BUTTER,BUTTER,BUTTER

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….

Butter..photo courtesy pinterest.com

 

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.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander

Method

In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .

Spread it on fresh slices of bread and toast .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OATS

Oats have been cultivated for about 2000 years which is pretty young in grain years.

They were  a weed beforethey were domesticated.

They became very popular in Scotland and Ireland  as a food before their use spread to the rest of the world,interestingly in England oats were given to …livestock!

I was looking up ideas to help with breastfeeding when someone mentioned oats boost breast milk production and i decided to do some more research on their health benefits, to humans ofcourse.

Oats are great for breastfeeding moms as they boost milk production but they are also an awesome cereal for anyone looking to eat and live a healthier  life.

Immediately I went and got myself a pack of quick cooking oats which you can find in any supermarket

Here are the ones i got.

The oats…..

Cooking oatmeal porridge is fairly easy  and the pack I got had a recipe on its side ,after  modifying it to make a small bowl of oatmeal porridge, Emma was one well fed baby.

Read  some more about  the  benefits of oats here.

 

Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

5  heaped tablespoonsfuls  of oatmeal(1/3 of a cup)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

some milk/cream

sugar/honey to taste

Method

1.In a small saucepan on medium high heat  bring the cup of water to boil then add the quarter teaspoon of salt.

2.Once the water comes to a  boil add the oats and stir then let simmer for 5 minutes  on medium low heat.

3.Remove from heat and cover for a further 5 minutes then add cream or milk  and honey/sugar to taste.

Alternatively slices of fruits like bananas,a tablespoon of some dried fruits would be great too.

Bon appetito!

.

ALELUYA…………MAANDAZI

A few …ok not so few years ago,when i was in primary school a certain Swahili lady whom i will call Asha( which may not have been her name anyway)  would come to the playground with a bucket of warm maandazis and she would sell them to us for a shilling each.

Ah the joys of looking forward to our break time/recess time and the sight of those golden bits of delicious goodness……

They were so tasty I have spent the past 20 or so years trying to recreate them without much success but this recipe comes really close.Thanks to my sister Becky for the original recipe which I tweaked just a bit.

There is always something about dishes from the Kenyan coast…your taste buds will burst into a heavenly chorus once you have eaten one of these maandazi’s .

Here goes…..

 

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 and a half level tablespoons butter.

2 tablespoons sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

grated rind of 1 medium-sized lemon

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparation

1.In a large mixing bowl sieve two and a half cups of  flour,then add sugar salt and the butter which should be at room temperature.Rub the butter into the flour till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.The remaining half a cup of flour will be for kneading and rolling out.

2.Whisk the eggs into a separate bowl and add the teaspoon of vanilla essence.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and pur in the egg mixture and whisk it into the flour with a fork.

4.Gradually add the cup of milk until you have a thick batter,then use you hands to knead it into a soft dough.

5.Turn the dough onto a flat floured surface and use the palms of your hands to knead it till its smooth ,make sure to dust the flat surface with flour and knead for 3-5 minutes till it no longer sticks to the surface.

5.Gtaher the dough into ball and cover with the glass bowl for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the dough to rest.

6.After an hour divide the dough into four equal parts with  a knife and roll into a ball.

7.Roll out each ball into a round shape of about 1/4 of an inch  thickness   each and use a knife/cookie cutter / to cut it out into the desired shapes.

8.Meanwhile in a medium-sized saucepan pour your vegetable oil and place it onto your cooker  over medium high heat ,let it heat through till hot.You can test if its hot  enough by dropping a small bit of dough into the fat,if it immediately rises up and turns brown after a few seconds its ready for deep-frying.

9.Fry the maandazi’s in small batches making sure not to overcrowd the saucepan as it will lower the temperature of the oil and make you maandazi’s greasy,make sure there is enough room for them to swim around.Fry till golden brown then scoop them out and into a bowl lined with paper towels.

10.You can dust the maandazi’s with icing sugar or desiccated coconut.

Buon appettito!

NB:Never ever fill a saucepan more than a quarter full with oil when deep frying.This is so as to avoid dangerous spill overs/spatters  when food is added ,fire and oil get along like a house on fire (pun intended).

All your ingredients should be at room temperature

DATES,RAMADHAN AND MORE

Image of dates thanks to pinterest.

