Thermos Funk

I was hosting some guests yesterday over at my house after church. I served tea to keep the folks warm. But I notice the Thermos that I used to serve the tea had a stink coming from layer between the inner shell and the outer shell. I was frustrated because even after rinsing I was not able to clear the smell. So even when I served the tea it had a taste that was not of the tea but of whatever was going on. So I soaked it overnight and then as I was washing it I discovered that I could open the bottom part of the Thermos and clean all the pieces. The relief I tell you…but the stink was overwhelming and that is when I realised I am not so different from that Thermos. All nice and bright green on the outside but messy on the inside. And here I was this morning asking God “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” —Psalm 139:23-24 and I realised, you can look all together on the outside but then a nasty funk is going on inside of you. Allow your Father in heaven to SEARCH you on the inside and point out the things that need work, the habits that need to be left behind, the unforgiveness, the bitterness. Let Him lead you on the path of peace and love everlasting. He knows you and can get to the places that you cannot reach. Allow HIMthermos

I found my pen…

penheart

When my heartbreaks I feel like I can’t write
And yet to write is what I do
The breaks are the things I write about…pen in one hand
I need to find the place I left my heart
That I may find my words and write
‘Guarding the heart’ was my middle name
But I let someone into the jungle of my heart
The thunder in his groove made me mumble
I had the words to express what I was feeling
But was crippled by the fresh vybe in his step
He crept up on me and I was pleasurably surprised
I dropped my pen because my form was weak
I let my guard down…the words that I held on to for all my life
The ink spilled and I had nothing but a stain on the rug to show for it
Now I try to remove the stain that was the pain in my heart
My rhymes went through the door
With his scent left lingering in my head
My brain could not process it all
And when I tried to pick myself up I realize what he did
He left me without my ink
I was all dried up and my pen scratched the paper trying to write
And that was when I dropped the pen
It felt like forever
But I listened to some music and the rhymes in my heart came alive
I grabbed my pen and started to write
I felt the beat of the tunes and bumped to it
I wrote to it
And wrote some more to it
I realize I never lost my words
They were just buried inside where the guard of my heart fell
I unlocked the words and chose to write
I locked my heart again because…
…from the heart flow the springs of life.

heart

Cookout: Eat, Pray, Love.

Nonie was the host and, Lulu and I were there to help her with the cookout. The intention was to get cooking and hang out with friends who enjoy food! We were very lucky the sun was out and that we had a good outdoor set-up that made the experience all that and more.

Needless to say, there was a good turn out. We believe we can cook for more than 20 and even think of bigger menus and an outdoor venue! Next year is going to be a good year! More food and more people to feed.

We also had the chance of meeting 3 generations of fabulous women: Nonie’s grandma, Nonie’s mom and Nonie herself. I can testify that these women behold a beauty that has been passed down from generation to generation. To be hosted with such open arms and with such genuineness is beyond what we have experienced in a while.

So we got cooking. We had a simple menu yet we wanted people to experience complexity in their mouths through the flavors in the foods we cooked.  We had a curry flavored grilled beef with some tasty spiced rice prepared by Nonie and Lulu respectively. I worked on some baked potatoes and arrowroots on a bed of rosemary leaves. The kitchen was just alive with flavors (yummy!). I also prepared a medley of vegetables ranging from spinach, pumpkin leaves, mchicha (traditional greens) and sukuma wiki (kale) cooked in home-made cream and the desert was sinfully delicious – ripe bananas coated with chocolate sauce that won hearts of all.

But what would a good meal be without good wine to accompany it? People came with all ranges of white and red wine like Malan Cabernet Sauvignon, Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon, Angaro Chardonnay and Mamma Mia Sauvignon Blanc. There was also some Castle brandy and King Robert vodka that Nonie made a punch out of.

People met people they’d only read about. People laughed. People ate and drunk. People danced. It was a surreal day for one Nonie but it was real for everyone who was there! It was a wonderful event and I recommend we do it again and again and again.

But my take on this 1st cookout is that it is possible to cook, eat and laugh together. Love your friends. Pray together and never stop eating together because Mondays are made lovely when you have those you love around you.

Enjoy the Photos :) Courtesy of Cous Cous using a Samsung NX10 18-55mm!

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Lunch with Friends in Tigoni, Limuru

Luke 12:19 New King James Version (NKJV) 

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”

And this we did! The grounds in Tigoni are surrounded by tea farms.  Ms. Naomi Mutua and family were gracious enough to open their doors to us.

