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Cooking Smart – Lentils (Ndengu/ Beans)

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Cooking Smart – Lentils (Ndengu/ Beans)

 

Who has the time to cook anymore?  I mean, the crazy traffic, work, school, business; these can all be very taxing on the energy department and nobody wants to mess with hot pans when you arrive at home perhaps at 9pm but you still want delicious healthy food.

 

For this reasons I have customized most of my cooking to suit the modern cook who has very little time to spare but still wants and deserves great food on the table to fuel the hustle.

 

The secret is organisation and getting good quality ingredients. As you can see from the image I always prep the aromatic first before starting to cook, chefs call this Mis en Place or Put in place. It helps in to avoid burning stuff and also to work efficiently hence saving loads of time

This recipe is all about that, and it is very versatile you can use it to cook many kinds of beans even meats and fish – but the green lentils work faster and taste awesome.

 

Ingredients

 

INGREDIENTS AMOUNT PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 Tsp  
Unsalted Butter 1 Tsp  
Crushed Garlic 1 Tsp 90/- per jar
Crushed Ginger 1 Tsp 90/- per jar
Red Onions 1 piece 120/- per Kg (Approx 10/- each)
Leeks 1 piece 120/- per kg (Approx 10/- each)
Celery 1 stem 150/- per kg (Approx 70/- per bunch)
Potatoes 1 large 70/- per kg (Approx 10/- each )
Tomatoes 1 small 100/- per kg
Rosemary 1 sprig 30/- per bunch
Dhania 1 bunch 10/- per bunch
Lentils 1 cup 220/- per kg

 

Method

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive/coconut oil, add a teaspoon of unsalted butter let it brown, add the crushed garlic & ginger, onions, leeks then everything else, sweat them for about 8 – 10 minutes on medium-low heat while stirring occasionally.
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, let it toast for a few seconds, add the soaked lentils (soak 1 cup for 30 minutes) with the soaking water, if you have some leftover meat/bones you can add them for more flavor, bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes, covered.
  3. Remove from fire, add the chopped dania/cilantro leaves.Serve with veggies and leftover brown rice – this stew will revive the flavor of left-overs.

Bone Broth – In Style

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Our ancestors knew it…bone broth a.k.a soup is a great elixir of nutritious goodness that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. In modern health circles, bone broth has gained recent fame due to the simplicity of the recipe and how sustainable it is-bone broth basically makes use of left-overs and cheap cuts of meat and bone.

As a matter of fact, some people are calling bone broth a superfood going by the massive health benefits it has been scientifically proven to have.

Typical ‘Kenyan’ soup is great but it usually does not feature vegetables which have so much to offer especially in this scenario. Just think about it, the nutrients are slowly cooked into the liquid and all you need to do is to drink all those nutrients. Left over broth can also be used as stock to cook your kienyeji (free range) chicken instead of water; this will add a tonne of flavor and nutrition.

TOTAL COST: Less than 500/- feeds 2/3

INGREDIENTS AMOUNT PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Bones 1/2 kg UNAVAILABLE
Garlic 3 cloves 350/- per kg or 20/- each
Peppers 3 pieces 250/- per kg (Approx 50/- each)
White Onion 1 piece 120/- per kg
Chillie 2 pieces 200/- per kg
Mushrooms 1 cup 250/- per pack
Celery 1 small bunch 150/- per kg (Approx 70/- each)
Ginger 1 small bulb 350/- per kg
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 Tsp N/A
Unsalted Butter 1 Tsp N/A

*N/A = Not YET Available at Mboga Masters

Method

  1. Heat a big pot on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon unsalted butter. The oil and butter helps to brown the meat and veggies which yields more flavor in much less time. If you have the time, you can skip this step and just throw everything together and cook for double the time.
  2. Add your bones, 3 crushed garlic cloves & 1 small bulb ginger, 3 roughly chopped coloured peppers, 1 big white onion quartered, 1 small celery bunch, 2 whole colorful hot peppers (pili pili kali) and 1 cup white button mushrooms.
  3. Season with natural ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt, 1.2 cup of freshly ground black pepper and ⅓ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  4. Add about 2 litres of water which will result into around 1 litre after the slow-cooking process.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if need be, bring to boil and then lower to medium heat, simmer for about 2 hours and enjoy.

Broccoli Leaf – More useful than you think!

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You know those leaves on the side of your broccoli head? Yes those ones you usually throw away? They are the new superfood with good reason because they are loaded with vitamin A, C & K, folates, potassium and fibre – which are all great for detox and aid good digestion. The leaves are also VERY rich in calcium and broccoli being a green leafy vegetable, the leaves are also rich in antioxidants and minerals that help keep us healthy and strong. I also like the broccoli leaf because it offers more versatility in the kitchen than the broccoli heads themselves.

