Saturday, 23 August 2014

BREAD ROLLS

These turn out perfect every time and is a great way to get your whole house smelling like a bakery! I used these for my yam burgers and the texture was perfect. It held together well and was easy to cut through.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Ingredients
(makes 6-8)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 cups wholegrain flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt
- melted vegan margarine or coconut oil (to glaze)
- sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and leave to sit for about five minutes. 

In a large mixing bowl, add the plain flour, wholegrain flour, dissolved yeast mixture, coconut milk and salt. 

Knead for 10-15 mins on a floured surface until you have a smooth dough. 

Place in a bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 6-8 buns and arrange on a baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for a further 40 mins.

Brush with some melted vegan margarine or coconut oil (sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, if you want) and bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 6, for 15-20 mins until golden brown on top.

Friday, 22 August 2014

HOMEMADE KETCHUP

My quick and easy version is super tasty and will go perfectly with your veggie burgers and chips. Also great as a dip for crisps and crudités. I used this sauce with the yam burgers I made yesterday and it complemented it perfectly! 


Ingredients
(makes 2 cups)
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar / apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp corn flour

Blend the tomatoes, bell pepper and water until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Boil for about 5 minutes on high heat then turn the heat down completely and allow to simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. 

Dissolve the cornflour in a little hot water. Add to the sauce and stir well. Bring to the boil again, stirring continuously until the sauce starts to thicken.

Allow to cool before serving. 
Store in a glass jar to maintain the freshness. Keep refrigerated and use within a week.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

SIMPLE SALAD

The salads seem to have it these days. Here's another fresh, easy recipe. There are days when I crave simplicity in my food and this is just one example of what I'm likely to put together.
This was originally posted on my instagram page (www.instagram.com/vegannigerian) and got sufficient attention for me to turn it into a post. Feel free to add as much or as little of each ingredient as you want. I used one tomato and about a 1/4 cucumber for this particular dish. The more greens you can pack in, the better. Vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) are generally very low in calories, so you don't need to be afraid of eating them to your heart's content. More mouthfuls... Each one packed with decent vitamins and minerals... Win. 


Ingredients
- shredded lettuce
- tomatoes (thinly sliced)
- cucumber (thinly sliced)
- whole almonds
- juice of 2 lemons
- dried mixed herbs
- cayenne pepper
- sea salt 
- capers (optional)

Place/arrange the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and mixed herbs together in a small bowl. Pour over the salad. Sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt for extra taste, and a few capers (optional). 
It tastes even better when you leave it to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

BEST VEGAN SALAD...

...I've made so far.

Perhaps it's the variety.

Or the lemon-scented dressing.

Or the inclusion of plantain.

Whatever it is, this salad hits all the right spots. It's crunchy, slightly tart, sweet, savoury, and incredibly filling.

I've peeled the carrots with my good ol' julienne peeler (remember this recipe?). You can get yours here too (in the 'kitchen' section).


Ingredients
(serves 1-2)
- 1 plantain

- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce (thinly shredded)
- 1 large carrot (julienned/cut into strips)
- 1/4 small red onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
- raisins/sultanas
- 1 tbsp chopped nuts
- fresh strawberries (optional)

For the dressing:
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp maggi seasoning
- 1 tsp olive oil

Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, maggi seasoning, olive oil and dried thyme in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour over the salad and mix well.

Peel and slice the plantain diagonally. You have two options on how to cook the plantain. For a leaner dish, grill the slices, turning them over to brown on both sides. Alternatively, you can make traditional fried plantain by frying the slices in a little sunflower oil, turning over to brown both sides. Remember to drain the excess oil on some kitchen paper.

Serve the salad with the plantain. Enjoy a filling, wholesome lunch or dinner.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

NICE CREAM : 25 DELICIOUS, DAIRY-FREE RECIPES

I hope you're all enjoying the summer and keeping safe.

I am very pleased to share my new e-book featuring 25 scrumptious vegan ice cream recipes.
They're all healthy, guilt-free and totally delicious! So you can indulge as much as you want without worrying about your waistline. 

Would love it if you could download a copy and share with family, friends and anyone you think will find it useful! This is one way to brighten up your summer and treat yourself and your loved ones to something that treats you well in return.  

