ARE YOU REALLY GLUTEN INTOLERANT ?

Bread gluten

Have you recently met someone who has sworn  to you that they are off eating  any wheat related products ?

Thousands of Kenyan women are going off wheat and for some brief period of time they have gotten rid of the bloated feeling that comes after eating bread.

At the moment we even have producers of  gluten free baked  products for consumers that have celiac disease which is the an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the protein we call gluten,found in most products made from wheat,barley,rye.

What is gluten you may ask ?

Gluten is a protein found in cereals like wheat,oats and rye and when consumed results in inflammation of the gut and specifically the small intestines .It is estimated to affect 1 out of every 100  people world wide is a hereditary condition. Read more about it at Celiac Org.

Gluten is the “glue” that helps baked food and other products made from cereals that contain this protein retain their shape.Some foods that you may not think of but contain gluten include beer,food coloring,salad dressings and commercial soups and sauces.

You may consider getting a doctors or nutritionists advice and counsel before you confirm an intolerance to gluten.

To confirm a  gluten intolerance you may want to keep a food diary for a period of 2 weeks and even after you confirm that bread is the culprit,remember that bread  is made with yeast which helps bread rise.You already have some good bacteria living in your gut  which in the presence of refined  sugars multiplies and when you add bread that contains more yeast into your gut,it causes the yeast to multiply,producing gas and causing that  bloated feeling you are now familiar with.

This  explains the relief you feel when you keep off wheat products especially bread.

If you really do feel you have to cut bread off from your diet,there are many healthy breakfast options available-boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes .You may want to read the post we did a couple of years back on Kenyan food classics .

So are you really gluten intolerant ?Keep a food diary and keep a track  of all the foods you eat and you will easily pin point the ones to  blame for the bloatedness. You will be surprised to find fruits among the list ,especially if you skip lunch and have nothing but fruits instead you will get bloated as well.

Fruits contain fructose,a sugar and as we said yeast which is present in low amounts in your gut thrives on sugar,more sugar,more yeast growth more gas hence the bloated stomach.

As soon as you pin point the foods that are the cause of your bloated feeling,try eliminating them over the course of 2 weeks and afterwards try including them into your diet one at a time and in reasonable  amounts .

Does this post help?

Do you think a food diary would help you point out the foods that are the cause of your bloatedness and discomfort?

Do let us know,we love feedback.

UGALI WITH OOMPH!

It is strange that my spell check does not recognize ugali…a Kenyan delicacy like that needs to be put in the Oxford dictionary.

In my younger days i hated ugali because the wooden stick used to stir it frequently found a home on my derriere when i was extra naughty.

The more glorified form of ugali that plays is in the  league of gourmet food is the Italian polenta.

Instead of boiling water and mixing in with your usual maize flour try the following tips to add some oomph to kawaida /regular  ugali:

1.Add desiccated coconut to your ugali,fresh i s best but if you cannot get fresh the store bought variety works fine too.The flakes add crunch to your ugali and an absolutely out of this world  nutty  aroma will fill your kitchen as you cook.A tablespoon or two for each cup of water should do.

Coconut milk or cream will also give you great results ,bye bye bland ugali.

2.Add fresh cream to your ugali halfway during the cooking time ,adding  it too early causes the ugali to burn before it is ready.

3.Grate some cheese into the ugali ,stir it into the ugali  then serve.

4.Add sour cream,use it in the same way you use the cream.

5.Mix in millet flour with your regular stir  ugali flour,this should be thoroughly mixed before you start making the ugali or else you get lumps.Cook ugali made from millet flour on medium high heat it burns very  quickly.

6.If you have left over ugali,don’t throw it away,cut it into cubes make an egg/milk and chopped coriander  mix,then fry or bake and have them for breakfast

What other unusual ways do your cook ugali….please share.

SIMMERED GOAT MATUMBO STEW

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Ingredients

400 grammes well cleaned goat offal

2 tablespoonfuls finely chopped  spring onions

2 tablespoonfuls chopped d black pepper

1 medium sized red onion,diced

3 large tomatoes,diced

1 tablespoonful tomato paste

1 /2 tablespoonful  veg etable oil

salt to taste

Method

1.Start by simmering the sliced matumbo in about 2 cups ,with the dhania ,spring  onions and black pepper added on medium low heat for about 45 minutes.

