Easy Peasy Pizza.

It has been a while since I baked as the oven has been out of order. What better way to test it after repairs than make some tasty homemade pizza?

I have already shared the pizza base recipe here. But this time I changed up the pizza sauce to a no tomato one that is just as, if not more, tasty than my usual one.

As always, I usually make one with meat and the other with veggies, and mozzarella was my cheese of choice. Topping one was goat meat aka chevon, which I had slowly cooked with only garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper. Second topping was grilled eggplant that I had marinated with Jamaican jerk seasoning paste. Hot and spicy!

Let’s get started.

I made a tasty sauce with some roasted vegetables – Beetroot, carrot, onion, garlic, and green pepper. Take one medium beetroot, apply a bit of olive oil. Wrap the beetroot in foil tightly and roast at 200°C for 30 minutes or so till soft. Let cool, peel and chop.

Sprinkle the other veggies with some olive sail, salt, freshly ground pepper and a teaspoon of ground mixed spices blend. You can peel the garlic after roasting.

Roast them for half the time. ( 20 minutes). Let cool a bit and blend with 2 tbsp water to make a tasty pizza sauce.

It smells and tastes really good.

On to the toppings.

By now your dough is risen well. Punch and knead a bit before dividing and shaping into 2 medium pizzas. Spread on a baking sheet with some corn flour poured on it so the pizza doesn’t stick.

Apply a bit of olive oil on the pizza bases, then the roasted vegetable pizza sauce, a bit of cheese, the toppings then the rest of the cheese. I used grated mozzarella.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes at 200°C.

Mind you the pizza crusts are quite thick.

Tasty and cheesy.

Both pizzas were really delicious! The eggplant has a kick of the hot and spicy jerk seasoning, that blends well with the sweetness of the pizza sauce that balances with the cheese taste. The goat aka chevon pizza is fragrant, the meat is tender and melts in well with the cheese and sauce too. The roasted vegetable sauce is really tasty too. The beetroot brightens it up and adds sweetness, and the other roasted vegetables though caramelised balance the sweetness well, and the mixed spices help deepen this unique flavour. It is also a great option if you do not want tomatoes and a fun way to get those veggies in your kiddies tummies right?

Next time you want to indulge in some thick crust homemade pizza, why not try this out? It is not hard to make, is colourful, delicious, filling and definitely different from what you are used to.

Carrot Rice with Sweet Potato and Pea Stew.

This is a simple weekday meal that is perfect when you want to up your veggie intake in a delicious way.

As always, it is easy to make, colourful, tasty and works well for the kids’ lunchbox too.

Easy Peasy and Tasty!

Sweet and Sticky Wings.

This recipe is perfect when you are craving something sweet, sticky and finger licking good.

It doesn’t need many ingredients, is easy to make and the taste is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Ingredients are :-

  • About 400g chicken wings, cleaned and cut into two.
  • 1 minced garlic clove.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Coca Cola soda. (Coke).
  • 1 tbsp black strap molasses.
  • 2 tbsp honey.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (I lemon).
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves.
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds.

Method.

Pat the wings dry and rub some salt, pepper and the crushed garlic clove all over them well.

Heat a non stick pan and fry the wings till brown on both sides. This will take about ten minutes.

In a bowl, mix the honey, molasses and lemon juice into a smooth, thickish mixture.

Add the soda and mix well too.

Add the coke and molasses mix to the chicken, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

The sauce will thicken and add a nice colour to the wings, ensure they do not burn.

Once ready, garnish with the coriander and sesame seeds, serve immediately and dig in for a really tasty snack.

The chicken is moist on the inside, has a lovely brown colour on the outside and a sweet taste that is not sickeningly sweet, thanks to the deep blackstrap molasses flavour. It is seriously sticky and what better way to enjoy them than eating with your hands to enjoy the full taste?

The wings are really tasty and really sticky.

Don’t blame me if you find yourself licking your fingers. 🤪

These wings are one sticky situation you will not mind being stuck in!

House Matters.

Shelter is a basic need. We all need somewhere to go home to, a place to call our own, a haven from daily work struggles and a place to be safe from the elements.

Where I come from, a lot of people believe that one of the things a person should aspire to have is his or her own piece of land, where they can go ahead and construct their own home. For those who do not own property near the city, it is assumed that by the time your working life ends, you will have finished constructing a place in the village to retire to, complete with a cow and chicken coop and space to grow your own vegetables to boot.

