Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Vegan Custard Meringue Pie


What's better than a homemade dessert? When the craving kicked in for something sweet, I initially fancied making a lemon meringue pie. But upon discovering that we were all out of lemons, I had to rethink my plan. I opened up one of the kitchen cupboards - the one that holds the baking ingredients, dried goods, teas and whatnot - and spied a tub of custard powder in the corner. Bingo. I'd spent the day boiling the life out of a pack of chickpeas so all that aquafaba liquid was sitting there, waiting to be whisked into a light marshmallow fluff. There was a pack of ginger nut biscuits that hadn't been torn into yet. I had all the elements to make the pie of my dreams come together. 

It might look like hard work, but in reality this is one of the easiest desserts you could possibly make. There are three main elements to consider: the crust, the custard filling and the meringue topping. Each step is easy as pie, as you'll see below.

The crust: I've used store-bought ginger nut biscuits but other crunchy biscuits will work well. You may even want to make your own homemade ginger biscuits from scratch. If you're up for that additional step, go for it.

The custard filling: Store-bought custard powder is perfect in this - for the colour especially. If you choose to make custard using regular white corn flour, you may wish to add a dash of turmeric to get that bright yellow colour. 

The meringue topping: if you've never made vegan meringue using aquafaba then you are in for a treat because it is absolutely wonderful to see unassuming chickpea water transform into a creamy, thick bowl of fluff. As well as using the liquid from boiled chickpeas or tinned chickpeas, this also works with liquid from a tin of butter beans. I highly recommend refrigerating the liquid overnight as this improves the viscosity. When whisking, ensure that no oil comes into contact with the liquid as this can affect how well it whips up. The addition of cream of tartar also helps with the viscosity. You will notice that I did not bake the pie or use a blowtorch to add colour to the whipped meringue topping. If you are looking for that browned meringue look (you know the look I mean - the one you see on traditional lemon meringue pies), I recommend using a blow torch to gently blast around the peaks of the meringue until lightly browned. Otherwise, keep as it is and top with some fresh fruit.

Equipment-wise, you'll need a 25cm loose base tart tin for this recipe. Click here to see the type I used.
The meringue can be made using a whisk, but just a fair warning that it will take a much longer time to whip up and your arms will hurt like crazy. If you have a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, that would be ideal.

Where possible, I have included links below in the ingredient list to some of the brands that I used for this particular recipe. Feel free to click if you're curious.

As always, I hope you actually try this recipe. If you do, I'd love to see your creation. Take a snap and share on Instagram or Twitter. Tag @VeganNigerian and I'll be sure to repost it! :)


Ingredients
(serves 8-10)

For the crust
- 250g ginger nut biscuits
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine, melted

For the custard 
- 4 heap tbsp custard powder
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups dairy-free milk (e.g. soya or coconut milk)

For the meringue
- 150g chickpea water, or liquid from 1 tin of chickpeas (a.k.a. aquafaba)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp caster sugar

- mixed berries and fresh mint, to garnish

Method

To make the crust, seal the biscuits in a freezer bag, lay it flat on your kitchen counter, cover with a thick napkin and use a rolling pin or bottle to bash the biscuits to form fine crumbs. Alternatively you can place the biscuits in a food processor and blend until you have crumbs. 

Place the biscuit crumbs in a mixing bowl and pour over the melted vegan margarine. Mix until well combined. Line your tart tin with some parchment paper, pour the biscuit mixture in and spread/flatten to create a pie crust. 

To make the custard, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard starts to thicken. 

Pour the custard into the pie crust and use a spoon or spatula to smooth out the top. It doesn't need to be too perfect as it will be covered by meringue anyway. Place the pie in the fridge until you are ready to serve the dessert.

[I recommend making the meringue topping just before you serve the dessert as it has a tendency to start drooping and sinking after a while.]

To make the meringue, place the aqauafaba in a mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Whisk on full speed for 2-3 minutes until it starts to get thick and foamy. Add the remaining ingredients (cream of tartar, lemon juice and sugar) and whisk on full speed for another 6-8 minutes until stiff peaks form.

When you are ready to serve the dessert, take the pie out of the fridge and scoop the meringue on top. Use a spoon to make swirls and peaks. If you have any fruit lying around, feel free to garnish. I used blueberries and raspberries on mine.

Soft peaks...

Creamy custard...

What a beaut...

Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Vegan Egg Fried Rice | Easy Vegan Recipe

Let's face it. Some days you just want something quick and stress-free. 

If your household is anything like mine, there's usually some leftover plain rice lurking somewhere. This recipe takes that plain rice and elevates it to a level your tastebuds will thank you for. I hope you give this egg-free fried rice a try. 

I used golden sella basmati rice but this works with any type of rice. I've left out quantities for most of the seasoning as you're free to season to taste. I recognise that some people follow a low-sodium diet or low-fat diet, so adjust as necessary.

Ingredients

(serves 4)

- dash of sunflower oil

- 1/2 block extra firm tofu

- 1/2 cup frozen peas

- 1/2 cup sweetcorn

- 1/2 tbsp curry powder

- 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds / thyme

- leftover plain rice (approx 3 cups)

- soy sauce

- sesame oil

Method

🍚 Start by scrambling/frying the tofu in a little oil. I do this until it gets a bit golden and crispy here and there.  

🍚 Add the peas and sweetcorn, along with the curry powder and fennel seeds. Cook for a minute or two on high heat.  

🍚 Stir in leftover rice. Season with soy sauce to taste. Add a dash of sesame oil (for aroma and a nice nutty taste).

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Lentil Bread | Vegan and Gluten-Free


I made 5-ingredient oil-free, gluten-free, grain-free lentil bread and what a revelation! 😍 First spotted this on Twitter, shared by @_annyma [IG handle] and I knew I had to try her genius recipe. Swipe to get a closer look at the texture. It’s moist, yet develops a crumb and a crust. Gives me plain baked Moin Moin vibes, but with a much more subtle flavour. And it toasts well. I can imagine making a seeded version or adding sun-dried tomatoes or olives (oooh 🤔).

I baked mine in a small, flat oven dish so you may want to use a bread tin to achieve a taller loaf. Make sure to double the ingredient quantities to fill the tin though, and you may need to adjust the cooking time.

So what’s in this thing of beauty?

🍞 1 cup red lentils.
🍞 1.5 cups water.
🍞 1 tsp baking soda.
🍞 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar.
🍞 pinch of salt (optional).

Method 🥣
Soak the lentils for an hour then rinse/drain. Place lentils, 1.5 cups water, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and salt in a blender, blend until completely smooth. 

Pour into a lined or greased baking tin/loaf tin. Bake at 180 C for 1 hour. A toothpick should come out clean. Leave to cool before slicing and serving. 

Thanks again to @_annyma for the inspiration 😊💚





The Best Baked Jollof Rice Recipe

 Happy new month folks! Hope you're doing well, happy and thriving.

World Jollof Rice Day was a couple of weekends ago on the 22nd August. The day after I had the sudden  urge to make baked jollof rice. I've seen several versions of it shared online on Instagram, Facebook and a handful of West African food blogs. Without following a recipe, I was able to freestyle the one below and honestly I'm not mad at the results. I strayed from convention in terms of some of the oils and spices added. For instance, curiosity made me wonder what a generous dash of sesame oil would bring to the table. I imagined that adding cinnamon would add a warm, more complex note to the flavour profile. It was particularly satisfying to add my home-grown lemon-thyme straight from the garden. Shop-bought sprigs of time will provide the same effect.

As I was cooking for the whole family, I made a huge batch - 5 cups to be precise - and so it took absolutely ages to cook. Great if you have a lot of time on your hands, are cooking ahead of a later event or you're not particularly ravenous. Otherwise, grab a book, catch a couple episodes of your favourite show or go for a walk as you await your jollof rice masterpiece. If you're not feeding a small army, then the rice can be packed up and frozen as part of your meal prep for the week.

It's oven-baked so you should expect some of the rice (particularly at the top) to dry out a little bit. It will add a bite to every forkful but it is not at all unpleasant. The ratio of fluffy, soft rice to al-dente rice is pretty perfect. 

The red onions caramelise beautifully in this dish, adding some sweetness to balance the spice. I just had to mention this point because it was perhaps my favourite part of the whole thing!

I used golden sella basmati rice and would highly encourage you to use the same for this recipe. No regular long-grain or basmati, please, otherwise results may vary wildly. 

