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: