Nigerian Yam Bake with Cheese & Bacon

This rich and creamy yam bake is perfect for the winter as it is so comforting with warm melty cheese and full of flavour from the smoked bacon, chicken and sautéed onions, garlic and pepper coated in cream. The star of the dish is obviously the humble Nigerian Yam.

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Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 medium tuber of yam

200g diced pancetta or smoked bacon lardons or chorizos

2 smoked chicken breasts (can substitute with plain cooked chicken breasts)

1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped (can substitute with a medium white onion)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 or 2 scotch bonnet peppers, sliced

2 tsps sweet paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

150ml double cream

50g grated Gruyère cheese

1 tsp of old bay seasoning (can use all purpose seasoning or 1 stock cube)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (for garnishing)

1 spring onion, thinly sliced (for garnishing)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°, generously butter a baking dish.
  2. Slice the yams, peel the skin, cut into cubes and wash thoroughly.
  3. Place the yams in a saucepan, add enough water to cover the yams and boil for about 7 minutes, take off the heat and drain the excess water.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and pan fry the pancetta or bacon for about 5 minutes until starting to crisp. Put aside
  5. Add garlic, shallots and pepper to the same pan, cook for 3 minutes, season with paprika and old bay seasoning, add cream, cook for an additional 3 minutes and then set aside.
  6. Combine ingredients in large baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
  7. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, bubbling and starting to brown a little, probably 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove the yam bake from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Top with spring onion and parsley, and then serve

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Roasted Sea Bass with Roasted Plantain and Mixed Peppers Sauce

So I had a weird craving for 805’s Monika fish – I say weird because I have actually never had it. All I’ve heard is that it’s really nice and very spicy. Later on, I remembered this really nice sea bass meal I had in a pub while on a project in Gloucester and then all I could think about was fish! I met up with V2 and we end up in front of the fresh fish counter in Waitrose. Now, I will advise that you DO NOT shop for fish in Waitrose if you are being economical. The sea bass was beautiful, fresh and looked very clean but it was £5 for 1!!! However, I couldn’t resist the fish and I left the counter with 2 – so did V2. I bought a few other things and left the shop elated. I was finally going to make my own Monika, though I had nothing to compare it to. Lol

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Ingredient

Roasted Sea bass

  • 2 Sea bass, gutted, scaled and cleaned
  • 3 Bell peppers
  • Sliced Onions
  • Chopped scotch bonnet peppers
  • Seasoning (Fish Spice, Thyme, Basil, Maggi – I prefer Knorr but I only had Maggi)
  • Hot chilli pepper powder
  • Sunflower Oil

Roasted Plantain

  • 2 Plantains
  • Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, smoked paprika)

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Steps

  1. Chop your mixed bell peppers, scotch bonnet pepper and onions into a clean bowl
  2. Descale, gut and clean the fish if fish has not been cleaned and gutted.
  3. Make 2 – 3 diagonal slices on each side of the fish
  4. Season the fish (inside and outside) generously using fish spice, thyme, basil, Maggi and chilli powder. Use chilli powder according to heat tolerance.
  5. Place oil in a small bowl and season with Maggi, fish spice and chilli. Take a small portion of the chopped mixed pepper, dip in the seasoned oil and place inside the fish and in the slits on the side of the fish.
  6. Place the fish in a roasting oven dish, pour in the rest of the chopped bell peppers, scotch bonnet pepper and onions.
  7. Pour the rest of the seasoned oil all over the fish and mixed peppers.
  8. Sprinkle paprika, parsley and chilli powder on the top
  9. Place in the oven and grill for 50 – 55 mins
  10. Check regularly, flip the fish to ensure both sides are evenly roasted

The mixed peppers in the roasting dish can serve as a pepper sauce once ready.

