Fish in any other way is still fish.


You have grown up being told that white meat is better than red meat.

I agree.

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.

That’s my palm, just in case you are doubting that I am human.

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.

Whatever men. We still eating fish tonight.

Ingredients

  1. Fish
  2. Balsamic vinegar – quarter cup
  3. Salt – a pinch
  4. Tumeric – half a teaspoon
  5. Pepper to taste
  6. Ginger & garlic paste
  7. Tomato paste – 1tbspn
  8. 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.

You need;

  • 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.

Enjoy.

Weekend leftovers


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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.

Shot from my phone. Huawei something something

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.

You need;

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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Egg Sandwich


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.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1172119533144853&id=849762665380543

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Kitchen Hacks


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

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

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.

Coconut

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.

Homemade Pineapple jam
Homemade Apple Jam

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.

Nyama Nyama Nyama!


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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!

Ingredients

  1. Half a kilo of meat
  2. Ginger & garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  3. Black pepper – half a teaspoon
  4. Chilli paste – half a teaspoon
  5. Juice from 3  limes
  6. Coconut oil, 1 tablespoon
  7. Vinegar, 1 tablespoon
  8. 250 ml mala
  9. Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Paprika, a dash
  12. Tumeric, a dash
  13. A lot of onions – I used 4 large ones
  14. A pinch of cumin seeds
  15. 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.

 

 

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Hot and tasty

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Home Alone 2


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I woke up at 6am today to pee.

As I lumped back to bed, I remembered that today is the last day of the year so I opened up my WhatsApp and forwarded an invite to tonight's crossover service to my estate's WhatsApp group and reminded another church group to share the e-flier then I drifted back to sleep......sweet sleep. I don't remember after how long but my trolley pusher called me to say good morning and check up on me. I was more than half asleep and I don't remember much of what I said in the phone call. I just remember after I asked how the kids are doing is when I smelt pancakes. Yes, I could smell pancakes yet I am home alone.

After the call ended, my sleep vanished so did the smell of the pancake but the taste was now at the back of my tongue. Fully alert and an actively blank mind, I searched for a positive thought to start my day with but came up with nothing. So, I turned to Facebook to watch a few clips and then finally, my thought came and I wrote it down in my notebook.

Still, the pancake taste could not leave my mouth.

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Fluffy pancake

The advantage of being home alone is that the earliest I wake up is 10am but at 7.30am, I have nothing to fill up two and a half hours with. I logged into Youtube and looked for pancake recipes. Of course, I know how to make pancakes but I wanted the fluffy type like this one.

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After watching several clips,  I narrowed down on a recipe and tweaked to get the taste that was still lingering in my mouth. I looked at the wall clock, it was barely 8am and I questioned whether I should shower first or cook first before heading to the kitchen. Well, if you struggle with appetite and are under medical review, the latter wins. I made a beeline to the kitchen, pulled out all my ingredients and got to work.

My portion struggle continued since the recipes that I watched serve 3 to 4 people. I am at home alone. I have attempted to narrow down the measurements so that I don't have to store the excess in the fridge. Rather, I have never had leftover pancakes. This will not be the first time. So, here is something that you can make for your family and friends tomorrow as you celebrate New Year's Day.

Here is my tweaked pancake recipe;

  • 1 cup baking flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of baking soda
  • Unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon, melted & cooled
  • Milk to measure
  • 2 eggs
  • Half a teaspoon vanilla essence

Mix the wet ingredients, butter, eggs & vanilla essence, excluding the milk for now.

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In a bowl, sieve the dry ingredients; flour, salt & baking powder. Add the sugar after sieving.

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Make a well in the bowl and pour in the wet ingredients minus milk and mix well. Add milk to adjust to a gravy-like consistency.

Mix thoroughly and ensure that there are no lumps.

Heat up your pan on medium heat and apply a tablespoon of oil.

Using a soup serving spoon, pour the batter onto the heated pan.

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Soup serving spoon, what's the correct name?

Pour the pancake batter from one point and allow the batter to spread itself.

Do not attempt to flip over the pancake until bubbles have formed all over the surface.

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Flip and give it 1 to 2 minutes before moving the pancake to the plate.

Repeat till when the batter is finished.

The recipe makes a total of 5 pancakes.

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Serve with honey, syrup or butter to your taste.

Too much for one person but hey, mom-cation rules.

Enjoy.

As I am watching my sugar intake, I dusted mine with icing sugar and served it with lemon tea.

After finishing with the 5th pancake, my ingenious mind tells me, My dear, rush and take a quick shower so that you have your breakfast while clean and fresh.

My body obeyed & you would have thought I was a kid who had been promised candy for spreading their bed just because I did not want the pancakes to get cold.

No regrets.

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Fluffy pancakes

To satisfy your curiosity, no, I did not manage to eat all the pancakes. As to how many I ate, let's leave that for another day.

Happy New Year. See you in 2020.

Purple Circle New Year Fireworks Laptop Sticker

 

Fluffy Pancake recipe card download.

Home Alone


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One of the downsides of being used to cooking for at least 5 people over the last 7 years is that when you are home alone and hungry, you do not remember how to divide food into small cookable portions for at least 2 people. 2 people because you just might have a visitor. It is good to be prepared as my mum always says.

