RIB-EYE STEAK WITH BASALMIC DRIZZLE , STRAWBERRY AVOCADO & SUNFLOWER SEED SALAD WITH A BASALMIC-HONEY VINAIGRETTE

A love like mine is rare. So is the steak I just sent back to the kitchen. But you’d damn well better not send my love back -Jarod Kintz

I couldn’t agree more with Jarod, my sentiments about steak are: if a good vet could have it back on its feet in less than 15 minutes re- moo-ve (couldn’t resist throwing in a cow pun) it from my plate & put it back on the grill  ….I like mine Medium rare! Perfect segway for today’s post on my cast iron skillet rib eye steak with a basalmic vinegar reduction  served with a strawberry, avocado and sunflower salad with a basalmic-honey vinaigrette… I’m salivating just typing the characters!!

Skillet Rib Eye Steak with a Basalmic Orange Vinegar Reduction served with Avocado Strawberry Salad

abidabuoroskitchen.wordpress.com | Iron Skillet Rib Eye Steak with a Basalmic Orange Vinegar Reduction

The day: A sunday

Time: Some time between coffee o’ clock and coffee o’ clock

Place (s): My kitchen, Karura Forest, Toi Market, My Kitchen, My Verandah/patio/porch (whatever the correct name is!), My living room….the little girls room, back to the living room then….. “Abida! Snap out of it!”

Moving on…

Cast: Lister, Zizmaroo & I

Several Sundays ago my friend Lister and I took Zizmaroo to Karura Forest cycling. I could wax poetic about Karura Forest! It is one of my many favourite paces in Kenya and the fact that it’s about half an hours drive from my house (this is highly dependent on weather conditions – whenever it rains Nairobians turn into headless chickens behind the wheels; time of the month {NO this has nothing to do with PMS!} – there are fewer cars on the road mid-month…or whenever Energy Regulatory Commission reviews fuel rates upwards!; If I decide to stop over somewhere for a gigantic meal – I am about to work it off after all; whether KENHA/KURA (our roads authorities) have decided to repair roads during peak traffic times!! (which always seems to be the case)…….What I’m getting at is if the stars and moon align to create perfect conditions for my zodiac sign {VIRGO BABY!} I think I just failed miserable at trying to sound mythical with this last statement!, then it takes me half an hour!!). Which is Fantastic! I love the tranquility, the awe-inspiring vistas, I love to take walks there, cycle, jog ( this peculiar half trot half walk half jog that I do when I say I’m jogging!) I love Prof. Wangare Mathai, the fierce Nobel Laureate who literally had her braids pulled off her skull just so that Zizmaroo, myself and other Kenyans would not only enjoy being in the forest but also benefit from the numerous ecosystem benefits.

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VIAZI KARAI, HONEY- SOY PORK CHOPS, PINEAPPLE PECAN SALAD WITH A HONEY SOY VINNAIGRETTE

Humour keeps us alive. Humour and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.-Joss Whedon

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I have few friends but those that I do have I hold dear, and one such friend is Shella … my oldest friend-chronologically! ( No, she doesn’t have dentures, spectacles with lenses as thick as the bottom of a coca cola bottle, adult diapers and a walking stick! … We met in kindergarten, went to the same primary school, went to different high schools, same university different courses, had each others backs through ebbs and flows in each others lives, have gone MIA from each others life at some points in our lives (but we always find our way back to each other!) had our beautiful babies and we are still going strong! …enough of the sentimental brouhaha… such a snoozefest!!😴 💤😴

Two weeks ago I just thought of her so I Whatsapped called her and suggested we get together over the weekend, prepare a meal, have some wine (her) ,cream liqueur (me) and juice in sippy cups (her bambam and my zizmaroo)… no sippy cups were actually involved since they are way past that age! She asked me to send her a shopping list which I got around to doing a day before our lunch date (planning the menu was such a life changing decision that could not be rushed! I just had to wait till the last minute then hurriedly send it to her….NO rushing involved there!!) She’s been planning on buying a new cooker and our lunch date spurred her into getting it sooner than she might have…Come to think of it, our interactions always involve some epicurean endeavour!). With the anticipation of tinkering in a new shiny oven sending tingles in my silly place ( a girl has to take the tingles wherever the source! UNLESS of course the source of the tingles requires a doctor prescribing some antifungal/ antibacterial ointment!) I waited for the 12 hours standing between me and that wonderful inspirational marvel known as ‘the new oven’ my girlfriend Shella!

