Pasta ‘motukanio’

Motukanio – (Embu/Kikuyu) verb: to add everything together.

This is courtesy of my friend Dee. As we were on our way to town from work, I happened to mention that I had intentions of making pasta for dinner. Dee went on and told me of this recipe. You simply make a sauce with whatever you have on hand and instead of cooking the pasta separately, you add it to the sauce and let it cook.

She was taught by her mother and it happens to be the first thing she learnt how to cook. The beauty of this recipe as the name suggests ‘motukanio’ – you just add in whatever you have on hand.

eggplant and bell pepper


1 medium sized onion sliced

3 medium sized tomatoes diced

1 eggplant diced

1 bell pepper diced

pasta of choice

1 cup hot water

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon rubbed basil leaves

salt to taste

In a saucepan heat about 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry the onions.


Add in the tomatoes, eggplant and bell pepper.

Add in the seasoning, garlic,paprika and black pepper.

Cover and let it cook down.

The sauce

When it got to this part, I was a bit confused on what to put first the pasta or the water. But since Dee had mentioned that the water should be just enough to cook the pasta. I opted to put in the pasta so that I can control the level of water.

Stir in the pasta

Add the hot water.

Just about the same level as the pasta

Cook as per the pasta instructions. I cooked mine for 8 minutes. Sprinkle the basil leaves and stir. Aromatic

Serve immediately.

Pasta ‘motukanio’

The beauty of this meal is that it’s complete on it’s own.

Next time you are in a rush to prepare dinner try this.







Chocolate and Vanilla Muffins

I just felt like baking, plus I had some leftover yoghurt and I decided I’ll use it instead of milk.


3/4 cup margarine

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla essence

3/4 cup plain yoghurt

1/4 cup water

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)

A handful of sultanas

Start by greasing your muffin tin and remember to pre heat your oven at 350 degrees F (about 175 degrees C).

Using a wooden spoon/ spatula cream your sugar and margarine.

The sugar and margarine mixture

Then add in the eggs one by one.

in goes the egg

Add the vanilla essence.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder,cinnamon and sultanas.

flour,salt,baking powder

Add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar in three parts alternating with the yoghurt.

pour in a 1/3 of the flour

Take the sultanas and coat them with about a tablespoon of flour. This will ensure that they won’t sink to the bottom of the muffins while baking.

flour coated sultanas

Fold them into the cake batter. In case the batter is a bit think add about 1/4 cup of water.

Now for the chocolate part;

In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder,cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix with about 2 tablespoons of water to get a semi thick paste.

cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg
semi-thick paste

Add half the batter into the paste and stir.

Pour out some of the vanilla better into the muffin tins, about a quarter in each tin.

the vanilla

Then add the chocolate batter. Sadly I don’t have pics since at that point my phone’s charge was out… 😦

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.


Choc-vanilla muffins


Tasty and pretty moist, I guess it’s because of the yoghurt.

Perfect for an afternoon snack with some tea or hot chocolate.

Onion and Pepper Fried Chicken

Once one gets married you sort of get different kinds of gifts from your spouse. So last week hubby dearest surprised me by buying some chicken legs and fish fillet. Yeah!!! I’m now more excited about chicken legs than chocolate.O-o  PS. He still gets me chocolate.

It had been a while since I had cooked some chicken legs. I was confused on what to do with them. After defrosting them, they lay on the kitchen counter as I tried to invent a recipe.

Still clueless on what to do with the chicken, I chopped up a white onion and sliced a bell pepper.

1 white onion chopped, 1 bell pepper sliced

So after much thought I decided to fry it.

In a saucepan/skillet add 1 tablespoon of oil. You don’t need a lot. Since I was using chicken legs from a broiler. They are pretty fatty. (I even had to trim some fatty off)

Place the chicken legs in the pan. Ensure you’ve sliced the legs to ensure the spices soak in.


1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

4-5 cardamon pods

Salt to taste

Sprinkle the spices on the chicken.


