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Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 Recap | Happy New Year!



2018 was a happy and fulfilling year at The Vegan Nigerian HQ - filled with new experiences, travel, exploration and a truckload of good food (of course!)

As we cross over into a new year, I can't help but smile as I think back on some of the highlights:
  • my blog turning 5!
  • being consistent with YouTube. This time last year, I made an unofficial commitment to post at least one video every week, and it happened! Click here to watch my top 10 vegan recipes of the year.
  • featuring real-life Vegan Nigerian stories such as this one.
  • catering a wedding for the first time. This was an experience and then some, chronicled in this blog post.
  • exploring the vegan food scene in Madrid, Malta, Thailand and Paris. I've well and truly been bitten by the travel bug and every holiday is an opportunity to discover great vegan food.
  • hosting a collaborative food/networking event centred around my favourite ingredient: plantain!
  • hosting a dinner for a celebrity guest.
  • cookery demonstrations at Brighton VegFest and London VegFest.
  • publishing my Plantain Cookbook.
I can't help but feel that 2019 is set to be extraordinary. I hope to shine a brighter spotlight on health and wellness - foods and lifestyle practices that make us feel our very best and lead lives that are joy-filled and fulfilling. I hope you stay tuned and continue to follow along.

Sending lots of love and good wishes for the New Year!

Tomi x

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Roasted Pear, Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Coconut Salad - Vegan Christmas Side Dish




Hey beautiful readers! Christmas is SO close and I'm finding it difficult to contain my excitement. Over the weekend I decided I'd test out a festive recipe ahead of the big day - a delicious vegan side dish that is sure to wow my family. Well...hopefully! I certainly think it's the bees knees; the perfect combination of sweet, slightly bitter, crunchy and delicate. Some people absolutely detest Brussels sprouts, but I'll venture to say that it's probably because they haven't had it cooked the right way. Give this recipe a try and you won't be disappointed.



Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 300g Brussels sprouts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pear
- Leafy salad greens
- 1/2 cup shredded beetroot
- Handful toasted coconut

For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp finely chopped parsley

Start by removing the stems of the Brussels sprouts. Peel the outer layer and giving them a rinse. Place in a pot of boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. You want them to still be firm - nothing worse than mushy sprouts! Drain and allow to cool slightly before slicing thinly.

Finely chop the garlic and toss with the sprouts, along with the tablespoon of sunflower oil. Arrange on one side of a baking tray.

Thinly slice the pear and lay the slices on the other side of the baking tray.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

Assemble the salad by placing all the ingredients in a large salad bowl - be as generous with the leafy salad greens as you want.

Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the top.

You might also enjoy my festive chilli Brussels sprouts.




Tuesday, 11 December 2018

African Christmas Market at The Africa Centre



Lots of Christmas gift inspiration at this year's African Christmas Market.

The Africa Centre is a dynamic hub set up to support and showcase African culture, enterprise, art and music in the UK.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Vegan Mac and Cheese - Daiya Review



As you know (if you've been following closely), I was at London VegFest back in October. Canada-based company Daiya had a stall there this year and were making it rain with free boxes of their vegan mac and cheese.

I first encountered Daiya at Natural Products Expo West in California back in 2015 (read my California post here). They hadn't broken into the UK market at that point, but when I tasted samples of their products back then.. boy, did I wish that they would. Up until that point, it was the best vegan cheese I had tasted. It's not surprising to see that they've grown and gone international.

I didn't grow up with mac and cheese so I can't say that I'm an expert on what makes it good or bad. Still, I was excited to try it out. I stored it away in my kitchen cupboard for a day when I couldn't be bothered to cook or for when I had a craving for something comforting and 'cheesy'. That day came over the past weekend.

Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac comes in a bunch of different flavours, including Alfredo Style, White Cheddar Style, Four Cheeze Style with Herbs (coming soon), and the one that I will be reviewing today - Cheddar Style.

You'll see from my YouTube video below that the cooking process is ridiculously simple, so points for convenience.



