Rice balls are a fave way to use up leftover rice in our house, and they make a perfect snack for the kids’ lunchboxes too.
Add in finely chopped vegetables, spices, herbs and cheese, they are quite versatile in terms of how you can flavour them up.
I like using short grained rice for the rice balls. It sticks together better than my beloved basmati, and the brand I use has a lovely aroma too. (I use Numa, which is a local Ugandan brand). I also prefer baking them rather than frying as its less to clean up and healthier too.
For the ingredients, I usually use:-
1. 2 cups of already cooked and chilled short grain rice.
2. 1 tsp dried mixed herbs.
3. 1/4tsp ground tumeric
4. 1 tsp paprika
5. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. 1 cup grated cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella or a mix of both).
7. 1 tbsp mayonnaise.
8. 1 egg.
9. 2 tbsp breadcrumbs.
10. 1/2 cup of drained and shredded tuna, or chopped sandwich ham or chicken.
11. 1/2 cup mixed finely chopped veggies. ( I like adding onion, garlic, and bell peppers)
(Tip: if you opt to fry the balls instead of baking, you can roll them in some all purpose / besan flour/ rice flour then fry to get a crispy layer on top).
The rice balls are so easy to make.
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
2. Line a baking tray with some baking paper.
3. In a large bowl, combine all your preferred ingredients well. Roll them into balls and place them on the baking tray. I usually get about 18- 20 balls at a go.
4. Spray lightly with some olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve them with a salad of choice and ketchup. They are so yummy.
Easy to make, colourful, healthy, fuss free, filling and so tasty.
Porridge is a popular breakfast option in many cultures around the world. It is also a good meal for weaning babies, convalescing adults and anyone struggling with a solid food diet.
There are many ways and options for making porridge. In our culture, we like it fresh but also fermented . We call it “ucuru wa mukio. You can read more about it here.
I love fermented porridge, it is full of good bacteria, as well as nutrients. It is usually served on festive occasions and also to breastfeeding mothers, as it is believed to boost milk production. I remember when I got my first born, my grandmothers as well as my mother in law made me some. At one time I had three full jerrycans of fermented porridge. That’s almost 100 litres! I loved it.
I am yet to try making some fermented porridge for myself from scratch, but it is definitely on my to do list.
Porridge is a great breakfast option. It is usually rich in carbohydrates, making you fuller for longer, regulating your appetite as a result. It is rich in fibre, boosts immunity, and abundant in various minerals and vitamins too. For example, did you know finger millet is one of the richest plant sources of calcium, as compared to other cereals? Porridge is a great way to indulge in our whole grains and get all the amazing benefits in one go.
I have attached a video below of how I make my oatmeal sometimes.
This was a decadent, delicious bowl. Yum!
If using porridge flour, I usually boil 3 cups of water on the stove top. In a small bowl, I mix 6 tbsp of the porridge flour with another cup of cold water to get a thick, smooth paste. I then add the paste to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon till it thickens to my liking. I let it simmer on low for about 10 or so minutes then add some milk or peanut butter, if using. This makes enough porridge for 3-4 people.
I sweeten my porridge with honey though sugar also works well, but when using sugar I add it in while still on the stovetop so it can dissolve completely.
Porridge bowls are quite versatile so you can play around with your preferred flavours and toppings.
Other add ons once I pour some porridge into my bowl are chia seeds, baobab powder, black seed powder, desiccated coconut, chocolate flakes, moringa powder. Nuts and seeds work well too, as do chopped fresh fruit or dried fruit. Banana, raisins, passion pulp, mango cubes add yummy flavours, interesting texture and added colour and nutrients to your porridge bowl. Work with what you like and have on hand. 🤗
Porridge is a perfect comfort food to me, especially on cold, dull mornings, during the rainy season and anytime I feel I am missing home. A bowl of thick porridge works wonders in lifting my mood.
Here are other delicious breakfast ideas worth checking out.
Bush Baby Lodge is a tranquil lodge located in Mukono, less than 2 hours out of Kampala.
It is the perfect place for a young family to chill out in a natural environment, surrounded by lots of trees, birdsong and fresh air.
We visited Bush Baby lodge late last year and of all the places we have gone, I would not mind returning for another visit. Maybe because it reminded me of where I grew up.
It is no fancy, sprawling resort, but it has many unique offerings. From guided activities for both kids and adults such as bike rides, horseback riding, birdwatching, painting for the kids, lots of kids and adults books to read in case you want to chill out and delicious, healthy, organic food, most of which is sourced from the farm the lodge is located on.
Yes, the lodge is located on a farm guys, complete with its own forest! Which you can walk through, with a guide of course. You can get to see some of the farm animals too. Cows, pigs, goats, donkeys, rabbits, sheep and chickens. And, the kids get a chance to milk the cows! So, if you are a pure urbanite whose kids need to know where milk comes from, this is the perfect place to get up close and candid with them.
We were there for three magical days and I did not want to leave.
Sample this: You wake up to the most amazing weaver birdsong right outside your window, head to the dining area for a healthy breakfast spread that includes fresh milk, perfectly made to your preference organic eggs, freshly baked and warm bread, and lots of organic vegetables sides to have alongside your morning coffee or tea. They had some delicious roasted pumpkin cubes one morning, I had seconds and had to ask the chef for the recipe. Which he agreed to give me. Yippee! And lots of fresh fruit options too.