I created a short video reel of the process, which has so far garnered over 10,000 views (wow!). You can check it out here! Just be sure to come back and try this recipe :)


Ingredients
(serves 8-10)
- 1 tin plum tomatoes
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- 3 red onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp palm oil (optional)
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds (plus extra)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- salt
- 2.5 cups water
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- sesame oil


Method

1. Rinse and drain your rice and set aside.

2. Place the tinned tomatoes, red pepper, scotch bonnet pepper and 1 roughly chopped red onion in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Finely chop one red onion and the garlic. Heat some coconut oil (as much or little as you care for) in a large saucepan. Add the palm oil for an extra depth of flavour, or skip it altogether. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the oil, sauté for a minute or two until it softens. Add the blended tomato mix, along with the curry powder, dried thyme, fennel seeds, cinnamon, vegetable stock cube and salt to taste.  Stir well. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the washed rice to a large baking dish (approx 11 inches). Pour over the cooked tomato stew, along with 2.5 cups of water. Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning (you may need to add a tiny bit more salt for taste if necessary). Slice the final red onion into rings and arrange over the top. Sprinkle on a small handful of extra fennel seeds. Top with the sprigs of fresh thyme and drizzle a generous amount of sesame oil over the top.

5. Cover the oven dish tightly with some foil. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes at 180 degrees C until the rice is cooked all the way through. I recommend stirring the rice halfway through the cooking time and adding a bit of extra water if it's too dried out.




Saturday, 22 August 2020

My Top 5 Sources of Fish-Free Omega-3 | Omega-3 for Vegans

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for maintaining a healthy body and mind. From reducing inflammation to decreasing blood triglycerides to reducing blood pressure and improving brain, eye and skin health, the benefits are numerous and undeniable. 

When I first went vegan, finding good sources of omega-3 was a top priority for me. All my life, I’d been told that you can only get high quality omega-3 from fish oil supplements or consuming fatty seafood such as salmon and tuna. What I soon discovered is that most plant-based sources contain a form of omega-3 called alpha-limolenic acid (ALA) and that the body is able to convert this to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which enable us to reap the health benefits.


Making the effort to incorporate plant-based sources of omega-3 into my diet has opened my eyes to the variety of options available, and I’m excited to share my top five sources with you:



1. Vegums Omega-3 Supplements

Supplements are a highly effective way of ensuring that I’m meeting my recommended daily amount. The omega-3 fish-free supplements by Vegums not only taste incredible (orange flavour - yum!) but are made using marine algae and packed with 80mg of DHA per daily dose. I love the fact that they are vegan-friendly (designed specially for a plant-based diet!), contain only natural colours and flavours, and come in recyclable, plastic free packaging. Use my code tomi10 to get 10% off your first subscription.




2. Flaxseeds

Aside from the high levels of fibre, protein and magnesium that you get from flaxseeds, they are a brilliant source of omega-3, with a mere 28 grams exceeding the daily recommended amount. I enjoy sprinkling a tablespoon of it over my porridge or stewed fruit for breakfast or mixing it in with a hearty salad. They also make for an excellent egg replacer when baking!

 



3. Chia Seeds

Nutritious chia puddings, chia-banana pancakes and enriched fruit smoothies - these are just some of the ways that I incorporate chia seeds into my diet. This wonderful ingredient is a great source of ALA omega-3, and is also known for increasing good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. 



4. Seaweed

Seaweed is a reliable source of omega-3 for vegans in the form of EPA and DHA. In addition, they contain a host of vitamins and minerals such as iodine, vitamin K, iron and zinc which make it a strong antioxidant. My favourite ways to incorporate seaweed into my diet include adding it to soups, eating vegan sushi or enjoying it as a healthy, crunchy snack. 




5. Walnuts

You’ve probably heard it said that walnuts help improve brain health and memory. Well, the primary reason for this is that they are loaded with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. This is why I try to include them in my diet as often as possible, from adding it to pesto to mixing it into my granola, or simply eating a handful as a quick snack. They even make it into my cakes and bakes


Monday, 10 August 2020

Influencer Challenge Prank on Nigerian Mum | "Are You Nuts?"

Some light-hearted entertainment to brighten your day! It certainly brightened mine! :)

I was inspired by the influencer challenge that has been making its rounds on TikTok and Instagram, so decided to have a little fun and prank my mum. 

Like a true Nigerian mum, she didn't hold back. Gotta love our African parents and their natural way of turning every scenario into comedy gold.

I think the question "Are you nuts?" will be ringing in my ears for a few days to come lol.