I know for me this was a good chance to be in the good outdoors and have a good laugh. What stood out for me these past cookouts, you can never have enough of them; friendships are things people live for.

I met some wonderful women this year Nonie and Naomi, and my camera simply fell in love with Nanjira.  Notice how all these names start with N.

I met Pastor Wa and his gorgeous family, amazing daughter whose confidence is inspired by both parents. I truly look forward to 2012!

If you ever want to have a good laugh ensure you have WamathaiZack and Muendo in the same room.

But I saw chemistry in some folks I was certain they were made for the camera :) SarahIvory et al bisous! Vincent, we missed you! Mwirigi it is criminal for you not to be in the presence of people who love you and cannot stop talking about you.

James and Kevin we will click away together and make everything beautiful.

I cannot emphasis this any more. Take it ease this year, drink and make merry.

2011 ended in style!

Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Buttered Veggies and Fries

I came home today and I knew what I wanted; chicken. It has been a while since I ate a good grilled chicken so I decided to throw a tasty meal together using little time and achieve some tasty flavors as well.

I have a house-mate who enjoys my cooking and we usually take the time in the kitchen to catch up about the day, but the reason I enjoy cooking for her is that she loves food. It is one thing to love cooking and another to love and enjoy food. People who love and enjoy food  make me want to cook; even when I come home spent I just want to cook for her so that I see her expressions as she eats.

This meal I cooked in under an hour. Yes, I did. Anything that you put on a grill or a hot pan should cook in under an hour if you want to retain the moisture in your food.

The ingredients are simple too. For the chicken I sprinkled some ground garlic, rosemary leaves, chillies, coriander and  black pepper for flavor. I added some olive oil because I was searing it on a hot grill and put it on the grill for about 20minutes until I got a charred look on the chicken.

For the veggies I chopped up some carrots, French beans and colored bell pepper.  First I boiled the French beans for 5 minutes and then rinsed it in cold water once they came to a boil to retain the rich green color.  This applies for any veggies you cook as it also retains vitamins. Then once those were ready I fried them all together in a butter and man the experience in your mouth comes alive.

Then I quickly deep fried some potoato slices (fries) and seasoned them to taste, and I was ready to serve. This was the final product. It was tasty trust me. Try it at home.

~BisousBisous~

Pan Fried Oxtail with Peanut Butter Fried Spinach and Ugali

DISCLAIMER: If you have never used a pressure cooker please ensure you read the instructions before using one or use the traditional jiko and pot to cook.  You will achieve the same if not better results.

Whenever I cook oxtail it usually reminds me of the days that my mom would prepare it the night before on a jiko in a pot. She would throw in all the elements necessary to make the food tasty and the one thing that I remember of the final output of that cooking was the soup. That is a recipe for another day.

Today I decided to cook a simple meal because I miss my mom. She is everything to me, something many of you would say about your mothers. She taught me how to cook, not because she was following customs but because she did not know how to cook when she met my dad. What that meant was that my dad had to teach her how to cook. So my mom wanted to change the script for her children and it resulted in us learning how to cook at an early age. I remember having a timetable that my siblings and I would use to guide us on the meals for the day that ensured we all got a chance to cook. During our family gatherings everyone is in the kitchen cooking something.

This meal can take long hours to cook if you go the traditional route of cooking in a pot and slow simmers. The final meal is too tasty and the way the meat falls off the bone leaves you so close to even chewing the bone. I used a pressure cooker that allowed me to prepare this meal in under an hour; I love simple meals. So for ingredients for the pan fried oxtail I used 1KG of oxtail, onions, tomatoes and salt for taste. For the spinach a few leaves, onions and peanut butter. 2 Cups of maize flour to deliver ugali for 2 people.

I put a cup of water in the pressure cooker and salt for taste. After 10minutes reduce the heat and release the pressure so that you do not over cook the meat. You still want the meat on bone as much as possible but achieve a tenderness. I then pan-fried the oxtail with onions and tomatoes until browned. Afterwards, I prepared the peanut butter using medium heat to achieve consistency then threw in the onions and then the spinach. As that was going I prepared the ugali and we were ready to eat: my housemate and I. I topped this up with the oxtail soup with chilli and it felt like I was back home with mom.

~We gave thanks~