The pasta is made from brown rice, so my gluten-free friends can rejoice. It cooked in exactly 8 minutes and still had a nice bite to it.

The 'cheese', which comes in a squeezy pouch, is a shockingly bright yellow. If this was achieved through artificial colours, I'd instantly have been put off. But the yellow colour is actually annatto - an orange-red condiment derived from the seeds of the achiote tree (thank you Wikipedia!) In terms of taste, it is rich, gooey and rightfully extremely cheesy.



I sprinkled some crushed chilli flakes over mine, because you can never have too much heat.
For a quick, lazy, comforting, one-off meal, Daiya's mac and cheese is a great shout and I would have it again.

Have you tried it? Would you try it? Let me know!


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Afro Lifestyle Contest - Closed

Thank you to everyone who took part!

The contest is now closed and the winner is Cynthia E.

There will always be great opportunities to win cool stuff, so be sure to follow me on social media (links in the sidebar) and subscribe to my blog to stay up to date.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Easy Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Icing



Vegan chocolate buttercream frosting may seem like a daunting thing to make from scratch, but it really is as easy as ABC. In this week's post and video, I've broken it all the way down for you so you can feel confident about making your own chocolate buttercream for cakes, cupcakes and other bakes.

It was my sister's birthday last week and chocolate buttercream was one of the elements of the two-layer cake I ended up making. This year's cake was a far cry from the Exploding Popcorn Cake I made her previously, but special in its own way.

So let's get into it!

Ingredients
- 6 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups room temperature vegan margarine (I use a brand called 'Pure')
- 1/2 cup vegan milk (coconut/oat/almond.. etc.), plus extra just in case

Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer or by hand. 

If you're combining by hand, be sure to sift the flour and cocoa powder first. You'll need to be patient with the mixture as it takes a while for it to look anything like buttercream. Mix vigorously for a few minutes and soon enough, you'll be left with a glossy, smooth frosting. If it is too thick, add a little splash of vegan milk. You can adjust the consistency by adding more cocoa powder or more vegan milk, as required.

I recommend making the frosting on the same day that you need it. If you absolutely have to make it in advance, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. Before using it, you may need to loosen the mixture with a bit more vegan milk so that it spreads easily. 





Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Love Moin Moin | GIVEAWAY

Hello! Are you having a wonderful week so far? Hope so! If not, perhaps this giveaway will bring some cheer. 

The season of giving continues and I am very excited to be partnering up with The Real African Food Co. to give one lucky winner the chance to win 8 boxes of their Love Moin Moin mix. The perfect addition to your Christmas spread this year, and then some!



If you're new to Nigerian/West African cuisine, Moin Moin is a delicious steamed bean cake made using brown beans or black-eyed beans. I have a whole post on how to make it the traditional way from scratch, which you can check out here.

To be in with a chance to win all 8 boxes, simply watch the video below and follow the instructions:


The giveaway is open internationally and all applicants must be 18+.
The winner will be contacted on 08/12/18. Good luck!






Thursday, 15 November 2018

Afro Lifestyle Giveaway






We're getting into gift season and I am so excited to share this giveaway featuring 5 black-owned home decor brands.

We all know African art is beautiful. And with retail brands catching onto its appeal in the
marketplace, it's so important to shine the spotlight on some amazing African artisans
and makers by giving you the chance to grab some of their incredible creations. For free!


The Prizes

Ayok’a is giving away a framed art print and the winner can choose from over 200 different designs.

Onua will be giving away one of their African print lampshades with a matching set of coasters. 

Djilene Creations will be offering the 'Tuuti Tank' chair.

Opouko will be giving away a kita cloth cushion 

Puzzle of Nature will be offering a set of handmade saggar fired tealight holders and a jewellery box.

How to Enter

For your chance to win all these beautiful items, simply follow this link and enter your email address: https://huge-afro-lifestyle-giveaway.kickoffpages.com/ 

The giveaway ends on Friday 23 November 2018.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Rice and Vegan Chicken Stew | My Brother Reacts

Yes, you read the title right - vegan chicken stew!

