Sunday, 30 August 2015

Poulet Yassa and some rambling...

How do working wives and mother do it? I mean really? I really want to know. Actually - let me rephrase...How do mogul wives and mothers do it?  I have been working so very hard building the brands, being a wife and mother and I honestly cannot remember my name a lot of the time. I have decided to ramble on the blog now and again and see if that provides some relief....

Now on to Chicken Yassa .....

This is a dish that is very very common in Senegal and The Gambia. Some websites even claim that it is the national dish of Senegal. I stumbled on this dish when I was searching for recipes to use up an over enthusiastic purchase of onions. This dish gets its flavor from a lot of onions. I mean a lot of onions. Some would say an obscene amount of onions. It also uses lemon juice which is not a very common ingredient in meat dishes here in Nigeria. I tried one of the more popular versions of this recipe and decided I like it enough to tweak the recipe and voila...a new family favorite.

To make Chicken Yassa that feeds 4 people, you will need:
  • 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 large onions - thinly sliced
  • 2 yellow or red scotch bonnet peppers - finely diced
  • Juice from 4 large lemons
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 stock cubes
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • Add all the ingredients except for the oil, mustard and olives to a bowl and mix together. Marinate overnight in the fridge
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and grill or fry until brown and set aside. Save the marinade
  • Heat the oil in a large pot . Remove the onions from the marinade and add to the pot cooking until they begin to brown - about 10 minutes. 
  • Add the rest of the marinade and the browned chicken pieces to the onions and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the mustard and olives and cook until chicken is cooked through. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with rice, yam or potatoes.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago, I got a package from a new wholly Nigerian company run by 2 young ladies called Uwa Earth Foods. The package contained a selection of their preservative free and all natural peanut and cashew butters - crunch peanut butter, spicy peanut butter, cashew butter and chocolate cashew butter. To say I was excited is an understatement. A lot of the things I love in 1 package: Female entrepreneurs, Organic food company, preservative free, very few ingredients, cute packaging and proudly Nigerian.
I went into mad scientist mode thinking about what to do with all these goodies apart from smearing on bread. This is one of the results. These cookies are chewy and rich. The creaminess and taste of the cashew butter adds a sophistication to these cookies that you will not get from peanut butter. The chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness. These cookies can be eaten warm or cold with some milk or cocoa which would be perfect for this rainy season. You can also serve this with plain vanilla ice cream for an indulgent treat.
To make about 30 cookies, you will need:
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 125g butter
  • 125g cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon set aside
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons liquid full cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Whole cashew nuts for decoration
  • In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt and set aside
  • Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butters, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon till evenly mixed
  • Place in fridge for about 10 minutes
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough unto baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • Sprinkle each cookie with some granulated sugar and top with a whole cashew nut pressed into the dough
  • Bake in a preheated oven (350F) until golden brown - between 12 - 15 minutes
  • Let
  • Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely

*You can find Uwa Earth Foods on Facebook & Instagram- @uwaearthfoods

Monday, 29 June 2015

Red Wine Punch...

Have you figured out that I love to mix drinks yet? I fancy myself a mixologist in my own little world. I am not sure everyone else especially my friends in the drinks business would agree but I specialize in delusions of grandeur and so I choose to bask in my title of Queen of the mixologists.
This red wine punch came to life in an attempt to do away with seeming endless bottles of wine in my pantry. I am doing all that I can to use up all the bottles but we keep getting more as gifts and I do not seem to be making much progress.
On the plus side, this punch recipe uses a full bottle of wine so you will not have any wasted wine. You will need a pretty large pitcher or jug for this recipe as well as:
  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 bottle good quality red wine
  • Orange slices
  • Lime slices
  • Combine all the ingredients and stir to combine. Chill and serve


