RANDOLPH, NJ- The Dinner Club group of the Newcomers and Neighbors Club consists of several Randolph residents (couples and singles) who like to cook and try new foods. Each event has a theme and members are assigned a recipe.
Past themes have included Kentucky Derby, Jersey Fresh, Memphis BBQ, and Bacon Everything. During the last Dinner Club event the theme headed to deepest, darkest Africa, where our group sampled some of the traditional foods from that continent. From Morocco in the far North, to South Africa in the far South and Ethiopia in the middle, there were definitely some interesting and tasty dishes.
Appetizers combined three countries with Ethiopian Chicken wings – an interesting and tasty spin on one of American’s favorite foods, but with hints of cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Next, to South Africa, the group had some Biltong (bill-tong) which is like jerky, but much, much nicer.
Finally Morocco brought us hummus and toasted pita. We learned an interesting fact, that an early known recipe of a dish similar to hummus was recorded in a cook book from 13th century Egypt. It is a popular dish from the Middle East and North Africa, and of course now widely popular in North America.
Entrees were again a combination of all three countries. From the North of Africa, we sampled Chicken Tagine with honey, mint and orange. Tagines are a traditional cooking method in a clay pot over hot coals, similar to stewing. This was accompanied by couscous and an Ethiopian side dish of lentils and yams.
From the South of Africa, we sampled Bobotie, a traditional South African slightly spicy, slightly sweet dish of ground beef covered by a savory egg custard, served with rice.
The empty dishes were a good indication of how much everyone enjoyed these different dishes.
Dessert time was mainly from one country. Both dessert options were from Morocco, an Orange Cake and Montecados (cinnamon cookies). We did add another country at the very end, South Africa, which brought us Amarula Cream. This is creamy liquor similar to Baileys, but made with the Amarula fruit that comes from the African Amarula tree, also known as the Elephant Tree or the Marriage Tree.
There is an urban legend that the animals on the African plains will eat the fruit that falls off the trees onto the ground. Problem is, if the fruit starts to ferment, the animals get intoxicated which could create an interesting scene.
Randolph Newcomers and Neighbors Club offers several social interest groups for those new to Randolph, as well as established residents who want to meet their neighbors. In addition to the Dinner Club, they offer Wine Club, Beer Club, Book Club, Game Night, Play Groups, various social outings and club wide events.
Learn more about us (and join) on Meetup.com. Search for “Randolph NJ Newcomers and Neighbors Club.” We hope to see you on our next culinary adventure.