Modern Mauritian Food Shelina Permalloo Master Chef UK Winner

A chef who brings ‘…bring[s] sunshine to a plate’ is how Gregg Wallace and John Torode, the judges of Masterchef UK described 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo’s cooking of modern Mauritian food. British-born of Mauritian descent Shelina was inspired to cook by her mum and aunty, developing a love of food at a young age as she helped her Mum with the cooking. Having grown-up in the UK Shelina also credits food with helping her to better understand her Mauritian heritage and culture, saying it makes her feel closer to Mauritius, her heritage and her family. Throughout the competition Shelina brought her Mauritian heritage into her dishes, the winning menu of modern Mauritian food which comprised octopus for starter, mutton curry for the main and mango cannelloni filled with lime curd for dessert, had the judges proclaiming that ‘they were the best they had ever tasted on the show’, hight praise indeed! Winning the title of Masterchef 2012 also meant that Shelina has become only the second women in the show’s eight years to win the title.
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Caranda Soothing Speciality Teas Inspired By Africa

A longing for the familiar tastes of home led Liberian entrepreneur, Doughba Caranda-Martin to set up Caranda Fine Foods, a business that specialises in creating a range of premium beverages and condiments inspired by the diverse regions of the African continent. Residing in the USA, Doughba recalls childhood memories of evening walks collecting the leaves and herbs that were then boiled with Lemongrass. Doughba started out blending teas inspired by Africa and the product range has since expanded to include coffees, cocoas and condiments like flavoured salts and meat rubs.

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Modern African Food Kitchens Of Africa Cooking Sauces

There is nothing wrong with slow cooking, in fact it can be an enjoyable experience as you mix, stir, season and simmer in anticipation of savouring your culinary efforts. Unfortunately in the face of hectic schedules, reality bites and slow cooking is just not possible night after night with so many other things competing for your time prompting the turn to convenience food. Convenience food has its pros, meals in minutes and it’s cons, a reputation of nasty additives, flavour enhancers and preservatives. However, the availability of pre-prepared foods like sauces can be an introduction to the tastes of other cultures without the unfamiliar preparation and cooking methods that people can be afraid of. A wander through the shelves of any supermarket or deli will bring forth bottles or packets of Thai Green Curry or Chicken Tikka Masala to be whipped up in minutes. Nothing beats the original process of fresh homemade cooking but when the craving strikes and time is not on your side a pre-prepared sauce to which you just simply add a few other ingredients can be just what you need to bring forth the flavours and tastes of home; and the concept which was the inspiration behind Kitchens of Africa, a modern African food brand I stumbled across via the blog, Afroklectic. Homesick for food from home, but faced with the long cooking process that often comes with African cooking, Kitchens of Africa was founded by Jainaba Jeng, who was born and raised in The Gambia but is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jainaba also wanted to use the opportunity to introduce some of the diverse and unique tastes of Africa to the world.
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Ndali Intense Fairtrade Vanilla Extract From Uganda

I love the taste and smell of vanilla; and find creamy vanilla ice-cream, the kind where you can just see the bean flecks, and light fluffy sponges made with real vanilla extract irresistible and comforting. Good quality vanilla bean pod sticks, extract and paste is valued by bakers and chefs looking to add that familiar rich flavour and intense aroma to their culinary creations. One brand favoured by some of the UK’s leading chefs is Ndali fairtrade vanilla, which comes from a 1000-acre farm located in the midst of the explosion craters of the Ndali Volcanic Field in Western Uganda; and is a farm that specialises in producing high quality vanilla extract, powder and pods. Extracted and cured on the farm, most of the vanilla produced is exported in bulk, with the cream of the crop packaged into small batches and sold under the name Ndali.
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Afro Coffee Speciality South African Teas and Coffee

