African Recipes

Mount Kenya Iruga

Posted by on Jun 28, 2008 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Mount Kenya Iruga

In a country abundant with natural produce, in particular the rich farmland around Mount Kenya, it is only inherent that Kenyans are avid food lovers. Whilst new and innovative dishes veer towards a fusion of flavors from around the world, Kenya’s traditional fare forms the foundation for every cook worth his salt. Join us on an imaginary safari to a traditional Mount Kenya village as we walk past small huts built in a circle around the centre of the Boma facing a roaring fire. It’s time for our “Iruga” (Feast) – karibu! Get ready for your Mount Kenya “Iruga” (Feast) Market List For 6 portions Nyama Choma (Mixed Grill) 1 Fresh chicken 12 Lamb chops 6 Steaklets Chilli powder Tumeric powder Cumin Cinnamon 2 Cups of yoghurt Garlic “Mukimo” (The mashed vegetable melee) 3 pounds Potatoes 2 Bunches of Pumpkin leaves (or substitute Spinach) 1 pound green beans 1 pound of frozen corn 1 cup of sour cream A little garlic and salt/pepper to season Kachumbari (The really hot sauce) 1kg Onions 1kg Tomatoes 500g Capsicum Handful of fresh coriander 1-2 Hot chilli peppers Juice of 1-2 lemons/limes And most important: Kenya’s signature Beer aptly named TUSKER (an award winning lager made from real hops grown in Kenya) you can find it in specialty stores. Preparation: Kachumbari and the Mukimo can be made a day ahead and kept cool overnight. Kachumbari Remove seeds of chilli peppers Finely chop al ingredients Place tomatoes, onions, chilli, capsicum and coriander into a bowl and mix well Add lime/lemon juice and olive oil and toss all in ingredients thoroughly Season to taste and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until all vegetables are soft and blended. Keep cool overnight Mukimo Pre-boil all ingredients Fry the Pumpkin leaves (or spinach) (or better use frozen spinach) Now mash all the ingredients and pound them for a considerable amount of time or until your arms are sore and the mixture is smooth and green. That’s how they do it. I find it easier to throw all the cooked ingredients into a processor and mash. Lastly, add the sour cream. Have a sip of cool Tusker and it’s done in a whiff. Season to taste. The “Nyama” to make Nyama Choma Prepare meat portions and marinate overnight. For the marinade use: 2 cups full fat yogurt, heavily seasoned with tumeric, cinnamon, cumin crushed garlic and some chili powder. Insert meats and chicken separately and cover with the peel of paw paw. (You can chop up the fruit and add it to the Kachumbari for a truly tropical flavor later) Remove meat from marinade and drip dry …ready for the barbeque (discard the marinade). On the big day… Make sure everyone has plenty of cool Tusker to enjoy while they wait. The aroma of the spices will make for big appetites and thirst. All you need to do is warm up the Mukimo (in the microwave) and keep it warm near the barbeque, ditto with the Kachumbari. Don your Chefs Apron and cook up a storm on the barbeque. You will have the most tender Nyama Choma (meat) ever, promise! Karibu chakula – furahieni! Enjoy your feast! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Sole Wangui

Posted by on Apr 28, 2006 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Sole Wangui

This recipe comes from our friendly cook Irene Wangui Irene was born in the Nyambeni hills not far from here. After School she was able to join a small basic cooking class run at an African hotel in the village. She learned basic cooking and “kitchen hygene”. It almost looked like she would be stuck forever in steamy little village hotel kitchens making “Njama Choma (fried meats) and “chips” (French fries). It was her love for animals that brought her our way, spending her day off at the animal orphanage. That is where we met. Irene is a charming young girl and I hired her on the spot, feeling that if she wasn’t the greatest cook, she would at least be kind to my ever changing menagerie of critters. The rest is history. Irene turned out a “natural” in the kitchen and delights in dreaming up new dishes. When there’s no one to cook for she spoils the animals. They all love her. (I suspect some tasty kitchen handouts may be involved….) Here is one of Irene’s recent creations with tropical sole. It is absolutely delicious. Sole Wangui Ingredients: 4 Filets of Sole (trim and give the rest to the cat says Irene) ½ cup finely chopped onion ½ cup finely sliced green pepper 1/3 stick butter 1 tsp flour 1 chicken stock cube 2 small (tropical) sweet bananas (one chopped 2 sliced thin) juice of 1 lemon ½ cup sour cream ½ cup dry white wine salt/pepper + seasonings as required. Now if you really want to show off to your friends… This delicate lunch dish goes perfectly with a bottle of sun blessed African Sauvignon Blanc. May we suggest… Arabella Sauvignon Blanc from our friends at Vineyard Varieties. Method: Season the fish fillets well with salt and pepper. Line an ovenproof dish with some of the sliced banana and place the filets on top, sprinkle with the lemon juice. Set aside. Fry the onion in the butter until soft, add the julienned green pepper and the Chicken stock cube and cook for 3-4 minutes. Now add the wine and the chopped Banana, simmer for two minutes. Blend flower and sour cream and add to the simmering mixture. Whisk to make sure no lumps occur. Season and simmer for 2 more minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish and arrange the remaining sliced banana on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for approx 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish and Serve at once with a little rice of your choice. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Chocolate Gateau “Dolce Vita”