Cover and let the chicken cook for about 15 minutes on one side then flip over for the other side to cook.

I have to mention, at this point the aroma in the kitchen..Heavenly

The chicken…

After 30 minutes, and flipping the chicken twice. Toss in the onions and bell peppers.

all in…

So hubby, peeks and asks;

Hubby: No tomatoes?

Me: Should I add some them? (I reach for the fridge door to take the tomatoes)

Hubby: Yeah add at least one.

Me: I’m not so sure about it. I don’t want the sauce to be runny. (I toy with the idea and decide to just add one) 

1 tomato diced

Cover and let the sauce cook down for about 5 minutes.

Then serve with ugali and vegetables.

onion and pepper fried chicken 🙂

(sorry forgot to wipe the sides of the plate)


Goodness!!! Delicious. Very flavourful.

Hubby gave it a thumbs up and tick.

PS. The addition of the tomato was just the cherry on top. Thanks hun.

Beans Stew

Since I got married I’ve been meaning to buy some beans but i have never gotten around to doing so. Lucky for me,mom in love must have sensed my need because she sent some over and boy were they a lot. Since they were raw, I needed to boil them first. I saw it as an opportunity to use my pressure cooker…not. After fiddling with the manual I realised I wasn’t so confident and silly me, I had never paid attention whenever my mum was using ours at home. So I just resulted in boiling the beans in a plain sufuria. To avoid boiling for so long, first I soaked the beans. If you can soak them overnight.

Anyway, the beans cooked and I even shared some with my lovely neighbour. After cooling I packed them and stored in the freezer. It’s best if you pack in meal size portions, that way you only defrost the amount you need. Back to the beans stew. I decided to prepare a simple stew with minimal spices, we all know I get a little crazy when it gets to spicing food.


1 onion chopped

3 tomatoes diced

1 eggplant diced

1 bell pepper diced

2 cups Pre-cooked beans

Salt to taste

Black pepper

Oil for frying.

In a saucepan saute the onions.

sizzle sizzle

Season with salt and black pepper then add in the tomatoes,eggplant and bell pepper.

The condiments

Cover and let them cook down. It will take about 8 minutes or so.

The sauce

Then add the thawed beans. You can also add some little water for the sauce.

In goes the beans

Cover and let the beans cook in the sauce. 5-10 minutes is good enough. You just want to get the beans heated up since they are already cooked.

Dinner is served 🙂

Served this with some cinnamon chapatis.


Delicious. Once in a while it’s good to cook sans the many spices. The bell peppers added the needed kick to the stew.

Are there times you just don’t feel like spicing your food?

Cinnamon Chapatis :-)

To say my husband loves chapatis would be an understatement. I think he can even eat them daily.

So sometime last week, actually Wednesday, as we were on our way to visit my mum, we passed by those vibandas (road side kiosks) that make and sell chapatis and this is the conversation that ensued between hubby and I.

Hubby: I think I’ll learn how to make chapos

Me: (all perplexed) Why?

Hubby: Because at this rate, I’ll never get to eat them.

(It had been like 3 weeks since I last cooked them)

Me: Oh… (I burst out in laughter) I promise I’ll make them tomorrow.

Hubby: I won’t keep my hope highs

Me: When did I ever promise you something and I defaulted?

Hubby:…………… (silent)

So after that interesting conversation and my promise, I had to cook chapatis, no matter what. Luckily that Thursday we arrived home early. Funny thing is that hubby had already forgotten that I had promised to make chapatis O-o.


2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup warm water


Wooden spoon

Rolling pin

Wide surfaced pan- preferably cast iron

Board/ Clean surface

First to make the chapati dough.

In a bowl, pour in all the dry ingredients.

flour,salt and cinnamon

Make a well in the flour then pour in the warm water.

Mix with a wooden spoon, till the flour gets combined.

Add in the 3 tbsps of oil.

Once the dough get a bit formed, start using your hands. If it’s too sticky add some little flour. Knead the dough, for about 5-10 minutes. Form it into a ball.