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SAGE AND GARLIC PENNE, WITH SAUSAGE & BACON IN A BASALMIC VINEGAR REDUCTION

So I know this girl, she kinda stole my heart and she calls me ‘mom’

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Its Sunday, Zizmaroo and I are flying solo, I have caught the Sunday Lazy Bug, and the house show it – it looks like a girls gone wild set (not the Joe Francis variety!) I think I’d best rephrase, it looks like the set of little girls gone wild, with lego’s, push carts, story books and all manner of toys everywhere. The fridge is empty I can literally hear my thoughts echoing in it! and I really don’t feel like lifting a finger so what do I do? I lift a finger! because long gone are the days I’d drink a cuppa coffee if I was lazier than I was hungrier! I now have a lil miss pigmaroo who must eat when she wants to eat! A quick peek in my pantry and freezer helps me decide to whip up a one pan dish…well I used 2 pans but I won’t tell the pan police if you don’t!!

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ORANGE GINGER PORK , RAISIN COCONUT RICE AND APPLE FRESCO SALAD

Cooking certain dishes like roast pork reminds me of my mother.- Maya Angelou

Orange Ginger Pork Chops

Orange Ginger Pork Chops

I abso-most-certainly-lutely concur with Maya Angelou, I can remember having roast pork at the club when I was young, and the Knorr Roast meat marinade that my mother used to make and that became a go to pork recipe for me until the supermarkets no longer stocked the marinade and I mourned for the longest time. But the good thing is I was then forced to become creative with my pork recipes and I now have an arsenal of go to recipes for whichever occasion.

Another pork dish that sticks out in my mind is a roast pork and pineapple dish that we had at the Mombasa Club I think it was in 2009, when Pookie and I were on holiday…ahh! May the Chef’s hands be blessed!

…It’s a Monday and Pookie bear calls me and asks “Mookie, will you Make apple fresco salad for dinner today?”…..his voice all syrupy and sweet, so my knees buckled, my heart skipped a beat and to stop myself from giggling and twirling my 4 inch weave around my index finger as my colleagues watched I gave him the list of items to pick up…it doesn’t really qualify as a list since it was 2 items – blue cheese, walnuts, celery, lettuce, and apples…ok i guess it WAS a list! (Now bear with me as I ramble on about how apple fresco salad is Pookies favourite salad ever, we first discovered it at the Nairobi Java House – Nyali Branch and it was the only salad he’d bother having, so when the coffee-house removed the apple fresco salad from their menu Pookies heart was broken 😱😢🙊💔. He called me to share the sad! sad! news…and I knew I had to do something FAST…his ailing heart was at stake! so a little online research, a stop by the grocery…and our home-made apple fresco salad was born!)

As soon as I hung up I started thinking of what would complement the apple fresco salad and I decided a pork dish was just what I needed. So the next step in my thought process was, which pork recipe and I knew I would either brine it and grill it or use the oranges I have been planning on picking up from the market since hangnails have become eponymous to my hands (if you look up hangnail I guarantee an image of my hand will pop up!!… did you know hangnails are also refered to as stepmother’s blessing!) and the ginger rhizome that was starting to dry out in my pantry. The raisin coconut rice was left over from the weekend when Pookie made us his special chicken dish (yes he cooks!😍).

Apple Fresco Salad

Apple Fresco Salad

The only time to eat diet food is while you are waiting for the steak to cook – Julia Child

Wise words never rang truer!!!

Ingredients:

For the pork chops:

  • 500g Pork Chops
  • 1 Tbsp Freshly Ground black Pepper
  • Orange rind from 2 medium-sized oranges (approx 2 tbsp)
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 2 medium-sized oranges
  • Orange flavoured basalmic vinegar
  • Ginger sliced into thin strips

For the brine:

  • 1/a cup of sugar
  • 1/a cup of salt
  • 1 cup water

For the Apple Fresco Salad:

  • 2 green apples
  • 1 pink lady apple
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cups basil (lettuce can work as a substitute)
  • Celery
  • Blue cheese

For the vinaigrette:

  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Orange flavoured basalmic vinegar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Some bicep power

For the Rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 a cup raisins

Directions:

Pork Chops

Prepare the brining solution by mixing the sugar salt and water and place your pork chops in the solution to brine. If you can do this overnight awesome!- if not then you can brine for at least an hour – I guarantee the world will still rotate on its axis if you have to brine for an hour!! (confessional 🙏… I sometimes double the quantities of salt/sugar and only do it for 30 mins or however long I can manage coz lets face it sorties you just want to get over the cooking part and get to the eating!)

