By now you MUST have had your fill of Jamie Oliver’s Jollof rice news aka jollofgate and quite frankly I don’t blame you. Although I do have to say that I was puzzled by his venture into jollof rice preparation but I shrugged it off and moved on…..apparently the rest of the African continent was not as forgiving…..

Anyway FFF loves jollof rice and I wanted to share our two favourite versions.

The first is our infamous FFF developed “Thai Style Spicy Jollof Rice”. This sweet-savoury dish packs a punch as it spreads warmth in your mouth from the layers of chillies In it.

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As you can see it is very versatile and pairs well with meat, chicken or fish.

Another FFF favourite is “Dafaduka”. This smokey flavoursome meal is the Hausas take on the ubiquitous dish. The use of smoked fish , locust beans and palm oil gives the recipe a certain je ne sais quoi.

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Get the recipe for Thai style spicy jollof rice here and the recipe for Dafaduka here

I wonder if Jamie will now venture into making a “pucker” gbegiri and amala. Will he scatter rosemary on the amala? Will he substitute beans for chickpeas in the gbegiri? So many burning questions!

Most people think that my perspective on food is purely intercontinental (read none Nigerian meals) and this is soooooo not true! I love our ethnic food just as much as I love any other food. Wherever we lived in the world, our Nigerian meals remained prominent on the menu.

You are talking about a girl that grew up on banga soup and starch; a delicacy that will be completely lost on you if you didn’t grow up in the Niger- delta part of Nigeria or at least have Niger- delta origins. I am from Delta state and my mum makes the freshest and bestest fresh fish banga soup ever! Ofe nsala is another meal that was a regular feature in my diet as a child; my grand mother used to make this amazing version with smoked fish and chunky snails (rest her soul). When my mum made Ukpo ogede (a steamed plantain pudding) I would be giddy with excitement barely able to wait for it to cool so that I could dive into its sweet, spicy yumminess.

In fact just a couple of weeks ago, I felt like a little girl again as I watched her make this meal in my kitchen. My sons and I attacked it shamelessly…….hmmmm…..that reminds me, don’t I have some stashed away in my freezer?

Right here I have my mum’s recipe and step by step guide for making Ukpo ogede and also for making ofe onubu (bitter leaf soup; a favourite amongst the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria).

My husband is from the Yoruba tribe and their diet is distinct from those of the Igbo’s in the sense that, their soups mostly have tomatoes as a base. This is foreign and even considered abnormal to the Igbos. So although we use similar ingredients for our soups, the way Yorubas prepare their meals is different.

This point was driven home to me, when I was newly married to him and as a new wife I was eager to show my cooking prowess and so I plunged head first into a local open market sourcing for the freshest ingredients with which to make ogbono soup (please don’t ask me for the English description for this soup PLEASE!) and after hours of labouring and prepping and cooking, I presented him with what I considered to be a fabulous meal! He took one look at my offering and asked “Where is the stew?” I was stunned? Stew? STEW??!!! Until that day, I had never heard of pairing stew with ogbonno!! When I told him there was none, he pushed the plate away and said he couldn’t eat it! I almost emptied the contents on his head!!!

In case you’re wondering, “stew” in Nigeria means a tomato and chilli base sauce which accompanies a lot of meals. It is a staple in every single household. It takes on different flavours and consistency depending on the part of the country you come from.

I learned the hard way, that stew is a must if I am to even dream of presenting any kind of Nigerian meal to my husband; lest I labour in vain.

I decided to showcase FFF’s take on Nigerian meals and the recipes of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Here we have poundo yam and okra soup (Yoruba style). Full guide on how to make this here

Poundo yam is yam flour and. Is something of a novelty in Nigerian cuisine. Back in the day, you would boil yam and pound the heck out of it in a huge wooden mortar and pestle.

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Now most of the tedium of making it has been removed by the availability of yam flour (called poundo yam) and technology; if you have a food processor or an electric yam pounder you can put your cooked yam in there and whizz away for a pliable yummy finish.

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No Nigerian home menu is complete without a weekly offering of rice in one form or the other. The most popular being steamed white rice and stew.

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This meal is almost always accompanied by a side of fried plantains.

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In the northern part of Nigeria, they enjoy a Savoury rice meal called Dafaduka. It is delectable to say the least!

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If you ever attend a Nigerian party and you are not presented with puff-puff or Puffies please fee free to institute action against your hosts! I am a lawyer and I will gladly represent you in court! Lol! They are a constant and for good reason too. They are small, tasty and deceptively filling!

