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 🙂
By now some of you might have noticed that I really love ripe bananas and I like using them in my cooking. I think there are very versatile fruits, you can eat them as is, blend them with milk or yoghurt to make smoothies, bake them in cakes or muffins or even mix them in pancake and crepe batter. They can be even fried in butter to serve over ice cream as a sweet dessert, clearly the options are endless. Other than the fact that they are sweet, bananas are rich in Potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
What better way to use these fruits than with equally healthy ingredients, wholemeal flour.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
3 very ripe bananas mashed
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg – optional
3/4 cup plain yoghurt
A handful of raisins
Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Line the muffin tray with cupcake liners. In case you don’t have the liners, grease the tray with some margarine then dust with some little flour.
In a mixing bowl pour in the sugar and add the margarine.
Using a wooden spoon, mix the two till creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla essence.
Once combined add the mashed bananas.
In another bowl combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add the flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture in three proportions alternating with the yoghurt.
In the third addition, mix the raisins with the flour.
Pour and mix till combined.
Finally divide the batter evenly into the already prepared tin.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
If you like my page on facebook or follow me on twitter you must have seen my previous complaints about my black forest cake backfiring. It got so bad that I decided not to try again. I resulted in getting my brother to bake the cake then I do the frosting.
This past weekend we were having a bridal for a good friend of mine and I offered to bring a black forest cake. At first I had requested my brother to do the baking but on second thought I decided to ask him for his recipe. I needed to face my fears. I normally hate it when cakes back fire, though my friends think otherwise since they enjoy eating my backfired cakes, ha!
This recipe is a bit different from others that I have tried. The great thing is that it worked.
Before I go on, be warned this will be a very long post full of many photos so if you are yet to have lunch I suggest you eat first :-). Oh and another thing, making a black forest is a bit tedious, not the baking part but the layering and frosting so patience is key.
For the cake;
7 medium sized eggs
220 g all purpose flour – about 1 3/4 cups
23o g sugar – about 1 1/2 cups
160 g margarine – about 3/4 cup
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee
2.5 teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon of passion flavour essence – optional
For feeding the cake
2 tablespoons of icing sugar
4 tablespoons of water
Some juice – optional
For the frosting
Strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
wooden skewer or toothpick
Start with baking the cake.
Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Grease the baking tins and line them with grease proof paper. I used 2 9 inch round tins since I wanted the cake to have four layers.
Baking this cake is pretty easy since you just dump in all the ingredients then using an electric mixer you combine the ingredients and the cake batter is ready.
Using the handy mixer…
Divide the batter between the two tins. Ensure they are more or less the same.
Bake for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. I said a prayer as I put the cakes in.
Excitement!!! I was jumping up and down. The cakes had not backfired. Thank you God.
Let the cakes cool for about ten minutes then remove them from the tins to cool further.
It’s advisable to let the cakes cool completely, this will come in handy when layering the cake. The crumbs won’t be as many.
I wrapped my cakes in clear cling film them I put then in the fridge.
Same day evening…
Layering and frosting.
Take one cake, I put mine on top of an overturned baking tin. This is to aid in layering the cake.
Start by leveling the cake.
Then slice the cake in half to form two almost equal layers.
Repeat the above steps for the second cake.
Now for the fun part.
To make the sugar water, combine the icing sugar, water and juice if using. I used some orange juice that I had in the fridge. For the extra kick I guess you can put a tablespoon of rum in the mixture instead of juice.
Place the bottom layer of the cake on a board, then using a wooden skewer or toothpick poke the surface of the cake.
Then drizzle about a tablespoon of the sugar water over the cake. This will feed the cake to ensure it continues to be moist and spongy.
Put a dollop of whipping cream on the surface of the bottom layer.
Spread it evenly on the surface of the cake.
Spread the strawberries. I had some leftover cherries so I threw them in.
Repeat the steps for all the layers.
After filling in all the layers, coat the entire cake with the whipping cream.
It doesn’t need to look perfect since you will pile on chocolate.
When it comes to putting the chocolate, you can be as creative as you want to be. You can choose to grate the chocolate and sprinkle it all over the cake. If you are in a hurry, like I was, you can cut the chocolate into chunks and stick around the cake. Don’t worry they won’t fall off, the whipping cream acts as the glue.
Decorate the top with smaller pieces of chocolate then make a border on the cake with whole strawberries that are slightly dipped in whipping cream.
I had missed eating potatoes and since I didn’t have the patience to bake the potatoes I decided to mash them. Making mashed potatoes is pretty simple, since you just boil the potatoes till they are completely cooked then you mash them like crazy. Of course there are a few spice addition here and there which I’ll share in a bit.
Sometime back my colleagues and I decided to do a lunch treat at a nearby food court. Being adventurous with the food selection I ordered some coconut chicken. Boy, wasn’t I disappointed, it was more like stewed chicken with lots of tomatoes and bell peppers and not even a hint of coconut, anyway since I had some boneless chicken breasts in the fridge I thought of making actual coconut chicken. After checking some online recipes I settled on trying it out my own way.
So for the potatoes;
Peel and wash the potatoes thoroughly. Cut them in halves. In a sufuria add the potatoes, salt and water to almost cover all the potatoes. In case you have fresh rosemary you can add about two sprigs. I also added some cinnamon bark.
Now for the chicken;
First, cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Add one tablespoon of oil in a skillet, then brown the chicken for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the pan then set aside.
In the same skillet heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil then add the onions, garlic and ginger.
Since I was doing this for the first time, I didn’t want to use a lot of spices lest I miss the coconut taste.
So I settled for some cardamon pods, cumin seeds, coriander powder, curry powder and good old black pepper.
Stir in the spice mixture.
Add 1 cup coconut milk and let it simmer with the spices for about 3 minutes.
Finally I added the chicken. (forgot to take pics 😦 )
Let the chicken cook for about 25 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
Back to the potatoes. Once fully cooked, drain any excess water, remove the cinnamon bark, then mash like crazy.
Mashed potatoes are like a blank canvas you can spice them up with almost anything. From chopped coriander or parsley to butter and milk. Adding some chopped spring onions or grating over some cheese.
Since I was out of parsley, I added 1 tablespoon of basil leaves, 2 tablespoons of margarine and about 1/4 cup of milk. The milk helps in making the mashed potatoes fluffy.
Dinner is served:
Mashed potatoes, coconut chicken and some fried cabbage and carrots.
Not forgetting some kachumbari on the side.
Coconut – ty. The mashed potatoes were delicious and the basil added a nice touch. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again, of course with some few adjustments like more coconut flavour.