Just another weekend (in Ladysmith)

This was our last weekend in Ladysmith, and our first weekend here as a group. Yesterday we walked into town to wander around for a bit. We started at the Oval Center, an open-air strip mall type area with a large grocery store and lots of smaller shops. Then we crossed over into the Murchison Mall, and indoor affair quite similar to U.S. malls. Eventually we found ourselves back outside in a Zulu street market.

It was a parking lot, really, or had been intended as such. But the center of the lot was jammed full of small shacks made of tin or plywood some of which had been painted with small signs advertising their wares (barber, butcher, bean seller). The place was also full of minibus taxis (presumably the same ones that run to the hospital). Along the outside of the parking lot, people had laid out blankets upon which they displayed their wares (bananas, a few pairs of shoes, ginger beer powder). The whole market was bustling and we, as the only non-Zulus, were clearly out of place. We stopped into one of the official butcher shops (in one of the storefronts that lined the lot) and bought some boerwurst for 10 rand, but not before squealing over the bagged sheep heads behind the counter. Perhaps mistaking our…shall I say discomfort…with interest, the woman behind the counter proudly proceeded to show us the sheep lungs and tripe, as well as ox heart and hooves that she had to offer. I wish I could say we were adventurous enough to buy something different, but we were a little too chicken and balked at the idea. I did, however, buy lunch off of a guy working a grill by one of the shacks. R20 for half a grilled chicken, a plate full of mealie pap, and a tomato-and-green-chili side salad. Possibly the best chicken I’ve ever eaten… At some point I’m going to try to go back to that market and ask the cook his secret.

Today, Harrison and I went to church with Daryl and Caryn (one of our lovely dietitians). They go to the Methodist Church in town, which had a surprisingly diverse congregation. I definitely wasn’t expecting that, especially since on the walk over Harrison and I had briefly talked about how in the diversity-crazed U.S. Sunday is often the most segregated day of the week. After a lovely service, and a great sermon, we headed back home. We ran over to the Chinese restaurant across the way where we had watched part of last night’s game (sad about the American loss, but hopeful that Ghana will go on and make Africa proud) for some mediocre Chinese food for lunch (brought by my new favorite waiter). Then it was home for a nap and dinner. We whipped up something new: Pasta with Grilled Calamari. Recipe follows.

Sauce:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion – chopped finely
2 garlic clove – peeled and finely chopped
1 x 15 oz (425g) can of whole peeled tomatoes
4 oz (125ml) glass white wine                                                                                                      3 x 4 oz (125 ml) glasses water                                                                                               1 Tbs chilli powder (can use less, but I like mine spicy)

Marinade:

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon – finely grated zest and juice
2 Cloves Garlic – finely grated
Small knob ginger – peeled & finely grated
1 Tbs  soy sauce
1 Green chilli –  finely chopped (again I like it hot)
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Other Ingredients:

1 lb (~500 g) pasta, preferably spaghetti or linguine                                                       1 lb (~500 g) calamari, any form will do*

Mix up the ingredients for the marinade first. Add the calamari and let marinate for about 1 hr. While the calamari marinate, fry up the onion and garlic for the sauce (onion first, then add the garlic after a few minutes). As the onions start becoming translucent and the garlic browns, add the tomatoes. Mash up the whole tomatoes using a spatula. Add the wine or water and simmer for 30 minutes. Grill the calamari.** Add the grilled calamari and the marinade to the sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

*Note: If using calamari steaks, butterfly, clean, and score them in a diamond pattern first so they soak up the marinade properly.

**You can also just toss them into the sauce, but they won’t taste as good.

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