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I grew up about 15 km from Nairobi, in a rural village juxtaposed with a college campus on one side, a farming area on another and a busy highway on another end that connects the capital to the Rift Valley. Folks made fun of it a lot, but it is home. We lived on our own land, so no rent, had our cows, chicken and eggs, and a land to farm on, which meant food was easily accessible. Back then a lot of people believed living in town (within the city and suburbs) was the best life. Well, not anymore. I keep reading and seeing more people opting to move to our area and beyond and farm life and waking up to the sound of birds singing has more appeal now.

Times have changed. We are no longer living within our tribal communities’ geographical boundaries. People are choosing to settle anywhere they feel comfortable. This could be in different towns, countries or even continents.

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With the pandemic, a lot of people have had to cut down on living costs. Housing is one of the things that takes up a large chunk of one’s income if you live in the city where rent is high. A lot of people are opting to move farther away to the country side or different counties altogether where life is more affordable, which is a good decision. Adapting to Covid 19 has taught us that it is possible for many to work from home, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can work from anywhere.

Land is very expensive too, not all of us may afford to get that land to build our dream house on. One can opt to get a mortgage and settle on an already built housing unit or just decide to rent for life. Which is fine.

Culture is dynamic, there is nothing cast in stone, we need to adapt to these changes and respect each others’ decisions on what is best for them. That does not mean however that these decisions are easy to arrive at.

Is there a need of having to build a house in the village that you will head to once or twice a year for a week tops, that will then stay empty till the day you retire to the village? On the other hand, it will be great to have a roof over your head with no pressure to pay rent in case your income lines dry up.

What about buying an already built property; if you do not have the ability to pay cash upfront, are you willing to be burdened with a mortgage for almost 3/4 or even all of your working life?

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Or you buy land somewhere, then extreme changes in weather, like what we have been experiencing worldwide, force you to move. Lake levels are rising here and old dried up waterways are filled with water now as well as wetlands we thought are dried up. These are places people settled in and lived for years until recently, now their homes are gone!

Some properties are also controversial in terms of location and land ownership. Imagine taking out a loan to buy a house that turns out to built on land later claimed by the government or somebody else, or buying a house that ends up not being structurally sound?

Once you hear all the horror stories some people go through, renting suddenly looks more appealing than ever.

No matter the decision, shelter is a basic right for all. We all need somewhere to live, rest and sleep in. Choosing where to live depends on our economic situation, affordability, access to infrastructure, quality of life and also access to quality education if you have kids. Security too. And not just burglary and the likes, there are certain areas that are prone to tribal clashes every few years.

There is a lot to consider when making the decision where to live, and there is no perfect place that one will pick and say “This is it.” It is all about weighing all that you consider important, the pros and cons, do your due diligence, and make the final place you decide on a home fit for you and your family.

Kala Chana Pilau.

I am a big fan of pilau as there are so many ways you can mix it up and always end up with a tasty and filling dish. It provides one with so many ways to spice up one pot rice, works well for weekday dinner and leftovers are perfect for the kids’ school lunch boxes.

In this specific pilau I used some brown chickpeas also known as ‘kala Chana’ , some cashew nuts and a little chicken too and the result was an aromatic and palate pleasing dish.

Let’s get started.

Our ingredients are a cup of basmati rice, two sliced onions, half a cup of already boiled brown chickpeas, a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp of ground pilau masala, salt to taste, 1 tbsp butter, and some whole pilau masala spices (1 bay leaf, a small stick of cinnamon, a few black peppercorns, cloves and cardamoms and a tsp of cumin seeds). I also added in about 300 g of chicken breast and a few raw cashew nuts.
Heat your sauce pan and add the butter and a small drop of oil so the butter doesn’t burn. Add the whole spices and let them release their aroma for a few seconds.
Add the sliced onions and let them cook till caramelized.

Add the ginger garlic paste and mix well. Then add the pilau masala and mix well. Then add a few raw cashews. Mix and ensure the spices do not burn.

Add your chicken if using. let cook till browned and coated well with the spicy mixture.
Add in the kala chana. Mix and let it also get coated and absorb the masala mix. Do not forget your salt and pepper. The aroma at this time is amazing!
Add your rice, then 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice is ready.
The rice is now ready to serve. You can have it with some raita on the side, a curry accompaniment or a simple green salad.

It is a very tasty and filling meal. The chickpeas provide nutrients, colour and an earthy flavour that is complemented well by the pilau spices, the tender chicken and the sweetness of the cashew nuts and caramelized onions.

We had it with a simple vegetable salad and some jeera potatoes. Filling, tasty, easy to make and colourful; all my favorites for a meal I love.

Give it a try and let me know what you think of this dish.