Monday, 24 January 2022

Where to Buy Nigerian Ingredients Online - UK Edition

 One of the frequently asked questions I get is where to find specific Nigerian ingredients. Resisiting the urge to  simply say ‘Google is your friend’,  here are a few companies that deliver Nigerian groceries across mainland UK. The companies featured here are ones that I have personally used and so feel confident recommending. I hope you find it helpful. I will continue to add to this list as I discover and try other services. My plan is also to share similar posts like this for different countries around the world. Stay tuned! 

1. John and Biola:  they offer affordably priced African groceries and are constantly adding new products to the range. UK mainliand delivery is free! 

2. Ades: London based retail company and cash and carry with a huge quantity of fresh and packaged/dried ingredients. They deliver all over the UK  and were one of my go-to's when buying ingredients for my cookbook  recipe testing. 

3. Olumo Foods: family-owned online business specialising in high quality African groceries. You’ll find spices, veggies, fruits and everything in between. 

4. Afrobuy: A family run online grocery business. Their website is clean, well organised and easy to navigate. They have an extensive range of grains, flours and cereals, as well as fresh produce and condiments. 

5. Wosiwosi: they h ave a top-notch range of indigenous leafy greens and vegetables. You can also expect next day UK wide delivery.

Monday, 13 December 2021

Sticky Malt Pudding | Delicious Vegan Dessert Recipe

With Christmas just around the corner, what are your dessert plans? If you’re cooking for a crowd or simply want to try something unique, these time-efficient sticky malt puddings are a winner. Warm notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, balanced with the deep flavour of malt. What could be more enticing? Serve them warm or piping hot with some vegan ice cream, cream or custard and you have a winner.

Let me know if you give this a try and share your results with me over on Instagram!


Ingredients 


1 and 3/4 cups self raising flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp nutmeg 

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup brown sugar

2 heap tbsp margarine

3/4 cup apple sauce

1 cup Ultimalt 


Method

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and margarine. Mix until it resembles bread crumbs.

Blend the apple sauce and Ultimalt in a food blender to form a smooth mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix gently to form a cake batter.

Pour the batter into lightly greased/lined muffin or pudding trays. 

Bake in the oven (middle shelf) at 180C for 25 minutes. 

Serve hot/warm with vegan cream or ice cream, a drizzle of syrup and a light dusting of cinnamon. 

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Vegan Ice Cream Cake with Sprinkles

Nothing says birthday like a cake loaded with sprinkles. Add in some ice cream and it's merriment galore. For my sister's birthday this year, I tried my hands at a vegan ice cream cake and judging by the feedback on Instagram, it seems a lot of you are interested in trying it out too! Last year, it was a fiery Ginger Nut Biscuit Cake; this year we're cooling things down with fluffy vanilla sprinkle sponges with a vanilla/honeycomb ice cream filling, whipped cream topping and all the sprinkles you could care for. So delightful.

Before we get into the recipe, a quick reminder that my cookbook Vegan Nigerian Kitchen is out now! If you love my recipes and want to support the work I do, definitely grab yourself a copy. You will LOVE the variety of delicious, vibrant recipes in there. Available in paperback and ebook. Thank you, thank you!

Now back to the cake...

Let's examine each element and get into some tips and recommendations.

1. Sponge Cakes: this is a hefty cake with two thick layers of sponge cake. If you're after something a little more dainty, or if you have less people to feed, you can halve the cake ingredient quantities to make two thinner sponges. 

Unlike most traditional sponge cakes, remember that you never want to over mix a vegan cake batter. Doing so will cause the gluten in the flour to overdevelop, causing a dense and rubbery texture. What we want is a light and fluffy sponge, so go easy when mixing the cake batter. Fold gently until all the ingredients are just about well incorporated. 

I used two 20cm sandwich cake tins for this recipe. I also made sure to line the bottom of the tins with some baking paper to prevent any sticking.

2. Sprinkles: the sponges are loaded with sprinkles and they're used as a topping too. Interestingly, not all sprinkles are vegan (some contain beeswax) so it's important to be aware. I'm able to find vegan-friendly sprinkles at shops such as Wholefoods and Planet Organic. You can also find them online, for example this, this or this

3. Ice Cream: any thick, creamy vegan ice cream will do the trick. If you have the time and energy, you can certainly make your own from scratch (check out this recipe for the simple method). But store-bought is perfectly fine. I recommend Jude's for their funky flavours (like the honeycomb flavour I used). Or you can never go wrong with Swedish Glace vanilla ice cream

One trick to making a neat ice cream cake is to leave the ice cream out for 30 minutes to soften, then line the same cake tin you used for the sponges with a layer of cling film. Scoop the ice cream into the tin, spread it out and smoothen the top, then pop back into the freezer to solidify. This way, you have a perfectly formed round slab of ice cream to place in between the cake slices. No mess, no dripping.

