Shiro Tegamino: My First Introduction to Ethiopian Cuisine

If Pebble Soup fell silent for a month it's because we went to Ethiopia...followed by a week in the Seychelles. Well Ethiopian airlines was going that way, so as a mate of mine remarked it would have been rude not to stop over.
On our first night in Addis Ababa at Tutu's hotel, Atelefugne, I was introduced to Shiro Tegamino and without knowing it, I embrassed Ethiopian eating habits there and then: Shiro under its various forms was going to be my staple food for the remainder of the trip.

Shiro Tegamino

Ethiopian food is varied, spicy and delicious. Always served on an Injera, a large, flat, dark pancake shaped, fermented bread made with tef, a tiny, tiny grain looking like sand. The tef dough is fermented for 3 days, cooked and served on a metal tray with dishes heaped on top, often shared by dinners.

The trick is to tear a little injera, pick a little of the toppings with it and scoop the lot, gracefully, into your mouth. He remarked that it was a bit like eating the tablecloth. Wats (or stews) come in two categories: vegetarian wats served mostly on Wednesday and Fridays which are Orthodox fasting days and meat or eggs stews.
Shiro Wat is anchored in that tradition, enjoyed by all, rich or poor, its simplicity is a great leveler. This dish is made of Shiro powder: dried, powdered legumes (mostly chickpeas), red lentils and Berbere spices: a blend of fenugreek, cardamon, ginger, chilies, cinnamon and many more.
Now for the taste: Injera's texture is a mixture of soft rubber and bubbles. Shiro Tegamino tastes a bit like refried beans but much more pleasing and to my mind much,  much, nicer. I never got to see Shiro Tegamino being made from scratch but I can imagine it won't be long before, I try it at home. And hopefully with the rise of Ethiopian cuisine, someone out there will can it soon.

Higgidy, The Cookbook

Camilla Stephens by her own admission didn't have a head for school. When she tells the story of her beginnings she is quick to add "if you have a child in this position, do not despair" indeed from slow-pupil she went on to built one of the fastest growing small companies in the UK.
Camilla is chief pie-maker and creator of Higgidy. A company which employs about 200 people who hand-make pies. A passionate cook, she could talk about pies for days and she does.......The Higgidy Cookbook includes 100 recipes, that is a lot of pies.
Well they are not all pies, some are tarts, other parcels and then there is the pies with mash toppings such as Venison Sausages Pies with Parmesan Mash or these other little creations in a bowl with a pastry hats and then there are the sweet pies, the Christmas Turkey Pie, even the Wedding three tiers pie.
She doesn't stop here, the book tells the reader all about how to craft a good home-made pastry and which veg to serve with your pies. You see what I mean it's coming from all directions, it's full of passion, accessible and the recipes are easy to follow.
A real cookbook by a genuine cook. I loved it and a lot of others did to, so it seems as it is topping the chart. Up there with the celebrity chefs Christmas books 
I leave you with a taster Lemony Asparagus and Ricotta tart.

The Higgidy Cookbook is published by Quercus  RRP £16.99

And now I am off on holidays, will see you in 3 weeks.



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