Growing up, our household was one of those without recipe books because my mom had this incredible ability to churn out creative dishes. Her exceptional cooking skills were just too much for my little mind to comprehend at the time. It was a line between what seemed like she was making them up on the go and many years of experience in her kitchen. The kind of experience that made her 'measure' cooking ingredients with her eyes and hands. To say I really enjoyed her cooking would be an understatement. She made hands down, the best meat pies, kebabs, meatballs, rock cakes, cup cakes, birthday cakes and cookies. I gave myself the delightful duty of finishing off any left over cookie dough or cake batter from her beloved Kenwood mixer.
She also created amazing munchies from whatever ingredients were available in the fridge and pantry. To this day my sisters and I try to recreate her recipes but...ahem! (Blanche, Barbara - do you think we've nailed them over the years? Share your thoughts in the comments below)
In this digital era, there's no shortage of free access to all sorts of recipes online. I've tried a few recipes for my family and no one's complained of a bad tummy ache after so... so far, so good!
Sharing is caring so here are the YouTube homes of just a few of my faves:
(My) African essentials
So often, people overlook the diversity and complexity of the continent and lump everything together. This couldn’t be more wrong! Africa is HUGE and there are hundreds if not thousands of different cultures and food traditions. You could spend your entire life traveling the continent and having culinary travel adventures and still not uncover everything.
A Kitchen In Uganda (AKIU)
There’s something unmatched about growing up in a conservative Ugandan culture. Sophie has my unwavering vote as one of the best food bloggers. I feel like she embodies this in her style of what I like to call ‘mindful’ cooking. She believes in getting back to the basics like; using easily accessible ingredients. She's also careful not to use the oven too much because she understands that a portion of her audience has to deal with the realities of high electricity bills. It’s so nicely traditional and home-y. I love it! From using freshly available organic ingredients to baking bread using stove tops. Your girl was also a Blog Award 2018 finalist in the Food Culture Blog category as seen on CNN’s African voices. *Insert Ugandan ululation*
Kaluhi's vibrant nature and bomb recipes are a vibe! I love her energy. She makes you enjoy the experience. She also happens to have been chosen as one of the top 30 food bloggers in the world in the book ‘Beyond the plate’ She’s who I learnt my easy breezy beef pilau recipe from.
YouTube home: Kaluhi's Kitchen
My fave recipe: Nutmeg and lemon zest mandaazi
I like Mandi’s hip, cool and unapologetic attitude in general. Watching her over the years, you learn that her only mission is to help you switch things up in your kitchen and make your culinary skills better. She’s taken a lot of heat over the years for not being 'Kenyan enough' because of her Canadian upbringing. To that I say you go girl. Do you boo! YouTube home: Mandi Sarro Cookbook: Fuel your Body Goals My fave recipe: Liver
That Vegan life
I demystified the age old assumption that 'vegan food is bland.' Everything I've watched and tried from these vegan chefs is both beautiful and delectable. It’s warm, inviting, nutritious and wholesome on every level. They've turned vegan food into vegan cuisine.
Gaz is all about that high vibrational vegan life. His videos feel like his just chilling out and prepping a meal for his friends on a relaxed afternoon. Everything he cooks looks so good! He needs to open up a restaurant already!
YouTube home: Avantgardevegan
Cookbook: Plants Only Kitchen
My fave recipe: Chickpea curry
Pick up Limes
Sadia is a qualified nutritionist and really knows her stuff. Beyond that, she's just a beautiful human. Her persona is translated in her style of cooking and delivery of nutritional tips. She shines her calm, balanced and gentle spirit through her recipes and channel which are nothing short of inspirational! She has a wonderful grasp on nutrition and food variety. Like me, she understands that french fries are carriers for dipping sauce - my kinda girl!
What drew me to Rachel is how flavourful her food is (I say that like I've tasted it, ha!). You can tell she goes beyond just cooking a meal to plate for a nice photo. So many vegan channels say "just squeeze some lemon on top as dressing." No! We need sauce. I can almost smell the aroma of her cooking through my screen whenever I watch her. I don't understand why she isn't on the Food Channel.
YouTube home: Rachel Ama
Cookbook: Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats
My fave recipe: Vegan Christmas nut roast vs. seitan
All round goodness
I mostly enjoy cuisine from all over the world. There’s nothing better than an epic feast shared with those that you love the most. But if you cook often, you know that some dishes can start to feel like routine. These guys help me out sometimes:
Sam the Cooking Guy I love the simplicity of Sam's cooking. He makes it accessible and chill. I've learnt a lot of cooking methods from him over time, so I don't have to just follow a recipe. I can also explore, play with the ingredients any way I want and make yummy food. His goal is to 'show you that cooking doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to be delicious.' Well said Sam! YouTube home: Sam the Cooking Guy My fave recipe: Delicious pan fried potatoes Jamie Oliver Jamie is hands down, one of the best creative care free chefs in the world.
He's grown his food empire into a global business with restaurants and merchandise all over the world like The Jamie Oliver Cookery School and partnerships with many organisations. In my opinion, he had the right intentions, but the weird way of the world is such that beautiful sacred things like this are diluted when they scale. I keep it simple and stick to watching his recipes on YouTube. His “bish, bash, bosh” style of cooking is relatable and very fun to watch and replicate. He's surely has won the hearts of many an inexperienced home cook over the years. YouTube home: Jamie Oliver Cookbooks: Jamie Oliver recipes My fave recipe: The perfect steak
Ainsley's the OG chef. If you know, you know! (Haha) When I was younger, I used to watch him all the time on Ugandan TV. I've remained a loyal fan obviously, because (aside from Jamie Oliver) I feel like he's been doing this cooking thing quite well for a while now. He recently came to Australia and featured a farmer's market in South Australia on one of his Market menu escapades.
Yewande's a professional chef, recipe developer, food stylist, and photographer. What captivates me about her is she's explored cooking concepts in several facets of the culinary world, from restaurant kitchens to test kitchens, to her own dinner table. What a unique approach to enjoying the world of food. Your girl has developed and tested hundreds of recipes for the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and The New York Times. Go girl! Keep defying the conventional approaches the world has to food.
My fave recipe: Jollof rice
Ending this off on a high, let's not forget Tasty, which has over 3000 recipes which you can access at your fingertips (via the app) in a step-by-step video instruction mode. What could be better?
I can only hope these food delights give you some new and fresh approaches to your own home cooking and bring you some joy during these times.
Virtually sending you everything that brings you better energy.
Love & Light