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Plantain

  1. Peel the plantains
  2. Make 2-3 diagonal slices on the side of each plantain
  3. Season lightly with salt, chilli powder and smoked paprika
  4. Place in the oven and grill for 45 – 50 mins
  5. Check regularly to see that it is roasted to desired level

Once ready, serve

H3 loved it and we were completely knocked out after eating. It definitely solved my craving as it had the right amount of pepper to seasoning ratio. Later on, we were talking about the price of products in Waitrose and remembered the “6 for £1, £1 fish guy” lol. I must say, that really put the Waitrose price into perspective.

DVees take on Jamie Oliver’s Jollof Rice recipe

We are taking a different approach to the #jollofgate scandal….. by trying Jamie’s recipe step by step.

 Jollof Rice - Jaime Oliver Recipe

To be honest we can’t believe the uproar over the Jollof Rice recipe– it is clear that it is Jamie Oliver’s twist on West African Jollof Rice, he didn’t call it authentic jollof rice… don’t even think anyone really has the authentic Jollof rice recipe as with all recipes it has evolved and has passed down from generation to generation. Traditional Jollof uses palm oil and crayfish, the Senegalese add all sorts of meats and vegetables. Long grain rice is typically used but nowadays people use basmati for their jollof. At Dvees sometimes we cook ‘typical’ jollof which is long grain rice cooked in a tomato pepper base, sometimes we add coconut cream or add chargrilled roasted vegetables, with garlic prawns and smoked chicken.

We love contemporary Nigerian cuisine; our signature is ethnic cuisine with a twist. For example, our afrotea is the classic English afternoon tea with a West African twist, perhaps we should expect a backlash and lots of abominable comments from the English for daring to go there.

Jollof Rice - Jamie Oliver

West African food is the least experienced in the world so if Jamie Oliver decides to put a twist on Jollof rice and publish his recipe…we are still perplexed as to why this is sacrilege but first let’s critically assess Jamie’s Jollof Rice recipe:

 Imposter ingredients:

  1. 1 tsp ground coriander – [DVees: acceptable as just used to season the chicken]
  2. 1 tsp ground white pepper – [DVees: acceptable as just used to season chicken]
  3. 600g cherry tomatoes, on the vine – [DVees: not typical but used to garnish rice]
  4. A bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped, stalks finely chopped – [DVees: not typical. Parsley is a herb that is widely used as a garnish or used to flavor stews, vegetable, chicken, fish and meats dishes in Mediterranean and Middle eastern cuisine]
  5. 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve – [DVees: not typical at all. “Lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over”, for garnishing maybe, not sure we would be squeezing lemon juice over our beloved Jollof, possibly on the chicken :)]

 Ingredients proportion:

  1. Garlic – we would typically use 1 clove or no garlic at all compared to the 6 cloves that is used in Jamie’s recipe.
  2. Onions – we would typically probably use 2 onions compared to the 4 onions that is used in Jamie’s recipe.
  3. Peppers – we would use double the amount of scotch bonnet peppers that Jamie uses and add a red bell pepper (tatashe).

 Cooking process:

  • A key deviation is that he does not blend the vine-ripe tomatoes with the scotch bonnet chilli and onions which means that the rice is not cooked in a tomato pepper base and resembles Spanish tomato rice instead.
  • Also Jollof rice is typically seasoned with salt, bay leaves, thyme and curry. And lots of stock cubes, we personally think West Africans need to wean themselves off stock cubes loaded with MSG however this is a story for another day.

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Taste: The rice has a wonderful rich flavor. This is amazing considering that salt, ‘maggi’ or ‘Knorr’ stock cubes are not used to season the rice. The beautiful aroma and flavor are as a result of the lashings of garlic, onions, parsley stalks sautéed before the tomatoes and rice are added to be cooked in the saucepan. Cooking juices from the chicken and parsley leaves also add deep flavor.