After the filling breakfast, you can head down to take the kids horseback riding or the farm tour. Then the kids can enjoy themselves on the big playground that includes swings, slides or take one of the lodges’ bicycles for a short ride within the property.
There are also guided fun activities for the kids such as painting eggs, slip and slide water play, among others. As the kids do their thing, get your binoculars and try to see how many bird species you can sport on your own. The lodge has detailed books with pictures, on the birds and flora you can view around the property.
These activities made you all a bit hungry? No worries. Buffet lunch with healthy, delicious food offerings is set up outside under one of the large trees. You can have your pick of some nutritious soup, fresh vegetables side dishes and some rice or roast potatoes, downed with some freshly squeezed juice.
If you want to take it slow in the afternoon, you can pick a book from their varied selection and enjoy some quiet reading with your cup of coffee or tea, as the kids frolic about or go swimming (more like dipping) in the pool.
Before you know it, it is dinner time. On one of the nights there we were led into the forest, to a large clearing where tables and food stations had been set up under the trees. Nothing beats a nightime barbecue dinner experience. And after dinner, we got to listen for bush babies as well as some woodland owls which are found on the property. This was such a wonderful and exciting experience for both the kids and adults present.
After waiting and finally getting to see one of the owls, you can chill out by the large bonfire and tell each other scary stories or just catch up.
One of the reasons I loved Bush baby lodge so much is the amount of activities the kids can get to do, that they may not get to enjoy if in an urban area. Getting muddy, running barefoot in the grass, wide open spaces to roll around in, the farm tour where they get to learn so much and have a practical experience while at it.
The lodge has awesome customer care too. The manager is present and easily available, the guides are all knowledgeable and patient and kind with the kids and also creative at coming up with simple but fun activities for the children.
This was one holiday I actually got to finish a novel from beginning to end; we were all fully occupied in fun and relaxing things to do, and to me that is what makes an awesome holiday experience.
My kids and I love the bright pink colour of these beetroot rolls or bun. They are delicious and easy to make. They are good enough on their own or with a soup or as a sandwich.
For this recipe, I used 3 cups of all purpose flour. Added about Half a cup of atta (whole wheat ) flour. One tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, one cup of warm water, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tsp yeast, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, one tsp of ground mixed spice (I like the savory flavour) and one grated beetroot.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mix and stir well with a wooden spoon till it comes together into a shaggy dough. Then place onto a floured countertop and knead with your hands till smooth and soft.
Oil the dough, cover and let rest till doubled in size. It takes one hour in a warm area. Or a switched off oven with the light on.
Punch air out of the dough once risen then shape into 12 rolls.
Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Cover and let the shaped buns rest for about 30- 45 minutes before baking for about 18 minutes in a 180°c oven.
I brushed them with a honey butter mix before putting in the oven and after taking them out.
For honey butter, melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter then add in 1 tbsp honey and mix well. It makes rolls soft, gives a nice sheen, aroma and a bit of yummy stickiness.
You can top the buns with sesame seeds too if you want.
Green bananas, aka matooke or green fig are popular in the region, and inexpensive as they are available all year round. They are mostly served stewed or steamed and mashed, but can also be fried or baked.
I have shared several green banana recipes here on the blog already, from the usual stew, to a curry, baked or fried as French fries or cutlets, and even as porridge.
I love fritters. They are a great way to use up various vegetables you have on hand and are easy to whip up, need just a few pantry staples, and do not take too much time to make. In this recipe, green bananas are the star of this vegan friendly and gluten free meal, that is inspired by Indian pakoda aka fritters.
They work well as an appetizer or snack (tea time or after school), though they can be quite filling if you are unable to have just a few, like my household and I. 😋
For this recipe you will need:-
1. A small bunch of medium sized green bananas. If they are big, 2-3 fingers will do for a family of 4-5. (As a snack).
2. 1 small onion.
3. 3 large cloves of garlic.
4. 1 cup chickpea flour; also known here as besan/ gram / bhajia flour.
5. 1/2 cup cornflour. Can be substituted with rice flour.
6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Spices -a small pinch each of turmeric, paprika, ground coriander.
8. Herbs- I use parsley or mixed herbs.
9. 1 tsp baking soda.
10. Cooking oil to fry in. Half a litre will do.
1. Wash the green bananas, peel them and soak them in a bowl of water to avoid them blackening. (Tip: Peeling bananas under running water will ensure your hands and knife do not get the sticky stains that usually bother one when peeling them).
2. Heat your oil on medium.
3. In a large bowl, add the flours, salt, pepper and spices and whisk till well combined.
4. Grate your onion and garlic directly into the flour, and add in the parsley.
5. Grate the bananas into the mixture too, and using your hands, mix gently to combine everything.
6. You do not need to add water to the mixture as the vegetables will release their water as you mix.
7. Add the baking soda last and give it one last mix. Remember to be gentle.
8. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture into the hot oil, and fry for about five minutes or until golden brown.
9. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
10. Serve hot with your condiment of choice. They are tasty enough on their own or with a hot cup of spiced tea. Yum!
Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, they are so flavourful both in and out.