Thursday, 14 September 2017

STUFFED PLANTAIN CUPS [VIDEO]



 There's a name for this is South America: Tostones Rellenos.

In spite of the fact that Nigerians live and breathe plantain (or should I only speak for myself?), it doesn't surprise me that we don't quite have a version of this. It is admittedly a little fussy to make. The sort of thing you'd want to make for a dinner party to show that you've got some culinary flair or something. I mean, let's be real, why shape plantain into little cups when you can simply slice, fry/roast and enjoy them with minimal effort? 

But still, playing around with food is fun. That's how cuisines develop and trends start. That's how you impress your dinner guests or while away some spare time on a lazy weekend.

I've boiled and baked the plantain cups instead of frying to keeps things a bit healthy. For the filling, I've opted for basic rice and spinach but seriously, imagine the possibilities. Go crazy!

Ingredients
- 2 ripe plantains
- 1-2 cups chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup cooked rice (season the rice as you wish or have a plain)
- chilli powder
- salt to taste




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bourne Beautiful Naturals (Vegan Skincare)

I'll begin this post with the good news of a discount code, because it'd be a shame if you missed out on it and because if you're anything like me, you love a good bargain! 

So once you're done reading my review of a selection of vegan skincare products by Bourne Beautiful Naturals, go bag yourself some items at 15% off each purchase, using the code: VEGAN_NIGERIAN15 (valid until 31 December 2017).

Photo: www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
Right off the bat, Bourne Beautiful Naturals (BBN) is a brand to get behind for several reasons. Aside from the fact that the products are hand-crafted and of high quality (no nasty sulfates, parabens, petroleum or mineral oil), it is also a black woman-owned business. I am all about supporting entrepreneurship in the black community and will forever be the first to toot our own horns ;) 

Kadian, who is also a PhD student, began BBN back in 2014 as a way of addressing some of her natural hair and skincare needs. Her initial experiments led to a full-blown business when she sold to the public for the first time in 2016. Find out more about Kadian's story here.




Review

Cocoa Sugar Body Butter
Photo: www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
This was by far my favourite of the bunch. From the gorgeous fragrance (and brace yourself, as this becomes a running theme throughout this review) to the surprising way it melts into a luxurious cream once it hits the skin, I thought this product was near-perfect. 'Near' and not 'completely' only because I thought it could do with more sugar incorporated into the mixture in order to enhance the exfoliating effect. Or perhaps granulated brown sugar instead of muscovado sugar for a grittier feel? Then again, that is just a personal preference and there is logic to choosing the finer grains of muscovado sugar, as this makes for a gentler exfoliant that is suited to all skin types and unlikely to cause any cuts or scrapes on sensitive areas like the face. I suppose a more abrasive formula would be ideal for treating the dead skin on tougher areas like the feet.  
At the end of the day, my skin was left feeling soft and moisturised afterwards. Thanks, I imagine, to the avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and sunflower oil used to enrich the formula.

Vanilla Bean Body Wash
Again, I return to the fragrance of the product. Imagine intense, pure vanilla in all its intoxicating sweetness. Imagine that scent clinging to your skin and lasting the entire day, so that halfway through a mundane task you close your eyes and imagine that you are skipping through a field of vanilla cupcakes. (Excuse the cringe). That is what it's like to use this particular body wash. I chose vanilla bean from a long list of fragrance options but if that's not your style then one of the others may appeal, including, but not limited to: azalea, basil & citrus, coconut, lavender and peppermint. 

Photo: www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
Oat Rich lotion
This was easily my second favourite product to test out. The cream is extremely thick and so the only downside was that it was a struggle to squeeze it out of the dispenser at first. This led me to think that it would probably work better packaged in a lidded tub instead.
My weak arm muscles aside, however, applying the lotion itself is like rubbing silk onto your skin. With ingredients that include coconut oil (my fave), shea butter (my other fave), cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, oat silk and aloe vera, this ought to be crowned the queen of lotions for anyone who struggles with dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin. 
And I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but this too smells like a dream!


