My mother makes the best mandazis. I’m certain that any of my attempts at this East African delicacy, while decent, will never in a million years be as delicious as hers BUT…
…this version will clog your arteries slower and help you feel less guilty because they are refined sugar and dairy free. Not to mention they’re made with whole wheat flour, hence the browner appearance.
Found the recipe here: Healthy Living Kenya. The ingredients are easily accessible in most places and the whole process doesn’t take too much time and effort.
As a side note, I was so stoked to find a food blog by an East African raising awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle . With the onslaught of fast food giants to the region, sights like this may well become the norm in our national parks.
While the website is not vegan, it’s full of great recipes, lifestyle advice and guides on where to shop for healthy produce in Kenya, so definitely check it out.
Altered a few things in the recipe. I used almond milk and agave syrup instead of sugar cane juice. The glaze is agave as well, garnished with crushed almonds instead of desiccated coconut. I also lightly fried them in coconut instead of sunflower oil and used two and a half instead of two cups of flour.
If you’re really keen, you could have a stab at baking them. I would but… I’m a bit impatient when it comes to mandazis :)
BAKED ZUCCHINI FRITTERS (v)
Bought too much zucchini on my last trip to the market. I’ve probably made everything you could possibly make with a zucchini, so this week I found a new way to get rid of the last two (inspired by a recipe from this lovely website here.)
I made a few changes to the recipe by using water instead of milk and substituted the egg with a teaspoon of “Organ No egg” egg replacer. I also flattened them out a bit for more crunch. They taste great with barbecue sauce, ate the whole batch in one go ;)
Not having a spiraliser is no excuse to miss out on the raw action. Grated some zucchini and served it up with organic sun dried tomato marinara, garnished with cucumber and dried basil.
I love pasta in all shapes and forms but this is a great alternative that’s super healthy without compromising on taste.
GRILLED PEACHES+FIGS & CREAM (sugar and dairy free)
Before my higher education-related expedition to the Northern hemisphere, peaches only existed in foreign movies and Enid Blyton story books. Now that I’m here, might as well take advantage of peach season, right?
First part is simple, slice one peach and one fig before tossing them into a hot skillet grill pan. A normal pan would work as well, the point is to get the fruit slightly browned and caramelised.
Second part is easy too. I had a cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight in the fridge, which I blended with a frozen banana, two squeezes of lemon juice and a little almond milk to facilitate the blending.
If you don’t have any cashews , blended frozen bananas will give you a creamy texture as well. If you have unsoaked cashews, you can bring them to a boil then soak in water for an hour in the fridge.
It’s a homely, warm, cold-weather appropriate desert that complements the colours of the falling leaves outside. Plus it’s time-saving, healthy and cheap. :)
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
A friend invited me to a potluck party, which means everyone invited is supposed to bring something edible. Given my schedule this week, I had seriously considered taking the easy route and just buying some ready made snacks… until I realised that finding decent vegan party food would be much harder than making it myself.
Let me just clarify, my friends are not annoying, fussy eaters who single out entire food groups and survive on plants. The reason I have to bring something vegan is because my contribution may be the only thing I can actually eat at that party.
I got down to making a vegan pineapple upside down. 1st attempt got stuck to the parchment paper and crumbled as I was removing it from the baking tray. I mean, in a world of five year old chefs, how pathetic do you have to be to mess up a pineapple upside down!? :(
So in between freaking out and eating the entirety of my failed first attempt, I made a second cake. Thought I would get fancy and cut pineapples into ‘C’ shapes instead of arranging them whole, then put two C’s in the middle like the Chanel logo…yeah right. As you can see, they kind of deviated away from the their intended location. But at least I had a cake.
I sat there looking at this…contraption, wondering how I was going to present something so annoyingly askew. I kept imaging comments like…
"Oh wow this cake looks so umm…interesting, whose is it?"
I got the idea to make it look somewhat intentional. The result…a raspberry butterfly. The antennae are made of parsley stalks…yes…parsley stalks on a pineapple cake, then I squeezed some raspberries in the crevices between the cake and pineapple for the “wings”.
Realising how much valuable time I had wasted baking this mess when I could have just bought chilli heatwave Doritos and salsa dip, I decided to waste more time. I shelled out a pineapple and filled it with vanilla cream to go with the cake.
I forgot to consider the logistics of transporting a cake and a liquid filled pineapple to my friend’s flat. Plus now I’m conscious because it looks kind of OTT…but it felt like a good idea at the time. Let’s just hope the rest of the evening goes better than my afternoon. Given my luck today, I won’t be surprised if I find out it’s still raw inside.
TOASTED RYE BREAD OPEN SANDWICH
…with caramelised onion, spinach and avocado.
Mashed the avocado with dried basil, lime and red pepper for added flavour. Makes the perfect quick lunch or pre-workout snack. :)
RAW ORANGE MINI CHEESECAKES
My very first raw cake! It’s not technically a cheesecake, seeing as there’s no cheese in it, but it sure does taste like one. It’s`:
refined sugar, gluten, dairy, egg, cholesterol, soap, your grandma… everything free AND it tastes great. That’s one hell of a rare combination for something edible.
The crust is made of blended dates, cashews, raisins and cacao pressed into a silicone cup cake mould. If you’re feeling lazy, use crushed Nakd raw bars as your base. They have all sorts of flavours like strawberry crunch and cocoa orange, which would go great with this.
For the ‘cream-cheese’ filling I used:
- 2 cups soaked cashews (soaked in water for 4 hours minimum)
- the juice of 2 large oranges
- (agave/sugar is optional and to your taste, I only used 2 teaspoons of agave since my oranges were really sweet)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Throw all your ingredients except the coconut oil into a high speed blender and blend, you can use a little water to facilitate blending. Add the coconut oil after you have the cashew cream and blend one more time before pouring the mixture on the crust. Depending on your mould size, you can probably make around 8 mini cakes.
