HIDDEN GEM IN KIKUYU TOWN

Now, I never really understood the effect of social media until I found myself at Crave Kitchen &Bakery.

I was on social media and someone on my Instagram feed posted about Crave Kitchen and how lovely it was. What drew my attention was the fact that it was in kikuyu town, a few kilometres from where I stay. Kikuyu town is one of those local towns that has a lot of history but not the kind of place you find a cosy spot to read a book. My curiosity drove me to find out for my self what this great spot was.

Going with nothing but Google maps, I found my way to kikuyu town. The pin on the map was a little off and my sister and I ended up going round in circles before we finally asked for directions. All the fatigue and peeved emotions lifted off the moment we got to the restaurant.

Yes crave kitchen is a hidden gem in the middle of a busy town. It has the feel of The Alchemist in Westlands combined with a feel of sophistication of Art Café. It’s the kind of place you would go for a first date, the kind of place you would go to read a book, the kind of place you would go to get your creative juices flowing, it’s the kind of place to take your mother for tea and it’s definitely the kind of place you would visit again.

The décor of the place is very rustic and artsy. The walls are not painted giving it a very edgy feel and look. The tiny wooden seats and chairs makes it very fun. You would think they are too small to fit any grown human but it surprises you how well your bum fits.

Why I love the place even more is because of the pocket friendly prices. Even on a bad day you can afford to make your taste buds happy.

We ordered the butternut soup and a plate of fries with a salad. For someone who doesn’t like butter nut, I thoroughly enjoyed the soup. The fries were well portioned, but I like my fries thinly cut however that did not pull away from how enjoyable they were.

I definitely will be going back to Crave Kitchen to sample more of their food and their pastries. They make their own pastries from scratch and you know you can never go wrong with fresh pastries.

I should mention they have good service,  the lady that served us was friendly. 

So anyone who lives around Kikuyu town, I would highly recommend Crave Kitchen to you and also anyone going to Nakuru or Naivasha or that route, ensure you pass by Crave Kitchen to get your taste buds enticed and your soul at peace.

BEST ECO LODGE IN KILIFI

Ola good people!

I don’t understand what has been happening, I have developed this bug called procrastination and it seems to be taking over my life but I am way much better than this. This post has been in the archives for a while but here it is now, the full expose on Kilifi.

Turn up travel organised an amazing trip to Kilifi a while back and I just had to be part of it. What I loved about the trip is that we got to travel with the last old train before it was decommissioned to welcome the new SGR ( Standard Gauge Railway). Despite us taking 14 hours to get to Mombasa, the train ride was amazing, it was full of great memories from hangovers to karaoke moments, amazing views and new friends.

Anytime I travel I always love checking out the hotel I’d be staying at, it gets me psychologically prepared for what is to come. When I checked out Distant Relatives I was excited to find that it was an eco lodge, I had never stayed in an eco lodge before and I didn’t know what to expect. We were lucky to travel with our friend Chandni, she had stayed there before and prepped on us what to expect but truthfully I didn’t fully get it.

I don’t know if it was the fatigue from the train or the humidity in the air, but once we arrived at Distant Relatives I felt like I was home. Despite the pictures I had seen on their website, I still thought it was your normal hotel with concierge and valet parking but it wasn’t. It’s very rare for you to get to a hotel and feel like you’re home, you always feel like you’re a tourist.

Right from the reception which doubles up as a bar to the service to the accommodation everything felt very unique. The check in process was very fast, we didn’t spend more than 10 minutes checking in.

The best drink you can have once you arrive is a cold dawa. I don’t know if it was the size of the drink or how cold it was but that drink was to die for. For anyone going there you have to try the dawa.

I think Distant Relatives is a place everyone should visit; it changes your perspective and makes you appreciate nature even more.

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Single Room. photo Courtesy of Distant Relatives

Safari Tent

Dorm
Photo Courtesy of Distant Relatives

When it comes to accommodation, there are several options. There is camping, dorm, safari tent, private room and the private banda, the cost for this varies from Ksh. 600 for camping to Ksh. 6000 for the private banda. The longer you stay the cheaper it is. You can check their website for more details.

Pic Courtesy of Distant Relatives

We stayed in a banda and I absolutely loved it, it was very spacious and comfortable. Imagine showering while listening to the leaves sway and the birds chirp, that’s exactly how I showered everyday while I was there thanks to the outdoor shower. The washroom is what I came to understand as Eco friendly, they don’t use water instead they have saw dust that you pour after using the toilet. At first I was a bit skeptical that perhaps the toilet would stink but quite the contrary, there was no much difference with the normal loo.

Pic Courtesy of Distant Relatives

I loved the fact that there was the option of getting food from the main lodge kitchen or making your own meal. If you aren’t a fan of cooking, you can order food from the lodge kitchen, which is very tasty. But if you enjoy cooking or you are on a very tight budget, they have a separate kitchen that has utensils and cutlery so all you need are the ingredients. This is the option we went with considering we were on a tight budget. I finally understood when Chandni had told us to carry ingredients. This option is a great way to bond with the rest of the guests.

 

There are several things you can do to enjoy your stay there. There are various board games, a pool table, darts, they have guitars, they have a swimming pool, there is a volley ball pitch, they have a lounge that you can borrow and exchange books from, you can go for walks on the beach, you can go for sun-downers, you can take boat rides to wherever, you can go snorkeling and all this is organised by the lodge.

If you want to tour Kilifi, the mode of transport is tuk tuks or boda bodas which the lodge can organize for you.

Distant relatives is the place to stay while in kilifi, it is very chilled and homely. If you want a place to get away from the hustles of life or a place to rediscover yourself, or a place to get your creative juices, it is definitely the place to be. We met people who had been there for more than two weeks, trust me once you get there you will understand why.

We extended our stay by two days; it’s that kind of place that makes you forget home, the kind of place that makes you one with your chi.

With the SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) in place it becomes easier to get there. Nairobi to Mombasa is 4 hours then you take a cab from Mombasa to Kilifi which is about an hour away.

They also have different activities for different days, there was pizza Fridays which we sadly didn’t get to experience. There is always something to do at the lodge.

In all honesty, every day is a party when you’re at Distant Relatives.

Kilifi has great culture and people and amazing cuisine. Once you have checked in, go around the town and villages, you will be amazed what you will find.

JIKO GRILLED FISH

You know that feeling of excitement you have when you have something new to cook but it ends up backfiring/ disappointing you? That was me a few months ago. I tried deep frying fish and the outcome was disappointing. The fish stuck to the pan that made the skin come off, the final presentation was horrible. On the bright side however, the fish was cooked on the inside and very edible.

I came to discover that one of the best places to get fresh fish is in Naivasha, it’s an hour’s drive from Nairobi and you can get all types of fish at an affordable price. The fish I got cost KES. 300.

Given my previous experience, I decided to try something different, to grill the fish on the jiko. There is something about cooking with the jiko that makes me appreciate the cooking process. It makes me value the history of cooking.

First I marinated the fish using:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Salad oil
  • Onions
  • Coriander
  • Chillies
  • Lemon juice
  • Soy sauce

The process:

First make cuts on the fish, this is to allow the fish to cook properly and evenly. This also helps all the flavors of the marinade integrate with the fish.

Next mix all the ingredients together then coat the fish with the marinade. Ensure the fish is properly coated from the outside to the inside. Let this sit in the fridge for about 30 min to an hour.

Get your jiko ready. Ensure the heat in the jiko is low, if it is too much then the fish will burn on the outside.

Once you have placed your fish on the grill, give it about 15- 20 minutes on every side for it to fully cook. Once you’re happy, you can plate it and enjoy it with your choice of carbs or veggies.

NB: For the fish not to stick on the grill, ensure you apply some cooking oil on the grill and the fish as well.

The fish turned out great, the marinade did its magic and the fish was very tasty.

My fish was a little charred on the outside.

Roast chicken Jiko style

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Happy New Year!I have a good feeling about this year, and I am all about doing things differently this 2017. In that spirit of doing things differently, I tried out something different over the holiday period.

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I have always had this theory that what an oven can do, so can a jiko. So I figured I could try out that theory with chicken. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d do it, I went ahead and marinated the chicken the night before.

Marinade ingredients:

  • 2 tsp of honey
  • 2 tsp of Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 tsp Pilau Masala
  • 1 onion
  • Coriander
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tsp of soy sauce

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You can use whatever flavorful ingredients you have in your pantry.

Process:

  • Get your hands dirty and mix everything up.
  • Once your marinade is ready, take your chicken pieces and put them in the marinade. Rub the marinade on chicken thoroughly and ensure your chicken is well coated.
  • Once your chicken is completely coated, cover it and leave it over night in the fridge.

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I was confident about marinating the chicken, now roasting it was the tricky bit; I knew what to do in theory.

The roasting:

I learnt the hard way,(after a few chicken pieces were sacrificed) that your jiko should be at medium to low heat. At high heat, your chicken will only cook on the outside and get burnt faster.

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At a medium to low heat, place your grill on the jiko.

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Since I was doing this for the first time, I first put the chicken pieces at the centre and they got burnt, so I put the chicken pieces around the jiko and not at the centre. But if your heat is low, you can place your chicken evenly on the grill.