You can find it in the Amazon Kindle Store or in my store under the 'Books and DVDs' section.

Thanks guys! :) x



A little teaser of the kind of recipes you'll find inside:

 Coconut Candy

Spicy Chocolate

Caramel Cone


Thursday, 31 July 2014

FOUR LAYER CHOCOLATE CAKE

Hello folks,

If you're not following the blog on Facebook yet, then what are you waiting for?! :) I'm going to be trying extra hard this month to post lots of useful/interesting links and articles, so do join in and get liking and sharing and all that good social mediary stuff. 

I recently posted up some pictures of this indulgent four-layer chocolate cake that I made for my brother's birthday. The response was great, so I hope you give it a go at home and enjoy the final results as much as my family did. Or make it for someone special and watch their eyes bug out mid-bite as you casually reveal that it is, indeed, entirely vegan! 

My brother was a massive fan. And before you say: 'Well, he has to say he likes it, you're family etc etc...', it is worth pointing out that no one tells it to me straight like he does. He has been the guinea-pig for many of my crazy kitchen experiments and he never fails to say exactly what's on his mind - whether good or bad or...outrageous. With his infamous sweet-tooth and life-long experience in tucking into more cakes than he'd probably like to admit, I was thrilled to receive his positive feedback on this one.

Also, I've never had this much fun baking a cake before. I'm not ashamed to admit that this one came with diagrams and to-do lists and revised shopping lists and... well, I got a liiitttlllee bit obsessed with the idea of what I wanted it to look and taste like. Took two days to construct: one day to bake all the layers and let them cool, another day to create the fillings and ice it up. It's technical, it's time-consuming, and there are many steps involved. Only start this if you have a free weekend or couple of days on your hands.

You'll need a 12" cake tin, cake spatula or palette knife, piping bags and nozzles. 

Enough chatter. Recipe time.
































Ingredients
For first cake mixture:
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1.5 cups soft brown sugar
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 2 cups water

For second cake mixture:
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1.5 cups soft brown flour
- 6 tbsp dried/shredded coconut
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water

For the filling:
- 3 cans coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 6 pitted dates (or 1 cup raisins/sultanas)
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (or other fruit of your choice)

For the frosting:
- 6 ripe avocados
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 8 pitted dates (or 1 cup raisins/sultanas)
- 4-6 tbsp cocoa powder

For the decoration:
Go wild. Do what you want. But I used...
- dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, etc.)
- dessicated coconut
- dark chocolate squares

To make the two separate cake mixtures, always start by mixing the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder etc.) in a large bowl.  Then mix the wet ingredients (oil, water, vinegar, coconut milk, etc.) in another bowl and whisk lightly with a fork before adding it to the dry ingredients. It is important that you combine this way in order to get the right cake texture.

When you've made the first cake mixture, divide it into two equal parts and bake each part individually in a lightly greased 12" cake tin for 30 minutes in the oven, gas mark 5. Allow to cool slightly before taking out of the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat this process for the second cake mixture.

If possible, allow all 4 cake layers to cool down completely overnight before attempting the filling and frosting.

To make the filling, take the refrigerated cans of coconut milk and scoop out the coconut fat that separates to the top. Avoid adding the excess liquid that has sunk to the bottom. Blend the coconut cream, dates (or raisins/sultanas) and cocoa powder in a food processor until smooth and creamy. 

Start to assemble the cake (on a cake board or tray) by spreading the cream filling between each cake layer. Arrange the chopped fresh strawberries (or other fruit) in one of the layers along with the coconut cream. I did this to have a burst of fruit freshness in each slice. Plus it adds a nice vibrant colour.

Place the stacked cake in the fridge while you make the frosting.


To make the frosting, blend the avocados, dates (or raisins/sultanas) and cocoa powder in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Take the cake out of the fridge and frost the cake with about 3/4 of the frosting mixture using a palette knife or cake spatula to get a smooth covering. Don't worry about getting it perfectly smooth. It's a messy job so be prepared to wipe around the base of the cake board afterwards.


Use the other 1/4 of the frosting mixture to pipe along the base or anywhere else you wish. I used the little that was left to pipe the number '24' on the top.