Body Butter Supreme
Photo: www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
As if the ingredients mentioned above are not delightful enough, this product contains a few gems such as rose water, mango butter, hazelnut oil and green tea extract. Major points for mixture originality. But points also for function, because this velvety body cream moisturises deeply and lasts a whooping 24 hours. I tested this product over the bank holiday weekend when the weather was particularly hot and humid, and my biggest concern was that it would sit heavily and form a greasy layer on my skin, or that it would clog up my pores and leave my skin feeling sticky and irritated (talk about preparing for the worst!) Happy to report that none of my fears were confirmed.

Photo: www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
So Fresh & So Clean Handmade Soap
The most beautiful item of the lot, this block - aptly named Confetti Carnivale - is a mesh of pink, blue, purple, gold and white flecks of soap. I promise that this is the last time I will mention this (well, we're nearing the end of the review anyway so I might as well drop it in), but it smells so gooood. Like apple blossom, to be exact. Or freshly washed linen sheets. Or a beautiful spring day. You get the idea. It works particularly well as a hand wash if you're worried about getting the little flecks stuck in your sponge. Otherwise it's all out great as a bath soap that lathers easily and moisturises effectively (as it also contains a blend of oils and butters).


For the delicious fragrances, moisturising properties and natural (and vegan) ingredients, BBN's skincare products are for sure worth your time, support and consideration. Don't forget to quote the discount code (VEGAN_NIGERIAN15) when checking out.

Connect with Bourne Beautiful Naturals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: this review was not paid for and there are no affiliate links. All views are my own.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese (Red Lentils)

Serving suggestion; topped with grated vegan cheese

Spaghetti bolognese used to be my jam in my pre-vegan days. I first came across lentil bolognese at an Italian restaurant here in London and fell in love with the idea of using whole, unprocessed and protein-rich ingredients to replace the meat in this recipe. This is my simple take on it.

Ingredients
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or 1 tbsp sustainable palm oil)
- 1 red/white onion (finely chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (finely chopped; deseeded if you want less heat)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- salt to taste

Heat the oil (medium heat) in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and tomato paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened. Add the cooked lentils, mixed herbs and salt to taste. Allow to simmer (low heat) for another 5 minutes.

Serve on a bed of spaghetti and top with grated vegan cheese.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

TIGERNUT MILK by DeNovo Organics

If you've never heard of tigernut milk, then you are probably not alone. But now is the time to get clued up.

When I first discovered DeNovo Organics, it was difficult for me to contain my enthusiasm, for here was an exciting new brand offering a plant-based milk alternative to the citizens of Nigeria. I interviewed Damilola, the inspiring entrepreneur who is set to make tigernut milk a household name across Nigeria and beyond.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

My name is Damilola Jimoh-Adewale, also known as the Tigernut Chic. I am an aspiring female agri-business entrepreneur who has ventured into processing locally grown agricultural products (the first being Tigernuts) to provide proudly Nigerian, healthy and delicious food and drink options to counter non-natural alternatives. 

I love reading, travelling, relaxing and listening to music and podcasts.

How and why did you decide to launch DeNovo Organics? 

Growing up, I discovered I was lactose intolerant with its attendant effect on my skin/metabolism. In seeking out non-dairy choices, I came across tigernuts. This discovery led to the creation of tigernut milk which is liked by most, and has inspired the business. 

The process was really organic. The first thing I did was to do research tigernuts - what I could make with it and where I could source it. Then I came up with a great and God-inspired recipe for the milk and gave samples out to friends and family members. They loved it and began to tell their friends and colleagues about it and that’s how we started and grew our customer base.

Now we are working on building a solid brand known for high quality, delicious and healthy tigernut products.

































For those who don't know, can you tell us what tigernut is? 

Contrary to the name tigernuts, they are actually not nuts but tubers, grown mostly in the North-Western region of Nigeria. Tigernuts are a traditional food in Nigeria that can be consumed in various forms. They can be eaten raw as a healthy snack or made into an all-natural, delicious, milky beverage known as 'Kunnu Aya' (Tigernut Milk), which serves as a healthy beverage or as a lactose-free alternative to dairy milk.

