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

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Lagos Vegan Meet-Up

Hey Nigerian fam, I’m going to be in Lagos and will be hosting my first pop-up there on Sunday 9th Feb! 😍 🇳🇬 Because I love a good ol’ collaboration, I’m teaming up with the wonderful @veganinnigeria Lagos Vegan Meet-Up group. There’ll be a meet and greet, dishes from my cookbook and a Q&A/group discussion. 

You’ll need to RSVP here: and pay to confirm your attendance/meal (see below for details).

Date: Sunday 9th February 2020

Time: 5pm - 7pm

Address: Carib Health, 17a Maduike Street, Off Raymond Njoku, Awolowo Rd, Ikoyi, Lagos

Cost: N6000 per person (Pay to Gist Media Resources, GT Bank, 0244894699)

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Yam Toast with Sweet and Savoury Toppings | Gluten-Free Bread Substitute

Humour me for a second. Yam is such a neutral-tasting root vegetable that surely it's the perfect base for all manner of creative toast toppings. Right? Well, I was certainly curious enough to try.
The key things to remember: slice your yam as thinly as possible, put it through two rounds of toasting on the highest setting so that it cooks all the way through, and approach this with an open mind - ha!

And here are a few pictures to inspire your yam toast munching adventures...

Okra and Sweet Potato Salad

OG blog readers may recognise this recipe from 2014. It feels like yesterday but alas six years have indeed passed since this dish first graced my palate. I've been feeling the pull to revisit old recipes and breathe new life into them, perhaps modify certain aspects based on new cooking techniques and principles I've adopted. In the original recipe, for instance, I use olive oil to sauté the veg... In this version I replace that with a bit of low-sodium vegetable stock. Same delicious taste, but a notch healthier.

Expect to see more revamped recipes this year. There's so much past content to leverage on the blog but of course I'll share new creations as and when inspiration strikes.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:
Roasted Carrot, Fennel and Mint Salad
Stuffed Plantain Cups

Friday, 17 January 2020

Using Paysend to Organise My Next Event

I have some exciting news and you’re the first to hear about it.

In less than a month, I will be back in Nigeria after many years away and while I’m there, I plan to host my very first Vegan Nigerian pop-up in Nigeria. What a glorious way to celebrate the 7 year anniversary of this blog! More details to come in a future post…

In organising this event all the way from London, I am grateful for the internet and all the electronic tools and services that make the process easier. One of the services I’d like to shout about in this post is Paysend

Paysend is a money transfer platform that is revolutionising the way we send money across borders. In a few easy steps, I was able to transfer money to my collaborator in Nigeria, to go towards the cost of pre-ordered ingredients and specific kitchen utensils. To tell you that I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the platform would be a huge understatement. What if I told you that I was able to transfer money to a Nigerian bank account from my UK account within a couple of minutes? Out of everything I will hype up about this brand, the speed of service tops the list.

Other key features that impressed me is the fact that they enable transfers between over 70 countries (and the list keeps growing). At a transparent fixed fee of £1/$2/€1.50, they are also a stunningly low-cost option, and for a bonafide bargain-hunter such as myself, they are truly speaking my language on this front. Their exchange rates are among the most competitive rates on the market too. In terms of security, you may be wondering just how secure the platform is. Well, thanks to their high-tech anti fraud system, and the fact that they are authorised by the FCA in the UK, I was able to feel confident as I proceeded to try them out.

All I had to do was sign up (this takes literally one minute to do) and fill in the details of the transfer in a short, uncomplicated form. By the time I checked with my recipient a couple of minutes later, they confirmed that they had already received notification of the transfer.

In the spirit of transparency, I took screenshots as I used the platform to make my transfer, just so you can see the clean, easy and speedy format for yourselves.

1. I filled in my basic information to sign up. A simple email/phone verification followed.

2. I was immediately taken to my dashboard. Notice the clear, user-friendly layout. They also have 24/7 online chat support but with a user-experience this simple, I doubt you’ll run into any problems as you navigate.

3. I entered the details of the transfer I wanted to make. Notice the fixed transaction fee of £1 (talk about a bargain!)

4. Transfer done in seconds!

Overall, I cannot recommend Paysend enough. Whether you want to send money to family and friends abroad or pay for bills overseas, I’m pretty certain that once you try Paysend you won’t want to use any other money transfer service. 

Ready to get started? Click HERE to sign up online or download the Paysend app. As a special bonus, use offer code VEGAN to get a free transfer!