Efo riro – rich vegetable stew

Efo riro – rich vegetable stew – A typical Yoruba dish made with green vegetables, peppers and assorted parts of meat, dried fish, fried snails, etc.

The first time I ate Efo riro was at Bristol University thanks to Toyo, his grandmother always stocked his freezer with bowls and bowls of food and I always helped myself. Ha ha I met him at Bristol, even though he liked to demo (pose), he became my friend family friend just like that.

I guess I didn’t eat efo riro growing up in Lagos because I am not Yoruba and it just wasn’t a dish that we ever made at home. Funny enough not even in Vivian Fowler boarding house, I remember fried rice, scrambled eggs, cornflakes on visiting Sundays and on other days; white rice and stew, eba &  egusi, amala & ewedu but for some reason I don’t remember Efo riro (VF girls please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

Anyway post Bristol, I always craved Efo and would always think of Toyo’s Nan but as she’s 102 years old, fear did not allow me do ‘cute face’ and request her Efo when I am not her child. Instead I would wait until my annual pilgrimage to Lagos; order efo with assorted and plenty moin moin from Delta Kitchen that purged me every single day until I left. I still don’t understand why efo in Lagos purges me and efo in London doesn’t, are the Lagos vegetables fresher, more organic or is my tummy just sensitive to the less hygienic cooking environment or perhaps it is just the deadly combination of moin moin (bean cakes) and Efo riro (fresh vegetable stew), I don’t know the answer and it hasn’t stopped me from eating my efo riro in Lagos.

I actually tried to make Efo riro a number of times but I knew deep inside that my Efo riro was an imposter. So I decided not to make it again until a bonafide Yoruba indigene took me through the steps. I asked aunty B to teach me but in the meantime to satisfy my craving I ordered efo riro from one of those Nigerian restaurants canteens and was so disappointed that I decided to try again using 9jafoodie’s recipe and oh la la I no longer need lessons from aunty B. I am so impressed as I had tried different recipes on different food blogs but this one totally killed it.

Apparently the unique taste of efo riro comes from the use of Locust beans, Bleaching of palm oil and the absence of tomatoes…. 9jafoodie. So why do other people include tomatoes in their recipe????

See recipe below – I only made a few changes, I didn’t add iru (locust beans) because I didn’t have any and it stinks.

I already had to deal with stinky stockfish, tripe and cowleg and H2 was already complaining that I was stinking up the kitchen and corridor. I also used smoked chicken from waitrose – oh la la. This smoked chicken is the ish – blogging topic for another day.

I didn’t bleach the palmoil as V1 being a doctor et al turns her noses up at me when I use palmoil and she has ban me from bleaching the oil and it makes the oil even more unhealthy.

Recipe: Yoruba Style Efo Riro (adapted from 9jafoodie.com)

Ingredients:

Part A

  • 3 Red bell peppers
  • 1 medium onion bulb
  • 2 Scotch Bonnet

Preparation: Combine all of Part A in a blender. Puree until almost smooth. Pour the mixture into a pot, place on medium heat and boil until dried

Part B

  • 1 cup of palm oil
  • 1 medium onion bulb (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tablespoon blended crayfish
  • 2 cups stock fish (washed and de-boned and cooked)
  • Smoked chicken breast, cowleg, tripe, snails, etc
  • 2 tablespoons whole locust beans (Iru) – optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cube knorr cubes

Part C

  • 500g of chopped fresh spinach

Preparation: If using fresh spinach, place the spinach in a bowl, add ½ teaspoon of salt, cover with boiling water and place a lid over the bowl. Allow to rest for 15-20mins. Rinse out the spinach and squeeze out all excess water.