Posted by on Nov 28, 2005 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Chocolate Gateau “Dolce Vita”

‘Tis the season,’ so soon again ! No matter how well planned in advance, most of us never get ready in time and panic sets in some days before Thanksgiving or Christmas. So why take on too much? Better you play with your animals or kids I say! The goose will more or less cook itself, but what’s for desert? Here’s a very simple “quickie” festive and serious chocolate indulgence that’s always worked for me when time was short. Of course you never let on how simple this delicious desert really was to make: Festive Chocolate Gateau “dolce vita” You’ll need: A bar of good very dark Chocolate – or even better rum flavored chocolate The best of one stick of (unsalted) butter 2 tablespoons of (maple) syrup 3 heaped tablespoons of hot chocolate powder A good packet (1 lb or more) orange flavored cookies, crushed 1 cup of raisins 1 cup of chopped almonds (or other nuts) 1 cup of chopped candid cherries a good shot of chilled *Amarula liqueur Method: Melt the chocolate and let it cool. Mix with the soft butter. Add all the other ingredients and last add about two ounces of the Amarula. Put the mixture in a lightly greased and dusted teflon bread tin and cover with wax paper. Throw it in the freezer and forget about it for a few hours. For the rest of the Amarula: add some Ice cubes, put up your feet and dream of a white Christmas!…….. Whenever you are ready, remove the frozen “loaf” from the bread tin. Slice it with a hot knife. Serve each slice topped with some (frozen) berries and whipped cream, topped with a little splash of Amarula. * You can substitute any orange liqueur but only Amarula Liqueur will give your gateau that distinct and exotic flavor. For the New Year… Of course it’s all about keeping your good resolutions…. If you gained a few pounds of “guilt” over the holidays, its good to know there is a way to start the new Year “guilt-free” : This healthy way of snacking will get you over the worst, believe me!! The great 2006 Slim down cookie To make 12 pieces you will need the following: 300 g pitted dates 200 g soaked raisins 4 tbsp carob powder (optional) 500 g Brazil nuts, pre-soaked over night in cold water 100 g flax seeds 100 g sunflower seeds 125 g chopped walnuts 125 g whole walnuts sprinkle of sesame seeds Place the dates, raisins, carob powder, Brazil nuts and two cups of water in a blender and mix until the paste is smooth. Stir in the seeds (except for the sesame seeds) and walnuts. Line a baking tray with cling film and spread on the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top then put the tray into the freezer for one hour. Cut 12 pieces and serve. These cookies will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. If it’s too hard, you can always wash them down with the left over Amarula on ice and dream about an African Safari!! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Spicy Trout Chowder

Posted by on Sep 21, 2005 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Spicy Trout Chowder

Up on the Kenya Highlands the streams that come off the Aberdares and Mount Kenya are rich with Trout, mostly rainbows. These fish are not indigenous. Many years ago the early Game Wardens realized the suitability of the clear mountain water and “planted ” trout in these rivers, mostly for their own enjoyment and indulgence in fly fishing. The Kikuyu people that lived in these dense forests had little appreciation, fish were unknown and not part of their diet. Today the fish population is closely watched, fishermen are licensed and a few commercial fish farms have sprung up near the streams. There is always plenty of fresh trout available even if you are not a fisherman. Here is an old classic Kenyan recipe given to my by Jonathan Bending of the Trout Tree Restaurant: The link above takes you to visit our friends at African Tradition. Remember to mention Mt. Kenya when you make any wine purchase from their site and the Conservancy will benefit. For six generous servings you will need: 6 plate size trout, skinned and filleted, keep heads and bones aside 4 Shallots 2 green peppers 3 sweet red peppers 6 baby Zucchini 6 redskin potatoes, parboiled 1 small cauliflower 1 can creamed corn 1-2 hot chilies 1 tsp fresh grated ginger and 3 cloves garlic 2 limes 3 tbsp all purpose flower Two cans clear Vegetable broth, or fish stock 3 cups milk Thai fish sauce Preparation: Cube the trout filets, rub with a little garlic and mashed chilies and marinate them in fresh lime juice. Keep refrigerated for 1 hour. Simmer the fish bones and heads for 1 hour in the Veg, broth, strain to prepare the fish stock (or use commercial fish stock). Cut up all the veg and potatoes into small cubes, mash the garlic and chilies with seeds removed. Fry the shallots, ginger, chilies and garlic in butter and a dash or two of Thai fish sauce. Add the drained trout and fry until tender, set aside. Add all the vegetables and potatoes and fry gently until tender. Now add the fish stock, trout, sweet corn and 2 cups of milk Mix one cup of milk with the flower and add to stock Simmer until thick and bubbly Season with pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce To finish stir in two tablespoon of rich fresh double cream and sprinkle with chives Serve with freshly baked basil bread If you decorate the table with dry twigs and fish flies (cheap from the sports store), you might even pull off that story about the big one that got away!! Bon appetite! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Miji à la king – African Pea Soup

