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!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

How To Create A Unique Food Concept | PickyWops Interview



In this week’s video, I’m joined by Cristiano of PickyWops.

PickyWops is an independent vegan pizzeria that manages to stand out in a market that could be viewed as saturated. The care and attention that they put into their delicious pizzas is evident, and their offering of high quality, healthy and alternative pizza doughs puts a modern and ethical spin on an Italian classic.  

When it comes to starting a food business, one of the main areas of concern for many is not being unique enough. In the case of PickyWops, they have demonstrated that in a society where pizzerias and fast food pizza chains are a dime a dozen, it is still possible to create a successful pizza brand simply by being authentic and thinking outside the box.  

In the interview, Cristiano is very open about the challenges that they have encountered so far. What you’ll see is the way their perseverance and absolute love for what they do (plus having fabulous products to share with the world!) have helped them go from strength to strength.

Get your dose of inspiration and head over to my YouTube channel to watch!

Monday, 12 August 2019

How To Run A Successful Food Stall



Starting and running a market food stall is no easy feat, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Meet Kaleema and Kareema of Livity Plant Based Cuisine. After 10 years working in the restaurant industry, they branched out on their own, selling their delicious and nutritious vegan food at markets in South London.

Check out my interview with them in this week's video and stay tuned for more great chats in the Building A Food Empire series over on my YouTube channel!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

How To Become A Raw Vegan Chef



In this open and honest conversation with Raw Chef Yin, you'll learn the ins and outs of starting a career as a raw food chef. Chef Yin spent years in the corporate world, in a job that left her feeling unfulfilled.

You'll see from the interview how her passion for raw food led her on an amazing personal and professional journey - from teaching classes in Malaysia and around the world, to giving a Tedx Talk, to publishing multiple cookbooks.

I hope you enjoy this week's video! Stay tuned for next week's interview with the ladies from Livity Plantbased Cuisine.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Building A Food Empire | Introduction



I’ve been speaking to some amazing individuals who are doing great work in the food industry. They drop some wisdom on how they’re building their food empires in their unique ways and give tips on how you can too.

I’ll be rolling out their stories over the next few weeks in a limited series on my YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.

My guests so far include @rawchefyin who is smashing it as a raw vegan chef in south east Asia and beyond, landed herself a TedxTalk and has published a cookbook 🥗; @pickywops who overcame several obstacles to establish themselves as one of the best and innovative vegan pizza companies in London 🍕; the beautiful boss ladies of @livityplantbasedcuisine who’ve taken charge of their own destinies to set up their thriving food business 🍛.

Vegan Nigerian Japanese Fusion Supper Club

Hey folks,

It's been almost two weeks since the Nigerian Japanese dining event and every time I think about it, I get the biggest smile on my face because it was just. that. good. For a bit of context, check out my previous post here where I share a behind-the-scenes look at a day of cooking and recipe try-outs with my collaborator, Keiko.

Keiko, also known as Sushi Queen, is a London-based Japanese chef with several years of cooking and workshopping experience. We met at an Airbnb event earlier this year and did the thing all foodies do when they connect: talk about food. And also the possibility of collaborating. Et voila! We made it happen.

On Monday 15th July, we met up to go shopping for ingredients. Luckily we live in the same neighbourhood and have a thriving shopping area right on a doorstep, but gosh did we do a lot of walking and carrying. My smart watch clocked over 10,000 steps that day. Let's just say it was a win-win for our productivity and my personal health and fitness.

Then bright and early on Tuesday 16th we got to work prepping for the dinner. We flipped dorayakis and chopped sushi vegetables and stuffed gyozas until we were blue in the face. Well, actually, I exaggerate. We gave ourselves so much time to prep and we knew our menu inside-out that it all went by in a breeze. It wasn't until we got to the venue and it dawned on us just how many sushi rolls we had to make that the frantic energy properly kicked in. Thankfully, we had two amazing helpers on the night - Betty and Natasha - to assist with set-up, service and clear-up. We would have been lost without them. Somehow, with these events, I always underestimate how much help will be needed. Keiko and I would have gone it alone if these two actual angels hadn't offered, and the night would probably not have gone as well as it did. Their presence was another reminder for me: when in doubt, ask for help!

