Category: cooking

One Appliance that Will Easily Save You Time and Money in the Kitchen

Are you a busy woman with a tight schedule, yet you still want to cook healthy, simple and delicious meals for your family?

Do you find yourself spending more time than you would like in the kitchen, yet nothing gets accomplished on time?

Do you love cooking, yet you want a faster way of doing it?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then this post is definitely for you. Anyhow, which woman does not want to make her kitchen run more efficiently? I know this is a struggle for many of us and the main reason why I decided to write this post.

Truthfully, this post has been in the making for a long time. I always wanted to write about it, yet I didn’t think most people would be interested, but after many questions from my friends, I decided to write about my love for the pressure cooker.

You read that right. A pressure cooker is the single most important appliance you need in your kitchen RIGHT NOW. Am not kidding. I’ve owned mine for the one year and I don’t comprehend how I survived without it.

If you need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should buy a pressure cooker now:

  1. Saves you time. A pressure cooker will reduce the time you use to cook beans, njahi (black beans) or githeri by almost 70%. Boiling beans using a jiko will takes you what???2-3 hours?? Boil them with a pressure cooker and it will take you a maximum of 20 minutes depending on whether you have pre-soaked them or not. If I soak my beans for 1-2 hours in warm water, I have them ready in 3-4 minutes using the pressure cooker. If that does not convince you to buy yours right now, then I don’t know what will, but I will definitely try to.
  2. Saves you energy. Remember how you have to buy charcoal worth 100 bob to boil njahi, so that you save your gas?? You can actually boil njahi (these are black beans) using your gas and it won’t even take you 15 minutes. You can save your 100 bob for something else. Better yet, you can use a little charcoal (for like 30 bob) to boil the same njahi using the pressure cooker and your jiko will still be hot when you are through.
  3. Retains nutrients and brings out the flavor in foods. Boiling grains for 3-4 hours is not only cumbersome, it is also unhealthy. You lose all the good nutrients while cooking. Using a pressure cooker ensures that you retain 95% of all the nutrients meaning that your meals will be ultimately healthier. This is of great importance for people trying to lose weight or those dealing with certain illnesses. Oh, and an extra bonus for you, pressure cooked beans and grains have none of that acidic feeling you get after buying beans from your local mama mboga. My hubby used to complain of acidity after eating beans, but now that I use a pressure cooker, this is a thing of the past.

So, which pressure cooker do I buy here in Kenya, one that is readily available and of high quality? Well, here are some answers.

There are many pressure cooker models available in Kenya, and I will share with you some of my favorites so you can buy the one you want right now. Click the links for a more detailed explanation of the features and buying options.

pressure cookers in kenya

  1. The Prestige 3 Liter Cooker – Of course, this is the one I own and I love it so much. It is perfect for a small family and can cook 1/2 a kg of beans comfortably.
  2. The Prestige 5 Liter Cooker. If I was buying a pressure cooker today, I would go for this one. It has more capacity, and since my family is expanding fast, it would be perfect even for larger meals.
  3. The Presto 4 Liter pressure cooker. This one is perfect for the average family of 4 and comes in a very sleek design which I like. I would definitely try it.
  4. Armco EP600X electric pressure cooker. This is the epitome of style and class. You just connect to the socket, flip a switch and you are cooking in a matter of seconds. It’s so perfect.
  5. Sinbo black and grey electric pressure cooker. To start with, the design is pretty attractive and the colors will surely blend in well with other kitchen appliances. The digital controls are also easy to operate and the automatic pressure controls are perfect for first-time users.

 

How to Become a Better Cook in 7 Easy Steps

Cooking is one of the most enjoyable hobbies. However, most people end up hating it because they do not have the necessary skills to make professional meals. It is important to note that cooking is not as difficult as it seems. With a little effort and time investment, one can develop their cooking skills.

Instead of letting the passion for cooking die due to a number of kitchen failures, learn how to become a better cook in 7 easy steps.

1.) When one seeks to master any skill, practice is essential. Cooking is no different. For persons who wish to become better cooks, it is important to get in the kitchen and actually cook. Some people are so afraid of failure in the kitchen, that they stay away completely.

The only way that one can improve one’s cooking skills is by cooking more often. This will expose them to different recipes and sharpen their culinary skills. If a person is cooking on a regular basis, identifying areas of weakness and improving on them helps one to become a better cook within a short time.

2.) Having the right cooking equipment is a positive step towards becoming a better cook. Using low-quality equipment can be highly frustrating since burnt or tasteless food is common. For example, using an oven that is not working properly can result in undercooked or overcooked foods.

Bad equipment does not always signify that a person is a bad cook. However, it is important to acquire the right equipment that supports the improvement of cooking skills.

