If I were an ethnic vegetarian….Sweet Potato chips, gingered vegetables with plum sauce and Posh beans stew with basmati rice…

…would be nice. I am not sure how I would survive eating pounded yam and efo riro or eba and banga soup without copious pieces of assorted meat and fish to scoop from the soup.

But I thought Sweet Potato chips, gingered vegetables, smoked duck and plum sauce would be a nice, light and healthy vegetarian meal… then I opened my fridge and spotted the smoked duck.

The next day I decided on Posh Beans (Borlotti beans stew, smoked chicken with basmati rice)… same story… the smoked chicken was starring me in the face and I thought why not.

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As far vegetarian meals go… albeit tasty, this wasn’t quite it but at least there is hope for H2’s vegetarian friends that are coming for dinner soon.

Sweet pepper potato wedges, grilled chicken with cherry tomato & basil salad

I have been feeling nostalgic, missing Lagos; eating suya (grilled peppered beef), roasted plantain, drinking ice cold coke in the sun, etc. especially as we have had such a wintery Springtime here in London.

Today i was hopeful, the weather was goood…… this dish is light, tasty and refreshing, perfect for ushering in Spring as it should be . Its very easy to make too.

Cut up potatoes into wedges with sliced red and green peppers, crushed garlic and olive oil, mix into a casserole dish and put in the oven for 30mins.

Cut up cherry tomatoes and basil, juice of half an orange, add sea salt and allow the salad rest in the fridge for 30mins.

Season chicken pieces with salt, oregano and pepper and grill for 40mins, turn halfway during cooking.

Serve and enjoy!!!

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Superwomen

I have had the urge to write about the most beautiful women I know besides my mother. My sisters’ birthdays are all in the space of two weeks and I have just been appreciating them daily. When I say beautiful I mean beautiful in every sense of the word – Possessing qualities that give great satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc., excellent of its kind, someone who is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty for perfection, a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense, graceful, excellent quality, elegant, good hearted, talented, well skilled, generous, intellectual. Yes, beauty is subjective and this is what beauty means to me.

They are so naturally beautiful; they are very intelligent without even trying, graceful, skilled, sweet and very God fearing. My mum is all this and more; she is the definition of a Proverbs 31 woman and I guess they have learnt from her. Their love for God moves me every day, it inspires me. When we were younger we never understood how my mum was willing to do everything and anything to help anyone even if it was to give the last thing she had. I was often told I had my mum’s heart as a child but that is something I can only wish for. I have slowly watched my sisters become this even though they don’t realize it. They are so kind hearted and nice. V1 will do anything to make people comfortable and loves people around her no matter whom you are, V2 will let people go even when they have wronged her and forgive them effortlessly, and V3 is ridiculously nice. You people do not realize but these are all Mummy’s attributes.

My sisters have done a lot to see me grow. I have learnt almost everything I know from them. I often say as a joke that my parents raised them and they in turn raised me. They keep teaching me to be a lady in the full sense of the word – a well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behaviour, a woman regarded as proper and virtuous. How to act in public, how to carry myself, how to behave, what is important and what is not, self-image, I keep learning from them. Our parents always taught us to behave like ladies but seeing my sisters being ladies in every sense of the word has always reinforced my acting proper. If I want to do something that is improper I think “Voke, Vona, Vese would not do this, so why should I?”

Their achievements; where can I even start? When I was little all I used to hear was how great they were doing in school and other things. V1 being first born always set the high standards, V2 surpassed them and V3 will reach that stage and exceed the bar. So I always ask myself, is it me that will break the trend and not do better? Almost every view and belief I have stems from them. If by mistake I say I do not believe in myself or speak negatively about myself at home, I get attacked at once by three of them. I can’t count how many times I have been told “you are the best”. They are so hardworking and independent when I think about some of the things they used to do at my age I just think WOW!

They always say they have watched me grow but I have also watched them grow as well. I have watched them grow from being young to being beautiful, strong women who are wives, mothers, wives to be and mothers to be. I have seen them become strong career women achieving great things at such young ages; I have seen them start a business and be innovative. I have seen them become very supportive wives and amazing mothers. They have taught me how to be independent, take my career and future seriously and achieve great thing. And when I am grown because of the examples I have seen, I know how to have great relationships and friendships, be a supportive wife, treat my husband like a king and my home like a Palace and be an amazing mother. I have learnt not to settle. Although, I am still learning, I have been shown the way. I know how to get on my knees and pray when things are going bad and when things are going great. I know how to put God first and how to keep family and loved ones close to my heart.

