All posts by @kamz26

Caprese

This is something that is oh-so-easy to put together and you only need very few, easily available ingredients. 

If you’d like to enjoy this with a wine, choose white wines that are lean, crisp, and vibrantly acidic. Higher acid wines pair well with tomatoes’ acidity. Try avoiding wines with lower acidity or heavy oak aging. Look for Sancerre, Soave Classico, Falanghina, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Caprese is basically mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and I love this especially when doused liberally in balsamic vinegar. 


Traditionally, caprese is usually served as shown in the image below by The Pioneer Woman


I gave it a bit of a twist and served it on skewers. 

Ingredients:

Fresh mozzarella ball 

 1 punnet baby tomatoes

 Handful of thoroughly washed fresh basil leaves

Thin wooden skewers 

Balsamic vinegar 

Olive oil 

Method:

To ensure the wooden skewers are smooth when skewering your ingredients, I would advise you soak them in some water first. 

Cut the mozzarella into bite sized cubes, thread one through the skewer, then slide down a baby tomato, more mozzarella, then top it with a folded basil leaf. 

Putting together the caprese on skewers

These can be made ahead and refrigerated with cling-film over them so that other smells from the refrigerator don’t permeate into the cheese. Liberally douse with balsamic vinegar and virgin pressed olive oil and enjoy. 

Voila! Caprese with a twist!

Hospitality and Korogas

Koroga is a Kiswahili word for ‘stir’. It’s a very Kenyan name for something I deem to be a very Kenyan concept. Let me explain. 

At least once a week, usually menfolk will meet up at a social club that offers individual cooking facilities for people to get together over drinks while a ‘designated cook’ prepares the dinner. Meat and other ingredients are preordered so that everything is ready for you to put together while you have a laugh and catch up with your mates. Typically, one will have a couple of beers or whiskies, or both if one has a designated driver, and enjoy the meal. Attentive waiters will cater to you whims, and some Koroga joints also offer to cook your food just in case you’re not up to it, but this is rarely ever taken up. 

Slowly over the years, Korogas have become a family affair, and they’re not just held at designated places. Many people have them at home and it somehow turns into an impromptu party. 

My friends Raju and Nita are impeccable hosts. It seems like hospitality runs through the entire family’s veins because even their sons (one of whom is an Executive Chef) are lovely hosts. 

A small dinner party for about ten people had been organised and it was lovely. Even the rain didn’t hamper the Koroga because while we stayed indoors, Raju has a space that opens outwards so we sat inside at the bar and living room, enjoying the downpour while scents of cooking wafted in, as Raju flitted in and out, and still being a part of the party. 

I do enjoy going to their home because Nita has done up her home to make it feel just that – a home. The food was delicious, and while Kavit, their younger son, plied everyone with drinks all evening, Aman, the executive chef, whipped up a dessert just minutes before we sat down to dinner! I was very impressed. 

Breaking bread with friends and family is a very pleasurable experience, and especially so when your hosts make you feel very welcome. 

The effectively simple yet delicious spread

Lion – A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly 

I saw many updates on Facebook after this movie was released how my friends and family loved watching it. I resisted temptation by not watching the movie first and got the book to read. Unfortunately because of work commitments I didn’t get around to reading it until I impulsively packed it in my bag to read it on holiday. 

Lion made fantastic poolside reading. I was stuck in the book from the word go and I recall getting goosebumps twice while reading it. 

Imagining little Saroo struggling to find his way home, going on the endless train ride, hunting for food, escaping from weirdoes and eventually ending up in Australia had me on edge. I’m still marvelling at how, in a population of a billion people, Saroo managed to find his way home all the way from Australia. 

I loved how the names remembered by a child were very differently written, how Ginestalay was something so totally different! You’ll have to read it to know why this was one of the reasons I had goosebumps. 

The journey is incredible and I had to slow down reading the book only because I didn’t want it to end. Read it, enjoy it, and pass the book on. I’ve given my copy to my daughter to read. 

Five Point Someone – Chetan Bhagat

I’ve actually never tried to find out why Indians in India have a thing against Chetan Bhagat. He seems to be constantly trolled and I get a bit worked up about such things. If you don’t like to read a certain genre of books, then just let it be. If you have a problem with his political or any other opinion, I’m sure he’s allowed to have one, just the way you are.

Anyway, all that aside and let’s get to reviewing the fourth book that I am reading this year. I know that Five Point Someone has a Bollywood movie based on the book, and I happened to have watched the movie before the reading the book. Ideally I prefer to read the book first! The movie is the very popular 3 Idiots! and it is directed by Raj Kumar Hirani.

