lobster. Certain parts of the land pave way for grazing and likewise boast of vineyards and cropping lands. Others are known for producing crops such as fruits and vegetables, thanks to the cooler climates experienced in such areas as Adelaide Hills.
The food culture is said to be brought by English immigrants. The first settlers came in the 1830’s establishing themselves in Adelaide Hills. Then the next foreign influence was brought by the Lutherans who situated accordingly in Barossa Valley. These people have brought with them traditional English recipes like Jam Pudding and Potato Dumplings. Characterized as simple and unpretentious, these make use of basic ingredients and adapt a modest style of cookery. The immigrants appeared to have built their own way of life through animal grazing, butchery, baking and candlestick making. On the other hand, traditional recipes and cooking practices are then passed on by migrant women. Some of the home made dishes still enjoyed by Australians are Lamb Roast, Kidney Steaks and Pies. Other recipes meanwhile, have earned their special posts in Australian history like the Soldier’s Cake, Lamington, Pumpkin Scones and Anzac Biscuits.
Though much credit has been given to English immigrants, Australia is already bursting with so much wealth in terms of food and taste. This is due to the existence of indigenous foods and culture firstly established in the country. For years, the indigenous people made use of fruits and plants inherent in the land. It has also been noted that a group of devoted farmers in the south have tried to revive the indigenous food culture in present times.
Here are just some of known ingredients relative to indigenous cooking:
Lemon Myrtle- a leaf derived from the lemon myrtle tree and is used either fresh or dried
Native spinach- a type of spinach found in coastal areas
Mountain Pepper- a product of mountain pepper trees and comes in forms of either leaf or berries.
Bush tomatoes- these are small, tomato-like fruits otherwise known as desert raising.
Wattle seed- a variety of the Acacia seed described as small, oval and black and is often used in foods like soups and rice.
Macadamia nuts- this is a type of nut which is also a native produce of Australia.
Other Ingredients utilized in Australian cuisine:
Meat: Beef, Lamb, Kangaroo meat
Seafood: Scallops, Lobster, whiting, Oysters, Tuna, Prawns, Squid, Salmon
Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Pumpkins, Zucchini
Fruits: Melons, Grapes, Citrus fruits, Apples, Berries, Apricots, Plums
Nuts: Macadamia, Almonds
Dairy: Eggs, Cheese
Note that these are not exhaustive as other ingredients can be used as well.
Through the years, Australian chefs have tried their best to come up with a regional cuisine by means of using the freshest and commonly available ingredients. They have also invested in the quality of wines produced by surrounding vineyards establishing the popularity of local towns. Aside from innovation, migration has added a new dimension in this cuisine with culinary contributions brought by Asians, Italians, Greeks and other immigrants.
Authentic Australian Recipes
Illawarra Plum Spare Ribs:
2-3 pork spare ribs
75ml Illawarra plum sauce
40ml Rosella syrup
50g Illawarra plums
10g Ironbark honey
40ml port wine
10ml raspberry vinegar
20g eggplant, zucchini & chilli chutney
Aussie ingredients avail here
· In a hot pan seal the ribs, then lower the heat and continue to cook the ribs till they are ready, remove and keep them war
· De-glaze pan with the port wine and raspberry vinegar and reduce by half. Add the Illawarra plum sauce, rosella syrup and honey
· Bring to the boil and add the whole Illawarra plums, simmer for approximately 5 minutes
· Pour the sauce onto the plate, place the ribs on the sauce and then place the plums on the ribs
· Serve with a dollop of eggplant, zucchini and chilli chutney
Kangaroo Pepper Steak:
4 kangaroo steaks
1/2 cup beef or veal stock (either home made or good quality store-bought stuff)
1 tbs freshly crushed black peppercorns
1 tbs freshly crushed green peppercorns
1 tbs freshly crushed white peppercorns
1 tbs sea salt
a shot of brandy (or cognac or cheap whisky)
5 tiny knobs of butter, softened
Rub a little olive oil into the surface of each steak, along with the salt and the cracked peppercorns. Retain any excess peppercorns–you can add them to the sauce at the end.