Directions:

  • Place a large pot over medium heat, add in the palm oil. Heat the oil for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the sliced onions and fry until lightly browned
  • Add in the end result of part A and the left over ingredients in part B. Cover and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes (The palm oil will float to the top when the sauce is ready).
  • Add in the spinach, combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning, leave to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Drain the excess oil if you want to be extra! Healthy!

 photo[1]

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Avocado and shrimp salad with diced pancetta, sliced roast chicken and sea salt & black pepper croutons

It’s the 3rd of January and I’m back at work really craving a shrimp and avocado salad…… On my way home from work, I decided to stop at M&S as it is right next to my office to buy some avocadoes (If you read this blog regularly you will know how much we love M&S food even though to be honest M&S dropped the ball a number of times in 2012 (blogging topic for another day)), the M&S food future is still very bright and we are seriously considering buying M&S shares because we spend so much money there. Anyway I immediately got lost in the store; skipped down the aisles looking for the perfect ingredients to add to my salad and ended up with this simple but delicious meal.

I ate my salad humming up to the last bite (I hum while I eat especially when the food is delish, *covers face*). Everyone enjoyed it and thought it was fantastic 🙂

Next time I will probably add cherry tomatoes for visual oomph…  Xx

PS: Shopping in M&S – Odikwa very very expensive.

DVees Recipe: Avocado and Shrimp Salad with diced pancetta, sliced roast chicken and sea salt & black pepper croutons

Ingredients:

  • 2 Avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 packs of raw shrimps (280g)
  • 1 Pack of lettuce – 300g
  • 1 pack of diced pancetta
  • 2 packs of roast chicken – sliced
  • Croutons
  • Chilli powder
  • Sweetcorn
  • 1 Tsp French Dressing
  • 1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar dressing
  • A dollop of mayonnaise – Optional

Method:

  • Lightly oil your wok pan and put on the cooker on very low heat.
  • Season the raw shrimps to taste
  • Place the shrimps in the pan, increase the heat and cook until pink and all shrimps are properly cooked.
  • Add in the diced pancetta and fry until lightly brown – This adds a bacon-y flavour to your salad
  • Add in the sliced roast chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes and leave to cool.
  • In a large bowl, place in your lettuce and sweet corn and mix
  • Once cooled, Throw in the shrimps mix, avocado and mix thoroughly
  • Add a pinch (or 2) of chilli powder depending on your taste (I like spicy)
  • Add 2 Tsp of French dressing and 1 Tsp of the balsamic vinegar dressing (You can add more or less depending on what you like) and a dollop of mayonnaise
  • Sprinkle the croutons with sea salt and black pepper, Add to the salad mix  – I add this last because I like my croutons crunchy
  • Mix with the fork and spoon until evenly distributed
  • And Serve….. Enjoy!!!

salad

In-law series: 2012 final edition

When H2’s sister and husband (BIL) are in town, H2 and I become the children…….. we meet up with them, go shopping with them, ooh and aahh at their purchases, carry the shopping bags and then end up in a good restaurant usually Royal China, eat, gist and let our ‘parents’ settle the bill. This mainly happens with H2’s sister, with BIL we skip the shopping and go straight to dinner.

Last week he was in town and we decided to take him out to dinner, act like adults, settle the bill et al…. then somewhere down the line we decided a meal at home was better seeing as he is in London without his family and had probably been eating out regularly anyway.

The plan was dinner at ours on Thursday evening at 7:30pm, I get back home from work at 7pm and as per usual H2 promised him 3 courses, my brain started working overtime….

……BIL is quite British; he was in boarding school in Bristol from the age of 6, stayed in the UK until his early 30s and then moved back to Nigeria.

My dilemma – Naija food or a good roast….

First Course: DVs creamy avocado prawns and plantain delight (https://dvees.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/dvs-creamy-avocado-prawns-and-plantain-delight/

Everybody loves plantain and this dish is just delish, I started watching masterchef on and off recently since one of my friends mentioned that it’s all that she watches.  If Michel Roux Jr. asked me to make a classic dish, this is the dish that I would make, plantains are not in the least French but the creamy avocado prawns with the slight hint of garlic, prawns and lashings of butter and cream have the makings of a classic French dish me thinks.