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We love our black eyed peas or beans (as we call it here). I made my take on beans on toast recently and you can try the recipe too.

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As you may have noted, plantains feature quite a bit in our meals, we fry the, boil them, roast them, mash them……we do pretty much what we like with them! Lol. Roasted plaintain is a local snack referred to popularly as boli; I never did quite understand it but I took the inspiration of roasting plantain to make something rather interesting; grilled plantain “boats” topped with a tuna mix.

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While we are on the subject of plantains, as a child we would have fried plantain and eggs usually on a Saturday morning. The eggs would be scrambled in tomato sauce, with chillies and chopped onions; very delish indeed.

Inspired by a recipe I saw in a foodie group that I belong to I updated my childhood memory with these plantain egg cups.

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Recipe for a Plantain egg cups for one big serving or 2 servings

Ingredients
3 ripened but firm plantains
4 eggs
3 tbs chopped fresh chives
2 tsp dry ginger
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs grated Parmesan (optional)
Salt to taste
Garnish more chopped chives and paprika

The How To
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Grease two ramekins with vegetable oil and set aside.

Wash and peel plantains. Using an mandolin or a very sharp knife, carefully slice the plantain lengthways to get long even slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Break eggs in a bowl adding chopped chives,black pepper, paprika and cayenne and salt and whisk until well combined.

Carefully lay plantain strips in oiled ramekins criss crossing them so that the form a “cup”. Season plantain with dried ginger and some salt. Then carefully pour in egg mixture up to halfway (the egg will rise so it needs space). Top with cheese (optional).

Bake in oven for about 18 minutes or until plantain is golden and egg set.

Let cool in ramekins for 5 minutes then gentle tease out. Garnish with a dash of paprika and more fresh chives if you choose.

Serve with a simple combo of mayonnaise and ketchup or any sauce of your choosing.

I find that the sweet tangy ketchup pairs well with the plantain and mayo balances out the eggs.

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These meals are a tiny fraction of the amazing variety of meals available in Nigeria but they represent my interpretation of some of the more popular offerings.

FFF Tip of the day: Don’t be scared to incorporate fusion in your cooking; you will surprised at unlikely pairings that turn out deliciously!

It is amazing how being knocked sideways by an ailment forces you to literally sit still. Well knocked sideways by malaria I am but the whole sitting still business….sigh…..is driving me a little coocoo.

Granted I am relieved not to be a human jungle gym for a day; the boys are making do with their father and I am not complaining……

So I figured that I could write a post from my sideways position.
FFF has grown in the last 6 months and I must say that I am very very proud. In addition to our baked goods, we now offer a range of meals for small events and our clients are always pleased with us.

Below is a list of FFF’s party favorites. I promise that any of these dishes will bring an amazing dimension to your party. Enjoy!

Our spicy meatballs are now almost legendary ๐Ÿ™‚ . You can try it yourself using this recipe or contact us to place an order

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Another firm favourite is our pan roasted potatoes. They are just simply delicious

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FFF’s whole chicken roasts are perfect for family gatherings especially for Sunday lunches. We have two delicious options; pesto roast chicken and lemon roast.

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When it comes to canapes, well, let’s just say people swoon. And we are happy to watch them swoon too because a lot of love goes into each and every canapรฉ on the platter. Be inspired and try a canapรฉ recipe here or simply order ๐Ÿ™‚

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Our lasagna brings out the closet Garfield in all of us. Here at FFF we don’t discriminate. Even Garfield must eat. Try the recipe here.ย Of course we will be more than happy to take your order.

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In our journey as caterers we have discovered Garfields as well as cookie monsters. Our cookies are yum and make for great party favors! Who knew?!

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Brownies! What can we say? We make the fudgiest, chocolatiest ones around. Just ask anyone who has tried them.

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I defy any Nigerian party to not include rice on the menu. We have great unexpected options too. Our Thai Style Spicy Jollof rice has been pleasing palettes for over 5 years. Our Dafaduka is also a crowd pleaser.

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A great pairing with rice is fried plantain popularly known as dodo. So why not? We offer that too.

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We love rosemary and our rosemary baked chicken is loved by all who have tried it.

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A crisp fresh salad will add color and vitality to any table. We make some of the freshest around.

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We would like to thank our clients for choosing FFF. We looking forward to gaining new ones.

Go ahead and add a uniquely delicious dimension to your party. To ensure that you make the right meal choices, we will have a consultation and design the perfect menu for your party.

