Culinary delights: Spaghetti and Tuna.

Pasta and tuna are an amazing combination; tastes great; cooks fast and is filling, a perfect weekday dinner recipe.

I however still need tips on how to plate spaghetti 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 courgettes, diced.
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (optiona)
  • 1 can of tuna chunks in oil, drained.
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheese to serve.

Method.

  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and fry till transluncent.
  • Add garlic, give a quick stir and add the courgettes. Cook for about seven minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, some salt and cook till tomatoes are mushy, you can add a bit of water to increase the sauce.
  • Let the tomatoes cook for about 9-10 minutes till the sauce is thick.
  • Add the tuna and basil, let heat through and serve.
  • Cook pasta as per package instructions, as the sauce simmers. Toss in the sauce and serve with some cheese on top.

Pasta

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Project Manenos Part 3

Our project is almost done. Woop! Woop! Almost is so relative by the way. I think I now know how long distance runners feel in the final laps; so near yet so far. Finishing is a lot of work. It takes time, energy and most if not all the finances. I kid you not.

It has been a lesson in patience, wisdom, strength, perseverance, humility, I can go on and on. I tip my hat to anybody building in Kenya right now. Y’all really rich fellows when the economy is taking a beating but there are still busy construction sites everywhere I look. Who are these wealthy folks?

Anyway, in my last update I had talked about Streamline designs who did our kitchen and wardrobes. Though the final handover is yet to be done, we are happy with the job so far.

I had also mentioned getting an interior designer. Well, we did get a fabulous one who understood what we wanted, but she did not last long as she had some personal issues. We are not feeling inclined to replace her, so we have been working on the ideas and it has been successful so far.

We also got somebody to do kitchen blinds, Lorraine from Organized Interiors. Pleasant lady, beautiful fabrics and good customer service.

kitchen We might actually use her for the curtains for the rest of the house too. You can check out her FB page here.

We sourced our light fixtures from Glow. They have a showroom based at Odds and Ends Mombasa road, and also have their own at Nine West building Westlands. Their customer service is tops. No complaints there. Their prices are not too bad, but we were lucky to buy during their Mega Sale. And boy did we buy! Their light fixtures are unique and the showrooms are well organized.  One is able to walk around comfortably and see all the pieces in their glory without a staff member breathing down your back and other clients elbowing you as they struggle to move. Yes, Creative Innovations, I am looking at you and your claustrophobic showroom.

The paint work in the house is amazeballs. Jotun paints are the truth! What you see is what you get. When they call the paint “thahab” my fren, it is real gold. And this is how we have ended up with a gold entrance but who is complaining? *Shrugs*

Our painter Eric is a real artist. And a man who takes pride in his work. He not only painted the interior and exterior walls, the grills too, ceiling but also did murals in the kids’ rooms. They are both in love with their ocean themes; Leo’s room has Maui in all his glory and Nje’s room stars the Little Mermaid. The best thing about the murals is they do not take up too much space, so if or rather when, the kids get bored, it will not be too bothersome to repaint or have wallpaper installed on the murals.

I cannot choose a favorite between the two rooms; I am in love love love. Eric has an FB page here and is one guy who I will not tire of praising and giving referrals.

Nothing in this town comes cheap my friends. Nothing.  We have been lucky to work with amazing people who understood our budget and desires and were able to work well within the limits. We have not been conned or had major incidents (emphasis on major) and we thank God for that. This does not mean it has been a smooth ride though.  Heh! I will do a whole rant, sorry, post on all the negatives and the solutions we arrived at once the job is done.

Keep it locked…

The Abscondita Effect

Maggie has a uniform.

It was her only request when she started working with us.  We agreed and had some made, including aprons.

My father in law is a mechanic, so he spends a lot of time on overalls. As Leo has not started school yet, he spends a lot of time with his grandpa tinkering around. We decided to have an overall made for him so we do not have to struggle with grease on his clothes. You should have seen how excited he was when he wore it for the first time, he even wanted to sleep in it.

Now my princess felt left out and asked for a uniform like Maggie’s. Complete with an apron so she can help out in the housework. I was taken aback at first as I thought she would ask for an overall like her brother’s. But no, she was adamant. Uniform with an apron, same design and colour as Maggie’s.

I thought it was a phase and ignored it for some weeks, but the girl was persistent. Turns out she even requested Maggie to take her to the local tailor to have her measurements taken. This Mum still thought it was a joke, until I was asked for some money to pay the fundi yesterday morning.

I came home from work to find my girl brimming with pride over her uniform. I have never been so jazzed up as I was yesterday. The girl is so excited she can now look like Maggie as she helps her.

I am learning a lot out of this; I am a young parent but I am learning to let my kids be. If it does not harm them and will help them, who am I to deter them?

I have learnt to appreciate Maggie more. She is excellent with kids and it is obvious they love and respect her. A LOT. She loves them too, see how she just took them to have measurements taken and even picked the clothes herself. Men the kids do not even talk back at her (unlike me). Yani, I do not know how I can ever repay her for the great job she is doing with my kids.

I have also learnt that written education is not everything. In many of the Moms groups I am in, mothers are looking for young, educated help for their kids and a whole endless list of perfect qualities they must have. Ours was only for Maggie to love and care for our kids and she has done a fabulous job, without even knowing how to read. Yes, you read me right. The first time she told me she was semi –literate I thought she was joking but yes, she cannot read written instructions. And yes, she was able to measure formula well and has never mixed up the kids’ medication.