4. Vegan Whipped Cream: there are a couple of brands that now offer squirty vegan whipped cream. I used Food Heaven, so can confidently recommend. Alternatively, if you want to make your own coconut-based whipped cream from scratch, follow the process outlined in this banoffee pie recipe


If you like this cake recipe, you'll also like:

Vegan Blueberry and Strawberry Cake

Vegan Rainbow Tie-Dye Cake

Vegan Orange Cake with Orange Buttercream


Ingredients
(Serves 16)

- 4 cups self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 2/3 cup sunflower oil
- 2 cups vegan milk (I used oat milk)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup cake sprinkles (or as much as you care for)
- 1 tub (approx. 750ml) vegan ice cream (any flavour of your choice; softened at room temperature)
- vegan whipped cream
- sliced fresh fruit of your choice (I used strawberries and blueberries)


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2. To make the sponge cakes, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, vegan milk and vanilla extract. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold the mixture until you have a smooth cake batter with very little to no lumps. Add as much cake sprinkles as you care for and gently fold the batter again until everything is well incorporated.

3. Divide the cake batter evenly between two 20cm cake tins that have been lightly oiled and have a layer of baking paper on the bottom. Place the cakes in the oven (top shelf) and bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden and a skewer/toothpick stuck in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before taking the cakes out of the tins. Keep the cakes refrigerated while you work on the ice cream layer.

4. Line a 20cm cake tin with a layer of cling film. It doesn't have to be super neat, but make sure the cling film goes all the way up around the sides. Scoop softened ice cream into the tin and use a spoon/spatula to spread it out and smoothen the top. Place in the freezer for at least two hours until the ice cream is solid. 

5. To assemble to cake, place one layer of sponge cake upside down on a tray, large plate or cake stand, so that the smooth bottom layer is facing up. Unmould the solid ice cream from the tin/cling film and gently place it on top of the cake. Place the second layer of cake directly on top of the ice cream. 

6. If you are serving immediately, decorate with as much vegan whipped cream on top as you care for, along with fresh sliced fruit and more sprinkles. If you are not serving immediately, cover the cake (with cling film or foil) and place in the freezer until you are ready to serve and decorate. The cake is best eaten in one go, but it does freeze really well and will just need 20-30 minutes to defrost before serving each time.


I hope you give this cake a try. Let me know if you do! And if you have any questions at all, feel free to send them my way in the comment section below or on Instagram. 

Disclaimer: some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links and I receive a small commission with each sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for the support.

vegan ice cream cake

Monday, 22 November 2021

[Cookbook Launch] Vegan Nigerian Kitchen: 100 Classic Recipes with a Plant-Based Twist


LAUNCH DAY! 🎉

Today is the official launch of my new cookbook Vegan Nigerian Kitchen. This project is one that I am immensely proud to share and I’m certain you’ll see why when you get your hands on a copy.

Thanks again to the incredible individuals who so selflessly supported and encouraged this endeavour. This cookbook was an opportunity to dig deeper into my food culture, play around with familiar and unfamiliar ingredients, and discover the wealth of plant-friendly dishes that Nigeria has to offer. I hope you feel immense delight as you make these discoveries yourself 😍

A bit more about the cookbook: it features 100 mouthwatering recipes from different regions across Nigeria; tons of full-page photographs; a comprehensive glossary of ingredients and equipment; a handy sample meal plan; a quick guide to going vegan, and a thoughtful essay on veganism by my dad, who is the most skilled writer I know! 😄

To set some expectations, this cookbook is very much for food enthusiasts. It’s for anyone who values open-mindedness, learning new things and exploring food culture. It’s for Nigerians who want to approach our meals in new ways. It’s for everyone else who wants an insight into the way we eat and accessible recipes (without animal products) that you can try at home. 

Spread the word, gift a copy to a friend, request it as a Christmas pressie, or treat yourself to a new cookbook. Thank you for your support 🥰

LINKS

Ebook: bit.ly/VNKebook

Paperback: bit.ly/VNKcookbook

Vegan Nigerian Kitchen

Friday, 5 November 2021

Cookbook Release Date and Cover Reveal - Vegan Nigerian Kitchen


Proof copy!

