Quick recipes for a love-hunting bachelor

Food will bring love to your heart.
They say that the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach, and that the best way to get into a woman’s pants is through her mouth! Ah, so food has great romantic values. It is the essence of every relationship, and if you are looking at a girl whose heart you want to win, food can fast forward your dating past the boring stuff and straight into the bed stuff. Of course, what every man does is to take her out to the fancy restaurants and impress her with fine dining and seven course meals and wine. But I’m going to tell you a secret. You can save yourself all that money and thrill her with a meal in your bachelor pad. Women totally love men who can cook. Pans will get you into her pants. Pots make her hot. Ahem, before I offend women here, let me rephrase. The easiest way for a man to get a woman to love him and be his wife is for him to cook for her a really good meal.
When you cook for a woman, the message you are sending is that you are a sensitive fellow. That you will not overwork her with household chores. That every once in a while she will kick off her shoes, lounge on the sofa with her legs on the coffee table, reading a newspaper or watching TV, while you fight with pots in the kitchen. It also means that you care for her, and that you treat her like a good dish, that is, you will be patient with her, take things slow, and you will not be interested only in appetizers but want to go the whole way to the desert and the nap after the meal.
The only problem is that most men do not know how to cook. Which is why I’m writing this post. I will give you a few tips on how to make meals that sound exotic, look romantic, and will make her believe you are the greatest chef on earth. I guess a woman reading this can also pretend to be a good cook to impress the man. So here are the dishes.
Tip. When you are telling the girl you will prepare her a meal, use exotic and classy sounding names. Use words that are not common in the area. For example, if you are in a place where they say spaghetti or macaroni, tell her you will make her chowmein (which is how it’s called in many Asian countries) or lasagna.
A man hawks grilled chicken at the roadside. Mabira, Uganda
Shredded chicken
This should be number one on the list. It’s a Chinese dish. It will make the girl think you have class. Yet making it is so simple you will wonder why you haven’t yet done it. In fact, you do not need to cook this one at all. You can buy the rice from a restaurant and then get the grilled chicken from the roadside, sneak into the kitchen when the girl isn’t watching and perform the magic.
1 roasted chicken
2 plates boiled rice (one for you, one for the girl)
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
2 carrots. Cabbages. Soy sauce.  Salad cream.
Method. Cut the grilled chicken into tiny shreds. Slice up the tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and cabbages, and mix them with the chicken shreds (basically, you are making salads). Pour salad cream on the stuff. Pour soy sauce (a Chinese/East Asian thing) over the boiled rice, and serve! Man, I promise you, she will take off her pants without you asking her to do it!
Tip: You can use the same trick to make sweet and sour fish. Simply buy deep fried fish from the roadside, or stewed fish, and re-cook it, but this time, add pineapples.
This is a Nepali dish. It is mostly made for sick people, but she doesn’t have to know that. Just tell her this is a dish from a country called Nepal. Most women, being easily impressionable, will not bother to google and find out the truth. They will want to believe you (just as they believe everything you tell them until you make them really angry and then they will not believe anything you say.) I like this dish because you do not have to do a lot of work to have a meal. Basically, it’s like this; you dump all the ingredients into a pressure cooker, wait for it to whistle three times, turn off the gas, and bingo, you have a meal! What can be easier than that? But for those who love recipes, here are the guidelines: D
A roadside chef (in apron). He must have many wives!
1 cup of Rice
1 cup of lentils (or peas, or beans, or any seeds)
1 onion
3 ripe tomatoes
2 table spoons of ghee
 8 Irish potatoes (ha, that is the small type, not the sweet potatoes. Many people are often surprised when they hear Ugandans calling potatoes Irish. I wonder how it started, but well, that’s how we differentiate between the small, tasteless potatoes and the big sweet ones here in Uganda.)
Method: Throw the ghee onto a pan. Cut up the onions and dump them into the hot ghee. Let it turn golden brown. Pour in squashed tomatoes (Just put the tomatoes in a bowl, squash them with your fingers). Wait until it has cooked into a paste. Dump in the sliced potatoes, the lentils, and the rice. Add appropriate amount of water. A cup should be okay. Then wait for the cooker to whistle three times, and bingo, you have your meal!
