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

CREAMY FRESH VEGETABLE STEW

One day I would love to have my own farm,have cows,a chicken coop,pigs the whole shebang with designer boots and sunglasses to match.

A beautiful cow with such amazing eyes…..from pinterest

I imagine myself rising up before cock-crow to make sure my cows which will all have cute names are getting milked as they listen to Mozart or Bach.I hear music calms them and makes them let down more milk…ahem..

Dreams…

For the longest time i have not seen a tub of cream on the supermarket shelf of the area i live in for some time,remember the milk crisis in Kenya ..?

Well it seems its over because all over sudden i ave seen sour cream,fresh cream even butter on the supermarket shelves and milk prices went down.

This definitely called for celebration and since i cannot pop champagne for now i bought myself fresh cream, whole 250 ml can,what can i do with it.

I made some creamy vegetable stew that we had with coconut rice and my kids loved it.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

500 grammes chopped mixed vegetables(green peas,french beans,carrots and sweet corn)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 medium-sized grated carrots

2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes

1 level tablespoon tomato paste

a dash of black pepper and salt to taste

2 tablespoons fresh cream.

Method.

I1.n a saucepan fry the onions till soft ,add the 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic let it fry on low heat for 30 seconds then add the  grated carrots and tomatoes fry for a minute,add tomato paste let cook for a minute then add the rest of the vegetables.

2.Add salt and black pepper to taste and cover the pan and leave to cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes.

3.Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan let cook for a further 3 minutes let it simmer,then add the 2 tablespoons of cream and stir continuously till it melts into the stew and there are no lumps left then turn off heat.

Great with some savoury or coconut rice or chapati.

CUSTARD APPLE

How many times have you passed by this fruit at your local market and wondered WTH it was?

Pile of custard apples together with red dragon fruit from 123rf.com

The custard apple is a very sweet fruit as a result of the naturally occuring sugars it carries.

It is very rich in Vitamin B1 and B2(Thiamin and Riboflavin)

It is also a good source of vitamin C,magnesium and potassium.

It ripens pretty fast once mature and its pulp can be blended with other fruits  to make shakes or with milk.

You need to sieve the pulp first to get rid of the seeds.

Its best to buy them when they arent ripe yet and store them in a cool dry place.

Follow this link that has recipes from the Australian Custard Growers Association on how to use the fruit for various dessert dishes.

Once ripe the outer flesh softens and gives slightly when pressed but you need to be careful it doesnt get too ripe which then turns the pulp inside  to a mushy consistency.

The flesh inside is white/off white and that’s what you want to eat, it is simply delicious!

“NAUGHTY” STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO WITH SHAVED CHOCOLATE

Once upon a time I made cakes.

My favourite  was a chocolate cake covered with vanilla whipped cream and dressed up with desiccated coconut and I would liberally put strawberries or almonds all over it.

It was a hit.

I was always left with  whipped cream after and I would ask myself what to do with it.

And here is something that’s better than ice cream that I would make.

I call it my naughty dessert because it has lots of cream and chocolate that you should not be eating all the time only sometimes.

Ingredients

1  cup whipping cream

1 cup fresh strawberries

1/2 cup  cooking chocolate shavings/chocolate syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

Glass bowl

metal whisk

2 chilled champagne glasses

Preparation

1.First chill the bowl,cream  and whisk separately  in your freezer for 20 minutes.

2.Take them out and pour the whipping cream into the bowl and roll up your sleeves and whip .

Whipping allows air to be incorporated into the cream creating little bubbles of air that helps foam it up.

3.Whip for 5-10 minutes till the cream thickens and when you lift the whisk it forms soft peaks.

You will know this when after whisk is lifted. the peaks fall .back into the bowl.

4.Add the vanilla essence and whip again more slowly this time,you will see the cream thicken.Be careful not too whip too much as you may end up with butter.

This takes a shorter time and you are ready to use cream when stiff peaks form.

5.Get your chilled glasses and using a clean spoon ,put 2 tablespoons of the mixture,then chocolate shavings  and top with halved strawberries.

6.Repeat this layering with the cream and strawberries, finishing off with a whipped cream layer,pop a whole strawberry to garnish and use shaved cooking chocolate to garnish.

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!

SOUR MILK(MALA) AND YOGHURT BENEFITS

Kenyans are not huge fans of cheese but we love our sour milk and for those from the Rift Valley there is Mursik  which is fermented milk that is flavoured with an indigenous tree that has been charred in wood fire,it is then stored in a special holding gourd for its flavour to develop.

I love unsweetened Mursik .

It must be the reason behind the prowess of our long distance runners,majority f whom come from the Rift Valley and especially the Kalenjin community ,where this is an after dinner,lunch and anytime refreshment.

It is such  a delicacy in this community that it is served at weddings and when our athletes return from conquering the world athletic tracks,a gourd of refreshing mursik awaits them at the airport.

Sour milk benefits are similar to those derived from yoghurt,though their consistencies differ.

Both are products of treating milk with live cultures and result in products where the milk protein lactose is broken down into a simple sugar called lactase that people who are lactose intolerant can digest.

Benefits of including more yoghurt and sour milk in your diet include the fact that these two dairy products contain more protein and calcium than regular milk .

The live cultures in these foods also aid in digestion.

I  steer away from artificially flavoured yoghurt as it have too much sugar,you are better off buying the plain yoghurt and flavouring with your preferred fruit.

Just in-case you may be wondering what to do with these two dairy products,here are 5 ways to do it.

1.Instead of using mayonnaise for all your salad dressings,substitute half of it with a thick natural yoghurt.

2.Use sour milk/plain yoghurt to replace the water when making your pastries like doughnuts,pizza,samosas,chapatis even cakes.

When making cakes using sour milk/yoghurt,replace some of  the baking powder with bicarbonate of soda

3.Use a yoghurt base for your fruit salads,just a few spoons in the bottom of your salad bowl then top with your preferred fruit slices and an extra spoonful for garnish would not hurt either.

4.Make your own fruit shakes from non flavoured yoghurt by blending a glass of these milk products with your favourite fruits.

5.For women make yoghurt/sour milk  part of your diet,not only does it help protect against osteoporosis but the active cultures in these drinks offer some protection against yeast infections

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.

SAY “CHEESE”

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.

Cheese Platter.

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

More on cheese can be found at www.recipegoldmine.com

Cheese is not only made from cows milk but can be made from sheep’s milk ( Parmesan cheese) or goat milk  .Any kind of milk can give you cheese  even buffalo milk.