Excited to share that I will be releasing my second cookbook ‘Vegan Nigerian Kitchen’ on Monday 22nd November!

The comprehensive cookbook will include 100 classic Nigerian recipes with a vegan twist, spanning soups, stews, sweet & savoury snacks, porridges, rice dishes, drinks and lots more. I can't wait for you to get your hands on this epic labour of love that's bursting with full page photographs, a glossary of ingredients and equipment, useful cooking techniques and mouthwatering dishes. Whether you are familiar with Nigerian cuisine or not, you are sure to make a ton of delicious discoveries.

The cookbook will be available in both paperback and ebook formats, so you can choose what works for you.

A few weeks ago, I asked my Instagram audience to vote on the front cover (via story polls) and this was the popular choice by a long shot. Thanks for the input! 

If you want to be updated once the cookbook drops, you can check back on the 22nd or join my mailing list HERE to get the purchase links sent directly to your inbox. 💚

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Vegan Nkwobi or Isi Ewu

 

Nkwobi and Isi Ewu are traditional igbo delicacies. While the latter is made using cow leg, the former is made with goat head. The base preparation, spices and garnishes are similar for both dishes. In this vegan alternative, my protein of choice is soybean and wheat-based meat alternative VChunks made by Nigerian-owned company Veggie Victory. Be sure to check them out if you are based in Nigeria or the UK. 

I was blown away by the taste and texture of this meat alternative. As you will see in the video above, it's easy to prepare and extremely versatile. Perfect for adding to all types of soups, stews and as a replacement for meat in any dish. 

The full recipe for this will be in my upcoming cookbook (release date tba). To get notified when it's out, you can sign up for updates here.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Health Benefits of 5 Nigerian Leafy Green Vegetables

UTAZI LEAF

1. It balances circulation: normalises blood pressure by strengthening the heart and lowering high blood cholesterol and triglyceride level.

2. It prevents arteriosclerosis, platelets aggregation and blood clot formation within the blood-carrying vessels.

3. It is antimicrobial (antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antiviral), antipyretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

4. Utazi leaves stimulate the flow of bile and appetite for food, it also enhances the stimulation and activities of the pancreas, regulates blood sugar, and promotes the detoxification activities of the liver.

5. It neutralises the intoxicating properties of alcohol and its harmful effect on the liver.

6. The leaves and the stem are used in the home treatment of digestive problems such as loss of appetite, dyspepsia, colic and stomach ache, constipation, dysentery, and intestinal worms.

7. It helps in the relief of cough, wheezing and asthmatic attacks.

8. It helps in the management of diabetes.

9. It cleanses the womb and prevents abdominal pain after childbirth

10. The antioxidants present in utazi leaf help to effectively eliminate free radicals in the body. Free radicals could damage cells and turn them into cancerous cells; utazi leaves prevent cancer by getting rid of cancerous cells.


OKAZI LEAF

Botanical name: gnetum africanum 

English name: wild spinach

1. The high dietary fibre content in okazi leaf helps in weight loss and increase metabolism. It also improves digestion, acts as a laxative and prevents constipation.

2. It helps the heart by supplying it with good cholesterol which in turn replaces the bad cholesterol. Okazi leaf also manages blood sugar and blood pressure.

3. Pregnancy: it prevents nausea (morning sickness usually experienced by pregnant women). When eaten, it can also reduce pains during childbirth.

4. It can be eaten raw to prevent menstrual cramps.

5. Promotes reproductive health.

6. Strengthens bones and teeth: okazi leaves are rich in calcium, which helps in the development of strong healthy bones. It also prevents and fight osteoporosis and rheumatism.

7. Antifungal properties: okazi leaf is traditionally known to be used in the treatment of measles in children, it is also used in the treatment of boils and warts.

8. Okazi leaf has an appreciable amount of iodine, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and this iodine helps to prevent tooth decay.

9. Prevention of scurvy: The presence of vitamin C in Okazi leaf helps to prevent scurvy. In addition, it helps to detoxify the blood.


UZIZA LEAF 

Botanical name: p.guineense

English name: guinea pepper

1. Fertility improvement: with the combination of lemon and uziza leaves blended, it is a good step of improving fertility within men and women. 

