Peanut Butter Spinach in brown rice with roast chicken

One of my favourite vegetable sides is spinach in peanut butter. From reading my food posts on here, you’ll see how much peanut butter is an important and a feature ingredient in most Zimbabwean dishes. It serves the purpose of adding a hearty taste as well as the nutritious element. 

  
Frozen fresh spinach is perfect, convenient  and a cheaper alternative. Spinach is easy to cook but can be tricky from frozen as there’s the danger of adding too much water. You always have to be mindful of the thawing waters. 

In a little water, I let mine simmer then add a dash of olive oil, chopped onion and tomatoes. Passata is again perfect as it doesn’t leave a trail of lumpy tomatoes. A tablespoon or so (to your taste) of smooth peanut butter makes this a scrumptious healthy vegetable dish. You’ll need to let the peanut butter cook for a few minutes. 

  

I’ve previously shared my peanut butter rice recipe. Brown rice taste so much better this way too! In this instance, you’ll just need to cook the brown rice according to packet instructions as obviously the spinach will have had the peanut butter treatment. 

  

 Slicing whole garlic and lemon, you place them at the bottom and all over the chicken sprinkling  favourite dry spices all over as well as a little olive oil. 

And behold, a healthy delicious meal awaits you. 

  

Roast Pumpkin Chilli Mash (nhopi) 

I’ve written about how, back in Zimbabwe, we cook pumpkin leaves as a side vegetable dish. A traditional Zimbabwean pumpkin with peanut butter mash (nhopi) is one favourite hearty comfort meal. For Induna Magazine, I’ve devised a modern version to appeal to those who like their food with a kick of chilli. Usually boiled, I decided to roast the pumpkin instead. 

Follow link direct to the recipe
  

Gooey Tomatoey Okra Soup

A rainy November afternoon deserves a simple superfood, sticky gooey tomatoey okra soup. Ready in 15 minutes. 

You’ll need :

175 grams okra (1 pack) cut into rings

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1/2 cup passata or chopped tomatoes 

1/2 finely chopped onion 

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of salt to taste

* cayenne pepper, paprika or chilli flakes optional for an added kick *

  
Method :

Bring a cup of water to boil in a shallow pan adding the bicarbonate soda as soon as bubbling begins. 

Add the olive oil, okra and onions a few minutes after the soda and continuously stir pouring in the passata or tomatoes. 

  
Keep stirring to avoid foaming over. 

  
Season with salt and chosen spices and stir until soup bubbles have calmed. 

  
Enjoy. 

  

Pumpkin Leaves 3 ways (muboora)

It’s all pumpkin this, pumpkin that on my food social media timelines for the obvious reason that pumpkins are in season. I can’t remember the last time I had an actual pumpkin as butternuts are always available. It’s a bit difficult to get hold of a “proper” pumpkin, one that resembles the non watery ones I grew up eating. I’ll soon be posting a pumpkin recipe of my own, a somewhat modern twist to a classic Zimbabwean dish.

Pumpkin leaves. Yes. Well, they’re certainly not to be thrown away. You’ll need to learn the tricks of preparing them for cooking though – this video tutorial from Princess Tafadzwa is simple and clear. 

  
My mother used to cook muboora a lot. Like A LOT! It’s probably why I decided not to like this dish for so long haha. It can seem to be such a blasphemous thing amongst Zimbabweans to declare that you dislike muboora. Someone recently asked me why and I just couldn’t answer! I thought I should do the adult thing and try cooking the dish myself to see why or see if I would still push the plate back. 

The three most common ways of cooking pumpkin leaves are in tomato and onion sauce, in peanut butter tomato and onion sauce and in white sauce. 

 
Method

After neately cutting up the leaves, boil a little water in a pan adding salt when the bubbles start. Add the leaves and cover the pan stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Wash the pan.

** the best leaves are the small tender baby ones. If using the bigger leaves, you’ll need to add a little pinch of bicarbonate soda to the boiling water so that the leaves will soften in the cooking process**

This is the basic preparation for all three recipes. 

Tomato and Onion Pumpkin Leaves

Return the drained leaves to the pan, add olive oil, chopped onion and tomatoes.Cover and let simmer until tomatoes are well cooked. 

  
Peanut Butter Tomato and Onion Sauce

In olive oil, cook and soften onions and add tomatoes. Let cook for about 4 minutes then add a scoop of smooth peanut butter. Keep stirring, reduce heat to avoid sticking, then add the drained pumpkin leaves. Simmer until peanut butter is well cooked.

  
Creamy Mushroom Pumpkin Leaves

In olive oil, soften onion and chopped garlic adding sliced mushrooms. Season with black pepper adding a scoop of double cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Add the drained leaves and let cook for a few minutes.

  
Of course, this is to be enjoyed with a good plate of sadza and roast chicken…served in an enamel plate just like back home! 

  
I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed, angry or just laugh – I’ve wasted a lot of years ignoring this delicious treat! Give it a go. 

Flavourful Pork Trotters 

I look forward to weekends. We usually have a hearty traditional Zimbabwean meal – some good food to recharge the batteries. 

Growing up in Zimbabwe, some meals easily became so monotonous that as kids, we began to disassociate with them.Fast forward to moving countries, the food from my childhood becomes precious. Nostalgia brings with a sense of belonging, an identity which ultimately makes one embrace their roots. My mum laughs at me  now when I call to ask how to cook some traditional foods. Nostalgia is powerful, and so is maturity. 

Pork trotters (mazondo) are a  Zimbabwean favourite. The dish requires dedication because the trotters are tough so need to cook for a while to soften. Back home, they’re best cooked on the fire for hours while people go about their business. Cooking on the hob requires you to continuously add water so I’ve found that using a slow cooker or the oven makes it far much easier and retains the taste. 

