Tag Archives: entertaining

Tender yellow split peas with a hint of garlic and ginger - fragrant Kik Allitcha

Tender yellow split peas with a hint of garlic and ginger – fragrant Kik Allitcha

Yesterday my dear friend LS invited me to join a dinner party she was giving at a local Ethiopian restaurant.  (Thank you for a fabulous evening!)

Our huge plated was piled high with many different sauces and reminded me that I really cannot get away with only posting recipes for Ethiopian Injera and Lamb Stew. An Ethiopian feast is simply not complete without those many vegetarian dishes made from vegetables and pulses. One of my favourites is this sauce made from yellow split peas.

Instead of yellow split peas you can also use regular green lentils. Another tasty and quicker alternative are red lentils: There is no need to pre-cook these; they only need to be washed and can then be added straight to the onions.


150g yellow split peas
2 onions
3 tbsp oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 cm piece ginger (about the same amount as garlic)
1/2 tsp tumeric
green jalapeno pepper (large chili pepper)



  1. Wash the peas in a sieve until the water runs clear.
  2. Place in a medium size pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low flame until they start to become a little tender. About 30 min.
  3. Allow to cool..
  4. Chop the onion very fine (in a food processor).
  5. Bring some water (about 1 l) to the boil.
  6. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a medium size pot. Gently fry the onions until they are translucent. Should they start sticking and burning add a little hot water.
  7. Add the peas.
  8. Squeeze garlic and ginger in through a garlic press.
  9. Add turmeric and salt.
  10. Cover the peas with boiling water and allow to simmer on a low flame until tender, about 20 min.
  11. Remove seeds from the jalapeno and cut it into thin slices or strips. Stir most of the jalapeno into the stew and decorate it with the remainder.


Tips & Variations

  • Replace the yellow split peas with regular green lentils
  • Replace the yellow split peas with red lentils. There is no need to pre-cook these; they only need to be washed and can then be added straight to the onions.
  • Make a triple amount of the onions sauce. Use one third for the split peas, a third for lentils and a third for gomen (a kale side dish).

Serve with

Not much more than onion, meat and spice come together to make a spectacular stew

Not much more than onion, meat and spice come together to make a spectacular stew

When I was only a teenager I started collecting my favourite recipes in a little book. I wrote down any exciting new discoveries and all the old family favourties. But then a few years ago, my car was broken into and my suitcase stolen – the worst thing was that it had my recipe book in it!

It still makes me sad to think that I will never recover those recipes again: I will never taste that Indonesian dish of poached mackerel in coconut milk – a recipe from friend from long ago and far away. I will never make that amazing chicken salad again – a treasured recipe I managed to coax out of a colleague after much begging.

At the same time, had I not lost my recipe book I would have never received one of the most special birthday presents ever: my parents made a book with a collection of my mother’s Ethiopian recipes. Each dish in this book my mother cooked especially, so that my father could watch, write down the instructions and then take photographs.

Below my mother’s recipe for Ethiopian Lamb stew, documented by my father, detailed a little more by my sister and then cooked by me and described through my eyes.

Pages full of food, family tradition and love

Pages full of food, family tradition and love



750g onion
1 – 1 1/2 kg Lamb (for example leg of lamb)
2 cloves of garlic
2 cm piece of ginger (about same amount as garlic)
125ml olive oil
2 tbsp berbere
1 can (400g) tomato (optional, see tips)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. Chop the onion very finely (in a food processor).
  2. Bring water (about 750ml) to the boil.
  3. Add the onion to a large pot and cook. Cover the onion with a lid and stir regularly ensuring that the onion does not burn.
  4. Only when necessary add a little water to stop the onion from burning.
  5. When the onion is soft and translucent add the oil (after about 10-15 minutes).
  6. Cook 10 minutes until golden. (Optional – see tips: add 1 tbsp tomato puree)
  7. Add the berbere and cook on the lowest heat for about 30 minutes stirring once in a while. Only when the onions begin to stick, add a few drops of water.
  8. Add the canned tomato.
  9. Cut the meat into small bite size pieces.
  10. Add the lam to the onion.
  11. Press garlic and ginger through a garlic press into the pot.
  12. Cook the meat, stirring regularly until the meat is just cooked. They say the sauce is done when oil rises to surface. (Depending on the meat this takes about 10 -30 minutes.) When the sauce thickens (after about 10 minutes) add about 200ml-500ml boiling water. You are looking for a thick and glossy stew.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.



