I have always loved the hotter months of the year. I love that I do not have to fuss over carrying a coat just in case it rains. I love that it is the time of year I can wear my favorite short dresses and flirty skirts to my satisfaction. I love that I eat plenty of my favorite fruit, mangoes, and the hot weather forces me to drink more water than I usually would. I live for December-March! We have just entered our rainy season and I am actually really digging the cooler weather which is a bit out of character for me. I love my boots and sweaters. I love my hot chai masala and biscuits as I watch Scandal (My current favorite character is Eli Pope!) I love the pitter-patter of rain on the roof top as I drift to sleep. I find dark, dense, heavily pregnant clouds so pretty! I love the indulgent food this weather compels me to have! One of them, which is quite warming and filling is this cumin and clove viazi vya rojo, which I am happy to share with you and hope you will enjoy as much as I do!
I always tell you guys not to get discouraged when you encounter kitchen blunders while cooking. Instead, you should learn from your mistakes, pick your self up, and try again util you get it right. Our mamas did not raise quitters :DD. As someone who cooks all the time, kitchen blunders and horrific recipe disasters happen from time to time. But with time, the frequency of the mistakes lessen since you get to know what works and what doesn’t. Your mistakes only aid in making you better if you choose to learn from them. Let no one lie to you that they never make mistakes in the kitchen. We all do! I showed you some of my massive fails in this post (read it if you haven’t). I stumbled a little bit while making my mahamri too. My first try had me create the hardest, flattest and most hideous mahamri LOL! I then sat down, thought hard and figured out where I went wrong and got it right in my next try. I will take you through how to make bomb mahamri, tell you exactly where I went wrong the first round and make sure you get it right on your first try <3
One of the things I enjoyed most in Lamu was immersing myself in the culture of the local people. I loved sampling their food (like, duh!!!) and enjoyed even more learning how they prepare things that are typically not as common in inland regions of the country. During our last day of the Lamu Food Festival, we were treated to a hands on swahili cooking class. This was at a local restaurant on Shela beach, overlooking the sea and enjoying the breeze coming in during that hot mid morning. Making Faluda was one of my favorites! It was so easy to make, and as usual, very very tasty to have. You can check out how Umma took as through here. This time I try it out, and of course with my own twist :)). Considering mango season is coming to and end, lets wind it down in style with my chilled mango coconut faluda <3.
If I can close my eyes and really focus, I can clearly hear it. I can here the sound of the soft ocean waves breaking on the white sandy beach. I can almost smell the aroma of white jasmine flowers that have littered the lawn after a night of drizzle. I can almost feel the warmth and here the chatter of the townspeople as I scavenge the Lamu streets for my spices. If I close my eyes and really focus, I can feel the slow drift of the dhow at sunset. Nothing beats that experience!! I can taste the salt of the sea on my lips. I can taste all the delicious food they used to make for us. I can feel the sand on my toes; whose toe nails by now have the most hideous chipped nail polish as a result of spending too much time in the water. But who cares? Life in Lamu is about savoring moments that matter, not about seeking fleeting perfection. I often miss Lamu, more so when the pace of Nairobi threatens to bury me. But now that I cannot go to my special place at the moment, I will bring it to me through one of the dishes we had there alot: mbaazi wa nazi (pigeon peas in coconut milk). I hope when you take a bite of this dish, close your eyes and reeeeeaally focus, you will be on the beaches of Lamu with me eating good food all day long. Coz that’s what life should be about :DD
I love making pancakes, not because they are easy to make (but that’s def part of the reason ;)), but because they take up flavors so well and leave plenty of room for experimentation. For these pancakes, I made them with the flavors I enjoy most in my cocktails: mango, cardamom and a hint of ginger. I did not foresee the warmth and explosiveness that I experienced, and for sure I must try this out soon once again. Nothing makes my breakfast more thrilling than knowing what I am going to eat has a combination of my three favorite flavors: sweetness of mango, very subtle warmth of ginger and spiciness of freshly crushed cardamom. Bite after warm flavorful bite and an empty plate later, my pancakes fit tightly but happily in my tummy. I gave one more thanks to the Lord above for a beautiful breakfast and gratefulness for a high metabolism. The best way to start your day is with some good food right? Make sure it my mango ginger pancakes!
