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Vol.4.2 February 2018
IN VINO SWEET VERITAS
You don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy a good glass of wine, argues Katy Fentress, who is happy to have passed the responsibility of curating this month’s wine section to someone unarguably more qualified than her. Not all comfort food is sweet but one thing is for sure and that is that sweet food gives us great comfort!
A little bit about me: while I am, to all intents and purposes, American by birth, I was brought up in Italy and spent every summer of myDon’t life at the Phew, at least that’s over! bottom of a green little valley lost in get me wrong, I absolutely loved the hills of the Chianti wine region. crisscrossing the city over restaurant Growing up, wine was something week sampling delicious cuisines that thebut course of theI been long hot of allover kinds, boy have seasonthese wouldpast be consumed by thirsty happy ten days diving guests monumental quantities; into theinkitchen and getting stuck so much that buying the stuffOne in back intoso, making comfort food. bottles simplyeat did not make economic thing I never when I go out is sense. Forgive Instead,me, every days, my pasta. it’sfew an old hang parents later me), would drive up from (and when, aged ten, I ordered up to our local farmer, step into his spaghetti at a restaurant in Florida smallthe and damp cellar andthat fill up and red wobbly mess wasa jerrycan’s worthofofme anything placed in front was so from unlike 10 to 50 litres garnet-coloured anything I had of ever eaten back in red wine gushed of never the Italy, thatwhich I vowed on theout spot fibreglass tank such vigour, it to eat pasta in awith restaurant abroad would Here leaveina Kenya, good head of foam again. though, we at the top of our This was no have almost allcontainer. of my favourite pasta fine wine, and costing little brands, wemind haveyou, ok extra virgin olive more bob a litreItalian (yes, you oil, wethan have50parmesan, cured read that right,and that 1,000 bacon, olives sowould many be other now-defunctessential Italian liras, roughly up ingredients to whipping the equivalent ofof 0.50€ today) it did a delicious plate the stuff, that if it the trickfor and kept everyone happy. weren’t the obvious carb-overload
Unfortunately, thanks to stringent health and safety laws imposed by the European Union and the fact that the farmer probably wasn’t paying consequences, I could literally cook taxes the awine solddays us, by 2010 pastaon twice day he seven a week. thisWhile practice wastopic clamped down on on the of comfort and weon had to instead getWong our bulk food, page 24 Susan wine in the us more but certainly convinces thatlegal Tandoori Patio is less wine bag-in-boxes the romantic, place to go when in need of a available from registered cantinas comforting Indian hit. Also it must (wine cellars) in theinarea. be said that when need of a feelAll this to say many that while I may good moment, people turnhave to grown in one famous sugaryup things to of getthe themost happy hit wine the world, and can at they areas need.of While personally I cannot this pointtoprobably tell asweet Merlot from be said have a huge tooth, aI Pinot Noir,pretty I am no winefood expert love how sugary canand don’t think is I ever be.immense Which isfun be. Which whywill I had why it was sotogether nice to be to pass helping put theable photoshoot over the month’s responsibility of curating for this cover and Easy this year’s section to Cakes PopYummy featureWine (p.26). Joy, our Josiah Kahiu who,offresh year delightful Head Salesfrom and ahand studying wine and oenology model for the business day, was extremely in Florence, Italy, is far more qualified excited to get a colourful manicure to the stuff forwax thelyrical shoot,about although after than hoursI of am. posing with her hands in unnatural For our third annual wine issue, positions, it could be argued that Iloti visited our her Mutoka enthusiasm hadLeleshwa, somewhat favourite Kenyan winery,featured to celebrate dampened. Sweetness on
its chief winemaker and oenologist Emma Nderitu whose career, since we last saw her in 2015, has come along in of leaps bounds several our and articles with[p28]. instastory Josiah Kahiu interviews phenomenon Soni Side the Up owner sharing of Pharley’s ClubanTim Challen the secret toWine making amazing and is excited to findbowl that [p22], Kenyans breakfast smoothie are loving the idea ofexplaining taking partwhy in Chandresh Rughani anot monthly wine club [p36] and we and all liquorice is the same [p29] conducted a long phone call withthat the finally Patricia Kihoro admitting Italian Stefano sugaryoenologist foods are not high Marinari, on the list to outthat more about effects of offind things tickle herthe fancy [p41]. global warming production Elsewhere in on thewine magazine we put today [p38] andcontent what can done to together some forbe Chinese mitigate them. Thinktoo wine drinking New Year. Nothing detailed, just a isquick just for old people? Think photoshoot we did at again Bamboo argues Kahiu, whoGarden in his feature on restaurant in Zen on their the drinking habits of(p34) his millennial delicious dumplings and a little peers, shows how is feature I wrote upsocial on themedia fantastic feeding a whole new wine revolution Chef Wu, the new Sichuan chef at 88 that is doing for the restaurant atgreat Villa things Rosa Kempinski industry. [p30]. In the few weeks since coming in the Susan toElsewhere Kenya, Chef Wu magazine, has revolutionised Wong is lucky tomenu get a table at it the their pan-Asian making more super popular Mercado restaurant Chinese and, in my less-than-expert and comes backauthentic altogether opinion, more as happy a result. with theaexperience [p22], we got Finally little note on our Meet Chef Dariosection Aloisiowhich to prepare the Team is on us thea
special meal for our Sicilian Table recipe section [p40], Karanja Nzisa can’t get a delicious meal he had in the city of Jerusalem out his nextholy page. While this is not byof any mind [p58] and David Cecil describes means the entire EatOut team, they how a magical Rasta turned are some of the hardcaterer working and the vegetarian food his film fantastic people thatonmake sure shoot from bland andout, depressing the magazine comes more orto delicious andthe invigorating less around same date[p60]. every I sincerely hope reading month. It’s not justyou the enjoy writers but the asthe much as we did the magazine sales team, designers and producing it andmanager, that at the least, the distribution who all it will inspire you outmention of your once comfort deserve a special in a zone go the andrest try aofnew while.toFor the wine team,from from the that Kahiu the delightful IT guys, toselection the Top Brass and of hand-picked and vetted especially course our partners in crime the for you. team, all hail thee! You guys NOMAD do fantastic work!
Katy Fentress Katy Fentress Editor In Chief Editor In Chief
MEET THE TEAM
LEROY BULIRO - DISTRIBUTION Leroy AKA LERB spends his free time searching out mad D&B tunes and practising his DJ skills at home or at the ADA creatives studio at the Alchemist Yard. Although he would have loved to indulge in a delicious NRW meal, somehow he never managed to find the time.
NJERI GATHARA-SALES Always the eternal romantic, Njeri spent a long and pleasant evening gazing at the lush green foliage delightful landscaping of Four Points restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel. If she could have had thirds of the chicken teriyaki starter she would have.
FRED MWITHIGA - DIGITAL EDITOR Fred aka Mr Patrick loves a fresh salad and always jumps at the offering of one. It doesn’t come as a shock that one of his favourite NRW meals was Live Inn’s prawn, mango, watermelon and watercress salad. Buy him one the next time you see him.
SEINA NAIMASIA - SALES Seina went to a whole bunch of different NRW restaurants and is honestly struggling to remember which her favourite meal was. If she squeezes her brain, she says she remembers loving the chicken coconut soup and Toranj and the beef medallions at Picazzo.
JOHN NJOROGE - CREATIVE DESIGNER Much to the dismay of his editor, John was too busy hitting the gym and working on his “guns” to make it to any of the NRW restaurants. If he had gone somewhere he would, however, have loved to go to J’s Bar and Grill on Muthangari drive.
IVY NYAYIEKA - EDITORIAL INTERN There is little Ivy loves more than a good piece of chicken. If that chicken comes stuffed with an additional serving of meat, well then that’s pretty much heaven for her. So it was that her NRW dinner at the Grove really pressed all her buttons in all the right places.
WINNIE WANGUI-STAFF WRITER Her love for meat led her to Eagle’s Steakhouse at Ole Sereni and aside from watching the buffalos and antelopes basking in the hot sunpartially wondering if they weren’t feeling the heat, she felt the Pork Vikings really hit the right spot.
JOY WAIRIMU - HEAD OF SALES At her dinner at Tapas in Westgate, Joy would have loved to order the Peruvian ceviche but it turned out her dining companion was allergic to seafood so she made up for it by drowning her fishy sorrows in a delicious Caribbean Mojito that came served in a pineapple.
