Jamhuri Day

“Masai Mara” Photo taken by Oeste

Today, my dear readers is Jamhuri Day.

It was on this day in 1964 that Kenya gained it’s independence.

For those of you that do not already know. I was born in Kenya. It is the very place where I spent my formative years with my mother and my sister.

I grew up on a;

“farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”
Karen Blixen

If these words ring a bell in your memory then you may already have seen that profoundly bitter sweet yet forever iconic film “Out of Africa”. This film was shot but a short walk from our ramshackle home and dilapidated farm and it’s poignant story is as turbulent as ours was in the place that they called Karen, in memory of the Baroness von Blixen Dinesen.

Today, I will think back on the times when we had to put on our best school uniforms and polish our shoes to a gleaming shine before lining up to sing the national anthem in Jamhuri Park while the President paraded around in is very expensive looking bullet proof car……

…. I will remember how we had very little but shared everything we had with whosoever crossed our homestead and it didn’t matter because we had our dreams and our stories and our pride and a roof (just about) over our heads…..

…I will laugh at how I used to get so angry with my mucky little sister for dirtying her white shirt and socks because I had to wash them on Saturday mornings in a bucket outside the veranda and my hands used to burn from the extra washing powder that I needed to use…..

Today, I will make Mahamri and enjoy a few with my “Chai Bora Ya Kenya” (Kenyan Tea)made in the old Kenyan way….


Mahamri can be described as a type of aromatic Swahili donut or fried bun. They are truly delicious.


2 cups plain white flour
2 tbsp quick rising yeast
1/2 cup sugar (I always use a little less)
3-4 cardom pods (remove and grind the seeds coarsely with pestle and mortar)
1/2 coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cardom Pod

Mix about half tsp sugar with 4-5 tablespoons of warm tap water and yeast and leave for 15 mins to rise.

Put flour, sugar, salt in bowl with ground cardoms.

Mix yeast into flour adding the coconut milk until you form a stiff dough.

Continue to knead for about 20 minutes on a flat work surface.

Lightly grease the mixing bowl with butter roll. Roll the dough into a big ball, place into bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.

Leave for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Heat a large pot with enough oil for deep frying.

Roll out rounds and cut them into triangular shapes and deep fry until they puff out and brown.

Drain off oil and place on absorbent paper. I find the best absorbent paper can be found in Japanese food shops as these are made specifically for draining deep fried foods of excess oil.

I know that a few readers have tried out my past recipes. Thank you for letting me know how you get on, It’s a joy to hear from you.