If you love potatoes, you know very well when that craving (or should I say Kraving;))) kicks in, you just cannot shut it down! It is like that itch that you just cannot ignore, or satisfy by scratching indirectly. You have to go all in and satisfy it. When I had one of such kravings a few weeks ago, I decided to make fries. I rarely eat fries, but when I do, especially at home, I like to make it worth while and usually, that involves making masala fries. Including this one, so far as at 2017 we ahve three masala fries recipes on this blog. I made this first masala fries recipe in 2015 (check it out if you have not and please forgive my photography skills back then I was struggling :DD), this other one that everyone loves that has garlic and rosemary as the main flavor notes and today’s recipe takes it all to a stratospheric level!! No mediocre! Because as you know you know, with K, things are always FIRE!!
Today we have the most perfect Friday/ weekend recipe: Honey Whiskey Masala Fries
Him: Potatoes are not meant to be sweet
Me: Yes they aren’t. But they are not potatoes, but sweet potatoes.
Him: Exactly! SWEET potatoes. I don’t think that should even exist in nature. Nduma any day.
Me: Nduma is delicious,totally agree, but so are sweet potatoes. If I was a sweet potato would you still like me?
Him: I would. You would be a delicious one too! In fact, I would change into a sweet potato too, just to live with my sweet potato girl.
Me: And we’d make beautiful sweet potato spawn (laughs). So that means you like sweet potatoes?
Him: No, I like you. Even if you turned into a sweet potato, i’d still like you.
My boyfriend finds it fascinating that I remember the tiniest of moments and conversations between us. The above was one of our sweet potato arguments, which I always remember when I make sweet potatoes. Today’s recipe plays up the beautiful sweetness of this root vegetable and I hope you will like is as well :))
I always enjoy getting different opinions from my readers concerning all matters food. Not only does it let me know what we like, but also makes me even more aware of how different we all are and how interesting our personal preferences are. I especially love getting opinions from my twitter audience since they are refreshingly honest and quite funny too. I once had a series under my usual #KaluhisKonversations (check out that hashtag if you have not :))) where we spoke about njahi and why some people may not like this bean, and how you can make it better overall. I touched on this recipe I made over a year back. Those who love njahi were all into it and those who did not, were definitely won over. With our rainy season in full gear, I decided to make another njahi stew recipe, this time round with bold, very expressive flavors. Be ready to explore new flavors and try new things, because my garlic and cumin njahi stew is nothing short of delicious!
I was walking towards our bus stage with my friend one hot humid afternoon after running some errands. We were both quite tired and the heat was not making it any easier. With everything we set out to do complete, all was left to do was to get a meal. And when I am hungry, that is all that occupies my mind. I try as much as possible not to go into a supermarket when hungry, since I end up buying things I do not even like to eat or end up binging of sweet things that I normally wouldn’t have a stomach for. On this particular day however, only one thing was on my mind: fish. I love fish! And for me, that would be the perfect way to end my day and unwind. I quickly made my way to the nearest fish vendor and bought myself some tilapia then rushed home. My Kraving resulted in this very delicious, mind-numbingly good chili coconut tilapia masala. Perfect marriage of flavor; very unexpected, but so delicious!
Proceed with caution though, because my tilapia masala can very easily turn into a very real addiction.
The worst emotion that you could ever be at the mercy of is Hangry! Being hungry makes me super irritable. And the absolute worst is being Hangry, being in the hot sun and at the same time thinking about your adulting problems. Hunger just amplifies all those feelings. Suddenly you start thinking about those deadlines that are coming at you like a massive tsunami and bills you need to pay. Suddenly you remember that text that bae selectively chose not to respond to. Hunger can really stir up emotions! But thank God, when we are in need of a quick meal, street food is always there to rescue us!
