If you are intimidated by cooking traditional Kenyan vegetables,worry no more I have an answer for you.

Most people shy away from these vegetables becuase of the time it takes to prepare them and cook them,but trust me they are worth every minute spent in the kitchen.

So far I have been unable to locate any English equivalents to mrenda,managu and lot of others.I simply refer to them as bitter herbs.

Other traditonal vegetables that were used by Kenyan communities include pumpkin leaves or cow pea leaves (kunde).All can be prepared in the same way.

They key is to boil them as it helps take away the bitterness and I never add “magadi” to mine as it is a leading cause of osteoporosis(weak bones) in women because it causes leaching of calcium from the bones.Resulting in a bone structure which instead of being dense looks like a sieve.

Oesteoporosis is especially common after menopause.So women reading this keep off “magadi” or caustic soda.

For great tasting kienyenji(traditional) vegetables the key is lots of tomatoes and fresh cream.If you do not live on a farm not to worry many supermarkets now stock cream and in place of that you can add sour cream.

The key is to fry the onions till soft,then add some tomatoes(i add lots of them),and salt them ,let cook till soft then add your pre boiled vegetables.

Cook in a covered saucepan then afterwards add the sour cream,fresh cream and mix the vegetables so they get covered in the cream.Do not let the cream boil just let it heat through then serve with ugali.

It is finger licking good!

Bon appetit!




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.


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.


You probably think i am nuts but try this and you will not regret it.

I know that previously I have professed my love for a number of food items from coffee to sun-dried tomatoes to practically everything except caviar.

But I love sandwiches,I could have them for breakfast,lunch,supper.

Talking of bread reminds me of high school…..i ate so much bread but that a story for another day.

Here is what my daughter and I had yesterday evening and I had to let her finish off mine,it was that yummy.

Tomato avocado sandwich from


2 slices of whole wheat bread.

I half of an avocado

1/2 Granny Smith apple(the tart green ones)

1 tomato

A pinch of salt

dash of black pepper


1.On a clean plate lay out your slices of bread

2.Slice the avocado into thin slices lengthwise

3.Using a table spoon,scoop out the avocado slices  and arrange the avocado slices diagonally on one slice of bread.

4.Using a sharp knife,slice the tomato  into round slices.

5.Arrange on top of the avocado.

6.Do the same with the apple ,slicing it thinly and arranging the pieces on top of the tomatoes.

7.Sprinkle some salt and black pepper.

8.Bring the other slice of bread over this filling.

9.Press down lightly and slice diagonally.

10.Get ready to eat!

Bon appetit!


Family having a meal together

A family gathered around a meal ,enjoying it,catching up on each others lives,cracking jokes,talking about shared memories,what can be more beautiful than that?

I am a big campaigner of families sharing meals together.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing your loved ones gathered around a table enjoying a meal.

Research has shown that children from families that eat together are less likely to abuse drugs,get eating disorders,get depressed,smoke …read an interesting article from the Time Magazine on family meal times.

Despite busy schedules and after work activities ,strive to have family meals together as much as possible . It is more likely that you will eat something more nutritious than a pack of fries and deep fried chicken .

You are more likely to get  your children eating more healthy meals and  you will get them to eat their vegetables.

Children get their habits from what we do rather than what we say,show them what healthy eating is all about by preparing healthy whole some meals for them.

They will pick up life long  healthy eating from the family table.

Enjoy a family dinner/lunch this weekend.


Everyone loves potatoes,right?

They are a versatile root vegetable that come in all colors,shapes and sizes and have been in around for about 10,000  years.Refer to history of the potato here.
Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre,they are  also a good source of vitamin C ,potassium,manganese and vitamin B6.

We all know eating deep-fried food is not only bad for your health but for your waist  line too,so here  are simple ways to have your potatoes guilt -free.

1.After boiling them and draining water,add a tablespoon of butter ,some fresh cream and  black pepper.

2.You could add some color by adding chopped parsley just before you bring out your masher.

3.For some sweetness as well as heat  ,add cinnamon and black pepper .

4.Add some baby squash to your potatoes before boiling ,just a cup or so,and see the wonderful color of sunshine it adds to your potatoes,not to mention the added vitamin A you are giving yourself and your family.

Want to share how else you  add more pizzazz  to your  mashed potoatoes?…leave a comment behind.

Washed potatoes from


I love the experiential nature of cooking.

When you cook you can experiment with tastes,flavours,textures,color you can practically play around with all the ingredients in a recipe till you create a signature dish.


