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Vol 3.10 | October 2017

GET GRILLING TALE OF TWO FLAMES There’s more than one way to roast a goat

CROCODILE CHOMA Kenyans are beginning to make peace with their biggest fear

WINE AND GRILL It doesnt all have to be red, red red


EDITOR’S YUMMY NOTE

HOT STUFF Katy Fentress searches her memory banks to find out what her best-ever grilling experience was. Turns out it’s been nigh 20 years and she still remembers it. The memory of the taste of an amazing food can survive the test of time, lingering in deep recollection banks we rarely draw upon. It was the year 1998 and having just finished high school, I had wasted no time heading to India in order to shake off my adolescence and reinvent myself as a worldly traveller. We were staying in a houseboat on the breathtaking Dal Lake in Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir, and our host offered to take us on an evening stroll. The smell of grilling lamb hit our nostrils long before we caught a glimpse of the handful of barbeque stalls lined up along the shore. Unable to resist the lure of such a sweet aroma, we eagerly ordered one to share. As we bit down on a large naan wrapped around two chunky lamb skewers and a handful of grilled onions, my tastebuds felt instantly elevated. I don’t know if it was the spices in the marinade, the tangy sweetness of the

onions, or simply the combination of the two wrapped in buttery naan, but it was truly sublime. Reading our culinary expert’s guide to grilling (pg.25) in this month’s Recipe Section brought me back to that evening in my late teens. Try as I might, I cannot remember one lamb skewer that has surpassed it in sheer wow factor. My dedicated and very scientific field research of the best Turkish and Middle Eastern grills in London and the best mshikaki stalls around Kenya, has definitely not turned up anything as near as good. There is so much more to grilling meat than sticking a hunk of flesh over a fire. There are cuts to think about, there is ageing, there is the place the meat came from, what it ate, there is the fuel and, most importantly, there is what you do to the meat before you actually begin to cook it. Criss cross the world and you find that in every culture there are

precise prescriptions on the form and method of cooking meat over an open flame. Some places truly elevate this act to a kind of performance art. Founder of the Cookswell charcoal oven line, Teddy Kinyanjui, insists that on his travels across the country he has witnessed enough different barbecue styles to fill a recipe book. As part of the first installment of his new ‘On the Road’ column (pg.30), Kinyanjui takes a team of acclaimed international chefs to the Kajiado hills, to experience one unique goat barbecue - Maasai style. Meanwhile across the country, deep in the Kilifi coconut plantations, our contributor Adam Kiboi (pg.32) is amazed to find out that an Argentinian goat asado, is entirely different from any fireside nyama choma session he has ever experienced. Elsewhere in the magazine, contributor Anna Cardovillis discovers that eating crocodile at

Carnivore restaurant is no longer solely the preserve of adventurous tourists (pg.24) and Iloti Mutoka crisscrosses Nairobi to go behind the scenes of two very different dining establishments (pg.34 and pg.36), that both take great pride in their meat cooking devices. I may never find a Shish Kebab to rival that one from my Kashmiri adventure. But with the abundance of passionate grillers out there, I have no excuse to stop looking.

Katy Fentress Editor In Chief

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OCTOBER 2017

18 KOROGA NIGHT Susan Wong gets mixing as she enjoys an evening with friends at the newest Koroga spot in town.

CONTENTS MAIN FEATURES 20 Veggie Corner: Skewer That 22 Exotic Meats: Croco Moto 28 On the Road: Maasai Skills 30 Kenya Coast: Fuego Latino 32 Gadget: Fire Technology 34 Spotlight: Cabinet Smoker REGULARS 14 In Conversation: Rising Stars 18 Susan Eats: Koroga Night 37 Ask a Wino: The Thing About Screwtops 38 Social Butterfly: Flaming Lamborghini 41 Man About Town: The Ring FOODS AND DRINKS 36 Wine Picks: Wines and Grill 39 Cocktails: Whiskey Concoctions

23 36 COOK WITH FIRE Nairobi culinary experts let us in on the secrets of their barbecues...

NUGGETS Dear Yummy: Lucky Winner 3 11 Eatout: Decadent Eggs 12 Coffee Break: Arctic Tale 17 Kahawa Diaries: Karun Mungai

YUMMY Vol. 3.10 · October 2017 · PUBLISHED BY EATOUT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MANAGING DIRECTOR Mikul Shah GM Michelle Slater EDITOR: Katy Fentress STAFF WRITER Winnie Wangui CONTRIBUTORS Jackson Biko, Anna Cardovillis, Adam Kiboi, Patricia Kihoro, Teddy Kinyanjui, Iloti Mutoka, Anyiko Owoko, Wanja Wohoro DESIGN Rachel Mwangi, Brian Siambi SALES, MARKETING & OPERATIONS Daniel Muthiani, Devna Vadgama, Gilbert Chege, Jane Naitore, Joy Wairimu, Ruth Wairimu, Seina Naimasiah PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Siambi IT Douglas Akula, Erick Kiiya, Asim Mughal SALES INQUIRIES Call Yummy, 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL info@yummy.co.ke

/eatoutafrica

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@EatOutKenya

@eatoutkenya


CONTRIBUTORS

ANNA CARDOVILLIS Anna Cardovillis is a storyteller from Nairobi who mostly loves working on TV and documentary films. She once studied French in London and Paris and has an impressive collection of dinosaur stickers, a mild addiction to Tetris and an infatuation with smelly cheese.

ADAM KIBOI Adam Kiboi is the resident Dawa Drinker and Whitecap enthusiast at the Distant Relatives Ecolodge in Kilifi. Sometimes he gets some work done there too. An avid cartoon watcher and science fiction nerd, he defies anyone to beat him at a bacon eating competition.

TEDDY KINYANJUI Teddy Kinyanjui has crisscrossed Kenya countless times over the last few years working with communities to help kickstart a sustainable charcoal revolution. When not on the road, he spends his time weaving trees, reading, and designing new products for his line of charcoal ovens

LUCKY WINNER

ILOTI MUTOKA Iloti is a self-described wordsmith who believes in the power of the pen to educate, inform and entertain. He spends most of his time typing away at a keyboard. A budding foodie, during his spare time he can be found teaching his pet dragon to roast the perfect steak.

WIN THIS MONTH

This month for our giveaway, Tullamore D.E.W. is giving one lucky Yummy reader an amazing hamper containing 6 glasses and a bottle of their famous Irish whiskey. Competition FAQ

Last month’s mVisa Pizza Festival offered the chance to one lucky MVisa user to win a trip for two to Rome, Italy, in partnership with Turkish Airways. The winner, Brian Mbunde, is a 26 year old Digital Marketer and he went out and had pizza every day of the festival. On some days he even went twice!

What: Answer the question: “Why is Tullamore DEW 3x better?” How: Write editor@eatout.co.ke or answer the question on Twitter or FB, making sure to use the hashtags #Powerof3 #3xBetter and #tullamoreDEWKE When: Offer Ends November 10th Who: Winner to be Announced in the next issue Where: Prize will be collected at EatOut Offices

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NEWS & EVENTS

SWEDISH LOVE Introducing älska fruit cider from Sweden As we enter into the warmer season, we are thrilled to discover that a berry-infused cider from Stockholm called älska, has landed on our shores. Translating as “love” in Swedish, this refreshing alcoholic beverage is made with real fruits and berries and is part of a wider line of 100% natural, vegan and gluten free drinks. Now available at both Chandarana and Carrefour supermarkets

BISTRO BUZZ New slates and boards menu at Brew Bistro Ngong Rd The new menu at Brew Bistro Ngong Rd offers and entirely new gastronomic experience. Featuring a multitude of dishes from Spain, South America and Asia, make sure you try out their sticky Jameson and Kifabock glazed pork short ribs, or their king prawn a la plancha. The guys at Brew Bistro assure us that their new menu will be turning up the heat in Nairobi. eatout.co.ke/brew-bistro-lounge

