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.



Thursday, 13 April 2017

SARX: CHRISTIAN ANIMAL WELFARE (INTERVIEW WITH DARYL BOOTH)


"...to abuse creation is to disregard the Creator." - sarx.org.uk 


So I recently attended the Sarx Creature Conference which took place on Saturday 18th March at Oasis Auditorium, Waterloo. The one-day conference brought together the largest gathering of Christians concerned about animal welfare, providing attendees with an opportunity to engage theologically with the issue, discover relevant resources and connect with others with similar convictions. A separate post on the event is yet to come, with some of my own personal thoughts thrown in there too, but first a spotlight on one of the faces behind the charity organisation.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Daryl Booth, founder of Sarx and key organiser of the conference, and what an enlightening discussion it turned out to be.

About the Founder

Growing up in the Isle of Wight and being surrounded by nature from an early age, Daryl inevitably developed an interest in natural history and animals. It was later in life that he connected the dots between his faith and the issue of animal welfare - a connection, he explains, which enlivened his belief in God. Here was a God who, far from being distant or indifferent, had a profound love for every aspect of His creation. Daryl's switch to a vegan diet was a gradual process, spurred on by his increased engagement with animal theology and the deeper connections he was able to draw through his study.

Origins of Sarx

Founded less than three years ago, Sarx was borne from the simple conviction that animal welfare is and should be a faith matter, and that something needed to be done to push this to the forefront. Daryl brought together a team of like-minded individuals, including founding member Dr Kerry Young. By pooling their resources together, touching base with some of the leading experts in animal theology, and consistently posting relevant and thought-provoking information on their official website, Sarx has grown to be what it is today: a thriving community that includes over 23,000 followers across Facebook and Twitter. One of the primary aims of Sarx is to make animal theology accessible and relevant to new audiences, and Daryl explains that one of the ways that they go about achieving this is through speaking engagements - engagements that have seen them touch base in various churches across London (Richmond, St Pancras, Croydon), and beyond in places like Leeds, Oxford, Woking, and the Isle of Wight. When I ask about the general response generated from such speaking events, I am told that rather than being dismissive, audience members are usually either incredibly intrigued or simply concerned about what changes they can or should make.

Veganism vs Eating/Living Peaceably

When it comes to speaking explicitly about veganism or vegetarianism when addressing crowds, Daryl asserts that he avoids using those terms altogether. Although I am initially surprised by this decision, his explanation actually makes me appreciate the value of such an approach. The terms veganism and vegetarianism, he reasons, are an awkward fit in the context of biblical discussions. He prefers the terms 'eating peaceably' and 'living peaceably', and insists that focusing on what the Bible actually says about animals and how God views animals as part of his creation is a far more effective way of capturing the minds and hearts of his listeners. Equally as effective is his reference to prominent Christians of the past who were devoted to animal welfare, for example, William Booth and William Wilberforce, both of whom were vegetarians in their time. The distinctive interpretation of how the Bible wants us to regard animals as part of God's wonderful creation, he argues, is what leads people to connect the dots for themselves. While the weighty word 'vegan' can certainly cause a few to get defensive, and also lead them to find reasons not to embrace a lifestyle change, the focus on compassion and on our role as stewards, and the reinforcement of the lovingness of nature, is often powerful enough to evoke a real shift in conviction.

Dealing with Difficult Questions

Surely the difficult questions must come. You know, the ones that refer to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. Or to the fact that Jesus and his disciples ate fish (Christians love to bring that one up a lot). Or to the fact that nowhere in the Bible does it state outright that we should not eat meat.
All valid points. Points that, on the surface, should prove that animal welfare and Christianity are totally incompatible. BUT. These questions in themselves, Daryl explains, are defensive questions, designed to assist the asker in determining what they can get away with. Rather than asking questions such as 'is it a sin to eat meat?' Daryl advocates shifting the focus to grace. Since we are saved by grace and respond to God's will from a place of love and not mere duty (i.e. we are saved by grace and not by works, so the good we do is not to earn God's love but rather to acknowledge and revel in it), the question should rather be: as individuals living in the 21st century where the killing of animals is not essential to our survival, and in light of the cruelty and destruction that comes as a direct result of the industrial farming methods of today, is there a better way to respond as Christians? In looking at the way we treat animals and creation today, would God be pleased? It is by engaging directly with the facts surrounding animal welfare and weighing it against our position as stewards that each individual can come to an informed decision. 

