Leo’s Banana Bread.

My son loves bananas. If there is one fruit that this household can never get enough of, it is this.

He likes helping me out a lot in the kitchen too and has a keen interest in how food comes together. I was therefore not too surprised when he asked to be taught how to bake banana bread.

He can fry up a mean egg. Helps in shopping (safely), stirring and cleaning up; he is my little sous chef and I am always happy to have the extra help.

So here is his banana bread Version. We used self raising flour, grated chocolate, coconut oil and love. Lots of love to make this heavenly coconut scented banana and chocolate loaf.

It is moist, fluffy, aromatic and so delish!

To make it you will need:-

  • 11/2 cups self raising flour.
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil.
  • 1-1/2 cups of really ripe mashed banana.
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured yoghurt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate.

Method.

1.Mix the bananas, oil, egg, sugar and yoghurt together. Add in the vanilla and ground cinammon, then the flour. Fold in the chocolate last.

2. Pour into a greased or parchment lined loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes.

3. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove onto a rack to cool, and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

The cake is moist, aromatic and so delicious, but not too sweet.

Perfect on its own, with some tea or hot chocolate, with some custard or vanilla ice cream.

It keeps well in a covered dish for a couple of days on the countertop, that is if you still have some leftover, which I doubt will happen.

Mmmh! looking at this image makes me crave it!

Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Broccoli soup.

This is such an easy and straightforward recipe but oh so flavourful.

I got this colourful pumpkin and decided I just had to make some soup from it. Look at how pretty it is!

Since we buy our pumpkin whole here, I usually clean, peel and chop up then freeze in a ziplock bag in desired portions. It lasts ages that way.

The soup ingredients are:-

  • 1 tbsp each salted butter and olive oil.
  • I chopped onion.
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds.
  • 4- 5 cloves of garlic.
  • I small head of cauliflower, chopped.
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cleaned and chopped.
  • 1 stalk of celery.
  • 1 tbsp of grated ginger and whole turmeric.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
  • Mixed spice blend.

Method.

  • In a sauce pan, add the coriander seeds, toast them a bit then crush roughly.
  • Add the butter to the pan as well as the onion, garlic, grated turmeric and ginger.
  • Cook them well and add the celery as well as the broccoli stalks.
  • Next go in the rest of the vegetables and one cup of water or stock, as well as the balsamic vinegar.
  • Let simmer till soft and cooked, then blend to your preferred consistency.
  • Be careful with the salt due to the salted butter and if you are using flavoured stock.

Once ready, ladle into bowls and garnish.

I garnished mine with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some cayenne and the mixed spice.

The soup is beautiful, creamy, aromatic, filling and so yummy!

We had the soup with these totally delicious herb and cheese rolls.

Look at those rolls! I will share the recipe soon.

Beef and Okra Stew with Peanut Butter.

This recipe is adapted from an old cooking magazine I have, but I made it with a few changes. I chopped the okra instead of using it whole and also added in many more vegetables than the original recipe called for, as well as peanut butter.

It’s easy to make, colourful and flavorful. It takes time though, as you let the different vegetables cook slow and release their individual sweetness and distinct flavor to meld into a thick, rich, hearty stew that sticks to the bones.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 500 g stewing beef. Rub it with a little bit of ground mixed spice. (The blend I had had some cinnamon, clove, and cardamom).
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil.
  • 2 chopped onions.
  • 1 tbsp paste of grated ginger and grated turmeric and smashed with garlic.
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds.
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped.
  • Chopped bell peppers (I used green, yellow and red).
  • 1 handful of fresh okra, chopped.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • 1 tsp each of paprika, mixed herbs
  • 1 tomato, 1 carrot, I small courgette, all chopped.
  • 1 tbsp chopped dry fruit (I used raisins and apricots).
  • 1 lemon.
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated and chopped.
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter, mixed into a 1/2 cup of water to dissolve.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pinch of sugar.

Method.

Clean and chop all your vegetables.

Toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan then crush roughly, ensure they do not burn. Set aside.

Heat oil in your pan. Once hot add the beef and brown it on high heat. Do not let it cook through though, or crowd the pan. Just brown then remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions, ground coriander seeds and celery. Once onions are translucent, add the ginger garlic and turmeric paste and mix well.

Follow in with the coriander stalks, paprika and mixed herbs, let cook fast without burning, then add the tomato paste and tomatoes. I like adding some salt and pepper at this point then lower heat to let the tomatoes cook into a mush.

