African Recipes

 

Spicy Trout Chowder

Up on the Kenya Highlands the streams that come off the Aberdares and Mount Kenya are rich with Trout, mostly rainbows. These fish are not indigenous. Many years ago the early Game Wardens realized the suitability of the clear mountain water and “planted ” trout in these rivers, mostly for their own enjoyment and indulgence in fly fishing.
The Kikuyu people that lived in these dense forests had little appreciation, fish were unknown and not part of their diet.
Today the fish population is closely watched, fishermen are licensed and a few commercial fish farms have sprung up near the streams. There is always plenty of fresh trout available even if you are not a fisherman.
Here is an old classic Kenyan recipe given to my by Jonathan Bending of the Trout Tree Restaurant :
The link above takes you to visit our friends at African Tradition. Remember to mention Mt. Kenya when you make any wine purchase from their site and the Conservancy will benefit.

For six generous servings you will need:

  •  6 plate size trout, skinned and filleted, keep heads and bones aside
  •  4 Shallots
  •  2 green peppers
  •  3 sweet red peppers
  •  6 baby Zucchini
  •  6 redskin potatoes, parboiled
  •  1 small cauliflower
  •  1 can creamed corn
  •  1-2 hot chilies
  •  1 tsp fresh grated ginger and 3 cloves garlic
  •  2 limes
  •  3 tbsp all purpose flower
  •  Two cans clear Vegetable broth, or fish stock
  •  3 cups milk
  •  Thai fish sauce

Preparation:

  •  Cube the trout filets, rub with a little garlic and mashed chilies and marinate them in fresh lime juice. Keep refrigerated for 1 hour.
  •  Simmer the fish bones and heads for 1 hour in the Veg, broth, strain to prepare the fish stock (or use commercial fish stock).
  •  Cut up all the veg and potatoes into small cubes, mash the garlic and chilies with seeds removed.
  •  Fry the shallots, ginger, chilies and garlic in butter and a dash or two of Thai fish sauce.
  •  Add the drained trout and fry until tender, set aside.
  •  Add all the vegetables and potatoes and fry gently until tender.
  •  Now add the fish stock, trout, sweet corn and 2 cups of milk
  •  Mix one cup of milk with the flower and add to stock
  •  Simmer until thick and bubbly
  •  Season with pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  •  To finish stir in two tablespoon of rich fresh double cream
  •  3 tbsp all purpose flower
  •  and sprinkle with chives

Serve with freshly baked basil bread.
If you decorate the table with dry twigs and fish flies (cheap from the sports store), you might even pull off that story about the big one that got away !!
Bon appetite !

Spicy Trout Chowder

February in Kenya has brought glorious weather. Clear blue skies and warm breezes that make this country such a paradise.
If you still feel the winter chill here is something to warm your body and your soul and lift your spirits :
A healthy “green” African soup made from winter-stored peas, with a little ham for strength and some African Champagne* to make the sun shine in !!
So here it is: Miji à la king
Miji: Kikuyu for ‘peas’ (midgie)

List of Ingredients :

  •  1 pound of frozen peas thawed out (or canned)
  •  1 finely chopped onion
  •  ½ cup of finely chopped celery
  •  1 cooked and chopped potato
  •  6 ounces of small cubed fresh cooked ham
  •  ½ pint of low fat chicken stock
  •  A pinch of grated lemon peel
  •  2 tbs. butter
  •  A little Virgin Olive oil
  •  ½ cup of light sour cream
  •  ½ cup of natural applesauce
  •  6 ounces of small cubed fresh cooked ham
  •  A good handful of chopped fresh basil and parsley
  •  3 cups milk
  •  Thai fish sauce

Seasonings and garnish :

  •  ½ teaspoon of Creole seasoning
  •  A dash of coriander
  •  A sprinkle of nutmeg
  •  1 cooked and chopped potato
  •  5 drops of Tabasco, or more
  •  3 good squirts of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, or more
  •  Fresh ground pepper

South African Champagne

Wines from South Africa are considered to be among the best in the world. I would recommend using a South African dry sparkling wine to make this simple but delicious meal into a memorable event for you and your friends. *Sparkling apple juice can serve as a substitute.