When cooking there are no rules,you create the rules.

But there are some guidelines to follow to ensure you create something memorable and here is what I use in my kitchen.

1.Nutritional balance

My number 1 rule is balance,you need to create balance ,nutritional balance of the meals you are preparing

Colorful plate of food from stockphotos.

Ensure your meals are nutritionally balanced,they cover all the food groups.And incase you have forgotten,there needs to be some carbohydrates,some proteins and lots of  vegetables and a slice of fruit.

This will ensure you are giving your body what it needs.

To get an idea of how your portions should be like,refer to my post on portion control here.


course you need to provide interesting flavours with your meals,do not make them bland.

Mother nature has been generous enough to provide us with herbs,spices and a variety of other foods that mixed and matched will make all your meals memorable.

Find flavours that go well together and create memorable meals.Tease the taste buds of the people you are preparing the meal for,take them to heaven and back!


Texture of a food will determine how enjoyable the meal was……. or not.

Have you ever eaten ice cream and instead of  being smooth and creamy it turned out grainy ,that was your mouth feeling the texture of that brand of ice cream which is created by ice crystals.

Or if you take porridge and it turns out lumpy,or meat that turns out chewy after cooking that all texture.


One of my favorite TV chefs Giada DeLaurentis says “you eat with your eyes first.”

Any meal should appeal to the eyes first,no one likes a plain-looking plate.

Let us imagine for a moment you had a plate in front of you that was all one color,not appetizing is it?

Create color by including more vegetables on your plate,especially the red,orange,yellow ,green varieties.All great for you in every imaginable way.

Dont you think its amazing that all the good foods (fruits and vegetables)all come in bright sunshiny colors,reason is so that you can eat more of them.

Make food so colorful the minute peole lay their eyes on it ,they want to grab their forks,spoons,knives and just dig in.


Though how a meal is plated may not be something you worry about too much,you do not want a meal that is thrown all together hapharzadly.Where the rice beans and vegetables all look like a jumbled mess.

You want to be able to pick out the components of a meal without feeling like you are going through a haystack.


Bon appetit!


Image from

Climbing my grandfathers’ macadamia trees when I was  younger ,before  self-consciousness hit me at 15 years was the highlight of any school holiday.

With my siblings,we would eat macadamia nuts off the trees like we were being paid to so.

Macadamia nuts grow in bunches , though their leaves can be really prickly but it never deteered us from eating them.It’s utter bliss  goodness when you crack the nut…

We would eat them while they were still raw and their shell had not gone all dark brown and hard.You practically cracked them open with your teeth.

Later when they were left to dry, the outer covering that was green would turn into a hard brown kernel ,underneath  was a tougher outer shell that we used specialized equipment to crack open.

The special pieces of equipment were scattered under all the macadamia trees littering the farm which were about 30 in number  and they consisted of two stones.

One was a big stone we called the base and which had a groove the size of a shilling because of the  nuts that had nestled there before they were robbed of their “treasures”.The other was a smaller stone that provided the neccessary pressure and force  to crack the nut open.

We were nut-crackers!

I never ever thought about roasting the nuts like they now do with the pre -packed ones because raw,they could take you to heaven and well you remained there.

We would often be found by grandfather sheltering under a tree  our bellies full of this little bits of creamy nuts with no need for lunch.

While the nuts have a high concentration of monounsaturated fats that are said to be great for the heart.

Here are five great ways macadamia nuts are used:

1.Eaten raw they are delicious and if you cannot have raw nuts then you can have them roasted.

2.On their own or paired with other nuts they make for great snacks to have with beer or wine

3.They make a great nut spread for breads because of their creamy nature that is as a result of the oils they contain.

4.They  add richness and crunch to foods like cookies,breads.

5.Macadamia nut oil is used for cooking food a true culinary treasure.


Apparently they have a higher concentration of oil than olives!They are also rich in protein,dietary fibre,phosphorus and calcium.

Below is a chart illustrating the goodness of this humble nut that I got from

Macadamia nuts (raw kernel): Per 100g serve
Energy 3040kJ
Protein 9.2g
Fat (total oils) 76.4g
Monounsaturated 63.4g
Polyunsaturated 3.0g
Saturated 10.0g
Carbohydrates (total) 10.0g
Sugars 4.0g
Dietary Fibre 7.0g
Cholesterol NIL
Phosphorus 241 mg
Calcium 53mg
Sodium 3mg
Potassium 409mg




Do you have some dessicated coconut in you kitchen pantry and wondering what to do with it?

