PARSLEY CREPES

This thin pancakes are an absolute delightful way to start the day or as a tea time snack.

Try them out

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

3 eggs(room temperature)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

2 tablespoons parsley,chopped finely

Vegetable oil for frying

Method

1.Sieve salt and flour together.

2.In a separate bowl mix eggs,vanilla ,melted butter and milk with a whisk.

3.Add flour gradually mixing till all the flour is incorporated.

4.Add the parsley,mix lightly and refrigerate for an hour.

5.In a medium sized skillet/pan over medium heat  pour a half tablespoon of vegetable oil .Once hot  spoon about 3 tablespoons of the batter ,swirl it  till it covers  the  base of pan.

6.Fry till you see bubbles on the top and the edges have began to crisp,curl  and turn brown at the edges then flip them.

7.Cook the  second side for 30 seconds or till lighlty browned  and turn onto a warm plate

8.Repeat steps 5-6  with remaining batter.

9.Serve warm.

The recipe yields about 5-8 crepes.

COFFEE DRINKS 101

Most coffee drinks are espresso based and when you order one in a coffee bar  here is a quick guide to help you  know exactly what you are taking.

Let us first by defining espresso.

Espresso is a coffee based drink made when water is passed under pressure through ground coffee beans.

Here we have a list of the most popular coffee drinks with their definitions.

Americano:Espresso shot with hot water added to make a full cup of coffee,simply a diluted form of  espresso.

Cappuccino:Shots of espresso filled with frothy milk and some steamed milk

Latte:Shots of espresso with steamed milk and an inch of frothy milk

Mocha:This is a latte with chocolate added to it.

Cafe au Lait:Coffee with steamed milk and some foam added.

Source:www.coffee-illuminated.com

CREPES WITH A HINT OF CHOCOLATE

Okay what I used to call pancakes are really crepes in culinary terms.

Pancakes usually have a raising agent added to them and they are puffy.

The french and Italian have a monopoly on naming food items,after all they have perfected cooking to an art.

So we will go with the french version,i think i like the french term better makes you think you are a gourmet chef churning out this delicate french food.

Crepes are really paper-thin little flat breads made from a batter of eggs,milk,flavouring some sugar and salt and of course flour.

They can be served as an appetizer ,a main meal (if fillings are included) or as a dessert

I was very surprised to learn that there are crepperies in France that solely focus on the art of making  and serving crepes.

So here is my crepe recipe that I modified by adding some grated dark chocolate .

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 tablespoon  sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 eggs

1 cup milk

 

Method

1.In a bowl sieve flour,sugar and salt and make a well in the center of the bowl

2.In a separate bowl break eggs,add the vanilla and milk and whisk together.

3.Add to the flour mixture and using a whisk,mix thoroughly so there are no lumps.

4..Refrigerate for an hour

5.Just before frying the crepes add the 3 tablespoons of grated chocolate shavings and mix them into batter lightly

6.Heat a non stick pan and add a table-spoon of vegetable oil ,once it gets hot ,add batter and swirl it around to cover the base of frying pan.

7.Wait for 90 seconds and once bubbles begin to form onthe  top side and the edges of the crepes turn golden brown and curl  its ready to be flipped over.

8.Fry the other side for thirty seconds and then transfer to a large plate.

9.Repeat this with the remaining batter.

NB:The pancakes can be kept warm if you put them in an oven proof plate and pop them into a warm oven(120 degrees celsius) till they are ready to be served.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH COFFEE

The joy of waking up to the aroma of brewing coffee or its aroma when you enter  a coffee shop….pure heaven!

It drives me nuts and my whole sensory system goes bonkers.Some will say I am a caffeine junkie but I will tell them I love my coffee!

I love coffee so much I once chewed a coffee bean.something i will never do ever again.

It felt like being thrust into the atmosphere on a NASA  space shuttle.

I was on a caffeine high  for the next 24 hours.

Am going to stick to brewed coffee as beverage and not something to be chewed.