Tips & Variations

Instead of using the can of tomatoes you can add 1 tbsp of tomato puree before adding the berbere.


Serve with

Inerja bread, for soaking up those amazing Ethiopian sauces

Inerja bread, for soaking up those amazing Ethiopian sauces

Incredible: I have gone through an entire year of blogging without posting one single Ethiopian recipe.

And this despite the fact, that Ethiopian food is a part of my heritage I am truly proud of. On top of that I  enjoy eating it ever so much – the flavours, the textures and not least: eating with my hands.

A typical Ethiopian meal to me is Injera (a yeasted pancake like soft bread), with spicy meat sauces and milder dishes made from pulses and vegetables. (recipes to follow)

But to be honest as much as love eating it (read: my mother and sister’s versions) I do not make it often. I’ll be truthful up front: this is not a quick and easy meal!! It needs advance planning and plenty of time; it can be a bit tricky to get right ……and your house will smell of onion …..and more onion.

But the result is a truly marvelous feast! In the end, this sumptuous meal is one of the most amazing gifts to cook for people you care for!

So once in a blue moon I roll up my sleeves for a special occasion……

And the first step is to get the dough going for the Injera.

Traditionally Injera is made from teff flour, but the preparation is slightly tricky (or ‘more tricky’ I should say). Until now I have stuck to a more staight-forward alternative made from all-purpose flour and corn meal. The dough needs to be started about 3-4 days before the dinner. Let the yeast do it’s work and then bakethe soft, spongy Injera pancakes. Although the Injera is best the same day it can be kept in the fridge for about three days.

There is no single definitive recipe for making Injera – below is my mother’s, with a little addition form my sister and a few tiny touches from me.

About 21 pancakes (around 3 a person)

150g fine corn meal
1kg all-purpose flour
150g Chapatti (Atta) flour
20g (about 1/2 a cube) of fresh yeast
about 250ml water
1 tbsp salt



  1. Sift the flours together. Discard the bran from the Chapatti flour.
  2. Warm the flour a few minutes in a dry frying pan to body temperature. You will do this in a number of portions depending on the size of your frying pan. (You can skip this step if you are trying to save time, but warming the flour yields softer injera.)
  3. Allow flour to cool.
  4. Heat some water (about 2,5l) until lukewarm.
  5. In a bucket (or large bowl), dissolve the yeast in 500ml of the lukewarm water.
  6. Add the flour to the water-yeast mixture and knead through thoroughly until it is smooth.(About 5-10 minutes until the dough no longer sticks to your hands). Only add the smallest amount of water a time to make the dough soft enough to handle. Do not add too much water to avoid it clumping. Once the dough is smooth you can start adding more water until you have a thick batter (About 2 l of water).
  7. Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free space for 3-4 days.
  8. When the dough has sat and you are ready to make pancakes, bring about 200ml water to the boil. Add a little cold water to cool a little.
  9. Typically some water will have collected on top of the batter. Carefully pour it off.
  10. Stir some of the medium hot water into the batter with a spoon (you are looking for enough water to form a thick batter – you will be adding some more water in the next step to achieve a smooth batter). Use your hands to mix in the water making sure that no batter sticks to the bottom of the bucket.
  11. Let the dough stand a few minutes until little bubbles appear.
  12. Add about 250ml sparkling water to achieve a smooth liquid batter.
  13. Allow to stand 5 min.
  14. Stir in salt.
  15. Heat a large non-stick pan (I have a pan I use for nothing else than making Injera). Pour in a ladle full of batter and swivel around the pan. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat until the pancake formed bubbles, the surface is dry and the edges pull away from the pan. You want to avoid the Injera colouring (but it is not a disaster if it does).
  16. Place the cooked Injera on a clean dish towl. Repeat.
  17. Once cooled the Injera can be piled on top of each other.
  18. If you have cooked a few Injera and then suddenly the bubbles stop forming, you can add a little more sparkling water. Alternatively: add some baking powder to the batter (best to do this in small a small batch of batter as the effect of the baking powder wears of quickly.) After adding the baking powder, wait for the foam to subside as the wholes in the Injera will otherwise be too large.
  19. If you are eating the Injera the same or next day: place in a large plastic bag and keep at room temperature.
  20. If using within the next 2-3 days: place in a large plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat them it is best to warm them briefly in a frying pan to soften them again.