Starting out as an ordinary cafe selling coffee in Cape Town, South Africa in 2004 a radical rebrand saw the first Afro Cafe offering speciality South African teas and coffee open it’s doors to reveal a riot of bold colour, clashing patterns and cool characters; across the interior, packaging and accessories. Young and funky, Afro Coffee was out to have a bit fun, bringing its own retro tinged interpretation of the urban African vibe to a range of speciality South African teas and coffees. Owner, Grant Rushmere with the help of two Austrian partners sought to challenge the image of the continent by bringing a fresh new flavour! Signified by the Afro Man, the tongue in cheek branding style is inspired by the energy of South Africa’s townships, and to help you get into the continental groove exciting, hip cities provide the inspiration for the enticing blends.
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Prestat Single Origin African Cocoa Chocolate Buttons

You’d have thought I’d have had my fill of chocolate over Christmas, and given I’m still making my way through the leftovers I now have my eye on some chocolate buttons, a particular favourite, I do like the way they melt in your mouth one drop at a time…makes them a very moreish treat. The targets currently in mind are some African cocoa Single Origin Chocolate Buttons from Prestat, the quintessential London-based chocolatier whose confections I came across when I took a detour through Liberty of London’s Chocolate Shop, in search of a gift. The African cocoa used to make the buttons comes from; Madagascar and São Tomé, in addition to Ecuador in South America. I knew that São Tomé is situated off the West African coast, but I did not know that the country produces cocoa, and the tiny volcanic island is said to produce some of the world’s finest cocoa, which makes these buttons a treat and gorgeous packaging adds to the offering. Prestat’s branding is luxurious yet fun; and sees quirky and colourful packaging and shop outfittings in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sort of way, calling to mind the eccentricity of Willy Wonka, whose creator, children’s author Roald Dahl was said to favour Prestat Truffles.
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Tariro Masayiti Senior Zimbabwean Winemaker, Nederburg South Africa

My Dad loves a glass of red wine every once in while, and South African wines are a particular favourite as being so far from home it’s a small reminder of the region. However nostalgia aside, over the years South African wines in general have become an increasing presence on UK retail shelves, from supermarkets to dedicated wine shops. One of the more established brands is Nederburg, one of South Africa’s oldest and most awarded wineries, whose vintages have a growing international presence, holding their own in the highly competitive markets of Europe, US, Australia; and their homegrown success can partly be attributed to the fact that the brand appeals to both seasoned wine connoisseurs and the ordinary man and woman.
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Modern African Food Ghalia Alia Mahmoud Egyptian Celebrity Chef

A year ago the Arab nations of North Africa were on the verge of momentous change and amidst the uncertainty of a post-revolutionary Egypt emerged a symbol of the new nation in the form of Ghalia Alia Mahmoud, a former maid and cook turned celebrity chef. Ghalia’s warm personality and humble beginnings inspired ordinary everyday Egyptians, instilling a sense of hope in the future of their nation. Thanks to a 60 minute cooking show aired three times a week on the newly launched 25TV – a revitalised Egyptian television station that was capturing and reflecting on life and issues in the new Egypt – in a few short months Ghalia went from being an unknown to a celebrity stopped by people in the streets as she went shopping for her ingredients and other things creating modern African food.
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Akhaya Cookery School Modern African Cooking And Food

New to African cooking or simply want to try your hand at creating dishes from another part of the continent, then look to Akhaya Cookery School to help you on your way. I was watching a recent episode of CNN’s Inside Africa when I saw a profile on young Nigerian entrepreneur Jennifer Okpapi and the African cooking classes she runs in Tottenham, North London based on her love for African food.
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Madécasse Luxury Single Source African Made Chocolate

Madécasse Chocolate

Pink pepper and citrus, exotic pepper, and sea salt and nibs are just some of the rather interesting flavour combinations you will find in a Madécasse African made chocolate bar. Recently named ‘one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies’ by Fast Company magazine, Madécasse is on a mission to revolutionise the African chocolate industry by becoming one of the few fine chocolate companies to produce a bar that is not only grown in Africa, but is also produced in Africa. The stats on the website highlight the fact that although Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa, actual African made chocolate production amounts to less than 1%. Made in Madagascar, Madécasse is luxury gourmet chocolate from a single source and available in a range of chocolate and cooking chocolate bars. I think the packaging is beautiful, a clean and elegant blend of subtlety contrasted with a colourful strip that not only identifies the type/flavour, but also serves to help them stand out on the shelf.

[Image credit: Madécasse]

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