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.


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.


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.


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.

Flat Tummy Water

I have been there and done that. Got the T-shirt but never a flat tummy 😦

I mean, it is every lady’s desire. Some flaunt it naturally. some, like I, have to sweat it out. Well, for others, blame their genetic makeup.

Giving credit where it is due, i love the infused water on a hot day coz it cleanses my pallet and leaves me refreshed. Much nore than plain water.

So, this is what happened.

I accidentally fell on a deal at Naivas. We were in Nairobi and happened to pass by Naivas while window shopping at a new mall with my trolley pusher. At the corner of my eye, i could swear i saw a deal. I hunt for savings and deals since a budget no longer makes sense. The cost of things keeps on flying off the roof. So, what does a girl gotta do?

  • Make a list of requirements for the month.
  • Window shopping, both online and offline. In the process, i have discovered that Indian grocery shops will make you dine like a King on a pauper’s earnings.
  • Shop for what is needed at the moment and not what is required.
  • Brand loyalty. Throw that out the window coz now we are in the process of learning how to make our own soap, detergent, bleach and God knows what else.
  • Everything else that cannot be purchased at that moment, keep an eye out for deals in the supermaket, Jumia, Indian shops, wholesales etc. Just be hungry for a deal. Even animal protein aka beef, chicken, pork, goat etc, go to the slaughterhouse or buy from one who rears.

CBK is looking forward to September 30th 2019. Majority of Kenyans are looking forward for some change in the pocket to go to Java for a cup of hot ginger and samosa without feeling guilty about it.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is how some of us are naturally flaunting flat tummies. No genetics or sweat involved. All thanks to the Government of the day.


  • 1kg fresh cucumber
  • 1 medium size lemon (imported preferably)
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint.

  1. Wash with (veggie) soap thoroughly.
  2. Dice into a good size that can fit into the feeder of your juicer.
  3. Let’s make some juice.

Take the juice first thing in the morning and last thing before you sleep.

I used double the amount of ingredients, because all my housemates are now addicted to my green juice.
Benefits i derive from this juice

  1. Regular bowel movements i.e at least twice a day. Make google your friend
  2. My tummy feels lighter. Not yet smaller.
  3. More energetic.

In the absence of a juicer, blend thoroughly and run through a muslin cloth or a very fine sieve.

Back to my story, got the juicer from Naivas Nyali when i got back home for 3,400/-. It is simple and basic and gets the job done.

Take advantage of the sales competition between Tuskys and Naivas. On the brighter side, you get to walk more while hunting for deals which is healthier for you and your medical bills.


Here is a short story of one of my favourite foods.

Ma: Kids, today I’m making matumbo (tripe). Who wants?

Child 1. let’s call her HER ROYAL HIGHNESS or HRH in short.

Child 2. Let’s call him MY HEARTBEAT.

The story continues…..

HRH: Nope. I hate matumbo.

MY HEARTBEAT : the distasteful look in his eyes tells it all

Ma: a happy dance in my β™₯

The end 😘


Half a kilo of matumbo

4 onions

2 large tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Ginger and garlic paste

1 tspn curry powder

1 tspn turmeric powder

1 tspn chilli flakes

Salt to taste. I used rock salt.

1 Green bell pepper

A pinch of cumin seeds.

