Sunday 29 March 2020

Coffee and Walnut Cake Slices

Baking soothes the soul.

In this era of self-isolation and social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, a lot more of us will be cooking and baking. I recommend this as a way to stay busy, learn a new skill, manage anxiety and/or expand your recipe repertoire.

As much as we should be choosing healthy, immune-boosting meals where possible, there will no doubt be moments where we want a cheeky treat. I had such a craving this weekend and this vegan coffee and walnut cake absolutely hit the spot. It's easy to make, perfectly sweet, moist and balanced in flavour. It's the ideal sharing snack if you're in quarantine with family or housemates. If you're isolating solo, even more for you to enjoy over the course of a week or two.

If you do try this cake, be sure to take a pic and tag me on social media @VeganNigerian.

Stay safe, much love x

- 250g self-raising flour
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 200ml coconut milk (or other dairy-free milk)
- 3 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100ml sunflower oil
- handful walnuts (roughly chopped)

In a large bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Set aside.

Heat up about 50ml of the dairy-free milk and dissolve the instant coffee granules in it. Combine with the rest of the milk in a large jug/bowl and whisk in the vanilla extract and sunflower oil.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour and sugar. Fold and combine gently to form a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into a lightly greased or lined baking tray (12" x 9") and sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top. Bake for 25 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius. Leave to cool before slicing into squares.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

How to Host a Live Cook-Along or Cooking Tutorial

If there's one thing that's emerging from this coronavirus crisis, it's the way we're being forced to think and work in more creative ways. On Sunday, I hosted an online cook-along, streaming live to an audience on YouTube. There were hiccups and connectivity issues, but ultimately it was a lot of fun and an extremely rewarding experience.

With most of my in-person events cancelled for the foreseeable future, I definitely see myself exploring and harnessing this form of engagement going forward.

Based on my experience so far, below are a few tips for any chefs and bloggers who are interested in hosting a live cooking tutorial:

You’ll need the following equipment:

- Mobile phone or camera
- Tripod or sturdy surface to lean phone/camera

Before Filming
  1. Promote your event - decide what you will be cooking/teaching and communicate this to your audience via social media or your mailing list. Get them to sign up in advance.
  2. Choose your platform - I used YouTube Live but you can also try Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Zoom.
  3. Test the video and audio quality - fix any issues before you start filming
  4. Check your WiFi connection - make sure that it is strong and reliable
  5. Find the right shooting angle - figure out where to place your camera for optimum exposure. A tripod will make this easier but if you don’t have one, try resting your phone/camera on a shelf or get creative by making a tripod out of a stack of books etc. You should be visible and central within the frame, and include the work surface and stove top you will be using to prep the food
  6. Prepare your space - tidy up any areas that will be visible on camera. Ensure that the space is well lit with natural lighting. Beautify with props or plants if possible
  7. Prepare your ingredients - have your ingredients washed, ready and portioned out before the session begins
  8. Prepare a rough script and place it somewhere off camera but visible to you (see below for example)

During Filming
  1. Speak clearly and loudly, at a moderate pace
  2. Look directly at the camera when speaking to the audience
  3. Try to follow a roughly timed script, for example:
- Introduce yourself - 2 minutes
- Introduce the recipe, the ingredients and the story behind it - 5 minutes
- Showcase how to cook the recipe - 20-30 minutes
- While the food is cooking, interact and answer audience questions
- Plate up and present the final dish to the audience
- Thank the audience for watching, and encourage them to follow your work online.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Mother's Day Online Cook-Along | How to Make Perfect Jollof Rice

Hello everyone,

First and foremost, I hope you are all keeping well and staying safe. As each day gets stranger with Covid-19 (coronavirus), it goes without saying that this is the time to really look out for each other.

It is my hope that The Vegan Nigerian platform will be a safe haven for everyone - a place you can come to when you need a break from the unrelenting and downright soul-sapping news. You can still expect recipes (I'm hoping to develop some immune-friendly dishes so that we can all stay healthy during self-isolation) and I've got a few ideas for other online content down the line so that we can beat the boredom!

As you may have already seen, all my planned events have been cancelled for the time being. Vegan Life Live is hoping to postpone to a later date and they will keep all exhibitors and ticket holders in the loop.

Many small businesses, groups and individuals are going to be negatively affected over the coming months. In light of this, I'll be hosting an online cook-along fundraiser this Sunday (Mother's Day) at 4.30pm.

The YouTube Live cook-along will be free for anyone to watch, but I am kindly requesting donations, all of which will be donated to Migrateful. Migrateful is a charity that empowers refugee and migrant chefs to teach their cuisines to the general public. Due to the coronavirus crisis, they have had to suspend their upcoming cooking classes. Many of the chefs rely on the classes as a source of income and/or donations. Asylum seeker chefs in particular, who are unable to work at all, will be hard hit.
In this cook-along, I will teach you how to make the perfect jollof rice, providing tips and lessons learned from my own mum (no pressure!)
Here is how it works.
  1. RSVP and/or donate on Eventbrite. There, you will find all the details of the cook-along, including which ingredients you’ll need if you want to cook along (you can also just watch as a cookery demo and take notes if you want!) 
  2. On Saturday evening, I will email everyone who has RSVP’d with a reminder link to the cook-along.
  3. On Sunday at 4.30pm, we’ll cook together, chat and hang out live on YouTube!

Whether you’re self-isolating together or apart from loved ones, you can all participate virtually and bring some cooking joy into your day.
I’ve never done a live show like this before so bear with me as I try to streamline the process. 
Hope to see you live on Sunday. Until then, wishing you all good health.
Tomi x