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.
2. Mushrooms in eggs
1. 500gms of mushrooms
2. Five eggs
3. 3 tomatoes
4. I clove of onion
5. Half green pepper
6. Two leaves of spinach
1. Wash the mushrooms and spread on a tray to dry. You can oven-dry them for two minutes at a temperature of 30 degrees.
2. Chop the mushrooms and green pepper.
3. Slice the tomatoes into round thin layers.
4. Slice the onions.
5. Beat the eggs.
6. Wash the spinach and dry it. Chop it into fine thread-like pieces.
• Heat oil in a pan.
• Add onions and fry until golden brown.
• Add mushrooms, stir and cover. Allow them to cook for about three minutes.
• Add the eggs and stir for even coagulation with the mushrooms.
• Add tomatoes, stir to allow them simmer
• Add green pepper, royco and salt and stir for even distribution
• Add 200ml of water, cover and allow cook for 2 minutes
• Add the spinach and stir, allow cook for 2 minutes
• Turn off the fire, uncover and allow the sauce to settle for about three minutes.
Meal is best with steamed matooke and steamed posho, but rice would also do just fine.
Toasted baguette bread with roasted eggplant; spaghetti & frozen peas in rendered pan chedder fat; and Campari cocktail
1. The teaser (toasted baguette bread with roasted eggplant)
If you are multi-tasking, you can prepare the teaser and the main course at the same time.
1. Baguette bread
2. Egg plants
4. Tomatoes, preferably the red oval-shaped ones.
1. Start by getting the French bread called baguette. You can get this in bakeries and supermarkets. Cut this in a diagonal shapes. After this, place these pieces on a baking sheet then place it in an oven, to toast. If you do not have an oven, you can use a pan on the fire. Just toast it. Do not let it ban, or lose its original colour. Just toast it until it is crunchy.
2. Get your egg plants and cut them in longitudinal form. Cut to a reasonable size, about an inch.
3. Cut the onions into rings, preferably the more flavoured yellow onions, but do not separate them. Together with the chopped egg plants, brush them with vegetable oil, and place in grill. The best way, however, would be to use a sigiri with direct fire, with a mesh. Do this for three to five minutes, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn, then put aside to cool.
4. De-seed the tomatoes, and cut them into proportional pieces.
5. Chop the onions and egg plants. Soft from the fire, be sure to leave at least an inch in-between when you cut them.
6. Toss all these together in a bowl, and add a pinch of salt. The salt binds all the flavours from the onions and egg plants.
7. Scoop the mixture of the onions, tomatoes and egg plants onto the toasted bread, and serve on a tray or a platter.
2. The main course (Spaghetti & frozen peas in rendered pan chedder fat)
2. Frozen peas
3. Pan cheddar or bacon sold in supermarkets.
1. Place the pan cheddar in a pan on fire and let the fat drain out. When it starts to get crispy and crunchy, remove the pieces and leave the oil.
2. Chop onions and garlic into fine pieces, put them in the heating cheddar fat oil in the pan and stir until onions are soft and tender.
3. Add the frozen peas and cook until ready. If you cannot find frozen peas, just cook peas and freeze them.
4. Meanwhile, your pasta is cooking. Strain when ready with colander or a sieve, to let out the water.
5. Pour the drained pasta into the mixture of the peas and onions.
6. Sprinkle with enough cheese to add flavour.
8. Serve this steaming hot.
3. campari cocktail
1. Cola (Pepsi, Coca Cola, or any Cola of your choice). 2. Orange juice. 3. Ice cubes.
4. Campari, an alcoholic spirit.
5. Orange liquor (Orange liquor is sold in supermarkets. It is alcoholic, but is packaged like orange juice).
1. Staff a jar with ice cubes. Put as much ice as you can because you need them and the fruit juice to balance the liquor in the cocktail.
2. Pour in the Campari.
3. Add the orange liquor
4. Add the orange juice last. The reason we put the orange juice last is because it helps you validate how much alcohol you want in the cocktail.
5. It is ready to serve.