Today is one of those days. Sigh!

I have been undecided on how to prepare chicken wings that I have been craving for the last few days. Kenchic has a 500gm 8 piece chicken wing pack that I bought recently. Now here is the challenge, I do not seem to have an appetite of late. If I do breakfast, I will do fruits and simple snacks for the rest of the day. So, how am I to devour 8 pieces when 3 pieces feel like a mountain of ugali? I mean, the 2 piecer plus fries from Chicken Inn takes me 2 days to finish. But if I don't balance my meals in my diet, then the supplements from my doctor will not work out & it will mean another expensive medical review.

Well, thanks to the lack of appetite, I have plenty of leftovers that will make my doctor very happy. Here's my home alone version of hot & spicy wings with eggplant and potato wedges.

For the potato wedges

  1. 5 medium-sized potatoes
  2. A dash of paprika
  3. A dash of black pepper
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (Kentaste)
  • Wash your potatoes with the skin on and thoroughly remove all mud, dirt and/or blemishes.
  • In a steamer, steam the whole potatoes for 20 minutes just to allow them to cook partially.
  • If you do not have a steamer, boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes thereabout.
  • On a cutting board, divide the partially cooked potatoes into quarters/wedges.

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  • Heat oil on a wide pan till smoking as you spread the paprika and black pepper onto the wedges.
  • Add the wedges onto the pan and arrange them such that they are able to cook on one side till slightly browned before turning them over to the other side.

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  • Add/sprinkle salt to taste & place on a kitchen towel to drain excess oil.

For the eggplant, here is the recipe.

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Leftover eggplant

Home Alone Spicy Chicken Wings

  1. 8 pieces, chicken wings
  2. Half a teaspoon of chilli. Or hot chilli flakes
  3. Half a teaspoon of black pepper
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste
  5. A quarter cup of soy sauce
  6. 3 medium-sized onions, chopped
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 5 tablespoons of coconut oil (Kentaste)
  • In a bowl, mix the chilli, black pepper, ginger & garlic and soy sauce.

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  • Wash the chicken thoroughly and dry in a kitchen towel before adding onto the marinade. Let it marinate for at least 3 hours.
  • Steam the chicken till partially cooked in about 20 minutes. How to know, pierce any bone joint with a toothpick and light pink fluid should come out instead of red (blood).

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I steamed both the wings and potatoes at one go. Patience = nil.

  • Once done, add the chicken wings onto a wide pan & fry the onions until translucent/soft (not browned) before adding the partially cooked chicken wings.

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Add your chicken at this point.

  • Again, do not keep turning the chicken wings. Place them in the pan nicely and turn after every 5 minutes till each side is browned. Watch out that the onions do not burn by adjusting the heat accordingly.
  • If there is any marinade left in your bowl, add onto the pan and allow it to cook down with the wings.

 

Voila!!!!

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Update: I cleared my plate. However, I am about to experience a food coma.

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For the steamer, I got it from Kaluworks sometime back. Not sure if they are still being produced. Comes in handy for a variety of foods such as nduma (arrow roots), sweet potatoes, green maize, peas, steamed veggies etc.

 

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Mango jam


I used to hear my elder sister blabber about how easy it is to make jam. Then when I recounted the many failed attempts I had experienced, I would just smile at her and change the topic.

I had tried plum jam so many times till I gave up. Plums in Kenya are rare, seasonal and not cheap. The last time, my sister and I had this conversation, she made mango jam for my mother. I was jealous and I wanted the same jam.

I live along the coastal strip where mangoes are plenty.

Ingredients.

3 large, firm and ripe apple mangoes.

4 tablespoons sugar

1.5 tablespoons pectin/lemon juice and rind of a whole lemon.

Peel and slice your mangoes.

Blend to a smooth paste.

Place in a saucepan on medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Stir intermittently so that it does not stick at the bottom of the pan.

Add pectin or lemon rind and juice. Reduce heat to low heat and let it continue stirring once intermittently for the next 40 minutes.

While this is going on, place a small saucer in the freezer. No, we are not practicing witchcraft. Wait for the end.

The mango jam will reduce in quantity to at least half, the consistency will change to a paste and the color will darken a little.

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At the end of 40 mins, remove your frozen plate from the freezer, then take a bit of the mango jam from the pan and run it on the plate. If it runs following the cooking stick, the jam is not ready. It should be as per the photo.

If not ready, return the plate to the freezer, continue stirring on low heat for another 10 or so minutes and repeat the cold plate test.

Once ready, turn off the heat and place the saucepan in an airy place to cool down.

Clean and sanitize your jar before placing your jam in the jar.

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The lemon has a shorter life span compared to the pectin, therefore, use your jam quickly in that case.

 

How to sanitize your jam jar

  1. Wash the jar thoroughly with cold water and soap under a running tap. Meanwhile, heat some water.
  2. If the jar is made of glass, immerse the jar into the hot water and ensure both inside and out of the jar is filled with the hot water.
  3. Drain the hot water and dry with a lint-free kitchen towel and let it cool down for a few minutes before placing your cooled jam into it.
  4. If using a plastic jar, repeat the same process with lukewarm water.

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