 

It’s the Muslim fasting period of Ramadhan and a lot of dates will be consumed during this period.

An odd number of dates is eaten to break the fast before the evening meal.According to the Muslim site Sunni.net one to three dates and 2 glasses of water is considered a healthy way to break the fast.

Dates are the fruits of the palm tree and the fruits have been a major part of the diet of the Middle east and South Asia.

Here in Kenya I have come across them thanks to the Muslim community a large majority of whom are found on the Kenyan coast.

Nutritionally dates are a source of simple sugars i.e sucrose and dextrose and that is why they are a great way of raising your blood sugars after a fasting period.

They are rich in dietary fibre and hence a good laxative if you suffer from constipation.

Dates are also a good source of iron which is essential for the formation of haemoglobin a blood component that determines the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells.They are also rich in potassium an important mineral that helps in the regulation of blood pressure heart rate.

Boiling milk in which dates have been added is a great convalescence drink too.

Read more about dates health benefits of dates.

Dried dates are best stored in an air tight container they have no need to be refrigrated though i have kept some  in my fridge for a week.

GUACAMOLE BREAD SPREAD

This delicious Mexican food is something I can eat everyday.

It has avocado,onion,coriander,you can een add tomatoes and it has fresh lemon juice to kick the flavours up a notch.

Not only is it a great salad,filling for sandwiches but you can deconstruct it to make a delicious bread spread that is better and healthier than margarine.

The recipe uses white onion which is less pungent than the red onion.

For this tangy bedspread here is what you need.

1/2 a ripe avocado

2 slices of whole wheat bread

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

black pepper to taste

2 slices ripe tomato

some slices of white onion rings

1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander

Method

1.Scoop the flesh from the avocado and place it in a small bowl,add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and just a hint of black pepper.Mash these with a fork into a chunky paste.

2.Take  1 slice of whole wheat bread,spread this delicious goodness evenly  using a butter knife/spoon.

3.Take the 2 /3 onion rings and place this on top of the avocado spread,then add the two tomato slices finishing this off with a sprinkle of chopped coriander.

4.Cover with the remaining slice of bread.

Enjoy!

 

PINEAPPLE PANCAKES

I love pancakes.

I make them every Sunday morning for breakfast.

You can find some of the recipes for parsley/coriander pancakes,gram flour pancakes and pancakes where i used grated chocolate.

Last week I bought semolina flour because I wanted to make fresh pasta  and thought I could use it to make this pancakes.

Semolina makes the batter a little thicker than regular flour ,the pancakes also have crisper edges and they are a little thicker than crepes which makes them pancakes!

Semolina flour is yellow and  has a lot of gluten than people who sensitive to  gluten(a plant protein need  to stay away from.

The flour is made from the endosperm of durum wheat.

The Nakumatt chain of supermarkets sells locally produced of semolina in packets of 1 kilogramme at 85 shillings ,they also stock imported semolina in 500 grammes packets.

Gluten being a wheat protein that helps baked products like cakes,doughnuts,bread retain their shape better.

Here is the recipe ,the pineapple really gives them a sweet taste without the need for too much sugar.

Pineapple apart from being rich in Vitamin C also contains manganese a radical fighting dietary component and copper that helps in the utilization of iron.

Ingredients

1/cup semolina flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs 

1 cup milk

1 scant tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon ripe pineapple finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons extra virgin oil

oil for frying

Method

1.In a blender combine  eggs,milk,flour,sugar.salt,essence and 2 tablespoon extra virgin oil in a blender and blend for 2 minutes.

2.Add the pineapple pieces and leave overnight in the fridge.

Next morning…….

3.In a skillet of heavy pan over medium heat  add i tablespoon of vegetable oil,once it hot enough about 60 seconds add some of the batter and swirl it till it cover base of pan thinly.

i use a serving spoon to measure out the batter.

Wait for 2-3 minutes till the pancake starts to curl around the edges and they turn a light brown then flip them over.

4.Add just a little bit of oil to cook the second side making sure to press down to ensure the pancake gets cooked,takes about 30-45 seconds.Then turn it onto a flat platter.

5.Repeat this with the remaining b atter and you are going to end up with about 4-6 pancakes.

Enjoy!

HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MARSHMALLOWS

With 2 children whom i do not give tea to,i decided to come up with my own version of instant chocolate that did not have all the extra sugar added to most brands.

