Thursday, 3 December 2015

Chef's Face Off - Update!!!






So its a wrap.

It was something. Mystery basket included Chocolate powder. Eggplant. Cardamom pods. A coconut still in its husk. Tomato pepper sauce. Pickled vegetables. Fresh tomatoes. With a pantry that had only fresh mint, basil and cilantro, bell peppers, onions, milk, butter and dried spices. No rice, pasta or flour. We had 35 minutes to whip up a dish using all the ingredients provided. 10 minutes in, we were stopped and asked to switch stations. The horror. 10 minutes after, we were asked to take something from the other person's station. I ended up presenting a Thai style coconut and lemon soup with a temper (sort of like a really intense fried concoction of chicken and onions and vegetables and herbs...seasoned and fried till crispy) which went in the middle of the bowl of soup for intense flavor and texture.

Thank you to all the blog readers that came up and introduced themselves and kept yelling Go Uzo during the cook-off. LOL

Enjoy!!!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Updates - From The Garden, About The Blog and A Preview into 2016

Life has been all sorts of hectic lately. Which is a good thing. It is what I want. It is what i have been working towards. However, in order not to get completely overwhelmed and lose track of absolutely everything, I have had to take a step back. To plan things properly. 

I am very excited to say that after 3 years of registering a domain and renewing and doing nothing, we will actually go live with our website in 2016. The goal is to launch by the end of the first quarter at the latest. The website will have a section for the blog and so much more. All things 'From Uzo's Food Lab' related. This is a roundabout way of apologizing for the sporadic posts. Its also manic season for the bakery which leaves very little time to post. 

Exciting and busy times ahead. One of my major dilemmas is finding the right person to design the site without mortgaging my future children. Any recommendations will be very helpful.

Before we go all Idris Elba and Common sexy with the blog, here are a few updates from the garden:




Pepper harvest - sweet banana, cherry bomb, green bell, jalapeno and  Hungarian hot wax varieties


Ripening cherry bomb pepper



Tomato harvest - large cherry and striped stuffer varieties


Spider plant. I am making an effort to introduce inedible plants into the garden


Brussel Sprouts forming. Its been trial and error but i have it right. Finally 



Begonia plant. Its so pretty i think



My very first beef steak tomato from the garden



Black truffle tomato coming in

With the Christmas season here, I would love to know what will be making it onto the menu this year?

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Kitchen Tip - How to keep cake moist



To prevent hard, stale tasting cake, use slices of bread. Attach slices of bred to the cut exposed part of cakes with toothpicks. The bread keeps the moisture in.

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Drowning my blues with Boozy Iced Tea


Have I mentioned that I do not drink alcohol? Well I do not drink alcohol - usually. Sometimes though, life just deals all sorts of hands and short of screaming - maybe crying and screaming, some alcohol is needed.

Shall I go into details? Let me see - after getting excited about a potential business opportunity, it fell through. The same day, I went to the garden for some stress relief and saw that plants in 8 pots had just died. As a result of some pest I am sure. Then - the bakery staff forgot a pretty big order and the client showed up for pickup at 4pm and everyone was confused. To cap the day off, I reached for a baby wipe to clean my face and some how grabbed antibacterial wipes instead which resulted teary eyes and bruised skin.

I was completely drained. One would have thought that I would simply crawl into bed and sleep but I was too wired. I knew this day deserved some alcohol. Down to the kitchen I went to make some boozy iced tea  - only a handful of readily available ingredients required, cold, kind of healthy and just what I needed...

To make a small pitcher for 1, you will need: 2 green tea bags (You can use any kind of tea you like including fruity flavored varieties), fresh basil or efinrin (African basil, scent leaf) leaves




You will also need cold water, sugar to taste and of course alcohol - I used citrus flavored vodka


The wonders of no recipe required. Simply chuck everything into a little jug and stick in the fridge or freezer for all the flavors to come together. I stuck my pitcher in the freezer and went up to take a long shower.


After about an hour, the boozy tea was wonderfully chilled and ready for me. Delicious. Refreshing. And also ensured that I slept very well.

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Sticky Sweet and Spicy Chicken



Is every cook like me? Getting bored with chicken? Making the same old chicken dishes?

Seeing as chicken is a crowd pleaser and can be pocket friendly, I am constantly looking for ways to make chicken dishes that are tasty and interesting.

Enter this very very moreish, simple to put together dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd - its soccer season (viewing parties at your house? Serve this), the holiday season is almost here and schools are going to start sending memos with the kids for things to bring for class parties or just for Sunday lunch or to eat all by yourself. The chicken gets a sweet and spicy glaze and is cooked in the oven. The results are best eaten with your hands surrounded by lots of napkins.

The best part about this dish, is the ingredients are easy to find and can be started overnight in the fridge.

You will need:
  • 12 pieces of chicken - I prefer dark meat and use drumsticks or wings. Especially if serving as party food
  • All purpose spice or poultry seasoning - season to taste
  • 1 large onion - rough chopped
  • 1 cup dark honey
  • 1 large piece of ginger - grated
  • 4-6 yellow scotch bonnet peppers - finely diced
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
  • Season chicken pieces with all purpose or poultry season. Marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator
  • Pre heat oven to gas mark 4. Line an oven proof dish with foil
  • Place chicken pieces along with leftover marinade into the dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and cook for another 10 minutes
  • Place honey, ginger, chilies in a pot and heat. Stir constantly to ensure the glaze does not burn
  • Pour the glaze over the chicken ensuring chicken pieces are evenly coated and return chicken to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes
  • Serve as a side with rice or potatoes or pasta. Or on its own. Or with a salad
Enjoy!!!



 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Garden Update

The garden is doing so many wonderful things. Its all so very very exciting. Here are some things that got me dancing this week:
 

 
Sweetcorn. If you have been following my garden posts, you will know I have had no luck with growing sweet corn in the past. Corn needs to be planted close to each other so pollination can happen. Seeing as I live in a concrete jungle....I decided to try something radical and try to grow corn in the largest pots I could find. Success. Beautiful super soft and sugary sweet corn. I have planted a few more pots so a few lucky people will get to buy some

I got these seeds from a special aunty. It looks like an apple right? Its a cucumber. A lemon cucumber. Simply gorgeous

Ginger. Yes. I grew ginger. Look at how beautiful these rhizomes are. So soft and the flavor is insane. It will be so hard to go back to buying the shriveled stuff from the markets.

There are some more interesting things happening in the garden and there just might be a giveaway pretty soon...

Enjoy!!!