All our guests showed up and things properly kicked off around 7pm. Keiko and I barely came up for air during service as we rolled sushi and plated like our lives depended on it. At the very end though came the sweet spot: we could slow down enough to chat with some our guests and receive their glowing feedback. I don't know about Keiko, but I was absolutely living for it. Tiredness forgotten, sore limbs ignored, everything is perfect kind of living for it. To read a couple of such guest reviews, head over to Instagram or Facebook.

Will there be another edition of this fusion dinner? I don't see why not! We're even toying with the idea of a sushi-making class next time. As always, stay tuned for all future event news by subscribing to my newsletter or following online.

Sadly no video footage of the event, but I've got some great snaps to share of the food.

Starter: kombu and miso moin moin; sweet plantain gyoza; spiced yam gyoza; miso-glazed grilled yam.

Sushi selection: jolly sushi with marinated tofu, okra, edamame and sweetcorn; eba inari; plantain and pickled ginger temaki; roasted red pepper and cucumber uramaki.

Dessert: yam flour Dorayaki with azuki bean paste, coconut cream, matcha and fresh mango.

Drinks: matcha-watermelon-mint punch; pineapple-lime punch.


Photo credit: @emisgoodeating

Photo credit: @emisgoodeat

Photo credit: @emisgoodeating

Photo credit: @emisgoodeating


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Cashew Vanilla Ice Cream | Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free





Nothing says summer like a generous helping of smooth, creamy ice cream. This recipe is full of natural ingredients, it's easy to make and it's free from refined sugar, dairy and eggs. Although higher in calories than the classic banana-based nice cream, there's certainly a place for this indulgent treat. And with the intense richness, let's just say that a single scoop goes a long way.

As well as a vanilla flavour, I also made a matcha and chocolate chip version using the matcha superfood mix by YourSuper. They've been kind enough to provide a discount code if you want to check out their products. Use TOMI15 at checkout to get 15% off! Visit their store here.



Ingredients
- 2 cups cashews (soaked overnight and then drained)*
- 1 and 1/4 cups cashew milk**
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp melted shea butter*** (I used SuperFoodLx cbd shea butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

* It is important to soak your cashews in order to enhance the creaminess of the ice cream. If you're short on time try and soak them for at least 3 hours, though overnight is preferable.

** You can make your own cashew milk at home by blending a handful of soaked cashews with a cup  or so of water. Use a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

*** The addition of shea butter helps reduce crystallisation during the freezing process and it also adds to the creaminess of the ice cream. Shea butter has a strong taste so if you're not a fan, you can replace it with melted cocoa butter or coconut butter.



Method

1. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the strength of your blender, this may take a few minutes. If your mixture is struggling to blend, you can add extra tablespoons of cashew milk, slowly and one at a time, to loosen the mixture slightly. You want to be left with a thick, smooth, airy consistency.

2. Transfer to a container, seal tightly and freeze for at least 3 hours until the ice cream has set.

3. Serve plain or with your favourite toppings.

Note: you can have fun experimenting with different flavours. Fresh strawberries, mangoes, cocoa powder, peanut butter and matcha powder are just a few you can try.

Matcha and chocolate chips
You might also like: 
- Maltina Ice Cream
- Nice Cream
- Almond Milk

Saturday, 13 July 2019

New KFC Imposter Vegan Burger Review

A fun video of my brother and I testing out the new KFC vegan 'chicken' burger for the first time.

KFC released the "imposter" burger in a handful of branches around the UK (only one branch in London - Gloucester Road) and I wanted to try it almost immediately. You see, I haven't stepped foot in a KFC in almost seven years and while I do not miss the chicken one tiny bit, I do rate the spicy secret recipe coating/batter that they use. Slap that on a vegan fillet and I'm in junk food heaven. Now would I advocate living off of this stuff? Absolutely not. But for a once in a blue moon treat, it's nice to know that the option is available.

I'm hoping that staunch meat eaters will be inspired to try it and even switch over to it when dining at KFC. With how good it tasted (in my opinion) I can definitely see that happening. At the end of the day, the spread of veganism will only occur when the stigma of exclusivity gives way to accessibility. Many vegans are rightly turned off by big corporations jumping on the vegan train for the sake of profit and publicity, but I'm choosing to look at the positives of a move such as this. For one, the normalisation of the vegan lifestyle will do wonders for making people stop and think about their food choices.