CORRECTION: On the January 2018 NRW issue of Yummy magazine we incorrectly stated that experience at J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen was “forgettable”. Anyone who has ever visited this vibrant den of delicious food and amazing live music will have known that what we meant to say was that the experience there is always “unforgettable”.
DEVNA VADGAMA - SALES Devna had the life changing experience of watching her husband, who until six months ago was an avowed vegetarian, dig into the most succulent baby back pork ribs at Talisman ever. She is pretty sure he is never becoming vegetarian again.
WIN THIS MONTH! Who doesn’t appreciate a little love? we’ve got a Baileys Hamper for grabs. All you have to do is write an email to Win@Eatout.co.ke telling us who you’d share the hamper with and you could win!
CONTENTS 26 CAKE POPS A simple, step-by-step guide to make the colourful and delicious little biting of cake fit for kiddie birthdays but even better for yourself!
FRONT SECTION 08 Social Scene - NRW Launch 10 New Restaurants 12 News and Events 14 The Shuk: Israeli Food Festival 17 EatOut Picks: Date Night 18 Anyiko’s List: What’s Hot 21 Kahawa Diaries: Tetu Shani
REGULARS 22 Bloggers We Love: Soni Side Up 24 Susan Eats: Tandoori Patio 37 Ask a Wino: Sweet Wine 41 Social Butterfly: Sweet Tooth 43 Man About Town: Coming of Age EAT AND IMBIBE 29 Q&A: Liquorice, Anyone? 30 Spotlight: Chef Wu 37 Wine Corner: Chocolate and Wine 44 Cocktails: Thirteen Botanicals 48 In a Pickle: World Conquerors COVER CREDITS
36 33 STORY OF DUMPLING This visual guide to Chinese and Japanese dumplings tells you what they are, how to eat them and what to dip them in
Cake Pops Courtesy of: Kavita Shah, The Wicked Whisk Nairobi Photography by: Peter Ndung’u Hand Model: Joy Wairimu Art Director: Devna Vadgama
YUMMY Vol. 4.2 · February 2018 · PUBLISHED BY EATOUT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MANAGING DIRECTOR Mikul Shah GM Michelle Slater EDITOR IN CHIEF: Katy Fentress STAFF WRITER Winnie Wangui EDITORIAL INTERN Ivy Nyayieka CONTRIBUTORS Jackson Biko, Josiah Kahiu, Patricia Kihoro, Marah Koberle, Anyiko Owoko, Susan Wong DESIGN John Njoroge, Brian Siambi DISTRIBUTION Leroy Buliro SALES, MARKETING & OPERATIONS Daniel Muthiani, Devna Vadgama, Gilbert Chege, Jane Naitore, Joy Wairimu, Susan Gathara, Seina Naimasiah PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Ndung’u IT Douglas Akula, Erick Kiiya, Asim Mughal SALES INQUIRIES Call Yummy, 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL email@example.com
NRW BLUES The food lovers, the influencers, the media and the technorati of Nairobi descended in droves to sample the delights of the Nairobi Restaurant Week launch, held at Soi restaurant in Dusit D2 on February 23rd.
Kick Back, Relax at Mugs & Brewz Fine dishes, amazing cocktails and an easygoing atmosphere. What more could you ask for? Mugz & Brewz at Marsabit Plaza is your go-to place to enjoy scrumptious meals and dine with your loved ones. It also has a gorgeous outdoor terrace so you can enjoy Nairobiâ€™s lovely weather and the trampoline should keep your kids busy as you catch up with friends and family. Try their mouthwatering Mugz Rump steak or their whole Tilapia fish. eatout.co.ke/mugz-brewz
SPOILT FOR CHOICE Flavour and Fun at Two Rivers Imagine a choice between kuku wa kupaka (swahili coconut curry chicken) and Jamaican beef meat pie. Kafe Koko offers these among other fun and flavourful menu items. Located at the Two Rivers Mall, Kafe Koko also serves a wide array of drinks including Kenyan-inspired cocktails, a wide selection of spirits, Whisky, Brandy and Liqueurs, soft drinks and beers. eatout.co.ke/kafe-koko
MEDITERRANEAN HEAVEN For lovers of Mediterranean and Ethiopian food Stellaâ€™s Mediterranean restaurant makes good on its promise to serve authentic Mediterranean and Ethiopian Cuisine. Finding this gem of a restaurant behind Junction Mall will definitely be worth your time and you are sure to enjoy tantalizing dishes that will leave you craving more. Their signature dishes include Duck and Saffron Salmon. eatout.co.ke/stella-s-mediterranean-restaurant
ESPRESSâ€™ YOUR LOVE
dormanscoffee @dormans_coffee @dormanscoffee
NEWS & EVENTS
Afro Cupid By Imani Bijou A fashion gala with a Retro Funk inspired theme, this exclusive annual event and dinner, presented by Imani Bijou Creations, is back for the fourth edition happening on the 17th of February at The Monarch Hotel. Happening from 7pm onwards, this promises to be a night of poetry, music and art. Tickets cost Ksh. 4,000 inclusive of dinner and drinks. www.facebook.com/ImaniBijouCreations
SUZANNA OWIYO LIVE
The Valentineâ€™s Special by Kenya Nights Live
Singer/songwriter, Suzanna Owiyo will be performing live for the Valentines Special by Kenya Nights Live, on 16th February at The Alchemist. DJ Kace is scheduled to work his magic on the decks, so put make sure you stick around after the concert as his sets are always great. Early bird tickets are going for Ksh. 1000, Advance tickets, Ksh. 1500 and Ksh. 2000 at the gate tickets. Tickets are available at mymookh.com
Lights, Camera, Fashion High Tea The annual Fashion High Tea is back for the 8th edition and will be taking place on Saturday, 3rd March from 2pm at the plush Zen Gardens. As always, high profile guests and personalities are among the guests expected at this yearâ€™s edition which will also see a good number of designers showcase their work from unique one-of-a-kind clothing to handcrafted jewelry. Free-flowing drinks and delicious food are among the treats guests will enjoy so you better get your outfit ready. Tickets go for Ksh. 6,500 per person. fashionhightea.com
HAPPENING AT DUSITD2 NAIROBI ON MARCH 10TH AND 11TH, THE EVENT PROMISES TO SHOWCASE A SELECTION OF THE BEST FOOD AND DRINK ISRAEL HAS TO OFFER. DURING THE FESTIVAL YOU WILL TASTE 20 DIFFERENT ISRAELI WINES AND MORE THAN 15 ISRAELI FOOD BITINGS FROM 8 FOOD STATIONS MADE BY ISRAELI CHEFS. THE EVENT IS GUARANTEED TO EXCITE EVEN THE MOST SEASONED OF FOODIES OUT THERE. FURTHERMORE WE WILL RAFFLE 2 FREE ROUND TRIP FLIGHTS TO ISRAEL SPONSORED BY ETHOPIAN AIRLINES.
Falafel: The original vegetarian king of all deep-fried foods is a round patty jam-packed with delicious and health giving ground chickpeas, fava-beans, vegetables and spices. Probably the best-known food of Israel, it is most often served inside a pocket of pita bread, packed with salad vegetables and drizzled with decadently delicious tahini sauce.
Labneh: These super creamy cheese balls are made by straining all of the whey from thick Greek-style yoghurt. It can be made from both cows and sheeps’ milk and has quite a strong and tangy flavour profile. The cheese is rolled into balls which end up with a doughy consistency and are served up dipped in olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar spice mix.
Flavoured Sea Salts: This special line of flavoured sea salts hails straight from the Dead Sea at a station located a -424 metres below sea level and is of course totally organic from start to finish. The salt crystals come in an array of delightful colours, flavours and smells all of which will inspire any budding cook to get crazy experimental with their cooking adventures.
Tahini: This nutrient-packed crushed sesame paste is a ‘must’ in pretty much all Israeli food and an ingredient that the rest of the world is only just beginning to wake up to. When whisked with water, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and if it tickles your fancy some roast garlic or a sprinkle of sumac berry powder, it creates the base for an endless array of flavour-packed sauces, dressings and accompaniments.
