Who doesnt love yogurt?


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Plain yogurt sweetened with honey and raisins. No sugar needed

Every time I go to the supermarket with the kids, I avoid the dairy section and the till because of yogurt and candy respectively. I get so worked up that I would normally ask my husband to take the kids and go ahead or I just ignore all the insistent requests with a pan face.

I am living on a tight budget. Excuse me!

One day a random thought occurred to me; why can’t I just make my own yogurt for once and for all. Unfortunately, I took no notice till when I was in the same dilemma in the supermarket. This time, I  placed 6 half liter yogurt containers in the trolley because my dear husband was paying. There is a certain level of Godly wickedness allowed. Ecclesiastes 7:16-17.

Caveat emptor: Don’t try this without counting your costs first.  😉

My girlfriend Mimo makes yogurt and all kinds of soap for her family. So, I called her up and she taught me over the phone how to do it and then the psyche went away as quickly as it came.  Then, Mimo came to visit me with her family and asked how my yogurt venture had gone, I was blank.

I promised to follow through but again…..lip service 😦

A few months later which turns out to be 1 month ago, out of the blue, I made up my mind and bought the milk and yogurt and tried it secretly without mentioning it to Mimo.

It flopped so badly, I did not even tell my husband.

It looked like mala (sour milk) even after 24hrs.

After watching several YouTube videos, I convinced myself that I can do this. So purchased 1 liter of milk and 250 ml plain yogurt.

But before I made another attempt, I called Mimo and confessed my sins. Oh, the laughter…Mimo laughed at me and made me feel like a child asking where is my lollipop yet it is in my mouth at that very moment.

We went through all the detail of what could have possibly gone wrong. Luckily all was in check except that the milk was too warm. That was my error.

Mimo asked me to save her a sample of the spoilt yogurt for her review. She never came. I sieved it and used the whey (yellow liquid) on mandazi and the white stuff on bread. Heavenly !!!

Bread recipe will be posted after this one, I promise.

I made it a second time and it worked. My family loved it and I will brag because it is not something I love to do i.e. trying out new recipes, but also it is awesome to have a friend who does not give up on you on the simple things.

So, if you love taking yogurt or your babies are addicted to it so as mine, are using it for your beauty regime, including it in your recipes or are on a diet that needs yogurt once in a while, here is how to make it.

Ingredients

100 ml plain yogurt

1-liter milk or more

Heat milk in a pan till it begins to rise.

Remove immediately. Do not let the milk rise completely.

Let the milk cool down till it is warm to the touch when placed at the back of your hand. Like when you are preparing baby milk..but just a bit warmer than that.

Place the plain yogurt in a container and add a little bit of the warm milk. Mix and ensure that the plain yogurt has blended into the milk.

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Blending the plain yogurt with a little milk first

Then, add the rest of the milk and cover with a lid.

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I used 1.5 liters of milk with 100 ml plain yogurt.

Since I do not have a yogurt maker, I wrapped the milk-yogurt mixture in two blankets and then placed it in a fireless oven.

 

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NB. The cover for my fireless oven was destroyed by rodents a few years back. Long story for another post.

Another option is to place the milk-yogurt mixture into the oven and leave the light on. The Kenya Power tariffs do not afford the majority of Kenyans this luxury.

Third option is if you stay in a warm place like Mombasa, Turkana, Wajir etc, place the milk-yogurt mixture in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours.

Whichever works for you.

Let this stand for 6-12 hours in the fireless oven to allow the active bacteria work through the milk and thicken it.

Once done, when you open the lid you will notice a thick white mass at the bottom and some light yellow liquid at the top (whey). No worries. Just place it in the fridge for the rest of the day to allow the yogurt to thicken a bit more.

Using a whisk, you can now mix the little liquid now left on top and the thick yogurt at the bottom. Check out my Facebook post which has the video of how it looks.

Voila, homemade plain yogurt!!!

Flavor it as desired.

I am trying to figure out why if i add sugar to the yogurt the consistency becomes lighter. If you do, please add it on to the comment section.

Serving suggest; add a little essence for flavor & sugar or honey to taste, food color to match the flavor desired e.g. red food color for strawberry and drinking chocolate for chocolate flavored yogurt for the kids, fruit pieces such as strawberry, bananas, mangoes, kiwi then freeze it to have frozen yogurt or serve it with your Weetabix .

For those who love Greek yogurt, you are in luck.

Get a large sieve and a muslin cloth or kitchen towel on top of a large enough kitchen basin or container. Place in the yogurt and let it stand till all the liquid has drained through to the bottom.