2. Relieves coughs: this can be achieved by pouring some dried or grounded uziza leaves into a cup, adding boiled water, resting it for about 10 mins, and drinking it while still warm. This will help clear your throat and the respiratory tract.

3. It relieves pain: uziza contains alkaloids, which are known to act as pain killers for ailments such as headaches, toothaches, painful joints and menstrual pain.

4. Prevention of cancer: the presence of antioxidants in uziza leaves helps in the prevention of cancer. 

5. Prevents constipation: uziza leaves contain a high amount of fibre, which aid digestion. This fibre helps to actively improve bowel movement which greatly helps to avoid constipation.

6. Promotes uterine contraction after childbirth: uziza leaves are added to soups and given to women after childbirth, it has been proven to reduce or shrink the uterus, cleanse the uterus and promote milk supply.

7. Treatment of infection: fresh leaves or dried fruits of uziza leaves can be suspended in alcohol and used as an infusion to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. The leaves and seed extract of uziza show antimicrobial and anti-fungal activity against several human pathogens.


AKWUKWO ANARA 

Botanical name: p.guineense

English name: garden egg leaves

1. It helps to lower eye pressure in people with glaucoma without side effects (even with high consumption).

2. It is high in potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulate blood pressure.

3. Akwukwo anara can serve as a natural blood tonic in anaemic patients.

4. The leaves provide women with micronutrients which helps in improving blood level.

5. Akwukwo anara provides the body with both fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins which are rich in thiamine (Vit B6) required for normal growth and proper functioning of the heart and nervous system.

6. The presence of Vit K in akwukwo anara leaf helps to foster or enhance bioflavonoids which strengthen the capillaries.

7. When consumed, helps in detoxifying and cleansing the kidneys. This promotes the proper functioning of the liver and helps prevent kidney failure.


OHA/ORA LEAF 

1. Oha/ora leaves contain iron, calcium, amino acids, iron, potassium, fibre, vitamin K and vitamin C.

2. Diarrhoea management: ora leaf is a rich source of the mineral zinc, which is important for a healthy immune system.

3. Helps treat anaemia: ora leaf contains iron which plays an important role in red blood cell formation to create haemoglobin. The presence of vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron.

4. Helps maintain healthy joints and prevents arthritis: ora leaf contains an appreciable amount of manganese, which helps to play an important role in cartilage formation and lubricating fluid in the joints. The presence of manganese helps to prevent and alleviate joint diseases like arthritis.

5. Good for heart health: the presence of potassium in ora leaf helps to maintain the normal contraction of the heart.

6. Reduces muscles cramps: it contains magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant; it helps to reduce muscle cramps.

7. Improves brain function: glutamic acid in ora leaves is an important non-essential amino acid that helps to maintain the normal function of the brain as a neurotransmitter.

8. Helps build muscle mass: ora leaves can help build muscle mass with the presence of cysteine amino acid content. Cysteine helps the body to build protein which is used for the development of muscle mass.

9. Helps with blood pressure: ora is a low sodium vegetable that is beneficial for hypertensive people and individuals with high blood pressure.

10. The potassium in ora leaf can also help to control blood pressure through its mechanism in regulating muscle contraction.

11. Improves eye health: oha leaves contain an appreciable amount of vitamin A which helps to maintain better sight and a strong immune system.

12. The presence of vitamin B group present in ora leaf helps protect nerves from damage.

13. Boost energy: the presence of lysine ora leaves helps to boost energy, especially for athletic performance.

14. Maintain alkaline level: the leaves of ora balances the entire body's PH level.

15. Helps with collagen formation: ora leaves contain the mineral copper in good amount to help with collagen formation, which helps to give a healthy glowing skin.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Vegan Red Pepper Dip

This quick and simple recipe is sweet and smoky and perfect as a dip, or served on the side with just about anything. 

Guest post by Louise Palmer-Masterton, founder of Stem & Glory.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4

1 red pepper cut into strips

1 red onion sliced

1 large whole clove garlic

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt & pepper

Method

Mix all the ingredients together so everything is lightly coated with olive oil. 

Place into a shallow baking tin and roast at 180C for 25 mins.

Allow to cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to your taste. The dip should be sweet, smoky and very tasty!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Gloryhip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurants, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients. Stem & Glory also offers click-and-collect and local delivery in London and Cambridge. In addition, Stem & Glory offers a range of ready meals, finish at home pizzas, and recipe kits available for delivery across the UK.