Celebrity Chef goes shopping

Hat and I go shoppping. Hat, bless her, has written a list (she hasn’t lived here long enough to know that you get to the  store, look at shelves, buy whatever is there, which isn’t much, in case its not there the next time, and then cater around your purchases). Anyway, she came armed with a list drawn up after consulting 100 Delicious Cakes and Biscuits to Bake. Hat is an aspirant celeb chef.

First stop was the market. Hat hoppped out of the car optimistically clutching her list. No Hat, I say, this is tomato and onion stop. Oh, she says, but presses on valiantly. I’ll carry your basket she volunteers.

We wander the dusty stalls and I wonder what I’m going to feed the family (beyond the inevitable tomatoes and onions which they are quite bored of despite my attempts to disguise them as egg curry, sausage casserole and chocolate mousse). Not much apparently. Though we do source some fat garlic and even fatter fresh ginger alongside which is being sold sachets of ginger powder. I can make ginger biscuits, says Hat with sweet enthusiasm as she hands over the necessary for a small packet.

I buy fruit. Passion fruit, from Arusha the vendors tell me excitedly. Like me, I tell them; I”m from Arusha. They laugh, as if that’s too improbable to believe: fruit from Arusha is one thing, a silly white woman quite another. The passion fruit is exorbitantly expensive and – I discover on closer inspection when I get home – mostly bad. I also buy two huge water melon and persuade Hat, who is now listing precariously to one side in a bid to lug basket, to let me help her. We add a suspiciously rank smelling pineapple to our collection, overpriced carrots (also from Arusha, I am told) and ten thin skinned naajis (tangerines) which turn out to be delicious.

Feeling mildy deflated we proceed to the grocery store which is a tiny dark windowless place with shelves stacked to the ceiling with unlikely items like packet Creme Caramel and pancake mixture. Hat stands at the glass counter consulting her list.

Bicarbonate of Soda? she enquires


I don’t think they’ve got any Hat, I say, we’ll get some when we go to Arusha (where we’ll also get passion fruit and carrots considering the amount I’ve just forked out for both).

Dark Chocolate?

The assistant proffers a KitKat. Which will taste of Omo owing to close proximity to washing detergent. I know: I’ve bought chocolate here before.

Hat presses bravely on: Golden Syrup? she asks.

A blank look.

Not to worry she says, I’ll just use honey (the region produces quantities of the stuff; we have two huge mtungis of it at home which I worry nobody will eat since Ben referred to it as bee vomit).

We don’t leave with much but we have managed to find porridge oats and baking powder.

I’ll make muffins, says Hat, I’ve got everything I need to make muffins.

Except raisins I remind her.

Not to worry, she smiles, I don’t like raisins anyway.

She makes muffins.

They are delicious.

8 Responses to “Celebrity Chef goes shopping”

  1. The Good Woman Says:

    Go Hat! Sounds like she cuold also have a go at flapjacks.

  2. Paula Says:

    “baking in the outpost”, it could be a show on its own? she sounds so sweet, a true baby of the bush, not put off by the limits imposed by lack of rescources

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    She’s a doll; her joyous enthusiasm for everything Outpost is wonderful to observe and I’m very lucky to be at the receiving end of it; more than once she’s lifted me from the doldrums with her energy and determination to enjoy it all. Yup, flapjacks, what a good idea. Did carrot cake today …

  4. carol Says:

    I must pass on a CD we have – Rhodes on Rom I think it is – anyhow – you click on the various cupboards / fridges in his kitchen and figure out which ingredients you have (onions and tomatoes obviously) and then it comes up with recipes that use those…. but probably also use ingredients you don’t have and can only wish that you had a Tesco down the road – so maybe that would be rather demoralising for the aspiring celebrity chef. Good luck!

  5. Carolyn Says:

    That’s so lovely! What a darling that girl is. Were they ginger muffins?

  6. Iota Says:

    Hurrah for Hat!

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you all for encouragement which I have relayed to Hat who – encouraged by your words – has, this week, added to her repertoire flapjacks, chocolate biscuits and – tomorrow, apparenty – scones. If only I could get cream to eat with …

  8. You Know You’re Home … « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] and wandering, aimlessly at the 55 different breakfast cereals on offer. You just buy what Kaidi has – Kellogg’s Cornflakes – and hope they aren’t […]

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