Tag Archives: garlic

Creamed Spinach

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.

the cast of characters
the cast of characters

Ingredients:

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.

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Sprinkle over the plain flour and start whisking, I don’t have a whisk so I just used my handy dandy wooden spoon.

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Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently till golden brown.

Add the onions and garlic.

DSCN1291Stir together and cook for another minute.

DSCN1292Finally add the milk whilst whisking.

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Cook the sauce for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. It will start to thicken

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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.

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Add the spinach.

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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.

After
After

 

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.

things are THICK
things are THICK

Now spoon over the sauteed spinach stirring it in gently.

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The thickness of my sauce didn’t mess up the outcome. Such a relief.

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In case you find it a bit too creamy for your liking add more sauteed spinach.

Serve immediately.

DSCN1311Wow!!! Someone say AMAZING!!!\

I dare you, try this creamed spinach recipe and for sure you won’t regret it.

Thanks Ree.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Mshikaki

I’m always in search of a challenge when it comes to cooking.

A while back I bought wooden skewers just for the sake of having them in my kitchen. I normally use them for checking the readiness of my baked goodies but this time round I decided to put them into good use. I have never made mshikaki before so I was just following my instincts on the flavourings.

The key thing for this recipe to be a huge success is marination. Sadly, I thought of the recipe a tad late and hence I didn’t marinate and there was no way I was going to put it off for the next night, impatient much?

Anyway, enough with the chatting let the action begin.

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken breasts

1 orange bell pepper cubed

1 green bell pepper cubed

1 large red onion roughly chopped into big pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 inched ginger crushed

Equipment

Skewers, metallic or wooden will do. I used wooden ones.

It’s advisable to marinate the chicken overnight but if you are in a rush like I was, you can marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking. In a bowl mix the marinade, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Add in the chicken pieces and coat them completely.

chicken marinating
chicken marinating

 

If you are using wooden skewers make sure to soak them in water 30 minutes prior to using to ensure they don’t burn when grilling the mshikaki.

After the marination and the skewers are ready, you can now assemble the mshikaki, yippee!!

In a shallow plate add your bell peppers and onions season with a little bit of salt and the pepper then drizzle over the vegetable oil.

For the bell peppers, the more colourful they are the better, so go for red, yellow and orange.

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The next step is pretty hands on and I only managed to take pics of the end result seeing that hubby was also helping me to assemble them.

On a skewer start with the bell pepper followed by the onion then the chicken piece then repeat the step until the desired amount. It’s best to leave space on the skewer for someone to hold it when eating. Continue these steps until all the chicken is used up.

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You can either grill these on an outside grill or use a grill pan, seeing that I have neither I grilled mine in the oven.

Place them on a grill rack and grill on each side for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Serve and enjoy with friends.

Excuse the lighting, I forgot to take the pics while in the kitchen, my living room has the worst lighting for photos.

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Brrr! Butternut Soup

It’s getting pretty cold in Nairobi and soup is one of those things to help keep the cold away. It’s funny that I hardly make soup despite the recipe being pretty simple. So the other day my friend Rachael chats me up on gtalk asking for a recipe for butternut squash and a few days later I decide to make some.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed

3 medium sized carrots cubed

1 red apple peeled, cored and cubed

1 medium onion chopped

3 cloves garlic sliced

1 inch of ginger chopped

1 cup chicken stock

2 cups water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

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As I have said making soup is pretty easy. In a saucepan heat the vegetable oil and fry the onions, garlic and ginger. Let them cook down for a few minutes.

Throw in the butternut, carrots and apples. Stir them and cover to cook for a few minutes. You may be wondering why I added in an apple but after reading various soup recipes with apples added in so I decided to try it out 🙂

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Add the liquid.

The chicken stock I used was from the water I had poached the chicken for these quesadillas and since it had seasoning I didn’t need to season my soup. Cover and let the soup simmer until the squash is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.

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Once cooked pour the soup in a blender or food processor. Ensure to cover the blender since the soup is hot.