Posted by on Feb 28, 2005 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Miji à la king – African Pea Soup

February in Kenya has brought glorious weather. Clear blue skies and warm breezes that make this country such a paradise. If you still feel the winter chill here is something to warm your body and your soul and lift your spirits: A healthy “green” African soup made from winter-stored peas, with a little ham for strength and some African Champagne* to make the sun shine in!! So here it is: Miji à la king Miji: Kikuyu for ‘peas’ (midgie) List of Ingredients 1 pound of frozen peas thawed out (or canned) 1 finely chopped onion ½ cup of finely chopped celery 1 cooked and chopped potato 6 ounces of small cubed fresh cooked ham ½ pint of low fat chicken stock a pinch of grated lemon peel 2 tbs. butter a little Virgin Olive oil ½ cup of light sour cream ½ cup of natural applesauce 6 ounces of small cubed fresh cooked ham a good handful of chopped fresh basil and parsley Seasonings and garnish: ½ teaspoon of Creole seasoning a dash of coriander a sprinkle of nutmeg 5 drops of Tabasco, or more 3 good squirts of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, or more fresh ground pepper Plus you’ll need Some freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 2 freshly baked Baguette (French bread) And most importantly: The Champagne!! (See notes below) Don’t let the list of ingredients put you off; this delicious thick broth is dead easy to make: Before you start, make sure your Champagne is chilled. Assemble all your ingredients Fry the onion and celery in some Olive oil in a saucepan Add the potatoes and the ham Now add the chicken stock Followed by the thawed out drained peas Let simmer for as long as it takes to open the Champagne and have a long refreshing sip and feel the sun rising… With the open bottle safely in the cooler, proceed to: Just add the rest of the ingredients: basil, parsley, applesauce and sour cream and butter, while the soup gently simmers, it’s time for another test of the Champagne in the cooler! Now, in go the seasonings, don’t forget to taste frequently until you’ve got it right to your taste. Let the broth cool down and purée half of the soup in a processor and leave the rest chunky and hearty, this gives a bit of texture to an otherwise comforting broth. Return the thick puree to the broth and blend. And now get ready for the magic touch: Reheat the soup and add enough Champagne to archieve the consistency you want. Pour into earthen bowls, garnish with the grated cheese And serve with the baguette, and of course: the chilled Champagne, and feel the African sunshine enter your heart! Some notes on the Champagne Apart from the obvious precious French varieties, there are other excellent Champagne’s available. They are commonly called “Sparkling wines”. (This is because only those grown in the French region of Champagne are entitled to the name.) South African Champagne Wines from South Africa are considered to be among the best in the world. I would recommend using a South African dry sparkling wine to make this simple but delicious meal into a memorable event for you and your friends. *Sparkling apple juice can serve as a substitute. Recommend...

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Unforgettable Amarula Mocha Truffles

Posted by on Nov 28, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Unforgettable Amarula Mocha Truffles

Unforgettable Amarula Mocha Truffles The holiday season is fast approaching. If you are like most of us, there is never enough time to get things started or finished. Here is a simple to make sweet delicacy that can double as a dessert or a treat for special times. And what’s best, it keeps and even gets better with time if kept refrigerated (not frozen). If you keep a couple of pretty containers or plates and some cellophane handy these truffles will make the ideal hostess gift as well. For approximately 40 Truffles you will need… 12 ounces best bittersweet Chocolate ½ cup of heavy double (whipping) cream 2 ts granulated instant coffee 1 ts hot chocolate powder 2 ts *Amarula Cream Liqueur 1 cup crushed Graham crackers, or chocolate granules Preparations: Grate the Chocolate and melt it together with the Coffee granules and the cream in a saucepan slowly stirring until melted and blended over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the Amarula Cream Liqueur Remove mixture to glass or porcelain dish and refrigerate covered until it is thick and fudgy, about 2 to 3 hours. Now make small one inch or larger balls by rolling them in the palms of your hands and set aside on waxed paper. Roll the balls in the crumbs or chocolate granules and place individually into candy cases. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge at least overnight or until needed. If you can keep your hands off them until to-morrow that is!! (A refreshing drink of Amarula over ice cubes will help, and you deserve it!!) Enjoy, and have a very happy festive season. This is a delicious liqueur made in Africa from the fruit of the Marula tree in a process similar to wine making. The Marula wine is then aged in small oak barrels before the cream is added. Amarula Cream will give your truffles that unique and distinct exotic fruit flavor, unforgettable! The Marula Tree is also known as the “Elephant tree,” because our jungle giants gorge themselves on the Marula fruit when it ripens in February-March. And they too never forget the flavor!! If not available you can substitute any coffee Liqueur, or Rum or even Crème-de Menthe. Have fun experimenting. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Irio as Made by Browns’s Mom

