Tuesday, 16 January 2018

High-Protein Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie [Video]

A breakfast or snack that tastes like a cool, creamy milkshake? Yes, please. The classic combo of peanut butter and banana, along with a generous addition of ground flaxseed makes for a highly nutritious, protein-packed drink that's ideal for post-workouts or whenever you feel like your diet could use a protein boost. Freezing the bananas overnight would be my top tip for taking this smoothie to another level because the consistency you get is - for want of a more sophisticated word - lush!

(serves 2)
- 2 cups Vita Coco coconut milk
- 3 bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen
- 1 heap tablespoon smooth, unsalted peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
- pinch mixed spice (optional)

In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Keeps in the fridge for up to two days.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Vegan Nigerian Stories: Blessing

Hey folks, in this new blog series, I introduce you to other Nigerian vegans. Hear their stories and be inspired! If you would like to be featured in this series, drop a comment below or send me a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


Tell us about yourself.
Hey, my name is Blessing! I'm a Yoruba girl who moved to London at the age of 7, but I'm currently living in Spain. I'm into travelling, language learning, food and rock music. 

Describe your vegan journey.
I went vegan in November 2016 and I can't believe how quickly it's gone. Like most Nigerians, my diet growing up was predominantly: rice, stew, and a rotation of meat, chicken, fish etc. And I loved it all! I was really into food and kinda prided myself on being up for eating anything, so long as it tasted good. I didn't care. 

I don't think I ever considered where the "protein" came from until I first went back to Nigeria after leaving at the age of 7 where I witnessed my grandad killing a live chicken. Up until earlier that day we had been chasing the chickens around the same way we did with my grandparents' dogs. I remember feeling a bit horrified and sickened. I've always been incredibly empathetic, and even though I didn't feel right about it, I initially chose to ignore it because everywhere you turn, we're basically told that animals are products to be consumed any which way we see fit. 

I went along with this line of thought for a long time, but the turning point for me was when I went to an art gallery with two friends. A piece showed a fish caught in a drinks can plastic holder and I suddenly became angered and appalled, going on a rant about our mistreatment of the planet and its creatures. The conversation ended with my friend saying: "wow, it sounds like you should be vegetarian or something". And up until that point I seriously would have laughed at the idea of becoming a vegetarian, but when she said it, it just made sense. I went home with the intention of eating less animal flesh, but after researching the animal industry, I could no longer see animal flesh in the same way. I went vegetarian literally overnight. Over the course of the month I researched more and more into the effects of animal products on our health, the planet, and other human beings, and by the end of November I was fully vegan. 

How did your family and friends react to you going vegan?

Rice, vegetable stew & plantain
Surprisingly, a lot of them were very supportive. I'm not sure they understand it (or want to), but I've found that even the most hard-core meat-eaters will go out of their way to make you a vegan plate if they're your friend or family and you make it clear to them that you are convicted in your decision. The only person who took it to heart was one of my grandmothers (ha!). She continuously offered me non-vegan items (What do you mean snail isn't vegan?? Yes it has meat stock inside but there's no actual meat. Dried fish counts as an animal??But I think most grandparents are like that when you turn down food in general!

A lot of my friends and family thought vegan food does not taste or look good, so as someone who loves cooking and eating out, I've enjoyed the challenge of proving them wrong and showing them that there is a delicious vegan alternative to the vast majority of foods. You can still eat at Nandos and your favourite pizza and Chinese restaurant. No, you don't have to order a salad. Yes, vegan ice cream is real and just as good as the real thing. It really is almost always possible to find tasty vegan food anywhere.  

Describe your experience of being vegan while on holiday in Nigeria.