Shawarma: What sets Israeli shawarma aside from the many versions that exist around the Middle East is its creative layering of chicken, beer and lamb which, when rotated for many hours on a large skewer, fuse together to form an insanely delicious meaty experience. The secret here is in the spices which vary from house to house, shop to shop and city to city.
Spice Station: Uncover the cornerstone of the Israeli flavour profiles with these four essential spice combinations: paprika, sumac, za’atar and ras el hanout. No Israeli savoury dish can be complete without them and after having tasted their various incarnations at the other stations it will be impossible not to want to take some home to pimp up your own foods.
Halva: Once again sesame seeds take pride of place in this tahini-based sweet that is extremely popular throughout the region. The base of this sweet is made by blending the paste with hot sugary syrup or honey and some form of crushed or sliced nuts to which a dizzying array of different ingredients can then be added to suit all tastes!
Wine: Israel is located in one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and, despite a few centuries-long dip in production, over the last 30 or so years local winemakers have been making sure that the art is not lost. Recently, wines from the country have started winning prestigious international prizes which makes it no better time to try some of the 20 different wines which will be on display.
TICKETS: WWW.TICKETSASA.COM INFO: INFO@ISRAELISHUK.COM 0791 389 771
Avoid the last-minute rush this Valentine’s day and book yourself into one of these exclusive restaurants to dine with your loved one for that one romantic night of the year you are bound to remember. BIG ELEPHANT This multi-cuisine restaurant located at Valley View Park, Limuru Rd offers a retro ambiance that is ideal for a quiet evening with your special loved one. This Valentine’s they will be offering an unforgettable three course meal for Ksh. 4,600 per couple, inclusive of their house sparkling wine. eatout.co.ke/Big-Elephant-Cafe
OLE SERENI Dubbed by those in the know as the ‘Love By The Park’, Ole Sereni’s Valentine’s offer includes a five course buffet at the Big Five restaurant for Ksh. 5,000 per person, a five course dinner at Eagle’s Steak House for Ksh. 6,500 per person and a 20% discount on couples massages. eatout.co.ke/eagles-restaurant-ole-serenihotel
SAROVA STANLEY Celebrate love and make beautiful memories at the Pool Deck at Sarova Stanley when you enjoy their aphrodisiac five course menu at Ksh. 5000 per person. What’s more, if you book in advance, you stand a chance to win a rejuvenating couple’s spa treat at Tulia Spa. eatout.co.ke/pool-deck-at-sarova-stanley
ZEN GARDEN Treat your loved one to a five course menu at Zen Garden this Valentine’s and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and a long stem red rose for Ksh. 5,000 per person. From char grilled lemongrass chicken skewers to pan seared salmon, or beef fillet, their set menu is bound to make Valentine’s special. eatout.co.ke/jade-coffee-teahouse-at-zengarden
PHARLEY’S CAFE Indulge in teas, gourmet sandwiches and cakes at the Pharley’s Cafe. Located at Spinner’s Web along Kitisuru Rd, Pharley’s Cafe will host a Valentine’s High Tea on 14th February from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. Tickets cost Ksh. 2,500 and are available at the cafe. To reserve, call 0733730440 or 0707730440. www.spinnerswebkenya.com
PICAZZO A three course Spanish set menu awaits you at Picazzo this Valentine’s featuring savoury tapas, expertly prepared seafood, and other delicacies for Ksh. 3500 per person inclusive of a complimentary glass of wine. eatout.co.ke/nairobi/picazzo
YUMMY LIST ANYIKO’S
Coolest Launch Tanzania’s royal couple: Queen of Pop Vanessa Mdee and her other half - R&B singer Juma Jux, were in town this January to launch Vanessa’s debut album: ‘Money Mondays’. The 18-track album features Pan African stars including Mohombi, Cassper Nyovest and Joh Makini. Vanessa’s Nairobi twin events: a press conference and the launch party hosted by Chimano of Sauti Sol, were well-attended by Kenya’s media personalities and celebrities and definitely gave the East African music scene a good shake-up. She is the first Tanzanian act to launch her album in such a swanky way in Nairobi. Tastiest Food At the start of February, I was among a handful of carefully selected guests invited to ‘Secret Eatery’ – a unique dining experience held at a secret location in Nairobi. I’m still not allowed to say where it was, but I can tell you that I can’t remember when I last had a 7-course meal that good! Dishes ranged from a delicious Lemon Sorbet, a Chicken Ballentine, Grilled Chops with Pineapple Salsa and a surprisingly good Courgette Carbonara. To get a chance to attend the next ‘Secret Eatery’ and to unravel who the secret Chef is – check out secreteatery.wordpress.com. You’ll thank me later! Most Relevant Quote
Our columnist – publicist to the stars Anyiko Owoko, is based in Nairobi Kenya and spends her time mingling with African celebs, if she’s not out and about sampling Kenyan fashion and all the latest in cool East African music. In this issue, she attends an exclusive gourmet secret dinner and the biggest album launch Kenya has seen in recent times. Here’s her hot list this Feb:
I was just going through my old interviews and I came across a 2016 audio recording of a conversation I did with Uganda’s famed duo Radio & Weasel. Radio said, “Working with Toofan at Coke Studio made us realise that Ugandan artistes are special! We make news and everybody loves to talk and write about us,” adding, “At the end of the day – I love it! I do it for fun so keep posting Instagram posts and Snapchats of us.” Right now the whole of Africa is taking to social media with messages of condolence after Radio passed away this February 1st., following an accident at an Entebbe club—condolences to all his fans and family. Favourite Item of the month
and we are proud of it. Now shipping stories worldwide.” Waza Wazi bags come in all shapes and sizes. I love their little pouches which I always carry to events. Their big bags fit my laptop, iPad, clothes, shoes and pretty much any other thing. Waza Wazi are the most functional Kenyan bags and they represent my love for heritage and unique talent. Check out the Luoch clutch – my current favourite. Next time you want to buy someone a Kenyan gift – Waza Wazi it is! Favourite Series I absolutely love the Kenyan-Nigerian YouTube series – “This Is It” created and directed by LowlaDee – (Dolapo Adeleke) and starring celebrated Kenyan actor Nick Mutuma (Tomide) and Nigerian actress Chiagoziem Nwakanma as Dede. The first season of this dramatic romcom miniseries, follows the young, clueless newlyweds Tomide and Dede, while its second season digs deep into life after the honeymoon period focusing on the last six months of their first year in marriage narrating their journey settling into a new life with random unexpected everyday issues. It’s so hilarious and so good for anyone and everyone thinking of moving in with their partner –it’s not always rosy. You will binge-watch this all the way! Most Kenyan Moment Terrorism is a subject many shy away from but looks like the topic of an incident that happened in Kenya might grant a new Kenyan film an Oscar. German and Kenyan producers unite in this new Kenyan production “Watu Wote”, inspired by the 2015 terrorist bus attack orchestrated by Al-Shabab militants in Kenya’s Mandera region. The film just got nominated for the 90th Academy Awards taking place on March 4th in Los Angeles, US Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The short film, produced in 2016 as the graduation film for the Hamburg Media School master class program, pays tribute to the 28 people killed in the attack. In the next issue, I will be talking about Nairobi’s hottest music festivals! Don’t miss!
I go everywhere with my Waza Wazi Bags—my revolving favourite item of all months! Their Instagram page reads: “We are unapologetic ambassadors of the African reality. Each piece embodies our narrative
PHOTO AMAZING KLEF
KAHAWA DIARIES YUMMY
PHOTO LOUIS NDERI
TETU SHANI TETU SHANI IS A SINGER, SONGWRITER FROM NAIROBI. HE WON SILVER AT THE GLOBAL MUSIC AWARD IN 2017 AND 2018 IS OFF TO A GOOD START FOR HIM BECAUSE HIS SONG, THE VOID RECENTLY MADE BEEHYPE’S BEST OF 2017 LIST. HE TALKED TO KAHAWA DIARIES ABOUT HIS SWEET TOOTH, HIS DEVOTION TO MUSIC AND HIS UPCOMING ALBUM. What kind of music is on your playlist? Well, surprisingly I don’t really have a music playlist- this really shocks people because they say “Oh, how are you a musician and you don’t listen to much music?” I think I am so focused and devoted to creating the music that, funny enough, I do not have as much time to listen to a lot of different stuff intentionally. So, for now, the music on my playlist is music from my rehearsal sessions, trying to make my own music type. What do you love most about living room concert sessions? The opportunity to get into an intimate space. The way it works is that the people who love my music agree to host me at their house and I tell them to invite about 15 to 20 of their closest family and friends. When you are enjoying music with people who aren’t strangers to you, there’s this vibe, there’s this freedom that makes people be honest with me. And, you know, it’s just so intimate and so magical, I love it!. What is your favourite kind of coffee? Probably a mocha because it has three things that I love.- chocolate, cream and of course coffee. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. So whenever I visit a restaurant or a bistro or coffee house I’ll ask for a mocha- first on my list- or a cappuccino.