Posted by on Jun 28, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Irio as Made by Browns’s Mom

Irio as made by Browns’s mom While the sun is in the North our days are shorter if only by a few minutes here on the equator. But for most of our readers it is high summer and that means Barbeque Season!! For Kenyans, Barbeques are known as NYAMA CHOMA. They are everyone’s favorite meal here too. The Kikuyu and Meru people make a wonderful vegetarian dish that is perfect to serve alongside a barbeque. It is called IRIO and can easily be made days ahead and just warmed up. To get it right I consulted with my longtime professional friend Brown Mwebia, the Chef of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Brown was born on the slopes of Mount Kenya where most of the Kenyan Vegetables are grown. His mother, who he describes as the best cook he knows (not unlike most men), first taught the young inquisitive boy the basics of cooking. After graduation as a Chef from Kenya’s only hotel school, Utalii College, Brown worked in several African countries. Finally he found his way ‘home.’ Brown has been one of the Chefs at the Mount Kenya Safari Club for many years now. When I asked him about his version of IRIO, he was surprised that this simple “dish from home” should be so desirable. A few days later he supplied me with this recipe. Try it instead of the usual baked potato and corn. It’s delicious. Irio as made by Brown’s mom For 8 to generous proportions: 3 Pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered 2 pounds of fresh long leaf spinach, chopped including the stalks ( or 2 10 ounce packets of frozen chopped spinach) 2 white onions, finely chopped 1 pound shelled garden peas 1 pound sweet corn kernels 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 pints chicken stock ½ stick butter ½ pint sour cream Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in some butter until soft Add the chopped spinach, potatoes, peas and sweet corn Sauté everything in butter for about 12 minutes Now add the chicken stock and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain excess stock Use a potato masher to mash everything until is has the consistency of lumpy mash, with some of the peas and corn left intact Now add the sour cream Use Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and vegetable spice to taste. (I bet you can’t stop tasting). Serve in an earthenware or rustic dish with a bold wooden spoon. The written recipe Brown gave me also had this advice as below lest I should forget!! Hygiene Checklist Wash your hands before you Start. Check all food by dates. When sanitizing the equipment Make sure it is soaked in the Warm water solution. When tasting, use a clean spoon. Clean and sanitize all work surfaces. Prevent cross contamination. Well done, Brown’s Mom!!! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Pork-on-Fire

Posted by on Apr 30, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Pork-on-Fire

While on the subject of pork… Here is a very tasty recipe to make a change for all you health conscious cooks out there. Pork is one of the leanest meats you can eat, equaling that of Chicken, as long as you can stay away from the surrounding fat. The pigs’ wrongly attributed reputation of being “dirty” has perhaps caused it to be less popular as a food source. But in any case, when have you last heard anyone referred to as a ‘dirty chicken’, or a “fat turkey”? If you can overcome the clichés, you’ll enjoy this very different dish from Kenya. Ingredients for 4 to 6 generous portions: 6 pork filets, all ‘string’ removed For the marinade: 2 onions, 4 red (hot) chili peppers 1 fresh ginger root, 4 cloves garlic a few fresh peppercorns all crushed 1 pint clear pineapple juice ¼ cup of soy sauce ¼ cup of olive oil some 3 bay leaves and a sprig of fresh thyme a little salt and pepper Rub the pork filets with the crushed ingredients first and marinate in a covered glass or china dish in the fridge overnight. Barbeque the pork filets slowly, brushing with olive oil until browned and done. (Alternatively you can brown the pork under the grill or roast in the oven, but be careful not to overcook the meat). Remove from heat and set aside, wrapped in foil to keep warm. Fry some pineapple pieces in butter and add some of the remaining marinade to make a sauce. Now slice the filets into large chunks, arrange on a bed of rice or couscous and top with your sauce. This dish is hot! For a more sensitive palate, reduce the red Chilies… Or, alternatively, make sure you have some nice cold beer at the table. Bon appetite Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Green Eggs for Easter

Posted by on Mar 20, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Green Eggs for Easter

