Tuesday, 24 December 2013

NIGERIAN ROAST VEG MEDLEY + RED ONION GRAVY

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you're making the most of this festive season by indulging in some healthy, tasty food...oh and you know, by spending time with your loved ones and all that good stuff. 

If you're looking for some last minute inspiration for the dinner table tomorrow then how about this medley of bright roasted veg. Nigerian-style no less, with yam and plantain and sweet potatoes thrown in for good measure. There's also a recipe for a rich red onion gravy to pull the whole dish together. Enjoy!

Ingredients
(serves 6)
- 2 cups diced yam 
- 4 medium potatoes (diced) 
- 1 large sweet potato (diced) 
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 2 large carrots (cut into thick batons)
- 1 medium red onion (cut into chunks)
- 1 plantain (cut into thick batons)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves 
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil 
- salt and pepper to taste

For the gravy:

- 1 large red onion
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- squeeze of lemon
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp corn flour mixed with 1 tbsp warm water 

Place the diced yam, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots in a large pot and cover with water. Parboil the vegetables for 10 mins on a high heat. Drain well.

Place the parboiled vegetables, diced peppers, red onions, plantain, garlic cloves and bay leaves in a large baking dish. Drizzle with sunflower oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together until all the vegetables are well coated.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 2, for 20-25 mins.

To make the gravy, blend the red onion with a little water. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the stock cube, curry powder, squeeze of lemon and 1/4 cup of water. Stir continuously on low-medium heat for 5 minutes to cook off the onions. Add the corn flour mixture and keep stirring for a few more minutes until the gravy thickens slightly.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

MALTINA ICE CREAM

Hands up if you think we could do with a few more Nigerian desserts. 

I paid a visit to my local African food store yesterday and spied a row of malt drinks - Maltina, Malta, Amstel Malta etc (so many brands for such a popular beverage). I must have looked a bit dim as I stood staring at the row for longer than could be considered normal. In actual fact, the wheels were turning as I wondered how these carbonated malt drinks could be used in cooking. I imagined using it in a stew or a kind of rich vegetable soup. Then I remembered the tin of coconut cream I had at home and thought it'd be cool to blend the two to make some kind of ice cream. Fast forward to now and I'm glad I grabbed that bottle of maltina.
Few ingredients go into this but the process is long if you haven't got an ice cream maker. 
A labour of love, but well worth it!


Ingredients
(serves 4)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup maltina (or any other brand of malt drink)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar

Place the coconut cream, maltina and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk (I used an electric hand mixer) for 5 mins until the mixture is well combined and aerated.

Cover and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take out and give another whisk. 
Repeat this process several times until the ice cream mixture is firm. The purpose of repeating the process is to make sure you end up with smooth, scoopable ice cream and not rock-solid cream with large ice crystals. 

Serve in bowls or little glass cups and spoon some of the malt drink over the top for an extra kick.

NUTTY CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

These truffles would make a great home-made Christmas present. Just pop them into cellophane bags and tie up with some ribbon. 
Or you can serve them as a post-Christmas dinner treat. 
Or you can keep them all for yourself and devour in one sitting (not recommended). 
The possibilities are endless...

They require zero cooking time, just a short rest in the freezer. Pay special attention not to use salted peanut butter though, no one wants to bite into a salty truffle.



Ingredients
(makes 20)
- 4 tbsp smooth, unsalted peanut butter
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 8 tbsp ground almonds
- 75g dark chocolate (melted)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup dessicated coconut

Mix the peanut butter, cocoa powder, ground almonds, sugar and melted dark chocolate in a large mixing bowl until all the ingredients are well combined. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Place the dessicated coconut on a large plate (for rolling your truffles in). Spoon out little rounds of the truffle mix, drop into the dessicated coconut and roll them around until evenly coated.

Lay them out on a lined baking sheet. When they're all coated and laid out, place in the freezer for about 10-15 mins until they harden.





BREAKFAST #7 - SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

These pancakes are fantastic if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake. A wholesome way to start the day. The touch of cinnamon also creates a warm Christmassy aroma that fills the entire house.























Ingredients
(serves 2-3)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup self-raising wholegrain flour
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- sunflower oil
- lemon juice (optional)

You'll need to bake the sweet potato first and there are two ways you can do this:
1. Microwave: poke the sweet potato all over with a fork, wrap in a damp sheet of kitchen paper and microwave for 4-5 minutes. Turn over and microwave for another 4-5 minutes. You should be left with a soft and squishy potato afterwards.
2. Oven: poke all over with a fork and place the sweet potato on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, gas mark 6, then turn it over and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

To make the pancakes, cut the baked sweet potato length-wise and scrape out the soft flesh into a large mixing bowl.

Add the flour, milk and cinnamon, and give it a good mix.