What is your favourite pastry? Umm...I love cinnamon rolls. I also love Danish pastries. I don’t know what they are called. I just know them as Danish pastries, which have hazelnut flavour. Below that would be doughnuts. If you could go on a coffee date with anyone in the world, who would it be? There’s really only one person that I would take for that coffee date and that would be my beautiful wife Louise coz she’s my best friend and we NEVER run out of things to talk about. What is the best thing about being a musician? The opportunity to change lives and to be able to see that change as it happens in real time in front of me. There’s a young friend of mine who’s about 18 years old and he once told me: “You know what man, one of the reasons why I envy you is because your impact is immediate.” You know if someone is working as an accountant in an office, it’s a little more difficult for them to see, hear or experience the impact that they are making on that organization or people’s lives. But what I love most about being a musician is that I get to see the joy on people’s faces. I get to hear their responses, I get to connect with them and get an immediate response.
COFFEE AND PASTRY OFFER Everyday from 7.00am to 9.30am
What do you have for breakfast? Generally, if it’s just kind of a regular day I like to have oatmeal, I like to have fruit and I like to have either eggs or sausage… something like that. What was your best performance last year? My best performance from last year was at an event called Engage, the 16th edition. It happened at the Kenya National Theater. It was just so dope. There were about 450 people and everyone in the room was responsive, and completely dialled into the performance. They were responding to me, laughing with me, talking back and those are the kinds of performances that I love most What project are you working on currently? I am working on my album. It’s called Back to Basics. I recorded it the first week of January. There is a lot more stuff I need to do to it but it’s the project that I am most excited about right now. Hopefully, it’s scheduled to come out later this year.
ON THE LINE
TEXT FRED MWITHIGA
BLOGGERS WE LOVESONI SIDE UP She’s hip, she’s cool and she loves to eat! Soni Adriance (@soni.side.up) aka the Queen of Instastory food reviews, loves a good brunch and isn’t afraid to whip out her phone for some on-the-spot reviews. Every so often, you find yourself scouring around for a new restaurant to dine at. After checking out a few spots online, the tricky bit catches up with you faster than you thought. None of your friends have been to the places and let’s face it, online reviews are not the most reliable. After all, who’s going to believe an anonymous contribution with a full five-star rating and zero menu recommendations? Enter @soni.side.up.
roll in and where the majority lies on issues like: Where do you prefer to eat breakfast: Java House or Artcaffe?”
When it comes to food, Soni is always up for an adventure. Whether she’s downing snails in Vietnam or finding out that Durian fruit isn’t quite as lovely as she had been led to believe, she credits her adventurous spirit and appetite for inspiring her favourite pastime. To settle on a spot to eat, proximity, occasion and price point all play a role in her hunger For many Nairobi foodies, 26 games. After a long week, she’s always year old Soni Adriance needs no down for a lazy weekend outdoor introduction. Her witty captions and brunch - the perfect time to catch up deliciously captured food shots will have you reaching for you phone eager with her friends over a few cocktails and eggs benedict. Her top brunch to book a table. What sets her apart? picks? She thought you’d never ask: Her restaurant Instastory reviews are some of the most engaging on the Wasp & Sprout — the food is scene and her personal touch really conveys her side of the story. Recently really good: fresh, fun/different and consistently delicious. Order the sweet she has been focussing on using potato waffles if you have a sweet Instastories as a review platform and tooth or breakfast bruschetta made she credits audience feedback and on a thick slice of sourdough with consistency for her profile growth. homemade pesto, sliced almonds, “I find it’s a fun and dynamic way to engage with your audience. One of the prosciutto and cottage cheese. Book in newest installments on my Instastories advance and ask for a table outside. If you’re lucky, a cute dog may join the is ‘Would You Rather Wednesdays’ table next to you. where I pick a topic and ask ten questions. It’s fun to see the results
Le Grenier a Pain — Where she goes when she wants to feel fancy. Even with the worst hangover you’ll feel fresher sitting on their balcony with a glass of grapefruit juice and a double cappuccino. Recap your Saturday shenanigans nibbling on a buttery, perfectly flaky croissant or go all-in with any of their breakfast items. Whatever you do, please don’t leave without picking up a French pastry on your way out (try the salted caramel tart). It’s worth the pretty penny. Sometimes, when she’s really in the mood, she treats herself to a bottomless brunch. Preferably somewhere with outdoor seating. Bottomless is a great choice for a large group - no headache when it comes to splitting the bill and figuring out who got what. Only drawback is that you have to go to a hotel to get this experience (and a lot of them are basically the same). Her final option would have to be About Thyme where she suggests the best option is to grab the corner couch and order the salmon avocado omelette. This year, Soni plans to travel more for food, experience different cultures and lifestyles and capture
it all in a deliciously stunning frame with her trusty iPhone. Whenever she isn’t checking out what’s new in the restaurant and bar industry or revisiting old favourites, she’s in her kitchen blending up her latest breakfast craze - smoothie bowls, a simple but nutritious morning kickstarter. The next time you can’t settle on where to go for dinner, swing by her profile for some handy restaurant advice and a chuckle or two.
Soni’s Smoothie Bowl What you’ll need: 1 banana 1/2 mango Handful of berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc) 1 tbsp moringa 1 tbsp chia seeds 1 tbsp nut butter (optional) 3 tbsp plain yogurt Throw all the above ingredients in a blender. Blend until you’ve reached your ideal consistency. Top your smoothie bowl with more berries, mango, chia seeds, some of your favourite granola, desiccated coconut... Whatever you want really just make sure you enjoy!
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Susan Wong steps into the newly relocated Tandoori Patio and discovers that if Indian comfort food is what you are looking for, then this is a place where you can’t go wrong In primary school, I celebrated Valentine’s Day by delivering carefully handmade cards to my classmates. During high school, it was the dreaded day of a school dance. In university, it was a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on some excellent restaurant two-for-one deals. Finally, as an adult, Valentine’s Day to me was just another day to celebrate the marketability of love. Valentine’s can certainly mean different things to everyone; and just like that Day, “comfort food” can also have different interpretations. We’ve all heard of the term “comfort food.” We have craved it, dreamed of its aromas in anticipation, had our emotions stirred and palates whetted, warmed by it on a chilly evening, had sentimental feelings stirred, and finally, our appetites satiated by it. When I think of comfort food, Indian cuisine often comes to mind. Whether it’s the spice, slow-cook
techniques, searing heat, rich gravies, or even eating with your hands; Indian cuisine certainly gets you going. Indian cuisine is intense, raw and unbelievably honest. If you like food that moves you, shakes you from within, then the newly relocated Tandoori Patio in Nairobi will hit the spot. To begin, a plate of stacked deep-fried battered okra, Rajasthani Bhindi, arrived light and crispy. Each piece of okra was surrounded by a light-as-air crispy batter that was tempura-esque. Spiced and aromatic, the batter carried a reddish orange tint. The Tandoori Lamb Chops were politely trimmed-down, with just enough fat to add flavour, marinated and then cooked in fierce heat. The chops were deeply spiced, aromatic, and expertly seasoned without being greasy. They arrived neatly organized on a round plate atop a bed of raw onions and carrots, and garnished with a sprinkling of fresh
coriander. The most intriguing starter was our Palak Cheese Patties, which looked like green falafels. The discshaped patties were deep-fried and featured spinach with homemade mozzarella that oozed when pierced. At first you’re a bit unsure about the patties like when you’re getting to know someone new on a date. But a couple of bites in, you realize this not only has potential, but that you’re actually enjoying it! Then there were the plump Indian Ocean Prawns marinated in masala before being finished in the tandoor. Tender, spicy, smoky, juicy and just enough char on the heads to get them crispy – be ready to fight for the last one. The naans were also worth romanticizing. I’ve daydreamed on several occasions just before lunch about their garlic naans: Soft, garlicky, crispy exterior, fluffy center, and a distinctive charred flavour. This Westlands neighbourhood favourite since 2015 has recently
relocated up the street to the corner of Brookside Drive and Lower Kabete into The Pavilion’s second floor. A relaxing water feature welcomes you to the new expansive space, which comes complete with a balcony and large patio enough for 150 diners. The ambiance is contemporary rustic with exposed wooden beams framing the main dining space, and a neutral warm colour palette soothes the eyes. The staff were sweet, welcoming and knowledgeable. The food here is pure, unabashedly bold, and comforting. If you’re in search of some comfort food, Tandoori Patio is the kind of place where you’ll discover what that actually means to you. It’s a place where someone who’s been many times before can find a new crush on the menu to fall head over heels for. eatout.co.ke/nairobi/tandooripatio
EASY CAKE POPS These delicious bite-size treats are great for birthday parties and can be a fun way of getting your kids to have fun in the kitchen. Save on dessert time with these cute snacks that require no cutting, no serving, no mess and most likely, no leftovers. Step 1: Mix a basic cake batter, add in lots of food colouring and bake it accoridng to your favourite cake baking method. Remove from the over, set aside while it cools making sure to cover it with tin foil to avoid it oxidising and loosing it’s vibrant colour. When you are ready to go, crumble the cake into a large bowl. You want your crumbs to be fine and even, so make sure there aren’t any big pieces.