Decorate with a mixture of dried fruits like bright red cranberries; sprinkle on some dessicated coconut; top with chocolate squares/chunks/chips etc... 

Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving so that the frosting hardens up a little. Store in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days.


Get creative with your decorations and send me a picture of the final product. If I get responses, I will feature them on the blog at some point... 




Monday, 21 July 2014

RICE WITH CARROTS + E-BOOK REVIEW

My super talented blogger friend, Ada, released an e-book today! When I first got into blogging, she was one of the first to welcome me and leave all kinds of lovely, encouraging comments on my posts. Before I get on to a review of her handy guide-book, I have a quick and easy recipe to share.

Don't let the simplicity of this dish fool you. There's something about this combination that I can't quite put my finger on and I found myself wanting to eat large amounts of it. Perfect as a side or even as a main meal.


Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 carrots (sliced)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- water
- salt to taste


Heat the oil in a cooking pot and sauté the chopped garlic for a few seconds. Add the rice and cover with enough water (approx. 3-4 cups). Add the curry powder, thyme, chili powder, stock cube, and season with salt. Stir, cover with a lid and turn the heat all the way down. When the water has nearly dried out and the rice is almost ready, stir in the chopped carrots and cook for a few more minutes to allow the carrots to soften. Serve hot or warm.

--

E-BOOK REVIEW: GET U.G.L.Y.


Low self-esteem. Body image insecurities. These are issues we all face at one point or another in our lives. In her no-nonsense guide, replete with personal anecdotes, Ada gets to the heart of the matter and offers her reader 10 fool-proof tips on how to achieve that sometimes elusive thing called self-acceptance.                                                 
By adopting the acronym U.G.L.Y. (Unconditionally Grateful Looking like You), she deconstructs the superficial label of 'pretty' and emphasises the importance of searching deeper and recognising the innate value we all possess, regardless of our outward physical appearance.                         

The tips range from the very practical (think posture and the power of smiling!) to the more abstract and perhaps more challenging ("stop trying to be pretty, work on being attractive" - a seeming paradox that she goes on to clarify with much nuance). 

The book will take you hardly any time at all to read and it must be said that the beautiful layout also makes the reading experience that bit more enjoyable. 

Why do I think it is worth checking out? Because although some of the tips may appear obvious at first sight, they are timely truths that we need to be reminded of as often as possible. So grab a refreshing drink of your choice, take a few minutes out of your busy day, and get stuck in.                                                            

Click here to subscribe to Ada's blog and get your free copy of the e-book!

Friday, 18 July 2014

SUMMER DRINK #4 - NIGERIAN CHAPMAN

Anyone else sweltering in the heat today? Summer is my favourite time of the year. I really can't get enough of it, because then I get to make tasty, refreshing drinks like this one.

Chapman is a popular cocktail drink in Nigeria which you'll find served at restaurants, bars and most big events. Next to the club sandwich, it exists in my memory as one of those fascinating things grown-ups had at fancy restaurants or sipped by the pool at places like Ikoyi Club. 

It's usually made using Angostura bitters, lemonade, fanta and some sort of blackcurrant cordial. If you run a quick google search, you'll find that there's no shortage of detailed recipes online. What I'm offering here is a healthier version of the drink. I've chucked out the soda and made a few swaps: 

fanta -> freshly squeezed orange juice
lemonade -> fresh lemon juice and sparkling water


Ingredients
- 6 cups blackcurrant juice or diluted ribena
- 6 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 cups sparkling water
- juice of 2 lemons
- lemon, lime, orange and cucumber slices (to garnish)
- ice cubes

I mixed mine in a large punch bowl and threw in a generous helping of sliced lemons, lime, oranges and cucumber. Throw in some ice cubes for some extra chill. 

                                      

                                      

Monday, 14 July 2014

VARO JOLLOF RICE GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Thank you to everyone who entered the jollof rice giveaway. I've never had this many entries for a giveaway before, which only encourages me to do more like this. I wish I could give a box to everyone who entered but, alas, only 3 winners can be selected.

CONGRATULATIONS:

- Claire Efua Barber
- Akibo Tommie
- Nafisa Shehu

Please shoot me an e-mail at vegannigerian@gmail.com with your contact details.