The mixing should be almost clean if not totally.

Lightly brush the dough with some oil, about a tablespoon then let it sit for a while. Mine rested for about 15 minutes. The oil on the surface with prevent it from drying/flaking while resting. I also go an extra mile and cover with a polythene bag.

The chapati batter

Form the dough into almost fist sized round balls. Place on a well floured surface to avoid sticking.

My dough made 13 chapos

Now we begin the real work Well if it were my mother preparing these, she’d just roll them out and cook, she’s a pro like that. I use the longer method, which she taught me. *Thanks mum*

First roll out the small ball of dough, apply about 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Then roll it up.

Step 1: Roll it out
Step 2: Apply the oil
Step 3: Roll it
After rolling it in
Step 4: Fold the rolled in dough.

Repeat this process for all the small balls. It may seem a little time consuming but I guarantee it’s worth every second. This step will ensure that the chapatis have the beautiful layers as you eat. Next time, I’ll show you a time saving trick 🙂 *watch this space*

15 minutes later…

Now, we are ready to cook. Heat your skillet/cast iron pan. Don’t grease it.

Now take one ball, roll it out again. This time try and stick to the circular shape, no one likes rectagular chapatis. Also remember to lightly dust your surface/board with some light flour to keep it form sticking, also dust the rolling pin.

Ready to be cooked

In the pan, place the raw chapati.

In it goes

Rotate it to ensure it cooks evenly. It will sort of rise in some place, press to remove the air. Once one side is lightly browned, turn it.

Almost cooked.

Now, using a spoon, pour about 1/2 tablespoon of oil under the chapati, then rotate it. Once that side is cooked, turn and finish off the other side. Using the same spoon lightly press down the chapati and rotate.

Lifting to oil

Do the same for all the round balls. There is also another trick, though in my opinion it takes more or less the same time as this. I’ll share next time.

Voila, cinnamon chapatis.

Soft layered chapatis, full of cinnamon goodness.


Super soft. The layers were just perfect. Delicious.

Let’s just say, hubby was extremely happy.

We had guests over, the lovely Murigis and they loved them.

PS: I apologise for the poor picture quality, my camera is currently spoiled so I’m using my phone.

Anything goes

You basically put all the fruits you have on hand and make a smoothie.


2 ripe bananas sliced

A handful of strawberries, hauled and sliced

3-4 grapes (i had the ones with seeds)

2 tree tomatoes

1/2 mango diced

1 cup vanilla yoghurt

Smoothies are best for quick lunches and breakfasts. They are pretty filling.

In a blender, throw in all the fruit pieces

mango slices,grapes,strawberry halves,tree tomato and bananas

Add the vanilla yoghurt.

Beautiful colours

Blend for about 3 minutes.


Smoothie 🙂


Serve chilled. Enjoy.





Spicy Potatoes

I love me some potatoes.

Some random Tuesday last week I decide to cook some potatoes I’d been given by my mother in love. As usual I baked them. It’s funny how they are called roast potatoes anyway as long I don’t deep fry, I’m good.

This recipe closely resembles this, only that I was aiming for more spice so I used paprika and black pepper plus a little dried parsley.

I peeled the potatoes, washed and wedged them. Then in a sufuria I add the potato wedges and cover with water add a good amount of salt then bring that to a boil.

I also added a sprig of fresh rosemary (from my mom-in-love’s kitchen garden) for flavour

As the potatoes are cooking, prepare the coating. This time I decide to try something different. Instead of coating the potatoes while on the baking tray, I put all the spices in a ziploc bag. In case you don’t have one you can use an ordinary polythene bag. In the bag add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2-3 tablespoons of paprika,1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and some dried parley. Then shake and shake.

Once the potatoes are ready, you want them semi cooked, drain, then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Toss the potatoes into the ziploc bag that has the spice mixture, shake some more untill all the potatoes are well coated.

Spicing the potatoes

Remember to pre heat the oven at 350.

Line you baking tray with some aluminium foil, then spread out the potato wedges in one layer.