Step 2 : Gradually add your favourite flavoured frosting into the bowl and mix it in using the back of a large metal spoon until completely compact. The mixture shouldn’t be too moist though because you need to roll the mixture into balls that will hold the round shape using your hands. Place the balls on a baking sheet and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrapping and chill for several hours in the fridge –or if in a hurry, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Be sure not to freeze them as you need them firm, not frozen.
Step 3 : Find a nice deep micorwave proof bowl. Take your selected candy coating which should either be white or dark chocolate. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds or, if you donâ€™t have a microwave, use a saucepan full of boiling water to melt it bain marie. Keep stirring to make sure it melts evenly but make sure you don;t overheat it as it will burn and ruin the batch. Add in some food colouring either by mixing it uniformly or dripping it in with a toothpick to create some fun swirls.
Step 4 : Dip about half an inch of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and insert the stick into a cake ball and let sit until the chocolate is set. Dip the entire cake ball (now attached to the stick) into the melted candy till completely covered and gently pull out of the chocolate, rotate the cake pop facing down to get rid of any excess candy coating.
Step 5 : Sprinkle crushed candy,store bought sprinkles, squiggles of chocolate, crushed nuts or anything you fancy, onto the cake pop before it dries completely, to make it even more bright and colorful. Get as creative as you want here. Repeat the procedure for all of your cake pops and insert them one by one into a Styrofoam block in order to let them dry completely. Place them into a mug, a glass or a container and leave them out for guests to grab as they catch their fancy. Voilaâ€™ hope you enjoy!
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LIQUORICE, ANYONE? CONFINI THE CANDY CO.’S CHANDRESH RUGHANI TALKS TO YUMMY ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL LIQUORICE AND LIQUORICE IN THE CANDY MANUFACTURING WORLD, THE PROCESS OF COOKING CANDY AND THE NEXT BIG THING FOR CONFINI THE CANDY CO. What is Confini the Candy Co? Confini the Candy Co is a small confectionery business in Nairobi. We specialise in flavoured liquorice which is a new segment of candy in the Kenyan manufacturing world. Some of the brands that do liquorice are Allsorts and Haribo; we are doing something similar except with a different twist based on local consumer needs. What is natural liquorice? People know liqourice as a plant extract, a black aniseed-tasting goo. It was historically used in Europe to make candies because it was believed to have medicinal properties. However, liquorice in the candy manufacturing world is a candy made using wheat flour. What are the medicinal benefits of natural liquorice? Since time immemorial, people have been using it for stomach problems and throat issues. In today’s world, black liquorice medicinal is only used by a few people. So that name has been passed on to the candy world. But natural liquorice obviously causes people to misinterpret what liquorice is, thinking “Oh it’s that aniseed thing.” And a lot of people are averse to it. How do you make your own version of liquorice? We use wheat flour. What makes
us different from other liquorice companies in the world is, based on our local read of the market, we have decided not to use a few ingredients. We do not put gelatin which is an issue for vegetarians. It does change the candy slightly but we’ve managed to create our own recipe where the candy is still chewy. We also do not use high fructose corn syrup or palm oil. And our candy is a bit stronger in flavour than everywhere else in the world. What misconceptions do people have about liquorice? Because this candy’s manufacturing process uses the name liquorice, people assume that whatever we make is going to taste of the liquorice root- think sambuca the drink which also has the aniseed flavour. When we have our little stalls at shows, we allow people to sample the candy for free and develop their own opinion. How would you describe the candy itself? Well, I love the candy. It’s fun to work with. You can have it as an inbetween at 11 o’clock in the morning, or when you are sitting by the computer and want to have a guilty indulgence that’s not so guilty. What type of flavours do you use? We use a natural-based flavour which we import. Flavour is flavour, the difference is how it is made.
For example, an extract of the fruits or vegetables is taken and then synthetically modified and replicated like a clone and enhanced. How is Confini Candy healthier than other types of candy? Yes, it is healthier but it is not healthy. Everything with sugar has a side to it but because in our process we use wheat flour as one of our main ingredients, by default we use a lot less sugar than other candies. As with our name ‘Confini’, which means boundaries, I think everything within limits is good for you. How can I get your candy? You’ll find it at Carrefour, Chandarana, On the Way and Monty’s. You’ll find it at all the Zucchinis- because of our green credentials in terms of sugar, they are happy to have us. And we’re now trying to build the bigger chains such as Naivas and Tuskys into it. What is the next big thing for Confini Candy? As our logo has it, “Since Yesterday.” We are always trying to improve and try new things so we don’t believe in the next big thing but next big things. For example, we’ve got our version of jelly beans which don’t have a jelly base but have a cream liquorice base. We are looking at widening our portfolio and experimenting with nontraditional ideas.
In the space of a few days, tofu skin has risen to the top of my beancurd list of desires.
PHOTO DEVNA VADGAMA
At a recent dinner at 88 Restaurant at the Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel, Katy Fentress is delighted to taste their new Chinese menu and has her preconceptions about tofu thoroughly challenged. Tofu is a tricky bugger. For every time someone has prepared a pretty good dish of soybean curd, I can count five times that I either failed to make it taste half decent, or simply abandoned it in the fridge for weeks, unable to conjure up the inspiration necessary to transform it into something palatable. While organising a dinner once, I was instructed to make a vegan cheesecake which contained no dairy, no sugar, no carbohydrates and, in my opinion, absolutely no fun. Tofu was the main ingredient and for years afterwards, I could not go near the stuff without feeling culinary boredom wash over me like a white and sludgy tsunami. With this in mind when, the other day, I received an invite to have a meal prepared for me at 88 restaurant at the Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel by Chef Wu Zong Xung, a beancurd epiphany was the last thing I expected. Chef Wu was recently hired to reinvent the 88 menu, after it was decided that Pan-Asian was not so exciting and that the restaurant would fair better if they focussed exclusively on one type of cuisine, in this case Chinese. The chef hails from the southern Chinese province of Sichuan, a place famous for foods
that are more spicy and complex than your more delicate and saucy Cantonese fare. When Chef Wu, who was just completing a stint working at high-end restaurants in Iran and India and had recently watched a TV program on the influx of Chinese people in Kenya, was notified of the job opening, he decided he might as well come over here and try the country on for size. On his first days in Nairobi, Chef Wu headed to Yaya Centre to source ingredients for his new menu but, unable to find what he needed, he stopped the first Chinese person he saw and asked them for advice. After being pointed in the direction of a shopping centre further down Argwings Kodhek road, he turned up at the Chinese Supermarket and instantly recognised one of the women working behind the till as the same person that he had seen on the TV show. With that, it was settled: he says he knew it was his destiny to be here and proceeded to ring up a massive bill at the supermarket where, he insists, he fully intends to do most of his shopping moving forward. The menu for my dinner at 88 was decided with the help of Anand, the manager. My dining companion and
I selected an array of Cantonese and Sichuan dishes. The “vegetable salad” was ordered almost as an afterthought, nothing about it on the menu screeched “pick me” but as my dining companion was vegetarian, we needed to cater to her tastes too. When the vegetable salad was placed on the table in front of me, I had no idea what it was. “Is this a bamboo root?” I asked the waiter, who shrugged and went to get Anand for further elucidations. In front of me lay a plate upon which the only discernible green vegetable was lashings of fresh coriander. Apart from that it was just chilis, peanuts and these obscure, gnarled and porous white fingerlings. Anand arrived to explain that they were something Chef Wu had picked up at the supermarket called “tofu skin”, which is the dried-out and then scrunchedup surface that forms on soy milk when boiling it to make tofu. When dried, they look like those rawhide knots that are given to dogs as treats and to make them edible one must place the stiff ribbons in warm water overnight and then marinate them. In this case, Chef Wu had used rice wine vinegar and the results turned out to be as satisfying as any chicken marinated, grilled and then tossed into a salad.