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Pulse it until pureed. At this point check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Serve in a soup bowl, garnish with some fresh coriander. I didn’t have some so I sprinkled over some dried parsley.

Enjoy with some bread rolls and remember to keep warm.

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Verdict:

According to hubby the soup was beyond awesome. I loved it, I’ll definitely make it again.

Spring Onions and Bell Peppers Chicken Quesadillas

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 🙂

Ingredients:

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.

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In a pan heat the vegetable oil. Fry the spring onions.

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Let the onions cook for about three minutes then add the bell peppers.

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colour splash
colour splash

The chicken should be done in under twenty minutes. Drain and save the stock for later.

cheese shreds, oregano leaves, poached chicken breasts
cheese shreds, oregano leaves, poached chicken breasts

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.

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Cover with another tortilla.

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DSC09348Repeat the above procedure for all the tortillas.

Using a pizza cutter or knife, slice the quesadillas.

Serve hot.

This time they were in plenty and hubby ate to his fill 🙂

I apologise, I don’t have a decent end result photo.

Chicken Quesadillas

Don’t let the foreign name fool you, these babies are totally easy to make. The best thing is that you can stuff the tortillas with just about anything. Quesadillas are a mexican delight where a tortilla is filled with mostly cheese and other ingredients then folded in half and served. Before I go further, I need to decipher the foreign terms, tortillas, are closely related to what we know as chapatis. Actually they are one and the same if you ask me. One thing though, when cooking the tortilla, cook lightly on each side for a minute just to get it lightly browned.

Ingredients:

3 flour tortillas

1 medium red onion sliced

5 slices of cheddar cheese cut into strips – if you have a block of cheese, grate it instead

dried oregano leaves

Half of an avocado, optional

For the chicken

Boneless chicken breasts

1 red onion roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 inch thick of ginger, roughly chopped

1 sprig of rosemary, optional

750 ml of water

salt to taste

I started by poaching the chicken breasts. In a saucepan, pour in the water then throw in the onions,garlic, ginger, rosemary and the chicken. No need to cut the chicken first.

poaching
poaching

Cover and bring it to a simmer.

As the chicken is cooking, I made the tortillas.

tortillas
tortillas

After about 20 minutes of boiling the chicken will be done. Remove from the stock and shred it into bit size pieces. Store the stock to use it in stews or steaming rice.

hubby shredding the chicken
hubby shredding the chicken

From here, get ready to assemble the quesadilla.

Take one tortilla, line one half of the tortilla with the cheese strips.

cheese
cheese
cheddar cheese
cheddar cheese

Then add the sliced onions, coriander and the chicken shreds. Sprinkle some oregano.

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Then add another layer of cheese.

Gently place the tortilla with the stuffing on a hot skillet. Fold it in half, press hard. Cook both sides for about a minute or so or until the cheese melts.

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Repeat the above steps for the rest of the tortillas. I added some avocado slices in one of the quesadillas.

Once all done, cut them into wedges and serve with some guacamole or kachumbari.

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Dinner is served :-)
Dinner is served 🙂

 

To say this meal was amazing would be an understatement. I shocked myself. Simple yet delicious. I dare you to try this out. I’ll definitely make more of these babies and even try different ingredients, I’ll also try and so a post on how to make tortillas.

Hubby loved them, he downed four of them 🙂

Spaghetti in Sausage Sauce

This is a quick dinner that I whipped up this past Sunday. It’s pretty simple.

Ingredients:

Spaghetti

For the sauce

1 medium onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon of chopped ginger

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

3 tomatoes diced

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Salt to taste

5 beef sausages sliced into 2 cm rings

250ml water

A handful of coriander/dhania finely chopped

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

In a big sufuria boil water and add salt. After the water boils add the spaghetti and cook till al dente.

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As the spaghetti is cooking, In a saucepan heat the vegetable oil then cook the onions,garlic and ginger. Season with salt.