Hari, Alok and Ryan are the three who have made it to one of the best engineering colleges in India. Their happiness and excitement is short lived when the daily monotony and rigorous academic work starts to take over, and unlike the movie, the book talks more about their ways to get out of this monotony. The novel is funny but does have some dark moments especially when focusing on the families of the protagonists.

As I read through it, I admit to constantly going back to the movie and trying to recall if a particular part had been added or not. Quite distracting! I need more discipline.

I enjoyed the book and I have a box set of Chetan Bhagat books that I brought back home with me from a visit to India. I can’t wait to start them.

five-point-someone-3-idiots

4/52

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

In my quest to read at least one book a week my daughter, who is an avid reader, decided to share some of her books with me. She insisted I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and I suddenly realised why she went through a phase of speaking in a heavy Southern accent after reading it. I admit to reading the book in Forrest Gump’s accent.

The tale is considered a classic and it’s about a lawyer and his advice to his children Scout and Jem Finch. Atticus Finch is defending a real mockingbird, a black man who has been charged with the rape of a white girl.

Race and class divides are evident in the Deep South in the 1930s and Harper Lee does a sterling job at capturing the warmth and the authenticity. Peppered with humour, the book makes for great reading. The hypocrisy of what went on will unnerve you at some points but you will definitely agree with me once you have read it that we need more than just one Atticus Finch in life.

‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

mockingbird

3/52

Are your kids finicky eaters?

I still recall how my now 16 year old daughter would spit out anything that was remotely green. She seemed to sense that her meal might have broccoli, Brussel sprouts, peas, french beans, snow peas or anything else. Fast forward to today and she doesn’t spit out her greens but pushes them aside on her plate, never in a pile but artfully all over the plate so that it seems like at least she made an effort to eat SOME greens. My son, who is almost 12 now, is not a finicky eater and he’ll try something at least once, unlike my daughter who will start snubbing something just because she doesn’t like its name or the way it looks or is cooked.

I came across this article the other day. It’s by Mandy Mazliah and she recounts her way of dealing with finicky eaters. I’ve extracted the eight positive ways she has shared. Do check out her blog and the original article for more. You’ll be sure to bookmark it and refer to it often!

All the best with the finicky eaters! I’ve given up on my teen. If anyone has any tips, please share them.

Here are eight positive things you can try: Mandy Mazliah

  1. Eat with your child. Let them see you enjoying the same meal without making a fuss about it.
  2. Cut back on snacks – being hungry for meals can make a real difference.
  3. If you do offer snacks, make them count towards their five a day. See my blog Sneaky Veg for ideas.
  4. Don’t offer alternatives. It’s hard to let your child leave the table when they haven’t eaten anything but if they know that they’ll get a slice of toast or a banana if they refuse their meal then they’ll often hold out for that.
  5. Don’t use dessert as a reward.
  6. Make mealtimes positive. Take away the pressure and let them choose how much to eat.
  7. Eat with friends – perhaps at school or nursery or on a play date at home.
  8. And remember, every small step is a positive step.

For more on the original write up, kindly click on the link below.

How I relaxed about my child’s picky eating and why you should too

Khallaas: An A-Z Guide to the Underworld

If you hear me speaking like some sort of a gangster from Bollywood, I’d like you to know it’s because I’ve just finished reading this book by J. Dey.

As a crime reporter, Jyotirmoy  Dey amassed a wealth of information by talking to police officers, police informants, members of gangs, and even dons. Readers will be flabbergasted by the illegal activities that occur beneath the reach of the law. Throughout this book, the author stresses on the importance of rules and ethics in this business and how it governs the drive to attain maximum profits and gain a competitive edge over rivals. In Khallaas: An A to Z Guide To The Underworld, Dey also presents an exhaustive list of words that are part of the underworld language code. The list was designed to outsmart their enemies, especially law enforcement officials.

Basically, a whole new language is created to foil people who don’t understand the lingo. It took me some time to get through the book, but only because of work pressures I wasn’t spending as much time on reading as I should have.

I got this book from the Duty Free at Delhi airport a couple of years back. I’ve seen it here in Nairobi at Savani’s Book Centre as well.

Get it for the sheer curiosity, or that you want to speak ‘gangsta’ Indian ‘eshtyle’.

114khallaas-an-a-to-z-guide-to-the-underworld

The Secret

I’m not about to let something out that lies deep in my heart, even though I may not have much there to share. I have always felt I am an  open book. Speaking of books, that is The Secret I am talking about. I read this book by Rhonda Byrne many years ago, when everyone else was reading it. I bought myself a copy, read it, got inspired, and started applying it to life.

I then gifted my copy to my brother because I felt it would help him a lot but I am not sure he made any use of it. Well, not that I know of, anyway.