Every time Easter comes around the mind goes, of course to eggs. Living in Africa, in big game country, the first image that comes up are of course Ostrich eggs. Ostrich farming has now become more common in other parts of the world. Unfertile Ostrich eggs are available from such farms. They make wonderful Easter eggs if you have time, patience and imagination. Here is a tasty recipe for your Easter brunch. No need to be afraid that someone served it last year, because I just invented it from the ingredients I had readily available here in my kitchen on the slopes of Mount Kenya: Green Eggs For 4 servings you will need: 4 extra large very hard boiled eggs (better boil some extras as sometimes they discolor inside) 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 1½ tablespoons milk ½ cup each of chopped onion and green sweet pepper 1 tablespoon butter 1 jar best tomato relish, (you can make this hot by adding Tabasco if wanted) Salt and pepper to season For the Avocados: Avocado pulp from 4 ripe Avocados 4 teaspoons of Worchester Sauce 1 teaspoon peanut butter A few drops of Tabasco sauce Juice of ½ Lemon Garlic Salt, Vegetable seasoning, a bit of nutmeg and white pepper to taste 1 tablespoon whipped cream Preparation: Cut Avocados in half, remove nut and scoop out flesh into a blender. Set the shells aside. Blend the avocado pulp with all the ingredients except the cream. Season to taste and manually fold under the cream. Return this mixture to the avocado shells; make an indent in the middle with a tablespoon. This will later accommodate your egg halves. Refrigerate. Now it’s time to pop the cork on that bottle of Champagne and serve everyone a glass to enjoy while you slave on in the kitchen: Preheat your oven to about 350F. Peel and cut the hard boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks. Set the whites aside. Mash the 8 yolks with a fork and blend well with the other ingredients. Season to your taste. (Set some grated Cheese aside for topping). Fill the mixture back into the egg whites. Place into a non stick or greased baking dish. Fry onions and pepper in the butter, discard butter and mix the rest with the tomato relish, add some Tabasco if wanted. Pour this mixture over the eggs and top with more shredded Cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and let cool a little. With a large spoon insert each filled egg half into the indent of your cold avocado, garnish with some lettuce and spring greens, And voilà – Your perfect green eggs!! Serve at once with some hearty crusty bread, and don’t forget More Champagne. Happy Easter to Everybody Everywhere! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Marvelous Mutton Medley

Posted by on Feb 20, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Marvelous Mutton Medley

The weather map says what it always says in February that makes me happy I live in Kenya: Snow and sleet in most parts of the so-called ‘civilized’ world!! We feel for you light starved northerners. Here is a wholesome African stew that is bound to make you feel warm all over. It is made from mutton, rather than lamb because of it’s good flavor and texture, but you can substitute with lamb shanks. Ingredients for 6 2 lbs mutton, cubed 6 cups chicken or lamb stock Almost one cup of black eyed or white dried beans, soaked overnight 3 crushed garlic cloves 2 chopped onions (red) 6 ounce can of pumpkin (or fresh if available), cubed 2 plantons (green cooking Bananas) parboiled 1 cup tbl spoons tomato paste Olive oil 3 cloves 1 t spoon mixed spice Dried Thyme 1 green chili pepper, de-seeded, chopped Chopped coriander, or 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds 2 t spoons dried thyme Tabasco sauce Douse the cubed meat in a little flour and the mixed spices. Fry in olive oil until the meat is lightly browned on all sides. Add the stock until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Now add the drained beans, the bananas and cloves, and simmer for another hour or until meat is done. Add the thyme, chili, onion, garlic and coriander and cook for a further 15 minutes. Then, lastly add the pumpkin and briefly cook until tender but not mushy. Adjust taste with salt and black pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Serve from a large earthenware dish into bowls. It goes well with a fresh rocket salad, and some warm pita bread. Serve some rough country Portuguese or Spanish Rose Wine. Tell everyone you learned to make this when you camped with the Tuareg tribe of the Sahara in search of their exquisite handmade Silver. No one will challenge that remark, they will be too busy slurping up the stew. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Mawingu Stew

Posted by on Jan 20, 2004 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Mawingu Stew

Many years ago the world seemed much bigger. It took far more time to travel from one place to another, especially in Africa. Living on the slopes of Mount Kenya was considered ‘remote’. And yet, it appeared like everyone in the world came by to visit. A ‘visit’ meant an overnight stay at the very least, and certainly dinner for the wary travelers. There were only basic shops in our area then. Most everything had to be made from scratch. We had to grow our own vegetables and make bread and butter. Living in ranch country meant meat was always readily available. It was then I invented what became ‘Mawingu Stew’, our old standby for hordes of visitors around the holidays and on through March when the ‘snowbirds’ flee the unfriendly skies of northern hemispheres to call on their friends in warmer climes. ‘Mawingu’ was the small up-country Hotel that later became the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Amongst the locals it is still known as ‘Mawingu” meaning ‘clouds’ in Kikuyu. I made Mawingu Stew again recently to feed all my guests at our bush dinner on New Years Eve. It’s a great meal on a cold night. You will need for 12 people: 4 kg of lean Rump steak, cubed 1 bottle of malt vinegar 1 bottle of the cheapest rough red wine you can find pickling spices including peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves A packet of raisins A packet of German Pumpernickel bread A jar of Sauerkraut, drained Paprika and seasonings Preparation: Make a hot marinade from the Malt vinegar, the red wine and water in equal parts. Add six ounces of vegetable oil and the pickling spice and pour over the large cubes of steak until they are covered. Cool and let stand one or two days in the fridge. To cook: Remove and dry the meat, discard most of the marinade, but keep a little to spice up later. Roll the beef cubes in flower, paprika and garlic and fry in hot bacon fat until very brown on all sides. Season as usual. Remove to a stew pan and mix the juices from the frying pan with red wine and water to cover the meat and let simmer gently for about an hour. Now add a handful of raisins and four slices of Pumpernickel bread, crumbled, Add half a jar of drained Sauerkraut. Continue to add a little of the saved marinade, water and wine to keep the meat covered, stir frequently and continue to simmer until the meat almost falls apart. Season to taste and add more raisins for sweetness, more pumpernickel to thicken the stew as desired. Serve piping hot over potatoes or with French bread. Eat around the fire and spin a yarn about “the old days” or what grandma used to say…Enjoy! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Jane’s Boozy Christmas Strudel

