My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cheese and Spaghetti

It's amazing how little things can be taken for granted.

Here in Ghana, our access to dairy products is pretty close to nothing.  Cheese is so expensive, we can only purchase it about once every six months if we want to make burritos.  Milk can hardly be found in the form that we see in the States.  Instead, it is a boxed milk or powdered milk that is the only option for those thirsty for a little milk mustache. 

Every once in awhile, I take an afternoon to prepare spaghetti.  Yes, something that would normally take...oh, about 15-30 minutes, depending on the type, in the States, takes several hours...sometimes even days, to prepare.

So, today, I started with the cheese portion of our spaghetti meal.  My favorite way to prepare spaghetti here in Ghana is baked with ricotta cheese.  Yummm...

But, where to find the ricotta?

I take out the powdered milk we use for our teas and coffees and hot chocolates and prepare a pitcher of the milk.  I place it on the stove and add some salt and seasonings (today's flavors of the day were a little grilled garlic and onion and a few dashes of Italian seasoning).  When the milk comes to a boil, I pour in a couple tablespoons of distilled vinegar...and the base and acid separate, leaving a light and fluffy cheese.  The next step?  Straining the water from the cheese, wrapping it in a cloth and squeezing out all the water.  Are we done yet?  Nope!  We have to put it in the fridge, cover it in plastic and place something heavy on it overnight.  That squeezes out a little extra water and makes it ready for use the next day.  Then, I start all over again until I have enough cheese for the meal.  What a process, huh?

Today's cheese process took me about 2 1/2 hours.  For one meal...

Tomorrow, to make my sauce, I have to cut up all the veggies, let the tomatoes cook down, flavor, cook, flavor, cook...until it is just perfect.  Usually, we would use ground beef, but since it's hard to come by here, it's chicken pieces instead.  Boiled and cooked, shredded and added to the sauce.  It's a process too!

Then, prepare the noodles, get it all mixed together and into the oven.  Voila!  A delicious baked spaghetti dinner...

I think the meal is almost better because I had to work so hard to make it. 

Looking forward to our special meal tomorrow!


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