Contact us at nkem.o@foodfashionfusion.com

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Www.facebook.com/foodfashionfusion

#foodfashionfusion

Incredibly it is that time of year again, come this Friday, November would have rolled round and in my opinion that would mark the commencement of the end of the year.

With this period comes global festivities such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year not to mention end of year office parties, awards and other such celebrations. These flurry of activities raises the question of FOOD; GLORIOUS FOOD.

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Usually, in Nigeria, The Christmas holidays conjures images of rice and chicken. And if you’re adventurous you might throw in some turkey. I say, step out of the box, burn it and explore other lush options of culinary wonders.

Instead of regular jollof rice, why not try my Thai style spicy jollof rice or maybe tasty easy one pot Dafaduka, give roast potatoes a rest and tackle the amazingly fragrant rosemary oven roasted yam. So you think that you just cannot dispense with chicken, then why not try some of my chicken piglets? Or give your whole roast chicken a fresh twist by infusing it with lemon and lemon grass. Breakfast shouldn’t be left out of the fun, there are fun crepes, pancakes and the like to explore. How about my marmalade filled French toast and zingy tangerine and blueberry compote to give your taste buds an exiting start. Make fun salads with unexpected ingredients.

Here are some of my holiday picks for the upcoming Holidays.

Marmalade filled French toast and zingy tangerine and blueberry compote.

Zingy start to any day

Zingy start to any day

Ingredients for marmalade filled french toast
4 slices of fresh soft bread
2 eggs
2/3 cups of milk
3 – 4 tablespoons of butter
marmalade

How To:

Combine egg and milk in a bowl and whisk until mixture is homogenous. Set aside.
Cover one slice of bread generously with marmalade and lay the other slice over it and pinch the edges closed. Steep in the milk and egg and milk wash and set aside.

In a pan melt the butter and add the immersed sandwich. Cook on each side until golden brown.

Ingredients for compote
This compote is a blueberry and tangerine compote
1 cup dry blueberries
1 cup tangerine juice
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups of sugar
2 tangerine wedges (garnish)
Cocoa powder (optional garnish)
Mint (optional garnish)

How to

Soak blueberries in tangerine juice for 15 minutes. (If using fresh blueberries skip this step)
Add soaked blueberries and juice into a pan along with sugar and butter. Bring to a boil and the simmer for 6 – 7 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Stir often.

Remove membrane from tangerine wedges and scoop out the pulp.
Plate up french toast. Place compote on the plate, scatter the tangerine pulp about the plate and finish off with a dusting of cocoa powder and a sprig of mint.

First stage of satisfactionIf you would prefer a more savoury affair for breakfast then barbecue chicken and veg filled crepe is the meal to try. The best part? It makes for a great brunch for those lazy days where you sleep in and can’t be bothered with an early meal.

Savoury delight for a great start to your day

Savoury delight for a great start to your day

Recipe:
Ingredients for crรจpes with barbecue chicken filling
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter, plus more for cooking crepes
Directions
Put the flour and salt and in a large mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the milk. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then whisk in the sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a small pat of butter in the pat and swirl around so that it lightly coats the surface.

Add 1/3 cup of the batter and move your wrist in a circular pattern to coat the pan with thin even layer of batter. Cook for about 1 minute or until the first side browns lightly, then flip and cook 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining batter.

To make Chicken filling you need
1 ripe tomato
1/2 green pepper
1 tsp of chives
1 tsp basil
2 tbs oil
1 tbs BBQ sauce
1 cooked chicken thigh (see recipe for herbed chicken on my post Tomatoes, chicken and Mince, Oh My!
5 tbs of a cooked tomato sauce
1/2 chopped onion
1 chopped spring onion (garnish)

Heat the pan with oil, add onions and turn down the heat. Add the basil and chives then add tomato sauce, keep the heat low. Take the meat off the chicken bone and shred. Add to the pan along with BBQ sauce. Stir for a minute, add the tomatoes and chopped green pepper. Leave the heat on for another minute and turn it off.

Fill crรจpes and enjoy!

You could serve with a side of yoghurt to give the meal an extra boost.
Savoury crepes and a side of yoghurt

Savoury crepes and a side of yoghurt

Crepes and pancakes are fun and os easy to make. See BN Cuisine with Nkem: Delightful Crepes and Delicious Pancakes for more fun, easy, yummy recipes.
Worth waking up for

Worth waking up for

My Thai Style Spicy Jollof Rice is a pleasant twist to our Nigerian Jollof rice.