GOLDEN REVAMP Radiant Ribs Affair It’s hard to make a good thing better. Which is why we were delighted to hear that Golden Spur has just done a major revamp to their Southern Sun Mayfair restaurant but that the recipe for their legendary ribs has remained the same tried and tested, lick the last of the sauce off your fingers, delicious one of always. And they have a new kids area too! eatout.co.ke/golden-spurs-steak-ranch

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NEW RESTAURANTS

WE ARE DIFFERENT Dining with a twist Rocco Mama is a trendy casual dining restaurant that recently opened its doors at the Village Walk. Boasting a customisable menu, they serve up insane smash burgers, sticky wings, craft beers and shakes. If their slogan,’We’re not normal’ doesn’t entice you, their tantalizing ribs definitely will. eatout.co.ke/rocco-mama

PLAY TIME One for after the school run Karura Coffee House is positioned in the best place in New Muthaiga Mall. Its bright and airy layout and relaxed vibe, make it the perfect place to meet up with friends after picking up the kids at school. Enjoy a well deserved cup of tea or coffee while the little ones run around on the expansive lawn, sip on a cocktail, or feast on some of their delicious meat and vegetarian kebabs. eatout.co.ke/karura-coffee-house

CAFE ITALIANO Italian coffee shop with a Mexican twist Attibassi is a spacious coffee shop located on the Riverfront at Two Rivers, serving up a unique easy going menu that combines favourite dishes from both Italian and Mexican cuisines. Whether it’s fajitas or a comforting bowl of pasta that you are after, the chefs at Attibassi are keen to keep your belly full and your tastebuds happy. They also have packed coffee beans, available in two varieties, Attibassi Sublime (from Brazil and India) and Attibassi Filter Coffee (100% Arabica beans). eatout.co.ke/attibassi-coffee

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SOCIAL SCENE

SHIPS & BARRELS

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey unveiled their 12 year Old Single Malt at the Delta Tower’s Nyama Mama on the 13th of October to an excited crowd of stylish and well heeled Nairobians. Global Brand Ambassador John Quinn, who in 2016 was named one of the Top 10 most influential people in Irish whiskey, opened up the proceeding with this most memorable of Irish quotes: “There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!”

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EATOUT PICKS

DECADENT EGGS Weekends were only made for a few things: sleeping in, nursing hangovers and chomping down on Eggs Benedict. Almost nothing is more blissful than a plate of delicately poached eggs, on a perfectly toasted piece of bread, bathed in a luxuriously creamy hollandaise sauce. Add a Bloody Mary to the mix and what you have right there is just short of brunch nirvana. If calories were just frivolous numbers then we’d probably have Eggs Benedict all day every day. Here for you, a list of Nairobi’s most gratifying creamy eggs. Artisan at Sankara Their live kitchen station allows you to watch the chefs in action as they prepare your favourite eggy brunch dish according to your specifications. Their Eggs Benedict varieties include one with sailfish, salmon and avocado, a vegetarian option with spinach and the familiar option with ham. Every Sunday, from 12pm to 4pm, enjoy unlimited Prosecco, delectable desserts and live band music while the kids romp around in the indoor play room. eatout.co.ke/artisan-at-sankara Artcaffe Located in various malls across Nairobi, there’s always bound to be an Artcaffe near you. Artcaffe branches are always bright, light-filled cafés with a fresh, modern and cosy environment. They are known for serving the freshly brewed coffees, tea, hearty dishes and a wide selection of desserts and pastries at affordable rates. Be sure to try out their eggs benedict with bacon or the vegetarian option with spinach ricotta. eatout.co.ke/artcaffe Brew Bistro Popular for its vibrant nights, Brew Bistro quiets down perfectly for Sunday brunch from 11am to 4pm. Choose from their draught beer, imaginative cocktails and delicious Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. Oh and be sure to try out their mimosa madness offer where you get two mimosas for the price of one. eatout.co.ke/brew-bistro-lounge

Café Villa Rosa at Kempinski With a touch of European style dining, Café Villa Rosa provides a variety of cuisines for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. Their Parma ham Eggs Benedict is one you must try as is the rest of their brunch menu which features an expansive BBQ selection and a wide array of Middle Eastern and Asian delicacies. eatout.co.ke/cafe-villa-rosa-at-kempinski-hotel Marula Mercantile Sunday mornings are made easier by chilling at the garden and enjoying brunch delights at this homely Karen based restaurant. Their brunch and breakfast options are available all day everyday so if you wouldn’t care for calories, why not dig into their eggs benedict with pulled pork or bacon or ham. They also serve up delicious cocktails, ranging from Martinis, White Russians and Negronis. eatout.co.ke/marula-mercantile Wasp and Sprout If the rustic ambience at this boutique coffee shop doesn’t get to you (we highly doubt it won’t), their eggs benedict varieties definitely will. Choose from either one with ham or pulled pork and be sure to try out their waffles, served with organic Kenyan honey. eatout.co.ke/wasp-sprout

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COFFEE BREAK

ARCTIC TALE Welcome to the first installment of the Kenyan Writers’ Fiction corner, courtesy of Dormans’ Coffee, a proud supporter of budding Kenyan talent. This is part one of a serialised story which sees Yummy Contributor Iloti Mutoka imagining himself en route to the North Pole, driven by demons he cannot escape but is not able to face. Resolute. Qausuittuq, the Innuit call it the ‘Land of no Dawn’. The irony was that I had been here four days but I had not yet seen the dusk. It was mid June and, for an African who had never seen snow before, this was shockingly cold. Erik Jaspersen, my tough-as-boiled leather Swedish guide, merely smirked at me whenever succumbed to shivering beneath my five layers of clothing. My only luxury was the coffee. We were at the jump off point, a bright orange building on the outskirts of the compact town. The cold was indefatigable and as constant as the blinding whiteness of a Diani beach. I was lost in my thoughts, the percolator bubbling earnestly, the soundtrack to my thoughts. I smacked my blistered lips as the aroma of Arabica filled the air.

I looked up at the map on the wall as I took my first sip; the next stop was Bathurst Island. I wanted this, didn’t I? My plan had always been to get away as far away as possible and was there anywhere further than the North Pole? We set off near midnight, the sky as bright blue as any afternoon in the savannah. I had never been on a sledge before and it was not as easy as they make it look on TV. Erik and Amaruq, the lead dog, had a near telepathic understanding that the other canines had a healthy respect for. The ride was bumpy and imitated the nauseating sway of a yacht on a gently rolling sea. I sat in the sledge as Erik barked orders at the dogs and ran alongside, a picture of fitness and focus. I didn’t say much, I was lost in

my own thoughts, wondering why I thought this was something I could do when I signed up. I kept my thoughts focused on the reason I couldn’t be in Kenya any more. I was so foolish. Thinking I could reboot my life, start all over again, if I just shook the dust off and got back up. As if on cue, there was a judder and I was snapped out of my reverie by my own momentum. I rolled forward and off the sledge, mushing supplies as I tumbled on to steaming piles of dog excrement. I looked up, Erik was holding his hunting rifle, a serious look on his face. I almost smiled at the absurdity of it all. After all, polar bears could hardly be a threat when I could still see Resolute in the far distance. The silence of the dogs slammed the situation home. Erik had the barrel pointed at something, my heart

fluttered as he cocked the hammer. There was an explosion of sound. The wind seemed eager not to miss out on the party, howling as the shot went off. The barking, vehement and agitated, the agonised growling of a severely wounded bear drowned out the second shot despite my being so close to it. “Well at least if we die out here we know we will not rot!” Erik blurted out, my ears still ringing. I wasn’t sure I appreciated the humour. I was risking my life here and was counting on him to keep me alive, his flippant attitude toward our lives was disconcerting. Before I could say anything, his face darkened into the same scowl it had when he killed the bear. My words caught in my throat as he locked eyes with mine... To be continued...