Lightly oil the bottom of a frying pan and drop the pancake mix in one tablespoon at a time, using the back of the spoon to spread and flatten the pancake. Cook the pancake for about 5 mins on low-medium heat until brown on one side. Flip over and brown the other side.

Serve warm with a little lemon juice drizzled over the top.

Monday, 16 December 2013

BEANS AND PLANTAIN CANAPES

If you're planning to host a big Christmas party this year, these quick and easy canapés are the way to go. A fancy-looking addition to your spread with minimum effort required. And if you've got some leftover cooked beans in your fridge or freezer then these will take half the time. This recipe makes about 18-20 canapés, but if you've got more guests then go ahead and double the quantities.

Lay them out on pretty trays with festive napkins to give them that special edge.




















Ingredients
(makes about 20)
- 2 plantains
- 1/2 cup brown beans or green lentils
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- tomato (diced, to garnish)

If you're using leftover beans, then skip this step. Otherwise, boil the beans/lentils in salted water until it turns soft and mushy. Season with a touch of cinnamon.

Peel and slice the plantains into thick rounds. You should be able to get 18-20 rounds from each plantain. Shallow fry the plantain in a little sunflower oil, browning on both sides. Drain on some kitchen paper.

Using the tip of a teaspoon, spread some of the beans on one slice and place a second slice on top. Hold in place with a cocktail stick and garnish each canapé with a little cube of tomato.

CLUB SANDWICH

Club sandwiches exist in various forms around the world, but the essential features remain the same - lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Nigerians have also managed to put their own spin on the sandwich, adding things like hard boiled eggs, sardines and grated carrots to the mix. Although there isn't a massive sandwich culture in Nigeria (you won't find sandwich shops scattered around Lagos city, for example), club sandwiches are eaten a lot, usually served up at exclusive hotels, clubs and restaurants - no doubt with tourists and cosmopolitan high-flyers in mind.

In this vegan version, I use hummus in place of the usual mayonnaise and I replace the meat with avocado and roasted yellow pepper. I've also used brown bread instead of white to up the nutritional value.

Be warned: with its multiple layers, this sandwich is enormous and you'll probably need to share it with someone. Enjoy!


























Ingredients
- 3 slices of wholegrain bread
- 2-3 tbsp hummus
- 1 yellow pepper (cut into thick slabs)
- 1/2 ripe avocado (cut into strips)
- medium tomato (cut into thick round slices)
- lettuce leaves
- seasoning of your choice
You'll also need 4 cocktail sticks to hold the sandwich together.

Start by placing the slabs of yellow pepper on a baking tray. Season with spices of your choice and black pepper. Bake in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.

Toast the bread slices and spread some hummus on the face of all three slices.

To assemble the club sandwich, start with a layer of lettuce and tomato on the bottom. Place the next slice of toast on top, spreading another layer of hummus on the underside.

Next, add the layer of roasted yellow pepper and avocado and cover with the last slice of toast.

Hold the sandwich down on all four corners with cocktail sticks and cut into four triangles.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

FACEBOOK + GIVEAWAY

'Tis the season to create a Facebook page and launch my first giveaway. If this one works out, I'll probably do a few more giveaways next year.

Nothing says Christmas like yet another chocolate gift to add to your growing pile of chocolate, and we all know that you can never have too much chocolate. So if you're up for getting your hands on some dairy-free, organic fare then read on. And if you're that one person who's sick of chocolate already, then read on anyway and pass it on to someone else as a Christmas present.

The rules are simple:

1. 'Like' the Facebook page (if you haven't already) - www.facebook.com/VeganNigerian 

2. Post a comment or send a message letting me know what vegan meal you plan to make this Christmas.

I'll pick a winner by the 20th, get in touch and send them the choc.

Good luck!

Friday, 13 December 2013

EATING OUT #5 - 222 VEGGIE VEGAN

With rave reviews like 'best vegan restaurant in London' and 'an absolute paradise for vegans', it should come as no surprise that I was bursting with excitement before my visit to this restaurant. Truth be told, I've had their web page bookmarked for as long as I can remember and always had it at the back of my mind to make my way over there.



Today marked my first meet-up with one of my blog readers and so I finally had the perfect excuse to venture over to 222 Veggie Vegan. We arrived in time for the lunch buffet (which is between 12:00 - 15:30 everyday) and we were not disappointed! Fresh food, friendly staff and a fantastic atmosphere made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

The buffet selection was varied and inviting, with personal favourites like plantain and avocado salad making an appearance. Of course, I had to try a little bit of everything and I can honestly say that each component was distinct and packed full of flavour - I was so impressed. As an unlimited buffet of high-quality food, it is also really good value for money.


Located in West London, the restaurant has been going for nine years (!) and was founded by Ghanaian-born vegan chef, Ben Asamani.

I am already looking forward to my next visit (I'm keen to try out the dinner à la carte menu) and cannot recommend them enough. If you're in the London area, go check them out!