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Verdict: In essence there are two ingredients that are real imposters: parsley and lemon. The proportions of tomato, onions and garlic are atypical and the rice is not cooked in a tomato pepper base however it is an excellent twist to Jollof rice. It does not taste like typical Jollof, but it is what it is, a twist to West African jollof: a delightful version that tastes like fresh Garlic & Herb Tomato Rice & Chicken. West African food is rich, captivating, bursting with spice and flavor and alien to the rest of the world, Jamie’s recipe has triggered conversation…. so lets live and let live.

Our love affair with food has always been partial to contemporary Nigerian food hence our tag line ‘Shakara Cuisine’, which is probably why we are camp #indefenceofjamieoliver.

 *Shakara Cuisine [sha-ka-ra] 

  1. Elaborate and skilfully prepared ethnic cuisine with a modern twist.

We look forward to more food conversations with other Africans and the rest of the world.

DVees

The reason for our absence – A DVees Wedding

Apologies for the sporadic posts, we were busy planning a wedding! We can finally breathe now that it is over and are fully recovered. V3 got married yay! As much as we are very similar, we are all so very unique and so was the wedding. The day was very V3 and H3 and had their names written all over it (literally lol). The atmosphere, ambience, emotions, geekiness and cuteness! We all had to work very hard to plan, strategise and style the wedding.

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Once we had all the fundamentals on lock down, we started planning the details. We must say that H3 was the perfect groom. He was so helpful and very involved which made it so much easier for all of us especially as he is the talented one when it comes to graphics, designs etc.

We must say V3 was the calmest bride we have ever seen. She was lovely, stress-free and very much organised. V2 was the bridezilla (hahaha). V3 was actually calming everyone down a day before the traditional wedding, V2 was having a bridezilla moment and V3 sorted things out – at a point, V4 got confused who the bride was (haha). V1 and V2 were panicking about not having dresses close to the wedding and V3 found all our dresses and made sure we were sorted. The only issue we had with her was finding a wedding dress, OMD! She was soooo particular. She must have tried at least 35 dresses. We got so tired, she eventually bought 2 dresses sigh. Mummy DVees saved us, she saw both dresses and in her eyes there was a clear winner #phew. Anyway, that’s another story. lol

Logo and Branding: Understanding the power of branding and being the most geeky pair ever, V3 and H3 wanted a wedding logo; one that portrayed them. After giving Design by Nuff their specs, he came up with the fantastic logo below which we all loved!

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Wedding Invites: These were designed and printed solely by H3 (3Alpha Studios). He designed these along with the advice cards (below), programme and recipe book (shown later)

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Prewedding Pictures: They both went to Imperial College and are annoyingly in love with their university. They also started dating during their first year at Imperial so they decided to take it back to where it began. They had Imperial college varsity jackets (such geeks! actually we lie, they were quite cool but we hate to admit it to them haha). They did the photoshoot at Imperial College in South Kensignton. We made blown up pictures from it and placed them around the wedding reception room. Photoshoot by Adebayo Deru

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Church venue: St Marys Paddington Green – They wanted a church that would let their pastor and church conduct the ceremony. They met with a few churches but found the Vicar at St Marys to be a gift from God. He was nice, lovely and simply perfect.

Reception venue: The Landmark London – only V3 could have got away with having English food at her wedding but it worked! V3 and H3 insisted they were bored with the typical Nigerian food and wanted something different – fusion if possible. They also wanted an experience for their guests that included a sit down service with guests served and waited on. We all went for a few tasting sessions and we eventually gave the chef a DVees chicken recipe which worked perfectly for guests. The food (from canapés to starters to main) was nicely spiced and very filling. (Kudos to the Landmark chef)

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Cake by DVees: V3 always said she wanted a DVees cake and was going to make her own wedding cake – we always thought she was joking especially as we did not think she would have the time to make a wedding cake in the midst of everything else and neither of us would have been able to help as we normally bake together. When the time came, she started buying equipment and ingredient we thought she was crazy. She insisted on making her own cake and so we let her! She did it all by herself, from start to finish. We had a lot of mixed feelings initially. We knew she could do it if she had time, had one of us working with her and it was not her own wedding BUT she had NO time, was crazily busy, the rest of us were busy and it WAS HER OWN WEDDING. Anyway, she surprised us all when we saw the finished product we were so proud of her. Considering all else, she did a fantastic job. We cannot imagine what she would have done if she had all the time in the world. We present you a DVees Wedding Cake.