We’re looking for short fiction stories! Think you can write a winning story in 600 words or less? Or do you have a story you can serialise in 600 word instalments? Send us submissions for your chance to get published in Yummy magazine and win an exclusive coffee hamper courtesy of Dormans coffee. To know more, visit Yummy.com or contact editor@eatout.co.ke


IN CONVERSATION

RISING STARS Anyiko Owoko is always on the look out for cool talent to interview for Yummy and this month felt it was time to give some voice to the ladies. The chart topping female duo Band BeCa, to be exact. These rising starlets may only have been around for a minute but they fully intend to make a name for themselves in what is a notoriously male-dominated industry.

Band BeCa’s hugely successful songs “Toka”, “Brathe” and “Tonight” have something about them that is reminiscent of the female empowerment theme in famous TLC hits like “Scrub”. They are powerful vocalists with a story to tell and they are out to change lives. Today, I am meeting the 22-year old singers at the Sarova Stanley’s Courtyard. It is immediately obvious that they nurture a strong vision for their brand and crave for a change that somehow supersedes their maturity and experience in the industry. Becky tells me that she always feel sad when international stars come to perform in Kenya and there are no female artists to share a

EVERY HOT MEAL DESERVES A GOOD WINGMAN.

platform with. In the case of BeCa, she feels they are doing the same level of work as others and that the rest of the industry should begin to make an effort to include more local female talent at major performances. Band BeCa just finished performing with two of the most acclaimed rappers Africa has to offer: AKA (South Africa) and Olamide (Nigeria). The duo features on Coke Studio’s Big Break segment and they are returning for the second year in a row. According to Carol: “Our experience at Coke Studio Africa was out of this world! It’s the biggest platform we’ve been on so far and it was a pleasure to work with AKA and Olamide. It was a musical fantasy - from the studio, staff to food

– it was amazing!” Just as their voices seamlessly harmonise, so do most of their interests, even in food. Band BeCa’s members say that they both love grilled or fried chicken wings or pork ribs served with coleslaw and fries or any creamy sides. Becky says, “Grilled matoke is my favourite dish, the best is at my mother’s native home in Taita. In the morning we have them grilled, lunch-time they are cooked and mixed with sweet potato and cassava and in the evening they are fried dry without soup.” Carol on the other hand says that she isn’t particular when it comes to food and likes to get help while cooking in the kitchen. “Because I am not a fan of cooking, I

don’t like being alone in the kitchen. My quick fix is making Ugali and Stew for four people. Surprisingly I can make that but somehow my rice never comes out the way I want it to.” Becky loves to cook alone. She says, “I don’t like to get help in the kitchen you know how it goes - too many cooks spoil the broth! I love cooking easy dishes like Pilau,” she adds, smiling, “It’s actually not hard to make because all you have to do is throw all the ingredients in the rice.” Raised by a Chef, Becky touts her mother’s nyama choma and kuku choma as the best there is. She says, “There is this thing she does while marinating that will have you licking your fingers [...] It’s a secret recipe though, all I know is that she adds curry powder and rosemary leaves to the mix and that she makes it herself.” Looking into the future, Band BeCa confirm that they will be releasing more music. Carol tells us: “We will do more shows and concerts from next year because we don’t want to just be studio artists but live performers as well.” Together they conclude that: “We are looking forward to joining Coke Studio again because culture exchange expands your mind. We noticed how our collaborators at Coke Studio carried themselves. They were humble irrespective of the fact that they have performed alongside major artists, teaching us to always be humble and share our expertise even after we’ve grown into a big brand.”


KAHAWA DIARIES

ARTCAFFE KAHAWA DIARIES

“Capturing

Happiness in a Cup.”

KARUN MUNGAI IS A MUSICIAN, PRODUCER, NEW MOTHER AND A BAND MEMBER OF BOTH THE COSMIC HOMIES AND CAMP MULLA. THIS MONTH SHE TOOK A MOMENT TO TALK TO KAHAWA DIARIES ABOUT MOTHERHOOD AND KEEPING THE CREATIVE FIRE ALIVE Was coffee something you drunk growing up? Who got you into it? My dad actually got me into it when I was in prep school at a school fair. I got tired after riding a mechanical bull, and he let me try his (Not sure what it was but it had cinnamon in it!). It was great, and I’m pretty sure I got a buzz from it. How do you take your coffee? Black How do you fuel your creativity? By always trying something different, something new and pulling inspiration from artists in other fields. I like to people watch and spend days/weeks in someone else’s workflow. If I feel like I’m in a rut, I watch and learn from them, especially really hard working artists. What keeps you up late at night? Recording, or catching up with friends or plotting how to take over the world. There are so many things I want to accomplish in life that I feel like I won’t be ok if I don’t get the ball rolling before I’m 30.

What were your biggest cravings when you were pregnant? Honey walnut shrimp when I was in the States (early pregnancy) and here in Nairobi it was just chocolate cake and lots of fruit, particularly kiwi fruit! How has motherhood changed your morning routine? My son Prince wakes up around 6:30am (cutest alarm clock in the world), we then proceed to get the mundane morning routines out of the way and then both go back to bed. How would you describe your relationship to coffee? Unfortunately for me, motherhood has made it an on again off again type relationship. Where do you see yourself in ten years time? Living on the outskirts of Nairobi, somewhere in a sustainable, eco-friendly, house in nature, traveling six months out of the year and having a killer all femalerun record label.

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KOROGA PALACE Susan Wong discovers that there is more to Koroga restaurants than just heavenly aromas and amazing food in a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the feeling of community that comes with it that elevates this dining experience from just dinner with friends to something more special. Life is filled with many traditions: going to the coast on holiday, staying out on Friday night until the morning with your squad, enjoying a monthly deep tissue massage and for some, testing their culinary skills as they enjoy lively banter at a ‘Koroga’

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restaurant. When you know that at the end of it all, you’ll feed your soul with delicious food and great conversations, what could be a better tradition than that? Some meet for Koroga, which in Kiswahili translates as “mix”, once a

week, others once a month, and for novices such as myself, only when they receive an invitation from their Indian friends. The place of choice this time was a new joint called Mint Shack. Opened only in April, this super popular restaurant is located on

Peponi Road and is identifiable by a tiny sign above an unassuming gate. The restaurant is a spacious hideaway, simply decorated, humble, raw in texture and quite bare except for the bar area and several gazebos, canopies, huts and open structures


RESTAURANT REVIEW

PHOTOS BRIAN SIAMBI

that fill the garden. The menu, such that it is, comprises of ingredients for your Koroga, plenty of starters, drinks and so on. To start, as Chef Alex began to set up his cooking station of ingredients and spices, a plate of tender, moist and juicy Poussin Chicken Wings, which was deep fried, was instantly inhaled. I immediately ordered seconds. The Malai Chicken arrived beautifully caramelised with honey brown bits while still juicy. Topped with a sprinkling of fresh coriander, this dish was also devoured in a matter of minutes. My favourite stuffed flatbread from the region, Keema Chapati, arrived in a large rectangle, subdivided into many pieces. The stuffing of minced lamb with onions, garlic and a bunch of spices was sandwiched between two layers of chapati, cooked until slightly crisp. Finally the Stuffed Mushrooms, cooked at high heat to sear the exterior until golden brown, (delightfully) arrived with some cheese and were steaming hot. Beware of the explosion of juices in your mouth, because it might just

burn unsuspecting tongues. You can smell what may well be the best restaurants in the world long before you step through the door. This is true when it comes to Koroga restaurants as well. It’s not the harsh smells of lighter fluid or bitter charcoal. Instead Koroga aromas are sweeter and with subtle fragrant traces of spices. By cooking on a jiko— a traditional metal or clay cooking container used with charcoal or small pieces of wood— the food is always gentle and enticing thanks to its slow-cooking prowess. Perhaps you regard yourself as something of a good cook; you know about the power of indirect heat; you understand that patience is important when cooking with spices. At Mint Shack, you can show those skills off. But, if you’re not confident with your abilities, bring your own chef or better yet, ask for one at Mint Shack to cook-up a delicious Koroga at no extra cost, while the restaurant’s Head Chef Pravin keeps whetting your palate with delicious appetizers. As our Mutton Keema and Chicken Masala bubbled away, owner Binai

It’s the kind of place that keeps Nairobi human.

