DARK CHOCOLATE andMINT HOT CHOCO :-)

 

 

 

Who does not love chocolate??????? And who does not love the combination of chocolate and Mint???? If you don’t you must be MAD!!!. I really enjoy a good hot chocolate but unfortunately I am yet to go to any coffee house of restaurant in Nairobi and get good quality hot chocolate. What they offer in all this establishments is milk diluted with WAY to much water then they add 2 teaspoons of Cadbury’s Chocolate and lie that they are giving you Hot Choco, how disgusting. I experimented with this recipe after I was taken to Max Brenner and I instantly fell in love with the place. They make there own chocolate so the place smells divine and they had this big “barrels” where they were churning the chocolate, my GOD if only we had that in Nairobi……… Nway after one to many visits and too much money spent making someone else rich I decided I needed to learn how to make this so I just tried it and it was good, not as great as Max Brenner but way better than what we get served in the restaurants in Nairobi. Anywho a few weeks ago my colleague Molly and I kept saying how much we love Hot chocolate, how we miss it and how sad it is that we can’t get any in Kakuma, then I thought I might just have the ingredients to make one, so she came over and I made some, we had it with some cinnamon biscuits she got from Nakumatt, it was a small piece of Heaven in the desert. Now that the weather is chilly I’m sure this might just come in handy. Enjoy!!!!

 

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ltr of Milk
  • 150 gms good quality dark chocolate (lindt is great, I did not have this at the time so I used dark cooking chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint ( if you can get fresh even better)

 

METHOD

1.      Heat the milk and the mint in a large saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to boil.

2.      Sieve through to remove the mint

3.      Add the chocolate, stir with a metal spoon until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

4.      Divide among 4 mugs.

 

NB: You could also use a few drops of peppermint essence instead of the dried or fresh mint but I prefer fresh mint.

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SWEET and SPICY HONEY GRILLED PRAWNS

I’ve been out of the loop for so long I think I even forgot how to both write and cook L being out of the desert and in the city is not good for my cooking practice. But anyway I made this dish a few weeks ago just before I came to Nairobi coz I had some prawns in the freezer that I really did not want to leave in the freezer. I got this recipe on pinterest (I love this site) and traced it to a blog called “Our best Bites”. I was never a fun of seafood and when I got to like prawns there were chili garlic prawns and that is what I have always stuck to until I saw this recipe and just thought I would give a try so as to try something different.

I had it with the lemon dhania rice and it was heavenly. I tweeked the recipe a bit as I did not have all the ingredients that were requested. The sauce was just the right balance of sweet and spicy. But all in all it was a good meal, one of those that you smile as you eat, hope you’ll like it. HAPPY COOKING!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-2 1/2 lb. raw prawns
  • 4 Tbsp. minced or pressed garlic
  • ¼ cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup hot chili paste ( you can get this at Nakumatt if not mix/process some red chilies with oil and a bit of salt)
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

METHOD

1.       Rinse prawns in cold water and place in a large Ziploc bag or container. Combine garlic, ginger, both chili pastes, honey, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oil in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Set aside 1 cup of the marinade. Pour remaining mixture over prawns and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.

2.       if you using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them in water for at least 30minutes before using them, this prevents them from burning.

3.       Thread the prawns into the skewers

4.       Heat a grill ( I used a griddle pan as I do not have an outdoor grill although this is better done outside due to the smoke) once its hot reduce the heat then place the skewers. Brush the opposite side with some marinade and cook for 1-2minutes, then flip.

5.       once you have flipped the skewer again brush the cooked side with the reserved  marinade and cook for another 1-2 minutes until pinkish

6.       Remove from the grill, then remove the prawns from the skewers and place in a bowl then drizzle with remaining marinade

7.       Serve HOT. HAPPY EATING

BANANA BREAD

Bananas are one of my favourite fruits or even food, what I like most about this recipe is that it helps us use up over ripe banana’s that you would normally throw out. If you do not have time to bake just before they go bad. Peel them and freeze them, when your ready to bake bring them to room temperature before using them. I do not remember where I got my first recipe for banana bread but I adopted this one from Crafty Café  HAPPY BAKING!!

