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Food & Beverage

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Ready to unwind? 

Get a cozy blanket. A book or a movie or your favourite playlist. Pour yourself a refreshingly spicy beverage. Not one in sight? Don’t worry, there is a menu that was prepared with you in mind.

Ruth Nzau is a mixologist from Nairobi Serena Hotel and founder of Raising the Bar.

She crafts drinks and delivers them to your doorstep. Herbs and spices are a fave in her mocktails and cocktails. Some of the crafted beverages are Sparkling Lemonade, Lime Lite and Zabibu Elizir.

If you would like to get any of the mocktails (non-alcoholic drinks) or cocktails, you can reach Ruth through 0790057001. The orders can be placed between 7am-7pm and delivered to you on the same day.

Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke
Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke
Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke
Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke
Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke
Photo courtesy: @raisingthebar_ke

Happy weekend!

When his mother informed us about Eric’s love for baking, we immediately wanted him to share his story with us. Mrs Wanjiku Wambugu told us that we could speak to the young boy directly. He handles his own business, she said. Talk about this kind of independence at a tender age of 12! How impressive!

We got in touch with Eric. We agreed for an interview that was to take place few days later. He set up a video meeting but we had to change to a different model.

Eric is a budding pastry chef from Mombasa. When you follow him on social media, you will see the many cakes among other pastries which his clients shared. He is so passionate about it that he bakes every day.

Photo courtesy of Eric Wambugu

NAFSI How did you start learning how to bake?

ERIC I got the interested in it when I was five years old watching my mother bake cake. I would go on to learn on YouTube. That was quite hard for me. I went to do three courses at Valentine Cake House in 2018. I wanted to learn new things. Here I am now. Over the years I have been able to make cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, doughnuts, mahamri, layered cakes, pizza, and carrot, marble and vanilla cakes.

NAFSI Do you have any special ingredient that you use in your craft?

ERIC I do not have a special ingredient. I use the traditional creaming method. All I need is to make the base of the cake connsisting of margarine, flour and sugar. Once I make that I can choose any flavour whether it is orange, vanilla, and so on. When it comes for decoration, I use thick whipping cream. I avoid butter cream completely.

Photo courtesy of Eric

NAFSI It is interesting that this is your passion and business. How is the business at this time?

ERIC I have been selling cakes since 2018 when I was doing my course. I did not sell as many as I had hoped to since school was taking most of my time. But now that I am at home, I have been able to bake and convince people to buy. I bake every day. There are customers who are afraid of giving me big orders since I am young. Some would order from me and from someone else so that in case I do not deliver, they have a back-up plan. I always deliver.

I have had so much time on my hands now that I learned how to bake blackforest and whiteforest cakes, and brownies. I go through websites. I read cookbooks. I bake.

NAFSI Do you follow a health conscious baking or you are all about sweet treats?

ERIC I reduce the amount of sugar I put in my cakes. There is already sugar from the cream. Since I am in an Indian school and the community do not eat eggs, it was a challenge learning to bake without eggs. I have experimented a lot of times trying to find a perfect recipe for an eggless cake.

NAFSI How have your parents supported you through this journey?

ERIC My mother started all of this. She is the one who encouraged me to begin baking. My father is not a fan of cake but he has been able to support me financially. Both my parents support me financially and emotionally. There have been days when I have faced disappointment and they have been there motivating me to grow through it. My food critics are my brothers.

Photo courtesy of Eric

NAFSI What is the biggest lesson baking has taught you?

ERIC It is a skill that I have. When I follow a recipe and it does not turn out good, there are many more different recipes to follow. I can look at the internet right at this moment and see the many other recipes to explore. When a cake does not come out as good as I hoped it to, I can still make a great cake next time.

It has become relatively cold in the evening in the past few days. Itchy throat, flu and blocked nose are common symptoms for those with allergies and colds. If you are experiencing this, there are types of tea you can make on your home to cure it. Nonetheless, we encourage you to consult with a medical professional if it persists.

The tea recipes are nearly all the same; washing the spices, grounding them and putting them into a saucepan of boiling water, lowering the heat and sieve when you serve. It is important to note that the smell of these teas have healing effects. Also, it is preferable to use ingredients in their natural forms instead of powdered spices to get the most of their nutritional value. Avoid peeling their skins too.

Before we forget, you can drink these teas in advance to prevent a cold or flu. Now here are some of the teas you can make at home to treat common cold and flu.