The whey can be used to make pancakes, donuts, mandazi etc.  Thick white mass on the muslin cloth or kitchen towel is your Greek yogurt.

Nothing goes to waste.

Serve as desired.

Save a little bit of your yogurt roughly 100 ml to start your next batch. So, you don’t need to buy yogurt at all. Now I just need to own a farm so that I milk my own cow.

 

Black Magic Cake


If you are looking for black magic, you are in the wrong page.


However, this is a recipe on how to forget your child’s birthday. It is quite simple really.


Ingredients

  • Internal calendar or as mothers’ call it vague memory that should not be debated about. Reminds me, when growing up, of how mothers were always right even when it was dead wrong.
  • An actual desk calendar
  • Phone calendar
  • Family breakfast
  • Errand list in a new handbag

How to affirmatively forget your child’s birthday;

  1. Unknowingly design your own internal calendar.
  2. Insist that this internal calendar is correct without a doubt.
  3. On the actual day of the birthday, wake up late and enjoy the Saturday morning routine with your little ones.
  4. As you take breakfast, your little one insists it’s her birthday and you insist it is on Sunday i.e. the next day.
  5. Head out and shop for birthday cake ingredients, meet up with your Saturday pals, run errands and then pass by hubby’s office in the afternoon.
  6. One look at your hubby’s calendar tells you something is off about the date.
  7. Counter check with your phone calendar and realize that your brain tricked you and that your little one was right after all.
  8. Drop everything and head back home and make the cake with your little one as a way of apologizing ..
  9. Thank God for creating the genius who made Google because of this recipe.

She didn’t buy my apology but at least she loved the cake.

Ladies and gentlemen; The Black Magic Cake awaits

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk – i used 1 teaspoon of white vinegar mixed with milk, others suggest add lemon juice to milk. Others can get them off a supermarket shelf. Be the genius here.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil – i used virgin coconut oil coz of the aroma.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan. (I used 2 sufurias of the same size, measured with a tape measure and a toddler as my able & ever watchful assistant)
  2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. – The batter was very thin. I triple checked this part while contemplating how to tell my toddler that mummy has ruined her cake and we have to start all over again. I bit my tongue & let it be. My next plan of action was tell her the oven is spoilt and i will take her out for lunch after church.
  4. Pour into prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Fill and frost as desired.

For the frosting i used:

  1. 500ml whipping cream – I used Brookside. Bakers will understand when i say blame my choice of brand on the #60DaysOfJanuary
  2. 1 tablespoon Chocolate flavored essence
  3. Caster sugar
  4. Chilled/frozen glass bowl.
  • Using a hand held mixer, beat the whipping cream in the chilled glass bowl. I put my glass bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes. This helps in making the whipping cream hold together in the process of beating it.
  • When it starts becoming frothy, add in the chocolate essence and a bit of the sugar
  • Continue beating it for a minute or slightly longer.
  • When it becomes thicker, add a bit more sugar.
  • Continue mixing until a firm peak is formed.
  • After that, we had fun unprofessionally applying it on the cakes.

NB. Recipe is not my own. Original source in the links above.

No pictures are available because the kids slept on a sugar high resulting in too much fun on Saturday night with nothing to show for it but it looked like something like this; (image is still borrowed from google).

 

black-magic-cake

Omena


Omena falls in the same family as anchovies and sardines and are considered a staple in some parts of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In Kenya we call it “omena”, Uganda “mukene” and Tanzania “dagaa”. My search on google reminded me of biology lessons in high school which I do not miss at all. Why? Most of what was taught is not practical to my daily living more than 2 decades later or maybe it is just me.

I grew up silently loathing omena because I always associated it with dog food. Dog food in my mother’s house was ugali (either hurriedly prepared or leftover) and omena boiled in under 10 minutes. So, why did I loathe them with such a passion? Every time anyone attempted to make them for human consumption, they were either bitter, stiff & tasteless but most times it was a perfect cross breed of the 3 things. What we used to do instead was bite off their heads and eat it whole with some salt while hidden in the kitchen pantry. Ridiculously, they were a delight and a treat especially on those days that we would eat ugali and green veggies for days on end. Unknown to us, the month had taken the longest bend in our parents’ pockets……..

omena in the market.jpg

source: https://swahilivillage.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/omena-a-natural-way-to-get-your-calcium/

 

 

So, I grew up, left home and started my own home with my parents’ blessing and got to understand the value of omena on a tight budget. I have tried the recipe severally. The number of misses are more than the wins but it has been a journey. Details for another day but this is a simple recipe whose ingredients are in everyone’s kitchen.