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Garden Update

As a gardener learning everyday, the rainy season has been interesting. A lot of seedlings died. Plants tilting in all sorts of directions. Some pots waterlogged. My blood pressure has risen and crashed so many times, I cannot even begin to count.
There is some stability now though. I asked questions, did research and made a few amendments. I have also made my peace with the fact that in this growing process, there will be all sorts of wins and losses. I will just take it all in stride especially as we work to expand the garden and offer more produce for sale.
 Here a few things we have growing:
Red Russian Kale

Curly kale. The kind commonly found for sale in Lagos

Forage Premier Kale

Cherry belle and white icicle radishes

Hungarian hot wax peppers

Prize head lettuce

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Garlic Harissa Marinade


A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine who has one of those jobs that has her in a different country every few weeks, told me she had a gift for me and the package would be dropped off at my house one night. When the package was delivered, it was a pretty la bag of Harissa from Tunisia in a cooling bag. My screams and leaps in the air had the Mr wondering if I got jewelry in the bag (my weakness).

Harissa is a uniquely Tunisian condiment paste that usually contains different kinds of peppers, spices like garlic, caraway seeds, coriander seeds and some kind of oil for preservation. Every spice merchant and family has their version of Harissa that is made and sold and this means they have people loyal to them who choose to patronize them only. I have seen versions with more exotic ingredients like rose petals and version as basic as peppers and garlic only. While it is traditionally Tunisian. Harissa can now be found in other Northern African countries now.

I use Harissa in everything from jollof rice dishes to savoury mixed meat stews. However, my favorite way to use Harissa is as the base of a delicious marinade that can be used on any type of meat, seafood, poultry, vegetables and even on potatoes. The beauty of this marinade is that all ingredients go into a blender and any extra marinade can be stored in the freezer for weeks with constant power supply.

To make approximately 1 cup of marinade, you will need:
  • 1/2 cup Harissa paste
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • I red onion – rough chopped
  • 1 yellow scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • Add all the ingredients into a blender and process till smooth. Taste and add salt if needed
  • Coat raw food of your choice with the marinade and grill or bake till cooked.
I used this marinade to jazz up regular breakfast sausages as well as on chicken with simply delicious results.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Home Remedy Series: Soothing a Sore Throat, Decongesting a Stuffy Nose....

The rainy season is upon us in full effect. Along with the rains come colds, sore throats and all sorts of general unpleasantness. In my household, my son and I are just recovering from a terrible cold - that came with a bad cough, watery eyes and sore throat. My husband is staying far far away from us in the hopes that this shall avoid him. No love in sharing in this care (Insert side eye here)
In addition to the mandatory arsenal of medicine given by the doctors, this old remedy has gone a long way to easing my symptoms. It is a remedy that I am sure is as old as time and has been duplicated in modern medicine - in syrups and lozenges. It is a very simple honey, ginger and lemon mix made with hot water. The steam clears stuffy noses and the honey and lemon soothe sore throats as it goes down.
The beauty of this home brew is that most of the ingredients needed should be available all the time in most kitchens and you can mix the ingredients to taste. You will need:
  • Lemon juice
  • Pure natural honey
  • Ground ginger
  • Hot water
Mix all the ingredients in a mug and sip. I suggest at least 3 mugs of this a day until the dreaded cold is gone.


Monday, 8 June 2015

Overnight Oats - Take 2

Can you tell I am obsessed with overnight oats?
I am so obsessed, I have these oats at anytime of the day now. What's not to love though? Healthy, filling and cold. I also just found out that oatmeal is considered brain food and is integral to the diet for growing children. Add several more pluses here.

This version is one that my son loves. After getting him ready for school, he clamps his mouth shut and refuses to let anything pass his lips. Except oatmeal. He does not eat huge amounts in the mornings but with all the healthy goodness in this version, I know he has enough to keep him full till snack time at school which sets my mind at ease
You will need:
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup milk - flavored milk works just as well.
  • 1 crunchy apple like Granny Smith - core removed and cut into chunks
  • 14 cup dried raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

  • Pour milk over the oats and store in a lidded container in the fridge overnight
  • The next morning, add the remaining ingredients, sweeten to taste if desired and stir to combine. Serve cold.