Here's hoping the trial is a success and that they roll out the vegan burgers across the country and beyond!

Video below:




Sunday, 30 June 2019

Vegan Nigerian Japanese Fusion Cooking | Sushi, Gyoza and More!

Happy Sunday! Hope you are well and truly enjoying the glorious summer weather.

Ahead of our vegan Nigerian Japanese supper club on July 16th, my collaborator Keiko (a.k.a. 'Sushi Queen') and I spent Friday experimenting with a few fusion dishes. Our guests are in for a real treat! If you haven't booked your ticket yet, you can do so via Eventbrite.

In this week's video, check out the behind-the-scenes of our recipe and menu development process. Some pictures further down for you to check out too. Can you guess how we've fused Nigerian and Japanese ingredients??







Saturday, 29 June 2019

Crispy Baked Carrot Chips



As a self-confessed chips aficionado, I can freely admit that these carrot chips are nowhere on the same level as classic potato chips/fries. What can truly compare? And yet, they are incredibly delicious and do hit the spot if you've got a craving for something crisp and satisfying. I made these because I had a surplus of carrots in my fridge and didn't fancy making a soup or a salad at the time.

These are best served piping hot, straight out of the oven, with a spicy dipping sauce. Mmm. Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley and you've got yourself a visually stunning snack or appetiser.

Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 8 carrots (chopped into batons)
- 3 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sunflower or melted coconut oil
- Fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until the carrot chips are evenly coated.

Spread the chips out in a single layer on a lined baking tray.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes, turning the chips over halfway through the cooking time.

Serve hot with a garnish of fresh parsley and your favourite dips and sauces.
 



Thursday, 13 June 2019

Vegan Nigerian-Japanese Supper Club

The excitement is real!

Nigeria meets Japan in the next instalment of pop-up dinners. I've teamed up with Keiko of Sushi Queen London to create a unique and exciting fusion dining experience. We'll be joining forces to develop a specially curated menu that showcases the very best of Nigerian and Japanese flavours and ingredients.

Join us on Tuesday July 16th, 6.30pm at Black Cat Cafe.

Book tickets here.


Sunday, 9 June 2019

Top 5 Vegan Brands for Afro Hair | Afro Hair & Beauty Live 2019

This year's Afro Hair & Beauty Live show took place over the gloriously sunny spring bank holiday. 120 exhibitors showcased their products at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and thousands of visitors showed up to support what I can truly describe as a successful show.

Walking around the show, I was struck by the number of brands embracing a vegan ethos. These days, it makes complete sense for hair and beauty businesses to move in this direction. Demand for cruelty-free, natural and ethical products is at an all-time high, people are generally more conscious and eager to support businesses that actually care about animal welfare and the environment. Companies win out financially, customers are satisfied, animals are spared from exploitation...it's nothing but positive when you really think about it.

In my highlight video, you'll see that the show was an absolute feast for the senses. I managed to touch base with a few impressive vegan-friendly hair and beauty brands. Some of my favourites are also featured in the little guide I've put together down below. If, like me, you've ever struggled with finding vegan products that work well and nourish your afro hair, then this guide to the top 5 brands should be a lifesaver.



Top 5 Vegan-Friendly Brands for Afro Hair

1. SuperFoodLx
Cherry and Paula Francis are the UK based nurse and nutritionist mother and daughter team behind SuperFoodLx. They specialise in pure blend dietary supplements and nutrient dense vegan hair and skin treatments. Their selection of CBD oil products help support your mood and stress-levels in order to prevent hair loss, and their natural blends are formulated to accelerate and thicken your hair growth. Look out for their much loved Kelp & Spirulina Hair growth vitamins, Hair Skin & Nail Oil, Illuminism Detox Balm, Intelligence Hydrating Hair Cream, Quinoa Protein Conditioner, CBD oil and butter.


2. Afrocenchix
This brand absolutely had to make it on to the list. Their gorgeous products are all vegan, natural and organic, designed to make caring for natural hair as simple and stress-free as possible. Check out their sulphate-free shampoo, and moisturising hair cream. They are also the first natural hair brand to be stocked at WholeFoods, so if you happen to pass by there, be sure to support them.