Again, as someone who loves cooking, I already knew how to veganise all my favourite meals, so I didn't find it challenging. I researched the staples of each region before arriving and really enjoyed a lot of local produce. 
Indian restaurant in Lekki

With regard to eating out, I didn't go to many restaurants. The only two vegan-friendly restaurants I ate at were:
  • An Indian restaurant in Lekki. The staff were helpful and willing to modify many dishes and the food was really delicious. Make sure you remind them not to use Ghee in any of your dishes. 
  • A vegan restaurant in Freedom park, Lagos [called Veggie Victory]. I went back three times because it was that good. Seriously! 
If you go out to eat at Nigerian eateries, everything apart from freshly boiled yam, rice and beans will be seasoned with Knorr (which generally isn't vegan), so definitely eat before or/and bring a snack. The one and only time I found myself in a Nigerian eatery and hungry, I simply ordered plain rice and beans and asked them to drizzle some oil and salt over it for me (which was surprisingly tasty, but definitely not something I'd recommend eating regularly). 

Veggie Victory menu

Veggie suya

Describe some of the meals you ate.
Akara (street food)
Breakfast: Oats with soy milk (loads of brands have dairy milk mixed in so check carefully) or water. Fresh fruit. Fruit smoothies. Yam or bread with tofu scramble or fried tomato stew with chopped garden egg (a.k.a. aubergine - super easy to find). 

Lunch/dinner: When cooking at home I would have things like fried and Jollof rice. Plain rice/potatoes/swallow (eba, iyan etc.) with fried tomato stew, leafy vegetable stew (sometimes okra or gbegiri). I would sometimes add things like mushrooms. 
When out and about in the city, i could have chips and ketchup or cheese-less pizza with all the vegetable toppings. 

Snacks : Fresh fruit, plantain chips, roasted plantain, kokoro (a maize snack), akara, roasted or boiled corn on the cob. All of these are relatively easy to find on the corner of most main streets. I also discovered a bunch of accidentally vegan biscuits sold on every street corner.

Share some tips for anyone who wants to go vegan in Nigeria or those travelling to Nigeria as a vegan tourist.
Fried buns
  • If you're staying with people who you know will want to cook for you, give them a heads up and send them a list of things you can eat. Don't spring it on them at the last minute. 
  • Again, Knorr generally isn't vegan, so unless you want bland food, buy curry seasoning or your favourite spices and use it to season your meals when at home. 
  • Take a snack with you when going out, just in case. 
  • Shoprite has a lot of the less traditional food items. It's a bit pricier but if you want more international food ingredients, go there. 
  • Eat yam, plantain, corn and leafy green stew. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables (there's nothing quite like a fresh mango straight from someone's garden). 
  • Most importantly, just enjoy the beauty, variety and vibrancy that Nigeria has to offer. 
Sunset in Ibadan

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

DIY: Coconut and Hibiscus Lip Balm

I stand by what I said in the video - life without lip balm is a dry and crusty existence. Aside from my phone and wallet, it is the one constant thing I have to have with me whenever I'm out and about. Hands up if you can relate.

In this fun little video and post, I show you how to make your very own coconut, shea butter and hibiscus-infused lip balm. Goodbye crust, hello nourishment.

If you're stuck on where to find soy wax, click here to get 500g of the stuff for £3.50 on Amazon. Similarly, you can get dried hibiscus flowers for £2.20 here.

(Makes 1 small pot)

- 1 heap tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp shea butter
- 1 tsp soy wax
- 1 tsp hibiscus syrup

For homemade hibiscus syrup:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel)
- 1 level tsp brown sugar

If you're making your own hibiscus syrup, add the water, dried hibiscus flowers and brown sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil until it just starts to thicken.

Place the coconut oil, shea butter, soy wax and 1 tsp of the hibiscus syrup in a small microwavable bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and stir. Heat for another 10-20 seconds if necessary and stir again until the oils and wax have melted.

Pour into a small lip balm container (you can reuse an empty one) and leave to set completely. If you're impatient, pop it in the fridge to set in half the time.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Vegan Bounty Chocolate Bars | Vita Coco [Video]

The holidays may be over, but the fun doesn't have to stop. I know we've probably all promised (whether out loud on social media or just in our heads) to dive straight into healthy eating this new year, so you'll be pleased to know that these bounty bars are as guilt-free as they come. 