3.) A good cook knows when improvisations is applicable and when to strictly follow measurements. As one builds cooking experience, one is able to recognize recipes that could do with a few changes. This can help in redefining recipes to suit the individual preferences.

It is important to experiment with a variety of recipes, as this helps in building cooking skills. One may experience failure a couple of times, but eventually one is successful. Getting a meal right for the first time after several failures is a sign that one is becoming a better cook.

4.) For one to develop their cooking skills, it is important to be find inspiration from others. One can use cookbooks, magazines and websites to find new recipes. From here, one can move to developing original recipes that suit their needs.

5.) The right ingredients are particularly important in coming up with perfect meals. It is advisable to get all the ingredients that a recipe calls for, for better results. Visiting the local farmers market can be useful in finding fresh ingredients that produce excellent results.

6.) Cooking should be approached from a professional perspective, with cooks having a clear set of goals and undivided focus. A good cook has a plan of what one is cooking, what ingredients they require and what time it will take to complete. Without a good plan, it is possible to get distracted by other things such as television and mobile phones. This usually results in poorly done food, discouraging individuals from bettering their cooking skills.

7.) It is important to challenge oneself once in a while and to have fun while cooking. One should move out of their comfort zone and try challenging recipes that require more defined skills. This is the only way to upgrade one’s skills to a higher level.

Taking these simple steps can help a person become a better cook within a short time. It takes a positive attitude to appreciate that failure in the kitchen, brings one closer to perfecting their cooking skills.

Weekend and Mandazi

Have you ever had a weekend where you did nothing worth noting but it was still so perfect…
From having fun doing laundry to going to the salon for hair and nails, to meeting a high school friend for drinks to having a perfect evening with hubby!!!
What better Saturday could I ask for?
Then Sunday came and I was all alone since hubz has had to work weekends for the past 3 weeks, (by the way, I don’t like it, at all…thank God, its just one more left).
I spent the morning doing some crochet, then decided to make some mandazi since hubby cant get enough of them!

For those who dont know mandazi is one of East Africa’s favorite snack…we take it with tea/coffee for breakfast or as a midday snack (more like doughnuts but deep fried). I do love cooking but I’ve had some cooking tragedies in the past week (more on that later) and I really hoped that these would turn out well…..Oh and well they did!!!
(I hope to draft and post the recipe soon)

I love the way they turned out!These are some of the things I wish I could do each weekend.
Especially when the house is calm and quiet, soft rock serenading me and am just at peace!!!
This was a nice weekend and am so thankful for it.
Hope yours was great too!!

Githeri Recipe: Kenyan Style

Hello my people!Is is Tuesday already??
You know, last night I was so tired, I did not even realize how I crawled into my bed. Problem was that I had a late meeting and so I got home quite late. Thank God for a sister who had already cooked dinner!Gracias darling!!
Anyways, I am now awake and taking the day, a step at a time!Hope I’ll make it to the end alive!

One thing you should know by now is that I love food and moreover, I love cooking.
My mum knows this and since she has a small farm upcountry, she sends me some of her produce so I can experiment here in town. Right now, it is maize and beans harvest time in Kenya meaning that Githeri is a common meal in most homes.
For my readers who might not understand what Githeri is, I will be so kind as to explain as I give you the Githeri recipe.

Githeri is one of the most popular traditional foods of Kenya. This is especially so among the Kikuyu people, a tribe from the Central part of Kenya, which am proudly part of. When discussing foods from Kenya and foods from Africa, corn or maize as we call it here, cannot be ignored.We cook it in every form. From the sweet, young grains which are easy to chew, to the hardened, dry form which is more difficult to cook and chew. We also use corn/maize flour as part of our staple food, for ugali (i will tell you all about it later) and porridge. In fact, food shortages in Kenya are commonly measured by the availability of maize at cheap prices in the market.

Githeri is basically a mixture of beans and maize/corn-boiled and later fried according to personal taste.So, for those of you looking for recipes for beans, this is a fun one you could try.

