Sunday, 13 October 2019

Water Fried Plantain | Oil Free Healthy Cooking Method



Hi folks,

As simple as this recipe is, I am incredibly excited to share it with you.

You may already know that I have a slight obsession with plantain, having dedicated a whole cookbook to it and all! One of my favourite ways to enjoy it is shallow fried in sunflower oil. Mmmm. Fried plantain is truly one of those food pleasures that I cannot imagine my life without. At the same time, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the way I eat, incorporating healthier habits over time until they become second nature. Water frying my plantain is an example of one such healthy habit. Let me explain a little more...

Back in May, I led a vegan Nigerian cooking class with the social enterprise Life After Hummus. The community cooking classes advocate low-fat, low-GI recipes and so I had to adapt my recipes to fit with this. Instead of oil, ingredients are fried in water instead. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it worked with plantain. Part of the joy of fried plantain is the golden brown exterior and soft, sweet centre. What a thrill to discover that I could achieve all this with just a bit of water!

Water frying, as the name suggests, is when you use a small amount of water instead oil in order to achieve caramelisation.

Now, I don't want you to think that I am anti-fat or that I don't think we need it in our diets. We absolutely do. But I've come to learn that some fats are better than others. That is, unrefined, whole food sources such as nuts, seeds and avocados are nutritionally more beneficial than processed, refined fats and oils. In an effort to limit the processed oils, this water frying method is golden.

Check out the video above to see the method and let me know if this is something you will be trying for yourself!

Have a great week! x




Sunday, 29 September 2019

Inside A Vegan Bakery | My Gammie's | GIVEAWAY!


I was introduced to My Gammie's by an avid reader of my monthly newsletter.

A few email exchanges later and a visit to their vegan bakery was arranged, along with a brilliant giveaway for you guys (more on that below!)

My Gammie's is a London-based vegan bakery specialising in baked goods that are free from the 14 main allergens (gluten, eggs, milk, celery, nuts, mustard, peanuts, soya, sesame seeds, sulphites, fish, lupin, molluscs and crustaceans).

Now vegan is one thing, but if you're wondering how in the world it is possible to produce tasty baked goods when avoiding ALL these allergens at once, you wouldn't be alone. I too was curious and keen to find out more.



Visiting My Gammie's


I took a friend along for the experience and on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we were welcomed into the My Gammie's factory. And what a warm welcome it was. On hand to show us around was Co-Founder and Head Baker, Marie-Anne Rasé, along with Operations Director, Shafiq Ahmed.

Make no mistake about it, My Gammie's is the real deal when it comes to ensuring that their products are 100% free from all allergens. We were taken through some rigorous steps before we were able to step foot into the main kitchen. This included washing our hands twice (or was it three times?), wearing overalls, covering our hair and shoes, and wiping down any items (such as my camera and notebook). This is their standard, everyday procedure and you have to admire the dedication. When Marie-Anne and Shafiq described to us the intense deep-cleaning and disinfection that took place when they first secured the baking facilities, we could only look on in awe and absolute respect.

Marie-Anne and Shafiq were absolutely lovely and generous with their time and energy. Marie-Anne had prepared a smogarsbord of treats for us to try, ranging from delectably soft cupcakes to savoury sun-dried tomato bread to turmeric buns and sugar-free chocolate fudge. For those couple of hours in the kitchen, we were in food heaven. And just when it couldn't get any better, Marie-Anne decided to bake us a fresh batch of doughnuts. I mean...

In between stuffing our faces, we got to hear the story of My Gammie's. How Marie-Anne's granddaughter's food allergies inspired her and her daughter, Rebekha, to begin experimenting with free-from recipes. How they eventually founded the company to serve other people who suffer from similar intolerances.

As Marie-Anne and Shafiq spoke about the business, I could hear the passion in their voices. Theirs is a deep understanding of the serious impact of food sensitivity and the risks involved if there is so much as a speck of cross-contamination. Theirs is a desire to put a smile on the face of the child or adult who hasn't been able to enjoy a cake in years due to their food intolerances.

It was refreshing to witness this level of dedication, but I was even more thrilled to discover that their products match the passion. It's no surprise that they have won multiple awards to date, highlighting the quality of their ingredients and the taste of their bakes.

We left with huge smiles on our faces and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have connected to this company and the team behind it. Above is the video I put together of the experience (so scroll back up and give it a watch if you haven't) and below I'll tell you how you can win £60 worth of My Gammie's goodies! :)

Giveaway

One lucky winner will get the chance to win a hamper of delicious My Gammie's baked goods. You will receive a voucher worth £60 which you can use to pick and choose your favourite treats from their website (large celebration cakes not included). Your treats will be delivered straight to your door.

Entry Rules and Information:
- You must be over 18 years to enter
- You must be based in the United Kingdom
- Entries close on Thursday 31 October
- Winner will be notified shortly after and given 48 hours to respond. Failure to respond will result in another winner being selected.


There are two ways to enter:
1) Visit Instagram and follow the rules on the giveaway post.