 

I love my trotters flavourful, so I add a lot of different spices including :

Ingredients 
Olive oil 

Vegetable stock

Garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme 

Paprika, Cayenne Pepper and chilli flakes

Tomatoes and onion 
1. In olive oil, I lightly brown the trotters

2. Transfer the browned trotters to an oven proof pot with lid. Season  with salt, pepper, garlic sprinkles (or chopped garlic), paprika, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes. Add vegetable stock with water as well as fresh rosemary and thyme. Drizzle olive oil.

3. Close the lid and cook uninterrupted for 3 hours in the oven at 200°. If using slow cooker, follow instructions on appliance. DO NOT OPEN LID

4. 30 minutes before cooking time, add chopped onions and tomatoes mixing in. Close lid and return to oven. 

*you can include onion and tomatoes from the get go but I prefer adding towards the end for a richer sauce. 

And walahhh ….

  
Best served with greens and staple Sadza (maize meal) 

  
I know my mother is proud. Haha. 

  

Aubergines & Chickpeas in tomato relish

You know what? This is a yummy dinner. Absolutely delicious. I was going to just post on my Instagram but I thought it deserved a blog post of its own.

 As usual, a simple dish with somewhat accidental ingredients! 

  
In an ovenproof dish, I threw some chunky pieces of aubergine, garlic cloves, quartered cherry tomatoes and some white onion. Sprinkled ground cumin and drizzled olive oil then stuck in the oven at 180° for 30-35 minutes. 

While that was cooking, I opened up a can of chickenpeas in water and heated on the hob for 3-4 minutes as on instructions. I could have made my own tomato relish but I went straight for the hotdog relish topping and added to the chickpeas. Well it worked …

 
All that was left was to mix everything together to make a simple midweek dinner. Some chopped up parsley to make it all look pretty 😀

  
Perfect with flatbread …

  
Perfect with sausages for the meat lovers …

  
Nom nom. 

#CookWithNeff 

I was lucky to get an invite to a blogger event sponsored by Neff and Currys where the focus was on the brilliant Neff appliances. What better way to showcase appliances than using them to cook amazing food for the days’ lunch? This is what was in store for us at the swanky Neff  Learning Centre in Wolverton, Milton Keynes .. 

 
Of course one of the best parts of any workshop is goody bags! I must say hats off to the Marketing and PR team because they were spot on in promoting and making the Neff brand visible. The goodies included an apron, notepad and pen, oven mitt, tea towel and my favourite, a cookie which I’m yet to eat 😀

  
Besides the genius technological advancements in Neff ovens (the slide and hide function is a fun), they sure do look beautiful and will easily transform kitchens all over. All the more, like the company’s motto, a lovely kitchen will inspire more cooking! 

We were divided into several teams to cook our lunch as per the menu. I had never made flatbread before and so I’m glad that I came away with a new skill. A picture says a thousand words so here are some from the day… 

   
    
    
 
I was so pleased to be in the same room as people who like taking photos of the cooking process! At home, my family laugh and judge me all the time haha but it felt like we were all at one!

  
Lunch time 😀

  
I’ve fallen in love with Neff ovens especially for bread making. The afternoon session saw us learn a thing or two on the art of bread making. The proving function is fantastic and even more so for the secret compartment that allows you to pour water to create moisture! 

Naturally, we rounded off the day with afternoon tea ..

   
    
 
A perfect day. I wouldn’t mind one these in my new kitchen when I move house. 

  

  
 

Sweet Potato Mash with spinach 

One of my favourite ways to incorporate vegetables in food is the sweet potato mash with spinach. 

Wilt some spinach in a little oil together with crushed garlic and add to sweet potatoes for a flavourful mash! Add a dollop of sour cream for effect. 
  

Paris! 

We’ve just got back from a week in Paris with the family. Amazing and fun time had!  We took the decision to drive for the adventure, it certainly was one! I hated the Dover-Calais ferry ride though and was pleased that we had decided to return via Calais – Folkstone Eurotunnel route. 

We were staying in Villeparisis just 30 minutes drive from central Paris. It proved to be a great location, giving us the chance to learn driving “on the wrong side” of the road! Ha! 

Some photo highlights… 

    
Walking up the stairs at Sacre Oucre and seeing the brilliant view of Paris. 

   
   
D
Driving in Central Paris requires skill and attention especially for a first timer! The chaotic but controlled traffic at roundabouts was too extra for me haha but I still snapped some pictures while helping with navigation. We did park near the Eiffel Tower and took a tour bus but it rained so much we abandoned the top deck 😦 

   
    
 

One of my favourite bit was when we visited the Air and Space Museum and traced the evolution of aviation. Interesting acquisition of general knowledge. 

  Loved the tranquility of Chelles and for a second entertained the thought of living there.
   
    
 
The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a day at Disneyland! I don’t think I’ve walked so much in a while…at the end of the day our feet ached so much. I think I left all of my heart on the Space Tours ride. OMG how terrifying! Never again. 

So much more to explore in Paris and I shall soon return. 


 

Lippy lippy lippy

I never used to wear lipstick. I would be so self conscious that I would lose all the confidence as soon as I walked out of the door! Even when I did wear it, it would be the “safe” earthy colours; nice enough and not too out there. Haha thank God I’m a grown woman who’s very much comfortable with self 🙂 

A couple of weeks ago, I complemented a friend on this purple lipstick she was wearing and today she surprised surprised me by bringing me one! Yay to friends who bring random gifts. 

  
Anyone who knows me from before will be surprised to see me now wearing daring bright colours. It’s a good thing though isn’t it? Some of my favourite lipsticks at the moment are : 

  
Sleek Exxxaggerate 

MAC Heroine 

M&S Petal Pink 

but I still think nothing beats good old Vaseline. Lol.