My love for baking is really surprising to me because I have never considered myself to have a natural talent for baking. I still scream, running in the opposite direction when I encounter a recipe that uses yeast. Yeast makes me panic; I can’t explain it.

However, which each passing day, I seem to dream more and more in cake. I think in cake, I want to make cakes. I want the cakes to be stunning, unique and delicious. Come to think of it, it is beyond cakes, I want to make the best entremets. I want my desserts to be amazing……as I said, it’s weird.

wedding desserts spread

Weird as it is, I have taken, little wobbly steps towards achieving my goals. Last year, I would only cover my cakes in whipped cream or nothing at all. Once or twice, I tried a few butter cream cakes…….I wasn’t crazy about the results. They were fine; at least the cakes disappeared into approving bellies without a trace, but for me it could be better.

Then in November, my friend, Darbuni, asked me to make her husband’s birthday cake. The request left me in cold sweat. Now I was having nightmares in cake and butter cream land!

I started by sketching a cake for her which she loved. Phew, that hurdle was easy. Next I had to figure out how to make a two tiered cake that would look elegant and not topple over on its way to her house……more cold sweat.

Darbuni’s Custom Birthday Cake Sketch November 2015

In the end, it turned out well. She loved it and her husband avowed that it was the best cake he had ever eaten. I was teary eyed and VERY relieved.

It translated well from the sketch wouldn’t you say?

This cake is my “Adam” if you will because it inspired subsequent cakes with a constant evolution in the design and finish for each.

By the time my first son’s birthday came round in January, I had started experimenting with mousseline butter cream which I loved. The texture was perfect and it wasn’t sickenly sweet.

He got two cakes; since his birthday fell on a Saturday, he got a cake to share with the family at home and a big four layered one to take to school the following Monday to share with his friends and teachers.

His cakes were huge hits, the playful application of butter cream made it age appropriate and beautiful. With my new love for all things moussey, I made some meringues and it was a superb addition to the cake pops and lollipops adorning the cake.

These cakes went on to beget a birthday cake in February that I made for a good friend and ardent client. I had made her birthday cake last year; it was a Tuxedo cake covered in whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries.

This year’s cake was a little more complex with macaron and meringue toppings for extra sophistication. It was also my first attempt at a water-colour effect butter cream application.

These water-colour cakes begot birthday cake that coincided with the Valentine’s Day weekend. A client called and said he wanted a death-by-chocolate-cake for his wife.

For this creation, I made layers of decadent chocolate cake filled with lemon curd (to cut the chocolateyness of it all) and the it was all covered in chocolate italian meringue butter cream (imbc); again this was a first for me and I loved the way the chocolate gave the butter cream more depth of flavour. I decided on red chocolate drip effect to add a wow factor and for contrast against the dark butter cream.

Now, the month of March was filled with much festivities and celebrations. For a fiftieth birthday cake (it was a last-minute emergency cake) I opted for a simple but effective finish. The cake was studded with 50 Ferrero Rocher chocolates; the effect was quite lovely too.

 

The crimson beauty from February, begot another striking green number a few weeks after; yes FFF cakes are pretty prolific.

I received a request to make a birthday cake for a young-at-heart forty-year old lady. The fun factor had to come out and  I went for fresh roses and fruits with a bright green chocolate ganache finish.

By putting a youthful twist on our bright drip cakes, I made a girlie version for a young girl finishing it off with fress strawberries, Ferrero Rocher and Raefellos.

 

My second son was born in March and I wanted his cake to be special but on the eve of his birthday, I also had a client’s cake due the following day. So there I was till about 2 am doing my best to finish both cakes.

Eventually, I pared down the plans I had for his cake and kep the designs for the cakes simple; the fatigue was REAL!

For my son’s cake, I drew inspiration from the two tiered cake I had made last November but his was bigger….I almost regretted this decision because hoisting and stacking the cakes unassisted was not exactly the highlight of my night. But it all came together in the end. Both cakes were well received and duly inhaled πŸ™‚

 

The white chocolate drip cake above begot the cakes below. Although none of the cakes appear the same on he outside they are exactly the same on the inside; 3 layers of luscious lemon blueberry cake filled with lemon curd, topped with a variety of fresh fruits. These cakes also come from the lineage of the pink water-colour cake from February.