3. Curls
The Green Collection by Curls is 100% vegan and specially formulated to promote healthier, stronger hair. The range includes a green tea hair rinse to restore your hair's pH balance, a moisturising avocado hair styling mousse, bamboo protein treatment to strengthen damaged hair, a sea kelp vitamin-infused shampoo and a sea kelp/cucumber hair mask to promote hair growth.


4. ACTIVILONG
Multi-award winning France-based company ACTIVILONG have been caring for curly and frizzy hair since 1983. This year they introduced ACTIKIDS for vegan kids. 97% natural origin, neutral ph, no silicon / no SLS / no PEG / no mineral oil. Enriched with mango butter and sweet almond oil to meet the specific needs of children's delicate hair. The range consists of conditioning shampoo, conditioner, co wash, detangling spray, curl cream and defining jelly.


5. ASIAM
Catering for natural curls and coils, As I Am recently launched an entirely vegan collection called Dry + Itchy to help fight dandruff and prevent itchy scalp. It is formulated with olive oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, linseed, aloe vera and other natural products to soothe and repair the scalp. Their leave-in conditioner, curling jelly, twist defining cream and hair oils are also all vegan-friendly.




You might also like my post on how to make a vegan deep conditioner for natural afro hair.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Spicy Mango Salad (Mango Ceviche)


Conpasion Peru is a London-based social enterprise run by two sisters, Joana and Meli. They led a cooking class a week after mine, as part of the Vegan Chefs of Colour series by community organisation, Life After Hummus. One of the recipes that they shared was a stunning mango ceviche. 

I've been meaning to experiment with savoury mango dishes for a while, but somehow never got round to it. Whenever I wanted to, I'd pick up some mangoes from my farmers' market and proceed to eat them as they are, not wanting to sacrifice the pure pleasure of a juicy, ripe mango. It wasn't until I tasted Joana and Meli's mango ceviche that I realised what I'd been missing!

I've tweaked this recipe, using ingredients that were more readily available to me at the time. Instead of Peruvian chillis, for instance, I've used scotch bonnet. You can also use lemon juice and zest in place of the lime. Red onions make the dish more visually appealing, but you can of course opt for white onions.

This mango salad is perfect as a side dish, especially during the summer months. The sweet, spicy and sour notes are perfectly balanced, adding a touch of freshness to any main meal.

Ingredients
(serves 1-2)
- 1 ripe and firm mango
- 1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
- handful coriander (roughly chopped)
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- lime zest
- 1/2 small scotch bonnet pepper (finely chopped) or 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- pinch of salt

Toss all the ingredients together in a large salad bowl. It can be served at room temperature but I personally think it tastes better chilled, so if you need to serve it immediately try and refrigerate your ingredients beforehand. Otherwise, pop it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.

Are you a fan of mango in savoury dishes? Leave a comment down below.

Other recipes you might like:
- Mango Cream Dessert
- Mango Shortbread Cookies
- Broccoli and Sweet Potato with Chilli Coconut Dressing



Sunday, 26 May 2019

Perfect Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes + Oreo Cupcakes

What makes a perfect chocolate cupcake? A rich, intense flavour and a fluffy texture come to mind. Those things are not always easy to achieve, especially when it comes to vegan baking. Oftentimes, you're just one hard whisk away from knocking all the air out of your cake batter or over beating it into a goo that ends up tasting more rubber than chocolate-covered cloud.






That's where this recipe comes in. Tried and tested for you, so you can be sure you'll get perfect results every time. You probably already have all the ingredients for this at home, and so the next time you're in need of a treat or a pick-me-up, maybe give this one a go. And if you feel like pushing the boat a bit, top them with shards of Oreo cookies for that extra crunch.

As always, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already. I have a truckload of exciting videos coming up for the rest of the year, and it'd be great to build a lil' community over there.



Ingredients
Makes 24
- 250ml non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut, oat...etc)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 150g caster sugar
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Oreo cookies (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Leave to stand for two minutes. Add the vanilla, sunflower oil and sugar. Whisk until the ingredients are well-combined.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the wet mixture. Using a gentle folding motion, mix until just combined. Don't worry if there are a few tiny lumps.

Spoon the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes. (Alternative version: top the cakes with shards of Oreo cookies). Check to see if they are baked all the way through by sticking a toothpick in the centre of a cupcake - it should come out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow to cool on a wire rack. Initially, the top of the cupcake will feel a bit hard and crunchy. Leaving it to cool for longer (usually overnight) will soften the overall surface. This is why it's usually better to bake cakes a day ahead of serving them.

