Wooh! I'm back in action.
... after an AMAZING holiday!
The Swede and I started off in Nairobi... where, on our first day, we walked through Kibera with Octopizzo. (No big deal...) I also got to see a long lost friend before he headed off on his own adventure, so that was awesome! For our second day we ventured into Nairobi National Park for a "safari" (aka: hopped in a taxi and had him zoom us around the park!). We saw giraffes and zebras!
From our short pit stop in Nairobi, we headed by bus to Moshi, Tanzania. We walked straight over the border from Kenya to Tanzania, and slightly got scolded by our bus driver. Apparently this isn't the safe way to go about things. Whoops.
From Moshi, we picked up our third lovely climbing chick and set off for Mt. Kilimanjaro!!! For seven days and six nights we ventured up the mountain... it was really challenging (and I almost died on day 5, it's fine), but we all made it to Uhuru Peak - the highest point in Africa at 5,895 meters (or 19,341 feet). I'm so pleased! It was spectacular. ((Photos to come soon!!)) And, no big deal: but the granola bars definitely aided the journey.
From Mt. Kilimanjaro, us three ladies flew to Zanzibar to completely stuff our faces with food and drinks, go swimming, and tan. We also squeezed some snorkelling and we swam with dolphins!
From Zanzibar, the Swede and I solo ventured into Dar es Salaam... heeelllloooo party. We both liked Dar es Salaam so much more than Nairobi. The city was clean, walkable, and full of friendly folks. I totally lost a Konyagi (the local Tanzanian liquor) drinking competition, despite my best efforts, to a local Tanzanian and performed a cartwheel on the dance floor of a club. Mission accomplished?
Well, now that I'm back after all these crazy adventures, I'm bringing you the most boring post ever. It isn't sweet. It isn't a dessert. But, bear with me guys, it's delicious AND healthy... and baked... sooo, that kind works in the "Bakecetera" category, right? Right. I honestly need a small detox, and these plantain fries are tasty without being too heavy. Plus, since I just got back from Africa, it's nice to reminisce with plantains... a treat that I fell in love with when I lived in Ghana.
So, go find yourself some plantains (this can actually be kinda tricky) and get involved!
So, first let's have a (quick) chat about plantains...
Plantains look kinda like bananas, but they're bigger and much more firm. You have to cook them before eating, and they can be sweet (reddish colour) or more savoury (yellow/green colour). I selected the more savoury kind for these fries.
Plantains are super healthy when prepared well (and super delicious when deep fried in palm oil, but let's avoid that subject...). They're widely eaten in West Africa, and I saw them a few times in East Africa as well. I also know that Latin America digs into these delicious treats. You can boil them, fry them, mash them, grill them (my favourite), or, like today, bake them. Often they can be a bit hard to find in a normal grocery store... but check out a China town or ethnic market - you may be in luck!
They are difficult to peel, so I recommend slicing off the ends, and then cutting the peel off with a knife.
Ta da! So this recipe is SUPER simple...
Baked Plantain Fries - What you need:
(This recipe is for one serving... if you need to make many, just double, triple, etc the spices and oil. If you prefer less oil, that's totally cool too... )
- 1 plantain
- 1/4 teaspoon of each spice: sumak, sweet paprika, cumin (this is my favourite spice blend, feel free to use whatever spices you like the best!)
- a sprinkle or two of pepper
- a pinch of salt
- 2 - 3 teaspoons of coconut oil (or, alternatively, olive oil)
Baked Plantain Fries - What you do:
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius, and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Slice the plantains into strips... approximately 1 centimeter by 6 centimeters.
Toss them in a bowl with the spices and coconut oil, combine well.
Spread the fries out on a baking sheet - if you get them too close together, they won't be as crisp. (If you're like me and loooove soggy fries, then go ahead and shove a ton together!)
Bake in the 190 celsius preheated oven for 15 minutes, flipping the fries over halfway through.
Remove from the baking sheet and enjoy these guys hot! I dipped mine in mustard (if anyone knows me well, this is an obvious choice)!!!
Yup. This is how I detox... don't judge. Just enjoy!
Baking soundtrack - tunes to inspire your inner baker:
OOOKKKAY. We listened to wayyy too much (in a totally good way) African jams in Zanzibar... I'm still rocking out to them now!
Busy Signal - One More Night (Ok, he's Jamaican, not African... but shhh..., and Kristen: this one is for YOU!)