For the marinade, in a large bowl, mix the orange juice and rind, add the orange flavoured basalmic vinegar and sliced ginger and stir. Remove the pork chops from the brining solution and place in your marinade grind so black pepper and sprinkle. (let the chops marinade for at least one hour)

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This is what I mean by a snug fit!

Pre-heat the oven to 180º celsius.

Place the chops in a baking tray (ensure the tray isn’t too large or else the chops will dry out, you want the chops to fit snuggly together…we want to get a sauce out of that heavenly marinade.) Then pour the marinade over the chops.

Bake the chops for 40 mins.

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Rice

Bring the water to a boil, add the coconut milk and bring it back up to a boil. add the rice and raisin’s and let it cook.

Salad

Thinly slice the apples into half-moon shapes and chop up the celery, in a large bowl mix the apples, walnuts and basil (if using lettuce tear it to bite sized pieces) break the blue cheese into small pieces ( and under no circumstance should you smell your hands coz the blue cheese smells like rotten socks…. but it tastes sooooo good- One of life’s major paradoxes!!) Pour in the vinaigrette and toss the salad- for those of you with x-rated humour-NO PUN INTENDED.

Plate…or not! and enjoy… i won’t judge I have been known to eat from the pot or in this case the baking tray… for all those raised eyebrows- it’s very eco friendly- all the water saved!

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BRAISED LAMB SHANKS

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat- Fran Lebowitz

Braised Lamb Shanks are a go-to whenever I am having a party…..or on occasions when I want to get laid show my appreciation for my boobbli aka bambam aka pookie aka my one and only (……sigh after 7 years, a girl occasionally has to resort to prepping a 3 hour meal to get some!!)

Please be forewarned I am not one of those anal (excusez mon français) cooks who measures precise quantities of anything (unless I am baking) because I believe cooking is all about fun and you should let your spirit flow free….just be careful when it comes to salt…..add an ingredient here get rid of another there, nothing is set in stone, use and substitute depending on what you have at hand. In the spirit of being accommodating I have tried to approximate the quantities of ingredients used. Owwwwkay enough of the diatribe against quantum physics precision cooking let’s get on with it.

Ingredients

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All the veggies required for this recipe

  • Some 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (sunflower oil is a good sustitute…..or whichever veg oil you have…..think heathy….

Healthy Heart……not padlock!!

  • several stalks of celery, chopped (for exact quantities…count the stalks in the picture with all the )
  • Numerous large carrots, chopped
  • A bunch of onions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 8 whole cloves garlic…..a whole head of garlic will work just as well!
  • Some mint
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • A handful of leeks
  • About 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • eyeball several tablespoons tomato paste (call it 3 Tbs, if it pleases your heart)
  • 4 lamb shanks (oooi! i can see disapproving eyebrows arching across kitchens…..fine! fine! each shank should be about 0.5 Kg….Worry not if it’s 0.6 Kg, the Shank police aren’t very efficient!)…I used a fore shank and part of the breast….coz thats what I had in my freezer 🙂
  • About 10 cups chicken broth

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or a deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, mix well and cook for about 4 mins.

Veggies happily cooking away

Salt,pepper and rub the cumin on the lamb shanks

My lamb Shank AHHEM fore shank and part of the shoulder

My lamb Shank AHHEM fore shank and part of the shoulder

and lay them in a single layer, over the vegetables in the Dutch oven. Add enough stock to surround but not cover the shanks and bring to a simmer. Place the lid on your dutch oven….or oven proof skillet and transfer to the oven. Braise the shanks,  turning every 30 minutes or so, until the meat is fork tender, about 2 – 2 1/hours.

Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for about 15 minutes to allow the fat to rise to the surface of the sauce. Transfer the meat to a plate then skim the fat from the surface of the braising liquid….soon to be the sauce from sauce heaven. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the vegetables with a spoon or your bare hands …the kitchen is a tough setting grrrrrrrrr… to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the veggie veggz. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Finally serve and most importantly partake in the feasting…..just don’t forget to take pictures of the final product like I always seem to !!!

P.S: Get to know your Lamb …….just like Mary’s little lamb, this one has a cute face, cerulean blue eyes, is wooly.cuts.

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