The flash really brightens up the photo

Let them bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Voila! Spicy potatoes



Spicy, crunchy and delicious. Served them with some fish fingers ,chicken smokies. Had my accompaniments all mixed up.

Yoghurt Pancakes

Yep!!! One can apparently put yoghurt in pancakes or so I ‘invented’. I had some leftover plain yoghurt from a previous recipe so I decided to add it into the pancake batter. Have I mentioned that it was to expire in 2 days, yeah, hence the reason I had to  use it and I had no fruits to make a smoothie with it.

This recipe is a bit different from my previous pancake recipes mainly because I also added some corn flour but not to worry you substitute it with all purpose flour.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup corn flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

4 tablespoons plain yoghurt

A handful of raisins

5-6 halved grapes

Oil for frying

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, except for the raisins and grapes.

flour,corn flour,sugar and baking powder

In a jug mix in the wet ingredients.

eggs, yoghurt and vanilla essence

Make a well in the bowl with dry ingredients, then pour in the wet. Mix well. In case the batter is too viscous add some few tablespoons of water to your desired consistency.

Add the chopped up raisins.


Heat your skillet to prepare for frying.

At this point I was ready to start cooking them, then hubby my well and able sous chef suggests I add some grapes. Being the risk taker that I am I complied. You can totally eliminate them.

Some few halved grapes. Colour splash of sorts
Frying them. Always saves time to fry more than two at a go.
Breakfast 🙂


Super fluffy, I think that was mainly cause of the yoghurt. The raisins were a nice addition. I didn’t quite taste the grapes. Hubby loved them. Very filling.

If I could do it all over again:

Eliminate the grapes. (Sorry hubby)

Tip: Don’t be fooled to think I wake up to prepare these on a work morning, the secret lies in making them at night while waiting for dinner to cook. So ladies and gents that is how you have a filling breakfast and save time 🙂

Fish Curry

Since I discovered, the chicken curry recipe, I have modified it to suit different meats. I had some filleted tilapia and I decided to try it out.


1 1/2 fillets of fish – I used tilapia (cut into chunks)

1 cup plain yoghurt

3/4 cup coconut milk

1 onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1/4 teaspoon of ginger minced

2 tablespoons of fish masala

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon curry powder

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying

Some chopped fresh dhania/coriander leaves for garnish

In a large skillet, heat some oil then fry the onions.

sizzle sizzle

Once translucent add in the spices, ginger and garlic.

The onion and spice mixture.

Add the fish chunks, and coat with the spice mixture.

Add the yoghurt and coconut milk.

Bring the curry to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for at most 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. The fish will flake easily.

Once cooked, serve and garnish with fresh chopped dhania.

Fish Curry, Yum

We ate this with some ugali and vegetables. The fish curry will also go great with steamed rice.


Hubby loved it, I found it to be ok. I prefer my fish stewed or pan fried.

Tip: To add more flavour, you can squeeze the juice of one lemon over the curry. I didn’t have any on hand.

Pineapple and Peppers Stir Fry

Sounds odd but it was tasty. It was one of those days I was clueless on what to cook. I had some beef strips in the freezer and we had this ripe pineapple in the fridge. I decided to make a simple stir fry to go with some leftover rice.


1/4 kg beef, cut into strips

1/2 medium sized pineapple cut into chunks

1 bell pepper/hoho diced

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet fry the onions.

Sizzle sizzle

Once fried, remove from pan and set aside.

Fry the beef strips in the same skillet.

keep stirring to ensure they cook evenly.

Remember to season with salt and pepper.

After about 5 minutes add the bell pepper.

Let them cook completely, then add back the fried onions and add the pineapple chunks. Sprinkle the oregano and stir for 2 minutes or so.

Dinner 🙂


Leftover turmeric rice with pineapple and peppers stir fry.


The oregano really brought out the pineapples. Hubby liked it more than I did.

If I could do it over again:

Fry the beef strips together with the onions. I felt there was a disjoint of those two tastes.