 Kenya  produces some of the best coffee in the world but we consume very little of it.

Even with coffee shops springing up in major urban centres like Nairobi and Mombasa our coffee intake as a nation is just a drop in the ocean compared to Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia coffee-making is an art much like tea making  is a ceremony in Japan

In addition most Kenyans seem to  prefer the instant variety where you just scoop a teaspoon,put it into hot water,add some creamer or milk ,a few table spoons of sugar and you are good to go.

I love my coffee brewed old style in a Moka pot .The Italians call it Macchinetta or small machine.

Moka pot used to brew coffee.

With this you can make coffee anywhere even out in the bush all you need is a source of heat,ground coffee beans and clean water and you are done.

The coffee from a Moka pot gives you espresso like you have never tasted before,so long as the quality of your beans is good.

You need to take it hot no sugar,no milk that way you enjoy each and every sip.

Also if you have to enjoy coffee you need o buy roasted whole beans then grind them yourself,my blender came with a grinder which is what I use to grind the beans.

Now let me go get  my caffeine fix.

MY NO-BAKE FRITTATA

Frittata is a thick omellette that combines a varity of vegetables with eggs being the main focus of the dish.They are great as a breakfast item or as a filling for sandwiches and can be eaten hot or cold.

Omelette serving from www.123rf.com

Here is my no- bake recipe that my five-year old loves.

 

Ingredients

4 eggs

2 large onions chopped

2 medium-sized grated carrots

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed

1 tsp tomato paste (optional)

chopped parsley(dhania)for garnishing

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

 

Preparation

1.Whisk together eggs,salt,pepper in a small bowl.

2.Heat a large pan and pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil,it should cover base of pan.

3.Add the chopped red onion and saute’ it till it turns translucent.

4.Add the chopped garlic,cook for 5-10 seconds till the aroma fills your kitchen,make sure not to brown it as it turns bitter.

5.Add the tomatoes,fry till tender,then add the grated carrots season with some salt and pepper to taste and cover with a lid.

6.Let to cook for 5-7 minutes till the vegetables turn soft.

7.Add the eggs cover and sprinkle the parsley on top.

8.Cover with lid and let the steam cook the eggs till they bubble and they omelette pulls from the side of the pan,about 3-6 minutes.

9.Make sure top of the omelette is firm before you slide it onto a large plate.

10.Garnish with left over parsley and serve.

 

NB:If you like both sides of your omelette browned after step 9 just cover the plate with the pan again,turn omelette’s uncooked side onto pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes and serve.

Variations:You can add sausage meat,ham or bacon to make your frittata “meatier”.Or sprinke it with some cheese , melt under your grill..yum yum yum.

ZEPPOLE

 

 

Story goes that this Italian pastry is especially made in honor  of St Joseph (March 19th) as he is considered the patron saint of Confectioners.

The recipe comes from Naples in  Italy that is home to one of Italy’s best gifts to the culinary world-Pizza!

The dough is actually a pizza dough which you can roll out poke holes into with a fork to make sure it does not rise and top with your favourite toppings.

I got it from Buddy Valastro on Kitchen boss and I tweaked it just a bit to fit my taste.The link to the original recipe is here.

The  dough  can be used for doughnuts or bread with variations that can make it either sweet or savoury and it is also a great base for bread and scones.

Ingredients

390 grammes of flour

260 ml water(can be substituted with milk and eggs)

1 tsp dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

1.In a bowl sieve the dry ingredients flour,sugar salt and add the yeast.

2.Then add the dry yeast

3.Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the tepid water(equal parts boiling and cold water).

4.Kneed to a smooth dough till it starts pulling away from the bowl.

5.Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil knead for minutes and cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel.

6.Leave in a warm place to rise for 60-90 minutes.

7.After dough doubles in size,punch it back again and knead for 5 minutes and leave to rise again(about 45-60 minutes).

