Foodie Pen pals: November

So there’s this program called Foodie Pen pals. Basically it’s like the pen pals we had in school, the only different and fun part is you don’t just share notes/letters you also share food stuffs. Exciting.

Cici of foodie in the desert stumbled on the blog with the original idea and thought it would be awesome if we’d try such a thing in Kenya. After all the legal nitty gritties we started the Kenya edition. She got the details of interested people and paired us up.

This month, I was to send Wairimu of Deeper than my Kitchen a foodie package while i received one from Millie of Millie’s Little Palace.

Anyway, so Millie emails me and asks for my info and she tells me that the package will arrive on Monday 26th at 5:30. She lives in Thika, so she sent the package via Chania bus courier services.

After work, I head to town, the Chania bus offices are at Tusker, some building on the 1st floor. After looking for the stairs for like 5 minutes I finally locate and go up. The place looked strange, I even whispered a prayer. I locate the offices,l give my ID and viola I’m given a package. It felt heavy. 🙂 I immediately call Millie and thank her for the package.

On my way home with hubby, I can’t help but wonder what’s in the package. I decided to open it, For those who know me, you must know I love opening gifts. You should have seen me after my wedding. I opened those wedding gifts like crazy.

The smile on my face after seeing what was inside was a sure sign that I loved everything.

Apricot jam, raisins and canned pineapples

After getting home, we opened one can of the pineapples. Excitement!! Very delicious!

Canned Pineapples

Due to my excitement, I forgot to take a photo of the goodies whilst in the packaging but here is the paper bag in which they came in,

Thika
Thanks Millie

I can’t wait to use the apricot jam. As for the raisins, you’ll get to see them in one of my baked goods.

Thanks Millie for the package.

I can’t wait for next month’s pairing.

In case you are interested in joining the foodie pen pal programme you can visit here.

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Shepherd’s Pie

I saw a tweet that led me to this you tube video. You have to admit this is quite a nice idea for a cook show. Anyway, me being me, I just had to try the recipe and the beautiful thing is that I had all the ingredients on hand.

As Peter Nduati (C.E.O, Resolution Health E.A) demonstrated the meal is pretty easy to put together and I think you can never go wrong when baking. I used his recipe with a few tweaks here and there.

Ingredients:

potatoes, onions, peas, minced meat and carrots

For the meat filling

1/2 kg minced meat

1 cup pre-boiled peas

4 carrots chopped

1 onion chopped

1 tomato cubed

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 cup water/beef stock/chicken stock

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt to taste

For the mashed potatoes

Handful of potatoes, peeled,washed and halved

Water for boiling

2 bay leaves

Salt to taste

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp butter

Start by boiling the potatoes.

In a sufuria, place all the potatoes, fill it with just enough water to make them cook. Add the salt and bay leaves and cover.

 bay leaves floating by

Now for the minced meat filling.

In a skillet, heat some oil then fry your onions.

After the onions are slightly cooked add in the minced meat.

Season with the garam masala. Let the meat brown and cook for about 15 minutes. Then add your tomatoes.

after the tomatoes have cooked down.

Add the carrots and let them cook. At this point you can add the water/broth.

Let the meal simmer till the fluid has been greatly reduced then add the peas.

colourful

Now back to the potatoes. Drain them in a colander, remove the bay leaves and discard. Sprinkle over the turmeric powder and add the butter. Mash to your heart’s content. Taste to check if the salt is enough.

A dash of orange- turmeric powder

Now, we are ready to assemble the dish.

Rub an oven friendly casserole dish with some butter.

buttered dish

Put one layer of the mashed potatoes as the base.

layer one

Then line the mince meat filling.

layer two

Finally top off with the remaining mashed potatoes. I have put quite a lot of the mashed potatoes on the base that the remainder wasn’t enough to completely cover the top.

Finally, grate some cheddar cheese on the top.

ready for baking

Bake in a pre heated oven at 350 F for 15 minutes.

done!

As per Peter’s recipe, there was a white sauce which i didn’t make since I didn’t have white onions. I had however made some kachumbari which I served with.

Verdict:

Delicious. Hubby loved it and so did our guest Ben.

Baked Meatballs in Tomato and Pepper Sauce

Sometime last week my colleague mentioned meatballs then I realised it had been quite a while since I’d prepared any. One thing with food is that when you start thinking about something you just have to get it. I figured all that I needed was the minced meat which I was sure I’d get from our local butcher.

The beauty of this recipe over the previous one is that it’s less tedious since you just pop the meatballs into the oven and wait. Plus no frying involved hence it’s the healthier option.

Ingredients:

For the meat balls

1/2 kg minced meat

2 pork sausages – casings removed

2 cloves of garlic

Cheddar cheese – I had it in the fridge so I thought , why not use it – spontaneity

2 tablespoons dried parsley

4 tablespoons bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, put the minced meat, sausage meat and grate over the cheese and garlic.

the minced meat, sausage meat , cheese and garlic

Mix with the fork till all the ingredients are well incorporated. Then add the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper.

Mix well and you are ready to bake. Well not just yet, make medium sized balls first.

Remember to pre heat the oven at 350ºF.

Oil your baking dish with some vegetable oil.

Place the meatballs onto the prepared baking dish then slightly press down with a fork.

all done- well half at least

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove flip over and let the other side cook for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

all cooked and crispy

You can freely enjoy your meatballs at this stage but I normally prefer them in a sauce.

Put the meatballs on a paper towel lined plate so as to drain the oil.

yummy

At this point, hubby had just walked in from work, without much thought, I quickly give him a bite of the meatball and his reaction says it all. Jackpot!!

This recipe yielded 30 meatballs. I decided to store half for later and cooked the remaining half.

For the sauce;

Fry the onions in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

1 onion chopped

Cubed 2 tomatoes and slice 1 half of green bell pepper.

colour blocking?

Once the onions are cooked, add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

tomatoes and tomato paste

Cover and let the tomatoes cook down. Add just about 2 tablespoons of water.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of rubbed basil leaves

the sauce

Finally add the bell pepper and meatballs.

swimming

I served over steamed white rice. You can also serve with spaghetti.

Verdict:

Best meatballs ever!! I kid you not. I dare you to try this recipe. You will not be disappointed.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

What do you do when you just have one chicken leg in the freezer but you have two mouths to feed?

Simple: Make chicken soup for hubby then shred the chicken to make sandwiches 🙂

Ingredients:

Pre cooked chicken leg – I had boiled it in water with onions, garlic and ginger

3 brown bread buns halved

2 tomatoes sliced

1 cucumber sliced

1 garlic clove halved

Mozzarella cheese slices

Tomato sauce

Margarine

This sandwich is pretty simple to do and gets ready in under 15 minutes, well if you had pre-cooked the chicken.

pre-cooked chicken leg

Start by pulling the chicken meat from the bone, hence pulled chicken.

pulling the chicken apart

Tada, chicken shreds.

chicken shreds

Now, prepare the buns to get ready to assemble the sandwich.

plain looking buns

Apply margarine on both halves, then toast them in a hot skillet for about 3 minutes or until they are crispy.

not so plain looking buns

Rub the garlic halves on the crispy side to just give the bread a light garlic taste.

Now, we are ready to assemble.

cucumber slices,tomato slices and mozzarella slices

Start by putting the cheese slices on one half.

Microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

Pile on the remaining ingredients.

Add the tomatoes.

Add the chicken shreds.

almost done 🙂

Finally top off with the cucumber, then put the tomato sauce. In case you have mayonnaise you can also put that.

excuse the shadow
yummy

Dinner is served.