Makes 1 loaf.

INGREDIENTS

·        3 very ripe medium sized bananas

·        1/2 cup butter or margarine (preferably unsalted)

·        1 ½  cup flour

·        ½  cup sugar

·        2 eggs

·        ¼ cup buttermilk (to make your own go to this link)

·        1 teaspoon baking soda

·        ½ teaspoon salt

·        teaspoon of ground cinnamon

METHOD

1.      Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease your loaf pan

2.      Chop up the bananas and butter

3.      Out in a bowl and using an electric beater mix up till they are all chopped up and mushy

4.      Next add all the other ingredients one at a time, ensure it well combined

5.      you can add walnuts or chocolate chip cookies if you want (about a ½ cup)

6.      pulse till just combines

7.      Put batter into prepared tin

8.      Bake for 55-60mins until a toothpick comes out clean

9.      Cool, serve

10.  HOW EASY IS THAT!!

11. HAPPY EATING!!

pulse 10 seconds- just until incorporated

Optional- add in 1/2 cup walnut pieces or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Pulse 2-3 times.
Turn batter out into the prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked throughout and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely before serving.

LEMON DHANIA RICE

I love quick fixes. Especially on days when I am DEAD BIT tired. I love it when I can get home from work and just put rice in the microwave let it cook, remove it and just a put a thing here and there and in a few seconds the rice is transformed. By now I am sure you all know of my love for all things dhania (coriander/cilantro) I think I could add dhania to tea if I could 🙂 I learned this recipe a couple of years back from a magazine. I do not remember the name of the magazine so I honestly do not know who to give credit to.

 

This is an easy way to spruce up rice for a sweet and spicy dish or just to eat. It is important to make this dish as soon as the rice cooks because of the melting of the butter and also if the rice stays the lemon tends to be soaked up by the rice so the flavour is not the same. HAPPY COOKING!

 

Serves 3-4

 

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 cup of cooked white rice
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • small yellow bell pepper diced
  • About 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Salt to taste

 

METHOD

1.        Cook rice as you normally would.

2.        As soon as it’s cooked put in the butter and stir to melt ensuring it is completely melted well distributed.

3.         Add the lemon juice, bell pepper and dhania. Stir to combine

4.         Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.        Serve immediately.

6.        How easy is that!!!!

7. HAPPY EATING!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

I saw this recipe last week on the Goddess of Baking the recipe was quite straight forward and I thought, why not try it. Its probably been over 8 years since I baked my last cookies/ biscuits so….. These cookies are more of quick cakes. The texture is very cake like. I think they would make a nice packed snack for kids for maybe for a party. ENJOY!!

Makes  24

INGREDIENTS

     whoopies

·        1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

·        2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·        1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

·        1/2 teaspoon salt

·        9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (decided not to use shortening and it turned out perfect!)

·        1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light…)

·        1 egg

·        1 teaspoon vanilla

·        1 cup milk

Salty Peanut Butter Filling

·        3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (or crunchy)

·        3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

·        3/4 cup confectioners sugar

·        1/2 teaspoon salt

METHOD

Whoopies

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil
  3. In a bowl, sift together, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugar with a mixer on low until just combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add egg and vanilla and beat for two more minutes.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk and beat on low until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk and beat until combined.
  7. Using a tablespoon, drop batter on baking sheet two inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes each or until pies spring back when pressed gently.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for about five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Filling

  1. Beat peanut butter and butter on low until creamy using a mixer.
  2. Add sugar and salt and beat on low to incorporate. Increase speed to medium and beat for about four minutes until the filling is light and fluffy.
  3. Spread filling on flat side on one cooled cake or use a pastry bag with the 1M tip to make the swirly look.  Top it with a second cake and press gently.