I was Kraving some bhajia the entire day yesterday, and when the kraving kalls, you have to heed. I kept you in on my bhajia hunt yesterday afternoon on my Instagram story under the series #KaluhisKravings. Thanks to Safaricom 4G, I was able to document it all without any hitches and with the little airtime I had. After a quick bhajia lunch from Diamond Plaza and my soul literally calmed down. I loved it so much, I decided to give this a #K twist and that led to my spectacular Lemon bhajia Masala.
I find it very amazing how our food cultures are very much globally intertwined. What we may think belongs exclusively to our nation, may actually in fact have it’s roots in another nation. Also, how one culture makes a certain thing could be prepared in a different way by another to achieve similar results. In Kenya for example, many of our dishes have their origins in India: chapati, dhania, chai, nearly all our masalas and as I recently discovered, achari. It definitely is prepared in different ways from region to region along the coast, but what it has in common is the pickling of lemons and or limes specifically in achari ya ndimu. Slow but sure culmination of flavors, achari ya ndimu, like wine, gets better with the passing of time. This is one of those condiments you do not rush. The longer it sits the better. I prepared mine over the course of last week and of course, added my own touch. Everything is always better with a touch of K! I encourage you to try our my achari ya ndimu and enjoy amazing taste together with your favorite meals.
In our neighborhood, we usually have annual or bi/annual neighborhood get-togethers. One home volunteers to host the entire street for an afternoon of great company, catching up from our otherwise busy lives and also to indulge in some great food in community. Not to be picky, but their is this one home I never ever miss when they are the hosts. The lady of that home is called Violet but we call her Aunty Vio, because in Kenya, anyone who is not you mother is your aunt by default. Let me tell you, Aunty Vio can make one mean banquet. She does not joke around when it comes to hosting ; from the tender marinated meats, to the freshly baked moist cakes, to the array of fresh salads, and hearty starches. It would be mean to say I attend just for the food and not the company, LOL, but as a foodie, food is a huge part as to why I never miss out on the get-together when Aunty Vio is hosting. One of my favorite cakes that she usually bakes is her lemon poppy seed cake. She gets it right! From the texture and moistness of the cake, to the flavors, to the frosting. It is always a hit!! I make sure to get a
huge slice each time and sneak some back home with me, in true Kenyan fashion, for post party indulgence. Do I sound greedy? Well, maybe I am :DD
With these memories as the back drop, I decided to make drop scones, one of my favorite breakfast recipes with a hint of my favorite cake flavors. I substituted lemons for limes, but either way, they were super duper delicious. Can’t wait for you guys to try this out!!
I always get inspiration for my dishes form different sources. But one of the most inspirational sources are the conversations about food that I have with my sisters. Like most siblings who are close in age, we talk about everything! From makeup, to boys, to politics, to religion, and of course we always end up talking about food. My eldest sister, Cheredi, is a huge foodie with mean kitchen skills. Somewhere in between our usual chatter, we of course started talking about liver and exciting recipes we can try out. She told me that she made this liver recipe that was so bomb and believed using paprika made all the difference. I decided to develop a paprika liver recipe of my own, of course with inspiration form her, and I was so so so blown away by the outcome.
Today we are going to make: garlic paprika liver. Sounds delicious right? Well, it is!!!
I love the energy Nairobi exudes in the evening. I get energized by the fast moving crowds and by the soft glow of dusk. The city really comes alive after dark! By 7 p.m, the sidewalks are crowded with hawkers selling all kinds of things, from wallets to clothes, to shoes, watches, to fruits and vegetables. Some people may consider this a nuisance, but to me it is part of what gives Nairobi its character and benevolence. During these times, my eyes are usually fixed on the ground. I eye all the merchandise laid before me, hoping that I would land on a good bargain. After getting a (really!!!) good pair of thrifted shoes, I then bought some fruits before finally heading home. Among them were tree tomatoes, which I had been searching hard for and finally found on the streets of Nairobi! I ate most of them (duh!!) and with those that remained, I decided to make a jam together with the grapes I had purchased that evening. Guys, this one you have to try out!
