June is over and we are through the first 6 months of the year. I missed the May round up because the end of the month found me in Ghana, West Africa, and I was super busy out and about so I’ll be honest the last thing on my mind was blogging.
At the beginning of May I went to Montreal for work, and while I was there I took my co-worker to Le Bremner for dinner and then to Garde Manger for dessert because he'd never been to either restaurant. These are two restaurants owned by Chef Chuck Hughes a seriously hunky chef, and they are within walking distance of each other so why the hell not, and off we went. Chef wasn't at either restaurant but that didn't take away from the ah-mazing meals that we had. For starters we ordered a bucket of shrimp to share. A little disappointed when they came to the table because it wasn't really a bucket, it was more like a cup o' shrimp. We then had Tuna and Tahini, and sunchokes 3 ways. For our mains, I had Halibut and my colleague had this wonderful deep fried cornish hen. While mine was truly delicious, I have to admit I really wish I'd ordered the cornish hen, and it took all of my tact and grace not to leap across the table and wrestle his hen away from him. Look at that crunchy goodness, hmmm.
After that, we rolled ourselves down the street to Garde Manger. I was glad that we were able to walk a bit after dinner because although the portions were quite reasonable, the food was quite rich so I felt full, quickly. A leisurely 15 minutes later, we were seated at the back bar and ended up chatting with the bartender whose boyfriend was our waiter at Bremner, talk about a small world, eh? While we were waiting for our dessert, we started chatting with 2 other people who were sitting at the bar - turns out one of those people was P.K. Suban and since neither of us were hockey fans, sp we really didn't know. Apparently after the Canadiennes play a game at home, they typically come to Garde Manger for dinner. We got called all kinds of losers when we got back to the office, if only we knew.
Anyhoo for dessert we shared this wicked semi freddo which left me buzzing for the rest of the night, thank god our first meeting was at 9am.
The next morning all I could manage for breakfast was a coffee and some water.
After my trip to Montreal and my next trip I spent most of my time getting ready - getting shots, stocking up on malaria pills, getting a visa, shopping for for my cousin, preparing and freezing meals for Mark so he wouldn’t go hungry while I was gone, and moaning about the cold and wondering if spring was ever going to come. You get the idea, I was busy. Then 2 weeks later, I got on a plane and went to Ghana, West Africa. So why Ghana? Well, my cousin moved there in 2013 for a 2-year stint because the company she works for bought another company, and she is on the integration team. Two plane rides and 22 hours later I landed in Accra, Ghana.
My cousin's place was stunningly beautiful and very comfortable. She lives in a gated community with 8 other expats. Equipped with tennis courts, a gym, pool and personal trainer your every comfort is ensured. I felt incredibly fortunate to have access to the pool especially since the average temperature in the day was 45 degrees, and at night a balmy 41. Needless to say the AC was my friend for the entire time that I was there.
If you are an eco-adventurer, there is lots to do in Ghana. I hiked in a rainforest and walked across a canopy bridge, high above the rainforest treeline - very scary!
I went to Boti Falls, where we were going to swim, but it had just rained and the clear water was a wee bit muddy because there had been some flooding upstream.
I visited 2 of the four slave castles which aren't castles but slave transshipment points. Of the 60 million slaves captured during 300 years that slavery was practised, only 12 million made it to the new world. I'm pretty confident that my ancestors came through one of these castles.
I flew to the North of the country to the Cape of the sub-sahara desert. Very cool to see the difference in the landscape.
While there we went to Mole National Park and saw lots of animals like these,
and visited the Unesco Heritage site - Larabanga Mosque.
but the highlight of my trip was seeing this guy.
This was the best trip I've ever been on in all my years of travelling and I can't really pinpoint why. There was no crazy shopping, not tons of sights that I've seen in guidebooks, it was raw, unspoiled, beautful and the people were incredibly friendly. There was lots of fresh fruits and veggies and everywhere you went people were so accomodating especially when they realized that you weren't from there. It has definitely whet my appetite to do more travelling on the continent.
While I ate lots of different foods there, these were my favourite local dishes - Jollof Rice and Grilled Tilapia, Kelewele and Shito. I've already made Kelewele a couple times since I've been back and am still practising getting my rice to look like the one in the picture below.
What a wonderful 2 months it's been here at Olive and Ruby, I can't wait to see what July brings.
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