MANGO and CUCUMBER SALAD

 

I learnt this recipe a few years ago from a cook my mum had hired. Like I have mentioned before I never used to like green things (vegetables) but when I saw the mangoes and dhania (coriander) I just had to try it. I LOVED it. To be honest this lady had a way of making me appreciate stuff, she also made me start eating mushrooms with her mushroom chicken, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, so in January just after I posted the Thai-style Beef and Mango Salad and when my gal Mona was in Nairobi my mum decided to send her a list of stuff to buy and bring for me, on the list was mangoes, cucumber and dhania. My mother in her note specifically asked Mona not to buy apple mangoes but a different type of mango and she even went ahead to draw the shape of the mango, clearly she isn’t a farmer coz she did not know the name and she specifically told her that they had to be firm. So when Mona told me this I really laughed at the fact that my mother drew the mango but I also wondered why she specifically said that Mona shouldn’t buy the apple mango, which my mother knows are my favourite. Anyway I appreciated the gesture and called to thank her but forgot to ask why the specifications. I kept the mangoes to ripen. Then a week later it hit me!! MUM sent me all the ingredients for the mango and cucumber salad, is that what she wanted me to make? So I called her and she confirmed this, HOW SLOW COULD I BE??? By this time my mangoes were slightly too ripe but I made the salad anyway. This salad is good with this type of mango

I don’t know what they are called but I guess any mango would do. Also ensure your mango is not too ripe. It should be a bit firm for the best results.

SERVES 4

 

Ingredients

  • 3 mangoes, peeled and cut into medium strips
  • 1 large cucumber cut into strips
  • About a ¼ cup of dhania or small handful
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

 

METHOD

1.      In  a bowl mix together the mango, dhania and cucumber

2.      Add the lemon and vinegar. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if using.

3.      Toss to coat and place in the fridge until ready to serve

4.      HOW EASY IS THAT???

5.HAPPY EATING

 

NB: you can use rice wine vinegar if you want to I use white vinegar because that was what was available.

ROSEMARY and GARLIC BAKED FRIES

I love fries. Did I say I love them??? NO, I am IN LOVE with fries. When I was in high school I think I ate them every weekday for 3 years and maybe still on the weekend and I NEVER once got tired of them. When I was growing up my mother always said that I will one day grow up and stop eating them with so much vigor but either I am yet to grow up or she was wrong. Unfortunately though, as you grow up you begin to notice that fries (or chips as we like to call them) are really not that healthy!!!  And after high school you realize that you can not eat the same way you did in high school and not add on some weight. Anyway a few years after high school and a couple of kilos up I decided to join a gym and get a trainer. This trainer decided that he will cut short my love affair with potatoes and I was so heart broken, a few months into training and I was allowed to eat some potatoes but still no fries, but he told me how to bake fries, I honestly did not even think that this was possible. I went home VERY skeptical about baked fries but at the end it was not that bad, with time I experimented with different spices and LOVED this one best so most nights when I feel like a steak and fries, I throw them both in the oven and save on a shit load of unwanted fats. HAPPY COOKING!!!

 

SERVES 1-2

 

INGREDIENTS

·        3 potatoes (sliced into chips)

·        1/2 tsp garlic (or regular) salt

·        3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced

·        2 teaspoon dried rosemary

·        1 Tbsp vegetable oil

·        1/2 tsp pepper

 

METHOD:

1.      Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius.

2.      In a large bowl, mix oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and potatoes together.

3.      Spread the potatoes onto a greased baking sheet in a single layer.

4.      Bake about 40 minutes, or until golden brown (turn after about 20 mins to bake both sides).

5. HAPPY EATING!!

 

NB: If you want you could bake the fries with out the garlic then fry the garlic in about 1table spoon of olive oil then toss the baked fries in the oil. This gives a bit of a different intensity of the garlic flavor.