This ‘new’ broccoleaf has been heavily commercialized in some countries, but few here at home are aware of the benefits of this ‘waste’. On top of that, brocolli is usually sold without leaves in most markets and stores. When I can’t find a good amount of brocolli leaf, I simply add a small bunch of kale and cook them together.

To get the most nutrients from this unique superfood, the best way to consume it is raw or lightly cooked. A green smoothie or a green juice, broccoleaf works well in both, of course balanced out with some fruits, nuts and/or seeds for flavor and more nutrition.

 

INGREDIENT QUANTITY PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Broccoli leaf From 1 head of brocolli Free when available
Broccoli 1 head 170 per kg
Red Onion 1 small 120 per kg
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 1/3 teaspoon N/A
Unsalted Butter 1/3 teaspoon N/A
Sukuma wiki (Kale) 1 bunch 25/- per bunch

N/A = Not YET available at Mboga Masters

 

Method

  1. Chop up your broccoleaf and some little sukuma wiki as well as some red onions.
  2. Steam your chopped broccoli florets for about 3 minutes. I prefer using a bamboo steamer which you can buy from Healthy U or get a regular steamer from the supermarket. (Yes you could boil them today but next time please get a steamer, really makes a huge difference)
  3. Remove the steamed broccoli and set in a cool place. (Many chefs here would recommend ‘shocking’ the broccoli in ice/cold water to stop cooking but the steamer cooks it very gently so you don’t have to really do that.)
  4. Heat frying pan, add ⅓ teaspoon coconut oil and ⅓ teaspoon unsalted butter and heat till the butter is brown in color.
  5. Drop in the onions and cook until slightly brown, about 3 minutes, medium heat.
  6. Chop up your broccoleaf and kale, season with a pinch of sea/natural Himalayan salt and a grind of black pepper.
  7. Add to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes.
  8. Serve with chapati and bean stew

 

Home made (and healthy!) popcorn

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Popcorn and Health

Pop corn is a snack that has become especially popular within most malls or shopping centers. It is increasingly being consumed by both children and adults. However, mass-produced popcorn is often cooked with unhealthy fats so making them at home is much healthier where you can control how they are made. Not only is it a great after-school snack for the kids, but it can also be incorporated into a weight loss/healthy eating/lifestyle.

Popcorn is rich in protein which will make you feel full for longer periods of time.  Since it is a wholegrain, it is also rich in fibre which slows down digestion and keeps food cravings down.

INGREDIENT QUANTITY PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Coconut Oil 1/3 teaspoon N/A
Unsalted Butter 1/3 teaspoon N/A
Sea/ Himalayan Salt   N/A
Black Pepper in Grinder   N/A

*N/A = Not YET available at Mboga Masters

Using extra virgin coconut oil to make the popcorn takes care of any fat worries because it is a super healthy fat and the sea/natural salt plus black pepper seasonings keep it clean while adding tonnes of flavor. The only slightly questionable ingredient is unsalted butter, which however when used in moderation adds a lot of flavor to popcorn while keeping them moist.

Method

  1. Gently heat the pot with 1/3 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/3 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
  2. Season your corn with a pinch of sea/Himalayan salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Put the 1 cup of seasoned pop corn into the pot and cover, medium-low heat and let it just pop.
  4. Listen very carefully as the cooking stops when the popping sound stops, immediately remove from the pan, DO NOT uncover, just let it rest for about 5 minutes and then serve, movie time J

Green Juice

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Juicing fresh fruit and veg works because you get a high dosage of easily absorbable nutrition without consuming a lot of calories. The juicing process also opens up the nutrients and makes them so much easier to digest – it is worth noting that 80% of your energy goes to digestion!

Here is an adapted-for-Kenya recipe by Joe Cross – a revolutionary juicing aficionado. Joe Cross drank (Green Juice) his way to health and made a game-changing documentary about it in which by consuming nothing but green juice for 60 days, he not only lost weight but also cured his debilitating skin disease.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS AMOUNT

PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS

Sukuma wiki (Kale) 1 bunch 25/-
Spinach 1 bunch 25/-
Green Apples 2 30/- each
Carrots 2 large pieces 70/- per kg (Approx 7/- each)
Cucumber 1 piece 120/- per kg (Approx 10/- each)
Ginger 1 teaspoon 350/- per kg (Approx 10/- per piece)
Lemon ½ piece 130/- per kg (Approx 10/- per piece)
Mint leaves 1 small bunch 30/- per bunch

Method

This juice can easily be made using a juice extractor. If you don’t have one, chop all the ingredients into fine pieces -except the lemon and mint. Add about half a cup of water and blend until all the bits have disappeared. Finally squeeze the lemon juice in, and garnish with the mint leaf on top if you are feeling fancy.

