This is a perfect mid week meal. It is not difficult to prepare; dinner shall not take more than an hour to be ready. But the rich flavour will have folks thinking you have been slaving for hours. LOL.
You can use any pasta for this dish ( I used bucatini), and if one has left over shank broth its perfect too to deepen the rich flavour. If making the sauce from scratch you can use your pressure cooker or instant pot to cook the ossobuco faster. I used my instant pot.
Let’s get started.
As always when cooking shanks, lightly dredge in a plate with some all purpose flour mixed with salt and pepper and fry on high heat for a few minutes to brown the meat and seal the juices. What we did here.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta as per instructions on the pack. Drain and add the pasta to the meat sauce.
How are you coping with the kids in this trying time?
Are we communicating with them? How are we keeping them engaged? School activities? Crafts? Games? Cookery lessons? Gardening? Let us share tips.
We are living in a world we had not anticipated and a few things are coming to light, both positive and negative.
Positives: More open communication with our kids and we get to understand them better right? Isn’t it amazing how different personalities the kids have?
Another positive is better health; no more sniffles and annoying colds and coughs brought home from school? More family time, YAY! we can now catch up on those activities we kept putting off as we were too busy- time to build the fort with them in the garden, listen to them practice their musical instruments ( early morning and late night in my home).
Negatives: On the extreme, we have increased risk of abuse; especially for those in vituperative environments( physical too). Increased stress and anxiety as they try to understand us too and the situation; and this applies to both older and younger kids. Is your kindergartener pushing your buttons increasingly this period?
Now is the time to teach them to bake or cook simple meals. Ooh the bliss of having your six year old crack the eggs for those yummy muffins. Just make sure they are safe.
The kids spending a lot of time online exposes them to online predators; are we keeping tabs on them and talking to them about the dangers? What measures are we taking to protect them?
Add to that the stress of not knowing when they are going to complete the school year, especially those in their final year of school, is it all lost? How do we encourage them to not lose hope?
Are you working from home? Not an easy balance when it comes to ensuring the kids have their online classes; you have your zoom meetings and running the household too ensuring all is in order. It is not easy. And gadgets, you may be having that one laptop or tablet that you work on and all your kids need to access their school work too. These are just a few of our experiences.
These are times we had never anticipated but in true human fashion I believe in resilience and adaptation. There is no manual for what we are living through but we will get through. We have to believe that. I know we are already adapting to this new norms as adults, but let us keep communicating with our children.
Keep talking to and with them, have discussions and questions about what they are feeling, what they want to do during this time, what their fears and hopes are. Let us not make the mistake of keeping quiet and caught up in our adult lives and forget they are learning more of the world by watching and listening to us.
So parents, how are you truly coping in this period?
This is another mashed dish also known as ‘Irio’ in my mother tongue. ‘Minji’ is what we call green peas. Mūkimo is a central Kenyan traditional dish that’s a mash of boiled potatoes, pumpkin leaves, maize, and either beans or peas. It is a delicious, filling and comforting meal that just reminds me of my childhood. I have tried to be as authentic as possible making it; hope I make my Mother proud.
Let’s get started.
Peel and clean your potatoes. Set aside. Now prepare the pumpkin leaves by removing the stalks and ‘webbing’ on the leaves. Clean them well, chop roughly and boil for 5 -7minutes. Drain and set aside.
You can blend or use a food processor to puree the pumpkin leaves if you want.
Now mash them all together until it’s a soft mash.
Cover the mash and keep hot as you sauté your vegetable accompaniments.
Increase the heat and add all the veggies. Mix well.
Let them cook on high heat till they soften a bit but don’t overcook. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and switch off the heat.
The best thing about this dish is you can have it with any accompaniment you choose. It kicks well with a nice beef stew, chicken stew or stir fried vegetables if you don’t want any meat.
It’s also quite healthy. Pumpkin leaves are very nutritious; they are rich in essential vitamins, iron and fiber. Just don’t over cook them. The sautéed vegetables are all rich in antioxidants and vitamins too. This is a great vegetarian meal too when you omit the bacon.