Plus you’ll need :

  •  Some freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  •  2 freshly baked Baguette (French bread)
  •  And most importantly : The Champagne !! (See notes below)

Don’t let the list of ingredients put you off; this delicious thick broth is dead easy to make: Before you start, make sure your Champagne is chilled.

  •  Assemble all your ingredients
  •  Fry the onion and celery in some Olive oil in a saucepan
  •  Add all the vegetables and potatoes and fry gently until tender.
  •  Add the potatoes and the ham
  •  Now add the chicken stock
  •  Followed by the thawed out drained peas

Let simmer for as long as it takes to open the Champagne and have a long refreshing sip and feel the sun rising… With the open bottle safely in the cooler, proceed to :
Just add the rest of the ingredients: basil, parsley, applesauce and sour cream and butter, while the soup gently simmers, it’s time for another test of the Champagne in the cooler !
Now, in go the seasonings, don’t forget to taste frequently until you’ve got it right to your taste.
Let the broth cool down and purée half of the soup in a processor and leave the rest chunky and hearty, this gives a bit of texture to an otherwise comforting broth.
Return the thick puree to the broth and blend. And now get ready for the magic touch :
Reheat the soup and add enough Champagne to archieve the consistency you want.
Pour into earthen bowls, garnish with the grated cheese
And serve with the baguette, and of course :
the chilled Champagne, and feel the African sunshine enter your heart !
Some notes on the Champagne Apart from the obvious precious French varieties, there are other excellent Champagne’s available. They are commonly called “Sparkling wines”. (This is because only those grown in the French region of Champagne are entitled to the name.)

Unforgettable Amarula Mocha Truffles

The holiday season is fast approaching. If you are like most of us, there is never enough time to get things started or finished.
Here is a simple to make sweet delicacy that can double as a dessert or a treat for special times. And what’s best, it keeps and even gets better with time if kept refrigerated (not frozen).
If you keep a couple of pretty containers or plates and some cellophane handy these truffles will make the ideal hostess gift as well.

For approximately 40 Truffles you will need…

  •  12 ounces best bittersweet Chocolate
  •  ½ cup of heavy double (whipping) cream
  •  2 ts granulated instant coffee
  •  1 ts hot chocolate powder
  •  2 ts *Amarula Cream Liqueur
  •  1 cup crushed Graham crackers, or chocolate granules

Preparation:

  •  Grate the Chocolate and melt it together with the Coffee granules and the cream in a saucepan slowly stirring until melted and blended over low heat.
  •  Remove from heat and whisk in the Amarula Cream Liqueur
  •  Remove mixture to glass or porcelain dish and refrigerate covered until it is thick and fudgy, about 2 to 3 hours.
  •  Now make small one inch or larger balls by rolling them in the palms of your hands and set aside on waxed paper.
  •  Roll the balls in the crumbs or chocolate granules and place individually into candy cases. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge at least overnight or until needed.
  •  If you can keep your hands off them until to-morrow that is!! (A refreshing drink of Amarula over ice cubes will help, and you deserve it!!)
  •  Enjoy, and have a very happy festive season.

This is a delicious liqueur made in Africa from the fruit of the Marula tree in a process similar to wine making. The Marula wine is then aged in small oak barrels before the cream is added. Amarula Cream will give your truffles that unique and distinct exotic fruit flavor, unforgettable !
The Marula Tree is also known as the “Elephant tree,” because our jungle giants gorge themselves on the Marula fruit when it ripens in February-March. And they too never forget the flavor !!
If not available you can substitute any coffee Liqueur, or Rum or even Crème-de Menthe. Have fun experimenting.

Irio as Made by Browns’s Mom

While the sun is in the North our days are shorter if only by a few minutes here on the equator. But for most of our readers it is high summer and that means Barbeque Season !!
For Kenyans, Barbeques are known as NYAMA CHOMA. They are everyone’s favorite meal here too. The Kikuyu and Meru people make a wonderful vegetarian dish that is perfect to serve alongside a barbeque. It is called IRIO and can easily be made days ahead and just warmed up. To get it right I consulted with my longtime professional friend Brown Mwebia, the Chef of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Brown was born on the slopes of Mount Kenya where most of the Kenyan Vegetables are grown. His mother, who he describes as the best cook he knows (not unlike most men), first taught the young inquisitive boy the basics of cooking.
After graduation as a Chef from Kenya’s only hotel school, Utalii College, Brown worked in several African countries. Finally he found his way ‘home.’ Brown has been one of the Chefs at the Mount Kenya Safari Club for many years now.
When I asked him about his version of IRIO, he was surprised that this simple “dish from home” should be so desirable. A few days later he supplied me with this recipe. Try it instead of the usual baked potato and corn. It’s delicious.