Turmeric Ginger Tea

Photo by Anjellah Owino for Nafsi

Turmeric, ginger and lemon are all superfoods. Turmeric and ginger contain a high amount of antioxidants and antibacterial properties which relieve sore throat and cure the flu or cold. Lemons are full of Vitamin C which boosts immunity and thus helps the body fight the cold or flu. Inhaling its smell is a form of treatment.

Ginger Cinnamon Tea

Photo by Hilary Hahn on Unsplash

Indeed there are many variations to explore when it comes to preparing tea. If you want to add a different flavor to your tea, you can opt for cinnamon. It is not only has aromatic benefits, but cinnamon also has many antioxidants which protects one from diseases and it is known to reduce inflammation.

Lemon Tea

Photo by Anda Ambrosini on Unsplash

Lemon is definitely a go-to fruit when it comes to curing flu and cold. Add honey and ginger for their natural favor and nutrients. Honey can help suppress coughs and heals sore throat. Inhale its smell when its hot to get these benefits too. You can serve hot and still drink when it cools.

Cayenne Pepper Tea

Photo by Anjellah Owino for Nafsi

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which relieves cough and flu symptoms, soothes sore throat, and protects the nervous system. You can add vinegar, ginger or honey in your tea for sweeter taste and more nutrients. You will start feeling better almost immediately.

Chamomile Tea

Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

Chamomile tea can cure flu and fever. It smell relieves stress, relaxes the mind and it can sooth you to sleep, a thing which proves to be very difficult for a person battling flu.

Green Tea

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

It is packaged as tiny green tea leaves in tea bags. Its benefits are, however, huge. This tea boosts immunity, has antioxidants too which protects one from diseases, and it may alleviate flu symptoms.

You can add ginger and lemon too. The good thing about green tea or any of these teas really is that you can serve this while hot and still go on drinking it when it cools.

Peppermint Tea

Photo by Mareefe from Pexels

Peppermint has a strong smell which can help clear the nostrils. It reduces fever, coughs and throat infections. It also boosts the immune system and thus it is one of the best teas for fighting the cold or flu. Ingredients which go well with this tea are lemon and honey.

While we have confidence with all of these teas, we still encourage you to seek medical assistance if flu becomes persistent.

You could be planning for a party this weekend. Or you want to enjoy a drink this Saturday afternoon. If you are excited about the idea of serving your own drinks, Ruth Nzau shares some of her own mocktail and cocktail recipes. Ruth is a mixologist at Herbs & Spices restaurant, Nairobi Serena Hotel. She incorporates herbs, spices and vegetables in her drinks.

All of the ingredients can be found in market places and supermarkets.

Mocktails

Cucumber Basil Sparkling Lemonade

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau @raisingthebar-ke

Ingredients
Cucumber
Basil
Honey
Fresh Lime
Sparkling water

Method
Blend cucumber and basil
Pour the mixture into a glass
Add honey
Then add fresh lime
Top off with sparkling water

Watermelon Orange Soda

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau

Ingredients
Watermelon
Orange
Apple
Ice cubes
Black currant water

Method
Make several watermelon balls with a spoon
Extract orange, apple and watermelon juices
Mix all the juices
Add ice cubes
Top off with black currant water
Garnish it with watermelon scoops

You could also choose to buy the juices at a supermarket and mix them instead of extracting.

Turmeric Pick Me Up Latte

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau

Ingredients
Cinnamon syrup
Espresso
Boiled milk with turmeric
Coconut

Method
Pour ice into a glass
Pour cinnamon syrup
Add milk and turmeric mixture
Desiccate coconut
Garnish the mix with desiccated coconut

Cocktails

Passion Champagne

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau

Ingredients
Passion fruit
Vodka
Sparkling wine
Mint leaves

Method
Extract passion fruit juice
Mix the juice with vodka
Top off with sparkling wine
Garnish it with mint leaves

You could buy passion juice if you like instead of extracting.

Strawberry Baileys

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau

Ingredients
Strawberries
Ice
Baileys

Method
Crush strawberries in a glass
Add crushed ice
Pour Baileys to your taste
Garnish it with two strawberries

Rum Spritz

Photo courtesy: Ruth Nzau

Ingredients
Watermelon
Vodka
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Stoney Tangawizi soda

Method
Make chunks of watermelon balls
Add vodka
Add Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Top off with Stoney Tangawizi soda

Remember to enjoy responsibly.