Shah introduced me to some avid Koroga-goers. Past the bar, near the back of the property, was a large group of friends who’ve known each other for 40 years. The lively bunch gathers once a month to catch-up and they bring their own chef to watch over the pots as they concentrate on the chatter and bursts of laughter. Next to them another group of men, much younger, surrounded a poker table while their self-Koroga bubbled away in the corner. As I headed back to our banda, my nose smelled distinctive whiffs of garlic, ginger, onions, Garam Masala,

coriander, cumin, chili, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom. Gathered around the pots were my friends and the colourful Masala Dabba (spice tiffin) was still open just in case Chef Alex needed to add more spice. The sound of bubbling pots and occasional stirring is the perfect ambient music for interesting conversations that take me around the world and challenge me on topics like food, film, travel and even new business ideas. By the time you’ve laughed enough, you’re hungry and more often than not, that’s the time your Koroga will also be ready. Our table became instantly quiet as we blissfully dug in. At one point a neighbouring table decided to send over a sample of their Koroga dish. As a novice Korogagoer, the feeling of community was amazing, whether it is among your guests or with complete strangers. And that’s the defining moment when I realised that Koroga is very different. It’s all about intuition, interaction, trying new things, bonding, being free and eating well. It’s the kind of place that keeps Nairobi human.

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VEGGIE CORNER

TEXT WANJA WOHORO

Vegetable Skewers with Kenyan Salsa Verde

SKEWER THAT Since turning vegetarian during her university stint abroad, Wanja Wohoro refuses to let her dietary preferences get in the way of a good barbecue. Growing up as a meat eater in a family of carnivores, barbecues were a regular, happy event in my household. Some of my earliest food memories take place by the grill or the open flame. Smoky embers, the smell of marinated chicken, a creamy potato salad, the happy novelty of eating under a clear blue sky. It is really hard to fault a good nyama choma session surrounded by the people we love. Returning home from university as a vegetarian, it seems easy to conclude that I would have decided to skip barbecues altogether, refusing to participate due to some kind of ethical aversion. This was not, however, the case: I still loved the communal feeling of cooking outdoors, whiling away the hours talking by the fire late into the night, hovering sticky marshmallows over an open flame.

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In every aspect of my food life, vegetarianism has forced me to be creative, including at the barbecue. Today I am inspired to create my own menu of favourites to enjoy with my family and friends. There are literally hundreds of delicious plant-based recipes out there, turns out being a vegetarian is not a good excuse just to eat jacket potatoes when at a barbecue. From grilled vegetarian patties, veggie and tofu marinated kebabs, roasted garlic-chilli corn, portobello mushroom steaks and grilled halloumi, there is such a long list of cool things to stick on the grill out there that we could easily do a whole vegetarian barbecue issue on the subject and still have stuff left over to say. Perhaps the more pressing concern for those with plant-based diets, is attending barbecues outside your

family unit. Thankfully in Kenya, many of the sides at barbecues are vegetarian and vegan friendly. Think kachumbari, pilau, potatoes and even bean stews. However, if you’re like me and your appetite only needs the faintest whiff of food to get whipped into a frenzy, barbecues can be a tricky situation. I recommend experimenting and preparing beforehand something you love to grill that can be shared amongst everyone. Add sauces and sides that can ramp up simple vegetables and elevate flavour. My personal favourite is a simple vegetable skewer—paired with this Kenyan adaptation of the classic Italian Salsa Verde, this easy, quick and smokey skewer can be the perfect addition to any day spent by the barbecue.

Skewer Ingredients (all cut into large chunks) Sweet potato Potatoes Yellow bell pepper Red onion Button mushrooms Oil for brushing (ideally Extra Virgin Olive Oil but vegetable will do) Sea salt and Black Pepper to taste Method Boil potatoes in a large pot for 10 minutes to soften slightly before adding to the skewers. Assemble skewers by adding the vegetables in layers, leaving enough room at the top and the bottom to help with flipping and to prevent vegetables from falling off. Evenly brush vegetables with a light coat of oil, salt and pepper. Place on grill and turn regularly to avoid burning. Kenyan Salsa Verde Sauce Ingredients: 2 large bunches of dhania (coriander) 6 Large Garlic Cloves (12 small) 2 Jalapeno chilis One hard boiled egg Olive Oil Salt Method Place jalapeno on and open flame and char. When skin is all blistered remove and scrape off the blackest bits Remove the dhania leaves from their stems and place in blender. Roughly chop the garlic and egg and add to blender with jalapeno. Whiz everything in the food processor gradually adding a olive oil until desired consistency is achieved Season with salt.


YUMMY

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EXOTIC MEATS

TEXT ANNA CARDOVILLIS

CROCO MOTO Crocodile is no longer just for the tourists, explain the chefs at Carnivore restaurant who have had first-hand experience watching locals get stuck into this unconventional meat. Joints of meat on swords barbecued over a huge charcoal pit and carved right at the table. Steaming platters of ox testicles. A ‘medicine man’ weaves his way through the room enticing customers with the ‘‘magic potion” concoction of honey, lime, sugar, ice, and vodka known as Dawa. The scene at Carnivore, one of Kenya’s most famous restaurants and a meat eaters’ nirvana, feels like something out of a medieval

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banquet. They’ve been selling game meat to tourists and locals since the early 1980s, back when Alex Opiyo, a chef that has been working at the Carnivore for 15 years, was living near Lake Victoria and feared getting eaten by a crocodile on his daily walk to school. Opiyo’s role is to encourage customers to be adventurous in their choice from a menu that includes nyama choma, pizza, deep fried

ugali, crocodile served by the platter and, when available, mini crocodile burgers. “Kenyans are hesitant to try crocodile,” explains Opiyo. “The fear puts them off. The first time I tried it was when I came to work at Carnivore and I had to put that fear behind me. In the end I really liked it. The flavours and the texture feel like something in between chicken and fish. I convince customers by telling them to forget about the physical appearance and the stories and to feel relaxed while they taste it. Or else I tell them to have a Dawa, which works magic!” Since the sale of wild game meat was banned in Kenya in 2004, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest and antelope are no longer sold. The highlight of the menu is now the crocodile – of which they can easily sell 50 kilos a day, but because of availability limit it to 20. Director of Kitchen Operations Joseph Gacheru, who has been with the restaurant’s umbrella group the Tamarind Group for 32 years, explains: “For tourists the mentality has always been that they come here to try something exotic; it’s part of the adventure. A lot of locals are quite hesitant or resistant to trying crocodile. I guess because people fear it [...] In recent times though, I’ve noticed that Kenyans are becoming more adventurous”. The crocodile ends its life and starts it journey on the Coast at a place called Nile Crocodile from whence

it is transported overnight by bus to Nairobi. The flavour “is all in the tail,” which, Gacheru explains, is the fleshy part. “When it reaches Carnivore, we tenderise the meat with a marinade that harmonises the flavours.” Crocodile can be oily, so what is important is strong flavours. The olive oil, garlic and lime juice marinade is designed to give you the full taste of the crocodile - well seasoned, simple, not over spiced to kill the essence of the flavour. At Carnivore, they recommend a garlicky mayonnaise with lime juice or a sweet, fruity sauce like one you would add to a pork chop. “It has evolved and we we are not shy of trying different ideas,” underlines Gacheru. Understanding and changing cooking methods and flavour profiles to accompany local trends rather than challenge them, has definitely been an interesting part of the journey, explains Gacheru. “Before, I could tell you for sure that every local who came here would ask for the domestic meat – chicken, beef or lamb. The most adventurous they would perhaps go would be to order some spare ribs. But today they want to try everything. I guess it also comes with Kenyans travelling more and getting exposed to different tastes and cuisines. They are changing their eating habits – which is a good thing”. eatout.co.ke/carnivore


RECIPES

COOK WITH FIRE If there is a secret to grilling, the only way to uncover it is to ask the people who have been doing it so long it has almost become part of their dna. This month we set out to find experts who would share with us their tried and tested methods for getting their favourite cut of grilled meat just right. Welcome then to the closely guarded secrets of two chefs, one food blogger and a radio presenter who is so passionate about the food he grills, he sometimes wonders if he is in the right line of work.

