You have grown up being told that white meat is better than red meat.
I love the look, the taste, the many ways to cook it and most importantly the short time it takes to cook.
Sadly, the cost of red meat is cheaper than that of white meat in this part of the universe until when I discovered that the opposite is quite true actually. I found this out at my doorstep literally
You see, mama samaki sells fish (typically deep fried fish) the size of my palm at 200 bob ($2) thereabout.
So to feed five people, that means a huge figure that can buy me the large pack of diapers that would run me 3 weeks comfortably.
On this particular day I had bout $15 and I didn’t have Diapers and was craving fish. The thought of washing nappies was not being well entertained because it also meant I should always have bucket of water filled with powdered soap & bleach on permanent standby. I mean the cost of bleach in the long run will be equivalent to the diapers or even more deending on the severity of the user of the diaper. You get the drift.
My mind decided to gift me an early valentines gift by giving me a clear recall that a fish shop had opened up next to the local clinic. What next? My feet carried me over there naturally just to discover what a kilo of fish goes for $4.
Say it with me…. WHAAAAT!
It blew my mind literally.
This is the price of fresh, gutted and frozen fish.
Next question to the seller.
How many pieces make a kilo?
Answer; It depends on the size of the fish. Roughly between 3 to 4 pieces.
Ok. Weigh for me a kilo. No, wait. 2 kilos please.
I went home happy girl with 6 pieces of fresh, gutted and frozen fish.
A whole tilapia fish for everyone? I won the lottery.
I thawed them. Removed the scales by rubbing against the grain of the scales with a sharp knife & washed them again focusing on the gills. We eat everything on the fish except the bones.
- Should I deep dry? Nah!
- Should I bake? The oven is still broken 2 years later.
- Should I steam it? Nope. The devil is a liar.
- Should I grill it? Oh yeah!
I don’t have standard grill but a jiko will do for now.
- Balsamic vinegar – quarter cup
- Salt – a pinch
- Tumeric – half a teaspoon
- Pepper to taste
- Ginger & garlic paste
- Tomato paste – 1tbspn
- Olive oil 2-4 tbspns
Mix number 2-8 in a small bowl.
If you don’t like pepper, remove it. If you love heat, you can use either black pepper or chilli flakes.
On the fish cut 2 diagonal lines on one side of the fish and apply your marinade inside the cut.
Repeat on the other side of the fish.
Do this for all the fish. I had five.
If any of the marinade is left over, apply it inside the stomach area and on the gills. If more marinade is left over, don’t worry.
Cover the fish and let it marinate for 20 minutes to an hour or even overnight if you wish.
Heat up your jiko/smoker on medium heat. If using an oven, preheat it 180°C.
Place your fish on the wire mesh, place an oven safe dish beneath it to collect the drippings and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the fish at the 10 minute mark.
If using charcoal, heat it up & let it burn past its peak. Place your fish over the heat and start grilling. If you can, start grilling the head first. It takes about 5 minutes.
Why grill the head?
If you eat the head of fish, the gills need to be well done & dry.
Continue grilling the rest of the fish carefully ensuring that you don’t turn the skin black because the flesh picks up any smell.
The skin should be a light golden brown color. Then it is ready.
Flip & repeat the process.
For the Mombasa locals, grilled fish isn’t ready if coconut sauce is not present.
- Coconut cream (not milk). Locally known as tui.
- 1 onion.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Remainder/unused marinade or spices to your liking.
Heat oil in a pan & fry the onions till tender.
Add your spices/marinade, stir & let it cook for a minute.
Add the coconut cream and let it cook till oil separates.
It is ready to serve.
You can serve it as a side dish or apply it on the grilled fish generously as yoy plate it.
Have you ever been at a point where the only thing you can do is to pray and be of good cheer. Literally. I mean there is nothing more that can be done in this Corona season because jobs = onge, money = onge, friends (or so I thought) = onge. But God, ever present.
My friends, open your phone book and take count of all your contacts therein. Just know one thing, know Jesus because 95% of those contacts are only there because they will benefit from you in one way or the other. One way is that you are supporting their lifestyle, or the other is that you are transacting business with them.
Onge means no, none, zilch, zero kaputt. Yeap 😦
So, where was I? Yes, broke, bursted but hidden in Christ.
In the midst of all these, a healthy 4 month old appeared miraculously. This means throw out all your plans for watching your weight. Now we watch our diet because one of the perks of exclusive breastfeeding is a healthy mix of healthy oils alongside everything else that should now be in my diet. Rather the household’s diet.
I raided my kitchen to see what can be of good cheer to my infant i.e. food for my tummy. Today’s case is different because I don’t have any patience for planning a proper meal despite steaming some okras and French beans last night. In hindsight, I would chopped some onion rings, crushed some garlic & ginger plus julienned down some peppers and carrots with the (already) steamed french beans in a quick fry then combined that with leftover rice. Down that with black ndufia tea, I mean black sugarless tea, then the meals become lighter after that till end of day.
Her sleep routine is such that by 9pm, she has a total knock out till when I ‘dream feed’ her at 1am then she wakes up anytime after 6am. Well last night she decides, as the boss she is, to keep me up till 3am. No, it wasn’t a case of colic but a serous smiling & playing game. I was at the of my wits by 3am, I made sure her ‘tank’ was full, left on some gospel songs to play on my phone & I asked God to watch over her. In short, I slept and left her playing by herself.
Imagine, she still woke me up at 6am.
