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Plant-based flavour

More and more people are embracing healthy living, especially the more information gets accessible. One avenue to look at is My Planted Kitchen, a website run by culinary nutrition enthusiast Shiru Macharia.

Although she’s not exactly a vegetarian, she blogs about plant-based recipes and also on her weight loss journey. She hit almost 108kg after giving birth to two of her children, who are one year apart.

Thando is three while Kaiyah two. She got into healthy living in October 2016, and has lost 30kg since. We got a chance to get in the kitchen with Shiru at her home in South C, Nairobi, and the first thing we noticed is how functional it is.

Utility is top of her mind when it comes to the kitchen, and she keeps all her tools within arms reach, as well as cookbooks.

he tells us one of her main goals was for her kitchen to feel bright and fresh, and she achieved that with turquoise blue cabinets and simple finishes. Her kitchen is goals, as we would say on the gram.

She made us a healthy shepherd’s pie for the main dish and a mango raspberry crumble for dessert. At first, I was not sure about the use of celery as an ingredient and ghee as cooking oil, but she proved me wrong with this healthy and tasty pie.

Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower crust
1 medium size cauliflower
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil plus more for frying
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, sliced into thin coins
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 cooked sweet potato, coarsely chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup water
2 cups button mushrooms
2 cups cooked mince beef
1 cup chickpeas or adzuki beans
Seasonings: 1 Tbsp dried thyme, 1 Tbsp dried oregano, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp sea salt, pinch of cayenne

Making the oat mixture for the dessert.

1/4 cup brown rice flour

Chop the cauliflower into large pieces and steam for 15-20 minutes until tender.
– Add the steamed cauliflower into a processor or high-speed blender. Put two tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil and one clove of garlic and process until it turns into a mash.
– Heat some ghee or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat, and sauté the onion and the other minced cloves of garlic until aromatic and onions turn translucent. Add the carrots, celery, sweet potato and water. Let simmer for five minutes.
– Add the mushrooms, beef and chickpeas, and all the seasonings and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the flour as needed to thicken.
– Preheat oven to 180°C. Fill a 12 by 9 inch baking dish with the pie filling and flatten with a spatula. Spread out the cauliflower mash on top.
– Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve hot with your favourite gravy.

Mango raspberry crumble
• 1 cup fresh raspberries
• 2 mangos, sliced
• 3/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/3 cup brown rice flour
• 2 tablespoons finely shredded coconut
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
• 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
• Pinch of sea salt

• Preheat oven to 180°C.
• Place mangoes and raspberries in a glass baking dish.
• In another bowl, combine oats, flour, shredded coconut, honey, ghee or coconut oil, sugar and salt, and mix well.
• Crumble the oat mixture to evenly cover the fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit starts to bubble and crumble is golden and crisp.
• Serve warm with some ice cream or frozen yoghurt, or plain.

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