Eggy plants
This one is my very own invention. I should get a copyright for it before some chef out there steals it and claims he came up with it. There is nothing easier to cook than egg plants, but these are really tasteless. So what did I do? I added in eggs. Here is how.
4 eggplants,
2 eggs
3 ripe tomatoes
1 onion
2 spoons of vegetable oil
2 cups of boiled rice
Method: First boil the rice. Do not bother with any fancy tricks. Put it in a pressure cooker, wait for it to whistle three times, and there you are! Boiled rice. Needless to say, the pressure cooker is a bachelor’s best friend. If you do not have one, go buy it at once. Once you have the rice, now make the eggy plants. Fry the onions in the vegetable oil until golden brown. Throw in squashed tomatoes. The cut up the egg plants into tiny cubes and boil for about ten minutes in a cup of water. When it has turned soft and purplish, throw in the egg and stir. The egg will form a thick paste. You should have the meal ready in less than fifteen minutes!
Many ways to make egg plants look exotic and sexy!
This is Reiza’s cooking. 🙂 And below is my cooking 🙂
Groundnut paste, ntula, carrots, boiled rice. Looks yummy!
 Stewed sausages.
Another trick of mine. When I’m too lazy to grill or deep fry the sausages, I stew them, often with egg plants, or cabbages, or beans, or some kind of vegetable. They look exotic once served.
1 cup fresh beans (or peas, or any vegetables)
4 sausages
2 tomatoes
1 onion
50grams of butter
Method: Fry the onions in butter until golden brown. Squash the tomatoes and add it to the onions. Add the beans (or peas, or vegetables). Slice the pineapples into cubes and throw it in. Finally, add the sausages, which you should slice into little round things to make them look different from normal sausages. Serve with rice, or sweet potatoes, or ugali.
Sweet and sour fish at Great Chinese Wall Restaurant Kampala
 Honeyed hot lemon
This one is not a meal, but a drink. It will knock her out, though it’s a soft drink. There is nothing like the taste of honey and hot lemons on a chilly night!
½ lemon
1 litre of water
Method: Squeeze the lemon into the water and bring to boil. Pour into glasses. Drop in honey until the color of the drink is dark, or as much as you like!
Ginger warmer
Another drink. Real sexy. Beats the hell out of offering her a soda, or a beer, or even wine. Great for a chilly evening.
½ lemon
1 slice of ginger
1 litre of water
Method: Crash the ginger and put it in water. Squeeze the lemon into the water. Bring to boil. Pour into glasses. Drop in honey until the color of the drink is dark, or as much as you like!
Okay, I better stop here, because I’m hungry, just thinking about these things. I need to make supper, and someone is coming tomorrow. She is coming tomorrow!
PS: I am a great cook, but when you are in a relationship with a master chef like this Pinoy girl, man you have to stay away from the kitchen. She hardly ever lets me cook for her because I always forget to put in the salt, or I easily get distracted and let the food gets burnt. But she says she doesn’t care if a man can cook or not, what she really cares about is that he should wash the dishes after she has cooked. Hmmm. Gender equality? But that tip I’ll leave it for another blog.
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The Great African Love Bus


Welcome to He Says, She Says Sundays! A battle of the sexes. Two different opinions on a jointly enjoyed experience! Have fun reading them both! 


He says: 
The idea of traveling by bus from Kampala to Mombasa seemed romantic. But I did not know it would turn out to be like something from a Robert James Waller novel! When I mention The Bridges of Madison County, it does not mean I met a forty-something year old farmer’s wife who was looking for Prince Charming. I had a princess right by my side when I set off from Kampala. But with all the cameras dangling on my neck, I did feel like a younger version of Robert Kincaid who is courageous enough to steal Francesca from the sexless and passionless farm, and that dreary life in Madison County, and run away with her to live as wanderers, not knowing where tomorrow will find us. 
I did not think of that analogue as we set off, but twenty four hours on the road made me think of that fictitious NatGeo photographer. And there being very few toilet breaks, it seemed even longer. It was the longest bus ride I had ever taken in my life. But the decision not to fly was a good one, because for a tenth of an air ticket, I got the adventure of my lifetime and a free safari through the game parks of Kenya!
We took Queen’s Coach, which turned out to be the real deal. It was much more comfortable than we had imagined. It was squeaky clean, air-conditioned, and the seats were spacious comfortable. We got a feeling we were in a plane. It set off at 8 pm on the dot, the speed was steady, the driver careful. We wished it was taking us all the way to Mombasa. They even served snacks on board, which completed the illusion that we were on a plane.