BIL’s verdict: He said it was beautiful and he meant it J

Creamy dodo

Main Course: Sweet potato, yam casserole with grilled smoked haddock (a fusion between Nigerian yam pottage (asaro) and a British potato casserole and a South American Smokey Sweet Potato Soufflé)

BIL did not want rice so I decided to make my special asaro J

BIL’s verdict: he said he loved fish, didn’t really comment on the casserole but his plate was empty and H2 assured me that it was lovely and H2 doesn’t fib to massage my ego.

asaro

Dessert: Apple crumble and custard

This was a risky choice because I thought he would either love it or be sick of it from his boarding school days.

I didn’t try to do superwoman, I picked up the crumble and custard from Waitrose, I even bought the essential brand.

BIL’s verdict: he was in heaven; he even did a little dance for us. Apparently he loves apple crumble… clearly I was in the Spirit!

Creamy dodo 2

TINGA TINGA TINGA TINGA… Tales from Africa

I love my nephew so much that sometimes, I forget I’m actually not his real mother. Every single thing he does gets me excited and makes me laugh. He recently started dancing and it is the cutest thing ever. He moves his shoulders from side to side, looks around and smiles.

Anyway, there’s a children’s series on CBeebies called Tinga Tinga Tales and he absolutely loves it! The moment they play the opening song, he gets up from wherever he is and starts smiling and jumping. He runs to the TV, looks back at us smiles, looks back at the TV, turns around and smiles. It’s the cutest thing ever. So we started calling him Tinga or Tinga Tinga.

 Tinga talestinga 2

His 1st birthday was on the 26th of July and I decided to make him a cake. In my bid to experiment, I decided to make a Tinga tinga cake. I had never worked with sugar paste icing before so this was extremely adventurous..

I did not realise how much time and effort it takes to carve out and mould shapes, I decided to make the monkey, elephant, lion and tortoise. This took all night to colour, carve, mould and stick together.

 lion

Lion – The King of Tinga Tinga 1

I made two vanilla cakes, not sure what I was going to do with them yet but along the way, I decided to put one on top of the other to create contours, the idea was to make the base a jungle but time and experience did not permit that. I finished the cake at 3pm just as guests were arriving #phew.

 Elephanttortoise

It took a lot of time and effort but I loved every single bit of it. I wanted it to be perfect for my little boy and he seemed to love it.

Happy animals

Final Cake

He loved it sooo much, he started tearing off the animals (I could feel my heart ripping in two as he picked up each object and devoured my handiwork *sigh*. But it also made me happy because it meant he loved it, he only goes for things he finds attractive)

Hopefully, one day I will make the jungle I intended to but for now, I think this worked perfectly.

Wesabi Fusion Debut Supper Club

Have you lusted after one of DVees uniquely bespoke creations? We secretly refer to it as Uniquely Bespoke | Gastronomy (the art of good food/eating) – ok I have run out of enticing descriptions. Basically this is one desire that you can satisfy, DVees are cooking tomorrow and on the 15th of December 2012 at the Wesabi Supper event.

One of my very good friends , Sabine (yes Tosin she’s my friend too) set up Wesabi Fusion and the debut supper event is on Saturday the 17th of November in the heart of Hoxton, London at 7pm. Email sabine@wesabifusion.com for tickets and more information. Next event is on the 15th of December 2012.

In Sabine’s words come and wack….…. chill in awesome company and experience fine food. You are warned the service will be a welcome surprise.

More pictures to tempt you in case the other pictures haven’t been tempting enough…..

Playing V2: House Warming!!!!

So, my flatmates and I did a house warming. I got to play V2 for a day. I was excited and went a bit overboard when I was trying to write a menu, I wrote like 12 dishes. I was trying to be superwoman like V2. Quick Story: I went to hers on Saturday. She was in the kitchen as she is most times. In the 3 hours I was there, I had Efo and Prawns, A bacon wrap, Roast Chicken, cakes and some sort of drink she made. She really likes cooking. Anyway back to my housewarming, my flatmates and I eventually decided on 8 dishes.