For 8 to generous proportions:

  •  3 Pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
  •  2 pounds of fresh long leaf spinach, chopped including the stalks
  •  ( or 2 10 ounce packets of frozen chopped spinach)
  •  2 white onions, finely chopped
  •  2 white onions, finely chopped
  •  1 pound shelled garden peas
  •  1 pound sweet corn kernels
  •  2 cloves garlic, chopped
  •  2 pints chicken stock
  •  ½ stick butter
  •  ½ pint sour cream
  •  Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in some butter until soft
  •  Add the chopped spinach, potatoes, peas and sweet corn
  •  Sauté everything in butter for about 12 minutes
  •  Now add the chicken stock and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain excess stock
  •  Use a potato masher to mash everything until is has the consistency of lumpy mash, with some of the peas and corn left intact
  •  Now add the sour cream
  •  Use Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and vegetable spice to taste. (I bet you can’t stop tasting).

Serve in an earthenware or rustic dish with a bold wooden spoon.
The written recipe Brown gave me also had this advice as below lest I should forget !!

Hygiene Checklist :

  •  Wash your hands before you Start.
  •  Check all food by dates.
  •  When sanitizing the equipment Make sure it is soaked in the Warm water solution.
  •  Clean and sanitize all work surfaces. Prevent cross contamination.

Well done, Brown’s Mom !!!

Pork-on-Fire

While on the subject of pork …
Here is a very tasty recipe to make a change for all you health conscious cooks out there. Pork is one of the leanest meats you can eat, equaling that of Chicken, as long as you can stay away from the surrounding fat. The pigs’ wrongly attributed reputation of being “dirty” has perhaps caused it to be less popular as a food source.
But in any case, when have you last heard anyone referred to as a ‘dirty chicken’, or a “fat turkey” ?
If you can overcome the clichés, you’ll enjoy this very different dish from Kenya.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 generous portions :

  •  6 pork filets, all ‘string’ removed
  •  For the marinade:
  •  2 onions, 4 red (hot) chili peppers
  •  1 fresh ginger root, 4 cloves garlic
  •  A few fresh peppercorns all crushed
  •  1 pint clear pineapple juice
  •  ¼ cup of soy sauce
  •  ¼ cup of olive oil
  •  some 3 bay leaves and a sprig of fresh thyme
  •  1 tsp fresh grated ginger and 3 cloves garlic
  •  A little salt and pepper

  •  Cube the trout filets, rub with a little garlic and mashed chilies and marinate them in fresh lime juice. Keep refrigerated for 1 hour.
  •  Simmer the fish bones and heads for 1 hour in the Veg, broth, strain to prepare the fish stock (or use commercial fish stock).
  •  Cut up all the veg and potatoes into small cubes, mash the garlic and chilies with seeds removed.
  •  Fry the shallots, ginger, chilies and garlic in butter and a dash or two of Thai fish sauce.
  •  Add the drained trout and fry until tender, set aside.
  •  Add all the vegetables and potatoes and fry gently until tender.
  •  Now add the fish stock, trout, sweet corn and 2 cups of milk
  •  Mix one cup of milk with the flower and add to stock
  •  Simmer until thick and bubbly
  •  Season with pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

  •  Cube the trout filets, rub with a little garlic and mashed chilies and marinate them in fresh lime juice. Keep refrigerated for 1 hour.
  •  Simmer the fish bones and heads for 1 hour in the Veg, broth, strain to prepare the fish stock (or use commercial fish stock).
  •  Cut up all the veg and potatoes into small cubes, mash the garlic and chilies with seeds removed.
  •  Fry the shallots, ginger, chilies and garlic in butter and a dash or two of Thai fish sauce.
  •  Add the drained trout and fry until tender, set aside.
  •  Add all the vegetables and potatoes and fry gently until tender.
  •  Now add the fish stock, trout, sweet corn and 2 cups of milk
  •  Mix one cup of milk with the flower and add to stock
  •  Simmer until thick and bubbly
  •  Season with pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  •  To finish stir in two tablespoon of rich fresh double cream
  •  3 tbsp all purpose flower
  •  And sprinkle with chives

Serve with freshly baked basil bread.
If you decorate the table with dry twigs and fish flies (cheap from the sports store), you might even pull off that story about the big one that got away !!
Bon appetite !