In the space of a few days, tofu skin has risen to the top of my beancurd list of desires. It is textured, it holds flavour and if the Youtubers are halfway right, it can be used in a myriad of different recipes. Certainly I am no expert on Sichuan food, something I hope to make amends to in the not too distant future. But if my Nairobi experience has taught me anything, it is that restaurants that decide to specialise, instead of desperately attempting to please everyone are, in this era of discerning gourmet Nairobians, destined to do quite well. It follows that a high-end speciality Chinese restaurant should pique the interest of the army of Nairobian food lovers clamouring for a culinary surprise. I, for one, fully intend to come back and sample more of the regional delights Chef Wu has in store for us. Katy Fentress was a guest at 88 restaurant on the 1st floor of Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel. eatout.co.ke/88-at-villa-rosakempinski
STORY OF DUMPLING The perfect food for a delicious lunch, a light dinner or just an appetizer to keep you going while you await the main deal, dumplings have kept China, Japan and other pockets of East Asia fed and content for centuries. They can be eaten with chopsticks, a fork or in many cases just popped into your mouth after being dipped in sauce with your fingers. The secret to an amazing dumpling, as any East Asian will tell you, is in the wrappers which can be deceptively easy to make. In the following pages, with the help of Head Chef Den Signey at Bamboo, Zen Garden on Lower Kabete road, we have compiled a brief guide to some of the most popular styles of dumplings out there.
PHOTO PETER NDUNGâ€™U Shot on location at Bamboo, Zen Garden
YUMMY DIM SUM
Soy Sauce - This light soy sauce is infused with spring onions and a touch of lemon juice. It adds a savoury touch to dishes and should be used sparingly.
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CRISPY PRAWN WONTON As delightful on the eye as it is crunchy on the mouth, this dumpling is bound to please all lovers of fun fried snacks out there. The soft gingerfilled prawn filling will be a well-deserved reward after crunching down on its tentacles. Dip it in soysauce for a savoury touch.
BAO This soft and spongy Chinese steamed bun, contains a spectacularly delicious barbecued pork filling known as â€œchar siuâ€? pork which Chef Den cooks three times in order to achieve the right balance of sweet and spicy flavour. You can dip this in any sauce you want, the truth though is that the inside is so lovely and moist you might not feel the need to.
HAR GAU Similar to the prawn dim sum this translucent dumpling comes steamed and with a a juicy prawn and bamboo shoot interior. Works best with a tangy soy and fresh lemon juice sauce with some fish sauce thrown in for added flavour.
Fried ginger matchsticks are combined with raw ones and sprinkled with white and black sesame seeds to add some kick to the delicate dumpling dishes. It can be mixed with soy sauce for added saltines
Chili Oil infused with coriander. If you are a spice lover this basically goes with absolutely everything. It can be argued that itâ€™s better with some than others but when your mouth craves the heat it probably doesnâ€™t really care. Just try and not put it on your ice cream.
CHICKEN GYOZA Grilled Japanese-style dumplings have a light wrapping which crisps up on the grill. Chef Den uses cabbage and marinated chicken for the fillings and garnishes them with spring onions. Best eaten after dipping them in a light soy sauce (add chopped green chilis if you want to give it some bite)
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Our authority on all things wine, is here to tell us that there’s more to wine and chocolate than just a simple emotional attachment or marketing gimmick. You probably thought that wine and chocolate were just a pairing made by marketers to move more product on Valentine’s day. Truth is, there is more science to this combination than might initially appear. It all boils down to chemistry. It may sound cliche’, talking about chemistry on this most ‘romantic’ of days, but the way chocolate is made, is similar to the way wine is. They are both fermented products and need the same yeasts to develop. Wine and chocolate both have similar properties when it comes to the palate. Their complex and persistent flavours have a tendency to linger on your tongue. In fact, wine and chocolate both fight for the same taste regions on your palate. However, this similarity is also the reason why so many people tend to get the pairing wrong. Intense flavours such as theirs can and often do, exist on their own. This is because they need a specific harmony to work well together. Wine and chocolate both come in a range of different styles, flavours and intensity, so it is good to know what to pair before that pairing kills the romance of the night.
A good place to start when setting out to buy chocolate and wine is the type of chocolate you prefer. Keep in mind that the chocolate should never overpower or mask the flavour of the wine, meaning the wine should be sweeter than the chocolate, White chocolate (technically not chocolate as it does not contain cocoa only cocoa fat), is a relatively easy chocolate to pair with wine. Due to its sweetness and fattiness, it prefers wines that complement its flavours. In this case, think sweet to sweet. Thus, for example, a good fortified wine like Sherry works wonders with white chocolate. That said, on Valentines, the emotional appeal of bubbles cannot be underestimated, so if sweetness is the way you want to go, dip some strawberries in white chocolate and try pairing them with a demi-sec Champagne. When it comes to milk chocolate, its also quite versatile when paired with wine. This is mainly due to the low cocoa content in the chocolate. The trick, like with white chocolate, is to match the flavours of the ingredients in the chocolate, with the flavours of the wine. One easily available wine that fits this job is a
Pinot Noir. Try a wine from Oregon or a South American Pinot Noir, these regions produce fruit forward wines with notes of cranberry, cherries and vanilla. If you are a fan of milk chocolate with nuts, try a Vin Santo. This Tuscan sweet wine is full of caramel, hazelnut and honey notes, making it a perfect combination for nutty milk chocolate. Now we come to the more difficult pairing - dark chocolate. Due to the presence of tannins in dark chocolate, it requires a wine that can match up to its intensity. Step in the red wines. The main thing to bear in mind here is a high percentage of cocoa needs a darker more tannic red wine. This allows the wine not to be overpowered by the chocolate. Wines that are good for dark chocolate are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Zinfandel. So if you’re sitting in traffic, wondering what to get your significant other on this our day of St Valentine, don’t bother buying overpriced roses that are close to their sell-by date, stop by your local supermarket and get some chocolate and wine!
I look down on my friends who like sweet wine. Does that make me a snob? Joy Wairimu, 29 Ha! I have been waiting for someone to ask me this question since I began writing this column! In my youth, drinking sweet wine was just what everybody did. If the wine wasn’t sweet, they’d stick soda in it. The truth is, as much as many people might disagree, yes, it does make you a snob. In the same way that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, wine is in the mouth of the drinker. Think of it like a movie: some people think Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest actor alive, others differ - it’s all a matter of preference (although when it boils down to it: who doesn’t love The Terminator?). People mainly think that sweet wine lovers lack in taste, but this is far from the case. Some of the most highly prized wines in the world like Sauternes, or a late harvest Moscato are widely celebrated. Wine, like life, is a journey of self discovery. You might have loved marshmallows growing up but then things changed. There are very few of us who got into wine with a dry red. If your friends are sweet wine lovers, slowly introduce them to other styles, just don’t tell them what it is. Keep in mind that there are many different wines out there . Life and wine are all about trying new things. So the next time you are with a friend who orders sweet wine, introduce them to something new and easy to drink like a Gewurztraminer. You never know, before you know it they might be ordering a Chianti Classico without batting an eye! Have a question about wine? DM Josiah on IG @knife_and_wine
Floyd by Beynat, Bordeaux rose 2014 - This light raspberry pink rose has a fine nose with notes of lemons, strawberry and light spices. On the palate, fresh, lively and slight astringency due to the lemony finish. Perfect for a sunny afternoon or a romantic picnic. Available from Le Decanter, ABC Place. Tel: 0729 867 403
Diemersfontein Pinotage 2014 - This fruity red Wellington Pinotage has a distinct nose of coffee, chocolate and plumb. The ripe subtle tannins create a wine that is best drunk young. For the chocolate lovers, this is a good pair. Available from Sixty Three Wines Thigiri. Tel: 0700 636 363
LOVE WINES Four wines around which to build the perfect romantic dinner.
