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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Stuffed French Toast…. surprise your wife with a delicious breakfast

Breakfast in bed is indulgent, it can be romantic, fun or simply cosy…  Breakfast with someone you love be it your siblings, spouse, children or friends is magical.

These stuffed french toasts are scrumptious, mouth watering, diet destroying… and very easy to make.

PS: if your loved one insists on sticking to her diet after all your effort, you can have the french toast all to yourself and treat her to greek yogurt, strawberries and honey… “strawberries taste sweeter when you are spending time with someone who makes you swoon”.

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DVees recipe: Stuffed French Toast

 Ingredients

  • Sliced Brioche Bread – 4 slices
  • 2 Tbps of Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of jam (strawberry or blackcurrant)
  • Fresh strawberries
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon French almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • Cinanmon (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Mix the cream cheese together with the jam; spread mixture equally between the bread slices.
  2. Top with strawberry slices and make two sandwiches
  3. Heat a frying pan over a moderate heat. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat in the milk and almond extract.
  4. Dip both sides of the sandwiches in the egg mixture.
  5. Melt the butter in the frying pan. Fry each sandwich gently for 3 to 4 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until nicely coloured and warmed through.
  6. Dust with cinnamon and sugar, cut in half and serve with the Greek-style natural yoghurt.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s banana stuffed toast

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.

DVees meal planner

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 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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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!

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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!!!

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