My Australia day

Today is Australia day, which means a holiday Monday for me. Thought of what to do after my 17km run in the morning and decided to cook and blog about a smoked pork belly with apple and onions.
For this I need 300g of smoked pork fully cooked, 2 tablespoon of butter, one red onion, one apple, half tablespoon coriander and half tablespoon of ginger.
I heat the butter in a pan, then put in the chopped onions, sauté until the onions begin to soften for about 5mins. Turn the heat to low heat, then I add the thinly sliced apple, sauté again until the apple begins to soften and fall apart. I then stir in the coriander and ginger, put in my smoked pork chops, cover the pan and cook just until the chops are hot.
Turn off the heat, remove the pork and stir the apple and onion mixture, add a quarter cup of heavy cream for gravy.

Viola!

Smoked pork chops

Smoked pork chops

My smoked pork chop with apple and onion, served with steamed rice is ready to make my holiday lunch awesome!

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Food and fitness

Can we really enjoy food in all its awesomeness and still be fit with a shredded body?

In my journey of fitness in general, I have come to discover a lot of myths and facts surrounding the topic of diet and exercise. There is a lot of information and a lot of wrong ones too out there, with gender specific variations to it.

The most common fitness myth I know is that crunches alone can help you lose belly fat. Another is that you must starve to effectively lose weight fast. This I believe has created two extreme types of living. You either eat all you can and forget about your weight or watch your weight and eat less and less.

I am no expert in neither nutrition nor exercise to give any advice on the topics but from experience, I have seen and come to know what works for me.

Generally, the mechanism of weight loss is very simple. I love to use the concept of a calorie balance to explain it. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. That simple! Continue reading

A tale of ‘Matooke’

Culture and food are one of those things that complement each other. I think they are best described together. Many people who haven’t visited Africa tend to think Africa is like a single country, yet it is a continent with so much cultural and gastronomical differences even within one country. Some countries have over 200 ethnic groups with a similar wide variety of staple food, but that is away from my point.

A West African likes their food spicy and extremely well presented. They believe looks boosts appetite (which is true). On the contrary, in East Africa, spice and good looks are all optional requirements in the cuisine. Though this is changing now.

With the above in mind, the first time visiting Uganda, I had quite an experience for a person more inclined to West African food. This is when I was just starting my food adventures. I met a group of West Africans whom, no matter how enticing the food was, they had simply refused to like any food from Uganda or it seems. So when I met them, the first thing they told me was food in Uganda is very ‘bad’. I was curious and seek to understand why they thought so, but all they told me was ‘they have something called matooke. This is mashed steamed banana cooked in banana leaves. It looks like what we give to pigs back home”; they also mentioned how the Ugandan beef stew was just boiled pieces of beef with water and salt. OK, that grossed me out even before I had a chance to look at what this ‘matooke’ was like, or worse still, taste like! Problem is, I paid heavily for listening to them because for months, I could only eat potato chips and deep fried chicken from fast food shops. As you would expect, I got really bored with having to eat the same thing every day and the questions began coming up again. Why exactly do the West Africans consider this a very bad meal yet the locals seem to really enjoy them. Continue reading

Food, an art?

Some will call me a foodie and yes I sometimes see food as a piece of art and I, an art appreciator. As a writer on the Huffington post rightly puts it  ” Chefs are not just craftsmen, artisans, or business persons; they are expected to offer patrons (and critics) dishes and menus that stimulate and surprise them”. 

I love to be surprised by a dish. It doesn’t only stimulate your taste buds but it leaves you talking about it to anyone who is happy to listen. Every time I am travelling, some of the things I look forward to are all the surprises I’ll get from trying new dishes (dishes I have never tasted before). Some sometimes excite me enough to beg for the recipes to try them at home. You should see the big smile on my face when I get it right on first try.

Most people I know eat because it is a need (to survive), they don’t realise they miss the experience it comes with eating. Yes they do!

I believe when you eat, just like an art appreciator studies a piece of art carefully, not to miss any hidden detail, that is how I eat a dish. I want to taste every hidden component of the dish, deliberately put there or accidentally included. They all contribute to the surprise and taste of the dish. I want to know what that devious spice is or sometimes just the interesting mix of different temperatures in a dessert. 

That is how we should eat every meal (I believe). For just like colours can make a day, a beautiful surprise to the taste buds makes a whole difference.