Here are a few ideas:

1.In Ugali

Ugali is a staple food for most Kenyans ,it is a meal made out of ground maize /corn which is cooked in boiling water to make a stiff cake like mixture.

The only other food food i could equate it to for those who have no idea what ugali is, is polenta,only difference being  Kenyans love their ugali hot,polenta is eaten cold.

This was inspired by an ad i saw running on tv that said Ugali nazi is a coast favourite,some tablespoons of desiccated coconut added while your water boils to make ugali add some interesting flavour to ugali like you have never had.

My kids and i have found a new love for ugali.

And if you have ever made polenta,why not try it out with some coconut added  and see how it goes?

2.In rice

Add 2 tablespoons to your rice water once it boils then add rice,cook as normal,preferably with saucepan covered.It adds great flavour as well as interesting texture to your rice.

For rice i add 2 tablespoons for every cup of rice.


Whether you bake them or deep fry them,cover them liberally with desiccated coconut,yum yum yum

4.In Pilau/Biryani rice

After you have made your spiced rice (pilau/biryani / pilaf) and its is ready just sprinkle with desiccated coconut liberally.Looks beautiful and its great for your taste buds too.


If any of these are items you bake often,include some coconut to add some out of this tropical  flavour to your food items.

Toasted desiccated coconut is also  a great accent to cakes ,muffins,cupcakes  that have been frosted with whipped cream.And when you add some crushed nuts like cashews.peanuts/macadamia it takesyou tastes buds to *cue music*…….. heaven.


My freezer always has some pre boiled beans waiting to be cooked and this has to be one of my two-year olds favourite meals with a simple serving of rice.

Beans are highly nutritious rich in protein ,Vitamin B6,potassium,calcium and depending on variety some like kidney beans are very rich in iron.

That is why kidney beans are highly recommended for breast-feeding mothers and those who have given birth,Kidney beans are the ones  known as “njahi”

Below is my recipe and this can be applied to any kind of beans that take your fancy.



2 cups of beans

2 Tbs oil

1 large chopped onion

1 Tbs ginger-garlic paste

2 large tomatoes,chopped

3 medium-sized carrots,chopped

1 Tbs tomato paste

1 tsp dried oregano/basil

salt and black pepper to taste

parsley for garnish

Photo courtesy of

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of oil,saute’ till tender.

2.Add garlic paste,let cook for 30 seconds,add tomatoes,tomato paste,carrots,oregano and salt and black pepper ,cook uncovered till vegetables are tender about  2 minutes.

3.Add your pre cooked beans and enough water/stock to cover beans.

4.Bring to a boil then let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

5.Serve with coconut rice,chapatis (flat bread) garnish with chopped parsley.

Variations:If adding more spices to your bean stew you can add some cream to tone down the spices while still retaining their flavour.Some dessicated coconut sprinkled liberally  after the beans are cooked also provide an interesting flavour as well as texture to the stew.





Every child and some grown -ups too know the story of Chicken Licken and how s/he thought the sky was falling.

The sky never fell but Chicken Licken’s relatives remain a delicacy the world over.

How do you cook your chicken, fry it,roast it ,broil it or boil it?

Here is hod I do mine and my kids love it!


1 whole chicken on the bone,quartered or divided into serving portions

2 Tbs of freshly minced ginger and garlic paste

1 Tbs natural honey

1tsp ground cinnamon

2Tbs olive oil/vegetable oil

Juice from 2 freshly squeezed lemons

1 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup chopped carrots

1 Tbs tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

1.In a medium-sized glass bowl put chicken pieces

2.Mix the spices,1 tablespoon garlic paste,honey and lemon juice plus oil in a small bowl.

3.Rub all over chicken pieces  and wrap with cling film,let to marinade for at least an hour or even overnight

4.Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan,add the red onions.

5.Over medium heat saute’ till tender then add remaining garlic -ginger paste,fry for 30 seconds.

6.Add tomatoes,carrots,tomato paste,salt,black pepper then add chicken pieces.

7.Let fry till chicken loses its pink color.

8.If making chicken stew add enough water to cover chicken and then simmer for 30-45 minutes till tender.

Before serving garnish with chopped parsleyor coriander (dhania)

Variations:You can add yoghurt to the marinade and leave out the lemon juice,adding some grated lemon zest/orange zest will take your chicken to a whole new level.

So will experimenting with a variety of herbs and spices.

How do you make your chicken?share your chicken recipes here.