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.


Friday 5 June 2015

Chips. Salsa. Dip. Nigerian Style....

I love Mexican food. Especially loaded nachos with fresh salsa and sour cream.

Now that I am living in Lagos and watching my calories and also constantly creating recipes that put unconventional twists on what most consider conventional ingredients, I decided to put my spin on this favorite of mine. Instead of corn chips, I opted to make unripe plantain chips, a fresh salsa with some produce from my garden and a natural yogurt dip taking the place of sour cream.

This little platter is so easy to put together but is so different from what your guests will expect and is the perfect appetizer or movie snack. My favorite part: it is pocket friendly. Do not be put off by the fact that there are 3 elements to this dish. They are really easy to put together.

To make the plantain chips to feed 2, you need:
  • 2 green unripe plantains
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the plantain lengthwise as thinly as possible
  • In a large frying fan or a deep fryer, heat the oil
  • Add the plantain and fry till crispy
  • Drain and season with salt to taste
To make the salsa, you need:
  • 1/4 red or white onion - diced finely
  • 2 firm tomatoes - diced finely
  • 1 hot pepper - jalapeno, scotch bonnet - diced finely. Remove seeds if you want to tone down the heat
  • 1 sweet pepper - sweet banana or bell pepper - diced finely
  • 3-6 leaves of Basil/ Cilantro / Coriander/ African Basil or Scent Leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • Combine all the ingredients and season with salt to taste
To make the yogurt dip, you will need:
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 spring onion - chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
Once all the elements are ready, serve and enjoy.
The salsa and yogurt dip can keep in the fridge overnight. Use leftovers in sandwiches and burgers or to top a salad.