I have fond memories of this dish. Back in my campus days, there was a cafe called ‘Pine Breeze.’ It was right next to the school gate and served the most delicious food. From usual Kenyan fare like fries, Ugali and sukuma wiki (which was delicious by the way), yummy pilau, thick noodles served either with veggies or shredded chicken and their fried chicken was great too. One of my friends was a a huge fan of their masala fries, but for me, it was the noodles and the fried rice, and this HOT chilli sauce they served their food with, WEH! Anyway, it was there I got introduced to today’s dish which falls under Indo- Chinese cuisine. There are so many recipes online on how to make this but I like this version best from Cooking Shooking on Youtube.
I don’t make this dish often but it is a nice way to get the kids eat their vegetables, they can help make it and it makes a perfect ‘meatless Monday’ meal. Let’s get started shall we?
Meanwhile you can get started on the rice, soak the rice for twenty minutes, drain then boil in salted water then drain when al dente. Let it cool completely.
The best thing about fried rice, is that there are really no strict rules, you use what you have on hand and it all comes together so wonderfully.
As the rice cools, let’s get started on the Manchurian gravy.
Now we can fry our rice. Heat oil in another deep saucepan, add the onions. mix well and add the chopped vegetables and mix well all on high heat.
I skipped chilli sauce because of the kids.
This is not a difficult meal to make, quick to put together and is a great way to spice up some leftover rice. Give it a try!
Biriani is a popular dish that is great when entertaining or when you want to treat your family to a delicious dinner or lunch. There are so many variations of this dish; I have never come across two people who make it the same way. But it is fun to keep trying different recipes as the flavours are so amazing!
What is biriani? It is basically a lovely ‘casserole’ of marinated and spiced meat, braised, then layered with spicy, flavoured, buttery rice, then you let them finish cooking over very low heat or in the oven and voila! You can use different meats and vegetables. I like making beetroot biriani for the kids lunchboxes; I will share the recipe soon, and mutton or chicken biri for special family dinners.
I woke up craving biri the other day, but the only meat I had on hand was beef mince; I didn’t let it deter me though, so let’s get started!
2 cups Basmati rice, cleaned and soaked.
Whole spices for the rice; bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper, one star anise, cinnamon and cloves
500 g beef mince
About 4 tbsp ghee
I bunch mint
1 bunch coriander (blend half the coriander and mint leaves and ginger garlic paste )
1 cup natural yoghurt
4 grated tomatoes
4 onions, chopped and deep fried, you can use this recipe
three onions sliced
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
Ground spices for the meat sauce; turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala
Optional; some rose water and food color. But if you can, please try them to get that restaurant quality aroma to the food. I didn’t have saffron, so used a teeny weeny bit of food colour.
4 hard boiled eggs (optional) I didn’t use any here though.
Green chilli – I did not use any cause of the kids
I first marinated the beef mince mince for about thirty minutes with a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, two tsp of natural yoghurt, 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 2 tbsp of coriander mint paste I had blended, a tsp of garam masala, salt and a tbsp of lemon juice. Set aside.
Now we assemble the dish. You can move to an oven proof dish and layer then bake, or use the same pan of big enough, it is up to you.
Mix some little food colour in a teaspoon of rose water, and assemble the other ingredients, the parboiled rice, chopped Dhania and mint, ghee and fried onions.
Obviously, no biriani dish is complete without a nice raita. It is an Indian condiment of natural yogurt and chopped vegetables and spices of choice. It offers a cooling effect as you eat your spicy meal. Best raita in my opinion for this dish is a cucumber mint one. You can make this before you get started on the main dish.
This is a perfect meal to make over the weekend when you are in no hurry. The rice is moist, perfectly cooked and the spices melt together so wonderfully. The fried onions also add a delightful crunch and sweetness, and the rose water a heavenly aroma that will have you salivating before the first bite. Yum!