As long as the heat is at minimal, do not be in a rush to turn them.

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After 6 minutes or so, you can turn the pieces. A little heads up, the skin will stick on the grill when you flip them the first time.

Once you flip them, you can now relax a bit. After a while continue turning them, the colour will start to change and the aroma will soon follow.

Considering the chicken has been marinated, it won’t be as hard as your usual roasted chicken. It will still be soft on the inside and very juicy.

After 20 – 30 minutes on the grill, your chicken should be ready. You can always take a small piece and sample.

Not the best picture, I started indulging and forgot to take a proper pic.

Not the best picture, I started indulging and forgot to take a proper pic.

Aside from a few burnt pieces, I was impressed with the final results. The chicken was juicy on the inside, I could taste the flavours from the marinade, and the outside was just the right kind of crispy.

I did prove my theory that you don’t have to have an oven to roast a meal.

Go ahead and try this, and tell me how it turns out.

Nairobi Wine Festival

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It’s been so long since I wrote a post, so much has been going on. What I know however is that I have missed you guys, hope we are all doing great.

I was super excited when I found out I would be attending the Nairobi Wine Festival thanks to Winenjiru,I have always been fascinated by wine and how you can pair it with food, chocolate and cheese.The cost of the event was Ksh. 3,500 a bit pricey but I can tell you for sure, it was definitely worth every cent.

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The event was to commence at 3 pm. Right from the entrance the décor looked beautiful and elegant. The colour scheme was white and black, which I thought was very chic.

I attended the event with a few of my colleagues, after setting up we got the chance to walk around.

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leleshwa-wines

There was so much going on, a lot of wine companies had come through with different kinds of wine. I started off at Leleshwa wine, I got to sample their wines and what stood out for me was their white wine, very smooth.

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I always thought people exaggerated when they say cheese and wine is a match made in heaven. Thanks to browns cheese, I got to experience firsthand how epic the combination is. I never thought that wine and cheese could blend so well. Something amazing happens when the two meet and bond in your mouth, very fascinating.

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Now it is a good thing that we were advised to eat something before the event, coz I kid you not all that wine sampling can get you buzzed very easily.

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We got to attend the wine class by Winenjiru; I got to appreciate wine even more and learnt how to pair it. There was also a wine and cheese class which was also amazing; I got to experience an orgasm in the mouth.

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The classes aside, there was an oyster bar. I absolutely love oysters, I don’t know if it’s the saltiness but you can taste the ocean. The Indian Ocean oyster company had really amazing oysters, to make it even better, they had a chilli sauce that took the oyster to a whole new level.

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The best combination I had that night was an oyster in the bloody mary. It’s a very beautiful and interesting combination, the oyster provides the saltiness you need.

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Aside from wine, there was also a vodka and cognac bar. The vodka was Belvedere, they made pretty mean cocktails, and the cognac was Hennessy, which was very smooth.

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There was also a section where you could paint with wine, I didn’t get to participate in that but it looked like a lot of fun. Who knew you could paint with wine, I personally prefer drinking my wine.

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It was a wonderful event, worth every cent and time spent there. I can’t wait to attend the next one.

KAJIADO BLISS

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Hi guys, hope we are enjoying what nature has to offer!

About two weeks ago I was in Kumpa town, 15 km from Kajiado town. I didn’t know such a town existed before my arrival there. What I also didn’t know was that there was a beautiful getaway hotel in that town.

Cabins

Leruat Log resort is the best place you can stay while in Kajiado. I completely fell in love with the place and I literally did not want to leave despite staying an extra day we were still not ready to leave.

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Leruat resort is the kind of place that you go to to get away from the hustles and busy life of the city, it’s also the kind of place that you take your partner, it’s also the kind of place that you go to when you want to be one with nature.

Courtesy of Leruat Log Resort

Courtesy of Leruat Log Resort

I came to find out about this place through travel.jumuia.com.  What they didn’t mention however was how far it was from the main road. The resort is literally on top of a hill, from the main road it’s about a 20 minute drive up the hill. Since we got there in the middle of the night, the drive up seemed to take forever.

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I loved everything about the place, the staff were friendly and very accommodating. The rooms were really great with amazing views. I remember I woke up and the view from my room was breathtaking.

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Courtesy of Leruat Resort

Courtesy of Leruat Resort

The decor of the place is very interesting and unique.

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It’s also the perfect place to go with friends. You can have a bonfire and order up some meat and have a great time. Did I mention they have really good food and especially the meat.

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This the place to stay when you are in Kajiado. The one tip I would have for everyone is carry a sweater or coat, it gets windy and chilly in the mornings and evenings.

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The place isn’t officially opened, they are still building more cottages. I can’t wait to go there when they officially open.