With this particular attempt, I aimed at achieving a thick, gravy kinda sauce to go with the omena instead of the usual light soup is common place in many Kenyan households.

I achieved it!!! (bows to the imaginary cheering crowd who understand the omena struggle).

The picky eater in the house – not me -, cleared her omena and veggies in record time. Clearing her portion of ugali still is a fight as I type this.

Ingredients

¼ kg omena

1 medium sized onion finely sliced/chopped

1 (bulb/cylinder or whatever other definition befits…) leek

1 tomato, finely sliced

1 sachet tomato paste

Ginger and garlic paste, 1 teaspoon

1 medium sized chili

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika, leveled

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

500ml plain yoghurt

Oil for frying

Salt

 

Place the omena in a bowl and soak with water and a quarter cup of vinegar for 30 mins.

As it soaks, heat oil in a pan till very hot

Fry till slightly browned then add black pepper, paprika & garam masala. Fry them gently for half a minute to one-minute ensuring that the spices do not burn

Add onions & leeks and fry them till golden brown. To hasten the frying process, add a little bit of salt & cover…. trust me, it works J

Add the whole chili to the frying onion mixture to fry for a minute or two then add the ginger & garlic paste, tomato paste and sliced tomato.

In the meanwhile, gently remove the omena from the water & vinegar mixture & place in a colander such that there is minimal disturbance to the water-vinegar mixture, so that the sand particles do not float upwards and back into your omena. The water should look something like this

omena water.jpg

Source: my own

Thoroughly rinse the omena under running water through the colander to remove the taste of vinegar and any dirt/grit left in them.

Back to your pan, add yoghurt & let it come to a boil before adding the omena.

Add salt to desired taste.

Mix well and let it cook for 10-12 minutes.

Garnish as desired & serve.

I served my omena with ugali (Kenyan staple dish) and fried (may I add crunchy) cabbage. I am salivating afresh as I remember the meal that I have just devoured.

 

 

Carrot Cake


I am a lover of tea but again serious critic of what goes down my throat. Why? Foodies understand this struggle. It is not that easy to explain. It is just how some of us are wired. So, I do plain water at 10am while my colleagues do tea and herbal tea at 4pm instead. Just… #MyPreference.

The strangest thing is I have been craving crunchy or sweet food at 4pm on the dot for the last 2 weeks and have been secretly giving in. So yesterday, I decided, why should I be eating processed versions of what my kitchen can produce without the stabilizers and sodium nitrate preservatives.

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Hence, the carrot cake with 100% natural ingredients i.e. Vegetable oil, carrots, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, flour and sugar.

Yes, the craving knocked at my office door at the expected time and the carrot cake answered.

#FoodieStruggles #FoodieLife

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs ½ tsp vanilla essence or extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

11/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups grated carrot

 

Combine sugar and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl and add in one egg at time, folding it in well.

Add vanilla.

In another bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients i.e. flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add the oil and sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold in together until it is well mixed.

Add in the grated carrot & mix well.

Pour into a greased pan and bake at 175C for approximately 35 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean. Practically, my cake took an hour to cook. My oven may be old or faulty but that is just my experience with this part of the recipe.

 Let it cool before removing from the pan because it is delicate i.e. very soft and moist even after it has cooled down. You would not want a large chunk of your cake remaining in your baking pan because of the steam generated while the cake is still hot.

 

How to ice…the original recipe indicated cream cheese icing which is just…ahem…..cream cheese is expensive and not a guarantee that it will be a hit with my toddlers so I flew past that section and I will quote my dear son, like a Subaro (as my son pronounces it)…..

Either way, the original recipe used to be here but the page is unresponsive.

The cake is slightly over 1kg when it has cooled down. This rich, soft, moist and flavorful cake is just the one.

Maybe i should baptize it a new name……(drum rolls)….Delilah cake. A real temptation it is. In fact, I am tempted to head back to the kitchen right now and make another one.

The other challenge of the #FoodieLife is that the same recipe does not give you the same results the second time round i.e. the cake will still be superb but something will just be different.

Anyone who understands this will surely relate to my #FoodieStruggles.

 

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Movie night snacks


We have a tradition in our house to do movies every Friday night with the kids…even if we are repeating the same movie for the umpteenth time. This is purely time exclusively set aside for the kids with no rules about sleep time or who should give us the memory verse for the evening.