Juice of 1 medium sized lemon or lime

  1. Wash tripe thoroughly under running water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Cut to size and bring to boil for an hour or until tender. If using a jiko, it will take probably 30-45 minutes. I boiled mine 2 days earlier and placed in the fridge.
  3. Chop up your onions, tomatoes and bell pepper, prepare the ginger & garlic paste and squeeze juice from the lime/lemon and set aside.
  4. Once the tripe is boiled to tender, remove from heat and place it aside. Check for tenderness by piercing a fork or a skewer through a piece. If it can’t go through midway, it is not ready.πŸ˜’
  5. In your cooking pan, heat oil on high heat.
  6. Add your cumin. Add onions after the cumin have started to change color or are popping in the oil.
  7. Fry onions and caramelise them before adding ginger & garlic paste, bell peppers, chilli flakes, tomato aste, curry powder and turmeric powder.
  8. Fry and allow the flavors to combine.
  9. Add your tripe and mix well.
  10. Let it fry for 5 – 7 minutes.
  11. Add tomatoes, mix it well and reduce heat to medium. Cover and let the tomatoes to blend in completely. Keep checking every 4 minutes.
  12. Once the tomatoes are well blended, add in the juice of your lime/lemon and mix.
  13. Cover and let is simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve with ugali, rice or chapati.

NB. If interested in cooking lessons of any items in the blog so far, let me know in the comment section below.

Hugs & kisses πŸ’•πŸ’•

Nothing Goes To Waste

When preparing a meal that has potatoes, do this for a change;

  1. Before peeling your potato, wash the potatoes thoroughly.
  2. Peel as normal.
  3. Deep fry or bake the skins to a crisp.
  4. To bake, glaze the skins with olive oil and bake at 170Β°C. Keep checking on them so that they don’t charr.
  5. Season the crisp peels with sugar, salt and pepper.

A quick, healthy snack that everyone in the house will enjoy.

NB. Just in case you’re doubting the ‘healthy’ part of the last statement, please Google ‘what are the health benefits of potato skin?’

Ugali 911

A liitle boy stole my heart when he was born and he did this on mother’s day. This boy has had his share of experiences and his best is when he encounters good food be it ugali, veggies, snacks or whatever it is.His eyes light up and well……he will gobble down that food like someone who has not seen food for the past 72 hours. Then came the corn dogs.Every mother will tell you how uninteresting cooking can be at times. The interest and the passion at times demands a vacation but the boy’s appetite demands a pay increase.This is how we stumbled across the corn dogs recipe on YouTube one day and I was that season that declared me persona non grata in the kitchen. Even cold water with popcorn could have passed as a meal.After several days of bargaining for the corn dogs, I finally bought the smokies pack but the kitchen still rejected me. It took a week and a half for the kitchen ban to be lifted………psychologically.Sigh.Today morning, I march to the kitchen armed with love and passion for this boy, and whip out all my ingredients, soaked the skewers and decided to watch one particular tutorial video that I loved, one last time. You know that feeling you get when just before an exam, you decide to go through your revision notes for you to discover that there is a chapter you had not read then you get an epiphany that this is the topic that will most likely be in the exam. You freeze coz you don’t know if you should have a panic attack, scream, feign illness or acquire a don’t care attitude because you can always repeat the exam the next time it will be offered.That’s what I felt when the narrator said ‘if you don’t have corn starch, you’re on your own, I can’t tell you anything else‘ .At the time I went shopping, my list was;

  1. Buy smokies coz frankfurters are way too expensive for the cost of a dozen. Smokies would give me more than 2 dozen.
  2. Corn starch….. I secretly wished that I could bump into a smaller pack since what is available in the market is way too large for my usage.
  3. Milk but I had not registered for fuliza, I crossed it out when mentally calculating my bill.

Well, I suffered a severe case of amnesia at the supermarket due to the therapeutic effect of being inside a supermarket.Back to the last minute tutorial, a quick glance to alternative breakfast items, I only had eggs and leftover ugali. I thought of making what used to keep me going in campus but my boy would have joked at my survival skills. I swiped to the next tutorial video and the tutor said, corn meal, I rewound that part thrice to be sure I heard the right thing because corn meal on this part of the world is also known as maize flour.Ugali to the rescue. Ugali 911.Ugali is the staple food of my nation, household inclusive.Taraa!You need:

  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. Half a cup corn meal
  3. 3 teaspoons sugar. Reduce to a favorable measure to your liking.
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. Half a teaspoon of honey (optional or replace sugar with honey)
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 1 tablespoon melted butter….. I used margarine
  8. 1 cup milk…… I used coconut milk leftover from making kuku wa kupaka.
  • Soak your skewers in warm water for 20 minutes roughly.
  • Add oil to your pan and heat. Oil level should be at the level of deep frying.
  • Remove skewers from the water and pierce each smoke like this

  • Mix the dry ingredients and make a well.
  • Add in the butter and gently mix in the coconut milk.
  • Check for a thick batter without any lumps.
  • Get a tall glass and pour your thick batter. The tall glass shall be taller than your skewer like this:

  • Pour the thick batter into the glass and check if your oil in the pan is hot enough by dipping the tip of a dry skewer into it. If bubbles form all around it, it is ready.
  • If the oil is ready, reduce heat to medium high.
  • Dip each skewered smokie into the batter, swirl it round and make sure each side is well and evenly coated before placing it in the ready oil.
  • Once in the oil, turn it around using tongs to ensure that it is evenly browned. I could only do three at a time.

The recipe could do 12 smokies however smokies with crooked tips will either be trimmed or skipped coz they tortured me in their coating process.In Kenya we say, shape wachia models and inner beauty ni ya worms. The English translation will water it down.A few out of shape ones….But they were all good…. I mean sweet.& the last biteHere’s a toast to love and motherhood.Happy Mother’s Day doesn’t mother whether you biologically are a mother or circumstantial. You’re a mother.Happy Mother’s Day.

Shades of Black πŸ–€

After visiting Asmara a few years back , my view of coffee and hospitality changed.

Only a former Nairobian can confess this coz Nairobians and hospitality do not always fit in a sentence.

In Eritrea, and Ethiopia, any valued guest is always seen off with a coffee ceremony. This ceremony is done at home, at the hotel, at the restaurant, at the end of a baraza as well as ceremoniously. In the event, you did not have done in your honor by your Eritrean or Ethiopian friends, akufukuzaye hakuambii toka πŸ™„.

On matters hospitality, I learnt it is good to be hospitable and appreciate whatever level and type of hospitality is given especially in a culture different from yours. Remember, mkono mtupu haulambwi. Not to mean I am the most hospitable. No. In fact, there are times I just want to be with my husband and kids, only for someone to show up unexpectedly πŸ‘ΎπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€·β€β™€οΈ.

Just be hospitable otherwise you may end up turning away someone who might have a solution to whatever is eating up memory space in your head at that time……reminds me of the Bible story of Sarah hosting the 2 angels. Had she ignored them, Jacob the swindler may not have been part of present day history.

This packet of coffee beans was purchased more than a year ago and stashed in the fridge conveniently…… other words I placed it there and forgot that it ever existed till today.

Today morning, I wanted something different from the usual black tea punched with lemon & apple cider vinegar, homemade juice or ginger milk tea with whatever accompaniment is available.

Today’s different was strong black coffee with boiled maize.

Before we go any further, I am team Kenya all the way meaning 90% of the products, ingredients and etc in my kitchen are Kenyan. Proudly Kenyan.


  1. Coffee beans (unroasted)

What to do

  1. Get a wide pan and place it on high heat on your widest burner if using a gas/electric cooker.
  2. Caveat: work in an airy space.
  3. Place your coffee beans in the pan and wait for the crackling sound before starting to stir. The sound similar to that of groundnuts.
  4. Start stirring as often as the sound is there.
  5. The beans will start changing colour to a darker tone. Continue stirring till all of them get evenly dark.

If you zoom in, you will note that shades of black are uneven.

  • The more the crackling sound, the more the smoke. Do not be scared that you are burning the kitchen down. Refer to pint #2 above.

  • Keep stirring, despite coughing your lungs out {pun intended}, as you keep checking on the evenness of the shades of black.
  • One trick. I use is that the wooden cooking stick has an oily glare like this πŸ‘‡

Hiyo sio cooking oil (Google translate).