My brother came to visit me a couple of weeks ago, and like the good little sister that I am, I shoved a camera in his face and asked him what he thought of the Fry's chicken-style pieces that I'd so generously added to our lunch. He's not vegan, you see, and once in a while I try to overly impress him with scarily similar versions of the food he's used to, just to show that being vegan doesn't mean missing out on anything - chicken included.

If you ask me what I think, I adore the Fry's range. I've written reviews about their products in the past and they are largely my go-to for the times I want to use meat substitutes. It's the fact that they are non-GM and contain no artificial preservatives or colours - all the stuff you should watch out for when indulging in mock meats.

The dish itself is simple: fluffy golden basmati rice; stew made from a seasoned blend of tomatoes, red pepper and onions; served with some fried plantain. It doesn't get more Nigerian-classic than that, whipped up in under 30 minutes.

If you like this post, you'll probably also like my recipes for Vegan Beef StewVeggie Buka Stew and Caramelised Onion Stew. So many stews, so little time, or something like that...



Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Cooking for Gina Yashere / London VegFest 2018

October somehow always ends up being the busiest month of the year for me, and it was no different this time around. Between a 9-5 job and a million personal projects related to 'The Vegan Nigerian', I had to remind myself to breathe and take each day as it came. Don't get me wrong, everything I had to do was either fun, exciting or wonderfully challenging, but as someone who isn't much of a planner, seeing my calendar packed out a month in advance made me feel queasy at times. The anticipation builds and builds, but then the satisfaction of getting through each event is unlike anything I can adequately describe, so I suppose it's always worth it!

Aside from the launch of my Plantain Cookbook (have you bought your copy yet?) I also had to prepare for another stint on the London VegFest cooking demo stage. This year's concept was simple: to showcase a couple of recipes from the cookbook. It was an absolute blast. From feeding off the energy of an engaged audience to getting to talk about something I'm passionate about to sharing recipes that I'm proud of, it was simply great to be there again. So much so that I'm now sniffing out more opportunities to organise or participate in workshops and presentations - watch this space.

The day after the buzz of VegFest, I hosted a dinner for comedian extraordinaire Gina Yashere and her amazing friends. If you've been living under a rock and haven't watched any of her stand-up specials or seen her killing it on the likes of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, then you need to get it together! Browse through her tour dates and grab yourself a ticket to one of her shows - you won't regret it. The few clips in this week's video really don't do the experience justice, and in many ways it was far better to enjoy the fun moments in real time rather than worrying about capturing every single detail of it on camera. Gina and her friends were lovely, welcoming and encouraging in so many ways. At the end of that whole weekend, I was on complete and absolute cloud nine.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Plantain Cookbook - Out Now!

The day has finally come!
After weeks of recipe-dreaming, recipe-writing and recipe-testing, I am proud to announce the official release of my Plantain Cookbook.
It's been an absolute labour of love and I've enjoyed every minute of bringing this book to life. 
It's bold, bright, beautiful and packed with just over 40 plantain-infused recipes. Breakfast, lunch and main meals are covered. But so are surprising dessert recipes such as chocolate fudge cake (yes!), pastries, cupcakes, and more. 
Each recipe is accompanied by a glossy image, and when I tell you that the recipes are delicious and accessible, I really mean it.
If you love plantain as much as I do and think it deserves the extreme attention that I have given it in this book (ha!), then it would mean the world to me if you supported this project. You can do so in a number of ways: by downloading or buying a copy for yourself; by sharing this news with someone who would appreciate it; by leaving a review; or even just sending me a virtual pat on the back (that counts too!). 

