She practically smacks her lips with delight when she is having them with her favorite food so far…mashed green bananas.
So much does she seem to enjoy them that i had to buy the seeds and plant some in my kitchen garden.
Zucca is the Italian name for pumpkin and zucchini is the dimuntive form of that…which means little pumpkin.
The zucchini comes in both green and yellow varieties,though in Kenya we only seem to grow the green zucchini/courgette.
It is a vegetable that is very versatile and can be cooked in all manner of ways .You can grill,fry,add it to stews,stuff and even deep fry it.
I will be posting zucchini a recipe for zucchini pancakes soon.
Practically everything this plant has is edible,from the flowers ,leaves and the fruit itself.
The leaves are cooked in the same way you would pumpkin leaves,while the flowers can be dipped in a light batter of flour and eggs and deep fried or stuffed with precooked rice,diced vegetables,meats and also deep fried.
The zucchini fruit is rich in folate,a B vitamin that the body does not store and whose intake is needed daily for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Folate intake is especially important for pregnant mothers because it helps prevent neural birth defects like spina bifida.
Zucchini are also rich in potassium,Vitamin A and scant amounts of manganese .
So next time you go shopping do not dare pass these delightful little pumpkins.
Here is a picture i took of grated zucchini and carrots that use to thicken my stews…it does look lovely not to mention all the added nutritional benefits of two of my favorite vegetables.
This a really great recipe and will give you finger licking fish fingers that even my finickiness 3 year old loved loved loved.
The fish fingers are great as appetizers/starters or as finger food served with cocktails ,absolutely delish!
4oo grammes of fish fillets cut into strips
juice of 1 small lime/lemon
1/2 level teaspoon cumin seed
2 cloves garlic,minced
4 tablespoons corn oil
dash of salt and pepper to taste
5-6 tablespoonfuls wheat flour
deep frying oil
1.In a small bowl,whisk together oil and the cumin seeds till thick then add the salt and pepper and minced garlic and whisk further.
2.In a medium sized bowl put in the sliced fish fingers and pour the marinade on top and with clean hands rub it all over the fish,cover in cling film and set in the fridge to marinade for an hour before cooking.
3.On a flat plate dd the wheat flour and coat the fish fillets with the flour to get them ready for deep frying.
4..Heat a frying pan and add oil to just about 1/3 full with deep frying oil .
5.Add the coated fish fingers to he oil,a few at a time and space them out.
You should have pan that looks like this.
6.Fry for about 2-3 minutes till each side is a nice golden brown then transfer to a flat plate lined with grease proof paper or the disposable kitchen towels.
7.Fry the rest of the fish fingers this way and serve hot with lemon wedges or some tartar sauce.
30 minutes drive from Nairobi,a place where you get to enjoy gourmet cheese,sumptuous lunch,a beer or two ,the kids get to milk real cows and have ice cream in a pristine scenic environment ..sounds unbelievable..?
Then you have not been to the Brown’s cheese farm in Limuru .
In October of last year,I posted an article about cheese which you can find here.
By then I had not heard about the Brown’s ,which is a pity because they have been making cheese for as long as I have been around.
Kenyans aren’t exactly cheese connoisseurs but it is amazing that the Brown’s have been able to turn a passion for cheese into something that is so truly phenomenal.
With the perfect setting in the pristine highlands of Limuru, set at an altitude of seven thousand feet the perfect setting for their farm the Brown’s are crafting award-winning artisan cheese .
The farm runs on the principle of passion for creating additive free delicious and fresh cheese.
It makes a large selection of artisan cheese that includes mascarpone,gouda,provolone,cheese dips and even has goat milk cheese.
Cheese which is very versatile as a dish can be had in all courses of a meal from appetizer to dessert and the Brown’s cheese range provides all that together with recipes and tips from their cheese monger on how to choose,serve,store and get the best from their cheese.
Better English was an English grammar book we used in class 3 ..the year 19 something and it had some tongue twisters.
My favourite at the time wa all about Betty Botter and her butter.
It went something like this….
Betty Botter bought some butter, “But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter. If I bake this bitter butter, It will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter – That would make my batter better.” So she bought a bit of butter, Better than her bitter butter, And she baked it in her batter, And the batter was not bitter. So ’twas better Betty Botter Bought a bit of better butter.
Maybe this obsession with Betty may explain my love for butter despite what health experts say that its bad for your arteries.
I don’t use it everyday because like all good things moderation is key but when I do..
It is great especially when working with wheat and for popcorn,gives popped corn a really nice buttery taste.
And for toasted bread ,especially when you want to make garlic bread…..scrumptious.
