Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Gardening Update: Lots of progress. And some vendors....

All is gong very well in my green world. I cannot wait to share the updates below - which by the way are not all that I have growing.
Before I get into the gorgeousness growing, I get a lot of questions about where I get my seeds an supplies from. Someone on Instagram mentioned seeing seeds at Shoprite at the Ikeja Mall so yesterday, I went to the Shoprite at The Palms in Lekki and found a small garden aisle Pots of different sizes, garden hoses and pressure pumps and seed packets. A decent selection of vegetable packets including onions, tomatoes and some squash as well as some herb packets including parsley and cilantro. I also saw some flower seed packets including marigolds....I scooped up a few packets of flower seeds and a few vegetable seeds I do not have. I will plant them this weekend and see how they do. I also checked out the garden aisle of Game and found a lot of pots and hardware for the garden at decent prices. So yaay for that.....
Onto the updates:
Butter Crunch Lettuce - this type of lettuce will have a head like cabbage but you can also eat the out leaves. Remember I had these growing before? I obviously planted too many seeds in a very small pot. This pot has just one plant and it is flourishing

Golden Jubilee Tomato plant - it is time to add supports to this pot so the plant can grow without breaking especially as the fruits come in

Copenhagen Market Cabbage - this plant is going to grow very full before the cabbage head comes in. I expect I will move this out of the green house in the next week or 2

Of all the herb pots I have planted, these 2 are doing so well. They sprouted very quickly and the sweet basil smells so good already

Clemson Spineless Okra: I have read that okra plants over produce fruit so I am already thinking of as many ways to use the pods as possible.

Scarlet Nantes Carrots: These are doing so very well too. I have been told that I planted them too close together and the resulting carrots will not be a good size. Lesson learnt.

Collard Greens: This is another plant that will get pretty big. I don't mind that at all seeing as I love greens

Bok Choi: Chinese cabbage that is excellent in stir fries. These sprouted in 4 days. Super fast

Broccoli: I suspect I should have planted just one seed in the pot as these are going to grow very very big before the broccoli head comes in

Bunching Onions: I had given up on these plants and actually have another pot with 2 plants going. However, I did some research and it was recommended that I scrape off the top layer of soil and add a fresh layer. I did that and the plants have taken off

Cherry Belle Radishes: I had a pot of these that just turned yellow and died. I definitely had too many plants in that pot and also over watered the plant. Now I tried to do 2 seeds in a row and these are doing so well . I can actually see the tops of the radishes poking out of the soil

Mustard Leaves: I got these in a herb set and planted it like I would herbs. I really hope these are not mustard greens  which are giant plants...

Forage Premier Kale: This replaces the other kale plants that fell and got destroyed.

Brandywine Red Tomato: Seeing as I don't like raw tomatoes and I have quite a few types of tomatoes, what sense does that make? Well my boys love raw tomatoes and I have a lot of recipes than need tomatoes so why not?

Golden Bantam Corn: I am watching these with a lot of interest. We have ears but not kernels yet. Which requires pollination to happen. I will watch videos on how to self pollinate and try that.

Beets: I planted a few beets and this is the only survivor. The birds kept eating the seedlings.

Sugar Baby Watermelon: This is a huge experiment. Watermelon in the biggest pot I could find. Fingers crossed

Green Zucchini: Flourishing and producing male flowers. No female flowers yet  be pollinated but apparently a rash of male flowers first is normal

Mixed cacti pot

Blooming flowers

Blooming flowers

Lemongrass: This is used by a lot of people in a malaria treating concoction but it is delicious used in Thai style dishes. This plant grows voraciously so I have to be ready

Jalapeno Peppers: I am so so happy with how these plants are doing.

I have a few more pots not pictured here as they are just sprouting- I expect I should have a harvest post next in the series - the radishes I believe.

I would love to hear from any budding gardeners


Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Dining Experience: Eating Nigerian

This is a pretty exciting food event that I shall attend and document for the blog. I am looking forward to interesting spins on Nigerian food. There are about 5 spots left so see contact details above if you would like to attend.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Not Your Average Lasagna

Lasagna is the embodiment of comfort food. Its hearty, filling stick to your ribs kind of food that is quintessentially Italian. Its also a great family dish because you can make a large dish of this and every one can get a huge helping. There are so many versions of lasagna these days - traditional versions with minced beef and simple tomato sauce to gourmet versions with mince and sausage and bacon with several types of cheese.  
I love to put a spin on traditional lasagna recipes simply because ..well its Uzo's Food Labs after all. Unexpected big flavors is what I do. I also use the opportunity to add as many vegetables as possible  to ensure my picky hubby gets his share of healthy stuff without having me stand over him with a wooden spoon. 
For this version, I added a bit of Nigerian flavor by seasoning the mince with some suya spice. You will need:
  • 500g mixed minced meat - I like to use minced beef and chicken. Feel free any kind that you prefer
  • 1 large red onion - diced
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Half a red bell pepper - diced
  • Half a green bell pepper - diced
  • Half a yellow bell pepper - diced
  • 1 small marrow - peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • Suya spice to taste  - start with 1 tablespoon
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Tomato sauce - you can use a good quality brand of your choice
  • White sauce - you can use a good quality brand of your choice
  • Mozzarella cheese - cut into small cubes. Since my son loves lasagna but is not a fan of very strong cheese, mozzarella works for me. However, you can use a combination of cheeses of that you like
In a large sauce pan, add the minced meat mix and cook for about 5 minutes . Add the onions, garlic, vegetables and spices and stir to combine. Cook until minced meat and vegetables are cooked through. Taste and adjust all seasonings if necessary

Add the tomato sauce to the mince and vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings if necessary

In a rectangular oven safe dish, spoon some of the tomato/mince mix onto the bottom of the dish. place enough of the lasagna sheets to fit the dish

Spoon the tomato/mince/vegetable mixture over the sheets, add a layer of the white sauce and repeat the process until dish is full

Top the final layer with the cubed cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes (check the packet of the Lasagna sheets for manufacturers suggested cooking time)

Let lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving to give the cheese a chance to cool down. Scalding cheese is not sexy

I usually serve a salad with lasagna which also helps to cut the richness of the meal. A perfect meal for a large family and leftovers are good for lunch boxes too.