OR

2) Head to YouTube, subscribe and leave a comment under the My Gammie's video sharing your favourite part, which product you would most like to try, and your social media handle (so we can contact you if you win).

Good luck!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Sweet Potato Bites | Vegan and Gluten-Free



I first created this recipe when I was preparing to cater a networking event earlier this year. These bites make for excellent appetisers and can be paired with dips and sauces to make for addictive snacking.

They're gluten-free and oven baked to boot so high on the healthy scale and virtually guilt-free.

You'll notice that I don't specify which 'greens' I use and that's really because it's in there for colour and an additional nutrient boost. For the record, I used chopped coriander but really this can be replaced with spinach, kale, parsley or any other green leafy veg you have lying around the house or growing in your garden. If you're using pungent herbs like sage or basil then you might want to add less so that the flavour isn't too overwhelming. But the likes of spinach and kale can be added to abandon.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, give it a try and leave me some feedback if you do. As always, you can hop over to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to drop me a line.

Have a wonderful week!














Ingredients
500g sweet potatoes
1 cup fine corn meal
3 cups water
1 red chilli (chopped)
Handful leafy greens (chopped)
3 tbsp cornflour
Salt, to taste

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Place in a pot of lightly salted water and boil until completely soft. Drain and mash until chunky-smooth.

Cook the corn meal on medium-low heat in 3 cups of water, stirring at intervals for about 10 minutes until soft and thick.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes and cornmeal in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped chilli, leafy greens, cornflour and salt (to taste). Mix until well combined.

Spoon the mixture on a lined and lightly oiled baking tray and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25-30 minutes until crispy.

Serve hot or warm with your favourite dips/sauces, or add to a fresh salad.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Storytelling Through Food | With Anike Bello


Anike Bello is the founder of the platform Oro Anike, a space dedicated to exploring heritage in the context of pre-colonial African societies. She's currently running a pop-up seminar series examining the link between heritage and creativity. The theme of the first seminar was 'storytelling through food' and I was invited along to share my food story. This year in particular, I've been obsessed with exploring the past and uncovering my family history. (You might recall the DNA test I took back in April - check it out here if you haven't watched the video). All this to say that this seminar was very timely and afforded me the opportunity to ask family members to share their earliest memories of food and trace the evolution of our food habits over the years.


Seven of us gathered at the beautiful African and Caribbean Emporium event space in Hackney. Over drinks and snacks, we had an open discussion about culture, society, identity and how it all relates back to our food memories. 


Connecting to Self Through Ancestry is an extension of Anike Bello's work "exploring identity and heritage, from a personal perspective. The work embraces the various modes of storytelling that exist within culture outside of the written form, drawing attention to how they are used to share and promote wisdom."


Made a batch of plantain chips and plantain cupcakes for us to enjoy on the night. Recipe for the cupcakes from my Plantain Cookbook!

Check out Anike's upcoming seminars via her website oroanike.com.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Creamy Coconut Macaroni with Kale


It's been a while since I've posted a regular recipe on here. I'll be back with more food videos for the blog and YouTube soon, but this week I found myself rustling up this delicious macaroni dish and I had to share.

I'm wary of calling this vegan mac and cheese, even though ingredients such as coconut milk and nutritional yeast - as appear in this dish - are often used as dairy substitutes in free-from mac and cheese recipes. This dish lacks that thick, gloopy, cheesy consistency of traditional macaroni cheese but is no less comforting. The combination of the fragrant coconut milk with the starch from the macaroni creates some sort of food science magic. The simple spices take it over the edge to make this the most irresistible macaroni dish I've made to date. The kale not only provides some colour and freshness, but a much-needed boost of vitamins, fibre and protein. I threw it in right at the end of the cooking time in order to retain some crunch and vibrancy.

I hope you give this recipe a go. Chances are you'll already have most of the ingredients at home, so you might as well! And if you do try it, share the pic on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag me @vegannigerian :)

Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 2 cups macaroni
- 2 cups water
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp crushed chilli flakes
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cups kale (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup vegan mince or chopped mushrooms
- 1 tbsp coconut oil

In a large saucepan, add the macaroni, water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.

Add the curry powder, garlic powder, chilli flakes and mixed herbs. Season with salt, to taste. Cook on medium heat for about 6 minutes until the macaroni is nearly tender and half of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the nutritional yeast.

Add the kale on top of the macaroni, cover the saucepan and allow to steam on low heat for 2 minutes.

In the meantime, add the coconut oil to a small frying pan and lightly sauté the vegan mince or chopped mushrooms until browned and slightly caramelised. Add to the macaroni.

Serve hot with more crushed chillis over the top. Great with a side salad or fried plantain.

If you like this, you'll also like:
- Creamy Avocado Pasta
- Spaghetti and Red Lentil Bolognese

How To Run A Vegan Restaurant



The final video in the Building A Food Empire interview series features Atreka, founder and chef at All Nations Vegan House. We discuss what it takes to run a vegan restaurant in London, and the power of positive thinking in realising a dream.

Be sure to check out the rest of the episodes over on YouTube and subscribe if you haven't!