A food stop on Mombasa high-way
 The princess had packed a lot of food. Pizza, biscuits, rolex (a Ugandan fast food comprising of chapati and eggs), fruit juice, sodas—so much food that I thought we were going to a party! If you want to know why men are from the sun and women are from moon, just ask them to pack a bag for a trip. She insisted we did not need a lot of clothing. “It’s only for two weeks,” she argued. “Take only three shirts.” Wow, what if they get dirty, madam? “We’ll wash them.” I did not fancy doing laundry on a holiday, but sometimes it is hard to argue with a girl. However, I insisted on packing a sweater. “It’s only taking up space!” and I mentioned that traveling at night requires warm clothing. I was proved right. At three am on the highway, the cold bit into our bones with such ferocity that she stole the only sweater she had allowed us to pack! Being a gentleman, I let her have it.
Brings me back to the amount of food she packed. It beat my understanding, why she preferred to take so little clothing and so much food. When we got into the bus, the food was practically useless, for the Queens coach staff served us with snacks. Coffee or tea? Cakes? Breads? Soda? We had a whole variety to choose from.
And we debated over taking my laptop. She said it was too heavy. But how could I survive for two weeks without my laptop? I tried to point out that if we lighten our load by leaving behind some of that food – of course I did not finish making my point. But I still took the laptop, and she carried it all the way, grumbling about its weight. Poor girl. The moment we reached Mombasa, she was the first to demand using it to update her status on Facebook. I almost said “I told you we’d need it”, but being a gentleman, I simply smiled and let her have her way.
Four hours after setting off from Kampala, we stopped at the border town of Malaba. We bought Kenyan shillings from money-changers with unbelievably cheap rates. On the Ugandan side, the customs people were nice and smiley and did not give us any trouble. But on the Kenyan side, they were nice and smiley and wanted a bribe because I had not carried my Yellow fever certificate. Well, not all of them, just this one policeman who was doing some kind of security check. He saw me traveling with a foreigner and he thought he had fallen into a pot of honey. Luckily, Reiza had hers, otherwise she would have been forced to cough up a hundred dollars in bribes. It happened to her once in Nairobi airport. Since then she learned to carry her yellow fever card whenever facing Kenyan custom officials.
Well, the toilets in Malaba were awful, and expensive to use, so we decided to take our chances avoided them. Turned out to be a bad idea. We did not get a break again for the next seven or so hours, until we were in Naivasha (or was it Nakuru), when the bus stopped for about an hour. Everybody rushed to the bathrooms, then to a nearby restaurant to grab a quick breakfast. (Again, I asked myself, why all that packed food?)
This lady can eat!
Since it was daylight now, the joys of traveling through Kenya by road started to show. First we passed the Rift Valley. The spectacular views were even made more enchanting by the morning mists, with the sun just coming up from behind some distant mountains.
Then, just before reaching Nairobi, we passed a game park. Reiza saw her first zebras that morning. She was frozen in a mixture of excitement and shock, as you can see in the photo. She wanted to tell the bus driver to stop so we could get out and enjoy it all, but she restrained herself. It begun to think of the three hundred dollars she paid for a safari to Murchison falls in Uganda. She did not get to see any zebras then! Yet here she was, on a bus, and there were zebras right on the roadside, grazing gently, unperturbed by the bustle of vehicles on the highway.
I did not exactly capture her reaction to seeing the zebras
but trust me, she screamed that everyone in the bus stared!
By the time we reached Nairobi at about 9am, her excitement had trebled. The bus deposited us near River Road. We did not know Nairobi very well, and were wary of muggers, but we managed to find a bus to Mombasa without much trouble. We picked Mash Poa at random, and it was comfortable enough. Though it had no air-conditioning, which on the road to Mombasa is necessary because we passed through arid areas with the temperatures at nearly 40 degrees, we at least could open the windows. 