Looking Forward

I'm curious as to how optimistic Daryl is about the future of animal welfare and Christianity, and he doesn't hesitate to respond that he is convinced that it will be a fast-growing movement. He poetically alludes to the scene in the Oscar-winning movie 'There Will Be Blood' where Daniel Day-Lewis' character treads upon untapped soil where oil runs deep. The potential is palpable, soon to be unleashed. Daryl explains that similarly, the issue of animal welfare in Christian circles has been lying dormant, with few mildly aware but waiting for someone to talk about it; to give it a voice. The increasing enthusiasm for the topic is unmistakable and manifesting itself in different ways. Since the Creature Conference, Daryl describes how he and the team at Sarx have received widespread interest from the press, along with an influx of requests for speaking engagements, both at home and abroad, and even a knock on the door from the folks over at BBC's Songs of Praise. Things are certainly looking bright.

Top Tips

Daryl offers a few tips for Christians who want to engage with these issues and share with the people in their lives. Firstly, perseverance is key because this concern is currently at the fringe of church culture. While culture may not be on your side just yet, he points out, Christianity certainly is, and you only have to read the scriptures to be encouraged and see that we do in fact have a pro-animal God, whose concern is not just for us, but for his entire creation, and that He intends for us to live at peace with the world. The message of causing the least harm to God's creation is good news worth talking about, worth considering, worth getting behind. Daryl further encourages Christians to be equipped with knowledge and sites his top three books to get you started:

1) For the Love of Animals by Charles Camosy



2) A Faith Embracing all Creatures: Addresses Commonly Asked Questions about Christian Care for Animals, edited by Tripp York



3) Is God a Vegetarian by Richard Alan Young



And Finally...

... because I can't resist throwing in a trivial question and because this is predominantly a food blog after all, I ask Daryl to divulge his favourite vegan meal. His conclusion: a vegan fry up. Can't argue with that :)

Connect. You know the drill:

Visit the official Sarx website.
Follow Sarx on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

VEGAN NIGERIAN DINNER PARTY (POP-UP #8)

Photo credit: Richard Duebel
































From a fun-filled hen party, to unexpected surprises, to learning the age-old lesson that it is always better to cook too much than too little (or even just enough!), my dinner party/pop-up on the 25th was nothing short of eventful. Crazy how the learning never stops even after eight of these events. The beauty of the pop-up concept though: refining methods, testing out ideas, seeing what works and what doesn't, dipping into the experience of running a restaurant without the drowning that comes with managing one full time. 

As always, eternally grateful to friends and family for their help. Eternally grateful to the supportive guests who brought their good humour and appetites. I wish I could have spent more time chatting to everyone, as was my original intention.  

Thank you to Sylvia and Richard for the photography, filming, interviews, and imminent feature (and for being lovely in general!).

Thank you to Dawn once again for the delicious sugarcane juice (visit: thecanepress.co.uk)

Thank you even to the handful of people who kept it real and drew attention to some valuable points for future improvement. Criticism only breeds strength. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

REFINED SUGAR-FREE VEGAN CAKE
























In this recipe, I propose that you swap refined sugar for whole dates and organic maple syrup.
Using the technique in the instructions below, it still comes out as soft and spongy as any regular cake.

