Category Archives: Rad things

My first home-made Ethiopian meal

After living in Nottingham for a few months, I started missing Ethiopian food.  Tiana and I lived within walking distance to a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant called the Red Sea in City Heights.  I did some looking around Nottingham and, as far as I can tell, there are no Ethiopian restaurants here (although, I’ve heard there are some in London).  So, I decided to see if I could make it myself!

Ethiopian meals are centred around various stews served over injera bread.  The hardest part of this process was definitely the injera (see pictures below), as it involves a long process of waiting for a flour mixture to ferment.  Now, it’s possible to buy sourdough starters, but I didn’t really see any of these in the stores I went into, so I decided to just do it myself.  In comparison, the stews themselves took a lot of preparation, but as far as actual skill and patience required, they were, what my adviser would call “wee buns.”

I did a lot of internet research and ended up following the following process for making the injera bread:

  1. Bought teff flour online from Tobia Teff.  Again, I scoured every likely place in Nottingham for teff flour and could not find any.  I think most of the African markets here may be Kenyan?
  2. Followed Breadtopia’s video tutorial on how to make a sourdough starter from scratch using the ‘pineapple juice method’.  This was the longest part of the process.  It would have probably taken half the time if it wasn’t so cold in Nottingham at the moment.  One commenter from Australia said that, due to living near bread factories creating a lot of yeast in the air and the very warm climate, his starter became active within a day!  I started this in late December 2008 and it wasn’t until late January when I finally got a very active culture of teff flour starter.  I began by following the example using regular flour first, and then about five days later I began converting it to a teff flour starter. [By the way, from here on out, I am going to make another starter (and switch to that one only) using gluten-free flours.  I was cheap and used gluten-laden self-rising flour for the self-rising flour step documented in the next step.  One of our guests on the night we served it was alergic to gluten.]
  3. For the actual making of the injera bread, I followed Heather’s Burakaeyae Step-by-step Injera Instructions.  Accompanying her very detailed blog post are youtube videos for each step, and after a few searches on youtube, one will see that she has, hands-down, the best instructional material for how to make injera for every step along the way (except the sourdough starter step which she assumes you have already done, see #2 above, although she has her own blog post on how to do this, but it would take even longer). Heather broke the creation down into 3 steps, each done about 8 hours apart.  Because it’s a bit chilly in Nottingham at the moment, though, the final 8-hour interval actually took two days for the injera starter/batter to become active (and actually, another day would have improved the sourness and ain [air bubble] count even more). Because super large frying pans do not really exist in any practical manner, and because they do not seem to sell this product here in the UK, I had to make injera into smaller-than-normal pieces.  Traditional pieces of injera are rather large and a single piece will fill a platter, but I had to make mine into large pancake sizes, which turned out just fine.  At times the edges got a bit crispy, so I ended up cutting those off with a pizza cutter!
Preparing the injera

Preparing the injera: rolling up a cooled piece while others are still cooling off

All of the prepared injera: two dishes for the injera servings and the main serving platter, ready for the Ethiopian stews

All of the prepared injera: two dishes for the injera servings and the main serving platter, ready for the Ethiopian stews.  If we had a real mitad, I wouldn’t have to layer the small pieces around the platter because a single piece would have been big enough for the entire thing!  (In the background you can see a jar of messy brown stuff: that’s my remaining teff starter.)

For the actual Ethiopian stews, we followed these recipes:

Here is the final display of everything!

The final display! Salad (in the centre), Yemiser W'et (brown spicy lentils), Gomen (Collard greens), and Atar Allecha (spiced yellow split spea pureé).

The final display! Salad (in the centre), Yemiser W’et (brown spicy lentils), Gomen (Collard greens), and Atar Allecha (spiced yellow split spea pureé).  The multiple pieces of injera become less noticable when the stews are served on the platter.

It was absolutely delicious (and vegan!).  In the end, all of the injera was eaten, including the one lining the serving platter, as is tradition. I must say, that even though veggie burritos from Santana’s and Cotijas in San Diego are probably my favourite food item, Ethiopian is probably my favourite meal for its flavours and the experience.

If anybody has any tips on where to find teff flour in Nottingham (or nearby) so that I don’t have to order it, that would save quite a few quid in the future.  Or, if you live in San Diego or the Bay Area where we know Ethiopian restaurants exist, and you would like to visit us soon, we’ll reimburse you if you bring us some teff!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

The image you see above is the Highfield House where the Theology and Religious Studies Department and Centre of Theology and Philosophy reside.  But this is a very, very rare image — almost impossible to find.   It is so precious and legendary that Indiana Jones would definitely say that “it belongs in a museum!”  Some do not even believe such a photo exists.  Why?  Because of the blue sky backdrop, which is perhaps the most coveted aspect of any picture taken in Nottinghamshire. It’s become so incredibly desired that even the University of Nottingham promotional videos will mask out the existing sky and replace it with a fake, glowing, blue sky.

Before, when I took a picture of the building and showed it to a few people in the department, the first reaction was: “Do you have one with a blue sky?”  No.  Not until yesterday morning when I brought my camera to campus and happened to snap off a few pictures of the façade. And then, as if on cue, the skies clouded over an hour later and remained that way for the remainder of the day.  And it looked like this.

Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg

Duck Tales Inflation Lesson. Video was posted over a year ago, for a cartoon episode that first aired in 1989!

(Via Jeff Cannata)

Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Luche Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Before we leave San Diego, Tiana and I are making sure we savor a few experiences.  Last night, we went to Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop.  Yes, it is a Mexican wrestling-themed taco shop.  I had a delicious “Veg Out” vegetarian burrito which was seasoned with some sort of curry.  It was awesome.

Click here to see my Flickr gallery of the few pics I took. 

The Return of Metaphysics

If you attended the Radical Orthodoxy and Process Theology panel at the 2007 AAR in San Diego, one of the interesting commonalities between the two sensibilities was an embrace of a return to metaphysics.  In 2006, the Centre of Theology and Philosophy hosted a conference called ‘Belief and Metaphysics’ (CoTP report here) around this issue (although not related to process) and subsequently published a collection of essays from the conference by the same title.

At this year’s AAR in Chicago, Nate Kerr is moderating a panel on the recently-released Belief and Metaphysics volume in the Veritas series entitled “The Return of Metaphysics: A dialogue on the occasion of the publication of Belief and Metaphysics.”  The panel is graciously sponsored by SCM PressVeritas Series and The Centre of Theology and PhilosophyClick on the poster above to see the larger version which lists all the details for the event, including the list of panelists.  If you received your AAR book in the mail this past week, you will also find these details listed on page 151. It looks to be a pretty exciting panel!

Regrettably, chances are very likely that I will not be able to attend the AAR this year because of our upcoming move to Nottingham in the fall.  We have a bit too much going on and not enough money to fly everywhere and attend everything.  However, I will be going to and presenting at this, which will be much easier to get to from Nottingham.  Still, if you can make it to the AAR, I highly encourage attendance at this this panel.  It looks to be quite interesting and a lot of fun with a good diverse response to the book.  The book itself is very diverse so we’ll see what happens!