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!

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.

Stewed Beef with tamarind and apricot.

This is a thick and rich beef stew that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser when one is entertaining.

It goes well with many dishes and the leftovers can be great for a sandwich.

The addition of the dried fruits adds a bit of sweetness that blends in well with the other spices used.

You will need:-

1. Stewing Beef 1 kg, cut in medium chunks.

2. One large onion, chopped. One bay leaf.

3. Ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp

4. Mixed spice blend, 1 tbsp. Divide in half.

5. Honey, a tbsp.

6. Apricots dried 1 cup chopped

7. Tomatoes 3, blended

8. Tamarind paste 1 tbsp

12. Bell pepper, chopped

13. Hot water / stock 2 cups

Method.

Rub beef with some oil and half the mixed spice blend. Rub all over well.

Heat pan and add oil.

Sear beef set aside.

Add oil if needed. Then bay leaf, onions and cook till soft. Add garlic ginger.

Next ground spices mixed well.

These are spices I used to make a spices blend for this dish, as well as a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Add tomatoes and tamarind and bell peppers.

I used some tomato paste too.

Let them cook down well. Return the beef.

I used raisins and apricots; you can chop the apricots too if you wish.

Cook low and slow for an hour then add the dried fruit mix. And some honey.

Add more water if needed.

Cook for another 30 or so minutes, on low, until meat is tender and sauce thick.

The meat is really tender at this point with a lovely aroma.

Check seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot over rice and salad on the side.

It makes an excellent main when entertaining or as a family meal. We had ours with some rice, potatoes and salad.
This is my go to beef dish when serving many people. It goes well with other dishes.

Chickpea pilaf.

This is a delicious and flavour full one pot meal that’s tasty, healthy and easy to make.

Chickpeas are rich in nutrients; a great source of protein which is perfect if you don’t want to use meat in the dish. The greens used here (amaranth and spinach) are also great sources of vitamins and protein too.

Colourful and tasty.

I like one pot rice meals such as this as they come together so fast and one can put in what’s available to make a tasty meal.

You will need:-

  • 1 cup of rinsed and drained chickpeas.
  • One large onion, chopped.
  • Two tbsp coconut oil. Or ghee.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds and one bay leaf.
  • One cup soaked basmati rice.
  • Ginger garlic paste. A tbsp will do.
  • 2tsp ground good quality pilau masala.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Greens of choice ( I bunch will do, chopped).
  • Chopped coriander.
  • 2 cups water or stock.

Method.

  • Heat your pan and add your coconut oil as well as cumin seeds and bay leaf.
  • Once they start sputtering, add onions, cook until starting to brown then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Before adding the pilau masala.
  • Next go in the coriander stalks and the chickpeas, as well as salt and pepper, followed by the chopped greens. I used a mix of amaranth leaves and spinach I had leftover from a previous meal.
  • Add the rice and mix well. Then in goes your stock. Cover and simmer till all the water is drained and rice is cooked through.

Serve with a salad of your choice.

I had mine with a simple tomato cucumber and onion salad.

Perfect for a light dinner, quick lunch and a hit with the kids.

What’s not to love about this beautiful meal?

Delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Moist, flavorful beef meatballs simmered in a thick sauce of tomatoes and other vegetables will have your children eating their plates clean and you get to fill them in with hidden vegetables they may not otherwise agree to eat.

Win. Win.

Smells, looks and tastes amazing!

Let’s get started.

Our ingredients for the meatballs are:- 500 g beef mince (not lean), one grated onion, 1 egg, 4 minced garlic cloves, salt and black pepper, 1/ cup of breadcrumbs, 1 tsp mixed herbs (basil, oregano,thyme and parsley) and 1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat your oven at 200 ° C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix all the above ingredients together and scoop a tablespoon rolling into balls. I made 20 balls.

Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes after drizzling with some olive oil. Turn / flip them after ten minutes.

Note: A lot of people fry the meatballs to lock in the juices and get a nice char or crispness to the meatballs’ exterior. Baking them as I did gave the same result without the frying up. The balls crisp up well on the outside but are juicy and tender on the inside. Well cooked, full of flavour and oh so tasty. The fat in the mince and the cheese inside work well to ensure they remain moist inside.

As the balls bake, you can get started on the sauce. You will need:-

  • One onion chopped
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk
  • Four tomatoes, sliced
  • Grated mixed vegetables- I used one carrot, one eggplant and one courgette.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.
  • One can tomato sauce
  • A pinch of sugar.
  • A teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.
  • One cup hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

Method.

Heat your pan and add the olive oil as well as the minced garlic.

Let it cook in the oil and release it’s lovely aroma, before adding the onion and celery.

Mix well and cook till onion is softened, then add the herbs.

Let cook a while then add the sliced tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let them cook on low till mushy, before adding the grated mixed vegetables.

Let them also cook a bit. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the canned tomato sauce and a pinch of sugar. Mix well as it cooks and thickens. Add the hot water, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Sauce will be smelling so good. Check seasoning and thickness before adding the baked meatballs. Still on low, let them simmer for another 20 or so minutes on low.

Once the sauce is ready. Serve with your spaghetti and some grated Parmesan on top.

Dig in and enjoy this tasty, filling and colorful dish.

This is comfort food as its best. Definitely worth a try.

Love,

Wanjoro.