Pre-heat the pan to medium high. Place the steaks in the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes a side, depending on their thickness and how long they’ve been out of the fridge. When you turn them, spoon a knob of butter over each one. Once the steaks are cooked, place them on a plate and leave in a warm place. Immediately add the excess peppercorns and the shot of brandy to the pan. Careful, here. If the pan’s hot enough, the alcohol could flame up, setting your curtains and/or you on fire. Stir with a wooden spoon while the alcohol reduces. Once it has reduced, add the stock. Once that’s reduced by at least half, add the final knob of butter and cut the heat. Stir the butter in and spoon the sauce over the steaks.
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The American cuisine is considered to be highly-diverse due to the presence of people with various backgrounds and origins. The country’s proximity to several places has brought changes and affected the way this cuisine has been formed. In the process, the cuisine has incorporated and acquired different styles of cooking taken from communities of different races and ethnicities.
American cuisine, being regional in nature, can actually refer to a number of relative cuisines namely Latin American, North American and cuisine of the United States. One may think that this cuisine is nothing but intricate, however, it can be said how such has developed importing both the cultural flavors and culinary know-how of each region concerned.
Some of the dishes are said to be either Europe or Mexico based like the pies, pizzas, hamburgers, burritos and tacos. Regional variations also brought region based cuisines like Cajun and Hawaiian. Seemingly, each forms part of a certain whole and in this case, the styles and regional diversity paved way for good food and ample dish variety.
One notable trait of this cuisine is fusion as created by the existence of these influences. For instance, immigrants from France or Africa affected the cuisine approach of the South. And though a number of American dishes seemed to originate from other places, American cooks eventually changed it in time and the previously acquired dishes cease to become non- American.
In terms of ingredients used, American cuisine enjoys an immense pool of choices. Since this cuisine involves a number of regions and dissimilarities, it is also important to note that our focus for now will be the cuisine of the United States.
The cuisine of the United States features a style of food preparation emanating from earlier days where cooking involves a vast amount of ingredients and bears a distinct character. From Native American cuisine to Colonial times, ingredients and cooking methods can be deemed unique in line with its place/region of origin. Below we will see the lists of ingredients normally used in Native American cuisine and in the colonial period.
Speaking of Native American cuisine, the following are typically used:
Root vegetables- sweet potato, white potato, prairie turnips, etc.
Greens- wild celery, salmon berry shoots, milkweed
Fruits- strawberries, blueberries, currants, cherries, plums
Nuts and seeds- butternuts, walnuts, pecans, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts (nuts); pine nuts, sunflower seeds (seeds)
Legumes and grains- peanuts, honey locusts beans (legumes); maize
Native American cuisine also makes use of meats like turkey, quail, partridge and geese. These is due to the fact that during those times, hunting for so called ‘game meats’ are practiced by Native Americans.
Seafood- cod, herring, halibut, flounder, catfish, crabs, shrimps, lobster, crayfish, mussels
As for the Colonial period, the cuisine makes use of the following:
Meat- mutton, deer, wild turkey
Fats and oils- butter, shortening
Seafood- cod, lobsters
Vegetables- carrots, turnips, pumpkins, cucumber, beans, legumes, onions
Regional influences greatly define the American cuisine. Its beginnings may take us to a long list of cultures seemingly foreign and complex, but in the end, the American cuisine along side history, traveled far enough and managed to be different.
Authentic American Recipes
1 cup oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup white wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter – melted
1 cup fresh blueberries – drained well
1 cup frozen blueberries – thawed, drained well
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine oats and buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside and let stand. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, brown sugar, stir well. Add egg and melted butter to oats. Add dry ingredients and stir just until all is moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon into muffin pan until three-quarters full each.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes.
Yields 1 dozen.
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened orange juice
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Soak raising in orange juice for 5 minutes. Do not drain.
In large mixing bowl, stir in pumpkin, egg substitute, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Add oil, mix well. Stir together flours, baking powder and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture with the raisin-orange juice mixture and stir to mix. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake
at 400F for about 25 minutes. Remove from muffin tins and cool on wire rack.
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