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RECIPES

Lamb Seekh Kebab Chef Ganga Drashad Bhattarai Anghiti Restaurant Chef Ganga starts his day by selecting cuts from his trusted butcher. His preferred cut is the thigh, preferably from a medium sized lamb, which should be a ‘pink red’ colour. Larger pieces tend to be tough to the bite and may not take in marinade as well as medium sized parts. He next adds all the herbs and spices to the meat and passes it through the meat grinder three times before setting the mixture aside to macerate overnight. Once ready, the minced lamb is molded around skewers which are inserted into a clay tandoori oven at about 60 degrees celsius. You will need: 800g Lamb mince 1 Bunch fresh, chopped coriander 1 head - Minced garlic 2 Tbs Minced Ginger 1 Tbs chili powder 1 Tbs salt 2 Tbs Ground Cumin 1/2 Cup vegetable oil Method: Combine the ingredients and half of the vegetable oil and let them sit overnight. Mold handfuls of the mince around the kebab skewers to form even sausages. Brush oven grill with remaining oil and stick kebabs in at a medium heat. Check after 15 minutes. If brown, remove and allow to rest before serving with naan and raita salad.

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RECIPES

Jerk Chicken Gmoney Radio Presenter - Homeboyz Radio Better known for being a master of mayhem on the local Homeboyz radio station, presenter Gmoney is a secret barbecuing fanatic. His passion is the direct result of growing up between London and Jamaica although his technique was built up over a long and distinguished career broadcasting live from carnivals across the Caribbean. According to Gmoney, the secret to delicious jerk chicken boils down to achieving the perfect charred skin without actually burning through the layers of fat which are essential to bringing out the flavours of the marinade. That and pimento, the wood of which should be added into a smoking pouch one layer below the chicken and used to gently flavour the meat as it cooks. In the absence of pimento wood, Gmoney suggests roasting a bell pepper and adding that to the marinade instead. Ingredients 1kg Chicken wings 5 Scallions 1 Charred Red Bell Pepper 5 Sprigs of fresh thyme 2 Tsp salt 1/2 Tsp black pepper 1 Tbs brown sugar 2 Tsp ground allspice 1 Tsp nutmeg

1 Tsp cinnamon 2 Habanero peppers 1/3 cup soy sauce 2 Tbs vegetable oil 1/4 Cup vinegar 1 Onion 1/2 Cup orange juice 2 Cloves garlic 1 Tsp grated ginger

Method Place chopped vegetables into the blender alongside all of the spices and blend to a smooth paste. Smother over desired quantity of chicken and let marinade in the fridge for one hour minimum. Thirty minutes before adding to the grill, remove the wings from the fridge. Place on grill. Turn every five minutes or so. The sugar in the marinade burns fast so do not leave unattended. Chicken should take between fifteen and 25 minutes to be ready.

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RECIPES

Rump Steak Chef Alan Murungi Sierra Brasserie Chef Alan tells us that in his experience, the most popular cut tends to be the ribeye, a cut that comes from the loin muscle which travels along the spine from the base of the neck to the hip. Ribeye is perfect for grilling as it has lots of intramuscular fat which makes it more juicy and tender. He prefers to source his meat from the Kenyan Borana variety although he won’t turn his nose down at some premium Scottish grass-fed Angus. Ideally he likes his meat to have been aged for at least 21 days. According to Chef Alan, the fat of a well-aged cut melts into the meat making the meat more flavourful. In order to tell if meat is done, he suggests investing in a good meat thermometer which should read 55 degrees. It is not advised to eat a steak medium or well done as many of the juices get lost in the process. When it comes to preparation, he insists that simplicity is the way to go: salt, pepper and olive oil to be exact. Ingredients 1 Ribeye Steak 1 Large pinch of salt Scattering of pepper 1 drizzle of olive oil Method Make sure you grill is as hot as it can get while ensuring there is a large enough gap between the flames and the grates. Pat your steak dry and place onto the middle of the grill. Cook the meat for two minutes on one side and then rotate it 45 degrees and cook for another two minutes. Flip the meat and give it two minutes more. Once the desired temperature of 55 degrees Celsius has been achieved, remove and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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RECIPES

Lemon and Herb Pork Chops Sheila Rabala Blogger - Rabala’s Delights (www.sheilarabala.com) Always excited to fire up the grill, Sheila’s love for cooking on fire is all about the chance to play around with different marinades and dry rubs to create great flavours on the pit. Pork is one of her favourite go to meats and when buying your cuts, she advises you look for firm, pale pink meat and avoid pieces with yellow coloured fat. Sheila enjoys the zesty flavours of a lemon and herb marinade which work very well with pork, and always prefers to marinate overnight (12-24hrs) to allow the seasoning to really infuse with the meat. Ingredients 6 Boneless loin chops 3 Garlic cloves, crushed Small handful flat-leaf parsley chopped 1 Lemon zest and juice 1 lemon, quartered 3 Tbsp olive oil 6 Bay leaves Method Combine all marinade ingredients (garlic, parsley, fennel seeds, lemon zest and juice, oil and bay leaf) in a large freezer bag. Add pork chops and marinate for least 2 hours. Heat a barbecue grill. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then cook for 5-8 minutes on each side until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the pork. Add the lemon quarters at the last minute to char, then serve alongside the pork. Let pork rest on a plate five minutes before serving.

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ON THE ROAD

TEXT TEDDY KINYANJUI

MAASAI SKILLS Teddy Kinyanjui is always on the road and as such he was undoubtedly the best person to give visiting celebrity One Star House Party chefs a taste of what a Maasai barbecue is about. I love travelling around Kenya and I am always game for a safari which involves lots of cooking. So when a few months ago, over a bottle of cold beer at a Simba Union Koroga, I was introduced to a team of chefs who were taking the cooking safari to the next level, I was instantly intrigued. Meet the One Star House party crew - a trio of internationally renowned chefs travelling the world creating pop-up Michelin-style food using only local ingredients. When I heard that they were on a scouting mission for Kenyan food ideas for their upcoming pop-up restaurant at the Lakehouse in Tigoni, I insisted that we go and roast a goat with some wazees from Kajiado. We are speaking Maasai elders here and these guys do things by the book: under the stars, on specially selected sticks, using the whole goat, from tripe to tongue. We arrived at our campsite around midday. Our potatoes had been cooking in the charcoal jiko (which permanently resides in the back of my pickup), since we had left Kitengela. But it was still early to eat so we decided to embark on a spirited hike under the midday sun to look for a suitable goat. After a few hot hours spent wandering through the Southern Kajiado bush, we found that our goat had anticipated our interest and was waiting back at camp in the shade of an old Acacia tree. We then proceeded to await the master chef,

Mzee Kaburu, an interesting old man who proudly claims to have eaten more than a thousand goats over the course of his lifetime. James, the globe-trotting NOMA chef, got visibly excited as the moment of the lamb slaughter approached. With a well-practised gesture he pulled out a worn knife roll inside of which were what looked like a few thousand dollars worth of exquisite, Japanese steel chef knives. Having inspected them in awe, I’ll never forget the look on everyone’s face when Mzee Kaburu strolled over, picked one up, gave it a good looking over and put it right back in its sheath. He then proceeded to pull out his trusty njoro with which he chopped off a few leafy branches to make a ‘work table’, then grabbed the goat and went on to give the esteemed chefs a lesson in butchering that would be bound to astound the finest of London butchers. After performing the customary smothering of the goat, Mzee Kaburu cut a small mafuko into the animal’s neck from which he proceeded to pour the blood into a metal sufuria. This was then passed around to the chefs who, to my surprise, all drank it with great gusto. Once that whole bit was over, he laid the carcass onto the bed of branches and working his way down the back straps, removed the backbone. Once the offal had been separated from the meat, he gave all

the tripe to a young lad to clean for roasting on twigs over the fire. Next he skinned the legs and ribs which he speared through some Acacia branches and put over the fire. He finished the job by cleaning the head to make soup with some special miti shamba he had collected for the next morning. We all retired to the fire and spent the evening egging each other on to see who could eat the most nyama choma and produce the cleanest ribs. We woke up to what the more mettled

of the people in the team described as a ‘very unique’ goat’s head soup. And that was it. Pretty sure this is one experience those chefs will never forget. Glossary: M/Wazee: Elder person/s Njoro: Maasai sword Jiko: Coal stove/oven Mafuko: Pocket Sufuria: Pot Miti Shamba: Traditional Herbs Nyama Choma: Barbecued Meat

