Friday 30 January 2015

Video: Baby's First Foods = Carrot & Sweet Potato Puree

A simple 2 ingredient puree that introduces little palates to the world of adult foods.


Thursday 22 January 2015

Gardening Series Update - Growth and a mishap and some headscratching stuff

Quite a lot has happened in my world in the past week.
My little man started school and I cried like I lost someone. Anyhoo. Milestone crossed. Along with a change to the daily schedule. There are simply not enough  hours in the day.
As I continue to learn about gardening everyday, I have had my first mishap. The pot with my kale plants fell and turned over and destroyed everything growing in the pot. I was absolutely gutted. I replanted some kale seeds and after a week and not a sign of a sprout, I have planted broccoli in the pot instead. So let's see how that does.
All in all, I am pretty excited about most things growing:

Zucchini - I used the largest pot I could find as these plants can be very aggressive growers. They grow very fast too

Scarlet Nantes Carrots - I am supposed to thin these out in the next few days

Sweetcorn  - I have 6 plants growing

Butter Crunch Lettuce - this is not doing very well and according to a few YouTube channels, I might have planted the seeds too close together as this kind of lettuce grows heads. I shall remove all but 2 of the plants and hope for better progress

Thyme & Garlic Chives - one of these plants doesn't belong here. Can you see it at the top? Its not a weed. I figure wind might have blown a seed into this pot. There is a similar one in my tomato plant pot. I shall watch and see what it turns out to be

Swiss Chard
Cherry Belle Radishes - this is a problem. The leaves are yellowing which might be a sign of insufficient sun. I have moved it out of the green house and thinned I out a bit. So fingers crossed

Copenhagen Market Cabbage

Golden Jubilee Tomato


Bunching Onions - these are also not doing as well. Only 2 shoots in-spite of plating abut 6. One of them is very sad and the other is hanging on for dear life

Rosemary & Oregano - these are also not growing as well as the other herbs. I still hope though

A few things not pictured: Broccoli, Beets and Parsnips which I planted in the last few days. My weekend project will be to plant a few more things.
So there you have it. My gardening project is interesting so far. Still enjoying it but very impatient and I cannot wait to harvest something other than my efinrin.

Video: How To Make a Tomato/Pepper blend for Stews, Soups and Sauces

A pepper blend is essential in every Nigerian kitchen. We use this as a base for everything from stews to jollof rice and every cook has their ratios. After being asked so many times to share my ratios, I made this video. This blend can be tweaked to taste.


Monday 12 January 2015

YouTube Video: How to make buttermilk

Have you ever wanted to make red velvet cakes or cupcakes or any other recipe that calls for buttermilk but set the recipe aside because of how difficult it is to find buttermilk in Lagos? This week, I show you how to make buttermilk at home.


Saturday 10 January 2015

Oven Crisps

I think its pretty ironic that I don't have much of a sweet tooth given the fact that I run a bakery.

My weakness lies with crunchy salty things. Crispy French fries, potato or vegetable crisps, cheese curls, corn chips ...... you get the idea. This near obsession with crunch means I have to have that textural element in most foods I have. I have been know to put crisps inside my sandwiches. This gets me a lot of odd looks but I am used to those....

This addiction is an unhealthy one. I know that. I have been working on making better food choices in the last year and I can finally satisfy my addiction at home and with a few substitutions, make this healthier.

To make your own crunchy, crispy snacks, you will need:
  • A mix of: white potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets etc. You can choose 1 or mix in any combination you like.
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Salt and cinnamon powder to taste
  • Peel and slice your vegetables as thinly as possible. I find this is easier with a mandolin slicer. Please use the guard that comes with the slicer. These gadgets are very very sharp - I learnt that the hard, painful way
  • Lightly coat the slices with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet
  • Bake in oven set at 350 degrees F till crispy. This should take about 30 minutes if the slices are very thin.
  • Season with salt and cinnamon powder and enjoy
You can fry these crisps as well. However, that would defeat the healthier option purpose.  Make a lot of these if you have company over so people do not shorten your ration. You can also serve this with a dip of sorts. Try my amped up mayonnaise. That will work a treat.


Wednesday 7 January 2015

Happy New Year: Gardening Series 2 - Sprouting

Happy New Year!
I hope that this year brings as much of everything that you wish and work hard for.
Last year, I talked about starting a little garden at home - I am in love with the concept of 'from garden to table' and I believe we can all eat better and fresher produce. I also love the idea of introducing my son to the concept of watching things grow. Finally, if something dramatic happens in the world, it is good to know that I can grow food for my family to survive on (enter drama queen!!!)
I will give weekly updates on the progress of all the things I have planted as well as lessons learned seeing as I am learning as I go.
I started off planting sweetcorn. I really like corn and its a hardy plant to start with. It is recommended that you plant more seeds than the number of plants you intend to have. Some seeds may not germinate and you can always transplant or thin out the plants. I planted 4 holes with 2 corn seeds in each one. All of the seeds germinated and I had a total of 8 plants growing. This morning, I decided to transplant 4 of the plants so they wouldn't crowd each other out. Well I did it according to YouTube videos I had watched. All 4 transplants died instantly. Within 30 minutes, the leaves had wilted. So that is a bust. There is something called transplant shock to plants. Then again, I might have gotten the whole process wrong.

My cherry belle radishes are also doing well. Radishes mature very fast - 28-30 days so this will be my first harvest. Cherry belle radishes are cute and small and I love radishes in salads. I have a few ideas for pickling them with peppers as addition to sandwiches and things. So let us see how it goes.

Can you see the tiny sprouts? Ford Hook Swiss Chard. The aim of this whole project is to get my family eating more greens and there is nothing greener than Swiss Chard. I am very very excited about this as well as the Kale sprouting as well.

I should state that all the seeds I have are non-hybrid, non genetically modified seeds. I am using regular soil and making my organic fertilizer using egg shells and banana peels.

Here is to a productive 2015 filled with lots of great harvests.