Sunday, 6 December 2009

A taste of Kenya

At work I've been lucky enough to have been joined by a lovely Kenyan lady called Nancy on a Commonwealth Fellowship placement. Of course, much of our discussion has been of food, especially lunches. Together we've explored the difference between lasagnes from M&S, Sainsbury's, Planet Organic and Cafe on the Hill, we've delighted in worktime snacking on flavoured rice cakes and cake bars. We googled and googled for Kenyan restaurants in London and, shockingly, there ain't none. The closest we could find was a Ugandan restuarant in Tottenham Hale. Finally, on Friday evening, Nancy cooked Kenyan food for the team and I can taste those amazing flavours!

Nancy prepared:
A goat stew
A banana stew
A bean stew
Ugali (Maize cake)
Sweet potatoes

It looked a little something like this:

The goat stew was my absolute favourite. I'd eaten goat meat before but not for a long time. It was so sweet and tender, with a rich, strong flavour. I can't understand why we don't eat more of it. The sauces were all fairly sweet and mildly spiced. There is a large Indian population in Kenya and their culinary influence is clear - chapati is served with most meals and the spice mixes are similar but subtler.

The bases of the dishes were mostly tomatoes, garlic and onions, before stock was added. Despite being fairly 'conventional' ingredients (bananas excluded, of course) but the flavours were distinctive and exotic. I guess that's the goat and the banana for you! Nancy wasn't able to get quite a few ingredients hat she wanted, even in the multicultural mecca of Finsbury Park. Ingredients, such as ground peanuts, would have showcased a completely different set of flavours if they'd been available.

If you're interested in trying to make some Kenyan food, visit this website

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