Posted by on Dec 20, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Jane’s Boozy Christmas Strudel

During the month of December we celebrate “Jamhuri Day” (Republic day) on the 12th. This year this falls on a Friday and results in a big action filled fun weekend. Although only roughly half of the population in Kenya are Christians, Christmas or Krismasi is a very special time in Kenya. Most Schools close earlier in the month so there is lots of time for preparations for the big 2 days: Christmas Day, followed by “Boxing Day”. Boxing Day of course is traditional in England and hence here since colonial days. No one is quite sure about the origins but most believe it was the day one boxed up the unwanted gifts to exchange at the store and boxed all the extra food to give to the poor. We don’t have the traditional spruce trees that make such beautiful Christmas trees in Northern Hemispheres. So, depending on where we are, we invent and decorate other trees made from whatever can be found: Banana Leaf, Sticks, Thorn trees, Driftwood, etc. A few years ago one of my “Fundies” (Craftsman) carved a replica of a Baobab Tree which we painted white and decorated. It is a family favorite I want to share with you. And since this season is all about sharing, I have persuaded my good friend Jane McKeand to share her secret recipe for the best Christmas cake we have ever tasted, so here it is: Ingredients: Filling: 2 pounds cooking apples 3 ounces currants 3 ounces sultanas Grated zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange 1 heaped tablespoon soft brown sugar Half teaspoon ground mixed spice Half teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 ounces pecan nuts, chopped & lightly toasted 2 tablespoons brandy Pastry: 4 sheets filo pastry 2 ounces melted unsalted butter 2 ounces lightly toasted flaked almonds1 ounce white breadcrumbs Icing sugar Method: Soak the currants and sultanas in the brandy overnight Prepare the apples: peel, core and slice thinly into a bowl. Mix in the soft brown sugar Mix in the currants, sultanas, orange & lemon zest, mixed spice, cinnamon, and toasted pecans. Pastry: In a separate bowl mix the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs together. Melt the butter. Lie one sheet of filo pastry on a large baking sheet which has been greased….. brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with some of the breadcrumb and nut mixture. Place the second sheet of filo over the top and repeat as for the first sheet…… then the third sheet and again the butter, breadcrumb/nut mixture. Place the fourth and final sheet of filo over the top and brush with the melted butter. Leave some butter to spread over the strudel before baking. Spread the apple mixture down the centre of the pastry lengthwise, leaving a good margin around the edges. Fold one side of the pastry over the center, and bring the other side up and over the first side. Carefully turn the whole strudel over so that the join is underneath on the baking sheet. Tidy the ends by folding under the strudel. Brush over with the remaining melted butter and bake in a preheated oven, Gas Mark 5, 190 C, until golden brown, approximately 40-45 minutes When the Strudel is cool dust generously with icing sugar. NB: The dried fruit can be replaced by 8 ounces of...

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Pili Pili Ho Ho

Posted by on Nov 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Pili Pili Ho Ho

November is a busy time for most cooks. The holiday season is just around the corner, so much to prepare, so little time. Folks, it is no different in Africa. Kenyan people are amongst the most hospitable in the world. Their houses are always open. “No room at the Inn” is not an option here! Rich or poor, there is always enough for one more guest. In modern times this often translates into stress, especially at holiday time. Tradition must be adhered to, but with both parents working, children to take care of, the extra guest, although welcome is not easy to accommodate. Here is a great culinary standby found in many a Kenyan home: Most of you already know that Pili Pili is the word for red hot peppers. We are not sure where the “HO HO” came from. In any event we promise you, when you try this you will think of your own version! A few drops of Pili Pili H0 H0 will turn any simple soup, tinned stew, or fast food, into a royal meal. It is the ultimate standby for the busy cook. And best of all: it’s not considered cheating!! Pili Pili Ho Ho is best prepared a month ahead of first use. You will need a bottle to store it and serve from. A tall pretty clear glass bottle, such as used for fine Oils or Vinegars looks good on the table later. Purchase some of the hottest fresh or sun dried tiny red and green peppers you can find. You will also need some green peppercorns and a couple of small sprigs of Thyme and Rosemary. Add a little bark of cinnamon. Now stuff all of this into your bottle until it is full. Now comes the best part. Raid your best friend’s bar and fill up the bottle right to the top with: 1/3 dry Sherry 1/3 Gin 1/3 Vodka Cork the bottle and hide it in a dark place for at least one month or as long as you wish. (The longer the better the flavor) If you can remember where you put it and have not meanwhile been accused of being a “lush”, you are now prepared. You’re just in time for the onslaught of holiday visitors. Replace the cork with a dropper and invite your guests to try just a few drops on your quickly thrown together soup or stew… HO HO, indeed!! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Kenya Corn-Bacon Muffins