Mummy taught us and you people became it and this inspires me every single day. And as you all turn older, I pray God gives you the Grace to be better. Remember your biggest fan is watching you and learning from you every day. Some people are blessed to have role models; I am more blessed to not have to go searching far and wide for my role models. Love you.

DVees Weekly Meal Planner

Ironically H2 and I quibble quite a bit about food. Ironically because you would think that with my love for food and cooking that I would have that aspect locked down…  ahem!

He prefers me to shop online, I prefer to go to the supermarket and choose my own food, I love supermarkets as in I literally skip down the aisles…… I window-shop in Tesco and M&S, the way people window-shop in Zara and Selfridges.

He thinks I should shop in bulk, I hate shopping in bulk because it means that I am limited to whatever I have bought for the month, and it stifles my creativity in the kitchen!!!!

He thinks our food allowance is way too much, I think food is expensive!!! I am actually planning to let him do the monthly food shopping one of these days so that he realises how expensive food is.

If you remember one of the proposed solutions to our food quibbles (https://dvees.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/h2-declares-no-more-rice-please/) was a food timetable/ meal planner.

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Thoughts on the planner

  1. Most of the meals need to be freshly prepared (except maybe the beans, jollof and fried rice), not very wise on my part….
  2. I need to be stricter about enforcing Thursday as a non-cooking day.
  3. There are a number of yam based dishes…. This cannot be good for the food budget because yam is very very expensive.

………but hey I still thought it was a good planner to share with you guys, acts as a good inspiration board too. I just need to make sure that there’s chicken stew in the freezer for the ‘I’m not going into the kitchen’ days 🙂

Ramblings of a hungry, sleep deprived student… Part 2

Princess Vee (lool) has been unusually hyper lately. Some days ago, I started feeling like V2 and decided I was going to go on a cooking spree. Days like this always end up being – me cooking more than I can handle, cooking more food than I can eat, cooking like 4/5 things at the same time (2 amazing dishes, 1 okay dish and 1/2 burnt). When I get in this mood, I can cook for ages and still be hyper after especially if people are around to eat with me (very strange)

I decided to make Singapore rice noodles, sweet and sour sauce, gizzard, special fried rice and jollof rice. My certified food taster was there…….. The special fried rice was a disaster; that is what I burnt. The Singapore rice noodles and sweet and sour sauce were actually quite impressive as it was the first time I made it and I didn’t follow any recipe (V3 will be mad)..

I will keep on trying to perfect my skills. By May, I will be cooking perfect Chinese food. I am looking for more food tasters. Any volunteers?

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Ramblings of a hungry, sleep deprived student…Part 1

I haven’t written a post in ages; between lectures/labs, maid of honour duties, Panafrik (our UCLU ACS explosive show – 9 February 2013; showcasing of an eclectic mix of African and Caribbean culture; spoken word, dance, drama, fashion, etc), tutoring, SLEEPING, I just haven’t had the time. Been crying to my sisters to send me coolers of food, they havent responded but I am hopeful…… 🙂
 
Last weekend, I decided to finally cook and I was feeling adventurous and decided to go beyond the standard chicken stew, jollof rice and pasta most Nigerian students live on. As there’s usually no time for fancy cooking my strategy is to make sauces that would add an ooomph to my standard meals. They have turned my rice and stew, pasta and indomie noodles dishes from basic fares to amazing….. 
 
My sauce list obviously includes prawn sauces. I am a huge seafood lover and any well seasoned prawns tossed in a tasty sauce will make me happy. I have tried various recipes with prawns. Peppered soy sauce and garlic prawns for the days I feel like having spicy food to DVees Whipped cream prawn sauce for the days I am unusually hyper and craving sweet food. V3 made this over Christmas and I was in heaven. 
 
The next is dodo gizzard. I am in love with dodo gizzard. The only thing better than fried plantain or peppered gizzard is peppered gizzard and fried plantain mixed together. It transforms my indomie noodles to a scrumptious meal. For the days I cant be bothered to go to Kilburn to buy gizzard, I use beef instead of gizzard. It is not the same but a good substitute.
 
