Debut Cookbook from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: It's Ghana Be Tasty!
Zoe's Ghana Kitchen is a West African food adventure sharing the flavours and foods of Africa with the mainstream. The mastermind behind it all, Brixton-based Zoe Adjonyoh, is a chef and recipe creator who, inspired by her father's traditional Ghanaian cooking and her own love for cooking for others, wanted to explore her Ghanaian heritage further.
Since 2010, she has been making waves in the London food scene - starting her own event catering service and launching two dining experiences showcasing her modern, tapas-style take on Ghanaian food. Her permanent pop-up in Brixton is conveniently close to Aduna Towers, so lucky for us, we get our fix of Ghanaian delights very easily - Groundnut Soup or Chin Chin Banoffee Pie anyone?
As big fans of her food we were beyond excited to hear that she has released a debut cook book: Zoe's Ghana Kitchen. The book is packed with mouth-watering dishes ranging from Pan-roasted Cod with Grains of Paradise and Nkruma (Okra) Tempura to Coconut & Cassava Cake and Cubeb Spiced Shortbread and promises contemporary African food for everyone. We're in!
We spoke to Zoe to find out more about the book and her thoughts on the African food scene:
Huge congratulations on releasing your first cookbook! What can people expect from it?
Thanks! I'm really proud of it - people should expect a celebration of Ghanaian ingredients and flavours, including some traditional and some re-imagined Ghanaian cuisine, stories of travel from around Ghana and playlists to cook to! I think people will be surprised by the relative ease and versatility of the recipes and some lessons in where and how to buy ingredients. It's a great introduction to cooking Ghanaian and West African food.
A selection of the menu available in Pop Brixton
How would you summarise Ghanaian food and what are the common misconceptions of it?
I think it's a mistake to summarise Ghanaian food as it varies from region to region as to what the environmental climate provides to cook with. You can be sure that it's very balanced and wholesome on the whole so expect a lot of fresh grains, pulses, vegetables and fish. People commonly mistake a lot of African food as being really heat laden, whereas it's actually so varied in its spices and depths of flavour profiles.
Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?
My favourite recipe is always the groundnut soup! Eating it is like being hugged with every mouthful.
Zoe's famous Groundnut Soup
Have you seen the African food scene change in London in the last 5 years?
I've talked a lot about the African food revolution and as an early pioneer in bringing food from across Africa into the mainstream I'm really happy to see Africa's varied and beautiful cuisine represented more than ever on the UK food scene - from popups, supper clubs and street food to even new restaurants and food writing being given incredible exposure.
Do you use baobab, moringa and cacao in your cooking. If so, how?
Of course! I try to be inventive with these ingredients and because they are so potent you only need to use them in small quantities to bring out their flavours. We have a baobab butter that we cook our tilapia fillets in at our Brixton and Soho restaurants and people absolutely love it - along with the moringa pesto and shito on the side - that is a winning plate of food all around. All three of them pack a punch not just in flavour but with the amazing super food immunity boost behind them - I love celebrating ingredients like these!
What else can we look forward to from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen?
There's been fabulous publicity around the cookbook and I'm looking forward to being on Saturday Kitchen in June. We're also taking part in The Evening Standard London Food Month with our supper club on 5th June and the night market - the team there have been really supportive of what I'm doing. We also have an amazing kitchen residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons in Soho, London until the end of September which is going down really well and it's super exciting to be among that food scene!
I'm really focused on championing other African cuisines not just Ghanaian so I look forward to all the opportunities coming up to do that across print, TV and of course in the kitchen...who knows, I might even be cooking on TV!
'Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen' by Zoe Adjonyoh is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 by Octopus Books
You can find out more about Zoe's book, her pop-ups in London and the events she'll be at on the Zoe's Ghana Kitchen website.