2.When water dries out add your  red onion,oil and tomato paste and salt to taste,leave to simmer for 5 minutes,then add your tomatoes,stir them in and leave to cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes till tomatoes are softened.

3.Add about 1-11/4 cups of clean water/vegetable stock and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Matumbo simmered till tender....
Matumbo simmered till tender….

4.Garnish with chopped dhania.

Serve hot with ugali and a vegetable salad or kachumbari.

FRESH BEANS GITHERI

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Ingredients

1.5 par boiled green maize/corn kernels

2 cups fresh beans

4 medium sized potatoes,peeled and cubed 

2 medium sized carrots,peeled and cubed

1 medium sized red onion,chopped

2 cloves of garlic,minced

1 medium sized zucchini,grated or chopped

1 teaspoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and back pepper to taste

3-4 tablespoons chopped spring onion/coriander leaves

Method

1.Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat and then add your vegetable oil,red onion and garlic,fry for 30 seconds.

2.Add your grated zucchini,potatoes,chopped carrots,cubed tomatoes and a teaspoon of tomato paste,add salt and black pepper to taste and lower heat to medium low and fry the  vegetables for 3-5 minutes till tender.

3.Add your fresh beans and corn/maize then add enough stock or water ,simmer covered for 20-35 minutes till stock reduces and you have a thick sauce.

4.Add the 3 tablespoons of chopped spring onions/coriander for garnish,stir and serve

Other variations to having this Kenyan staple include having it as a salad.

MY FARMING PROJECT

This year i took on a new challenge,i decided i would grow my own vegetables.

I have a little garden where i grow  kales,spinach,spring onions,even tried strawberries but they aren’t doing so well.

On another part of my little farm i have corn/maize and beans ,green peas,zucchini,potatoes ,coriander,butternut and pumpkin.

That does sound a lot but it isn’t.

A few days ago i waded into the stalks of corn and went to work plucking beans and peas to store in my freezer.

There is nothing like eating food you have grown it tastes so good…!!!

You do not have to  have  a big piece of  land to grow  things lie coriander or carrots a pot a large one at that would do.

Here is a picture of the beans and peas that i got 3 hours later…

My loot of beans and peas...
My loot of beans and peas…

TURMERIC FLAVORED MASHED POTATOES

I love the earthy smell of turmeric and the fact that my star sign is Virgo may have something to do with it.

Virgos are said to be very health conscious and are known to have very refined palates,this may explain my obsession with preparing food well.

I love potatoes a lot and my kids seem to have taken after me,they eat potatoes in all their forms,fried,baked,roasted and they especially love mashed potatoes.

Yesterday i decided to indulge them with their favorite food but this time i would add some turmeric and it worked like a charm…they cleaned their plates.

You can read about turmeric benefits and why for me it defines Indian cuisine for me.

Hello food  delivers traditional Indian food that contains spices like turmeric ,try their amazing food and see why turmeric is such a definitive spice for this culinary style.

This recipe could be tried with baby potatoes ,just make sure you thoroughly clean them without bruising the skin and boil them as is,without peeling .

Ingredients

1 kilo of Irish potatoes,washed peeled.

1 small red onion,chopped.

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 cup frozen peas

salt and ground black pepper to taste.

METHOD

1.In a mediums sized saucepan add,1 and a half tablespoons of vegetable oil then add your chopped red onion and saute on low heat till soft.

2.Add the turmeric to the onions and stir,let cook for 2 minutes then add your  potatoes,stir the potatoes till they are coated in the oil,onions and turmeric.you get lovely looking turmeric kissed potatoes.

3.Add salt to taste and black pepper,stir ,let cook for a minute.

4.Add enough water to cover the potatoes then cover the saucepan with a lid ,bring to boil and let simmer for 15,add your frozen peas,then let boil for a further 5 minutes to cook the peas.The potatoes are ready when a fork easily passes through .

5.Remove from heat and drain the potatoes reserving a cup of the liquid.

6.Using the back of a wooden spoon mash your potatoes till smooth,then serve.

We had the mashed potatoes  with a beef stew that had blanched broccoli.

Buon appetito!

