In Swahili, the term chai is used. I grew up drinking chai in Mombasa. I find myself drinking chai now as a way to soothe myself after a long day. Chai is something that I took very much for granted in my childhood, I now approach it with more mindfulness.
Anyway, there are two ways of drinking chai in Mombasa; either you can drink chai wa rangi (translating literally to chai of colour) which is a blend of fresh crushed ginger, chai spices, black tea leaves and nothing else. The second way is known as chai ya maziwa(chai with milk what is a so-called chai latte here in Europe). Chai is drunk in various ways in Mombasa as there are some recipes that lean more on the Indian influence and use more cinnamon, other recipes use more crushed ginger (chai ya tangawizi). Every household has their own way of preparing chai. I remember that as a child when we would visit my mother’s village in Embu a common breakfast would be margarine spread white toast bread stacks that would be cut diagonally into right triangles, that would be dunked into the chai. I loved this breakfast as I am a sucker for dunking all kinds of things in my tea! This type of breakfast is a staple for a lot of people across Kenya.
In Mombasa, people do also drink their chai with margarine spread toast bread. Yet there is also the traditional Swahili breakfast which is chai na mahamri ( mahamri is a cardamom-spiced doughnut that is not in the shape of a circle but in the shape of a triangle). Sometimes the mahamris are filled with mbaazi wa nasi (which is pigeon peas in coconut milk stew). So delicious!
People in Mombasa add sugar to their chai which in some cases has had not so good health effects on the people. I find that by adding maybe more fennel or more cinnamon, chai can be enjoyed without adding sugar. Therefore here is my Chai ya mdalasini (chai with cinnamon) mix. I made a video that shows the whole process:
One small disclaimer this is not your Nyanya’s way of making chai. This is my way which is very much inspired by how I am feeling, where I am, what I see, read and taste. If you want your Nyanya’s Chai mix then please just ask her.
Part of growing up for me is coming to love my body for what it is. A huge part of my body is my skin and since winter in Berlin is dry and cold, my skin suffers. I think that as a black girl the first act of self care that i was taught was to moisturise my skin daily. My mother showed me how to apply palmers cocoa butter on my skin from when i was about 6. She always applied lotion on me and my brother in such strokeful way. First the legs and then working her hands up. Of course the most important places where the knees, the area behind our knee cups and our elbows. These areas tend to get very dry if not moistorised. The way we tested if we had lotioned ourselves well enough would be by scratching our skin. If we could draw a white line on our skin we definetly had not applied the lotion on well enough.
Anyway, I am trying to cut down on plastic and on wasteful packaging as much as possible. Therefore I made my own body cocoa butter. It is so easy to make and so nourishing for your skin. Just google the ingredients and a ton of benefits will pop up. This recipe is very much based on the recipe by trash is for tossers from Lauren Singer, check her out she is a zero waste queen.
What you will need:
electric hand mixer
1/2 cup of melted raw shea butter
1/2 cup of melted raw cacao butter
1/2 cup of sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil
drops of essential oil of your choice
1. Mix the melted butters and almond oil in a bowl. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until the liquids have become solid.
2. Take out the bowl and mix with a stand mixer. Mix until a creamy consistency is formed. Use the spatula to scratch it all together. Add an essential oil of your choice i used vanilla. The quantity of the esential oil depends on your preference.
So seeing that it is the season of giving, i thought that it would be the perfect time to share with all of you, two body scrub recipes that i have personally used and i find are a great gifts to yourself, your skin and all your friends. I love giving people gifts and making them smile i don’t know there is just something about making something with your own two hands and then giving that to someone. Last year i gifted all my friends coffee scrubs and they all loved it. I think that the perfect gift does not have to be the most expensive it should just be something that lets the other person know that you are thinking of them and that you cherish them.
So lets dive right into it.
Smooth ‘as a babies bottom’ Coffee Scrub
This is especially for those of us who have very dry skin, especially great in the winter months. This scrub leaves your skin silky smooth and smells so good. This is my favorite scrub!
1 cup of coconut oil in solid form ( should NOT be melted)
1 cup of roughly ground coffee ( the rougher = the more exfoliating)
1 tsp cocoa powder
5 drops of organic orange oil
2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil
a dash of salt ( the more salt the rougher the scrub will be)
dash of cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla ( not extract or aroma but actual ground up vanilla if its too expensive than omit vanilla)
Mix all the ingredients together transfer to a very clean glass jar seal well and store in a cool dry place. Keeps up-to 3 months just make sure to keep water out of the jar and store in a cool place. If it is very hot where you live then the fridge is a good place.
Lavender lemon Sugar or Salt Scrub/Balm
This is a great lip scrub if you make it with sugar. However if you make it with salt i would recommend you to use it on your skin only. It smells delicious and leaves your skin soft and fresh.
So seeing that it is getting colder here in these parts of the world and soon there will be Christmas and hot cups of cacao and lots and lots of chocolate. I have decided to make some chocolate myself, it is much better than all that stuff you can buy in the supermarkets and it is cheaper than buying that fancy expensive chocolate and it tastes amazing. Its also super easy to make. Less processed, vegan, refined sugar free, nourishing full of antioxidants and vitamins… the list of the goodness of making your own chocolate is endless. Make these for your friends and family, gift them, share them eat them and feel good.
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup of cacao
3 tablespoons of rice syrup or maple syrup
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, if the mix is too liquidy add more cacao if its too dry please add more coconut oil. mix it well it should be moldable pour on parchment paper and shape like a chocolate bar-make it which ever size you want really. Place in the freezer once it has firmed up remove from the freezer and let it sit outside for 20 minutes now cut it into barks and place in a container and keep cool, or wrap them and gift them.
I made one bar with raisins and walnuts and sprinkled some lacuma and aronia powderon top before freezing which made the chocolate really delicious and gave it a sweet rich taste. The second bar i made peanut butter with pecans which was also delicious, i just added a teaspoon of Peanut butter into the wet mixture and sprinkled some pecans on top before freezing.
1.Add in nuts to batter
2.top with nuts and then place in the freezer
3. Add raisins
4.Mix in peanut butter in the mix
5.Mix in hemp seeds
7. Cardamom seeds
The possibilities are really endless, i have decided to share a video by Taline Gabriel as she illustrates really well how to mix the mixture to make the chocolate.