8.Meanwhile heat vegetable oil in a medium size sauce pan to about third of saucepan level till hot.

9.Using kitchen scissors or a knife snip off bits of dough and deep fry for 45-60 seconds till browned on either side.

10.Dust with some icing/confectioners sugar and serve while hot with coffee or tea.

NB:They can also be split into two and you can spread some butter,fresh cream or real fruit jam and they will be heavenly.

To check if your oil is hot enough,cut a bit of the dough,drop it into the hot oil.If it sinks then rises up again in seconds it is ready.

CHAI TEA

Tea is one of Kenya’s main exports and our farmers especially in the tea growing region of Kericho have been smiling all the way to the bank in the past week.

But did you know there is a difference between tea as we know it and chai?

That preparing great chai is an art and that tea leaves should never be boiled?

Kenyans love their tea and by this I mean our milk,tea leaves and sugar period,that is how most of us  take our  tea.The furthest we may go outside of this   is adding ginger and cinnamon to our tea to spice it up.

It’s very rare that we blend other spices like pepper or cloves  to make this beverage a show stopper.

But wait till you discover Chai Tea,and like me you will get converted,now I take two cups of  it and yet I am a sworn coffee addict.

It’s that good!

I discovered Chai tea thanks to Aarti Party a cooking show on food network.

It was out of this world!you should just let tea leaves   steep and you get the most amazing combination of flavours in the world.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods, smashed
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 2 quarter-sized coins fresh ginger
  • 2 scant teaspoon black tea leaves (recommended: Taj Mahal) or black tea of choice
  • 2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
  • Whole milk or half-and-half

Directions

In a medium pan, bring the water, all of the spices and the ginger to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes.

Bring the mixture back to a boil, then add the tea. Turn the heat off, and allow it to steep for 3 to 5 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. Stir in the honey and add milk to your liking. Strain it into a bowl or pitcher and serve!

I use  Nature’s Own blend of Tea Masala ,I totally love the warm peppery after taste it leaves in your mouth,a totally great way to start the day or end the day after dinner.

I am almost tempted to go make another cup right now.

There is  a website dedicated to tea preparation www.chai-tea.org,  that is how seriously people take their tea.

Go on now,make yourself a cup and trust me you will be hooked.

SOUR PORRIDGE

One of the exports my grand mother would bring for us when she visited Nairobi was some home-made gruel which is Kenya-speak for fermented porridge made from any of these cereal grains millet,sorghum and maize.

Now fermentation plays a very important role when it comes to some cereal grains that i listed above,it gets rid of some toxins that maybe present in some grains,makes it easier to digest and ….gets rid of bacteria that may otherwise cause diarrhoea .

Our grandmas knew what they were doing .

Crop of millet from www.freepik.com

Seeing that they lacked cold storage facilities like fridges and freezers,sour porridge lasted longer.

Now traditionally my grandma would make it with some of her friend with some special gruel making equipment, but I can get  the same taste using lemons!

I love the sharp taste lemons give it and since i cannot do it like my grandmother,my taste buds aren’t any wiser.

Here is what you need:

6 tablespoons heaped millet flour

1 and a half cups water

2 lemons

1.Start by mixing the 6 tablespoons of  flour in half a cup of water,stir till there are no lumps.

2.Put the one and a half cups in a small saucepan  and bring toa  boil (this method I find quicker).Then using a wooden spoon stir in the pre mixed flour and water mixture stirring till it thickens and begins to bubble.

3.You can adjust the consistency of the porridge by adding water.

4.Let it simmer for 20 minutes to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.

5.Meanwhile squeezze the juice from 2 lemons and add to simmering porridge.

7.Let it simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat into serving bowls.

8.Add sugar/honey for taste as desired

Variations:You can add the juice of any citrus fruit from lemons/lime to orange juice,all should be freshly squeezed and without seeds.

 And if you do not like the citrus flavour in your porridge,just go ahead and add milk or cream and you have yourself a hearty and wholesome meal!