In terms of nutritional value;a gramme of butter gives you about 7 calories .
It is rich in vitamins A and E,Riboflavin which is also known as B12 an is important for body growth and in red cell production,it also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.
It is also rich in minerals great for your bones and teeth like calcium,phosphorus and potassium while also containing a good amount of sodium and small amounts of fluoride,zinc and magnesium.
The Kenyan dairy market has only two types of butter ;salted and unsalted butter.
Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted.
If you intend to use butter in your cooking use the unsalted one.
When using butter for any recipe scoop as much as the recipe needs and refrigerate the rest.
When making bread,cookies,cake,flat bread/ chapati or any product that calls for rubbing butter into the flour make sure it’s at room temperature before adding it to your flour.The exception would be in certain pastry recipes where it may call for using cold butter.
If you are not going to be using the butter too quickly freeze it as this will help it keep for longer.
When using butter for frying,never heat it over high heat as t burns very easily,moderately low heat is best.
When using butter with other oils like sunflower oil,first heat the pan add the oil then add your butter .
Butter can also be added to soups to give them a glossy silky smooth texture.
Here is how to make coriander or dhania butter that you can use on toasted bread/crostini.Only make as much as you can use at a time.
3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander
In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .
Growing up in the 90’s the only thing we wanted as kids when my mother made her visits to Nairobi city was not pizza,it was bhajias!
There was a fast food restaurant that unfortunately has now closed that specialized in just bhajias.
They were served with Kachumbari and boy were they something!
I tried to recreate the recipe many times until a few years back i discovered the secret..gram flour
Gram four or chick pea flour is the secret to great tasting bhajias.
It has more protein that regular flour and gives a really crisp finish to fried food.Read more about gram flour here.
Gram four is sold in Kenyan supermarkets in 1 kilo packet and it is definitely worth every penny.
You can also use it to coat other vegetables you want to fry like onion rings,potato bhajias or fillets.
2 medium-sized arrow-root pieces
1.5 cups gram flour
2 table spoons chopped coriander
1.5 tablesppon ginger/garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pinches cayenne pepper
2 pinches baking powder
Enough oil for deep frying
1.Clean the arrow roots under running water,then use a potato peeler to remove the outer skin.
2.Use a slicer to thinly slice the arrow roots and soak then in salty water for 30 minutes.
3.Meanwhile in a large bowl mix the chick pea flour,garlic paste,chopped coriander,cayenne , black pepper and the baking powder and salt with a fork.
4.After 30 minutes drain the arrow roots and transfer them to the bowl with the gram flour mixture.
5.Using clean hands rub the flour all over the arrow-root slices and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
6.Heat deep frying oil/fat in a large sauce pan enough to fry the bhajia pieces,fry for 5-6 minutes over medium high heat till they float to the top and they turn crisp and lightly brown ,then transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon.
7.Best served hot/warm with a side serving of kachumbari or tomato and red onion salad with lemon dressing.
Cheese defined simply is just milk that has been turned into curd with the help of good bacteria and some enzyme.The milk separates into liquid(whey) and solids (curd).The result is a fermented milk product that is very nutritious.
You see curdling in milk that has gone bad or what we call mala(sour milk) here in Kenya.
If you like milk,then maybe you should not pass on the cheese as it is a food high in saturated fat.
However it is a very good source of protein,calcium and phosphorus,the last two being very good for bone and teeth development.
Some advice though is that do not go overboard with the cheese platter
Image source wikimedia.
Now Kenya has a fairly vibrant dairy industry but apart from consuming milk on its own we rarely use other milk products becuase they are often too highly priced.
Butter,cream,heavy cream,sour cream,cream cheese,powdered milk,condensed milk, powdered milk to name but a few can become part and parcel of Kenyan cuisine if creatively used.
Using cheese in your kitchen will be determined my many things including its flavour,texture and what you want to serve it with.
Apart from using it in sandwiches ,as a topping in pizzas,cheese can be used in many ways and here are just a few.
1.Dessert Served as part of dessert and are a great accompaniment to wines or even beer.The sweet nutty cheeses are used for cheese trays or served with fruits too e.g Baby Swiss
2.Garnish:This is usually for the firm kind of cheeses as they are perfect for grating and are used to garnish pasta dishes ,beans,salads or chilli’s.
3.Bread spread:Soft cheeses like cream cheese are great for this as they are smooth and spreadable
4.In salads e.g Feta cheese a soft crumbly cheese of Grecian origins is added to salads.
5.In breads:It is also added to bread to add interesting flavour e.g Grogonzola