Posted by on Oct 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Kenya Corn-Bacon Muffins

The main item on any Kenyan’s diet is maize or corn, as you may know it. Driving along country roads you will see corn growing everywhere. In the townships, the night comes alive with the numerous charcoal fires of the street vendors roasting corn. Hardworking city folk often have long waits at bus stops before catching a ride to the suburbs. Munching on a freshly roasted ear of corn passes the time and keeps the wolf away. Because of the absence of winter, 2 or three harvests of corn a year are not unusual. Any Kenyan’s dream is to have a small “shamba” (garden/farm) and the first thing he will plant is corn (mili) for the family. Any surplus can be sold to the mills which grind it and market it as “maize meal”, more common on the Kenyan table than potatoes. There are many ways of preparing this delicious and nutritious “flour”. “Uji” for breakfast is a sweet maize porridge that keeps most children well nourished through the day until a bigger meal can be prepared. Baked or cooked maize cakes or dumplings often accompany meat dishes for the main meal. As you will notice on your travels, breakfast is a big affair in Kenya. The traditional Kenyan offerings of Fruit, milk, honey, Tea and Toast are usually complimented by a full English breakfast, eggs cooked to order before you, followed by pastries and homemade jams. Recently, at a friend’s house, we were served some corn-bacon muffins that were delicious with fruit and rich Kenyan Coffee. They are simple to prepare ahead of time and can be warmed up for breakfast in minutes. Here’s how to make them: You will need: 1 cup flour 1 cup maize meal (yellow cornmeal) 1 cup real bacon chips 1 cup milk 1 egg 3 tablesp. rough (or brown) sugar ½ cup of fresh or frozen Corn ½ teasp. Salt (or substitute) 1 tablesp. Baking powder 1 teaspoon butter Preparation: Preheat oven to approx. 400 F Mix together all the “wet” ingredients: milk, egg, corn and butter Slowly add the above to the mixed “dry” ingredients of flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, salt and bacon chips. Spoon the mixture into some greased (Teflon) muffin trays, two thirds full for each cup. Bake in a hot oven (400) approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until done, let cool Remove the muffins and enjoy another perfect day in Paradise!! Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Cold Avocado Soup

Posted by on Aug 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Cold Avocado Soup

We are lucky here in Kenya. Fruit is abundant all year round. I miss such seasonal northern hemisphere delicacies as cherries and peaches, but we are well compensated with the great variety of tropical fruits. The people in Kenya make much use of their bounty. Most Africans eat fruit at least 3 times a day. There are fruit stands everywhere offering freshly picked produce from the immediate neighborhood each day. One such fruit is the Avocado. There are three trees in my garden. They are never without fruit in various stages of ripening. Of course we have to share them with our resident group of Sykes Monkeys. They seem to know just when to invade. Since there are 11 of them and only two of us, guess who gets the Lion’s, (in this case Monkey’s) share. But we don’t mind, there’s plenty left. Here’s a recipe for a delicious cold avocado soup. It was developed in my own kitchen one day when hungry guests descended on us unannounced. Since then we indulge in this “sinful” but delicious meal regularly. As you will see below, I am not a “precise” cook and rely mostly on my taste buds… Another reason why I love to serve this meal is that it is done in very little time with not much clean-up, leaving you free to enjoy your company instead of slaving in the kitchen!! Cold Avocado Soup For 4 to 6 servings you will need: 5 ripe Avocados 1 jar of unsweetened (natural) applesauce Chicken stock Unsalted cream cheese Sour cream Peanut butter Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce Tabasco sauce Mixed herbs Fresh or dry Coriander Dry Sherry To prepare: Scoop out the soft flesh of the Avocados and put in a food processor Add: Applesauce 3 teaspoons of Peanut butter 2 tbs of cream cheese Half a cup of chicken stock Half a cup of apple juice A dash of Tabasco A generous 3 or 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce ¼ cup chopped coriander or ¼ teaspoon coriander powder 1 tsp. of mixed herbs Mix it all up in the processor until very smooth. Now add more chicken stock until the soup has the consistency you like. Season to taste with more Worcestershire sauce, vegetable spice, a dash of lemon juice and salt and pepper. When the taste is just right, add a generous tot of dry Sherry Refrigerate for an hour and pour into cool bowls. Put a small dollop of sour cream to float on top and decorate with a little dill or parsley. Served with some fresh crusty bread, this is a perfect summer lunch, and you will have plenty of time and energy to enjoy the rest of the day. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Sammy’s Safari Loaf

Posted by on Jun 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Sammy’s Safari Loaf