Thanks again for the continued support. Stay tuned for more EPIC giveaways on the blog! :)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE POTS

Credit to Anemistyle for this beautiful creation, which has quite easily changed my culinary life :) I was spoilt rotten when I had lunch at hers this past week. You can check out pictures of the vegan dishes she rustled up on the Facebook page. One of the desserts she made was the very delectable 'bounty in a cup' which was assembled with creamy, home-made, vegan chocolate mousse and a soft coconut layer in the middle. The chocolate bar 'Bounty' used to be one of my favourites in my pre-vegan days and so I didn't even need to taste the dessert to fall head over heels with it. I was blown away by the texture of the mousse, and was unable to guess the secret ingredient to getting it so smooth and creamy. You probably won't be able to guess either, but you will be delighted with the results - trust me! The ingredients are easy to find and are all indigenous to Nigeria, so I hope to hear some feedback from a lot of you who try it at home!

A dose of spontaneity is always good for the soul so when lunch was over, we ventured to the nearby grocery store to pick up some ingredients to experiment a bit more with the chocolate mousse. The experiment involved flavouring some of the mousse with a touch of chilli, and topping with a range of fruits to see what worked and what didn't. Three tropical fruits were selected for the task - mango, banana, and orange. I will be reviewing the mango and banana.

Dried mango - this was probably my favourite combination. The mousse for this pot didn't have any chilli added, which I think was for the best as it would have overwhelmed the flavour of the mango. The mango added some extra sweetness and a chewiness to every bite - a welcome contrast to the creamy mousse and slightly crunchy coconut. It would be worth experimenting with some fresh mango to see if that works as well. If any of you do use fresh mango, let me know what you think.






Banana - the mousse used for this pot was flavoured with chilli. I overdid the chilli in this one, and have adjusted the recipe below. It was wayyy too hot, even for a spice enthusiast like myself. Chilli-chocolate is a wonderful combination when the balance is right, so go easy if you decide to add some. As for using fresh banana as a topping, you can't go wrong with that. I plan to re-make this soon using the amended recipe.







Ingredients
(makes 4)
- 2 ripe avocados
- 2-3 heap tsp cocoa powder
- 4-5 tsp brown sugar (or any sugar replacement of your choice)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 6 tsp grated/dessicated coconut
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp brown sugar (or sugar replacement of your choice)
- Fruit slices (mango, banana, orange...whatever you have available)

To make the chocolate mousse, blend the avocados in a food processor or mash it by hand with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, 4-5 tsp sugar, pinch of salt, vanilla essence and optional chilli powder. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.

To make the coconut layer, place the grated/dessicated coconut in a bowl, add the water and 1 tsp sugar. Combine to form a soft coconut paste.

To assemble the dessert, start by layering some mousse at the bottom of a small glass cup or ramekin, making sure to smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Next, add a generous layer of the coconut mixture. Finish off with another layer of chocolate mousse, smooth it out, and top with some slices of fresh fruit. Sprinkle on any leftover coconut to garnish.

Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or until you are ready to serve them. It should keep for up to two days.


We also scooped some into tiny cupcake cases and topped them with different things: banana, coconut and mango, cashew nuts. Bite-size portions that can be frozen for a melt-in-the-mouth treat.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

VEGAN FOOD DISCOVERIES

Last weekend was particularly vegan-tastic. I had so much fun going out and about, discovering some awesome vegan treats along the way. The pictures are not great because this wasn't a planned post and so I spent less time being arty-farty about the picture quality... but they will give you a general idea of some of my finds. 

If you haven't followed me on Instagram yet then head on over to get a glimpse at some of the things I get up to when I'm not blogging - and also to check out some other vegan meals I eat (that don't make it onto the blog). www.instagram/vegannigerian 

This post will highlight a handful of my favourite vegan finds from over the weekend. You might want to check some of them out for yourself.

1. Greenwich Market - a surprising number of vegan-friendly stalls and market kitchens.

- Vegan Sweet Tooth (Organic Homemade Bakery)
I bought their chocolate brownie (and ate it before I remembered to take a picture). I had a difficult time picking something to try because everything looked so good - carrot cake, orange polenta cake, muffins, fruit tartlets, savoury pies etc. A really impressive spread. 