The aroma of the dish at this point will have your tummy rumbling.

After the tomatoes cook down, add the carrots and let them cook a while, before adding the courgettes. Once they both cook a little while, in go the bell peppers. This whole process takes a while as you want each added vegetable to be able to release its own flavour into the sauce. Do not rush it.

The vegetables will also release their water into the sauce; hence the need to keep the heat on medium low.

Once the vegetables are soft, add the beef, okra, and your dried fruits. If its too dry, you can add a cup or two of water or stock. Cover and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

The stew will be thick and low, so add your mix of peanut butter at this point, as well as your pinch of sugar.
Check seasoning, stir well and cover and let simmer for about another half hour on low heat.

The sauce will thicken as well as the beef, as all the ingredients also absorb the yummy and rich peanut flavour.

Once ready, squeeze some lemon juice onto the stew and as always, garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

Look at how rich, creamy, thick and colourful that sauce is. Yum!

This is a very filling meal. The perfect comfort food if you ask me.

It is so delicious. Good enough on its own or with some rice on the side. Either way, it is a perfect meal.

Homemade Potato Bhajia.

Potato Bhajia are a favorite snack in Kenya. Thinly sliced potatoes dipped in a spicy gram flour batter then deep fried till a bit crispy and golden ; Total potato perfection!

If you’ve lived in Nairobi, visiting the food court at Diamond Plaza is a must to sample the world famous “Maru Bhajia” from the stall by the same name. That is the only place whose bhajia I have faith in.

I am sure many of us who love their bhajias have tried to replicate it at home but can never quite get the exact taste. 😂

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try though right?

Let us get started.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 1 kg white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Oil to deep fry them in.
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric.
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 cup of besan (chickpea aka gram or garam flour).
  • 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped coriander.
  • A pinch of fenugreek leaves – optional.
  • small pinch of baking soda.

Method.

Peel, clean and slice your potatoes into thin rounds.

Soak them in salty waters for 15 minutes then drain.

In a a large bowl, add the potato slices, all the ground spices and herbs except the baking soda.

Add the flours and mix well.

Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes, please do not add any water.

The potatoes will release their own water and the slices will get enough batter all round.

Heat your oil.

Add the baking soda just before frying. I got this tip from Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun blog.

Deep fry the potato slices on medium heat until cooked through, and turn golden.

To avoid them clumping together, add the slices to the oil individually.

Once ready, drain on kitchen towel to remove extra grease then serve with ketchup, chutney or chilli sauce.

They are a great snack to make as well as a fun weekend dinner with some roasted chicken or grilled meat and salads on the side.

They are crispy but fluffy inside, well cooked, well seasoned, delicious and you cannot get enough of them!

How do you like your potato bhajia?

Blackstrap Molasses Banana Bread.

This is an easy one bowl banana bread with blackstrap molasses. The bananas are some green ones I had that ripened before I got to cooking the last of the harvested batch from our garden.

Yes. You can use green banana too if they ripen before you get to cook them. Do not throw them out. If they are more than you can use, peel and freeze them in ziplock bags.

I do the same with fast ripening yellow banana and plantains. I pack three to four at a time and they come in handy when baking quick bread, for smoothies and pancakes too.

I used blackstrap molasses to make it healthy and I need the iron boost. The flavour is not overpowering and blends well with the mixed spices and makes the bread have a dark rich colour.

This is a straightforward recipe. You will need:-

  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5-overripe green bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil – I like using coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp mixed spices blend (mine had ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom).
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp caramel essence, vanilla will work too.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional).

Method.

  • Blend the wet ingredients and pour into a bowl, add the dry ingredients to it. mix and add to your parchment lined cake pan.
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about an hour, (start checking at 50 minutes mark), till skewer comes out clean.

There are green bananas that had been harvested in our garden, and ripened before I could use them all up.
The best thing about this is you can pour all your wet ingredients and whizz them in the blender, it is faster and ensures they all incorporate well.
The blackstrap molasses and dark brown sugar make the batter look a bit dark which is ok.
My son likes peeking to watch the cake rise.
Let it rest about 15 minutes in the cake pan before removing it to let it cool on a rack.
The cake is moist, has a rich colour, smells and tastes amazing.
Perfect for tea, snack or with custard as a dessert. It is soft, moist, delicious and so aromatic.

Definitely worth a try!