Serve cold, with the mint leaves it is especially refreshing in the heat.

 

Crostata Recipe

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A crostata is a simple apple tart from Italy and a great thing about it is that you do not need a  tart pan. Green apples are preferable to cook with because they can withstand the baking heat and still maintain their flavor and texture.

 

Ingredients

INGREDIENT AMOUNT PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Winnie’s Chapati Afya Flour 2kg 195/- per pkt
Sea salt/ Natural Himalayan salt 90/- per Jar
Honey 1/4 cup 250/- for 300gms or 350/- for 500ml
Tropical Heat Black Pepper 1/8  teaspoon 90/- per Jar
Apples 1 piece 30/-
Tropical Heat Cinnamon 1/3 teaspoon 90/- per Jar
Nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon 90/- per Jar
Unrefined or Regular Sugar 1 teaspoon 120/- per kg
Fresh Lemon Juice 1/3 teaspoon 100 per kg
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tablespoon N/A
Ice Water 1/2 cup

 

 

 

Recipe

  1. Sift 2 cups Winnie’s Pure Health Chapati Afya Flour with ½ teaspoon sea/natural salt, ¼ cup honey and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. Add butter and the ice-water, mix, not too much. If you have a food processor, you can make the dough. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. To make crostata filling combine 1 thinly sliced green apple, ⅓ teaspoon cinnamon, a touch of freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried), 1 teaspoon unrefined sugar or regular sugar, 1/3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  5. Remove dough from fridge at least 5 minutes before baking then immediately assemble the filling into the pastry and fold over as seen in the image
  6. Brush the olive oil on the crust to add yet more flavor.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, then crank up the heat to 230 and bake for 5 minutes exactly to brown it nicely.

 

This crostata is very versatile, it can be served as breakfast, a light lunch with some fresh juice or dessert, I like it anytime of the day.

 

Chef Kahonge

Simple Lime Cake Recipe

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There is nothing great as waking up to freshly baked goods and this quick pastry will add some freshness and zing to your breakfast/ snack thanks to the local lime ingredient which packs a huge punch in matters flavor. This recipe also makes for perfect dessert for a special home-cooked meal.

Portions make enough cake for 3. Recipe cost Approx Kshs.900

Ingredients

INGREDIENT QUANTITY PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Winnie’s Pure Health Chapati Flour 1 Cup 195/-
Milk 1 Cup 50/- per packet
Lime 0.5kg 200/- per kg
Ground Cinnamon 1 teaspoon 95/- per Jar
Brown Sugar/ Demerara Sugar 2 teaspoons 120/- per Kg
Sea/ Himalayan Salt 1/4 teaspoon 90/- per jar
Vanilla Essence 1 teaspoon N/A
Baking Powder 1 teaspoon N/A
Baking Soda 1/4 teaspoon N/A
Unsalted butter   N/A

*N/A Not Currently Available At Mboga Masters

Method

  1. To make buttermilk add 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice into 1 cup of milk, leave to set for about 10 minutes.
  2. Sift 1 cup of winnie’s pure chapati afya flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup unrefined demerara sugar (or honey or regular sugar worst case scenario) with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.
  4. Add the buttermilk slowly and combine the dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Butter your ceramic baking bowl or baking pan and add a little corn/ugali flour to make it extra non-stick.
  6. Pop it into the oven at 190 degrees for 40minutes

 

 

Pan- roasted fries and guacamole

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Everyone loves fries, but few love the side effect of eating a lot of fries – that pot belly! We can make them healthier by reducing almost 90% of the fat in normal fries but still maintain the same tasty flavour everyone loves.

COST OF INGREDIENTS: 300/-
FEEDS: FAMILY OF 4

 Ingredients

INGREDIENT AMOUNT PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Potatoes 2kg 50/- per KG
Sea salt/ Natural Himalayan salt  90/- per jar
Tomatoes 3 large ones 80/- per KG
Onions 2 large ones 90/- per KG
Dhania 1 bunch 10/-
Avacado 2 pcs 60/-
Lime Juice 1/3 teaspoon 200/- per kg (Approx 7/- each)
Cayenne Pepper and Paprika 1/4 teaspoon each N/A
Coconut/ Olive Oil N/A
Water 3 cups

*N/A = Not YET available at Mboga Masters

 

Method

  1. Using a soft brush, thoroughly clean the potatoes. DO NOT peel them, all the flavor and a lot of nutrition is in the skin.
  2. Chop the potatoes into wedges
  3. Run them through cold tap water for about 3-5 minutes, to remove excess starch so that you can get crisp fries
  4. Add a teaspoon of sea/natural salt to the water, freshly cracked black pepper and bring to a simmer. (The salt makes the water boil faster as it reduces its boiling point by almost half.) Add the paprika and cayenne pepper.
  5. Drop the potatoes and blanch them until they are slightly undercooked, you do not want to cook them all the way – this will take about 7 minutes.
  6. After boiling them, drain them and then saute them in a wide pan, with coconut/olive oil and a touch of unsalted butter. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan: Cook in batches if cooking large quantities
  7. Taste one to see if well cooked and also to check for seasoning, adjust if need be.