- Ngozi's Kitchen
A range of wonderfully healthy hot sauces made with peppers and tomatoes, from sweet/mild to extra hot. Low sodium, very little oil. Full of heat and flavour. I tried all the samples and eventually bought the sweet sauce. It went great with a bit of rice and plantain.

2. The V Delicious Show 2014 - vegetarian and vegan products exhibited under one roof = magical.

- Ruby's of London (Artisan Vegan Patisserie)
If there is any vegan company from the V Delicious show worth raving about, it has got to be Ruby's of London. We had a great conversation with the lovely co-ordinator who was so informative and friendly, as well as incredibly encouraging when she heard a bit about my blog. We were gifted with three gorgeous cupcakes - 2 'triple chocolate' and a 'raspberry ripple'. Apart from the beautiful designs, the cupcakes tasted like everything a good quality cupcake should taste like. Rich, fluffy and indulgent. I couldn't believe how perfect the textures were. Vegan baking extraordinaire.

3. Carnival - sun, music, food glorious food.

I attended a street carnival; spent a good 3 hours walking the entire length of the street and stopping to take in the different carnival attractions - dance performances, DJ sets, face painting, etc. I have decided that there is something indescribably enchanting about getting lost in a crowd. It wasn't that difficult finding something to eat. There were A LOT of barbecues, but also snatches of culturally diverse cuisines with vegetarian/vegan options. I settled on some flavoursome Nepalese vegetable noodles. When in doubt, seek out the less obvious food options.
                   



Friday, 4 July 2014

VARO JOLLOF RICE REVIEW + GIVEAWAYS ! (CLOSED)

Nigerian food going mainstream? Yes, please! I am so excited to be reviewing this product, and even more excited to be giving some packs away to selected readers. Keep reading to find out more.



Varo is a recently established company founded by Omamo Binitie, a Nigerian-born entrepreneur based in London. Their first product launch in February 2013 was ready-to-eat moin moin, available in over 100 shops across Britain and Ireland, including one of the largest supermarket chains, Tesco. 

Their latest product launch is the incredibly moreish jollof rice in two variations - plain and with vegetables. As I've mentioned before, jollof rice is probably my all-time favourite dish and so the idea of it being available to a wider audience across the UK at such an affordable price (it will retail at £1.60) is a thrilling prospect! 

I was immediately impressed with the packaging - clean design, professional, colourful and attractive. There is no way you could walk past it on a supermarket shelf without taking a second glance. I have tried a few rice-based ready-meals in my time and nothing comes as close to how flavourful Varo's jollof rice is. But then again, come on, this is jollof rice we're talking about. It's only the greatest style of eating rice known to mankind, as any loyal West African will tell you :)


Two minutes in the microwave and I had a delicious portion of jollof rice in front of me. At that precise moment, it struck me just how revolutionary this product is. With over 1.5 million West Africans living in the UK, any one of them could be having a lazy day and in the mood for a familiar taste of home without the stress and effort of cooking from scratch. A quick visit to their local Tesco store for a pouch of Varo jollof rice and they'd be sorted! Beyond this core target audience, non-Nigerians will finally get to see why Nigerian cuisine is worth checking out. 

What makes all this even better is that Varo's products are free from artificial preservatives or colours, and are 100% natural. 

I can't rave enough about how fresh the rice tastes, and there's just enough spice to satisfy those who like a bit of heat, but not too much to make it inedible for those with more sensitive taste buds.
Not content with just trying it by myself though, I had it as a meal with one of my housemates, Elisabeth, who is now excited at the prospect of making it a regular addition to her weekly shop. Says it all really.

Would I eat this again? Absolutely. Varo was generous enough to send me a mouth-watering stash and I get to share some of it with you too. 

Before we get to that...

Show some love and check out Varo on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!


GIVEAWAY

3 winners. Each will get a box containing six Varo Jollof Rice pouches.

