Delicious Masala Tea.

I love a good cup of tea, and spiced tea is among my favorite hot drinks to sip on in the morning or after a hearty meal. Masala tea is tea made with Indian spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, star anise, among others, and is quite popular in East Africa. It is delicious, warming and has a really pleasing aroma.

The amount and number of spices varies as per one’s preferences. Here is one of the ways I prefer mine.

First off, You will need tea leaves and a cup of milk. Kenyan tea is among the best in the world, and the Kericho Gold brand is good quality.

This is a Kenyan style of making tea. We prefer loose tea leaves that are then boiled or steeped in boiling water, add the milk then sieve into a tea pot. If using ground spices, some people add them as you boil the water and others just before adding the milk. Nothing is cast in stone, you can play around with different ways to get the flavour and taste you want.

For the spices:-

My preferred spices are half a star anise, 1/2 a tsp of fennel seeds, some green cardamom, some nutmeg, black peppercorns, cloves, a small cinnamon stick and a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root. This is usually enough for two to three full mugs of tasty masala tea.

I like using whole spices, as I am able to mix according to the desired flavour profile I want. Having whole spices on hand is also great as you can use them in many other recipes and grind up as needed. Just ensure you do not buy too much and they are stored in an airtight and dark place so they do not lose their potency.

There are two ways you can use your spice mix in the tea. One, you may opt to grind them into powder from with a coffee grinder or your blender’s grind attachment, then use them in powder form. . If this is your preferred method, keep the ground mixture in an airtight container in a cool dark place to keep it fresh. Two, you can prepare the spices as you need them, just enough for the amount of tea you want to make. You can crush the spices roughly by hand using a mortar and pestle similar to the one in the below picture and use them immediately. Either way, ensure you lightly toast the spices a bit so they can release their aroma and oils before using them.

If using this kind of a mortar and pestle, have a separate one for your tea spices and another for ginger and garlic so the smells do not mix.


Toast the whole spices but make sure they do not burn, do it lightly enough to just let them release their aroma. Crush them roughly in the mortar and pestle, then add to a saucepan with a teaspoon of the loose black tea leaves and 1-2 cups water. Let the water come to the boil slowly, do not rush it. Let it simmer for a while.

I like the lovely aroma as the tea simmers.
Add your milk and let the tea come to the boil again. I used one cup of full fat milk. You can add sugar too at this point. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Once ready, sieve into a pot, pour into your tea cup and it is ready to serve.

The tea is spicy, hot and delicious.

If you like your tea frothy, you can use a frother or pour it from one pot to the cup several times till it gets frothy when you pour it into the cup.

My favorite spiced tea in my favorite tin cup.

The tea is best served piping hot. Let the steam envelop you as you take the first sip. The aromas and taste are heavenly.

This is one cup of tea you do not rush through. Each sip is chock full of flavour and warming.

Have it as it is, or with some cookies, or some mandazi. Either way, the tea will leave you wanting more at every sip.

You can even have it with some packed potatoes for an evening tea snack.

Other teas I like making are lemongrass and ginger, rosemary and ginger, lemongrass and cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, and turmeric and ginger. Ginger is a favorite as it aids digestion, can help fight infections as well as many other benefits. I usually buy a lot, clean and chop into thumb size pieces and keep in the freezer in a zip lock bag. It lasts a long time this way. I store turmeric root the same way.

I will do a full list of my favorite spices and herbs and their benefits in my 2021 posts.

You can also check out my other preferred spices and condiments here.

Try a cuppa and let me know if you enjoyed it.



My Perfect Pumpkin soup.

What makes this soup perfect? Well, it has a few of my favorite vegetables. It is colorful. It is tasty. It is filling, it’s easy and cheap to make. And it is made with love.

All the vegetables are roasted, which enables them release their sugars and they get a bit caramelized which adds depth to the flavour.

I used 2 cups of pumpkin, one red onion, two carrots, 1 small beetroot, 1 sweet potato, a knob of ginger and whole turmeric, and a few cloves of garlic. Add a small bunch of coriander too.
Spices used were a tsp each of coriander seeds, dhania jeera powder (ground cumin and coriander), salt and a pinch of white pepper.

To begin. Preheat your oven to 180 °C. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray some olive oil on it.

Clean and chop your veggies and arrange them on the tray. Spray a bit more oil on them. Sprinkle the salt and pepper and the coriander seeds and little bit of parsley.

Bake in the middle rack for 30 minutes until they are ready and a bit caramelized.
They smell amazing when you remove them from the oven. I love the colors too.

As the veggies roast. Crush the garlic, ginger and turmeric together and chop your onion.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Let it sauté a while. Then add the ginger garlic mixture and the coriander stalks. Add the dhania jeera and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Let the onions soften before adding the ginger and garlic and let them cook down too.
Add your roasted veggies, then 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. If you don’t have some you can use water instead but not too much. Just enough to cover the vegetables.

Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes for the flavours to mix well. Once ready, check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Blend the soup to your desired consistency. Garnish and serve.

It was quite thick which is fine if it’s for a main meal.
I garnished with some spicy roasted chickpeas, coriander leaves and a dollop of natural yoghurt.

You can have this soup as it is for a light lunch or add a bun for a light dinner.

I do not know how to describe how delicious and comforting this bowl of soup is. You have to try it to believe it.

The sweetness of the pumpkin, carrots, beetroot and sweet potato blend wonderfully with the zing from the ginger, the coriander seeds and white pepper and the tangy yoghurt flavour. The roasted chickpeas add crunch and a lovely different texture …

The soup looks, smells and tastes amazing!

Don’t just take my word for it, try it and let me know how it goes.

You can also check out my other pumpkin soup recipe here.

Appreciation Post.

This is a simple appreciation post.

I just want to appreciate all my readers from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I am always amazed at how many readers I have from all over the world and it always encourages me. I appreciate you taking the time out to read, subscribe and share my musings.

It has not been an easy year but we remain optimistic to greater times ahead.

Best wishes to each and every one of you from my family and I!

Delicious Apple and Honey Quickbread.

Quick bread is basically any baked product like muffins or scones or banana bread, that does not require yeast as a rising agent. Instead, one uses baking powder and/ or baking soda for that effect. They also include two sets of ingredients; the dry and the wet, bake much faster than the normal bread and easier to prepare as there is no kneading. I like how uncomplicated and versatile they are. From sweet to savoury muffins or pancakes to a delicious sweet potato loaf or pumpkin loaf, you can do so much.

I sometimes using self raising flour for my quick bread recipes as they already have the rising agent so I do not need to add any baking powder or baking soda. Self raising flour is one of my pantry essentials (posted here), it is good to have some handy. I have two preferred brands that are available in Kampala, one Kenyan and the other South African, they both work pretty well.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients are 3 cups of self raising flour, 2 cups of honey, 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, a small pinch of salt, ad chia seeds, 1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla essence, 3 eggs (room temperature) and 4 apples. (cleaned, peeled and cubed). I used Honeycrisp apples.
Prepare your baking tin and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Sift your flour and the ground spices, mix well with the chia seeds in one bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix gently but not too much, before folding in the chopped apples.

Bake the mixture in the middle rack for an hour to 75 minutes. Check at the 60 minute mark with a skewer as ovens do vary.

The kitchen smells heavenly as it bakes- the apples, spices and vanilla fill the air and makes you look forward to the final product.

The cake is moist and will darken because of the honey. Mine also got a little hole after I used a brand knife to check if ready.

Once out of the oven, let it sit for ten minutes before turning it out carefully onto a rack so it can cool.

This Apple and honey quick bread is tasty on its own, or as a nice accompaniment to your morning coffee or evening dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Yum!

For other quick bread recipes, you can check out my sweet potato bread recipe here.

And my honey banana bread here.

Definitely worth a try isn’t it?

Tasty Pearl Barley.

I am always up for trying new things in the kitchen, and pearl barley is turning out to be one of those trials that have become a staple in my kitchen cupboard.

Pearl barley is the polished and processed whole grain barley. It may not have all the nutrients that whole barley has but it cooks faster, and still rich in calcium, protein, minerals and fibre. It is a fine alternative to rice and pasta; can be used in soups, stews and salads.

You can prepare it in your instant pot, or on the stovetop, just follow the instructions on the pack. I like using it as a salad for the kids lunchboxes, or a starch for dinner. The high fibre content makes one full for longer, and the soft but chewy texture holds up quite well however you use it.

I like making mine like a kind of pilau dish. Simmering it in stock flavoured with different spices.

Here is a simple recipe for 4. Some onion, garlic, ginger, dhania, turmeric, cumin seeds, ground coriander and cumin and garam masala. You can add nuts too or raisins if you wish.
Heat your oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds…
Add the onion, once soft add a tbsp of cashew nuts if using. Once browned, add your ginger garlic paste and the coriander stalks. Mix well.
Add the spices, let them cook well then add the pearl barley as well as some salt and pepper.
Add your stock or water. 2 cups for 1 cup of barley does it. Let it simmer for 30-45 minutes.
After about 40 minutes the water will have drained and the barley soft.

It is now ready to serve with your sides of choice.

I served it here with some leftover kala chana curry and greens with some mince, and avocado on top.
I served it here with an eggplant and potato curry and rogan gosht.

If I am using it for a salad, I only use a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper when simmering, so it can absorb the other salad flavour components well. It goes well with a shredded chicken, cucumber and tomato salad, or a simple tomato and avocado salad.

How do you prepare your pearl barley?