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AROUND KENYA

TEXT ADAM KIBOI

FUEGO LATINO It only takes some bars of steel, a soldering iron and a chainsaw to make an Argentinian choma down at the coast, discovers Adam Kiboi over the course of one memorable bonfire. Simon Zimmerman is a carpenter from Argentina temporarily relocated to Kenya, to convert what is basically virgin forest into a festival site. His passion for grilling meat is evident in conversation. When he invites me to lunch deep in the Kilifi plantations, it is with childlike excitement. “You’re about to experience an asado, Argentinian style grill! Get in the truck!” Simon is pulling two sheep by a rope towards his pick-up while waving at me. He shouts over that it is midday and we are officially late. As we bounce along the mudpacked road, Simon informs me that: “Argentineans have had a long history with the grill; for them roasting meat isn’t the quick butcher, baste and burn style that you get in Kenyan nyama choma joints.” I smart at the cuss but let him go on: “An entire day has to be set aside for an asado to give ample prep time and close to eight hours to grill. Every chef has his own grilling

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style and the mood at an asado will generally reflect the chef’s personality. Today we go Simon-style, eh!” Simon is blonde, blue eyed, about 6’11 and made almost entirely of energy. When working, he has been known to shimmy up close to thousand-year old baobab trees to shout out to someone he could have just dialled over the phone. A ‘Simon-style asado’ is wild and characterised by excess: Loads of meat, loads of beer and enough palm wine to floor the drinking population of Lamu Island. On arrival, I am concerned at the obvious lack of any grilling facilities on site. Turns out that Simon and Paolo Rodo, the long-haired Italian crew member of a local dhow crew, have a plan to build one. While three Oromia watchmen butcher the sheep, the Italian and the Argentinian set to work with power tools, a generator and long pieces of metal. The result is an an odd grill and bears no resemblance to anything I have ever encountered.

Eventually the strange contraption takes form. All it takes are various bars of steel, a soldering iron and a metal circle saw. They have built two cross-like structures upon which they proceed to splay the butchered and skinned sheep, minus their organs. These they then stick into the ground nearly half a metre from a roaring mango-wood fire. According to Simon, three things are key when you get the meat to the fire: the wood, the strength of the heat and the distance of your meat from the flames. Each of these contributes to a slow roasting process that yields delectable meat whose only seasoning is salt. With regards to the offal, I am informed that there are many ways to prepare it but that nothing beats roasting the small intestines till they’re slightly crispy and just a little soft on the inside. Nothing except good old mutura, Kikuyu blood sausage, of course. Finally we reach the seven hour

mark. Simon declares the meat ready and we proceed to sit on sawed-off logs while the Oromia expertly carve the meat into bite-sized pieces. The rest of the crew have been trickling in over the course of the afternoon bearing more additions to the feast. An offering of bhajias from Mombasa are a welcome addition; they come with a homemade ‘bomb chilli’ sauce that when combined with the slow cooked, mango wood-caramelised lamb, are a match made in heaven. Simon is proud of the result: “For me asado cordero, is the best kind of grilling. If you get it just right like today where you have the outer skin crunchy like a potato chip and the meat comes off like pulled lamb. La carne hace el amor a tu boca (the meat makes love in your mouth)!” Follow Adam Kiboi on Twitter @ adamkiboi


CULINARY GADGETS

TEXT ILOTI MUTOKA

CHEF’S PRIDE The chefs at Chop House in Radisson Blu have found a piece of technology to suit their grilling needs and they aren’t planning on turning their backs on it any time soon.

When Jeff Gitonga, Chef de Cuisine at Radisson Blu, begins to describe the Josper Grill, there is no getting a word in edgeways. The pride of his kitchen, he waxes poetic about the grill that is a fixture of the best restaurants. “This machine,” he enthuses, “is magic.” Developed in 1970 by Spaniards Josep Armangue and Pere Juli, the Josper grill has seen a steady rise in exposure over the last decade

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or so. This, according to Radisson’s executive chef Wissem Abdellatif, is because this machine can do pretty much anything. We are sitting in the immaculately turned out Chop House restaurant in the east wing of the hotel, the open kitchen, a hive of activity. Some guests get so blown away that they come to the kitchen counter just to have a look at the grill that gave them

the wonderful food they just had. It is a well appointed kitchen, but Chef Gitonga says he pushed hard for the grill to take them to the next level. The contraption itself is an unassuming thing, approximately a metre cubed. It is the quality and the consistency of its output that really elevates it to a class of its own. I watch as they toss a New York strip into the grill. No fancy rubs or marinades, just a sprinkling of salt and pepper. “The grill does not use electricity or gas, just charcoal. It is efficient and clean,” says Gitonga. “The way it works is by having a regulator that controls the vents that move air into and out of the machine, which gives us great temperature control.” I watch as Chef Gitonga leaves a strip of beef to sizzle for seven minutes on the fire; the cut of meat he proceeds to extract is a thing of beauty. Before plating it he lets it rest for a few minutes, which, explains Chef Abdellatif, is an important step as it gives the meat a softer texture. The more it rests, he says, the softer it becomes. The outside of the strip is charred to perfection, the inside is cooked but not overdone, pink, juicy and utterly delicious. “The intense heat in the grill (it can go up to 500 degrees Celsius) cooks the meat through without burning it.”

Chop House sources its beef from The Well Hung Butcher, who in turn raises Borana cows on the Borana Wildlife Conservancy. The beef is dry aged for 21 one days before being broken down into the different parts. Perfectly marbled meat gives you a steak that is complete, juicy and delicious. The final dish, however, is greater than the sum of its parts. While the Josper can make anyone look like they have been master chefs for years (at least on the grill) there is still an art to making the perfect steak. Timing, resting, seasoning- these are all elements of a good steak. This is a complicated bit of kit, made from specially designed metal alloys and complicated, patented designs for its air flow systems. A front opening grill of this nature, then, comes at a cost. The list price for this marvel of cooking with fire running you upward of Kshs 1,000,000. Small price to pay, according to Gitonga. “Efficient, eco-friendly, consistent, giving your food flavour and character, there is nothing about the Josper that is superfluous.” Chef Abdellatif nods sagely, having the last word. “This grill is perfect.” The empty plate in front of me that once had a thick slab of juicy medium done steak on it, serves as evidence of this statement. eatout.co.ke/nairobi/chop-house


SPOTLIGHT

TEXT ILOTI MUTOKA

CABINET SMOKER The guys at Marula Mercantile have created a custom smoker out of a filing cabinet and the results are there for everyone to sink their teeth into. The saying goes: good things come to those who wait. Chef Anthony Huth of Marula Mercantile takes this to heart with his smoking techniques, ready to spend the better part of a week preparing the perfect smoked brisket. “I believe that food cooked without love and care is bland, a bit boring.” Chef Anthony is an energetic man, eager to share the thinking behind his methods. We are sat at Marula Mercantile in a quiet corner of Karen where he is the Head Chef, soft music playing in the background as the staff move around purposefully. They are preparing for a private event that is to be held in a couple of hours and the meticulous chef is supervising the chilling of wines. Elements of his vast experience are evident in his smooth leadership, guiding the staff and still running the kitchen with the sureness of someone who is intimate with his craft. A classically trained chef, Anthony has gained a wealth of experience