The rules are simple:

2. Like, Share and Comment on the giveaway post (using the hashtags #varo #vegannigerian)

OR

1. Leave a comment down below
2. Share this blog post on a social media site of your choice (Facebook, Twitter..etc), tag @vegannigerian

Winners will be notified on Monday 14th July. If I don't hear back within 2 days, another winner will be selected.
Do get involved. This jollof rice is the bomb! :) 

                                            

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

SUYA SPICED VEGETABLE KEBABS

We had a bunch of vegetable skewers left over from a bbq we had over the weekend and so I decided to spice some up for dinner last night. 

Suya is a popular street food in Nigeria - a shish kebab usually prepared using strips of skewered beef coated with suya spice (a.k.a. 'yaji') and oil, and then grilled over charcoal. It is normally sold wrapped in old newspaper and is a firm favourite among consumers across the nation. Various spice mixes exist; this is my take on it. 

Here, I had a good mix of chunky vegetables to work with: red onion, mixed bell peppers, and mushrooms. Feel free to experiment with whatever veg you have available. Why not try cubes of parboiled potatoes or carrots...? The options are endless. The key thing is to get your spice right! And hopefully this post will help you achieve that.


Ingredients
(for 8-10 skewers)
- abundant mix of chunky vegetables
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 cup roasted peanuts (finely ground)
- 1 tbsp corriander seeds 
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp all spice
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt

To make the the suya spice, place the roasted peanuts, spices and salt in a pestle and mortar and grind to a smooth powder. Alternatively, you could place them in a plastic bag, seal and crush with a blunt object such as a rolling pin.

Place the mix of chunky vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle on the sunflower oil and add 3/4 of the suya spice, mixing well to coat all the vegetables.

Skewer the vegetables and line them up on a foil-lined baking tray. When you're ready to cook them, place in a preheated oven (gas mark 6) for 15 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Or place them on a barbecue/grill and grill as normal, turning frequently to prevent excessive charring. 

Sprinkle with the rest of the suya spice and serve hot.



Serving suggestion: with jollof rice

Friday, 27 June 2014

YAM CANAPES

Fiddly little things, but well worth the effort if you have the time. I made these for an end of term dinner party I hosted recently. My first proper fully vegan dinner party, now that I think about it. Not a drop of meat or dairy to appease my non-veggie guests ;) The last time I cooked for a significant number of people, I caved at the last minute and gingerly put a chicken dish together. I tend to have pretty good instincts when it comes to flavouring/seasoning, but with no way of tasting the thing myself, goodness knows what they had to endure. At least there was no gagging... which is always a good sign.

So yes, it was a blissful experience putting the food together this time around... maxing out on flavours and techniques using all my plant-based ingredients. There were about four other dishes on my selected menu including a spicy red vegetable curry, fried rice and a couple of intricate salads. A friend had agreed to handle dessert - a simple, healthy fruit salad to balance the heavy main course.

These yam canapés easily took the longest time to make and were an accidental addition to the menu. I was all set on making just the plantain canapés (which you can sorta make out in the background of the picture below) but realised that I had only one plantain left at home and no time to go out and buy some more. They looked a bit sad on the tray and so these mini yam taste explosions were born. The filling was also an experiment using the ingredients I had lying around. If you've ever had fried yam then you know just how amazing it tastes on its own. But with the creamy avocado-pepper-potato filling...? Pure magic. 

It is absolutely important that the yam is thinly sliced or else the canapés will go from bite-sized treats to full on bricks that are awkward to eat. Just to warn you.


Ingredients
- 10 slices of yam (thinly sliced!)
- sunflower oil
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 medium potato (boiled or baked whole until soft)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
- chopped red pepper and spring onions (to garnish)
- salt and pepper (to taste)

Trim around each round slice of yam to form a roughly square shape. Then cut into four equal parts.
Have a tray ready and line it with some kitchen paper. Shallow fry the yam pieces in a little sunflower oil, turning them over until lightly brown and crispy on both sides. You'll need to do this in batches in order to have enough time to turn each one over. Place each piece on the lined tray to drain off any excess oil. 

To make the filling, sauté the chopped garlic and bell peppers in the little oil left from frying the yam for about a minute on low heat. Cut the boiled potato in half and scoop out the (hopefully) soft inside. Add to the pan, along with the avocado. Mix/mash well to combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat.