4 Hands, Hot to Trot 2104 - This blend of predominantly Merlot and Syrah is palate friendly with notes of cherries, red currant and tea. Aged in a combination of French and American oak, it offers subtle but persistent finish. Price - 1700. Available from California Wines by Rose. www.californiawineskenya.com
Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal 2014 - Young and fruity with a topaz colour and classic Moscatel aromas of orange blossom, floral notes, citrus, raisins, tea and candied fruits. Full-bodied and rich with a balance of acidity and smooth tannins. Available from UVA Wines - Tel: 0703 046 800
Let LOVE bloom. Gift your loved one with a bouquet starting from KSH 1500.
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SWEET TOOTH Turns out we are genetically predisposed to either love or shrink from super sweet food, or so finds out Patricia Kihoro as she sets out to uncover the science behind our taste buds. My entire life, I’ve never really had a sweet tooth. For as long as I can remember, sweetness was never a thing I had a hankering for. Aside from only needing to add sugar to avocado to help it go down, I was that child sneaking into the kitchen to steal salt. Yes, salt guys, I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the taste, the feeling of the crystals on my tongue, and the rough sensation on the inside of my cheeks after swallowing a tablespoon full of salt and feeling my entire mouth dehydrate. But sweet stuff? Not quite. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t, and still don’t, desire it like most people do. To me, the sweetest thing is a not-quite-ripe mango topped off with a mix of red chilli powder and salt. Ultimate bliss. In boarding school, I would buy myself a bar of chocolate at the beginning of the term, and keep it in my locker where I’d see it every time I opened it. Yet I wouldn’t touch the
chocolate until the night before we went home for the half term break. For six weeks I would barely glance at it, even though it was right in my face, and when the time came to devour this Mars bar, I was happy to share it with my friends. I wonder if this somehow developed my preference for delayed gratification when it comes to, erm, other things. I feel a little nervous tick whenever anyone calls me “Sweetie”, a little rush of annoyance that quickly fades but has no explanation, no matter how well-intentioned the person is. No song with the word “sweet” in the title has ever been a favourite. I may be reaching here but, if the shoe fits. I recently looked up why some people can’t get enough of the sweet stuff, while others couldn’t be bothered to even glance at the dessert menu. Turns out, it’s genetic. There is actually a human sweetness
receptor whose genetic variants dictate just what concentrations of sucrose we like, which explains why some people wince when something is sour, while I wince when something is too sweet. My mum, however, loves sweet wine. She’ll add soda to dry wine (the horror) just to make it palatable to her, while I would rather drink raw, apple cider vinegar mixed with muratina (local honey brew).
be a beautiful, tastefully designed wedding cake, I’ll have a stash of weetabix cereal somewhere close just for me. This is after I was convinced that a wedding cake made entirely out of weetabix and decorated with mabuyu (baobab seeds) probably won’t cut it. It looks a lot better in my head guys, trust me. Pinterest has made me believe in the potential beauty of everything.
Sweetness, according to science, does have pain reducing properties which may explain why people turn to a gallon of ice-cream and cupcakes when they’re heartbroken. Although I’m not sure if that statement is as true for emotional pain as it is for physical pain, I try not to be too judgmental when I see someone reach for a box of donuts because they stubbed their toe.
While I am sometimes envious of the joy that people around me elicit from their favourite cakes and candies, I am glad that my lack of a sweet tooth came in handy when I opted to cut out soda and refined sugars from my diet. My body and health have been the better for it and that to me really is the sweetest thing. That said, when the craving does strike, not only does my dormant sweet tooth show up, it becomes my entire sweet jaw!
I often joke that at my wedding, while people enjoy what will probably
YUMMY MAN ABOUT YUMMY TOWN
COMING OF AGE Encounters with wise old men aren’t always what they are cranked up to be discovers Jackson Biko at a recent garden party. I was at a party where a man was celebrating the circumcision of his son. Or maybe the son was celebrating his circumcision. I know not. But there was music and food and drinks and singing and relatives from the village. I didn’t know the man, but I was in the same uni with his cousin who thought it a great plan. We were scattered all over his garden eating and drinking and laughing and acting like gracious guests. His wife fussed around; opening beers, fetching glasses, cracking jokes from behind her big sunglasses. I never saw her eyes. His mother wore one of those hats old women wear when giving their daughters away in marriage. She would stop where we were seated and say, “There is so much food in the house, since when did men eat so little? You, my son, go get some meat.” I don’t even eat meat, but I would stand up and serve meat out of politeness. I saw the host’s father with his white hair and beard and his silent mien. He looked like a jazz player from a 70’s blues scrapbook. He sat alone in the corner of the verandah,
reading a newspaper. He looked like a wise man who was loved by doves. Men who are loved by doves are complicated men. Complicated men are rarely boring. Being a writer I’m attracted to such men, I want to sit at their feet and sip from their stories. Everything must be so strange to them post-internet, post-postage stamp, post-AM radio.
I found Jared playing video-games in his room. His windows were open and his room was filthy. Typical teenager. He hardly looked up when I walked in, he was in a shuka because he was healing. I watched him shoot some animals with big heads. He was a pretty decent shot. That’s how they are initiated into adulthood now, they fight ogres with green blood.
I was seated with a group of chaps, mobbing a bottle of single malt. Stirred by the whisky, I got on my feet and walked over to the old man and said hello. He looked up and squinted like I had come with the sun. “Are you one of Timothy’s workmates?” he asked. I said I was a friend of Alex’s. “Ooh.” Then he went back to his newspaper leaving me to stand there like a schoolboy. Maybe he didn’t think much of Alex. “I was wondering if you have a moment.” I said. He was about 80-years. Without looking up he said, “First go check up on Jared.” I asked who Jared was and he looked up and said impatiently, “Jared is the reason why we are all gathered here.” I would have felt like an idiot if I wasn’t on my third double.
Before I could open my mouth the old man with white hair arrived at the doorway and barked, “Ask this young man what advice he can give you about life.” The boy stopped the game and looked at me. He had the face of the old man, only with less grimace. The old man asked me, “How old are you?” I told him 40. He grunted like he had kidney stones. The room fell silent. I cleared my throat and said, “well, uhm...life is pretty simple if you want. Always remember that there is no escape here,” I raised my glass of whisky. “Neither is there peace, or happiness that you can’t find anywhere else. In here lives more sorrow than happiness.” The old man shifted his weight on one leg and thrust his hands deeper in his pocket. This
encouraged me to plough on. “ Don’t drink to be a better person, to be funnier, to be sexier, or too be more intelligent, to be braver because you might be all these things at that point but the next morning you will still be the same you and your demons. Also, never fill your glass with expensive whisky. Ever. It’s tacky. And lastly, always pour a lady her drink. Even if she isn’t yours. The drink that is.” The boy chuckled, the old man didn’t. The boy clearly didn’t inherit the grouchiness in the room. We all turned to look at the old man, he was staring at a spot on the floor as if digesting what I had said. I didn’t care if he disagreed with me but I was hoping I had impressed him, a little. “Open those windows,” he growled at the boy, “this place smells of dead skin.” Then he turned and walked away. The boy, obviously used to him, picked his video-game pad and started playing again, ignoring the window and me. A charming family. I left for a refill, my advice having fallen on the wrong ears.
THIRTEEN BOTANICALS While on a recent trip to Nairobi, Hendricks Gin Ambassador Ally Martin - who with his hipster ginger beard looked like he had just stepped off the set of Game of Thrones, where he would probably have been busy defending the wall from the onslaught of the army of the dead - shared some knowledge on what it takes to make a good gin.