 

While the potatoes are resting, add chopped tomatoe, chopped red onion, chopped dania/cilantro stalks, a little squeeze of fresh lime/lemon juice and crush the avocado into the mixture, season with salt and pepper.

 

Enjoy as is or as a side dish to nyama choma, works really well with roast meat.

Pan-roasted Pork, Brocolli and Ugali

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Although meat is often highlighted negatively (sometimes with good reason), research has also shown that when raised naturally and consumed in MODERATION, meat can be a good thing. This is why we choose to highlight this pork dish.

 

Pork is rich in easily accessible protein, Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Thiamine and Potassium. Again we stress that certain meals in moderation are not harmful. Fat too has its benefits, and apart from adding flavor, science shows that it is vital for basic cell structure, stronger bones and much more.

 

Ingredients

INGREDIENT QUANTITY PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS
Pork (Or any red meat)   NOT STOCKED
Lemon 1 piece 100/- per Kg (Approx 10/- each)
Garlic 1 clove 20/- each
Ginger 1 small piece 350/- per Kg (15/- each)
Dhania 1 bunch 10/-
Brown Sugar/ Demerara Sugar 2 teaspoons 120/- per Kg
Winnie’s Pure Health Ugali Afya Flour 3/4 cups 195/- per 2kg pkt
Sea/ Himalayan Salt   90/- per jar
Tropical Heat Black Pepper   95/- per jar
Coconut Oil   N/A
Olive Oil 4 tablespoons N/A
Red Wine Vinegar 2 tablespoons N/A
Unsalted butter   N/A
*N/A: Not yet available at Mboga Masters

 

Method

  1. Make a marinade in your blender/food processor or mortar and pestle, with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, dhania stalks, brown sugar salt and pepper.
  2. In a Zip-lock bag, marinate your chosen meat overnight or even 48 hours to really let the flavours soak in.
  3. Remove the pork chop/ meat 20 minutes beforehand to allow it to get to room temperature. This is called tempering, it helps the meat to cook evenly and also allows you to get a nice crust on the outside.
  4. To cook your ugali, bring 2 cups water seasoned with ¼ teaspoon salt and a little black pepper to a simmer. Add the ugali flour and cook it on low heat for about 45 minutes.
  5. Heat a thick base frying pan to medium heat, add coconut oil and sear the pork chop, about 4 minutes on both sides for a medium doneness (ONLY TURN IT ONCE). In the last minute of cooking add some fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary with a teaspoon of butter to add flavor and maintain juiciness. Cook at medium temperature or 140 degrees F if you have a meat thermometer.
  6. To cook the broccoli, heat your frying pan, add coconut oil and a touch of unsalted butter. The butter here is vital for browning the onions faster and adding flavour. Add the onions, cook on low heat about 2 minutes then add the broccoli. Season with a pinch of sea/natural Himalayan salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

 

Uji/ Porridge – Breakfast for Champions

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Whole grains are a great way to start the day, they release energy slow keeping you full for longer periods as well as providing you with the nutrients that most refined grains don’t have.

The most common porridge meal is usually made from fermented finger millet/wimbi but we leave that recipe for another day, today we will just make it with the flour using a simple technique:

Why finger millet? Here are a few health benefits of this quintessential but often over-looked grain.

  • It has no gluten hence great for people with sensitivity or just want to feel better by eating less gluten.
  • It contains calcium which helps with strong bones and teeth, and is also great for people with arthritis.
  • The fibre and nutrient density of finger millet helps it release energy slow making it good for diabetics who don’t want to spike their blood sugar.
  • Finger millet is also an excellent source of Magnesium which has been proven to help with high blood pressure
  • It is low in fat, the little fat it has is unsaturated and very low in calories – music to those who want to shed a little weight.

Method

  1. Sift the flour, really important to avoid formation of lumps when cooking the uji.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to boil.
  3. Make a paste with 5 tablespoons finger millet and 5 tablespoons of hot water and 2 tablespoons of honey
  4. When you have stirred the paste well, pour it into the boiling water.
  5. Form now you will be stirring constantly so as to avoid lumping, it is very important to keep stirring for smooth porridge, about 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve