tastily touring: visiting burkina faso & a welsh cake recipe (banfora)
Burkina Faso is located in west Africa and might as well be a world away from our last stop on our Tastily Touring journey. Burkina Fasa, formerly the Republic of Upper Volta, is a landlocked country surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin,Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Usually we don’t mention the capitals of each country we visit, but the name of Burkina’s capital is Ouagadougou, which we love to try to spell without looking at the correct spelling.
Burkina Faso is about 105,000 square miles, approximately the size of Colorado. This west African nation is tropical with warm, dry winters and hot, wet summers. Of the approximately 15,800, 000 people who reside in Burkina 40% are Mossi and the other 60% is a mix of Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande and Fulani. The official language is French, however over 90% of the population speaks a native Africa language belonging to the Sudanic family. Islam is the main religion with 60% of the population Muslim and 19% Catholic.
Hunter gathers originally populated Burkina as far back as between 14,000-5,000 BCE.
Burkina Faso was once composed of Mossi Kingdoms that eventually became a French protectorate in 1896. Under the rule of the French until its independence in 1960, the Republic of Upper Volta did not come by its current name until 1984 when President Thomas Sankara who named the country Burkina (“men of integrity” from the Moore language) Faso ( “fatherland” from teh Dioula language). Those that reside in this country are called Burkinabe.
Burkina Faso is a mutliethnic nation with almost 60 different ethnic groups. Each region of the country is dominated by different ethnic, cultural and political groups. Further dividing the Burkinabe people is language. While French is the official language and taught in schools, the many who do not attend school do not speak it. Instead there are as many as 60 languages spoken throughout the country.
Naturally, with such a wide variety of ethnicities and languages there is bound to be a wide variety of foods. And, while this is true, the staple foods for most of the country remain the same, even if the ways in which it is prepared or seasoned varies.
The staple is tô which is a paste prepared with millet or corn flour. This thick porridge is served with a variety of sauces. In some regions yams are grown and are a staple while in other regions milk is a staple in the diet. Meat is not a regular staple in the diet of the Burkinabe unless they are wealthy. And, in areas where there is more wealth rice and pasta are added to the diet. One delicacy that we will leave to the Burkinabe are caterpillars.
Take a nice virtual tour of Burkina Faso by clicking here.
Banfora is a region in Burkina Faso, but also the name of cakes that are very similar to Welsh Cakes.
- 500g self-raising flour
- 250g butter
- 200g sugar
- 100g diced pineapple
- 2 eggs, beaten
- a few tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl cut the butter into the mixture then rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and pineapple and then stir-in the beaten eggs.
- Mix to a stiff dough and add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff.
- Tip onto a floured surface and knead lightly before rolling out to 5mm thick.
- Cut the dough into 6cm rounds then fry on a lightly-greased griddle pan over low heat until the cakes are lightly browned on both sides.
- Cool on a wire rack and serve sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar.
Since I still do not use this measuring system. I used my scale, which weighs in grams as well as ounces, to measure out the ingredients. If you don’t have a scale with both, it is a good investment and not that expensive to purchase one that measurers in both systems.