HOW TO GET A COPY:
  • For fans of ebooks, you can download a PDF directly from the Books page on my website here, or download it straight onto your Kindle via Amazon here
  • For those who enjoy flipping through the pages of a cookbook, you can buy a glossy copy from here or a paperback copy from here
  • For anyone who wants to share the book on social media, feel free to tag me @VeganNigerian on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #plantaincookbook so that I can thank you personally and send you a million heart emojis! 

Thank you as always for reading, watching and supporting. I appreciate it greatly and wish you the best week imaginable! 


Love, Tomi (a.k.a. the plantain enthusiast) x

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

PLANTAIN COOKBOOK: Release Date Announcement



It's perhaps the cookbook you never knew you needed - ha! But if you love plantain as much as I do, then you should be excited to grab a copy of my latest publication. It's going to be released next week, Tuesday 30th October and I cannot WAIT for you to see it!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

4 Easy Ways to Make Any Meal Healthier

This week's video is slightly different from the usual recipe or vlog format. I share four key ways to instantly transform a meal from unhealthy to healthy. The principles are pretty basic, and you'll probably have heard them a million times before, but it's always good to get a reminder. Perhaps you're keen to commit to healthier cooking habits, or you're looking for simple, no-fuss ways to hit certain health goals, I hope these reminders give you that much-needed boost.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Brixton Vegan Market



I had my first stint at the Brixton vegan market offer the weekend and put together this little clip to highlight what it's all about. Special thanks to Jess (the organiser) for agreeing to a short interview :)

I'm excited to see how the market grows over the coming months and I'm even hoping to make a regular appearance there. Catch me there next Sunday (14th Oct) where I'll be sharing more sweet treats and perhaps some savoury too.

Follow Brixton Vegan Market on social media to keep up to date with everything. If you're a South Londoner, you definitely don't want to miss out on the delicious offerings!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Classic Sweet French Crepes ft. Red Violet Blog

Photo: Eisatbeth (www.red-violet.com)

This week's video is in collaboration with my friend and fellow blogger, Elisabeth (Red Violet blog). Before I arrived in Paris, I reached out to find out where I could get my hands on some vegan crepes while in the city. I wasn't going to leave until I had some. Seriously. Words cannot describe how much I love the stuff. After some investigation, Elisabeth reported back to say that there was at least one place that could provide vegan crepes on request, but she also mentioned that she had an amazing recipe that we could use to make our own crepes if all else failed. I liked this idea a lot, and so we decided we'd set aside some time to make some before I left. Best part? Elisabeth kindly agreed to share the step-by-step process. And so, come Saturday evening (I believe it was close to midnight!) there we were in her little Paris kitchen whipping up a stack of delicious crepes. 

For the full ingredient list and recipe, visit Elisabeth's blog. If you give the recipe a go, don't forget to show some love by leaving a comment on there. 

Enjoy the video and bon appétit!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Vegan in Paris / Pastries, Japanese Food & Nostalgia

Fun fact: my vegan journey began when I was living in France for a year, and over the weekend I had the opportunity to return to the scene of the crime! 

My friend and fellow blogger, Elisabeth (Red Violet Blog) invited me to a vegan Japanese cookery workshop, and so I made a weekend of it, arriving Thursday evening and staying until Sunday. Waves of nostalgia hit as I retraced some of the steps I'd taken with my family when we visited Paris for the first time back in 2004, and a second time in 2011. I was particularly dying to visit Montmartre and oh boy, it did not disappoint. Pure beautiful vibes, exactly as etched in my memory. Easily my favourite part of the entire city. It's no exaggeration to say that Paris will always have a special place in my heart.

What made this trip so vastly different from our family vacation though was that - now as an adult - I chose all the places I visited, stayed in a residential area as opposed to a hotel, and did a heck of a lot more walking through the busy streets. I packed so much into the weekend, it's actually borderline OTT. I had an amazing time with my friend (and her cat, Sésame!) and met some lovely people along the way. 

Naturally, I created a hit list of vegan places to visit. I hope you enjoy this week's video as much as I enjoyed editing it. And if you're planning a Paris trip, scroll down for my top picks of vegan places worth checking out.