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since his training at the Prue Leith Academy in Johannesburg. He points to working at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant ‘Jamie’s Italian’ in Manchester as a key time in his career. “I was the grill line chef, having to prepare an assortment of dishes for 500 people. I did not receive a single complaint that night, which was very gratifying.” Chef Anthony’s passion is evident in the fact that he, in tandem with his partner Tim Challen, decided to build a smoker from scratch, one that would cater to their more specific needs. After modifying a design they found off the internet, Chef Anthony had a brilliant idea: a smoker made from an old filing cabinet. The meticulous chef still frets that it is letting some smoke out through gaps in the doors on its front. It is a simple design, hinged doors in place of the drawers, except for the bottom section, where two simple charcoal jikos are burning specially selected damp wood. He says he prefers using

wood from apple and plum trees which give off a bluish, mild smoke that is not acidic or stringent. He dampens the wood with water, having once tried wine. “I quickly realised that wine is expensive”, he chortles. In the level above the jikos is a drip pan, collecting the dripping juices while simultaneously keeping the meats moist. There is a temperature gauge that tells him how hot the inside of the smoker is, key to keeping tabs on the process as it goes along. A probe that he inserts into the meat as it cooks, tells him how well done it is. “When smoking a brisket, there is a point where the meat’s temperature seems to plateau, called the crunch. This is usually somewhere between 80-90 degrees Celsius.” He explains that this is to be expected, and at this point he usually wraps the meat in tin foil, to even out the heat transfer. “It will stay at this temperature for about six hours, at which point the temperature will get up to about 200 degrees. At this

point the meat is almost ready.” Given his cooking credentials, Chef Anthony was never just going to throw the smoked brisket into the oven after smoking it. This would really dry the meat out, he says. “I am currently playing around with cooking the smoked brisket sous vide” he says, referring to a method which involves vacuum-packing the meat and cooking it for many hours at a controlled temperature in a water bath. Considering he has already marinated the cut in a specially made brine for five days prior to smoking, his desire to retain the moisture that captures and highlights the flavours is the motivation behind this move. In the end, the brisket is sublime, soft and chock full of flavour, complimented by a barbecue sauce whose secret ingredient is one bottle of coke. It is a meal that should be savoured, but is so delicious that however slowly you eat it, it still feels like it is gone too soon. eatout.co.ke/marula-mercantile


WINE CORNER

WINE AND GRILL Living in a country with such an abundance of sunshine, firing up the grill is always an ideal weekend pastime. But what wines are best when served up with grilled foods? Typically people choose red wines for barbecues as the savoury and fat in meat balance well with the tannins in the wine; but it doesn’t all have to be red. Oenologist Josiah Kahiu helps you navigate the world of grilled food and wine pairing and throws in some suggestions to keep things easy for your day in the sun.

ALL-AROUND WINNER

SALMON AND CHICKEN

Sparkling wines pair well with most grilled foods. An affordable sparkling such as Prosecco or a French Blanc de Blancs is the perfect match. The Veuve Ambal offers fruity aromas with notes of lemon and lime creating a pleasant freshness to the wine. This also makes it a good pairing for grilled fish.

For Salmon and grilled chicken, a chardonnay is a good pairing. This is due to the buttery mouthfeel that is associated with chardonnay. The Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir has a good level of acidity with aromas of peach and lychee as well as red fruit aromas from the Pinot Noir.

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ASK A WINO

TEXT JOSIAH KAHIU

VEGETABLE AND WHITE FISH Rosé wines are always a favourite when it comes to barbecues. Served chilled they have a good amount of acidity to cut through the fattier elements of grilled meats. The Ortas Côtes du Rhône has notes of cherry and wild strawberry as well as white fruit aromas. This wine also offers a slightly peppery finish that makes it a good accompaniment for grilled vegetables and fish.

Italian-trained oenologist (pronounced Eh-no-lo-jist - that’s a wine expert to you and me) Josiah Kahiu, answers all your questions on wine.

PORK If pork is on your BBQ menu, a good pairing would be a Pinot Noir. The smokey flavours from flame grilling play well with the smoky tea leaf flavours associated with Pinot Noir. The Bourgogne Pinot Noir offers pleasant aromas of fresh fruit with notes of blackcurrant and raspberry. This wine has an elegant and persistent finish.

If wine comes with a screwtop does it mean it is less good? Winnie Waweru Dear Winnie,

RED MEAT When hamburgers, steak and barbecued ribs are on your grill, then big red wines are the perfect match. A Barolo, Californian Cabernet or Argentinian Malbec are the perfect match. If the food is slightly spicey, the Malbec is the perfect choice. The Alamos Malbec is quite full but still fairly soft in the mouth. This Malbec has aromas of ripe blackcurrants and raspberry with a slightly sweet spice and leathery aroma.

The days of identifying screw top wines as cheap and utterly pedestrian are almost all but done. I want to confide a secret to you: the truth is I have tried both expensive, high profile wines that came with a screw top and very forgettable wines that came with a cork. Ever since the introduction of screw tops in 1964, their identity has always been associated with value wines. This image started to change in the 1980’s when Australian and New Zealand winemakers started to shift to screw tops for a range of wines including some of their more prestigious offerings. The move toward screw tops was primarily due to winemakers trying to avoid the unpleasant “corked” flavour sensation that can be associated with more traditional wines with corks. It is estimated that roughly around 5% of wines sold with corks are corked. Now for those of you who may not know what corked wine smells like, it’s that funky, mouldy, cardboard smell. This occurs due to contamination of the cork by a chemical called TCA or, for the chemists out there: trichloroanisole. I have also noticed a hesitation when choosing screw tops due to the perception that they do not age well - again, not true. New advancements in screw tops allow a certain amount of calculated “oxygen ingress” over time. You also don’t spend time opening a bottle or incurring the risk of the cork fragmenting and falling into your wine. So at the end of the day, which is better? Personally I always choose a wine depending on what is inside the wine rather than what its cover is. But I am still a fairly traditionalist at heart and enjoy hearing the ‘pop’ of a wine as it is uncorked. There are also times when I just want a glass of wine and a 10 second screw off is just what I need. Moral of the story? Don’t be a ‘cork dork’, choose your wine based on what you want to drink and not what’s on the top. If you have a wine dilemma, send an email to kahiu@oenokenya.com Follow him on Instagram on @knife_and_wine

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SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

FLAMING LAMBORGHINI By her own admission, Patricia Kihoro can be peer pressured into doing things she doesn’t really want to do. The results, however, might not always be the ones intended. Read on for the story of one unhappy drink on fire. I never thought the day would come when getting asked for my ID at a club would get me all giddy, full of warm fuzzy feelings and a sense of vain pride. When it happened a couple of nights ago at The Alchemist, I felt such unbridled joy that I hugged the security guard. You see, I spent the night of my 18th birthday sitting in a pub with my dad, because the bouncers at the club I wanted to go to wouldn’t let me in. So for the next few years, I made sure to smile and chat with every single bouncer and security personnel, just to curb the anxiety that would accompany every attempted entrance to a spot. It then stands that to have my ID asked of me in my thirties is quite a joyous thing. Something to hold onto and blurt out to everyone I meet. “Hi, I’m Patricia, nice to meet you, I recently got carded at a club. What’s your name?” Unfortunately though, it turns out that this doesn’t come with the physical traits of youth. There was