Fried Githeri

-Serves 5

Ingredients:
-3 cups Maize (removed from the cobs) -I prefer fresh maize from the garden
-2 cups Beans
-7 cups water

To Fry:
-2 onions
-3 tomatoes
-6 potatoes
-1 cucumber
-1/4 kg meat (optional)

Spices
-Royco
-Curry Powder
-Salt to taste

Method:
-Mix the maize and beans together. Wash and cover in water. Boil for 2-3 hours or until soft. In case, the maize or beans is very dry, you can soak the mixture before boiling. Soaking overnight, reduces the boiling time by half.
-After the Githeri is ready, drain the remaining water.
-Cut the onions, tomatoes, and cucumber.
-Saute the onions with oil, in a sufuria until golden brown.
-Add the chopped meat and brown for 5 minutes.
-Add the tomatoes and cucumber.
-In the mean time, peel the potatoes and slice them into cubes.
-Add them to the sufuria and keep stirring.
-Add salt and the spices. If it burns or gets too hot, add a little water.
-Add the boiled Githeri and stir, mixing in all the ingredients.
-Add boiling water to cover the mixture. Don’t add too much as it may become too soggy.
-Let it simmer under low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking on the potatoes to make sure they don’t overcook.
-When ready, let the Githeri sit for five minutes, then serve with steamed cabbages or other vegetables.

I have cooked Githeri several times in the last two weeks and am loving it. It is always helpful to take advantage of the ingredients that are in season when cooking as they are cheaper and very convenient. (More so, when your mum sends you stuff from up country) Thank you mama!
Hope you like this recipe!If you decide to try it, tell me all about it!!

                                                       Images: 1/2/3

I baked a cake!!!And an Update

I baked a cake!!!
Yes, I did!And am pretty darn excited about it. Its an accomplishment that I was so looking forward to. I have baked cakes before but then I was just helping my mum. This time, it was all me!!!

Am so happy! I hope you are happy for me too!The cake is for my husband. His birthday is on 31st Aug, and I made it as a surprise. I have never done such a thing for him before and I think this will make him very excited.
In my last post, I talked about my dream of owning a bakery and a cooking school. I can only think of this as a first step. It is amazing how a little thing such as baking a simple cake can bring so much satisfaction.
I hope this is just a first of many.I hope to post the recipe later!
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Oh and just for some reason, I have to tell you that I went for a morning run today. It was amazing, more on that later!Hope you are having a great week loves!!

Am Obsessed, I Clearly Need Help

People, I think am sick. Ok, that’s a little too much but I really do think that am catching something. Have you heard of any epidemics I should be ware of?
Sorry for scaring the crap out of you but it is really difficult to not say these things when I think I’m infected.
With food. Yeah, you read that right, am currently obsessed with food. All kinds of foods. Oh, and well some lots of cooking. I don’t know where this bug came from but I have definitely been bitten. I think I have food fever. More like, am sure I have it. You know like when we bloggers say we have baby fever and can’t stop thinking about babies and their cuteness, am like that with food. My appetite has soared but more so, my thoughts about food have increased too. 
Via
Am currently finding all sorts of food inspiration. I have found several Kenyan food blogs and I want to cook all the meals they have ever posted. Like this one and this one. There are many more that am currently reading.

Am totally going crazy people and I need help. However, before you help, here are some facts about me:
1. I have always loved cooking, I have even written about my love for the kitchen here.
2. I don’t own an oven. I wanted to point that out since most of the recipes I find have to be baked and I also kind of have an obsession for baked stuff.
3. I eat a lot!Am 5 ft and 48kg (105.8lbs) which am kind of ashamed of. Its a little on the downside and my mama does not like that. In fact, my hubby encourages me to eat more, sometimes even more than his portion. Weird right?
4. I have always felt an incline/calling towards food and sometimes I think that I should venture into the food businesses. (this is my little secret)
There you have it. I need help. Oh and before you go, I just wanted to tell you that last night I cooked pancakes, rice and bean stew for dinner. 
Loved it!The pancakes were meant for breakfast but we ate some during dinner.Hubby chose to add some avocado pieces to his plate. (He loves avocados, too much I think)
Anyway, hope you can ease my obsession by giving me ideas of how I can nurture this desire!
Bon Appetit!!!

In the Kitchen

 I have always felt an awesome kind of connection to the kitchen. I know, I know, many women say this so its a little cliche but I still admit to this connection.
In the kitchen…
I feel like am home. I feel like am in the right place. Like its perfect timing.
My mom always taught us how to handle the kitchen. Being the first born, I had to hold the kitchen turf when my mama was away. I had to cook, wash dishes and make everything ready for my family. One thing I noticed is that, I loved it.

Source: pitut.com via Melinda on Pinterest
Now, when am in the kitchen;
I feel like I own it. I feel like I run the place.
I sometimes feel crazy……
The kitchen helps me relieve stress. If am thinking (worrying) about something, the kitchen gives me an outlet. Cooking something, be it simple or complicated, makes my heart tick.
I really don’t understand why I feel this way but I just do.
Sometimes, I feel like am clueless, but I know that I can learn.
I want to learn more.
In the kitchen:
I want to learn to cook a wider variety of dishes
I want more appliances so I can experiment more
I want to be more open to new ideas
I want to enjoy my time there even more than I do right now
I love the kitchen!!