To assemble the canapé in such a way that the filling doesn't ooze out when you sandwich the pieces together, spread a tiny bit of the filling on one piece of yam then pierce another piece of yam with a cocktail stick (with the red pepper and spring onion garnish on top, if you wish) just far enough that you can place it on neatly and slightly pierce the bottom half without squashing the filling out. (I hope my poor description makes some sense...)
Lay them out on some snazzy tray to serve.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

GARRI COOKIES 3 - DATES

It's like the food version of a Nollywood movie! All these part 1's and 2's and 3's... All that's missing is the obligatory booming voice and  thunder/lightning-strike sound effect ;) Well, this is the last one I've got up my sleeve for now. A chunkier, melt-in-the-mouth version loaded with chewy dates. Again, I followed the original recipe but took out the raisins and used dates instead. I also used a food processor to mix all the ingredients together, which perhaps accounts for its slightly smoother texture.

Check out Anemistyle's review of these date cookies and the double chocolate-chip version here.

GARRI COOKIES 2 - DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP

I followed the original recipe, took out the raisins and added about 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a handful of dark chocolate chips and double the amount of chopped groundnut.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

LUNCH WITH 'ANEMISTYLE'

One of the perks of blogging is connecting with other bloggers. A few of the blogs I love to stay up to date with include: Deserve Your Great Life, Berry Dakara, Vegan Miam, Arike, Labyrinths of Lara, Healthy. Happy. Life., Lohi's Creations, Good Naija Girl, Natural NigerianInterprétations Culinaires, Chef Afrik and of course, Anemistyle. Nemi's site is focused on fashion, lifestyle and nifty DIY projects. You should check out some of her brilliant creations, like this spring/summer chiffon top (I want to make one!).

When deciding what to cook up for our lunch meet-up, my mind may or may not have gone off in all kinds of spirally directions. What can I say - it was such an exciting prospect having someone from the blogging world try out my food! I rustled up two types of salad (kale/tomato/avocado/cucumber, and a couscous salad), a variation on my butter bean parcels (using honey beans this time around), banana-berry ice-cream for dessert, fresh mint tea and freshly made apple/peach/cucumber/celery/parsley juice. And, as promised, a batch (or two...I went a bit baking crazy) of the signature garri cookies (two new versions that I will post up soon), which she will be reviewing on her site!

To the other bloggers I follow: if I ever get a chance to cook for you, there will be no holding back! You've been warned :p

Monday, 16 June 2014

PLANTAIN DUMPLING SOUP

Love plantain and stew? Then you're sure to love this hearty soup. 
It's been quite the kitchen-y day. I have not sat down for a second since I crawled out of bed at *cough* 11 am *cough* this morning. When inspiration hits, you just have to get on, right?

This is another one of those things that made sense in my head. Thank goodness it wasn't a waste of time putting this together. It turned out fantastic and my taste-buds were grateful for it. When you really think about it, it's not like a lot could have gone wrong with this - it's pretty much a glorified bowl of boiled plantain in stew, only jazzed up with some bright vegetables and shaped into cute dumplings.

The flavours are perfectly balanced - a bit of heat from fiery green chillies, sweetness from the plantain, a delicate aroma from fresh lemon grass...Need I go on? Keep reading to discover a new way of eating the ever-versatile plantain. 

Ingredients
- 1 ripe plantain
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3 green chillies (or 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper)
- handful of fresh basil or partminger
- 1 stalk green onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper (half of it finely chopped)
- 3/4 cup wholegrain flour or toasted breadcrumbs 
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- Salt to taste

Start by making the soup base. Blend half the red bell pepper with the tomatoes, lemon grass and a little water. Pour into a large pot, add the olive oil and season with salt. Let it simmer on a low heat as you get on with the rest.

To make the dumplings, blend the ripe plantain with the garlic, chillies (or scotch bonnet pepper) and fresh basil (or partminger) in a food processor to form a smooth mixture. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and add the chopped green onion, red and green bell pepper, and the flour/breadcrumbs. Mix well to evenly distribute the chopped vegetables. With floured hands, take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into round dumplings - it should yield about 10-12. Arrange them on a lightly floured surface as you go along. 
Place each dumpling carefully into the simmering pot of soup. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes with the lid off (this will help thicken the soup slightly).
Serve hot with a generous garnish of chopped fresh herbs.