I have learnt to be patient. Maggie is much older than H and I. We have learnt to take some things in stride and overlook some, because nobody is perfect in this world. And she is much wiser than us, raised more kids than us and lived longer than us, so on some issues, she knows best and me and my degree certificates just take a back seat. She also cooks porridge better than me, according to my angels 🙂

This has also challenged me on the gender stereotypes we have, and I am still working on this. We have exposed both kids to the same environment, they both tinker with their grandpa on the cars he is working on, both help in house chores including the cooking, both help out in the shamba, both play with the same toys (they have full blown tea parties) but Njeri just gravitated towards household chores. I need to dust off my developmental psychology notes as I am lost on this. Have we subconsciously taught them gender roles or is it just Njeri growing into her gender identity? Leo has more blurred lines but you will hear him say some things are not for boys, or for girls.

Raising kids is a whole degree in psychology I tell you.

PROCESS OF BUYING LAND IN KENYA

kennchester

There have been complaints on this page on people buying land but not receiving the title deed from the seller. In the spirit of buyer beware, allow me to take the members through the legal process of acquiring land in Kenya.

Firstly, it is not the seller’s onus to process the title deed for the buyer. That should be done by the buyer himself or through his Lawyer.

Before acquiring a piece of Land, there are some pre-requisites which you need to adhere to so that the land you buy is legitimate and you don’t end up losing your heard earned cash.

Below, I will take you step by step on the process you need to follow to acquire land. In every land deal, It is highly recommended that you use a Lawyer. It is costly but safest. BY ALL MEANS NEVER CUT CORNERS.

1. Conduct a site visit

Identify…

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Election Season +254

A few months ago we had a sermon series in Church about the role of a Christian in the political space. There was a phrase, “When Good People do Nothing, Evil prevails.”
Out of that we were challenged; if you are not happy with the status quo and have the means and conviction to do so, run. Run for office and change things from within. That sermon made an impact on many of us. For Samantha Maina, running for MCA in Kileleshwa Ward, that was a sign. She was frustrated by a couple of potholes outside her home for the longest time, and had tried to engage the current MCA but to no avail. So she decided to run and change things from within. Boniface Mwangi announced his candidature for Starehe constituency after years of activism. You may not agree with him, but he has also taken a necessary step to change things from within.

Many of us do not have the courage to do so, but we can support those who do. Look around you guys. We cannot afford to be apathetic. We all have an active role to play in our country’s decision making process. Refuse to conform, be concerned for ALL, and have the courage to intervene.
We need to make an effort to understand each other’s differences and appreciate our diversity. We have to seek healing and reconciliation and begin to trust one another again.

Our leaders are there to SERVE us. Let that sink in guys, SERVE US. We are the ones who employ them. So look around you, examine all those running for office around you. Look at the MCA candidates, those running for MP, Women’s rep, Senator, Governor and President. Do they have manifestos? They should, every one of them, because that is the only way you as a voter will know what they stand for and what you should hold them accountable to for the next five years. Especially MCA, MP and Governor, The buck stops with them. How will they manage the funds allocated from Central government? How accessible will they be? What are their plans for the county? Etc. Devolution is new to us and the past five years have shown us the loopholes that need to be sealed. Examine the candidates guys. Wachambue kabisa.

We also need to examine ourselves as voters. Hii mambo ya kuuza kura and benefiting from some candidates’ handouts needs to stop!
Dagoretti South constituents, I am looking at you. Eh! Dennis alituacha, wanted to run for Nairobi governor saw he could not make it, ran back to the constituency, lost Jubilee nomination, now splurging funds east, west, north and south so he can retain his seat. Folks, do you seriously think he has our best interests at heart? Think deep and hard about it, in fact go stand outside his recent development something “meadows” hapo Naivasha road and think hard and deep if he has the constituents’ best interests at heart when he says he wants to retain his seat. Ha!
As for our governor , the least said the better, let’s just say the suit doesn’t hide the thuggery. Women’s Rep, what is that again? Senator? No comment. President? None of these so called “two horses” deserve to lead. None. Do you honestly think they have our best interests at heart? Really? Really? Think hard and deep. And there are OTHER candidates by the way.

We cannot afford to be apathetic guys. We have a responsibility and a role to play as the citizens of this country we need to be strong and courageous enough to make a difference. So we have until Monday to read those manifestos and chambua those running for office in our counties. Tulale unono, tuchaguane Tuesday kwa Amani. Vote wisely peeps!

Moroccan Beef- My style.

My dearest friends, my love for potatoes is no secret. I love them boiled, baked, fried, stewed…

It has been a while since I shared a recipe so here goes last night’s dinner.

My take on a Moroccan Beef stew, accompanied by potato wedges and coleslaw.

Moroccan Beef Stew

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg beef, cubed
  • 2 onions
  • 1tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves mixed together
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt to taste

Method.

  • Heat oil, add meat and saute for about 15 minutes till it turns a beautiful brown colour.
  • Add onions and mix well till soft, then add the ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, mix well but make sure they do not burn.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes, honey, paprika, salt and water. Stir everything well and bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for an hour when covered.
  • End result is a thick rich stew, serve with starch of choice.

PS: You can add raisins or dried apricots when done, then let it simmer for 15 more minutes uncovered.

For my potatoes, I parboiled them with garlic and salt then pan fried to get the crispy and charred taste. Served sprinkled with salt and freshly ground black pepper. My coleslaw is the easiest, shredded cabbage and carrots, salad cream and a bit of sugar to enhance the flavour.

Kindly try it out and let me know how yours turned out. 🙂