1. Le Faitout - vegan bar and bistro. We enjoyed stunning French (vegan) cheese & desserts. Go for the live music too. It's a whole vibe.



2. Jah Jah by Le Tricycle - vegan restaurant serving hearty Ital food.




3. VG Pâtisserie - do not leave Paris without visiting this pastry shop. I'm serious. 


4. Hank Burger - one of a few chains (including Hank Pizza) serving up scrumptious vegan fast food.



5. Ara Chocolat - if you've got a chocolate-covered heart, be sure to stop by this cute, family-run artisan chocolate shop. As soon as you walk in, you'll be hit by the most intoxicating chocolate scent. I could have spent an hour in there.

6. Le Potager du Marais - my final restaurant stop of the trip. Go here for veganised classic French dishes. The customer service is also on-point.

And a couple of other pics worth sharing...

Apple-Miso turnovers made by Elisabeth. Can you say delicious! Find the recipe here.

Chef Miho serving up bite-size mont blancs. If you're ever in Nagoya (Japan), stop by her restaurant Grains!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Curried Avocado Pasta


This week, sink your fork into this no-fuss pasta dish. I made this on a whim one day after work, when I wanted something quick and hearty. Do give it a try, and don't forget to tag @vegannigerian on Instagram or Twitter if you share it online! Full recipe and video below!

You might also like this recipe: Creamy Avocado Pasta



Ingredients
(Serves 1-2)
- 200g spaghetti
- Water
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- Handful green peas
- Handful sweetcorn
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp ground cashews (optional)








Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until cooked.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the peas and sweetcorn. Add curry and chilli powder, stir in the mashed avocado and splash of lemon juice. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a generous sprinkling of ground cashews.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Efo Riro with Mushrooms & Aubergine


























In a bid to eat more greens, I made a batch of efo riro (spinach stew) over the weekend, piling in loads of mushrooms and aubergine to give it a lift. When it comes to 'veganising' Nigerian dishes, I've come to realise that it's often not enough to simply remove the meat. Mushrooms and aubergines are a great substitute if you're after something that's hearty and chunky.



This recipe is a much-needed update on my original efo riro recipe from 2013. Boy, I've come a long way with the photography and general presentation hehe. Hope you enjoy making and eating this!

Ingredients
(serves 4)
200ml red stew mix (blend of red bell pepper, tomatoes, onion and scotch bonnet)
2 tbsp palm oil or coconut oil
800g chopped spinach
1 aubergine (chopped)
250g mushrooms (chopped)
Salt, to taste

Bring the red stew and palm oil to a boil. Add the chopped spinach and chopped aubergine. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt.




Monday, 10 September 2018

Vegan in Sheffield

Lovely moments captured from a weekend trip I took to Sheffield a few weeks ago. Loads of vegan food options, fun times and great company.

If you haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel yet, what are ya doing? It's all good vibes over there :)

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Vegan in Thailand

Summer vacation in Thailand (Bangkok and Pattaya) and you KNOW I went ready to eat everything vegan in sight! ;) Check out parts 1 and 2 of my travel vlog below:




Summer Vegan BBQ Party

I'm just catching up on updating my blog posts, and so much has happened since the end of July.

First up, this epic vegan barbecue organised by pal and fellow YouTuber DunguBook (follow him for some stellar vegan bodybuilding & nutrition tips, motivation, and more) at The Aeronaut pub in Acton, London. Some may say that a successful vegan barbecue can only be the stuff of dreams, but this party was a massive testament to the contrary. His barbecue from last year (read all about that here) was already impressive enough, but this year was off the scale.

There aren't enough words to describe everything that was amazing about it, so I'll let the short video below do the talking. You'll also notice in the clip that I had a stall at the party, selling some of my vegan cupcake creations - honoured to have been given the platform and thrilled to have met so many wonderful people and hear all their feedback!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

3 Easy Vegan Mug Cakes - Confetti Cake; Lemon Drizzle; Chilli Chocolate

Light and fluffy. Ready in one minute. Almost too good to be true.














