August is a month of holidays, especially as the cold closes in and your bones are beginning to turn into ice shards ... ok ok, perhaps that's a bit extreme, but anyone living in Nairobi in the winter knows that we simply aren't built for the chilly foggy mornings. So it's usually escape time, and escape to the warmth. Sometimes, we would choose Europe, but it's a true lottery. It could be warm one day and hailing the next. Scratch that - actually it could be hot one morning and raining by 2pm. So with small kids in tow, that means a lot a lot of packing... every eventuality has to be catered for. What we prefer, is the staycation. It's in vogue you know. So stay we did, but not in Nairobi. Not when the coast is calling, and at a time of year when it isn't stinking hot and sweaty central, what's not to like?
So we head down there and fill up the house (I'm biased, but I do think it's one of the best on the coast), and get involved with swimming, beach time, fresh coconut milk, monkeys in the garden, heavenly siestas - oh and did I mention small kids? Small kids = no lie ins. But no matter when you are greeted with a milky dawn over the Indian Ocean and the shout of "maji mingi!!" from your toddler. Oh well.
So the foodie side... well we always end up with a boot load of ingredients, especially herbs (which aren't going to last that long), and other things like wasabi, noodles, sesame oil, seeds and suchlike - that are hard to find at the coast. But hands down one of my favourite recipes - though quite time consuming to put together - is fresh crab ravioli. So obviously the pasta machine has to come with us too (I can see my husband grimace when I hand it to him to pack, but it's worth it!).
I take inspiration from Rick Stein, and leftovers from a magnificent fresh crab feast.
RECIPE (serves 4)
Mix approx 175gms cooked crab meat with some melted butter, pinch of cayenne, salt & pepper.
Make one batch of home made pasta (2 eggs, 140g plain flour or semolina flour if you can find it) and roll out into long strips. Place the crab mix on top in intervals, cover with another layer of pasta and seal with a little water. Cut out the ravioli pockets. It can then sit in the fridge (in plenty of flour) for a few hours until you are ready to cook.
Cook for one minute in boiling water and serve with a sauce of melted butter, lemon juice, ginger, parsley and coriander... and a few veggies or a salad on the side.