5/40

Nicole’s idea of lunch was a full plate of chips, 1/2 deep fried chicken, and a litre of Coke.

I had a serving of bhajia and bottle of water. She looked at my tray and scrunched up her nose. She reached out for a piece of bhajia and dunked it in the pepper I had. I pushed the pepper towards her. She dipped her index finger in it and licked it like mama Josephine’s brown cat. “You can have the pilipili if you want.”

“Ai, no, I will use my tomato sauce and chilli, but that bhajia pilipili is fine! You know like the hot young kids who cannot even spell Curriculum Vitae! And aki you won’t believe me when I tell you the things we go through trying to recruit people for these people who drive Range Rovers and write cheques like someone sending an sms!”

“What do you go through? Is it as worse as PR? Where I have to find out which buttons to push to seal corporate deals and the like, and worse off write statements or sweet talk journalists not to print or publish some nasty pictures that could lead to divorce or worse off death of the big guys?”

“But at least you can bribe people! You get rid of the problem. We have to prevent the problem from getting into the company. It’s like trying to prevent a virus from shutting down your computer, now if those IT guys can take years to do it, imagine a mere girl like me from Ukambani, with skinny legs and a great skin trying to say, ‘dear’ instead of ‘ndear,’it is a crime I tell you! People should not suffer like this.”

“Ghai, pole! You have to work though, no one forced you to study human resources.”

“Ouch! If I wanted an exorcism I would have called my Mother, now nipe hiyo pilipili before you take away my appetite. So, how are you with Martin?”

“I have not spoken to him and I don’t want to.”

“Aki, it’s that bad?”

“It is what it is. Tell me what should I do, from the HR angle.”

“You can file a complaint so we can give him a warning, or you can ask for a refresher training course on his job description, but let’s be honest Marjorie, what if there is more to this than meets the eye?”

Jollof Rice, ladies and gentlemen!

I prepared Jollof Rice for lunch. It’s a popular dish in many West African countries and varies from one country to another in terms of the spices used. However the core ingredients are: rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onions, salt and hot red pepper.

So, I got some of my ingredients and used both Paprika and black pepper because I love black pepper.

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Ingredients include :
Onions
Tomatoes (you can grate them to avoid having the husks) and you’ll also use some tomato paste that’s processed.
Thyme
Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup of Long Grain rice
Cooking oil
Optional spices like Paprika, Nutmeg, Black pepper e.t.c

To prepare the rice:
First fry the chopped onions in cooking oil until they’re brown then add the tomatoes and thyme and salt. Stir for a while before adding the tomato paste.
Do not use too much tomato paste because it would give your food a kind of sour taste. To avoid this stir the paste as it thickens and reduce the heat and let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes.

It will look like the picture on the left while cooking. Once it’s ready you can remove some of it and let it cool, (as shown in the picture on the right) and you’ll use this later on.

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The next step is to take the rice and add it to the paste while you stir it so the rice can blend in or mix evenly with the paste. Do this for five minutes keeping your heat low so it does not stick to the cooking pan.
After this you can add water while stirring to ensure the rice is soft and we’ll cooked.
Cover the pan and let the rice cook.

When it’s ready you can serve it with fried chicken, beef, mutton, fish or any other delicacy as you see fit.

You could also add some juice for that final taste.

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