Drought--A national disaster2016 did not bring enough rains to many parts of Kenya. Fast forward to 2017 and out of 47 counties 23 which are arid or semi arid parts of Kenya are facing drought. Rivers have dried up, animals and humans are dying without food. A National and International appeal has been sent out to help these areas with food and water. NGOs, Charity organisations, Private companies all have sent out foodstuff, but that is not enough. If the long rains do not arrive by April, then many more will die without food.
Nakumatt has put a huge box near its exit if anyone would wish to buy some foodstuff to be donated. Every time I pass the box its empty! People cannot afford to buy foodstuff to give away as they themselves are barely making ends meet with the high cost of basic food stuff. The basic 2 kg maizemeal packet which is required to make the staple food ugali or sima is selling at more than Ksh 130/- (approx $1.26). A 2 kg packet is enough for to prepare one meal for an average family of 4. Vegetables like tomatoes, onion, are are about $1 per kg. 500ml milk packet is 48c. When income for a lot of people is about a dollar a day, its impossible to make ends meet.
Its been so hot here with temperatures of 34-35°C that its not possible to spend long hours in the kitchen. When the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group decided on #Pastamania as the 84th theme, I wanted to make ravioli but the was just too hot. Daughter and hubby were also demanding a lighter lunch so I opted to make a filling salad. This salad can be served warm or cold. I served it cold.
SWEET POTATO AND PASTA SALAD
Serves 4 or 2 as a light meal
1 medium(approx 500g) sweet potato
¼ cup lightly roasted pine nuts
¼ cup any other nuts of your choice (walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds etc) - I used boiled peanuts that I had in the fridge
2 tbsp olive oil
12-14 mint leaves
1 cup cooked pasta ( any shape)
10-12 spinach leaves (or 12-20 baby spinach leaves)
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries
Passion fruit Dressing:
7 passion fruits
1 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
¼ tsp chilli flakes
- Peel the sweet potato and cut it into chunks. Parboil them. Remove the chunks from the water and let it cool completely.
- Cut the sweet potato chunks into small cubes.
- Heat olive oil a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add the diced sweet potato and roast them till they appear a bit crunchy.
- Put the sweet potato into a big salad bowl.
- Add the boiled pasta.
- If you are using normal spinach then you may want to cut the leaves into bite size pieces. If you're using baby spinach, add it to the pasta mixture.
- Add the nuts, mint leaves and dried cranberries.Mix the salad.
Preparation of the dressing:
- Remove the pulp from the passion fruit. Leave pulp from one on the side.
- Put the pulp from 6 passion fruits into a blender along with a tbsp of water.
- Blend it in short bursts. You don't want to grind the seeds.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve to get the passion fruit juice.
- Add salt, honey, pepper and chilli flakes to the juice and mix it well.
- Add the pulp you kept on the side and mix well.
- The dressing is ready.
Just before serving the salad add the dressing and mix or serve the dressing on the side.
- To roast pine nuts, put them in a wide pan and roast for 1 minute over low heat, stirring them continuously.
- Light roast the nuts if you're not using boiled peanuts.
- Add any tangy fruit of your choice to replace the cranberries.
- You can peel and dice the sweet potato. Rub olive oil over it and roast it in the oven at 180°C till done.
- ¾ cup raw pasta will give 1 cup cooked pasta.
You may want to check out other pasta dishes:
|spaghetti with vegetarian 'bolognese' sauce|