Green Eggs for Easter

Every time Easter comes around the mind goes, of course to eggs. Living in Africa, in big game country, the first image that comes up are of course Ostrich eggs.
Ostrich farming has now become more common in other parts of the world. Unfertile Ostrich eggs are available from such farms. They make wonderful Easter eggs if you have time, patience and imagination. Here is a tasty recipe for your Easter brunch.
No need to be afraid that someone served it last year, because I just invented it from the ingredients I had readily available here in my kitchen on the slopes of Mount Kenya:

For 4 servings you will need :

  •   4 extra large very hard boiled eggs
  •  (better boil some extras as sometimes they discolor inside)
  •   1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  •   1½ tablespoons milk
  •  ½ cup each of chopped onion and green sweet pepper
  •  1 tablespoon butter
  •  1 jar best tomato relish, (you can make this hot by adding Tabasco if wanted)
  •   Salt and pepper to season

For the Avocados :

  •   Avocado pulp from 4 ripe Avocados
  •  4 teaspoons of Worchester Sauce
  •   1 teaspoon peanut butter
  •   A few drops of Tabasco sauce
  •   Juice of ½ Lemon
  •  ½ cup each of chopped onion and green sweet pepper
  •  Garlic Salt, Vegetable seasoning, a bit of nutmeg and white pepper to taste
  •   1 tablespoon whipped cream

Preparation:

  •  Cut Avocados in half, remove nut and scoop out flesh into a blender. Set the shells aside.
  •  Blend the avocado pulp with all the ingredients except the cream.
  •  Season to taste and manually fold under the cream.
  •  Return this mixture to the avocado shells; make an indent in the middle
  •  With a tablespoon. This will later accommodate your egg halves.
  •  Refrigerate.

Now it’s time to pop the cork on that bottle of Champagne and serve everyone a glass to enjoy while you slave on in the kitchen :

  •  Preheat your oven to about 350F.
  •  Peel and cut the hard boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks. Set the whites aside.
  •  Mash the 8 yolks with a fork and blend well with the other ingredients. Season to your taste. (Set some grated Cheese aside for topping).
  •  Fill the mixture back into the egg whites.
  •  Fry onions and pepper in the butter, discard butter and mix the rest with the tomato relish, add some Tabasco if wanted.
  •  Pour this mixture over the eggs and top with more shredded Cheese.
  •  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  •  Remove from oven and let cool a little.
  •  With a large spoon insert each filled egg half into the indent of your cold avocado, garnish with some lettuce and spring greens,
  •  And voilà – Your perfect green eggs !!

Serve at once with some hearty crusty bread, and don’t forget More Champagne.
Happy Easter to Everybody Everywhere !

Marvelous Mutton Medley

The weather map says what it always says in February that makes me happy I live in Kenya: Snow and sleet in most parts of the so-called ‘civilized’ world !!
We feel for you light starved northerners.
Here is a wholesome African stew that is bound to make you feel warm all over.
It is made from mutton, rather than lamb because of it’s good flavor and texture, but you can substitute with lamb shanks.

Ingredients for 6 :

  •  2 lbs mutton, cubed
  •  6 cups chicken or lamb stock
  •  Almost one cup of black eyed or white dried beans, soaked overnight
  •  3 crushed garlic cloves
  •  2 chopped onions (red)
  •  6 ounce can of pumpkin (or fresh if available), cubed
  •  2 plantons (green cooking Bananas) parboiled
  •  1 cup tbl spoons tomato paste
  •  Olive oil
  •  3 cloves
  •  1 t spoon mixed spice
  •  Dried Thyme
  •  1 green chili pepper, de-seeded, chopped
  •  Chopped coriander, or 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  •  Tabasco sauce

Preparation:

  •  Douse the cubed meat in a little flour and the mixed spices.
  •  Fry in olive oil until the meat is lightly browned on all sides.
  •  Add the stock until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  •  Now add the drained beans, the bananas and cloves, and simmer for another hour or until meat is done.
  •  Add the thyme, chili, onion, garlic and coriander and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  •  Then, lastly add the pumpkin and briefly cook until tender but not mushy.