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After the onions are translucent add the tomatoes.

red
red

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Cover and let the tomatoes cook down.

Once cooked, add the water, turmeric powder and black pepper.

spicy
spicy

Add the sausage slices.

beef sausage
beef sausage
floating
floating

Cover and let it come to a gentle boil. This will ensure that the sausages cook.

Remember the boiling spaghetti, drain the water and set aside.

spaghetti
spaghetti

Once the sauce has simmered, stir in the coriander. Turn off the heat.

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Finally pour the sauce over the spaghetti and mix it in.

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Serve and enjoy.

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Very delicious.

Butterless Butter Chicken

Last year during hubby’s birthday, we went out for lunch at an Indian restaurant, Mughals, at Adams Arcade. I had some butter chicken, which in my opinion is by far the best boneless chicken curry I’ve ever eaten. After that I embarked on looking for the recipe but most of what I got seemed too complicated to do but that was until January 8th this year. I was busy reading through the Saturday magazine pull out in the Daily Nation and what do I see, Chef Aamil Mughal owner of Mughals has been reviewed and the recipe for the butter chicken detailed. Needless to say I was very happy, I even borrowed the magazine (I gifted my self).

Anyway, so even after getting the recipe I took a while before trying it, reason being, I’ve been so busy so I just get home and do quick fixes for dinner and at times hubby does the cooking (yeah, he’s heaven sent).

The recipe is pretty simple and it calls for ingredients can be easily obtained.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons crushed garlic

3 teaspoons garam masala powder

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)

3 chopped green chillis (optional)

600 grams boneless chicken (cut in cubes)

100 grams crushed cashew nut powder

1/2 litre milk

3 ripe tomatoes

1 bunch coriander chopped

salt to taste

1 tablespoon fresh cream (optional)

This recipe serves 4.

top row: milk,garlic,chickenBottom row: garam masala and turmeric, crushed cashew nut powder and tomato paste
top row: milk,garlic,chicken
Bottom row: garam masala and turmeric, crushed cashew nut powder and tomato paste

As I was preparing the ingredients I realised that I didn’t have butter, fresh tomatoes and coriander but that didn’t stop me from making this recipe. I just figured I would substitute the missing ingredients. For the butter I used two tablespoons of vegetable oil, for the tomatoes I used two tablespoons of tomato paste. Since the coriander is for the garnish, I thought I could do without it.  also didn’t use fresh cream since I didn’t have plus it was optional, nor did I put chilli because hubby doesn’t fancy chilli.

In the event you use  butter, place it in a cold pan then switch on the heat and add the garlic when it is melting. Since I used oil, I just let it heat for a minute or so then I added the garlic.

garlic
garlic

Once slightly browned add the chicken cubes and stir.

In goes the chicken
In goes the chicken

Add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli (if using). Maintain a steady temperature. If too hot it will burn very quickly.

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Now add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Let it simmer gently for a few minutes. Since I was using tomato paste there wasn’t a lot of simmering so I added about a tablespoon of water to it.

tomato paste
tomato paste

Add salt and keep tasting.

Add milk and stir and let it boil.

After adding the milk
After adding the milk

Once the milk has boiled, add the crushed cashew nuts and stir. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

cashew nut powder.
cashew nut powder.

Before I forget, for the cashew nut powder, all you need are the cashews then you crush to make the powder. You can choose to use a mortar and pestle or if your blender has a spice mill, that will also do.

Finally you can add the chopped coriander, stir and take it off the heat.

My butterless butter chicken

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Verdict:

It was great though not as delicious as the one we ate at Mughals maybe it’s because of the substitutions.

If I could do it over again:

I would definitely not do the major substitutions of butter and tomatoes. I especially feel the tomatoes are very vital in this recipe so that the sauce is even more and not as thick.

All in all, this is an easy recipe and it doesn’t take long to prepare.

According to Chef Aamil it’s best served with hot butter or garlic naan but can go well with toast. I served it over rice.