The road to Mombasa had more surprises that made her squeal every mile or so, much to the bemusement of the other passengers. However by this time, we were starved of sleep, and were wishing we had rested in Nairobi before proceeding. It being only about eight hours from Nairobi, we thought we could handle it. But we made a wrong decision of setting off from Nairobi at 11am, first because we were on the road in a bus with no AC when the heat of the day was at its worst. A night journey would have been friendly, but that would mean missing out on game. We saw more zebras, and this time giraffes as well, but the best of all sights were the red elephants of Tsavo. We saw three of them standing by the roadside. The bus was too fast, and by then our reflexes was dulled by exhaustion, so we failed to take the photos. We had to content ourselves with the images of the red elephants being burned into our brains for the moment.
Of course, they are not elephants.
But you see my point about animals by the roadside.
We reached Mombasa at about 6pm, and our second mistake struck us. We should have timed our departure from Nairobi properly. This was Friday, and we ran into the worst jam I’ve ever experienced. It took us more than two and a half hours to get into Mombasa town from its outskirts. By that time, after more than twenty four hours on the road, all I wanted was to sleep. I nearly cried in frustration, and in pain for I was dying to pee, but there was nothing we could do other than endure. We finally took a taxi to Nirvana Backpackers and at least the accommodation there was so comfortable we fell asleep before we knew it.

Even before we became an item, Dilman and I were tickled by this idea of a road trip around Africa, filming our experiences along the way in the hopes of baking a mean documentary and whipping a bestseller. You know, two strangers travelling together for six months. Will they fall in love or beg the gods to not let their paths cross ever again? Weave in the inter-racial thread in the picture, and you get yourself a money-making venture, people!


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An African thief finds a wife

This story is fictional, inspired by this photo
of the love of my life.
In spite of the thermal underwear, the cold dug into his bones and froze him in a bleak mood. The sun tried to smile from beyond the mountains, but her frigid rays could not cheer him up. He longed for Africa, where the sun shone all year with the sweet warmth of a lover.
He decided to go back home immediately after searching the last temple. The whole trip had turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. A friend had deceived him that the temples of Kathmandu were littered with golden statues. It would be an easy job. Sneak in. Steal a few. Flee back home a millionaire. How foolish he felt when he discovered that the golden statues were not made of gold. Still, he hoped that the last item on his list, the Chandeswori temple had a roof of pure gold as one book claimed. So he ignored the cold and hurried to this temple.
On the way, in ancient streets of Old Banepa, he saw her.
He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. She sat stark naked in the street, fondling a sarangi, which hid her nakedness from his view. Her smile made her face to sparkle like a million stars. It warmed him in a way the sun failed to. He could not breathe. He swayed in a drunken swoon. Why is she sitting in the street with only a musical instrument to cloth her? Can’t she feel the cold?
Her hair fell over her face so that he could see only one eye, which glistened with the smile on her mouth as she looked right back at him. Heat gushed through his veins with such speed that his heart beat with the wild rhythm of Acholi war drums.
“Do you like her?” a voice shattered his reverie.
He jumped with a frightened squeal and turned to face a man whose clothes were splotched with paint. He might have been a painter. He had come out of a tea shop.
African tourists in Chandeswori temple in Banepa.
Legend has it that once upon a time, the roof was
made of pure gold.
“Hi!” the African screeched with embarrassment.
“Do you like her?”
“You can have her for eight thousand only.”
Eight thousand? So little for so beautiful a girl! The African dashed into his pockets for the rupees, but he stopped, realizing something wrong with the girl. She sat so still, like a picture, and even the breeze didn’t ruffle her long hair. Is she some kind of religious freak in meditation? Is she a painting?
The realization hit him with such force that his stupidity became as clear as the smile on her face. He ran over to her, touched her cold skin of canvas, and nodded to acknowledge the work of a genius artist.
“Did you paint her?”
His heart still beat. Though she was merely a picture, he was in love. He wanted to take her home and kiss – maybe, as it happened in fairy tales, his kiss would turn her into a real person.
More paintings, of mountains and rural landscapes, hang inside the tea shop. All ordinary work. He wanted this girl. But why pay eight thousand rupees when he could return at night and take her for free? Maybe he will sell her in Paris for a million dollars. Isn’t she equal to Monalisa? Maybe his gods led him to Nepal, not to steal golden statues but this girl.
He licked his lips, still feeling dizzy like a drunk. He could not take his eyes off her smile, her smooth skin, her sarangi – it reminded him of Toni Braxton’s Spanish Guitar, and so he named the painting ‘Nepali Sarangi’. He loved the way her hair fell over her face to hide one eye, the way only four teeth showed in her smile. Her enchanting smile.