Adjust taste with salt and black pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce.
Serve from a large earthenware dish into bowls. It goes well with a fresh rocket salad, and some warm pita bread. Serve some rough country Portuguese or Spanish Rose Wine.
Tell everyone you learned to make this when you camped with the Tuareg tribe of the Sahara in search of their exquisite handmade Silver. No one will challenge that remark, they will be too busy slurping up the stew.

Mawingu Stew

Many years ago the world seemed much bigger. It took far more time to travel from one place to another, especially in Africa. Living on the slopes of Mount Kenya was considered ‘remote’. And yet, it appeared like everyone in the world came by to visit. A ‘visit’ meant an overnight stay at the very least, and certainly dinner for the wary travelers.
There were only basic shops in our area then. Most everything had to be made from scratch. We had to grow our own vegetables and make bread and butter. Living in ranch country meant meat was always readily available. It was then I invented what became ‘Mawingu Stew’, our old standby for hordes of visitors around the holidays and on through March when the ‘snowbirds’ flee the unfriendly skies of northern hemispheres to call on their friends in warmer climes.
‘Mawingu’ was the small up-country Hotel that later became the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Amongst the locals it is still known as ‘Mawingu” meaning ‘clouds’ in Kikuyu.
I made Mawingu Stew again recently to feed all my guests at our bush dinner on New Years Eve. It’s a great meal on a cold night.

You will need for 12 people :

  •  4 kg of lean Rump steak, cubed
  •  1 bottle of malt vinegar
  •  1 bottle of the cheapest rough red wine you can find pickling spices including peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves
  •  A packet of raisins
  •  A packet of German Pumpernickel bread
  •  A jar of Sauerkraut, drained
  •  Paprika and seasonings

Preparation :

Make a hot marinade from the Malt vinegar, the red wine and water in equal parts. Add six ounces of vegetable oil and the pickling spice and pour over the large cubes of steak until they are covered.
Cool and let stand one or two days in the fridge.

To cook :

Remove and dry the meat, discard most of the marinade, but keep a little to spice up later.

  •  Roll the beef cubes in flower, paprika and garlic and fry in hot bacon fat until very brown on all sides. Season as usual.
  •  Remove to a stew pan and mix the juices from the frying pan with red wine and water to cover the meat and let simmer gently for about an hour.
  •  Now add a handful of raisins and four slices of Pumpernickel bread, crumbled,
  •  Add half a jar of drained Sauerkraut.
  •  Continue to add a little of the saved marinade, water and wine to keep the meat covered, stir frequently and continue to simmer until the meat almost falls apart.
  •  Season to taste and add more raisins for sweetness, more pumpernickel to thicken the stew as desired.

Serve piping hot over potatoes or with French bread.
Eat around the fire and spin a yarn about “the old days” or what grandma used to say…Enjoy !

Jane’s Boozy Christmas Strudel

During the month of December we celebrate “Jamhuri Day” (Republic day) on the 12th. This year this falls on a Friday and results in a big action filled fun weekend.
Although only roughly half of the population in Kenya are Christians, Christmas or Krismasi is a very special time in Kenya. Most Schools close earlier in the month so there is lots of time for preparations for the big 2 days: Christmas Day, followed by “Boxing Day”.
Boxing Day of course is traditional in England and hence here since colonial days. No one is quite sure about the origins but most believe it was the day one boxed up the unwanted gifts to exchange at the store and boxed all the extra food to give to the poor.
We don’t have the traditional spruce trees that make such beautiful Christmas trees in Northern Hemispheres. So, depending on where we are, we invent and decorate other trees made from whatever can be found: Banana Leaf, Sticks, Thorn trees, Driftwood, etc.
A few years ago one of my “Fundies” (Craftsman) carved a replica of a Baobab Tree which we painted white and decorated. It is a family favorite I want to share with you.
And since this season is all about sharing, I have persuaded my good friend Jane McKeand to share her secret recipe for the best Christmas cake we have ever tasted, so here it is :