I wake up, hungry, tired & confused but it’s alright just never use the term slept like a baby with me unless this is exactly what you mean. I try to keep to the daily routine but my body is not corporating. I mean after we have both showered, all I want is something that will go down….. I want it fast & I want it quickly.
So, I opened my fridge to find that the house manager had stocked up bread from the kitchen’s petty cash and some pork brawn whose chill by date is a month overdue. As long as it smells fresh, it is edible. The avocado was an afterthought since I have 3 avocadoes that ripened at the same time. I took the smallest.
3 slices of Bread Butter Brawn or any sandwich meat Small avocado Pepper or chilli flakes (optional)
- Apply butter on your bread. In my case, I used a cheese knife because the butter was cold.
- Slice your avocado and layer it on the butter.
- Take a slice of brawn and lay it on top of the avocado.
- Sprinkle some chilli flakes/black pepper/coriander (dhania) on top.
- Cover with a second slice of bread and repeat the 4 steps above and cover with another slice of bread.
- I cut my leftover sandwich bread diagonally for a cross section view of the layers.
Loved it because I downed 6 slices in less than 5 minutes. Then she woke up again when I was about to take my second mug of ndufia. If you are a nursing mother and are judging yourself harshly about your diet, or weight in that case, don’t. Let your little one grow with your healthy mindset and healthy diet, we will think about losing weight after successful weaning. Again don’t lose the weight too fast because breastfeeding is a journey, not an event.
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This is a simple fun recipe to do with the kids courtesy of Supa Loaf. I came across this recipe as a sponsored ad on Facebook.
If you don’t like eggs, please check out their other recipes & try out what works for you best.
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With the prices of food going up every other day and a limited or no budget to survive on, here are a few tips and tricks to help you through these times from my previous posts as well as others that I have quickly noted down for y
Potato peels crisps
Home made ginger & garlic paste
For the above, you need
- 1kg garlic
- 1/2kg ginger
- 500ml oilive/coconut/canola oil
Peel the ginger and garlic.
Pour half of the olive oil into the blender and start the mortar.
From the lid-hole at the top of your blender jug, add the ginger and garlic alternately.
Add the remainder of the oil as the consistency thickens or if your blender is making funny noises.
Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge.
This will last you more than 2 months.
Storage of tomatoes
With the onset of rains, the price of tomatoes in Kongowea plummets . Take advantage of this market behaviour.
If you have a chest freezer or space in your freezer & are assured that KPLC won’t mess you up or have a power backup for your electronics, then this will definitely work for you.
Purchase as many tomatoes as you can.
Wash them thoroughly with soap and water or vegetable cleaner and dry them.
Cut off the eye/stem of the tomato and cut into large chunks.
Blend into a fine paste and pour into the ice cube tray.
Let the tomato freeze into cubes and then remove them from the ice tray and fill them into a ziplock bag and return it to the freezer for storage.
Cook with one to two cubes at a time or depending on your recipe.
The same applies to lemons if you have many. Squeeze the juice using a juicer/hand and freeze into cubes then place them in zip lock bags in the freezer.
If you do not have ziplock bags, you can use plastic containers.
Nb. Shoprite was stocking ziplock bags earlier in the year. I have not been to the store since end February.
Dough of whatever kind; chapati, naan, bread, mahamri, pizza etc can be stored in the deep freeze for upto 90 days. All you need to do is to prepare the dough as you normally do. Let it rise the first time to be sure that the yeast has worked through it. Beat/knead it down to remove all air and then tightly wrap it in cling film and into a ziplock bag. Remember to name and date the dough so that you know what it is for and when to remove it from the freezer.
Voila!!! No stress.
You can use this sauce to serve your samosas, kachiri, viazi karai etc as a treat on those days where you feel generous. The beauty is that the sauce remains very stable i.e. will not go bad for over a month if stored in the fridge.
If you are able to get a lot of coconuts, then this may work for you.
Break all the coconuts and store the flesh in a container or a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.
In case of need, remove the amount required, thaw and blend in some warm water and continue to use as you normally would.
I will be updating more tips and tricks on this post as I remember them having used them in my kitchen. Feel free to add a few more in the comment section below.
Let’s help each other out at this time of need.
Here was my scenario;
I opened the fridge and saw the following, half kilo meat, fruits, yogurt, leftover kunde, homemade coconut milk, half a packet of milk, lime and lemons. What meal am I supposed to make out of it?
I closed the fridge and sat back at the sofa and watched Mark Wiens latest Youtube episode and voila!
- Half a kilo of meat
- Ginger & garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
- Black pepper – half a teaspoon
- Chilli paste – half a teaspoon
- Juice from 3 limes
- Coconut oil, 1 tablespoon
- Vinegar, 1 tablespoon
- 250 ml mala
- Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Paprika, a dash
- Tumeric, a dash
- A lot of onions – I used 4 large ones
- A pinch of cumin seeds
- A stick of cinnamon
- Wash the meat and dry it completely
- Using only half of the mala, mix everything except onions, tomato paste, cumin, and cinnamon stick in a bowl.
- Let it sit overnight or at least 4 hours because this is red meat.
- Heat up your cooking pan and add cooking oil
- As the oil heats up, chop up your onions. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks and let them sizzle a bit but not burn.
- Add your onions with salt and let it fry till golden brown.
- Add your marinated meat plus marinade, mix well, cover and let the marinade/juices cook down or until it starts to stick to the sides and the bottom.
- Reduce the heat, add the tomato paste and the remainder of the mala.
- Mix well and cover, let it continue simmering until the oil separates at the top of the sauce.
- Served with Ugali and kunde.