People often ask me: “What’s the food like in Africa?” It would take pages to describe all the diversity, richness and purity of our home-grown produce in Kenya. We have an abundance of most things edible and drinkable – weather permitting, that is. It happens, not infrequently, that the harvesting is held back by prolonged drought or seasonal floods that cut the tenuous supply lines. I’ve often wondered what kind of shoppers’ pandemonium would ensue if the loudspeakers in an American Supermarket, say, were suddenly to announce: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret, there will be no milk butter or cheese for the next 4 weeks!” Whereas in Kenya we’d hardly be fazed by such a thing, well used as we are to the periodic shortages of what others would see as the essentials of daily sustenance. Nor is a guest likely to notice that there’s anything missing, since many a local recipe has been devised on the basis of “making do” – or, more often than not, on the old axiom of “necessity being the mother of culinary invention.” Nowadays, the lodges and Safari camps will have multi-course meals ready and waiting for whenever they are wanted. But en route between one civilized oasis and another, you still don’t find too many convenient places to grab a quick snack. A slice of the old Safari Loaf keeps for days wrapped in foil in your pocket. It might well come in handy if your car conks out, as it may, 200 miles from the nearest mechanic. Here’s how our favorite stand-by bite in the bush is made: For two or three loafs (depending on the size of your bread tins) you will need: Ingredients 3 cups whole wheat brown flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon ground cloves two teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 cup chopped nuts (use macadamia, or cashew) 1 cup pitted prunes or dates, chopped 1 cup dried cherries 1 cup butter, at room temp. 1½ cups coarse sugar 4 eggs 1 cup very ripe and mashed Banana 1 cup chopped pitted Olives ¼ cup maple syrup a little Orange juice as needed Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350 F Blend sifted flower and ingredients 2 to 9 Beat eggs until foamy and mix with the butter, sugar and mashed banana until creamy (use a hand mixer). Now add the Olives, Syrup, and Orange juice Add this mixture to and blend with the flower/fruit mixture Fill 2 or 3 greased and flowered loaf tins with the mixture, about ¾ up. Bake 1 hour or more. If your wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, it is done. Let cool in the tins before turning out. Now if you like a more “potent” version: wrap the cooled loafs in cheese cloths soaked in Brandy. Cover with foil and leave in the fridge for some days. Warning: Don’t eat the whole loaf all at once or you’ll gain 6 pounds. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Quiche Mpya

Posted by on May 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Quiche Mpya

Like our baby Bongo, this recipe is a new creation. The distinctive ingredient is grapes, only recently grown in Kenya in vineyards mostly located in the warm Rift Valley close to Lake Naivasha. The recipe is not entirely African, although I first came across something similar in the wine lands of South Africa’s Cape Province. They seem to have so many grapes there that they turn up on most gourmet plates. The dish is in any event a refined way of combining grapes and cheese. You can make it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. It’s especially delicious accompanied with a chilled Cape Chardonnay. Bon appetit! For a quiche ‘Mpya’ for 6 you will need: 8 ounces plain flour 4 ounces of butter 3 tablespoons water 1 egg yolk For the filling: ½ a sweet red pepper, chopped Melted butter 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated 2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated 2 eggs Cayenne pepper ½ pint of half and half cream ½ lb seedless green grapes, peeled and cut in half Some grated parmesan Preparation: Rub butter and a pinch of salt finely into sifted flour. Beat the egg yolk with water and blend slowly into the flour – butter mix to make dough. Let this stand in the fridge for 1 hour. Roll out and use to line a 10 inch pie dish. Prick the base, weigh it down with baking beans and bake as you would any pastry shell (400 deg.F for 10-15 minutes.) Have a sip of wine and relax… Now you are ready to make the filling: Beat the eggs with cayenne pepper and add the two cheeses, and the chopped pepper and melted butter. Heat cream in saucepan and add to beaten eggs, return the mixture to a saucepan and heat gently until custard begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Now add the grapes and pour the mixture into baked pie shell in the dish. Sprinkle with a little parmesan and butter flecks. Return to oven at reduced heat, 375 F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until set. Let it cool down completely before you cut it into wedges. Have another sip of wine, you have made a great light lunch! To serve decorate with a few red grapes, and some Nosturtiums or other edible flowers. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Prawns Peri-Peri Watamu

Posted by on Apr 21, 2003 in African Recipes | 0 comments

Prawns Peri-Peri Watamu

Watamu means: “The place of the Sweet People” It is a small village on the Indian Ocean North of Mombasa. Watamu Beach boasts a stretch of one of Africa’s most beautiful coastlines. White sands, clear blue water and a coral reef with unique marine life – a little paradise. Here is one of our favorite recipes from Watamu. Ingredients 1 kg medium sized prawns, peeled and cleaned. (We buy them fresh from the fishermen but frozen ones will do). Salt the prawns lightly, add the juice of one lime and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. The sauce: 3 peeled and chopped tomatoes 1 clove garlic crushed ½ onion chopped Lightly sauté all the above in some olive oil and add: 1 small can tomato paste 2tbs of Tomato Ketchup 1 shot of Tabasco ½ a beef cube dissolved in a little orange juice Simmer all for a few minutes. Add the prawns and simmer for 5 – 6 minutes Serve in a coconut shell with Nan bread or rice on the side. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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