Nutritional benefits include:

1. Tigernuts are a highly nutritious plant food that contain a large number of antioxidants.

2. They have a high amount of soluble glucose and oleic acid, which helps lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. They are also an excellent source of starch, healthy fats, sugars and protein.

3. Tigernuts are rich in Vitamins B1, E, C and minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron (as much as red meat), which are all essential for bone growth, tissue repair, muscles, body growth and general well-being.

4. They have a high content of dietary fibre and insoluble fibre which helps control blood sugar levels, thus preventing diabetes. They contain enzymes that aid digestion such as catalase, lipase and amylase, and are often recommended to those who suffer from constipation, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea and those who are watching their weight, as they keep you feeling fuller for longer, resulting in lower calorie intake.

Describe the process of making tigernut milk?

1. The tigeruts are washed properly and then soaked in water for about 8 hours.

2. After soaking, you wash again to make sure it is clean and then it is blended with a grinder or a really sturdy blender.

3. While blending, you can sweeten with dates or leave as is.

4. After blending, sieve with a cheese cloth or very fine colander (sieve).

5. Cool immediately. It can last in a very cold fridge for 2 - 3 days (because of the short shelf-life) and in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. 

Flavours: Chocolate, Strawberry, Original, Vanilla
What products do you currently have in your range? 

TigerNut Milk in various flavours (Original, Ginger, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry).

TigerNut Flour and very soon a snack made from tigernuts.

6. What has been the general response from the Nigerian public? Do you envision more Nigerians switching to tigernut milk as an alternative to regular milk?

The response has been great! People really love the product, however most people consume it as a beverage and not necessarily as a dairy-free milk alternative. Although, we do have some customers that consume it for that benefit. 

What does the future look like for DeNovo Organics? Any plans for expansion?

Yes, we definitely have more plans for expansion! We plan to release more products and very soon open up a milk bar where delicious tigernut-inspired treats will be served.

Where can customers find your products? 

We are stocked at Green Grill House located at Wole Ariyo, off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. 

Potential customers can call/text 07063043339 to place an order, or send a direct message to @denovo.organics on instagram.



Connect with Damilola and follow DeNovo Organics online

Instagram: @denovo.organics
Facebook: DeNovo Organics

Thursday, 6 July 2017

RECIPES FOR A SUCCESSFUL VEGAN BBQ

It's summer. You're vegan. You want in on the BBQ action. Because veganism isn't about deprivation. And it's certainly not joyless. I agree.

I attended my first all-vegan barbecue last weekend, hosted by Paul of DunguBook (check him out on YouTube - he's the go-to for vegan bodybuilding), and I wasn't disappointed. The theme of the BBQ was 'Health is Wealth', and it certainly lived up to that in terms of the food on offer. Forget frozen veggie sausages and soy burgers, everything was made fresh and packed with flavour. We had marinated pulled jackfruit burgers, vegetable skewers, mac 'n' "cheese", banana cake, fruit juices. That, along with great vibes and feel-good music made for an all-round successful barbecue. The sort you'd be proud to take your omni family and friends to.

Once you're done watching this little video I put together from Paul's BBQ, be sure to check out the recipe suggestions below to inspire your next barbecue. Click the links for the full recipes.



Burgers


1) Akara Burgers - the akara itself takes some work to make but the results are worth it.


































2) Brown Bean Burgers - throwback to my first ever recipe post. Still as goo four years on ;)

3) Yam Burgers - something for the more adventurous types.

Sides


1) Suya-spiced vegetable kebabs - throw these on the grill instead of the oven. Easy but so darn good!



























3) Coconut and turmeric roast potatoes - parboil, season, wrap in foil and toss on the barbecue.

4) Okra and sweet potato salad - delicious twist on the regular potato salad.

4) Roasted carrot, fennel and mint salad - grill the carrots and fennel instead of oven-roasting.

5) Boli (grilled plantains) - what's a gathering without plantain?

Drinks


1) Lime and orange - cool, zesty, summer in a glass.


































2) Ginger ale - impress with this homemade concoction.

3) Iced mint tea - it doesn't get more refreshing than this.

4) Watermelon and grapefruit infused water - the colours alone will brighten up the day.