I won’t go on and on about what this book is all about but I will say that it does confirm something that I have known ever since I was a child. What you give out is what you get back. It could be your thoughts, your deeds, your generosity, your good vibes, anything. The energy within you attracts the similar energy and it comes back hundred-fold.

I’ve been told I’m nauseatingly positive. I don’t know about the nauseating part but I do know that I make a great effort to keep myself and my thought process positive, and all this because I selfishly want good things to happen to me and to the people I love.

Read the book and feel your thought process change. There’s no voodoo or any rituals you have to do. There is no need to invest in buying happiness or peace. The only thing you have to do is stay focused on the positive and good will happen.

It’s not a Secret anymore…

@kamz26

The Secret
The Secret

Day One at Work in 2017

Are you back at work? Are you having a tough day? I’m pretty sure you’re not the only one who is suffering through all the moans and groans. Here’s how my day went yesterday:

7am : Alarm goes off. I stare at my phone with disgust. Didn’t I just close my eyes and fall asleep a few minutes ago? With one eye open, I start checking the notifications from social media.

Get on with it
7:23 : Still scrolling through Facebook newsfeed
scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll
7:41 : Yawn, stretch, look at time, yelp, jump out of bed and head for shower. Forget to put phone back on charger after having scrolled through so much. At the back of my mind, I know battery power is already at 72%

7:58 : Get out of shower and start rummaging through closet wondering what to wear, and for the umpteenth time tell myself off for not taking out my clothes the night before.

8:25 : Make up done, hair done, eat breakfast in a rush getting lipstick on chin and teeth. It’s my superpower – even I don’t know how I manage it.

8:30 : Load car with umpteen bags – handbag, lunch bag, laptop bag, paper bag with shoes to take to shoemaker to be fixed.

9:02 : Saunter in to work and start wishing everyone I see a Happy New Year.

As one does…
9:03 : Ok enough already with all the wishes. The New Year started on 1st January. It’s 3rd January. You don’t say Happy Birthday to me for a fortnight do you? All goodwill and cheer leaves my body like my soul just left my body.

Save me from this Hell
9:05 : Get to my desk and my chair is missing. Welcome back Kamal.

Where’s my chair?! Grrrrr!
9:13 : Steal a chair from someone who seems to have abandoned their desk. Karma at work works like that, by the way. Unpack laptop, produce fresh new 2017 diary from one of the umpteen bags which receives admiration because it’s fancy and has butterflies on it,  remove fancy new water bottle with flourish, and pens as well but promptly hide them. Pens get stolen here. All set. Start tapping away at laptop.

My fancy 2017 diary

9:17 : Colleagues start pouring in and regaling me with their holiday stories and antics. We decide to take a Snapchat break and play around with the filters while trying to find a flattering angle to hide the post-holiday weight gain. Also we admire Aleema’s wedding ring. That’s what she got up to over the holidays.

Snapchat- the best app to measure…er….. productivity levels

9:19 : First day of serious diet and I’m starving. About to have an emotional breakdown with the lack of Christmas mince pies and a double cappuccino.

Someone get me three mince pies. Please.

9:20 : “tap tap tap tap tap tap” Replying to emails and checking if HR has sent an email to announce another public holiday any time soon. No such luck. Get on to Google to check how many public holidays we have in 2017.

Sigh…. how many holidays and when is the first one please?

10:01 : Stand up, stretch, swig from shiny new water bottle because water is life and I have to show SOME commitment to at least ONE New Year Resolution.

My lovely Kor Water bottle

10:15 : Started chatting with Riya and Vikash post show as they came out of the studio from their show on air. Riya animatedly tells me how she overheard someone talk about me at the hairdressers. Turns out it was someone I know and she was not saying anything bad. I was low-key looking to get my low blood sugar anger on someone but I had to curb it. She was saying nice things.

10:25 : I put on my headphones to block out chat from around me and start tapping away at my laptop in earnest. Work is getting done. I’m suddenly filled with self-righteousness and studiously ignore everyone around me. Pete taps my shoulder to say hi and nods in approval that I’m busy. Pete likes to see people doing stuff. Productive stuff. Also I work fast in silence. Even my kids know they should only disturb me if there’s blood or someone died.

11:58 : WILL YOU LOOK AT THE TIME? It’s time for me to go into the studio and start my show at Noon. I love being in the studio and am suddenly energised.

12 Noon – 3:00 : Join me every weekday from Noon to 3pm on Kenya’s Premier Asian Mix, only on East FM Kenya.


3:03 :- Have a quick chat with Irfan who is starting the next show and come out of studio feeling like I accomplished a lot. Get to my desk and start working on tomorrow’s show prep and creating posters for other shows on East FM.

And that was my first day at work. How was yours?