My flatmates were the perfect co-chefs. We all mixed our cooking skills together. Onyi and Fums made the Jollof Rice and Chicken – it was lovely. Apparently, the chicken tasted like Mr Biggs Chicken. I had only made fried rice once before that day (for some reason, it never crosses my mind to cook it). I tried it, not feeling confident at all but luckily it was decent. I also made dodo gizzard. I had never made this before. We always tell V2 off when she makes a meal she hasn’t made before for guests. I decided to just go ahead and do it and apparently it was good! Yayyy 

 What everyone loved most was the Chapman. I don’t know if it was because they hadn’t had chapman in a while or if it was actually as great as everyone was saying. Everyone went on about it. I went on to make baked plantain and chilli sauce and I was satisfied with what it tasted
 
There were cupcakes, some made by V3 the baker and some hummingbird. Got comments like our cakes tasted like hummingbird. Some even said they preferred it (do not know if it was washing but people went on about it) :D. The prawn sauce was nice as well. The pepper gizzard was even nicer, thanks to Onyi Aguma. I love my flatmates, and thanks to Seun for helping. I hope everyone loved the food. Proud to say the other Vs have had a positive influence on my cooking. Gone from being the taster to being a cook :D. 
 
I feel like I am turning into V2. Getting overly excited about hosting people, over cooking, experimenting, not being 100% sure, it coming out great and me being extremely pleased seeing everyone eat and knowing they loved it. Once again, I love my flatmates. 
 
Dodo Gizzard recipe:
1. Cut the plantain into small bits. Fry it,
2. Marinate the gizzard and boil it.
3. Pour oil into a pot. Heat it up.
4. Put tomato puree.
5. Pour chopped tomatoes and boil it.
6. Put in all the spices.
7. Add some plantain and gizzard to the pot. Mix properly.
8. Add some more. Keep mixing until it is finished.
Tip:
Marinate the gizzard for hours
Marinate the Chicken for hours.



The journey to the baking shores

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia ChildBaking randomly became a hobby of mine; actually not exactly randomly as growing up we had baking sessions with dad and sometimes mum and Aunty Justina.I was much smaller then so I spent most of my time licking the batter and eating the cake. I was quite chubby as a kid, hence the nickname mama. Thinking about it now, I had another nickname; liki liki (covers face). Could it have been from licking batter? lol Who knows?
 
So baking has always been somewhere in my system. Dad often came home with the latest Kenwood equipment that could blend, dice, shred, and mix. We would spend the next few months experimenting with each part of the equipment.  We baked, made our own minced meat, made ice cream, tried to make sausage, etcetera. And then we stopped baking for a while and randomly we decided to start baking again, at this point, V1 and V2 had moved to England and so I had sole responsibility, hehe (actually, Aunty G was in charge with V4 as my sous chef). 

I had an amazing Aunt, Aunty F(God bless her soul) who came to visit and saw us baking, she decided she needed to teach us how to do it the proper way and made me cream the egg and the whisk the batter by hand. I didn’t last 15mins, I disappeared to the room, V4 disappeared next and then Aunty G followed (what naughty children we were). Aunty F said she will come back to teach us how to bake. A week later she returned with a bread recipe and then I disappeared again. Lol. Now, I so wish I stayed and learnt how to bake bread. *Sigh*
 
My next attempt was at Imperial. I went to Sainsbury’s,bought my ingredients, made the batter and waited patiently for it to rise and bake. 45mins later, my cake was burnt! I had grilled the cake!!!! I turned the oven to grill instead of bake *sigh*. It was hilarious though. We managed to salvage what was left of the cake. It was a disaster but one thing that stood out was the taste. Somehow I managed to make delicious burnt cake.
 
Post University, one random day after work, I decided to start baking again. My first red velvet cake was a disaster. My tongue was red and it tasted bitter. I followed the hummingbird recipe to the letter. Hummingbird what went wrong? It occurred to me that the recipe that hummingbird publishes might be missing some secret steps, who knows? I decided to mix and match different recipes and I have discovered a recipe that does work for me that my family love (I believe).
I’ll be posting my different experiments and experiences. One thing I know for sure now is baking is an art! 
A few pictures of some of the cakes I have made:
 
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