Mug cakes are nothing new, but it's taken me a while to try them out myself. I was inspired to create these after watching this season of Love Island - a TV show where young singles spend the summer trapped in a Spanish villa in the hope of finding 'true love'. It's ridiculous, it's full of drama and it's been my absolute guilty pleasure over the last few weeks.














The contestants on the show speak a special kinda lingo which ties in to how I became inspired in the most tenuous way you can imagine. Unless you've been an avid follower of the show, the next few sentences probably won't make much sense. In which case, please ignore my jargon and skip ahead to the recipe lol. 'Mug' or 'muggy' or 'mugged off' refers to making a fool out of someone... So then I thought, 'I know, I'll make some mug cakes'. Then I named the cakes 'cutesie chilli chocolate', 'loyal lemon drizzle' and 'bits & sprinkles' to further reflect some of the other random words and phrases thrown around the villa. Sigh... Even I know when I've done the most!















If you own a microwave then you're just a few steps away from having these delectable muggy treats.  Adjust the quantities below in proportion to the mug/cup size. Enjoy!


Confetti Cake
- 2 heap tbsp self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch baking powder
- 6 tbsp vegan milk (coconut/almond/soya/cashew/oat...etc)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp sprinkles (vegan sprinkles are available to buy here)
- 1 tbsp syrup (maple/rice...etc)

Mix all the dry ingredients together first. Make a well in the middle and add all the wet ingredients. Combine to form a smooth batter. Microwave for 1 minute. Drizzle some syrup over the top and throw some more sprinkles on.

Lemon Drizzle
- 2 heap tbsp self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch baking powder
- pinch grated lemon zest
- 5 tbsp vegan milk (coconut/almond/soya/cashew/oat...etc)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp oil

For the drizzle:
- icing sugar
- lemon juice
- candied lemon peel (to garnish)

Mix all the dry ingredients together first. Make a well in the middle and add all the wet ingredients. Combine to form a smooth batter. Microwave for 1 minute. Create a lemon glaze by combining equal parts lemon juice and icing sugar. Garnish with candied lemon peel.

Chilli Chocolate
- 2 heap tbsp self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch baking powder
- pinch crushed chilli flakes (plus extra for garnish)
- 8 tbsp vegan milk (coconut/almond/soya/cashew/oat...etc)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp syrup (maple/rice...etc)

Mix all the dry ingredients together first. Make a well in the middle and add all the wet ingredients. Combine to form a smooth batter. Microwave for 1 minute. Drizzle some syrup over the top and throw some more chilli flakes on for an extra kick.

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Vegan Food at Southbank Centre Food Market



London has been experiencing an intense heatwave of late, and as much as I've moaned and groaned about it (why are we never satisfied with the weather?) I can't deny that summer is my favourite time of the year. The city is more alive than ever, moods are lifted, even food seems brighter, tastier and more indulgent.

If you're after a fix of bright, tasty and indulgent vegan food, head over to the Southbank Centre food market and you will not be disappointed. I arrived hungry on a sunny Friday afternoon and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was on the verge of eating my way through the entire market...Thankfully, as the old saying goes, my eyes were much bigger than my stomach. Still managed to try a fair bit though, including an insanely delicious burger from Big V London, corn on the cob (freshly roasted and sprinkled with five-spice...yum!) and the most delectable slice of salted caramel cake by Choco Fruit. If you go and you've got room for more, you'll maybe want to pick up some sweet or savoury vegan crepes, vegan Thai or Indian food, or maybe a plate of injera with veggie sides from vegan Ethiopian food vendor Ethiopiques.

If you're up for exploring more markets around London, be inspired by my vegan-centric posts on Brick Lane market, Hackney Downs Vegan Market and Portobello Road (see below).