Tips & Variations

Really the variations are endless. Every household will have it’s own recipe, but here are a few from my family.

  • Different flour combinations are possible: use whole wheat or spelt, for example.
  • The fresh yeast can be replaced with 2pkts (20g) of instant dried yeast. The dry yeast can be stirred into the flour before adding the water.
  • You could try baking Injera after the batter has sat for only two days.
  • Once the batter has sat for a few days you can add only sparkling water instead of part hot, part sparkling water.

Serve with

I am always to earger to eat it to make a representative picture, but believe me: this is a gorgeous combination of Ethiopian flavours and textures

I am always too earger to eat it to make a representative picture, but believe me: this is a gorgeous combination of Ethiopian flavours and textures

Tea and soy infused eggs

Tea and soy infused eggs

Although the snow outside makes it look more like Christmas, it is Easter again. To go with the non-traditional weather we are making some unconventional Easter eggs: Marbled Chinese Tea Eggs. They take little effort and look absolutely stunning.  You can use regular eggs or try quail eggs for an even cuter result.

These eggs are super tasty and not only for Easter. They make a great snack or little side dish for a dim sum style dinner; or add them to a salads and stir fries.


6 regular eggs (or 18 quail eggs)
6 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp dark sweet soya sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 pieces of whole star anise
8 black peppercorns, left whole
1 long cinnamon stick
1 tea bag or 2 tbsp loose black tea leaves


  1. Place the eggs in a large saucepan or pot, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. (Place quail eggs in boiling water for 4 minutes)
  2. Use a slotted spoon to place the eggs in an ice bath for a few minutes. Leaving the hot water in the pot.
  3. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, tap and roll them to break the shells all over.
  4. Add the soy sauces, salt, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, pepper corns to the hot water.
  5. Hang the tea bag into the water (or sprinkle in the tea leaves.)
  6. Return the cracked eggs to the pot.
  7. Cover and bring to the boil. Cook at a low simmer for 2 hours. Ensure that the eggs are covered in liquid, adding water if necessary.
  8. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate the eggs in the liquid over night.

Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

  • Chinese five spice powder
  • mandarin rind or juice

Other Easter egg recipes

103 IMG_8950


Make the ordinary extraordinary

Make the ordinary extraordinary

The other day I came home from my grocery shopping trip with some lovely cheeses and sausage only to discover that I had forgotten the crackers.  Then it suddenly hit me: throwing together a batch of crackers actually takes less time (and effort) than going back out to the supermarket.  

As with all pure and simple foods the key is to use good ingredients. So do not skimp on the quality of your flour or oil. Then the humble cracker, that usually is only there to carry something delicious to your mouth, suddenly becomes a treat in itself.

Cracking good: easy, tasty and without all those funky preservatives the standard store-bought kind has.


(found on the blog ‘Choosy Beggars‘)

125g (1cup) all purpose flour
125g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp fine salt
120ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
120ml (1/2 cup) warm water
Coarse salt for sprinkling

  1. Heat oven to 190C 375F.
  2. Combine both types of flour, rosemary and salt in a bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add oil and water.
  4. Working from the center combine the dough. It will seem sticky at first, but should turn into a supple dough. Knead for 3 min.
  5. Allow to rest 5 min.
  6. Cut out two sheets of parchment the size of your baking trays.
  7. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll them out on the two sheets of paper. (A few drops of water under the paper will help it stick to the counter.) Roll the dough out as thin as you can.
  8. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into little squares (about 4×4 cm).
  9. Slide the paper onto two separate baking sheets.
  10. Sprinkle with salt.
  11. Bake 12-14 min until they are a rich golden.