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Favours: weirdly enough, we battled with this a bit. We were thinking of the best and most feasible way to have a touch of DVees. We had given DVees cake mix (picture below) at the bridal shower and didn’t want to repeat the same thing.

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We opted for chapman and JarCakes, we kept thinking of more. V2 came up with the fantastic idea of creating a recipe book with V3 and H3’s favourite recipes – H3 (3Alpha Studios) designed these. The gift bags were topped up with VK mugs and towels. To complete the favours, we got VK branded bags to go with them. We later realised we didn’t have enough time to make the JarCakes as well as organise the wedding, Daddy DVees came up with the fantastic idea of Suya in a Jar (JarSuya?) to be given just after service as people leave the church. Daddy DVees is our inspiration; he knows his food.

So we ended up with
1) DVees Chapman
2) V3 and H3 favourite recipe book (designed by H3 – 3Alpha Studios and  recipes by DVees)
3) VK mugs (by Mastroe manufacturing)
4) Face towels
5) DVees Suya jars

***Click here for a PDF version of the Recipe Book Vese & Kunle Recipe Book

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Wedding Programme and wrist bands: V3 and H3 didn’t want regular programmes. We thought it would add a nice personal touch to the day but were sceptical of how it would turn out. However when we saw the first draft designed by H3 of course (3 Alpha Studios), we got pretty excited. The programmes were accompanied by VK wristbands!!! They also had a customised guestbook, glow sticks for the evening dancing and a few other things.

 

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Wedding App (Wedding Party App): Being the geeky pair they are, they initially wanted to develop a wedding app but decided against it. Fortunately, they found the ‘Wedding Party App’ which was perfect. We instantly loved it – DVees Approved :). All you do is download the app from Google play store or apple store, register and join the wedding by entering the wedding name. Wedding name: veekay2014

The idea is you take all phone pictures via the app. This uploads onto the app in a timeline format for all guests to see and allows the couple to have a view of their wedding from the guest’s perspective. It’s quite easy to use and we highly recommend it – for all you instagrammers out there, it is pretty much the same concept.

Online link to wedding app: https://www.weddingpartyapp.com/e/eu9SEUF

 

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Official Video and Pictures:
 For a snapshot of the wedding, see the wedding trailer and a few of the pictures below.

 

For some the pictures, click here -> Wedding Pictures

 

Wedding trailer:



SPECIAL THANKS to the Chief Bridesmaid and Best (Wo)man; V4. She played her roles excellently. hehe.

 

And of course, we could not have done it all by ourselves. We would like to say a special thank you to our lovely vendors!

Vendors:

  • Wedding Car – Infiniti Concierge  – 020 8593 4460
  • Wedding Day Coordination – Toyin Kayode – toyin.kayode@infiniticoncierge.co.uk |  Assistant – Tola Adeyefa
  • Photography – Adebayo Deru
  • Videography – Special Functions
  • Wedding IV, Programme & Recipe Book – 3Alpha Studios
  • Wedding Cake – DVees
  • Favours (Bags, Chapman, Suya, Recipe Book) – DVees
  • Evening dress – Tai Beni – tai.beni.ng@gmail.com – +2348122218945
  • Bride’s Make up – Alison Cameron
  • Bridesmaids Make up – Tosin MAK for Pretty Woman Makeup
  • Hair – Hair by Abike
  • DJ – DJ MRi
  • Centre pieces and Lighting – Picture Perfect Events
  • Venue – The Landmark London
  • Photobooth – Picture Blast
  • Bouquet – Raremee