​Mixed Sweet and Salty Chocolate Snack Bars

One of the best parts of blogging is having to experiment with different kinds of food,  flavors and textures.  For the longest time, I have wondered how combining our favorite snacks and chocolate would taste like.  I finally got to do it before the year ends. So today I introduce you to this crazy fun but absolutely tasty snack bar.  It has all the best snacks and a rich mix of chocolate. How it’s made, you ask? Very simple.

As simple as getting roasted groundnuts, plantain chips, fried soya,  daddies,  soft hard corns, simsim, a binder  and chocolate. Et voila!

What you will need

1 C. Groundnuts, roasted and salted

1 C.  Soya,  fried and salted 

1/2 C.  Plantain chips, crushed 

1/2 C.  Daddies crushed 

1/2 C.  Hard corns, salted

1/2 C.  Simsim, roasted and salted

1/2 C.  Icing sugar

1/3 C.  Water

1/4 C.  Water 

500 grams Chocolate, chopped

1/2 Tsp.  Orange zest

Nonstick baking paper 

Observations:

  1. Make sure you use low fire so that the chocolate doesn’t burn while melting. 
  2. Use really soft hard corns, soya and daddies. 
  3. Make sure the soya, simsim,  hard corns, groundnuts are salted. The salt balances out the sweetness of the chocolate. 

    Method:

    Place a clean pan on low fire. Add 1/3 cup of water and the icing sugar. Stir till all the sugar has desolved. Let it boil till it clears and starts to thicken. Add the chopped chocolate and slowly stir till it fully melts.  Add the 1/4 cup of water to reduce the thickness of the chocolate. Stir well till the melted chocolate is smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients in the melted chocolate and stir well.  Line a mold (any well shaped pan or container) with parchment paper/nonstick baking paper. Pour the hot chocolate mixture in the mold. Gently tap the mold to let the chocolate set well. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.  If you don’t have a refrigerator, place the chocolate in a cool place and let it harden for about 12 hours. Once fully hardened use a serrated knife to cut out bars.  

    Serve. 

    Best part is that you can gift these to loved ones for the holidays. 

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    Goat Offal Stew 

    Most people have a love hate relationship with offals (ebyenda). I do too,  well until cravings kick in. I recently learned the history of offals and how they came to be in the Ugandan meat market.  It is  a dish we have all enjoyed from childhood and I had to share it  on the blog before the year ends. 

    If you have cooked offals before, you know they need a lot of cooking time because of the tough muscles in the guts.  It would be devastating to make a dish like this and then run out of fire (in this case I am talking about gas). If you haven’t noticed yet,  Shell has introduced a new and improved gas canister  that let’s you monitor your gas consumption. This is a wonderful innovation because the struggle of having to guess whether you  have enough gas to  cook everytime is greatly reduced. 

    I am sharing this offal stew recipe that you can cook entirely on gas and not have to worry about your gas finishing any minute. 

    What you will need:

    I kilo, assorted offals, cut into bite-sized pieces

    3 large tomatoes, diced 

    1 large green pepper, diced 

    1 large carrot, diced 

    1 large onion, diced 

    1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped 

    Juice of 1 lemon/ white vinegar 

    Black pepper 

    1Tsp. Ground coriander

    1Tsp. Turmeric powder 

    Salt
    Observations:

    Thoroughly wash the offals to remove foreign items and sand.

    Use a heavy cast pan so that your cooking time is reduced. 

    Vinegar helps tenderise the meat. If you don’t have vinegar, use lemon juice.

    Make sure the water covers the meat completely. It will reduce.  Keep adding water till the meat reaches your desired tenderness. 

    I don’t add oil to this stew because usually offals come with a lot of fat which you can discard if you dont like.  The remaining fat will cook the meat and retain flavor

    Method.

    Thoroughly wash your offals to remove all the dirt and sand. 

    Once washed, place the offals in a pan.  Add salt, vinegar, and water. Place the sauce pan on high fire and let the meat boil. This can take from 1-2 hours. 

    Keep checking the water level and add more once it reduces so that the meat doesn’t burn.  

    Once the meat has boiled till tender (you can always taste,  the best part of making this stew by the way!), and all the water has dried,  the offals will start frying in their  fat that remains at the bottom.  Fry the offal till they start getting slightly golden brown 

    Add the crushed garlic, and onions and keep stirring. Next add the rest of the ingredients. Add water and let the stew simmer on low fire for another 30-45 minutes. Keep stirring. 

    When stew is ready, serve hot with either posho,  matooke,  akalo, obundu,  sweet potatoes or anything really! I ate it with chapati. Tasty! 

    Once you get over the sometimes overbearing odor (for a lack of a better word),  you will realize offal stew has some of the best meat flavors and pieces. 
    PS: The new Shell gas canister can be found at Shell stations around Kampala. For more information about Shell gas and the new translucent canister,  leave a comment below and I will answer all your questions.

    Coffee: My Thoughts 


    I have been thinking about coffee a lot lately. Coffee as a whole; the plant,  the berries, the beans,  the myriad of beverages  and desserts that are made out of it, the culture.  Although I never talk about coffee (I have probably never even blogged about it!), coffee is a part of my life story. Although I rarely take it,  coffee is tightly woven in the history of our people. The Rwenzori Mountain dwellers.  You see the history of Mountain Rwenzori coffee is a long one and started way back with our forefathers. One wouldn’t have a piece of land without  coffee plants on them.  For a young man to be ready to have a family and take care of it, he needed to at least have a piece of land, readily available coffee plants and the rest of the food crop.  My grandmother has coffee plants older than my mother and she tell me stories of how they have helped her raise her children.  Whenever I go to visit her, there is that familiar  scent of  dried coffee berries in the house which I eventually take part in spreading outside so they can fully dry.  Over  stories and laughter I have helped pick ripe coffee berries with my grandmother. I have also watched a basin of coffee being negotiated.  I have watched with a heavy heart children as young as five to adults as old as 70 carry  huge sacks of dried coffee up and down the mountain in hopes of finding a buyer.


      It’s is only recently that I was amazed at the culture of coffee in First World, a cult almost. It’s is also just recently that I  got to know that Uganda  produces one of my the world’s best coffee. But putting two and two together, I wondered why coffee farmers never get value for their hard work considering a cup of coffee can cost a lot. I am still learning more about the process of coffee production and one of my dreams is to make a coffee cake out of my grandmother’s coffee that I  have picked, dried, peeled, roasted and ground myself. Maybe by the time that dream is accomplished, I will have had all my questions answered.


     
    What is your take on coffee as a Ugandan? 
    And if you are from the Rwenzori region, what Solutions do you think we can adopt to produce even greater  coffee and let the farmers benefit from this?