Desserts


1) Chocolate and peanut muffins - win your crowd over with these delectable muffins. Leave the peanuts out if you're faced with nut allergies.


























2) Maltina ice-cream - on a hot summer's day, this is gold.

3) Banana, raisin, almond and chocolate slices - a tasty tray-bake to please the masses.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

VEGAN IN COPENHAGEN [VIDEO]

I spent a few days in Copenhagen and had an incredible time, packing in a ton of fun, exploration, food, and even education (attended a start-up event at the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship). I got to hang out and discuss grand ideas with friend and fellow creator, Sofia of Vegan Watching and GUTXY. I left feeling inspired, recharged and ready to take on life. More so than usual, anyway :)

The video below captures a handful of moments from my trip, but more importantly provides some insight into some of the vegan options available around the city. I hope it whets your appetite, ignites your wanderlust, and encourages you to book the next flight out to Copenhagen. Happy watching!


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

GROUNDNUT (PEANUT) STEW | Healthy & Oil-Free



A quick search online will reveal that there are multiple interpretations of this African dish. From Nigeria to Mali to Ghana to Cameroon, everyone's got a version. This one's mine - a pretty stripped down, healthy but utterly delicious take on it. Touch of sweetness from the groundnut, heat from the scotch bonnet, all round creaminess of the stew...I could go on.

Why oil-free, you may ask? Because groundnut (aka peanuts) are already high in fat and contain their own natural oils. Adding oil seemed gratuitous to me (although the flavour of palm oil in this would probably be bomb, but still...hmm).

Couple of quick notes with this recipe: I haven't specified the type of mushrooms to use, but the meatier the better really. I happened to have some shiitake mushrooms at home and it worked great. Use whatever you can find. Also, the nuts are lightly roasted with some chilli, but feel free to use plain/lightly salted. Just make sure the flavours are balanced by tasting as you go along.

That's about it. Simple, quick, healthy and tasty - everything a meal should be. Eat it with fufu, rice, pounded yam, bread, or any other starchy food that exists in the world.

Ingredients
serves 4
- 1 cup lightly toasted groundnut (peanuts)
- 6 fresh tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- water
- mushrooms
- 1 bunch fresh basil (roughly chopped)
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns

Method

1. Blend the peanuts until you have a crumbly paste (sorta similar to crunchy peanut butter)

2. Blend the peppers, onion and tomatoes with a cup of water until smooth

3. Pour the pepper blend into a pot/saucepan and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, medium-high heat

4. Stir in the groundnut paste. At this point, it will thicken rapidly. Add some water to loosen the stew and turn the heat down (medium-low)

5. Add the mushrooms

6. Season with salt and black peppercorns

7. Add the roughly chopped basil and simmer for another 2 minutes

Done!

Friday, 12 May 2017

AKARA BURGERS [VIDEO]

Or 'Akara Revisited' because I already have a post for this fabulous recipe. Here, I simply go into how I ended up turning akara into burgers and I share my latest YouTube video showing you exactly how to make this popular Nigerian snack/breakfast food.

A couple of weeks back, I hosted another Airbnb private dinner (find out more about that here) and featured akara in the second course of the menu. In my enthusiasm, I ended up making enough batter to feed an army. I'd always wanted to experiment using akara in a burger - a Nigerian take on a good ol' bean burger, if you will. And that's exactly what I did. Loaded some bread rolls with shallow-fired akara 'patties', leafy greens, tomatoes, sliced gherkins and the queen of burger sauces (in my opinion): ketchup. Simple but so darn tasty that I had to have it for dinner two nights in a row.





































If you fancy giving this a try, then check out my video below which offers a step-by-step guide on how to make akara (including a super useful hack for the difficult peeling part of the process). As always, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or joining me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

QUIZ: WHAT'S YOUR VEGAN IQ?

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Questions Approved By:



Registered Dietitian, Vegan and Endurance Athlete, Author
Matthew, MPH, RD, is interested in promoting good nutrition and physical activity informed by his life experiences as a vegan and endurance athlete. He has been a Registered Dietitian for over 12 years.

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