The other day I attended an ‘itara’ – it is one of those celebrations that lead up to a wedding, where the bride’s family go to see where the bride will be married i.e the groom’s parents’ home. The catering was so on point and for the first time ever I got to taste real creamed spinach. Creamed spinach is a dish many hotel claim to serve but I can guarantee you, it’s just a rip off, just ordinary cooked spinach if you ask me.
Anyway, after the wonderful experience, I got inspired to find out how to make it. As usual I searched for a recipe online and was pleased to discover that one of my favourite food bloggers Ree of The Pioneer Woman has one. Ree is such a funny writer and I always enjoy reading her recipes.
This recipe may look a bit complicated but I guarantee that it’s foolproof 🙂 I sorta halved her recipe since I was just cooking for hubby and I. If you are planning to cook for more people I suggest you follow her quantities.
For the cream sauce
Butter about 50 gms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of nutmeg
For the spinach
Spinach – enough for 4 people (hard to say quantity, I bought 3 bunches for Kshs. 10 each)
2 tablespoons butter
In a sauce pan start by making the white sauce. Melt the butter, do this on low heat.
Sprinkle over the plain flour and start whisking, I don’t have a whisk so I just used my handy dandy wooden spoon.
Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently till golden brown.
Add the onions and garlic.
Stir together and cook for another minute.
Finally add the milk whilst whisking.
Cook the sauce for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. It will start to thicken
Now, saute the spinach. Here I got hubby to assist with both the sauteeing and the photography 🙂
In another sufuria, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. You may be required to add in the spinach in batches. Luckily my sufuria was large enough so it sufficed.
Add the spinach.
How deceptive the spinach is, it fills up the sufuria only to wilt and reduce in after a few minutes of cooking. Ensure not to overcook the spinach, it should still have a crunch to it.
Back to the sauce, at this point, I got a bit worried cause mine had really thicken, nothing like Ree’s , don’t fret though. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and add the pinch of nutmeg.
Now spoon over the sauteed spinach stirring it in gently.
The thickness of my sauce didn’t mess up the outcome. Such a relief.
In case you find it a bit too creamy for your liking add more sauteed spinach.
Wow!!! Someone say AMAZING!!!\
I dare you, try this creamed spinach recipe and for sure you won’t regret it.
Sometime back hubby and I had gone for dinner at my parents home and mum had prepared some boiled bananas that complemented the beef and veggies very well. I had never thought of preparing them like that, with new ideas in mind I purposed to try it out. Fast forward a few weeks later, I get a bunch of unripe bananas from my pal Judy.
This recipe is pretty simple and requires minimal ingredients 🙂 I chose to fry mine instead of boiling so as to add a nice touch to the taste.
4 medium sized onions sliced
8 unripe bananas, peeled and washed
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Serves 3 people
Tip: When peeling the bananas, to avoid the sap from sticking onto your hands, you can either wear a polythene bag as gloves then peel or apply some vegetable oil on your hands. 🙂
In a sufuria, heat the vegetable oil then add the onions.
Patience is required to ensure the onions cook down well, we want them translucent not burned, so do it on low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Once cooked add the bananas and coat with the onions. Cover for a few minutes to let the flavour of the onions infuse the bananas.
Add some little (emphasis on little) water to get the bananas cooking. As the bananas cook down the water will also evaporate.
Cover and let the bananas cook.
You will know the bananas are done when they flake easily when pierced by a fork.
Serve with your favourite stew and veggies.
I served with chicken in coconut sauce and creamed spinach. The recipe for creamed spinach will be up on the blog tomorrow 🙂
This was one delicious meal. I have to say this, I surprised myself.
My friend Dee told me of mouth watering mashed potatoes that she had at Cafe Brasserie at the Village Market. Her exact words were that with every spoonful the mashed potatoes melt in your mouth. I’m yet to visit the place to second her sentiments so for now I’ll stick to perfecting my own recipe.
When it comes to mashed potatoes, I’m never in the search of perfection but after my convo with Dee I got inspired to put more effort in my cooking and it definitely paid off.
Potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed
3 bay leaves
Margarine/ Butter – I used margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
I chose to cube the potatoes so they cook faster, more evenly and make the mashing process a bit easier. The other trick when making mashed potatoes is using cold water so that as the water warms the potatoes are also cooking.
In a sufuria add the potatoes, water and the bay leaves. Season with the salt and pepper.
The amount of water should almost be at the same level as the potatoes. Cover and let the potatoes cook until they flake easily when pierced with a fork.
Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and drain the water.
Mash your heart out, well not your heart but the potatoes.
Now to the exciting part. To make the potatoes fluffy and creamy is adding milk and butter/ margarine and mashing them in. The quantity of both is not standard as it would depend on how you want them. The main idea is to ensure the milk is warm and so is the butter that way the potatoes aren’t shocked if they were cold, make sense?