  • Switch off the heat, stir for 1 – 2 minutes as the pan cools down. This is because the beans at the bottom are still absorbing heat from the pan directly.
  • Let it cool down for an hour or two.
  • Grind in a grinder or blender.

  • Transfer to an air tight container and place in the fridge to retain the freshness and aroma.

Brew your coffee whenever the craving strikes.


Chillies O’clock

My routine is such that I go to the market every two weeks and do a complete stock of my kitchen from the vegetable market. Yesterday was no different especially since I was getting the different yet scarce varieties of chillies that have been playing hide & seek for the longest while with me. I could get only one type and less than a kilo….I would be distraught most times while others times I wouldn’t not be having my kitchen mojo.

My truth was that I needed to restock my chillies before the only akubanga remaining in my pantry mysteriously disappears coz it seems not to have any fans this season.

As I was saying, yours faithfully, armed with gunny bags, ciondo and reusable bags marched to Kongowea some minutes before 8am and begun my routine. Quarter a pakacha of onions from Mwangi, oranges, pineapples & green maize from the truck, kienyeji veggies from another hidden corner, carrots, capsicum, ginger, garlic, half a crate tomatoes, arrow roots, sweet potatoes, dhania, mint, green beans, mint and of course my treasured chillies.

I got 3 varieties specifically.

After ticking off everything in my shopping list, I dashed back home & prepared for church as though I was being paid to attend church because I was late. Yes, I was late because it was intermittently pouring heavily in Kongowea meaning that I had to stop and let the rain pass. 4 different times.

I arrived in church at 10.50pm whereas service starts at 10.30am.

I ignored the stares and gallantly took my strides and sat at my usual seat. Front row with my army of 5 children. I am a mother……to these and many more.

It must have been fatigue or lack of breakfast but my mind kept wandering during the service but I can remember the sermon. It was a beautiful one. Just the details in between our arrival and the sermon that seem hazy.

Unlike normal, I left early because the army needed to feed, I needed a nap, I wanted to undo and redo my hair and nails.

None of that was achieved :/

The army I was fighting for dumped me, sleep vanished and since it was my domestic manager’s day off, she opted to literally take the day off unlike the past few weeks.

After a lone lunch of boiled green maize, groundnuts with black tea, I stared at my chillies in a purple bowl on the counter. They stared back at me and smiled. I smiled back.

The rest, they say, is history;


Chillies – 2 kilos

Salt to taste

Ginger, size of 2 index fingers

Garlic, 1 bulb

Onion, 1 huge bulb

Lemon juice, 10 medium sized lemons

Vinegar, 1 glass

Cooking oil

Remove edges from the chillies. I had roughly 2 kilos in the bowl.

Cut up your ginger,peel garlic and onion as well as juice the lemons.

In a blender, add salt, chillies, ginger, garlic and lemon juice.

Blend to a paste. Add onions and just zit I.e. pulse the blender for 10 seconds or so.

As you are doing this, place oil in the pan and let or warm up. Do not allow it to burn because the chillies will splatter when they come into contact. That’s an accident in waiting.

Add your blended paste gently as you stir.

Let it cook under medium heat until all the liquid dries up and the oil floats or shines. Keep stirring frequently so that it does not stick to the base of the pan.

Add the vinegar and repeat the same process as above.


Homemade chilli paste that will last me over 3 months. This is ready to eat, so serve it with your dishes as you desire.

Be warned, every area of my body that came into contact with the chillies was burning and itching for half the night.

Quick hint on how to clean the blender afterwards; add some water and liquid soap into the blender jig and blend for a minute or so like this.

It does all the wonders since it reaches all the corners that are unreachable.

Why do I have two blender jugs in this photo? Let’s just say, my response requires a mug of porridge to tell you how I ended up with 3 blenders on that day.

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Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.



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