This recipe features a couple of Vita Coco products which I received as a gift from the company towards the end of last year. Aside from how beautiful and cheerful the brand is, the products themselves are of such high quality and can be used in a variety of creative ways. Look out for more coconut-inspired recipes this month as I experiment like the wind!

(makes 12 approx.)
- 2.5 cups desiccated coconut
- 1 cup Vita Coco coconut milk
- 5 tbsp maple/fruit/rice syrup
- 5 tbsp Vita Coco coconut oil (melted)
- 2-3 cups dark chocolate (melted)

In a mixing bowl, combine the desiccated coconut, coconut milk, syrup and coconut oil. 
SIDE NOTE: not in the video, but it helps if you warm up the mixture slightly so that the coconut oil does not solidify in clumps. 

Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Shape the mixture into bounty bar shapes and place on a lined tray. Freeze for up to an hour (this allows the filling to hold its form when you dip it in the chocolate).

Using a fork to lift each coconut bar, dip in the melted chocolate to coat entirely and place each one back on the lined tray.

Freeze for another 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. Enjoy!

Based in London? Look out for my cookery demo at Vegan Life Live on February 10th. I'll be using Vita Coco products to whip up a delicious plantain recipe. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 Recap | Happy New Year!

2017 was exciting in a lot of ways. The Vegan Nigerian popped up a couple of times for a dinner party and a Christmas feast.

I also had the opportunity to cater at a music festival, exhibit at Maidstone Vegan Festival for the second year in a row, and finally take the bold step to exhibit at London VegFest for the first time, bringing the deliciousness of Nigerian snacks to a wider audience on one day and showcasing some of my favourite yam recipes at a cookery demo on another day (more demos to come this year - check the 'Events' page for listings).

My private Airbnb dinners were steady through the year, allowing me to meet and cater to travellers from as far and wide as Canada, Sweden, China, India and the United States!

It was also a good year for travelling as I got to explore the vegan food scenes in Copenhagen and Zurich.

From stuffed plantain cups to vegan bbqs, it was also an amazing year for experimenting with food and further showcasing that this vegan life ain't so bad :)

I want to use this opportunity to thank every single person that has shown and offered their support and kindness along this journey. I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year, and look forward to what 2018 brings!

Love, Tomi x

Let's stay connected. If you're on Facebook, TwitterInstagram or YouTube, do follow The Vegan Nigerian for more fun content.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Top 10 Vegan Christmas Recipes

If you're short on ideas for your vegan spread this Christmas season, here are my top 10 picks of wonderfully festive recipes to try, in no particular order (because let's be real, jollof rice would beat brussels sprouts to the top spot every. single. time.). These are dishes that are already up on the blog so simply click the titles to get to the recipe page!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and New Year in advance! xo

1. Brussels Sprouts
But y'know, properly spiced and seasoned so they don't taste like old socks.

2. Beans and Plantain Canapes
So visually appealing that you'll want to hang them up on your Christmas tree.

3. Nigerian Roasted Vegetables
The result of plantain, yam, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables hanging out together in the oven.

4. Jollof Rice and Plantain
What's a party without jollof? I'm waiting for you to tell me.

5. Plantain Fried Rice
What's a party without fried rice? Still great if there's jollof rice, but why limit yourself...

6. Coconut and Turmeric Roast Potatoes
A fancy schmancy take on roast potatoes for cooks who want to show off this Christmas.

7. Pumpkin Spice Puff Puff
Little bite-sized doughnut puffs of goodness, bursting with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Yes.

8. Christmas Pudding
Want to really really really impress? Make this.

9. Nutty Chocolate Truffles
Picture it. You're snuggled up on the sofa with a Netflix movie on the TV screen. You've got a whole bowl of these. And you refuse to pass them round. They're all yours.

10. Raw Vegan Mince Pies
I'll be the first to admit that this one is right on the border of ridiculous. But look at how cute it is though!