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Detoxifying Green Smoothie for Flawless Skin



My relationship with make-up is one of indifference. It wasn't always that way. I remember being in my early teens and eagerly looking forward to the day I could start experimenting with lipstick, eye shadow and all other face-painting rituals that have been adopted since the dawn of time. Then the years rolled on, I became old enough to start wearing the stuff, and lo-and-behold I found that I just didn't care. I'm not anti-make-up though because once in a while, if I'm in the mood or if a fancy occasion calls for it, I'll dab on a little lipstick or throw on some mascara. Otherwise, I go about my business bare-faced and au naturel. The decision to wear or not wear make-up should always be a woman's choice and there certainly shouldn't be any judgement on either side of the fence.

To relate this little spiel to the recipe at hand, the strange irony is that ever since I went vegan, I've received more questions about my 'beauty-product-secrets' than ever before. From what kind of foundation I'm wearing to which concealers I use to achieve a smooth finish. The look of surprise each time I say that I'm not wearing anything is somewhat amusing. In those moments, I want to say: 'Go vegan and your skin will thank you for it!' and depending on who I'm talking to, sometimes I say just that. 

It would be irresponsible of me to claim that all vegans automatically have great skin after giving up animal products - I can only speak for myself and share my personal experience - but you sure do give yourself a fighting chance when you go down the plant-based route. Your fruit and veg intake inevitably spikes and pore-clogging dairy is eliminated. If that isn't a recipe for getting that glow from the inside out, I don't know what is.

This smoothie recipe, like many other vitamin-rich fruit and veg combos, is a good option if you're looking to start eating and drinking for your skin and general well-being. Great as a healthy snack or a quick breakfast when you're in a hurry. Especially great when you want to give your digestive system a breather after days of glorious indulgence in rich foods.

You'll need: green apple, cucumber, fresh lemon juice and filtered water. If you have access to organic produce, even better.

Simply blend all the ingredients on high speed and enjoy!



Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Vegan Peppered Snail


What's that?

A take on a Nigerian favourite without any actual slime or the chopping up of little creatures who just want to mind their business as they chomp through leaves and crawl around in mud?

Yes.

The Vegan Nigerian: saving one snail at a time. Lol.

Peppered snail is a well-known delicacy in Nigerian cuisine, usually served at parties as appetisers or prepared at home just cos. As a kid, I could never comprehend why anyone would want to eat a snail; the thought of it even now makes me gag a little. But that's just me. Tons of people love the stuff. And so I say, why not consider a version that gives you the same flavour and chewiness but without the grossness? Mushrooms can be earthy and robust and can soak up a ton of seasoning. If you think you'll miss the distinct 'muddy' taste of actual snails though, feel free to chuck in a handful of wet earth into the pan.

I'm joking. And gosh, I probably sound quite snide. Sorry.

For this recipe, I cheated and used the fiery hot chilli sauce by Marie's Little Jar. Although it's not entirely cheating is it, seeing as it contains natural, healthy ingredients. Still, if you want to make your own peppery sauce, it's simple: blend some scotch bonnet peppers with onions and tomatoes to make a thick sauce. Fry in some sunflower oil and allow the sauce to reduce. Season with salt and a vegetable stock cube, and you're good to go.

Re-hydrated dried mushrooms work better than fresh mushrooms in this dish because you get that chewy, rubbery taste.























You'll need:
- Dried mushroom (I used shiitake)
- Sunflower oil
- Red chilli sauce (read above for a quick way to make your own at home)
- Fresh mixed herbs (I used thyme, rosemary and tarragon - use what you have/your favourites)
- Salt, to taste

Soak the dried mushroom in water until soft. (Top tip: quicken the softening process by popping it into the microwave for 5 minutes). Drain, rinse and squeeze out any excess water.

Chop some fresh herbs and set aside.

Heat some sunflower oil in a pan and add the mushroom. Fry until brown and a bit crispy on the outside.  Season with salt.

Add a generous helping of peppery chilli sauce to coat the mushrooms. Throw in a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Serve hot or warm.