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.

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!

Stewed Mung beans with Eggplant.

Mung bean, green gram, moong, pojo or as we call it in Swahili, ‘Ndengu’, is a legume that is rich in nutrients, easy to cook and versatile as it blends in well with many flavour bases. In an onion, tomato gravy, sautéed with greens, in coconut milk, as a filling for savory pancakes or vegetarian samosas, it holds its own quite well. They are mostly sold as dry cereals, but one can sprout them too for added health benefits.

I like it uncomplicated, just simmered in an onion, tomato sauce with a bit of curry powder; I will definitely have a second helping. Ndengu also goes well with starchy sides such as chapati, rice and even ugali.

This time round I opted to add in roasted then mashed eggplant, it thickens the sauce and also adds a hint of smokiness in the dish.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 cups of already boiled legumes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes and 1 green pepper (capsicum) grated
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp dhania jeera powder
  • 1 heaped tsp Kenyan curry powder
  • 1 large eggplant, roasted over open flame then mashed. You can also broil it for 20-30 minutes in the oven then peel and mash.
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric, or if you have whole, cut a small piece and crush with the ginger and garlic.

Method.

Heat your pan, add oil and the cumin seeds, once they release their aroma and begin sizzling in the oil, add your finely chopped onion. Mix well and let cook till it is soft and translucent.

Add the crushed ginger, garlic and turmeric paste and let cook off the raw smell, before adding in the spices.

Lower the heat and let the ground spices cook well for them to release their oil, aroma and flavour. You can add a tablespoon of water so they do not burn, then add the tomato paste.

This will be followed by your grated tomato and capsicum mix.

Cover and let them cook down till it’s a bit dry and the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Add in your mashed eggplant and some seasoning.

Once the eggplant in mixed in well, add the boiled ndengu / mung beans. Mix well before adding in the water or stock.

Simmer for 20-25 minutes on low till the stew is well flavoured, thick and cooked well enough.

Check your seasoning, garnish then serve.

I used the green part of some leftover spring onion to garnish.

A bowl of this is quite filling for a light lunch, for a heartier meal, you can have it with rice, ugali or chapati on the side.

We had it with some soft and delicious carrot and spring onion chapati.

Colourful, healthy, filling, easy to make and oh so tasty! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Love,

Wanjoro.