Ombre butter cream also featured strongly thid month, thus, the green ombre cake from January begot designs for the following cakes. And the chocolate imb red drip cake as well as the 50 Ferrero Rocher cake begot a grand chocolate cake that I delivered to a special lady on her birthday at the end of March.

The pink ombre, raspberry and strawberry cake (picturedin the middle above) was ordered again by the same client within a week of the first one. And this time, I decided to keep the flavours the same inside but changed up the outside and  attempted the upside down drip technique for the first time.

I had seen the technique on @cakesbycliff’s Instagram’s page. I nearly had a coronary but it turned out ok. I also applied the same technique to my mum’s birthday cake in early April.

The 50 Ferrero Rocher birthday cake begot another cake for a very elegant lady who turned 50 but did not look a day over 30!

In the spirit of creativity I made a “stripe” cake which turned out well considering that my medium is butter cream.

The stripe cake begot another stripey descendant which had more colour and embellishments. The clients were head over heels for this creation.

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Making children’s cakes can be complicated especially when the child knows what he or she wants. I prefer cakes that have compleely edible elements on them, so when I was charged with making a birthday cake for a 7 year old who’s mum wanted lots of fruits on it, I needed to dig deep.

Drawing from my 2nd son’s birthday cake and the chocolate imbc chocolate drip cake, I came up with these two fun cakes creating hedgehog cake toppers from fresh fruits.

The 7 year old wasn’t sure about having hedgehogs on his cake but his parents and everyone else were thrilled with it. πŸ™‚

In the spirit of keeping things interesting, I flipped the script on our cake making ways in May and made a series of upside down drip cakes in quick succession whuch made them easier to flip.

The yellow sunshiney one was a wedding anniversary cake, the red was a birthday and the biggest cake I have ever dared to flip was Femi’s cake. His birthday was yesterday. I wanted something that stood out. It stood out and stood tall. πŸ™‚

 

Here ends the FFF cake geneology for now. Although there will be a post dedicated to cheese cakes which I can’t wait to share.

I leave you with aeriel views of our creations.

 

 

The silence on this blog has been so loud that it is deafening. Strange because the quiet belies the flurry of activities that have surround Food Fashion Fusion.

I have missed writing and sharing my kitchen exploits; indeed I have been involved in a few adventures over the past few months.

The most notable of them is that we set up shop 6 odd months ago…..well not really a shop but we now have a studio, a factory, a production base, a gathering place, an office….call it what you will but it really is not a shop in the walk-in-and-buy-something-off-the-shelf-kinda-way. In fact there are no shelves.

So yes, I have vacated my kitchen and my home no longer looks like a tornado has taken up permanent residence in it. I have to admit that the process has been tedious but so worth it and I am eager to share some of our activities with you.

As soon as we moved in October, after extensive battles with all manners of artisans from, painters, plumbers, carpenters to gardeners, we landed two major catering gigs. One was for the launch of Grace Foods’ products in Nigeria and the other was for the launch of the luxury arm of a Rental and Events company called Rent-a-Party.

Dunn’s River Spice Table Display at the Grace Foods Launch

Slices of Banana bread for days!

CanapΓ©s spread at Rent-a-Party Launch event

Both clients were very specific about what they required of us and they were both very detail oriented. The pressure was on but we executed it flawlessly. It was such a buzz!
Around this time we also officially joined instagram; all thanks to Femi who literally dragged me on kicking and screaming…..although I will admit now that has proven to be a useful marketing and communication tool.


Shortly afterwards, we went into the busy festive end of year season and it was a bake-a-thon. We baked, canned, preserved, packaged and delivered to all parts of Nigeria until we could barely move!!


By the new year, we had settled in nicely and felt ready to spread the FFF gospel.

 There is so much more to share with you so please come back soon.πŸ˜€

 

 

 

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 crèpes 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 crèpes 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.

jollof

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

CLose up of Hassel back20130923-183206.jpg

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.

Banana bread galore 4

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.