After reading all the ingredients contained in most brands,i came up with a version that so far seems healthy enough for me as it only requires very little sweetening or none at all.

It costs more but is definitely worth the effort.

Ingredients

100 grammes unsweetened cocoa powder

250 grammes milk powder

200 grammes dark chocolate

Preparation.

1.Roughly chop the dark chocolate or grate it.

2.Pour the milk chocolate into a bowl,add the milk powder and the dark chocolate mix with a fork then put into an air tight container with a lid.Give a thorough shake then store it .

To prepare the hot chocolate:

In a small saucepan over low heat , pour a glass of milk then  add a heaped tablespoon of the cocoa mix.

Use a whisk to mix in the cocoa mixture till there are no lumps ,make sure not to let the milk boil.Just let it heat through till the chocolate is melted and then serve.

Add a marshmallow or two to your hot drink for special effect.

The result is a frothy chocolate drink that is simply out of this world.

Enjoy.

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G GRAM FLOUR PANCAKES

Gram flour remains an underrated pantry item.

In another post I had used it to make arrow-root bhajias,but I got a moment of inspiration when a crepe craving kicked in and I decided to make crepes with the flour.

The resulting pancake is denser than a crepe and by adding the eggs it softened it up,though you can still choose to omit them and have a crisper pancake.

Bein a protein rich food as well as being a good source of iron and fibre I decided to substitute half the flour in  my pancake recipe with gram flour and it turned out A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

That is the only way to describe what I ate.

The batter can also be used to make mini pancakes when you shallow fry a tablespoon of the batter ,they make for great appetizers and finger foods especially for cocktails.

They are best served while still hot/warm.

Without further ado here is the recipe,you have to try it to believe me.

Ingredients

1/2 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup gram flour

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion/finely chopped coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 table-spoons extra virgin olive oil

Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation

1.Start by soaking the chopped onions in a small bowl  with salted water for 30 minutes then drain and set aside

2.In your blender or in a mixing bowl,pour the flour,salt,milk,olive oil  and eggs and either blend or whisk together.

3.Add the onions and refrigerate overnight or for an hour before frying the pancakes.

4.Heat a heavy pan/girdle and pout about a tablespoon of oil then spoon the batter using a large serving spoon and swirl it round till it forms a thin pancake on the pan.

5.Cook for 3-5 minutes till underside of pancake is brown and the edges start curling upwards then flip it over .Let it cook for 2-3 minutes till its brown then transfer to a platter lined with paper towels.

6.Repeat the above step with the remaining batter that makes about 6 pancakes.

7.Serve them while still hot/warm.

MANGO AND BEETROOT LASSI!

Lassi’s are home to India as much as tea is and they are made from blending yoghurt with fruits preferably tropical fruits like mangos or pineapples.

I first got a recipe for this from Aarti’s show which you can find here.
I decided to make it my own by tweaking my red hot mango fruit drink and instead of the water i added natural unsweetend yoghurt.

Try it!

Ingredients

1 ripe mango

1 glass of  natural yoghurt

Juice from a fresh lime/lemon,fresh

1/2  a medium sized beetroot sliced into quarters.

1/2 red chilli powder.

Some drinking water

Ice cubes

 

Method

1.Peel mangoes and slice off the flesh aound the seed then cut it into cubes .

2Put these in ablender,then add the quartered beetroot,juice from the lemon(it prevents the beetroot from turning color).

3.Add some honey or syrup for taste,2 pinches of red chilli powder  and yoghurt   to make it easier to blend the mixture and pulse for 3-5 minutes  till you get a smooth consistency

Add more yoghurt/water   till you get the desired thickness.

4.Get 2 tall drinking glass,put some ice cubes and pour the drink.

BANANA PINEAPPLE YOGHURT SMOOTHIE

This has to be the best thing to have on those mornings when coffee or tea do not look appealing.

Wake up your taste buds with this nutritious drink loaded with vitamins.

Ingredients

250 ml natural yoghurt

1 ripe sweet banana

1/2 cup of diced pineapple pieces

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey(optional)

Method

1.In a blender pour in the pineapple pieces,diced banana ,honey if using,vanilla extract and yoghurt and simply blend them together.

2.Pour  smoothie into a  tall  glass that has been chilled  , garnish with a pineapple piece and enjoy!