Kenya: Coupe Mount Kenya

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Recipes | 4 comments

We’re going to see lions, only in Kenya!
We’re going to Kenya, we’ve got lions!
We’re going to see tigers, only in Kenya!
Got lions and tigers only in Kenya!

Forget Norway!

If you haven’t seen the Weebls song, you must. My partner and I were obsessed with it for a time and watched it probably three times a day for weeks. And even though it’s factually wrong (there are of course no tigers in Africa), it was just too catchy and cute to not love. In the lead up to my first trip to Kenya I couldn’t get it out of my head!

I’m so excited to share some of my most loved and cherished memories from Kenya, as our VeganMoFo world tour continues. 

Nairobi

Nairobi

Kenya is a country that is buzzing with life and intense energy and one of my favorite places to visit. There is an openness to ideas and innovation in Kenya that is lacking in many of its neighbors. It is a major tech center on the continent and a leader in using technology to drive change. 

Colorful city street

Colorful city street

Like every country on this planet, Kenya is a country rife with contradictions. There is a very well educated elite and middle class who are doing some of the most innovative thinking and work globally, living side by side with millions who lack essential services. On the one hand, it has strong laws and institutions, on the other tribalism remains an undercurrent of Kenyan politics and drives conflict. It has a strong constitution, developed after the 2008 election that enshrines a deep commitment to human rights and strong institutions, including its Constitutional Commission and Court. But its current President is being indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in fomenting ethnic violence and is leading a backlash against human rights and mechanisms established to ensure accountability globally.

Dawn

The quietness of dawn

Kenya is a hotbed of creativity. The arts and crafts are among the best in the continent. The Maasai market in Nairobi is a great place to go to pick up brightly colored baskets, beautiful soapstone dishes, jewelry and any number of other goods and a fun way to spend a morning. Just be ready to bargain, and bargain hard, to get a good price.

Nests!

Nests!

Of course, one of the most amazing thing about Kenya is its gorgeous lands, seas and animals.

Zebras!

Zebras!

Impala!

Impala!

The days I spent on safari in Tsavo East and West national parks were among the most exhilarating three days of my life.

Lions!

Lions!

Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird

There is nothing at all that can compare to seeing elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos, and hippos in their natural environment.

Warthogs!

Warthogs!

Dik-dik! The smallest antelope ever!

Dik-dik! The smallest antelope ever!

It’s breathtaking.

Hippo!

Hippo!

Hippos!

Hippos!

Monkeys!

Baboons!

And so it is heartbreaking and makes me so incredibly angry to hear about and see the toll that poaching is having on these majestic, beautiful, amazing animals.

Giraffes!

Giraffes!

Vulture Guineafowl!

Vulture Guineafowl!

Yes, birds do sit on them!

Yes, birds do hang out on giraffes’ necks!

When we first got to Tsavo National Park we were beside ourselves with anticipation and excitement.

Cheetah!

Leopard!

Ostriches!

Ostriches!

When the first elephant came into view I could barely contain my sense of awe and wonder and childlike giddiness.

Elephants!

Elephants!

Saddle-billed stork

Saddle-billed stork

As we learned the names of different animals we would call them and point them out with glee when we saw them. In fact, I think we did that the entire time!

Cape Buffalo!

Cape Buffalo!

Birds

Birds

I love elephants.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

No, that doesn’t quite describe it. I passionately adore them and have done so from the time I was four years old.

Love!

Love!

I used to say I wanted an elephant farm when I grew up (I know better now of course), and I would spend hours drawing pictures of elephants in my dad’s journal.

Walking to a water hole

Walking to a water hole

I had a little stuffed elephant that my uncle gave me that I truly loved.

:)

:)

So I was in my element watching the elephants.

Fields of elephants!

Fields of elephants!

I could have been content to do nothing but sit and watch them interact, talk to each other, bathe and dust themselves in the red dirt. Seriously: pure bliss.

Sheltering

Smaller mountain elephants in East Tsavo

I spent my 31st birthday on the coast in Mombasa.

Mombasa

Mombasa

The beaches there are beautiful, the colors so vibrant. That evening we went out on a celebratory cruise, ate delicious Swahili food, and danced on the waves. They even made me a vegan cake, something I thought I’d never, ever have in Kenya. It was sublime.

The colors are amazing!

The colors are amazing!

Now, the food! Like much of the continent meat plays a big role, but there are lots of traditionally vegan dishes. Kenya has a large Indian population and that has had a big influence on the cuisine: delicious pulao, curries and samosas have become staples. Coconut milk and peanuts are commonly used ingredients, along with tomatoes and onions. One of my favorite dishes from the country is an incredibly simple but yummy dish featuring kidney beans in coconut milk. Yum.

Playing soccer on the beach, hanging out with a camel. Like you do…

Playing soccer on the beach, hanging out with a camel. Like you do…

But today I’m bringing you my vegan version of a somewhat kitschy dessert that highlights the majesty of Kenya’s fruit: Coupe Mount Kenya. It’s the kind of thing I imagine that they served at fancy resorts in the fifties. But damn, it is really good. So if that was its origin, it’s a testament to its yumminess that it has become a well known and loved Kenyan dessert. 

Coupe Mount Kenya!

Coupe Mount Kenya!

Coupe Mount Kenya
Serves 2
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Total Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr
Mango Ice Cream
  1. 1½ cups mango, fresh or frozen
  2. ½ cup coconut milk (full fat, canned)
  3. 2-3 tbsps of coconut palm sugar or maple syrup (to taste)
  4. 2 packets of stevia (optional)
  5. Zest of 1 lime
  6. Pinch of Salt
Pineapple Sauce
  1. ½ cup pineapple juice (I made mine by blending a cup of fresh pineapple with a little water)
  2. 1 tbsp rum (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp maple syrup or coconut palm sugar
  4. 1 packet of stevia
  5. 1 cup fresh pineapple cubes
Mango Ice Cream
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Transfer to a freezer-safe bowl and freeze until firm.
  3. After an hour you may want to give it a bit of a stir to break up any ice crystals that may form and enhance its creaminess.
Pineapple Sauce
  1. Place pineapple juice, rum and sweeteners in a pot and heat on the stove until it forms a thick syrup.
  2. Pour over the pineapple cubes.
  3. Place in the fridge and allow the pineapple to marinate for a couple of hours.
Putting it together
  1. Place a scoop or two of mango ice cream in the bottom of a sundae dish.
  2. Pour pineapple on top.
  3. Serve!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
I use stevia in this dish, but it is optional. Stevia works best when combined with other sweeteners, rather than on its own, because it enhances the flavor of sweetness.  It means that you can use less coconut palm sugar or maple syrup. It works wonders in smoothies and other dishes containing fruit because it picks up and builds on their natural sweetness. 

Absolute yumminess!

Absolute yumminess!

Before we move on, I’ll leave you with this moment of zen…

Me and my friend Rachel, just taking the gorgeousness in

Me and my friend Rachel, just taking the gorgeousness in

Oh Kenya! 

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4 Comments

  1. What a fantastic experience! This is one of my favourite MoFo posts 😀

    • Thanks!

  2. oh my gosh. What a breathtaking post. I can’t believe that you got to see all those amazing animals with your own eyes! and the pictures of the coast! I just found your blog and now I need to go read your other posts. So special!

    • It was definitely one of the most incredible experiences of my life! Thanks so much! 😀

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