VEGETABLE SAUCE PASTA DISH

Do you know what goes really well with spaghetti especially if you are not a meat lover like i am…

It is cumber,carrots,red onions and lots of tomatoes.

My son loves this dish so much he almost always scraps his plate clean.

And it is a very very cheap dish too,no exotic ingredients in this dish.

Orange,green,red and pasta!!!
Orange,green,red and pasta!!!

Ingredients

1 medium sized red onion,chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped finely/minced

1 medium sized zucchini sliced

2 carrots grated/chopped

2 tomatoes

1 teaspoon of tomato paste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil/vegetable oil for frying

 200 grammes of spaghetti

Method

1.Boil a medium sized saucepan half filled with water,then add a tablespoon of salt once its starts boiling.Don’t worry you will not taste the salt.

2.Boil till al dente about 6-7 minutes.

3.Drain the pasta but retain a cup or so of the pasta water,you will add it later to the vegetables.

4.In the same saucepan add some olive oil.vegetable oil then add your chopped red onion and sauté till tender,.

5.Add the minced garlic,sauté for 0 seconds,then add your tomatoes,carrots fry for a minute or so till softened then add your tomato paste and salt and stir.

6.Add the cucumber slices and cover for a minute to let the steam tenderize them.

7..After a minute add a few tablespoons of the pasta water,enough to cover base of sauce pan,let simmer for a minute to thicken the sauce then add your drained paster and stir then cover for 30 seconds and remove from heat.

Add a splash of olive oil and toss then serve.

Bouon  appetito!

AWARD WINNING KENYAN CHEESE.

Kalloumi from the Brown’s Cheese range

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.

Give them a call on  0716 875 766 or send an email to  dstirling@brownscheese.com to book a date.

Their website is www.brownscheese.com.

SWEET ITALY!

Il Dolce..
Quintessential Italian pasticceria bringing together family and a passion for creating Italian sweet treats.

Photo courtesy: Il Dolce

The story behind Il Dolce is as sweet as the treats they will be churning out,Rita(part owner) is married to a Kenyan and her mother came to visit and wanting to be close to her granddaughter partnered with a friend who is a pastry chef and they are bringing to Nairobi original sweet treats from the Italian region of Sicily .Using the best ingredients ,all low-fat they are churning out Sicilian cakes like the Strawberry Chantilly a multi layered cake filled with cream and strawberry and topped with more cream and strawberry…

The Strawberry Chantilly….

There is the Lemon cake ,a light oven baked dessert that has as its base short bread filled with lemon cream and a daisy cake on the top that can be had for breakfast or tea.
It gets even better…..they also serve the Biance e Nero, or black and white ,a light version of the profiterole, filled with vanilla and covered in chocolate or coffee cream on the outside.
Get these sweet Sicilian delights from the Osteria del chianti restaurants and yes,they also will do wedding cakes and celebration cakes ..la dolce vita!!!!

ROSEMARY BEEF STEW

Last week  there were some sprigs of rosemary on sale at my local supermarket ,the inspiration behind this recipe.

I had already had rosemary in my tea in oven roast potatoes but had not prepared any meat dish with this herb .

Garlic and rosemary go really well together and you can try this dish with the this mukimo recipe .

Read more about the health and side effects of rosemary .

Whenever I buy meat in bulk letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight before i portion it and always gives me tender cuts  of meat that do not have to be stewed for long .

Here goes the recipe:

 

Ingredients

400grammes  of cubed beef.

2 large tomates,cubed

2 medium sized carrots,cubed

1 large onion cubed

5 cm sprig of rosemary .

salt to taste

Sprig of rosemary in beef stew..

 

Method

1.Place a suitably sized saucepan over medium high heat and add  1 and a half tablespoonfuls of oil,then add your cubed onions,fry till the onions are softened and changed to an almost transclucent color.

2.Add your beef,let it brown then add your tomatoes and carrots ,cover and let cook for about 5-7  minutes.

3.Add  enough water to cover the meat and let simmer on low heat ,once the stew starts bubbling add a sprig of rosemary to your dish and let it simmer way for 10-15 minutes till your stew thickens and your meat is tender which may take longer for tougher cuts of meat .

4.Remove the rosemary sprig from the stew before serving

Buon appetito!