August started with such a huge burst of sunshine and warmth. Glorious month it is, even more so that it is my birth day month! Unlike this year, last year or the year before it always has the first two weeks of August still shaking off the July freeze. This year has been different. Warmer. I however feel we have one more week of cold temperatures before we finally move on and enjoy beautiful sunshine. I prepared this carrot soup in anticipation of cozy cold nights in, but the weather decided to surprise us with some warmth. But in all honesty, soups can be taken in any weather. And I believe my soothing karafuu and rosemary carrot soup will warm your body and keep you comfy.
I often reminisce about all the fun we had in Lamu over their Food festival held April. If you are yet to read my Lamu posts, you can check them out here and here. We had the time of of lives on that Island paradise. Not only did we discover plenty of cultural activity the residents proudly preserve, but we got to indulge in their food which has just as heavy cultural influence, with majority of the recipes passed down from generation to generation. We got to eat plenty of mahamri, viazi karai, bhajia ya kunde and a ton of sea food. It was in Lamu that I learnt that the locals enjoy having their muhogo (cassava) fried and sprinkled with some masala. This was the inspiration for today’s recipe, but of course, I had to do it #TheKWay! With abit of modification and giving it my own touch, you are going to love this just as much as I did <3
“Nibakishie kitu tamu!” (Save me something tasty) My eldest sister Cheredi exclaimed as she spotted me in the kitchen cooking as she was on her way out to do her errands. You see, whenever I am developing new recipes for you guys, my sisters anticipate a feast. For me, that is a good and a bad thing. A good thing since I can make them happy through the great food that comes from the kitchen, and a bad thing since recipe development is usually so susceptible to serious failure! I hoped that this recipe would turn out great so that my sissy would come home to delicious food; to ‘kitu tamu’ as we always say. Lucky for me, this was a good recipe development day since these tilapia fish fingers were a 10/10.
I will show you how to make them, infuse flavor and incorporate spices to give you the best fish fingers you will ever make, with the littlest effort ever!
When my friend and fellow food blogger, Funmi, came over to Nairobi from Nigeria, Wangeci, Lyra and I were obviously so stoked to show her how we Kenyans prepare our food. “I want to experience Kenyan food exactly as it is prepared by the locals and at common eat out spots” Funmi would say. While this was exciting, I have to admit it was also very challenging. This is because you may find some really bomb Kenyan food in a kibanda, but the ambiance is not really one you would like to have a foreign guest to eat at, you get what I mean? You always want to show your country in the best light. We managed to give her a great experience, but if she was to come back today, I know exactly where I would take her: Nyama Mama.
Thank God we now have Nyama Mama! They serve Kenyan food (yeeeiiii) with ingenious twists of their own in a cosy, clean, calm atmosphere that just feels like home! It does not get any better than this!
Here is my review:
I love experiencing how different people from different regions enjoy their meals. It opens up your mind to a lot more and that is how you grow. When I go to a new place, I try as much as possible to try out new things for that very reason. Lamu was the perfect place for an adventurous culinary experience.
I noticed that the people of Lamu like to incorporate as many flavors as possible. You will find something savory, something sweet, something a bit tart and something a bit spicy. They make their banquets a whole experience. Our Swahili cooking class reflected exactly that. Now that we made something savory, it was time to delve into the sweet. Faluda is a jelly-like dessert with soft floral notes and mild nutty taste. And guess what, it is so easy to make!!!!
What would a trip down to the culturally rich Kenyan coast be without learning a couple of new dishes to make?! I wouldn’t have lived with myself if I came back to Nairobi without new knowledge about food preparation and new recipes in my head. As part of our trip’s package, we were privileged to witness and learn the preparation of three signature Lamu dishes. As a food blogger, this chance was not to be skipped since it is through learning new things that we grow. And no one never ever knows it all, right?
Our teacher’s name was Ummu Ahmed. We could tell from the way she spoke, handled her food and engaged us that she was one foodie at heart. We learnt how to make Faluda, Mkate wa Mkono and Makaki wa Kulisha (swahili pizza) but today I will take you through step by step of the latter so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. Makaki wa Kulisha also known as Swahili pizza is basically a flat bread stuffed with a selection of ingredients but most popularly veggies and sauteed chicken. The recipe isso easy and you can definitely try these out at home too. In my opinion, this is one way you can get a feel of the Lamu sunshine right at home.