For 4 servings you will need :

  •  2 pounds cooking apples
  •  3 ounces currants
  •  3 ounces sultanas
  •  Grated zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange
  •  1 heaped tablespoon soft brown sugar
  •  Half teaspoon ground mixed spice
  •  Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  2 ounces pecan nuts, chopped & lightly toasted
  •  2 tablespoons brandy

Pastry :

  •  4 sheets filo pastry
  •  2 ounces melted unsalted butter
  •  2 ounces lightly toasted flaked almonds1 ounce white breadcrumbs
  •  Icing sugar

Method :

  •  Soak the currants and sultanas in the brandy overnight
  •  Prepare the apples : peel, core and slice thinly into a bowl.
  •   Mix in the soft brown sugar
  •  Mix in the currants, sultanas, orange & lemon zest, mixed spice, cinnamon, and toasted pecans.

Preparation:

  •  In a separate bowl mix the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs together.
  •  Melt the butter.
  •  Lie one sheet of filo pastry on a large baking sheet which has been greased …..
  •  brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with some of the breadcrumb and nut mixture.
  •  Place the second sheet of filo over the top and repeat as for the first sheet ……
  •  then the third sheet and again the butter, breadcrumb/nut mixture. Place the fourth
  •  and final sheet of filo over the top and brush with the melted butter. Leave some butter to spread over the strudel before baking.
  •  Spread the apple mixture down the centre of the pastry lengthwise, leaving a good margin around the edges.
  •  Fold one side of the pastry over the center, and bring the other side up and over the first side.
  •  Carefully turn the whole strudel over so that the join is underneath on the baking sheet.
  •  Tidy the ends by folding under the strudel.
  •  Brush over with the remaining melted butter and bake in a preheated

oven, Gas Mark 5, 190 C, until golden brown, approximately 40-45 minutes When the Strudel is cool dust generously with icing sugar.
NB : The dried fruit can be replaced by 8 ounces of Christmas fruit mincemeat which is readily available in supermarkets in America.
While you are at it you may want to bake two of these, believe me. One never seems to be enough, and there would be nothing left to give away …. I.H.

Kenya Corn-Bacon Muffins

The main item on any Kenyan’s diet is maize or corn, as you may know it.
Driving along country roads you will see corn growing everywhere.
In the townships, the night comes alive with the numerous charcoal fires of the street vendors roasting corn. Hardworking city folk often have long waits at bus stops before catching a ride to the suburbs. Munching on a freshly roasted ear of corn passes the time and keeps the wolf away.
Because of the absence of winter, 2 or three harvests of corn a year are not unusual.
Any Kenyan’s dream is to have a small “shamba” (garden/farm) and the first thing he will plant is corn (mili) for the family. Any surplus can be sold to the mills which grind it and market it as “maize meal”, more common on the Kenyan table than potatoes.
There are many ways of preparing this delicious and nutritious “flour”.
“Uji” for breakfast is a sweet maize porridge that keeps most children well nourished through the day until a bigger meal can be prepared. Baked or cooked maize cakes or dumplings often accompany meat dishes for the main meal.
As you will notice on your travels, breakfast is a big affair in Kenya. The traditional Kenyan offerings of Fruit, milk, honey, Tea and Toast are usually complimented by a full English breakfast, eggs cooked to order before you, followed by pastries and homemade jams.
Recently, at a friend’s house, we were served some corn-bacon muffins that were delicious with fruit and rich Kenyan Coffee. They are simple to prepare ahead of time and can be warmed up for breakfast in minutes. Here’s how to make them :

You will need :

  •  1 cup flour
  •  1 cup maize meal (yellow cornmeal)
  •  1 cup real bacon chips
  •  1 cup milk
  •  1 egg
  •  3 tablesp. rough (or brown) sugar
  •  ½ cup of fresh or frozen Corn
  •  ½ teasp. Salt (or substitute)
  •  1 tablesp. Baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon butter

Preparation:

  •  Preheat oven to approx. 400 F
  •   Mix together all the “wet” ingredients: milk, egg, corn and butter
  •  Slowly add the above to the mixed “dry” ingredients of flour, corn meal, sugar,
  •  Baking powder, salt and bacon chips.
  •  Spoon the mixture into some greased (Teflon) muffin trays, two thirds full for each cup.
  •  Bake in a hot oven (400) approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until done, let cool

Remove the muffins and enjoy another perfect day in Paradise !!