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Ingredients for Thai Style Spicy Jollof Rice

3 cups Basmati or Jasmine Rice

3 table spoons olive oil

1 canned chopped tomatoes

4 pieces of dry lemon grass

1 can coconut milk

1 big onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 table spoons of salt

3 table spoons sweet chilli sauce

1 table spoon dark soy sauce

2 table spoons freshly ground black pepper

2 table spoons chilli flakes (optional)

2 spring onions/ shallots (garnish)

The How:

Chop all vegetables and set aside in individual bowls.

In a pot heat olive oil and add onions and garlic. Be careful not to burn then, after about 3 minutes on medium heat, add the canned chopped tomatoes, allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, then add the coconut milk, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, black pepper, salt lemon grass. Simmer for another 10 mins. Depending on the instructions for cooking the rice you may have to allow the mixture cool first before introducing the raw rice. Cook until rice is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Garnish with chopped spring onions after serving.

Serves 4

birthday lunchFor your chicken roast, freshen it up by adding lemons and lemon grass to the stuffing. For a step by step guide, visit my Facebook page.

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Want a different take on potatoes? Try hassel back potatoes and Marsala chicken or fragrant rosemary roasted yams and chicken

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Salads get a raw deal (lol, pun intended) but they can be delightful accompaniments to meals. With a few unexpected ingredients like Ube or flowers from chives you can really make a salad the focal point on your table.

20130923-181242.jpgTomato canapeSee recipes for these delectable salads on my post “Nigerian flair to the everyday Nigerian fair”

What festive season is complete without dessert? NONE! There are so many simple recipes that are amazing to eat and fuss free to make. My go choices are homemade no churn ice cream and my banana bread varieties. My facebook page has all the recipes you need. The ice cream was inspired by a recipe I saw on Nigella Lawson’s website and I have adapted mine to make so many delicious varieties.

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Homemade icecream and banana breadNeed I say that there is a wealth of options to explore on the gastronomical landscape.

If you would like some help with bringing some interesting variations to your dining table over the holidays, kindly contact me and I’ll be happy to provide a special one-of-a-kind service to you.

 

 

Every time there’s a holiday like Saint Patrick’s day, Mardi gras or a national Independence celebration, I am inspired to make a meal to commemorate the occasion. I am neither Irish nor French but that hasn’t stopped me from making such meals as I did in my “Full Steam Ahead” post.

October 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day and the opportunity presented itself for another fun food lab activity.

I made Dafaduka, a Nigerian Rice dish, which was well received at my son’s school on their Independence/national day party. This one pot wonder is no fuss but packs maximum flavour.

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Recipe for Dafaduka

4 tbs Palm oil
4 cups of Rice
1 tinned plum tomatoes or 5 fresh tomatoes – chopped
1 tbs Cameroun peppers (dry)
2 Scotch bonnet peppers
1 medium Dry fish
1 onion
1 tbs dry ginger (fresh gingermaybe used if available)
1 Dawada (dry locust bean patty)
Chicken stock or water
Salt to taste

Method

Wash rice thoroughly, drain and put in a pot. Chop tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers and onions.

Add oil, chopped ingredients and dry spices to the pot except the salt and dry fish. Break up fish and steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain, then carefully take out all visible bones and set aside. Add stock or water (quantity of liquid will depend on the type if rice.

I used jasmine rice which cooks quickly. Add some salt and taste for salt at the end of cooking. Put the pot on and bring to a boil the reduce to simmer until rice is tender.

Add boned dry fish half way through cooking. Serve accompanied by dodo or simply enjoy on its own.

There you have it, a veritable Nigerian dish and a throw back to my childhood.

I saw an interesting recipe for Marsala chicken that I knew I had to try andย the end result at the dinner table was happy smiles all around ๐Ÿ™‚

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Marsala Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless,
1/2 cup flour,
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Dried oregano to taste
4 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 tsps dry chili flakes (optional)
1 cup Marsala wine

Method
Pound chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/4″ thickness.
COMBINE flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a mixing bowl. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
HEAT oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts on medium heat for about 2 minutes on the first side, until lightly browned. Turn breasts over to cook other side, then add mushrooms, garlic and chili to the skillet. Cook breasts about 2 more minutes, until both sides are lightly browned. Continue to stir mushrooms.

Add Marsala wine around chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Transfer to serving plate.

Serve with side of your choice, I chose boiled potatoes, grilled aubergines and blanched mange touts.

Please note, I could not find Marsala wine so used a combination of a dry white wine and white grape juice. You could also use Madeira wine if you find it.

All in all it was an enjoyable holiday.

On to the next conquest!