To garnish, I used orange rind, chopped raisins and chopped dried mango.
I refrigerated them overnight, alternatively you can freeze them for a few hours.
BAKED ZUCCHINI AND EGGPLANT
with mixed herbs, salt and panko breadcrumbs.
Thought I’d have something crunchy after a long, busy day. Love how they taste with Reggae Reggae sauce.
I used Organ no-egg replacer to coat the veggies before dipping them in the seasoned panko breadcrumbs. In terms of taste, there’s not much difference between baking and shallow frying, so go with whatever floats your boat!
Back when we were little, my mum owned a cute, little wooden shop. She designed and sold clothes made from kitenge and leso fabrics, which she would buy from the Nairobi city centre.
Occasionally I would tag along on these shopping trips and I’d be forced to stand in the corner of stuffy shops, watching her haggle with shop keepers for discounts.
The trade off was worth it however.
At lunch time, she would take me to a restaurant called Ismailia, opposite Khoja mosque on Moi Avenue. It was one of those dingy looking places in a tight corner of the street, but boy was the food good. Their samosas, kebabs, bhajias and falafels were second to none.
The restaurant has since relocated and I’ve been struggling for ages to recreate a decent falafel recipe. Today, after several failed attempts, we found it! (X) Instead of fava beans, we used chickpeas, both work just fine.
They’re nice and crispy on the outside and bursting with flavour on the inside. I’m eating mine with tahini dip ☺️👌
NDUMA (arrowroot) CRISPS
Just got back from a road trip to Eldoret.
I might as well have eaten grass. The only thing I could have on the menu the whole weekend was garlic chips, not to mention how every roadside eatery on our 6 hour journey was a nyama choma (roast meat) joint.
Or maybe I just didn’t look hard enough…anyone who knows me understands my weakness for (fried) potatoes. I was secretly celebrating my limited options! 😉
Anyway, today I saw some odd looking crisps in the supermarket and decided to give them a try. They’re called nduma crisps, same concept as potato crisps, just made with arrowroot instead. I’d like to assume they have more nutritional value than normal crisps, but I’m not really sure.
Either way, they taste amazing, especially with my (cilantro, lemon, tomato, onion, ketchup, salt and oregano) salsa.
So…I don’t know how I found this song, but I’m glad I did!
"Wha me eat them a wonder wha me eat
When me tell them say me nu (don’t) eat no fish no meat no,
Wha me eat them a wonder what me nyam (eat)
When me tell the say that I’m a a veeeegaaaaaan man!”
WHY ALWAYS ME?!
It’s like rain and gray clouds followed me to Nairobi 😭
Ironically enough, it’s probably scorching hot in the Northern hemisphere right now.
Oh well…never been one to complain too much, if the sun wants to be a diva, I’ll make my own! 😎
Lunch today was Mukimo (the green stuff) with some dried carrots I found in the pantry.
Mukimo is a staple dish of my mother’s people, the Kikuyu. It’s made up of boiled maize, peas and potatoes, mashed together and flavoured with salt or pepper…or both.
You can incorporate pretty much anything into it, we throw in some fried onions before mashing. Mukimo is usually eaten with stew or soup, I personally prefer mine dry.
(I’m so heat deficient I even made a mukimo volcano with carrot lava.
And just as I finish writing this post, the real sun decides to make an appearance…how nice of you to show up!)
Back in high school, I had a group of friends who like myself, had an insatiable appetite for life and food. We called ourselves the ‘hungry girls’ because we were ever eating or talking about food.
Three years after graduation, despite being thousands of miles apart, the subject of food still sneaks it’s way into our Skype calls and google plus sessions (we’re not that badly off… we still talk about boys)
The inspiration for today’s post was a chat I had yesterday with a fellow hungry girl. She was showing me
a series of selfies pictures of her junior year in college and a photo of banana bread came up…
Mine is banana bread with a twist: I added a little chai spice and chocolate. It goes really well with my mum’s version of Sudanese tea, made with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mint leaves and tea leaves (it tastes great even without sweetening…of course, the real Sudanese version is served with a ton of sugar!)
You can find a simple vegan banana bread recipe here from my favourite vegan cookbook author, Isa Chandra.
LANKA TOFU CURRY
This time last year, I read ‘Reef’ by Romesh Gunesekera, a book based on the lives of a servant boy, Triton and his master, Mr. Salgado in the years leading up to the 1983 Sri Lankan civil war.
One of the many things I loved about it was how Romesh brought food to life through Triton’s eyes: lime and coconut with chillies and cashew nuts, Bombay onions, wood apple cream, ‘love’ cake…It made me want to visit Sri-Lanka and stuff my face with all those island delicacies.
A year later, I’m looking for a good curry recipe and I stumble upon this Ceylon style Tofu curry recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen
. Ceylon is the former name of what is now modern-day Sri Lanka. So in keeping with the times, I called mine Lanka Tofu curry? :)
I added a few ingredients like lemon grass and substituted for the ones I didn’t have with equally yummy (and more easily accessible) ones. I also fried the tofu before adding it to the curry mixture and used a food processor to give the curry a smoother consistency.
What I didn’t change of course, is the holy trinity of any Ceylon curry: lemon, coconut and curry powder (just doesn’t work without all three)
The ingredients and recipe would make this post wordier than it already is, but feel free to e-mail me for it (address is under ‘social’ to your left), or you could try the one on PPK
, it’s just as good. :)
Had a really productive trip to the Maasai Market today 😄
Got some new crockery and cutlery which I’ll be using for future posts. My favourite is the hand shaped serving spoon!