Thursday, May 23, 2013

Favorite Zanzibar Shots

At the beginning of April, I had the opportunity to go to Zanzibar, the small island off the coast of Tanzania. There's a new airline in the area that offers flights there for only about $20 each way, so we jumped at the chance. Despite lots of things going wrong, we had a great time, and these are a few of my favorite shots of the weekend.

The first night's sunset, from Stone Town

The bungalows where we stayed (Baraka Aquarium Bungalows) had turtles in their salt water cove!

On the beach in Nungwi (a village on the northern tip of the island)

Some local girls wading

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homemade Yogurt

For a fan of all delicious dairy products like myself, Moshi is sorely lacking in this department. The local cheese is expensive, even by Western standards, and it is pretty poor quality. I mean, it's cheese, so I'm not going to really complain, but it's no Tillamook cheddar.  Then there's the yogurt! For a little container it's 3000 shillings ($2), which makes it not a popular food for locals (too expensive), and not a very cost-effective treat for us either. 

So when I found out you can make yogurt with some simple steps, I was pretty excited. This kind of kitchen challenge is always fun for me to try, even if I fail. I am definitely coming back in August with many more cheese-making tools. Homemade mozzarella? Yes, please. Anyway, back to yogurt!

Milk is not really popular here (not many families have a refrigerator to store it, plus it's so hot here, and it's a little pricey for most people), but there is a sweet bibi (grandma) who sells it raw from her cows pretty cheaply, on the side of the road, every morning until about 10am. Since we're at school during the week, we take a quick trip to town to get some milk early in the morning, before we head off to teach. It's kind of funny getting milk - you feel a bit like you're making some kind of illegal deal in an alleyway. You pull up to this small street, pull out your own container, and hand over the cash for the milk.
2 liters for 2000 shillings ($1.30)
(PS - as always, the locals were cracking up at me taking a picture of milk)

We pasteurize this, strain it, and skim the cream off the top (this is VERY whole milk) in order to make it drinkable, and it is ready to go! I know I could drink it raw, but I'm not that brave. Also, after growing up drinking store-bought milk, it is quite an adjustment to whole, fresh milk - the taste is pretty different!

It turns out that all you need to do to make yogurt is:
1) Heat the milk to 185 degrees
2) Cool it to 100 degrees
3) Stir in 2 tablespoons already prepared yogurt
4) Keep wam at 100 degrees for 6-20 hours

Now there are all these clever ideas online on how to keep it warm -- put it in a picnic cooler, stick an electric heating pad under the pan, put it in a hot car -- well, none of these work for me here because I don't have them, not even the hot car because now it's the cooler rainy season.  So I did a water bath in the oven with the oven barely on, for about 7 hours.

Here's the milk cooling!
And after all those hours in the oven, and a night chilling in the fridge, I had yogurt!! I felt like a superwoman! Who knew it was so easy? Time-consuming, but easy! In the end, I made 2 quarts of yogurt for 2000 TSH, not too bad.  Definitely a project that I'll do regularly, to get my yogurt fix.

Final product!