Cold Avocado Soup

We are lucky here in Kenya. Fruit is abundant all year round.
I miss such seasonal northern hemisphere delicacies as cherries and peaches, but we are well compensated with the great variety of tropical fruits.
The people in Kenya make much use of their bounty. Most Africans eat fruit at least 3 times a day. There are fruit stands everywhere offering freshly picked produce from the immediate neighborhood each day.
One such fruit is the Avocado. There are three trees in my garden. They are never without fruit in various stages of ripening.
Of course we have to share them with our resident group of Sykes Monkeys. They seem to know just when to invade. Since there are 11 of them and only two of us, guess who gets the Lion’s, (in this case Monkey’s) share. But we don’t mind, there’s plenty left.
Here’s a recipe for a delicious cold avocado soup. It was developed in my own kitchen one day when hungry guests descended on us unannounced.
Since then we indulge in this “sinful” but delicious meal regularly.
As you will see below, I am not a “precise” cook and rely mostly on my taste buds …
Another reason why I love to serve this meal is that it is done in very little time with not much clean-up, leaving you free to enjoy your company instead of slaving in the kitchen !!

For 4 to 6 servings you will need :

  •  5 ripe Avocados
  •  1 jar of unsweetened (natural) applesauce
  •  Chicken stock
  •  Unsalted cream cheese
  •  Sour cream
  •  Peanut butter
  •  Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  •  Tabasco sauce
  •  Mixed herbs
  •  Fresh or dry Coriander
  •  Dry Sherry

To Prepare :
Scoop out the soft flesh of the Avocados and put in a food processor

Add :

  •  Applesauce
  •  3 teaspoons of Peanut butter
  •  2 tbs of cream cheese
  •  Half a cup of chicken stock
  •  Half a cup of apple juice
  •  A dash of Tabasco
  •  A generous 3 or 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  •  ¼ cup chopped coriander or ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  •  1 tsp. of mixed herbs

Plus you’ll need :

  •  Mix it all up in the processor until very smooth.
  •  Now add more chicken stock until the soup has the consistency you like.
  •  Season to taste with more Worcestershire sauce, vegetable spice, a dash of lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  •  When the taste is just right, add a generous tot of dry Sherry
  •  Refrigerate for an hour and pour into cool bowls.
  •  Put a small dollop of sour cream to float on top and decorate with a little dill or parsley.

Served with some fresh crusty bread, this is a perfect summer lunch, and you will have plenty of time and energy to enjoy the rest of the day.

Sammy’s Safari Loaf

People often ask me: “What’s the food like in Africa ?”
It would take pages to describe all the diversity, richness and purity of our home-grown produce in Kenya. We have an abundance of most things edible and drinkable – weather permitting, that is. It happens, not infrequently, that the harvesting is held back by prolonged drought or seasonal floods that cut the tenuous supply lines.
I’ve often wondered what kind of shoppers’ pandemonium would ensue if the loudspeakers in an American Supermarket, say, were suddenly to announce :
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret, there will be no milk butter or cheese for the next 4 weeks !”
Whereas in Kenya we’d hardly be fazed by such a thing, well used as we are to the periodic shortages of what others would see as the essentials of daily sustenance.
Nor is a guest likely to notice that there’s anything missing, since many a local recipe has been devised on the basis of “making do” – or, more often than not, on the old axiom of “necessity being the mother of culinary invention.”
Nowadays, the lodges and Safari camps will have multi-course meals ready and waiting for whenever they are wanted. But en route between one civilized oasis and another, you still don’t find too many convenient places to grab a quick snack. A slice of the old Safari Loaf keeps for days wrapped in foil in your pocket. It might well come in handy if your car conks out, as it may, 200 miles from the nearest mechanic.
Here’s how our favorite stand-by bite in the bush is made :
For two or three loafs (depending on the size of your bread tins) you will need :

Ingredients :