Lastly is a normal mix veg, chopped peppers, tomatoes and diced chicken sauce, for a different twist add fresh lemon juice and minced garlic. 
 
All of these sauces take an average of 20 minutes to cook. It is quick and easy to make and it makes a huge difference. 
I leave you with my lemon and garlic prawn recipe which any student can whip up in less than 15 minutes.. 
Lemon and Garlic Prawn Recipe
 
Ingredients:
2 pounds Tiger Prawns
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 to 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 
1 bunch green onions, with a few inches of green, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt 
1 magi stock cube
a handful of chopped bell peppers
 
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Preparation:
Place prawns in a glass bowl. 
Stir remaining ingredients except the pepper together; pour over shrimp 
Cover and marinate for 2 hours
Pour oil in a frying pan, add peppers and fry over medium heat for 3 minutes
Add prawns mixture to the pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes
Tip – Marinate the prawns overnight or skip the marinating process

Beans in pepper stew – Bunny Chow style

Beans and Bunny Chow are both dishes that originated as food for the ‘common man’: cheap and practical. Today it does not matter what your station in life is: Nigerians love their Beans and Durbanites love their Bunny chow.

Beans in pepper stew popularly known as Ewa is a traditional Nigerian dish of beans served with a spicy pepper sauce in red palm oil thickened with ground-dried crayfish.

Growing up I saw people run after the hawkers as they carried the ‘ewa’ in black pots on their heads. They would serve the beans in aluminum pans or bowls; press the middle of the beans so that they could put the pepper stew in the middle. It’s amazing with Agege bread (sweet, dense and chewy bread named after a city called Agege in Lagos State, Nigeria).

I would love to feel among and say that I ate this growing up but I didn’t. We weren’t ‘really’ allowed to buy cooked food from the streets. Excluding Agege bread which my dad didn’t approve of but my mum bought anyway…… and food she ordered from Ghana High (food stall under the bridge) when we visited her office in Marina, Lagos or Amala and Ewedu from Amala Shittu (another famous road side food seller in Surulere) when we visited her Crèche.  My mum upped our street cred.  I also remember an uncle buying Ogogoro aka Sapele water aka palm wine once from a tapper on his bicycle for us (obviously my parents weren’t home). Hopefully this post brings back good memories for those that were lucky enough to eat this culinary delicacy growing up…

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Bunny Chow is a South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. The bunny chow was created in Durban.

One story has it that a restaurant run by people known as Banias (an Indian caste) first created the scooped-out bread and curry dish at a restaurant-cum-cafe called Kapitan’s on the corner of Victoria and Albert streets in Durban. The food was a means to serve take-aways to excluded people. During the apartheid regime, Indians were not allowed in certain shops and cafes and so the shop owners found a way of serving the people through back windows, etc. This was an easy and effective way to serve the workers.

Another account suggests that Indian migrant workers used it as a way of carrying their lunches to the field; the hollowed out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries……. Source: http://bunny-chow.co.uk/

I randomly discovered the Bunny Chow last year and saved it in my ‘to try’ recipe folder. In the meantime I thought it was a great way to serve ‘Ewa’ which is usually eaten with bread too 🙂

Beans in pepper stew Recipe (serves 6)

Ingredient list

  • 500g honey black eye beans
  • 3  onions (chopped)
  • 1 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup of palm oil
  • 2 medium onions (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 red bell peppers (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 scotch bonnet peppers (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 Tsp of crayfish, ground
  • 2 stock cubes (Magi Crayfish)
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Put beans, chopped onions and 10 cups of water in a pot and leave on low heat for 3 hours or until bean is very soft (add salt to taste after 1 hour).
  2. Blend the medium onions, bell peppers and scotch bonnet peppers, pour mixture into a dry pot and boil until dry (15 – 20 mins)
  3. Heat the palm oil in a dry pot for 3 mins, add sliced onions and stir for  3 mins
  4. Add boiled pepper mixture to palm oil and allow to fry on low heat for 8 mins
  5. Stir in ground crayfish and stock cubes, and add salt to taste, continue to fry on low heat for an additional 7-10mins
  6. Stir well  and then serve with cooked beans

Tip

  • Fried plantain or agege bread are wonderful accompaniments
  • Beans will cook faster in a pressure cooker.

 

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