“Did you just imagine her, or is she a real person? Maybe your sister, ugh?”
“Yes! Yes!”
“Yes what? Is she imaginary?”
“No! Imaginary no. Real. Look!”
The artist showed him a photo in a mobile phone. If he had looked carefully, he might have noticed that it was a photo of a very old photo, but the veil of love fell over his eyes. He had to meet her, to marry her, to take her back home.
“You like her?”
The African smiled like a bewitched prince. He knew that in Nepali culture, people preferred arranged marriages. No dating, no love, no fooling around with the heart. The bride and groom meet for the first time on their wedding day.
“E-e!” the artist giggled like a teenage girl. “You like her very much!”
“Is she – maybe – married?”
“She? No. No. Not married. Are you married?”
“Me? No. Never.”
“Do you want to marry with her?”
 The African could not believe his good luck. It was like Juliet’s father placing a hand over Romeo’s shoulders and asking, ‘do you want to marry her? We can arrange it now!’
A Nepali bride in Chandeswori temple
“Can you arrange it?”
“Yes! Yes! No problem! I talk her! She agree! No problem!”
“Just like that?”
“Yes! She my mother.”
“Your mother?”
“No. Not real mother. My mother’s sister, but I call her mother.”
“How old is she?”
The artist laughed, but did not answer that question. “Where are you from?”
“America,” the African said without hesitation. He wanted them to not only think that he was very rich, but once he took her home, they would never hear from him again, or see their pretty girl. “I’m from USA. Obama is my uncle.”
“O-hoo!” the artist’s mouth became round in shock. When he had recovered, he added, “In your country, first love, then marriage. Here, first marriage, then love. She very faithful. She never leave you.”
The African could hear the girl playing the sarangi, a tune so sweet that he floated in the clouds. But she is just a picture. First, he had to meet her, study her, and then decide whether to marry her. Yet he had no time. He could not afford to stay in Nepal for another week. And this girl was a better prize than all the golden statues of the world.
“She widow,” the artist said. “Two day after marriage, her husband go to fight. You know Gurkha? He soldier. She play for him sarangi before he go. It is last time they together. In our culture, woman cannot marry two times. She very sad. She want marry to another man her but no man take her.”
“Stupid Nepali men.”
“But you bidesh, hoina? You habsi. You take her! No problem.”
For two days, he stayed in the artist’s home as they arranged for the wedding. He promised the artist a lot of money, so the artist ran around to make it happen in two days. Luckily, it was the wedding month.
The day came. He endured so many Hindu rituals like a zombie. They spoke to him in a strange language. The artist was not always available to interpret, so he did whatever they gestured at him to do. At one point, he found himself sitting beside a grandmother dressed up as a bride.
He thought it funny.
A grandmother so old she had no teeth, all dressed up like a bride. She sat beside him, smiling. He knew that smile for he had seen it on the girl. Maybe this is her grandmother.
He thought they were doing something similar to the kwanjula ceremony back home, where the bride’s family parade many girls for the groom to pick, but the groom has to reject all until they reveal the real bride. So maybe this grandmother is a customary surrogate until the time is right for the bride to appear.
In a strange way, it all started with this story 🙂
Time passed. The bride did not show up. He grew impatient. Night came. The dancing started. Though he did not understand what was happening, he knew people dance only after the marriage. But where is his bride? Nervous, he asked the artist.
“What you mean?” the artist said.
“I want to see the girl?”
“Eh!” the artist seemed truly shocked. “You not seen her?” He pointed at the grandmother. “Her?”
The African looked at the old woman, at the toothless and wrinkled smile that in the picture had set him alight with a fire of a thousand suns.
“I paint her photo – old, old photo, what she look like when still young.”
The African felt a bitter dryness in his mouth as he discovered he was a character in a badly written joke. A corny joke that nevertheless knocked him out with the sheer force of its obviousness.
“What’s the problem?” the grandmother asked the artist. “Why is he troubled?”
“Nothing,” the artist said.
“Is he worried that I did it?”
“Tell him I didn’t.”
“I have never done it! Tell him!”

So the artist turned to the African with a big smile and said, “Good news for you, my friend. She say her husband die before they – you know. She’s still a virgin.”

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