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a time when I would still be able to wake up early and fresh after a night of cocktails and shots, clear skin and bright eyes to boot. Nowadays, even a whiff of tequila brings on the early onset of a hangover. With this in mind, it probably wasn’t a great idea for me to accept a free birthday drink, courtesy of Newscafe, when they found out that I was there with my twenty five best friends to celebrate my thirtieth birthday. Turns out said drink was a grand, postprandial presentation, which on the menu is described as “our signature party shooter, only for the brave - parental guidance advised.” Even in my youth, I had stayed away from any alcoholic drinks that were the colour of mouthwash or pink food colouring and I most definitely have always stayed away from anything involving fire. So when they offered me a Flaming Lamborghini, I simply laughed and politely declined. I was turning 30 and did not harbour the

burning desire to have a premature end to the night. Responsibility, awareness, foresight; these were all traits that I hoped to usher with me onto the third floor so a Flaming hangover, sorry, Lamborghini, was not on the cards. Turns out, I probably never will outgrow peer pressure, or taunts from my family, so in the end I reluctantly agreed to place myself in the line of fire. It took the manager and two waiters to carry everything required to make this drink happen, which included: Sambuca, Blue Curacao, Bailey’s, Kahlua and actual fire. The ceremony of the drink goes like this: pour the sambuca and Kahlua into a cocktail glass. Pour the Baileys and Blue Curacao into two separate shot glasses either side of the cocktail glass. Set alight the concoction and start to drink through a straw. As the bottom of the glass is reached, put out the fire by pouring in the baileys and Blue Curacao and keep drinking

till it is all gone. Try as I might, I could not even make it through half of it. But then I learnt that the manager wasn’t there to personally extend his birthday wishes on his and the restaurant’s behalf, but to dish out curt instructions to me: “Drink now. Drink all of it. Finish it. Now! Now finish this. All of it. Again!” Between flashbacks of an incident with a gym trainer who pushed me so hard, I doubled over and a feeling of heat rushed up from my gut. I then proceeded to deposit my entire dinner, very gracefully, under the table. Only three of the 25 at the table even realised what had happened. That, ladies and gentlemen, was my baptism of fire into my thirties. A hot mess. Follow Patricia Kihoro on patriciakihoro.com


COCKTAILS

WHISKEY LONG DRINKS Irish Whiskey and its cousin Tennessee Whiskey are most commonly drunk straight or on the rocks. But it doesn’t have to be that way; if you like whiskey but find the straight deal a bit strong, why not try mixing it into a cocktail? Read on to discover a selection of long drinks that have been built exclusively to suit three of your favourite whiskey brands.

Irish Wolfhound

Apple Dew

Lynchburg Lemonade

In Ireland they like to say that this cocktail is “Named after one Irish legend and made with another”. The Irish Wolfhound (the dog) is a staple in Irish history and has become very popular globally in association with Ireland. The native breed was on its road to extinction after it had killed off most of the wolves in the country and it wasn’t until 1863 when one Captain George Graham took it upon himself to restore Ireland’s precious canine breed. Captain Grahams was so successful that the wolfhound became adopted as a symbol for many of the country’s whiskeys.

It was in the town of Tullamore in Ireland that one Daniel E Williams first set up the Tullamore Whisky distillery. His special recipe was a huge hit with the local community, especially during the annual St. Patrick’s celebration. It was served on the rocks for men and to suit the ladies, a few bartenders decided to jiggle around with different locallyavailable ingredients and voila’, out came the Tullamore Apple Dew cocktail!

Named after the hometown of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, the Lynchburg Lemonade has been a popular favourite for the better part of a century. While it is of course possible simply to mix lemonade with whiskey, the official recipe requires a little bit more love and attention. This is both a tangy and sweet drink that is guaranteed to quench your thirst on a hot, lazy afternoon.

Ingredients 50ml Jameson Black Barrel 50ml ginger beer 25ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice Salt Method Mix the Jameson Black Barrel, ginger beer and juice into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a pair of grapefruit wedges. Dip a corner of one of the grapefruit slices in salt and drop into the drink.

Ingredients 60ml Tullamore D.E.W Irish Whiskey 120ml Apple juice 1 Mint sprig for garnish Apple wedge Method Fill a highball glass with ice, pour the Tullamore D.E.W. and apple juice into the glass, stir to mix. Garnish with a wedge of fresh apple and sprig of mint.

Ingredients 50ml Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey 25ml Martini 25ml Lemon juice 115ml Bitter lemon soda Lemon wedges Maraschino cherries Method Pour the whiskey and Martini into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with the soda and lemon juice and stir well. Garnish it with a lemon wedges and cherries.

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MAN ABOUT YUMMY TOWN

THE RING Jackson Biko does not like his whisky to be served with ice, or his hotel phones to sound like doorbells or, for that matter, his hotel doorbells to sound like phones. The hotel phone rang while I was towelling off in the bathroom. It sounded strange. I padded out of the bathroom, then stood over the phone and waited for it to ring again. When it rang again, I realised it wasn’t the phone, it was the door. I tied the towel around my waist and answered the door. A short portly man stood there bearing a silver tray with a whisky. Room service. “I didn’t ask for ice in my drink,” I told him testily. He looked down at the whisky that had about the whole of Iceland in it. Behind him, an elevator door opened and out spilled three men - business types with laptop bags - who disappeared down the heavily-carpeted corridor talking in Afrikaans. “I’m sorry sir, but the barman said you wanted ice,” he said without managing to sound apologetic at all. [They pronounce sir as see, in a South African accent]

“There is no way I would have asked for ice,” I told him. I picked the bill from the tray: Jack Daniels X2, 106 Rands. “This is the wrong order,” I said, handing back the bill. “I ordered Glenmorangie Original, double. No ice.” He looked at the drink as if this was all its fault. He seemed close to shouting at it. It wasn’t a fine moment to be a Jack Daniels on ice. I had an option of just drinking the damned whisky because, really, Jack Daniel’s isn’t a bad drink, but it wasn’t my drink. I wouldn’t enjoy it as I would enjoy my drink. I’m a Glenmorangie man and I was about to turn 40 and I didn’t want to start my 40’s drinking drinks that I didn’t want. “Sorry, I think the barman mixed up the orders, I wanted Glenmorangie, Original,” I said. He sighed, apologised and turned away. I sat on the edge of my bed and felt bad. Spoilt. Entitled. Then I thought,

wait a minute, why should I accept drinks I won’t enjoy drinking so as not to hurt other people’s feelings? Will I be turned away from the Pearly Gates because I turned away a drink that I didn’t order? While thinking about this, the doorbell rang and I walked back to the door but when I opened it there was nobody standing there. I stuck my head out and looked down the hallway; empty. Just as I was thinking that maybe housekeeping sent a ghost to serve the fussy guest, the doorbell rang again and I realised it wasn’t a doorbell but the bloody phone! So I went and picked it up, it was housekeeping apologising for the mixup. So I asked her: “Do you think people who are fussy about their drinks will gain entrance to heaven?” to which she laughed and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know, sir”. Just then the phone rang and I stared at it , startled at that miracle because I was still

holding the receiver in my hand and was beginning to suspect the whole room was haunted. Another ring and I realised that it was actually the door. The short portly man was standing there. I signed and tipped him generously so as to bribe my way into the Kingdom. He seemed pleased, “Enjoy your drink, sir.” I stood at the window with my drink in hand and stared out at the skyline of Sandton, Johannesburg, now lighting up as dusk crept in. It felt good to drink the drink I ordered and one that didn’t come with ice. I smelled it. I don’t know for how long I stood there with nothing but a towel tied around my waist, but darkness found me there and just when I was starting to feel cold the phone rang. Or maybe it was the door. I turned around and cocked my head, waiting for the second ring. Follow Jackson Biko on bikozulu.co.ke

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LAKEHOUSE SERIES

LEVANTINE AFFAIR Last month, the Lakehouse Tigoni partnered with the Israeli Embassy, Ethiopian Airlines and Baraka Wines, to throw a gastronomic six course feast, part of the gourmet pop-up dinner series that regularly takes place on their custom-built barge. Featuring a jaw dropping menu courtesy of the award winning Master Chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, guests were treated to a veritable Middle Eastern feast the likes of which Nairobi had never seen before.

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Yummy Vol 36: Cook with Fire  

Barbecued crocodile is still a thing, there is more than one way to roast a goat and flaming cocktails are best stayed away from.