Meet the chefs
“My name Is Bernadeta M. Nagita, but my friends simply call me Sweet or Nagita. My talent and desire for cooking came to the surface when at eight, I was taken to the village to live with my sickly 65-year-old granny. Somehow, I took on the role of parenting her and her great grandchildren, primarily ensuring there was food cooked every day.
It is not easy to spice up village food but I remember attracting little children in the homestead to our house with my cooking. My interest kept growing, and I remember being asked to help with the cooking at a village wedding reception.
The reverend in attendance asked if was interest in joining a “cook school”. I, however, never got round to getting formal training. I just kept cooking through school, and even more when my friends at university discovered my love for cooking and kept asking me to cook for them. I tried compiling and having my recipes published, but only for about a month as I got busy with my career as a communications personnel.
My recipe choices for Easter
I do not eat red meat. That is why I love chicken, something I have enjoyed since childhood. Once, I carried a live cock to my university hostel and my roommate called her friends to come see “our live hen” before I cooked it.
What it takes to be a good cook
It requires confident guesswork and improvisation, experimentation and dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way. If you are careful to use the proper ingredients and not try to take shortcuts, you can usually come up with something good.”
This host of the Kitchen Delight cookery show on NTV also has no formal training in catering. His skill and interest was a result of watching his mother put together different foods to produce tasty meals for the family over the years.
The 30-year-old pursued a bachelor of Arts in Education at Makerere University majoring in Economics, but insists he is not in the wrong profession as he also teaches cookery.
Most of his recipes, he says, are his original concoctions that will not be found in any recipe books. “Cooking is all about experimenting and coming out with something lovely to the eye, and delicious to one’s taste buds,” he says.
Bernadeta M. Nagita’s recipe choices
Nagita, a 26-year-old who loves to cook, gives you two recipes; an elaborate one for those who have time and help and a simple 45-minute sauce that will make things different at your table.
1. Roasted Chicken stew
1. Wash and drain the chicken pieces.
2. Light the charcoal stove until half red-hot
3. Place the matooke peels over the heated charcoal on the stove, then place the mesh.
4. Spread the chicken over the mesh and regulate the heat to ensure the chicken does not get burnt.
5. Roast until the pieces achieve an evenly distributed layer of golden brown.
6. Stack the pieces in a dry pan.
7. Slice the onions, and the tomatoes into round thin layers.
9. Chop the green pepper.
2. Metal net or mesh for roasts (akatimba)
3. Whole chicken chopped in pieces
4. 1kg of matooke peels
5. Two cloves of onions
6. One green pepper
7. Three sizeable tomatoes
8. A charcoal stove
• Add 25ml of oil into a dry pan and heat
• Add half the chopped onions.
• Add the chicken pieces, stir and add one litre of water. Add a little salt, royco and stir.
• Cover and allow to cook for 40 minutes.
• Drain out the water (now the soup) into a clean pan and cover it. Return the chicken on fire and allow all the soup to drain out until the pan base forms a golden-brown layer.
• Add 15ml of oil, and the rest of the onions, then fry until the onions are brown.
• Add the tomatoes and stir until they get ready.
• Add salt and royco this time to taste, then pour the green pepper and the initially drained chicken soup too.
• Cover and allow to cook until chicken is ready.
• Turn off the fire and allow the sauce settle for about 10 minutes.
This sauce is best served with steamed matooke and posho. You could also serve it with rice or macaroni.