PHOTO PETER NDUNG’U
the bottle they are drinking. This is what attracted Hendricks Gin into the country says Martin, who hails from Scotland. You may be surprised to discover that in a country which is synonymous with whisky, gin in Scotland is a big industry. 70% of gin made in the UK is, in fact, distilled in Scotland. For someone who has never drunk gin, it is easy to explain to them the minutiae of how to produce it. That said, there is infinitely more magic and botanical knowledge that goes into making an amazing batch. When it boils down to it, the proof is in the pudding says Martin, adding that: “When it comes to good gin, you can sit back and drink something in which you feel there is heart, soul and that time has gone into it”. Now we get into the story of why Hendricks as opposed to other gins. Hendricks Gin is a redistilled gin, meaning that it is produced after a series of botanicals are infused into spirit alcohol and then redistilled. Rose and Cucumber are the prime ingredients in a recipe that contains another thirteen botanicals.
About 300 years ago in the inner city ghettos of London, a gin craze took hold of the population that had the same impact on the society as cocaine had on the Bronx in the 1990’s. People were said to be “Gin crazed” and the authorities were at a loss on how to control the drunkenness. Gin was sold in the same fashion as chang’aa is now: in back alleys, made with lethal ingredients such as turpentine and sulphuric acid. Today, those unflattering origins serve little more than as fun anecdotes to be told at cocktail hour. What started as a poor, old man’s drink in the 18th Century, turned into a drink
that would far eclipse its founders. To many, it is now seen as the epitome of cool, hipster drinks. The world of gin has had as many different varieties as there are different types of Whisky. This trend has been further fuelled by the increase in micro distilleries, creating a whole new world of craft and bespoke gins. The textbook definition of gin is a neutral grain spirit, re-distilled with predominant flavours of Juniper. Although right, this definition barely scratches the surface. There is not one governing body that decides what exactly constitutes a gin. We know it has ingredients like citrus, cucumber
and of course, juniper berries which grow all over different parts of Europe. Gin, as opposed to Vodka (which is basically a neutral spirit and water), is full of different herbs and botanicals making it one of the most versatile of white spirits. “Gin stands out due to the versatility and variety in its category and this is what makes gin very approachable” thinks Ally Martin, the Hendricks global Gin ambassador, speaking during his recent trip to Kenya. Here in Nairobi, people increasingly want to learn more about what’s in
Martin explains that what makes Hendricks stand out, “is the sourcing of the ingredients. There is no substitute in gin to firsthand knowledge and attention to scouring the Earth making sure you have the best juniper, coriander or citrus available. These samples,” he underlines, looking serious as he strokes his red beard, “are sent back to the Hendricks lab to make sure the quality and consistency adhere to the style of the gin they produce - a round, light, floral, spicy spirit that has the versatility to work in many cocktails.” According to Martin, the true test of Hendricks is to drink it in a classic gin Martini with a touch of Vermouth. “This allows the Gin to really come alive especially with a slice of Cucumber or Lemon”. And if you fancy a Gin and Tonic, he adds, “three slices of Cucumber work best as it creates a synergy with the Cucumber infusion in the Gin.” So the next time someone is talking about botanicals, you can be sure to know a thing or two. At least when it comes to Hendricks Gin.
YUMMY RECIPES COCKTAIL
FLORA DORA Ingredients 100ml Hendrick’s Gin 50ml Fresh Lime Juice 25ml Raspberry Syrup Ginger Beer Lime wedge Method Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the gin, raspberry syrup and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir the mixture. Garnish with the lime wedge.
CLASSIC GIN MARTINI Ingredients 100ml Hendrick’s Gin 30ml Dry Vermouth 1 Lemon wedge Method Pour the dry vermouth in a martini glass. Add the gin to a shaker full of ice and mix thoroughly. Gently swirl the vermouth around the glass and then dispose. Add the cool gin. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
HENDRICK’S BASIL SMASH Ingredients For the Sugar Syrup Brown Sugar Water For the Cocktail 100ml Hendrick gin 50ml fresh Lemon Juice 25ml sugar syrup 10 Basil Leaves Method To Make the Syrup Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves (do not boil). After 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat source and let it cool. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
CLASSIC INFUSIONS A selection of classic cocktail recipes that really shine when mixed with Hendricks gin.
To Make the Cocktail Place the basil leaves on the base of a shaker. Pour in the Hendrick gin, lemon juice and syrup and shake it with ice. In a highball glass filled with ice, add the contents in the shaker.
YUMMY IN A PICKLE
WORLD CONQUERORS Pickles changed the world as we know it argues Marah Koberle, as she looks into the history of preserving vegetables and how its discovery diverted the course of mankind.
What do Korean Kimchi, Swahili Acharia ya Maembe, German Sauerkraut, Ethiopian Njera or British Gherkins have in common? They are all different ways in which cultures across the world have over the centuries learned to preserve fresh fruits, grains and vegetables. The two most common ways to preserve fruits and vegetables before the advent of fridges and industrial packaging have always been pickling and fermenting. Foods that are pickled are preserved through acidity, for example vinegar, while products that are fermented are done so by inducing a chemical reaction between the natural sugars of the food and bacteria. Both systems are at their core a form of allowing food break down and/or rot in a controlled way, in order to extend its shelf-life. It may sound borderline disgusting but the truth is that it is both delicious and nutritious. It is not hyperbole to state that pickles changed the world as we know it. Between the 15th and the 18th century, sailors started to explore new trade routes, crossing the oceans in search of new territories to â€œdiscoverâ€?. Those journeys meant ships and their crew were travelling on water for months in a row, living on a diet that lacked in fresh fruit and vegetables. At times, whole ship crews fell severely sick: weakness, ulcers, spontaneous bleeding, swelling and pain in the limbs and even loss of teeth were common. A disease we today know as scurvy, which if untreated is fatal, could wipe out entire crews. Historians state that on some sea journeys which started with a crew of 2000 men, saw less than half that number survive the journey. Today we know that a lack of Vitamin C causes scurvy. Vitamin C helps the body to produce certain proteins and acts as antioxidant, helping to prevent cell damage in the body. After experimenting with various remedies, it was found out in the 1750s that dietary changes are the key to prevent the disease and that was how sauerkraut, a simple German technique for fermenting cabbage with salt, found its way on the ships. It is said that when Captain James Cook left England for the South Pacific in 1768, he had reportedly had 7860 pounds of sauerkraut on board. Sauerkraut is both incredibly durable and very rich in Vitamin C. Through the fermentation process sauerkraut has more vitamin C than normal cabbage. By consuming sauerkraut regularly, the sailors could travel vast
distances without falling sick, opening avenues for global trade and thereby changing the world as we know it. Interested to find out more? The Permaculture Institute of Kenya occasionally runs fermentation courses. Visit their website on pri-kenya.org to find out about the exciting courses on this and more that they run.
Simple Sauerkraut Recipe: You Will Need: 1 large glass jar 1 head of fresh white cabbage (alternatively go half white, half red) Âź cup of caraway seeds 2 tbsp Salt Procedure: Wash! It is important to clean all your utensils first so wash them well in hot soapy water and allow them to drain (do not dry them with a tea towel as you will be introducing a whole new bunch of bacteria to the mix). Chop! Finely chop or grate the cabbage and place it into a large (clean) bowl. Knead! Now comes the fun part: knead the cabbage with your (clean) hands. At first it might seem nothing is happening but after about ten minutes the cabbage will begin to wilt and a water will begin to leach out to the bottom of the bowl. Mix in the caraway seeds. Pack! Once the cabbage is nice and soft pack it tightly into the jar and pour over the juice from the bottom of the bowl. It is very important that the cabbage be covered in liquid so if there is not enough (although if your cabbage was fresh there should be) then mix up a little brine and top it up. Weigh Down! Use a whole cabbage leaf to weigh down the mixture and ensure it stays covered in the liquid (this will avoid it going moldy which is not your desired outcome). Ferment! Put your cabbage in a cool place out of direct sunlight and let the fermentation begin! Within a couple of days it should begin to ferment properly (bubbles are a good sign as it means things are getting active) and, depending on how tart you like it, it should be ready anything between ten day to two weeks. Refrigerate! Once the required tartness has been achieved (the longer you leave it the softer and more sour it becomes) then transfer it to the fridge where it will last for weeks on end.
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Our February issue is popping with colour, love and some Oriental treats to keep your tastebuds aroused.