Ensure to add the milk in very small portions of about a tablespoon, the idea is get creamy mashed potatoes not potato soup 🙂
After achieving the desired result taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Serve immediately with some beef stew and veggies.
Melting moments? Almost there.
Variations: To add some oomph into the mashed potatoes you can add some sliced spring onions or some bacon. You can even grate over some cheese 🙂
At times I’m never too sure of what to cook so I normally settle on the star of the meal then I just go with the flow and during those moments I end up ‘creating’ my own recipes. This being one of them. The first time I made this I didn’t have any intention of posting on the blog but after positive reviews of photos I had posted on my facebook, I decided to make it again.
The simplicity of this recipe is in the minimal ingredients needed. I know some of you may wonder how one doesn’t cook with onions, but it happens and it’s something I do often. Anyway, let’s get to cooking 🙂
2 boneless chicken breasts cut in strips
1 large red bell pepper sliced lengthwise then in half
Dried oregano leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
The chicken strips are cut easily when the chicken is between frozen and thawed.
In a shallow pan or skillet heat the oil. Then throw in the chicken strips.
Excuse the pan, it’s quite old, one of hubby’s when he was still a bachelor 🙂
Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and some black pepper.
Then add the bell peppers and sprinkle over the oregano about a tablespoon will do.
Let the peppers cook down, as they cook the chicken will also brown up a bit.
I try to cook chapatis often mainly because hubby loves them. When it comes to chapatis, I’m never a fan of brown ones, I always find the taste a bit off. That changed when my friend Yvie invited us for lunch and she’d made them. Needless to say, hubby and I ate those chapatis like crazy. They were utterly delicious and I couldn’t stop thinking of them 🙂 I had to try them at home. After consulting with Yvie, she mentioned that she used the atta mark flour.
The recipe is closely related to my cinnamon chapati recipe except for the use of atta mark flour and milk which was an ingredient I used after another pal Nzilani recommended.
2 cups atta mark flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup warm milk / water
This yielded 10 medium sized chapatis
Start by mixing all the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and the vegetable oil.
Using a wooden spoon or your hands mix the dough. The dough will be a bit sticky to begin with, don’t worry it’s part of the process.
At this point, I switched to using my hands. Using some little flour, knead the dough for about 7 minutes. The stickiness should reduce and the dough becomes softer. Afterwards, roll into a huge ball and put in a lightly oil bowl then cover the bowl with a damp tea towel. Alternatively, you can lightly oil the dough then cover it with cling film.
Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes. This part is vital.
15 minutes or so later…
Get to making the chapatis. To see the step by step process before the actual cooking refer to this.
Cook away 🙂
Serve with your favourite curry.
I served them with some coconut butter beans curry which I’ll post soon 🙂
It’s been a while since I did a leftover rice recipe. As most of you know by now, I enjoy working with leftover rice. This time round I had leftover poached chicken breasts from my quesadilla recipe. This recipe is pretty simple and you can easy subtitute the chicken with any meat or vegetable you have leftover.
3 cups pre cooked rice
1 cup leftover chicken, shredded
1 cup sultanas, soaked in water
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 spring onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a dash of soy sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
On a heated skillet add the vegetable oil and fry the spring onions.
Once cooked down, add the bell peppers.
Season with the salt and paprika.
Add the chicken shreds.
Stir then add the rice. Since the rice and chicken are already cooked you just need to get them heated.
Finally drain the water and pour over the sultanas.
The previous time I cooked quesadillas, I made a mistake of making few of them and hubby wanted more O-o . On the second take, I purposed to make more than enough. The process is more or less the same other than the addition of bell peppers, spring onions and of course tripling of the recipe 🙂
10 flour tortillas
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
1 orange bell pepper, cubed
A handful of spring onions, sliced
Dried oregano leaves
Cheddar cheese shreds/ shavings
For the chicken
3 boneless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
Start by poaching the chicken.
In a pan heat the vegetable oil. Fry the spring onions.
Let the onions cook for about three minutes then add the bell peppers.
The chicken should be done in under twenty minutes. Drain and save the stock for later.
Shred the chicken and assemble the quesadillas.
This time I tried a different method, instead of folding the tortilla in half, I used a whole tortilla then covered it with another tortilla. It’s safe to say, I prefer the folding of the tortilla since I’m yet to make tortillas of the same diameter.
On a heated skillet, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil then place the tortilla and layer the cheese, spring onion and bell pepper mixture, the chicken shreds, sprinkle over the dried oregano and finalise with some more cheese shreds.
Cover with another tortilla.
Repeat the above procedure for all the tortillas.
Using a pizza cutter or knife, slice the quesadillas.
This time they were in plenty and hubby ate to his fill 🙂
I apologise, I don’t have a decent end result photo.