  •  3 cups whole wheat brown flour
  •  2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  ½ teaspoon allspice
  •  ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  •  Two teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  1 cup chopped nuts (use macadamia, or cashew)
  •  1 cup pitted prunes or dates, chopped
  •  1 cup dried cherries
  •  1 cup butter, at room temp.
  •  1½ cups coarse sugar
  •  4 eggs
  •  1 cup very ripe and mashed Banana
  •  1 cup chopped pitted Olives
  •  ¼ cup maple syrup
  •  A little Orange juice as needed

Preparation:

  •  Preheat your oven to 350 F
  •  Blend sifted flower and ingredients 2 to 9
  •  Beat eggs until foamy and mix with the butter, sugar and mashed banana until creamy (use a hand mixer).
  •  Now add the Olives, Syrup, and Orange juice
  •  Add this mixture to and blend with the flower/fruit mixture
  •  Fill 2 or 3 greased and flowered loaf tins with the mixture, about ¾ up.
  •  Bake 1 hour or more. If your wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, it is done. Let cool in the tins before turning out.
  •  Now if you like a more “potent” version: wrap the cooled loafs in cheese cloths soaked in Brandy. Cover with foil and leave in the fridge for some days.

Warning : Don’t eat the whole loaf all at once or you’ll gain 6 pounds.

Quiche Mpya

Like our baby Bongo, this recipe is a new creation. The distinctive ingredient is grapes, only recently grown in Kenya in vineyards mostly located in the warm Rift Valley close to Lake Naivasha.
The recipe is not entirely African, although I first came across something similar in the wine lands of South Africa’s Cape Province. They seem to have so many grapes there that they turn up on most gourmet plates.
The dish is in any event a refined way of combining grapes and cheese. You can make it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. It’s especially delicious accompanied with a chilled Cape Chardonnay.

For a quiche ‘Mpya’ for 6 you will need :

  •  8 ounces plain flour
  •  4 ounces of butter
  •  3 tablespoons water
  •  1 egg yolk

For the filling :

  •  ½ a sweet red pepper, chopped
  •  Melted butter
  •  2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  •  2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
  •  2 eggs
  •  Cayenne pepper
  •  ½ pint of half and half cream
  •  ½ lb seedless green grapes, peeled and cut in half
  •  Some grated parmesan

Preparation :

  •  Rub butter and a pinch of salt finely into sifted flour.
  •  Beat the egg yolk with water and blend slowly into the flour – butter mix to make dough.
  •  Let this stand in the fridge for 1 hour.
  •  Roll out and use to line a 10 inch pie dish.
  •  Prick the base, weigh it down with baking beans and bake as you would any pastry shell (400 deg.F for 10-15 minutes.)
  •  Have a sip of wine and relax …

Now you are ready to make the filling :

  •  Beat the eggs with cayenne pepper and add the two cheeses, and the chopped pepper and melted butter.
  •  Heat cream in saucepan and add to beaten eggs, return the mixture to a saucepan and heat gently until custard begins to thicken.
  •  Remove from heat.
  •  Now add the grapes and pour the mixture into baked pie shell in the dish.
  •  Sprinkle with a little parmesan and butter flecks.
  •  Return to oven at reduced heat, 375 F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until set.
  •  Let it cool down completely before you cut it into wedges.
  •  Have another sip of wine, you have made a great light lunch !

To serve decorate with a few red grapes, and some Nosturtiums or other edible flowers.

Prawns Peri-Peri Watamu

Watamu means : “The place of the Sweet People.”
It is a small village on the Indian Ocean North of Mombasa. Watamu Beach boasts a stretch of one of Africa’s most beautiful coastlines. White sands, clear blue water and a coral reef with unique marine life – a little paradise.
Here is one of our favorite recipes from Watamu.

Ingredients :

  •  1 kg medium sized prawns, peeled and cleaned.
  •  (We buy them fresh from the fishermen but frozen ones will do).
  •  Salt the prawns lightly, add the juice of one lime and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.

The sauce :

  •  3 peeled and chopped tomatoes
  •  1 clove garlic crushed
  •   ½ onion chopped

Lightly sauté all the above in some olive oil and add :

  •  1 small can tomato paste
  •  2tbs of Tomato Ketchup
  •  1 shot of Tabasco
  •   ½ a beef cube dissolved in a little orange juice

Simmer all for a few minutes.
Add the prawns and simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
Serve in a coconut shell with Nan bread or rice on the sid

Copyright © 2003 - 2019 Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy | Designed by AV Solutions