Serve as they are, or topped with chocolate buttercream.


Top Tips for Perfect Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
1. Do not overmix! You just need to mix lightly to the point where everything is combined. No need to whip and whisk it excessively. If your arms start to ache and you've got sweat dripping down your face, you're doing it wring. Overmixing will only turn the mixture gloopy, and result in rubbery cupcakes.

2. Use high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder. I recommend Green & Blacks.

Other recipes you might like: Coconut Cupcakes; Chocolate and Peanut Muffins.
























Saturday, 25 May 2019

Filming with Battabox



A quick snippet from a filming/cooking session for the Battabox Youtube channel. Check out the full video on their page, and be sure to subscribe to my channel if you haven't already. In my next video, I'll be showing you how to make the ultimate vegan chocolate/Oreo cupcakes.

The two recipes featured in the video: plantain/sweetcorn fritters and plantain fried rice. Both can be found in my plantain cookbook.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Vegan Nigerian Cooking Class



What a great evening this turned out to be!

As part of the 'Vegan Chefs of Colour' series by community cooking school 'Life After Hummus', I got to lead a Nigerian cooking class on Friday. We had a sold out event with 35 attendees learning the ins and outs of dishes such as jollof rice and efo riro.

The twist was that everything was low-fat and healthy to the nth degree. Aside from the plantain,  which needed a little spray cooking oil, the entire menu was oil-free. The jollof rice and efo was paired with a zesty coleslaw. Dessert was a palate-cleansing salad of fresh pineapple, mango and coconut, brought to life with a hint of nutmeg. For the full recipes, check out @lifeafterhummus on Instagram (recipes from the classes are always posted there afterwards).

Thank you to everyone who came along, to Farrah for all her hard work in organising the series and lovely volunteers on the night.

On a related note, if you're a group or corporate organisation looking for a fun team-building activity such as a cooking class, do get in touch!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

6 Important Supplements Every Vegan Should Take

Guest article by Dr. Charles-Davies, a medical doctor who loves to share health information and runs 25doctors.com.

A vegan diet has its advantages; it can help to maintain a healthy weight, lower the risk for kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, colorectal cancer, and heart disease. Vegans rely heavily on consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains - a diet that is very beneficial in providing fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamin A, C, E, folate, and minerals like potassium and magnesium


Now, the truth is that a standard vegan diet alone does not take care of all the body’s nutritional needs. If you adopt veganism, you need nutritional supplementation to stay healthy. You also need to speak to your doctor and dietitian to properly give you all the health information you need about your dietary choice.

Supplements For Veganism

Here are some nutritional supplements that you could take as a vegan if you want to stay healthy and enjoy the benefits of your dietary choice:

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. The body can store it in the liver for up to 4 years and urinates the extra. It is structurally the most complex and largest vitamin. This is the most important supplement in the list to consider.


Vegans should take B12 fortified foods or supplements derived by bacterial fermentation-synthesis. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 2.4 mcg per day, whereas pregnant women need 2.6 mcg and lactating women 2.8 mcg.


To identify the deficiency of vitamin B12 look for signs of confusion, depression, memory problems, tingling sensation, insensitivity to pain, fatigue, constipation, and loss of appetite.


Dietary sources for vegans include fortified cereals, grains, bread, and plant-based milk. Sprinkling nutritional yeast or spirulina on popcorn, potatoes, pasta, and salads will help to provide.
Taking high potency tablets - 2000 mcg once a week or 25 to 100 mcg daily is also a reliable source.


2. Omega -3S


Omega – 3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which are of three types – ALA, EPA, and  DHA.
ALA can be obtained from plant oils but DHA and EPA are mostly derived by consuming marine life, eggs, and krill.


These compounds are mainly essential for proper brain functioning as DHA supports grey matter in the brain. It has its role in neurodevelopment, cognition, treating various mental illnesses like ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder. Other roles include reducing autoimmune and allergic exacerbations.


Minimum consumption of 250-350 mg combined EPA and DHA is recommended daily.
 The sources of ALA include chia seeds, hemp seeds, Brussels, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseeds, and leafy greens.

DHA and EPA are mainly supplemented by the algae that act as a source for the fishes. You can pick up on these supplements.


3. Calcium/ Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Calcium act as a unit.
Calcium is one of the top 5 minerals required by the body. About 99% of Calcium makes up the bones. The rest of it is required for muscle contraction, blood clotting, maintaining normal heart rhythm, enzymatic functions and maintaining teeth.


Vitamin D which can also be regarded as a hormone that helps to absorb Calcium. It has its role in body immunity, anti-inflammatory lung benefits, treating kidney disease, depression, and weight maintenance.

The deficiency symptoms of these two may include fatigue, catching frequent infections, pain in the lower back or legs, easy fractures, impaired wound healing, hair loss, and frequent muscle sores.


Recommended daily allowance RDA for Calcium is 1000-1200 mg and for Vitamin D is 400-800 IU (10-20 mcg).


Vitamin D can be obtained by 20-30 minutes of sunlight exposure.
There are two types of supplements– D2 and D3 that provide the daily requirement (400/600/800/1000 IU tablets). You can also take 60000 IU every 6-8 months.


The vegan sources for calcium are chickpeas, spinach, cereal, figs, almonds, navy beans, soybeans, and turnip.
Calcium-fortified plant milk, tofu, white flour and orange juice can be added to reach adequate requirements. Supplements are 2 tablespoons of Blackstrap molasses and Calcium tablets ranging from 200-600 mg every day.


TIP: Drink loads of water with calcium supplementation. Get a blood test for your levels to adjust your intake since an excess of both is harmful.


3. Iodine

Iodine is a major mineral in the body with a recommended daily allowance of 150 mcg. For pregnant and lactating women, it is up to 200 mcg.  It has its role in the synthesis of thyroid hormone.


Vegan sources include potatoes, prunes, bananas, corn, sea vegetables like kelp, sea lettuce, cranberries, and strawberries.


Since more than 30% of the world is deficient in Iodine, salt fortification has been used worldwide and is highly recommended. A deficiency will lead to thyroid dysfunction that can be noticed as a neck swelling, weight gain, poor hair and skin health, cold intolerance, memory, and menstrual problems.


4. 
Iron

The normal level of iron in the body is 3-4 grams. You can check these levels by your hemoglobin level, iron profile, blood picture, and complete blood counts. It has its role in transporting oxygen throughout the body, enzymatic action, DNA synthesis, and energy metabolism.


Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia. You may be dizzy, fatigued, light-headed,  or have palpitations, behavioral changes, paleness, headache, brittle nails, and hair loss. These signs are easily missed out, so, it is best to get a blood test done.


The recommended daily allowance is 8 mg for adult men and old women. It is 18 mg for women and 27 mg for pregnant females.


The sources include soybeans, black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, pumpkin, sunflower, cashews, collard, green leafy vegetables. Despite this wide range of sources, vegans are more prone to develop iron deficiency. This is mainly because females lose iron with every menstruation and pregnancy.

Fortified iron cereals, grains, bread, and plant milk can help. You can supplement Iron in tablet forms and consume it 2-4 times a day depending upon the deficiency.


TIP: Have it alongside Vitamin C rich sources. They will help Iron absorb better.


5. Probiotics

Probiotics consist mainly of microorganisms that are the “good bacteria”. Vegans fear that they might be deprived of it since yogurt is the only known natural probiotic source.


Probiotics help with good digestion, prevent gastrointestinal diseases, increases immunity, improve mental health, reduce colon cancers, provide improvement in diabetics and obese individuals.
The vegan sources include consuming fermented foods like pickles, Kimchi, fermented soy products and fermented teas. You can also consume vegan probiotic capsules.
 Here’s a review of some of the best probiotics.

6. Proteins

Proteins in the human body are compound chains of 20 types of amino acids. They help in tissue growth, development, and repair. They also act as neurotransmitters, hormones, transporters, immune cells, enzymes. In fact, 16% of the body is made up of proteins.



Sources include peas, beans, cereals, grains, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds. Certain foods like amaranth, soy and buckwheat will provide the full portion of essential protein requirement.

Protein should be consumed as much as 1 gram per kilogram body weight. So if you are 70 kgs, you consume 70 grams of protein. In case you are an athlete or are deficient in your intake, you can start supplementing with protein powder and using amino acid fortified food items.


Be careful not to overdose any of the above mentioned.