During such nights we get to learn who got involved in a fight & why, latest Swahili vocabulary that our kids have learned, the new kids on the block & general stuff that we have failed to notice in the course of the week. Dinner is served 30 minutes early i.e. at 5.30 pm, homework follows shortly after & then movies start at 7.30pm after the last parent has checked in.

The movie has to be either a cartoon or simple comedy so that we can be able to find a quick answer when the sing along  tune of ‘why?’ questions. To accompany these answers everyone has their own bowl of popcorns which is sometimes accompanied by home-made fried ground nuts. Yes…sometimes coz nuts are pretty costly. On that note, if you happen to know where to get good quality nuts at a pocket friendly rate in Mombasa…let me know because consumers in the house are breathing fire up my neck with the latest reason being ‘ lakini mum si ulisema niko na apetite’ ( but mum you said that i have an apetite!).

For the popcorns you need;

a handful of popcorns

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons butters

salt

 

Heat up your pan at high heat and add the oil

Add you popcorns only after the oil starts smoking. Ensure the popcorns are covered with the oil.

Add salt & butter then cover. They should start popping almost immediately.

After 30 seconds, turn down the heat to medium and let it pop for a 1-2 minutes.

Shake the pan & remove from heat after 30 seconds.

Let it sit for 2 minutes before serving.

 

Groundnuts

groundsnut-before (www.peanut-machine.com)

Using a wide pan, add some oil & let it smoke.

Add your nuts and continually stir.

When they start making a crackling noise, turn down the heat & continue stirring.

Remove from the heat once they become a shade darker.

This is a very quick process & does not take more than 3 minutes.

Be careful not to burn them …..lol!

Immediately remove from the pan and onto a flat tray or wide plate covered with a serviette or kitchen towel to drain the oil.

sprinkle with salt & let it cool down before serving.

 groundnuts-after(http://www.peanut-machine.com)

‘Aha’ chicken


Picture this…….

 

You are a corporate foodie like me. You have a corporate career in the pipeline and you love to cook but you are having one of those low kitchen moments where you don’t want to cook and neither are your taste buds tempting you to try out something new. You are glad that for once in a long time you left the office before 6pm and you deliberately switch off your phone so that you can catch up with your books, Bible & family within the 5 or so hours deadline to sleep. So, you knock off your heels, throw your handbag to the corner and you sleep on the bed facing the fan and it feels good….no, it feels awesome. You get carried away and for a moment, you close your eyes to savor the moment & drift off to a blank, happy box at the back of your mind.

When you open your eyes, it is quarter to seven. Your appetite & all desire to cook is still amiss but the hunger pangs are still present.

 

Begrudgingly, you pick yourself up and head to the kitchen. When you open the fridge, the fridge light reminds you of a deadline that you missed that very day & all joy is somehow short lived. What next? Drive back to the office and hit the deadline so as to fit in your corporate definition of under-promise and over-deliver or should you let it slide?.….’I am human at the end of the day’….you console yourself. The cold air from the fridge feels so refreshing with this equinox drama that is making Mombasa heat feel as if you are wearing a suit in a sauna & this thought brings you back to the reality that your tummy still needs something for the night. All that is present in the fridge is uncooked whole chicken, leftover rice, milk, butter and bread.

 

An ‘aha’ moment kicks in. A new quick fix recipe has been born………………..….

 

Ingredients (cook time 1hr)

Whole chicken

Rice boiled with clove & cardamom (leftovers from the fridge)

Raisins, a handful

1-2 cardamom pieces

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

3- 4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 medium sized beetroot, diced

3 tomatoes, whole

2 onions, quartered

Salt

 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

As the oven heats up, rub the paprika, salt (a pinch), herbs, black pepper and butter mix inside & out of the chicken evenly.

Mix the raisins & cardamom with the leftover rice and stuff it inside the chicken.

Line a baking tray with foil and place the tomatoes, beetroot, onion and potatoes to make a bed for the chicken to rest upon.

Lightly spread a pinch of salt and pepper over the potato bed, place the chicken on top & put it in the oven.

After 15 mins, reduce the temperature to 175C & let it bake for the remaining 45 mins.

After 50 mins of the total baking time, pierce the thigh, wing or somewhere next to the bone. If the juices run clear, your bird is ready.

Remove the chicken, place on a dish & cover with foil for 15-20 minutes to finish off the baking.

Serve the potato bed mix with the rice stuffing, and use the chicken juices as soup with the chicken.

Any leftover chicken can be shredded & used for salad or reheated for a repeat meal.

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