As I'm sure you know, there are several good reasons to cut back on refined sugar, from lowering your risk of diabetes, to achieving clearer skin, to lowering blood pressure and decreasing your risk of a heart attack. Pretty heavy stuff when you think about it. But rather than sinking into despair, I prefer the good ol' approach of making small changes here and there, swapping the bad for the good where possible, and getting clued up on how to make better choices.

Ingredients
- 2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
- 2 heap tbsp solid coconut oil
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
 - 1 cup pitted dates (soaked and drained)
- 3/4 cup organic maple syrup
- 1/4 cup warm water

In a large bowl, mix the flours, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together. Add the solid coconut oil and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Place the warm water, maple syrup and pre-soaked dates in a blender and whiz until you have the consistency of a frothy, thick syrup.

Add the syrupy mixture to the flour and combine until you have a smooth cake batter. Pour into a lightly greased cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven, 180C, for about 25-30 minutes. To check if it is cooked all the way through, poke a skewer through the middle of the cake - if it comes out clean, then it's good to go. If not, give it a few extra minutes.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

VEGAN IN SINGAPORE | PLACES TO EAT [VIDEO]



Better late than never, I s'pose :)

This video is a compilation of all the foodie clips I was able to capture during my trip to Singapore back in December. The main objective of the trip was to attend two very special occasions, and when I wasn't caught up in the excitement of celebrating, connecting and reconnecting with friends old and new, I had a lot of fun exploring what the country had to offer in terms of vegan food options.

Planning a trip to Singapore? Got any specific questions about being a vegan traveller/tourist in Singapore? Comment below and I'll do my best to answer.

And now for a few food pics:

Thai Express - Mock chicken stir-fry
Thai Express - Bean curd,  greens, rice...


Thai Express - Veggie dumplings <3


VeganBurg - Veggie burger and seaweed fries

LingZhi - Brown fried rice

Nature Cafe - Beancurd...

Pita Pan - Falafel, hummus, salsa, veg...

Pita Pan

Chinatown Hawker Centre

Chinatown - Sugarcane juice

Chinatown - dragonfruit juice

Chinatown - popiah

Thursday, 23 February 2017

VEGAN SOURCES OF PROTEIN IN NIGERIA

Where do you get your protein from?

I don't hate that question as much as I used to. Now I just launch into a well-rehearsed list of protein-rich foods and call it a day. Only takes a second.

I got an email from a reader based in Nigeria recently. The main concern was - you guessed it - what to eat to get enough protein. It got me thinking that a post on the topic was about due and would probably come in handy for others with the same query.

In no particular order, here's a list of plant-based foods that are high in protein and can be found easily across Nigeria. I've also included a list of suggested recipes where possible, just in case you're interested in bringing these ingredients to life. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I imagine that I will have to keep revisiting this post and adding to the list as other foods come to mind. If you think I've missed any, feel free to leave a comment down below.

1. Beans - brown beans, black-eyed beans, soybeans...

Suggested recipes: adalu, beans and rice, moin moin, akara, ewa (bean porridge)



















2. Nuts - groundnut, cashew nut, peanut butter, nut milks...

Suggested recipes: boli and groundnut, truffles, chocolate/peanut muffins, soaked garri and groundnut



















3. Leafy greens - spinach (efo tete), bitter leaf (ewuro), water leaf (gbure), afang, ugu...

Suggested recipes: bitterleaf soup, efo riro and pounded yam, green smoothie

















4. Egusi (melon seeds)

Suggested recipes: egusi soup



















5. Wara (Tofu) 

Suggested recipes: sauced tofu and plantain, yam and scrambled tofu



6. Oatmeal

Suggested recipes: porridge, banana/oat pancakes, oaty breakfast bars



















7. Maize/Corn

8. Pigeon Pea

9. Guava

10. Millet

11. Green peas

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

AIRBNB RELISH VEGAN NIGERIAN CUISINE #1 [PICTURES]

A few snaps from my first Airbnb 'Relish Vegan Nigerian Cuisine' dinner experience on Saturday 19th February.

Read more about my work with Airbnb and how you can take part here!