This past weekend was filled with all manners of cooking activities and the chief ingredient was Jamaican Rum.

No, I am not a closet alcoholic, and no I do not need to join AA but I Must say that it proved to be an interesting ingredient to work with.

In Saturday morning, I decided that a decadent breakfast was the only way to kick off the weekend so I made banana bread French toast, with rum flambéd bananas and caramel sauce.

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The recipe is simple enough to follow.

Ingredients (for one portion)

2 thick slices of banana bread
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 big banana
3 tablespoons rum
1/4 cup cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Butter (about 3 tablespoons)

The How To
Combine milk, cinnamon and milk in bowl and set aside. Heat a pan and add about 11/2 tbs of butter until butter melts, lower the heat. Dip sliced banana bread in egg mixture and allow it to soak up the mixture for a few seconds on both sides. Transfer to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Take off the heat and keep French toast in a warm oven.

Slice bananas chunkily and set aside. In the same pan add the rest of the butter and melt on medium heat as the it begins to sizzle add bananas stir for a minute and add the rum. Tilt the pan carefully towards the open flame until the rum ignites. Set the pan upright and allow the alcohol to cook off. When the flame the pan self extinguishes take out the bananas and set aside. Add the brown sugar and cream stirring constantly. Allow to thicken and take off the heat.

Serve flambéd bananas on top of the French toast with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of the sauce. This is a real family treat.

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Buoyed by my successful tango with the drink in the morning I decided in the evening that I would tackle the almighty rum cake recipe.

You might wonder what us unique about the recipe. Well it started a couple of months ago when I was chatting with a food enthusiast and she raved about Turtuga rum cake. Now to be honest before that conversation I didn’t even know that there was a place on earth called Turtuga or that their rum cake was a global phenomenon. There and then I decided I would make mine!

After scouring various recipes, I settled on one that promised to yield a cake that was as close to the Turtuga one. The recipe can be found here.

The only ingredient I omitted was the walnuts simply because I didn’t have any.

The cake isn’t complicated to put together but you have to be patient when drizzling the rum syrup over it.
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My cake was as drunk as a skunk and I didn’t use up the recommended amount of syrup.

I exercised a lot if restraint and didn’t attack the cake until the next day. It was impossibly moist and luxurious tasting.

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We had it with rum and raisin ice cream; what else? ! 🙂

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If you can please give this recipe a go.

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.

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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.

 

 

So my entanglement with fruit based desserts didn’t end at mangoes; oh no! I went bananas; I literally went bananas!

Peanut butter and dark chocolate banana ice cream


It all started when I got invited to a girls’ Barbecue hangout and we had to bring a plate along. I was completely flummoxed as I wasn’t feeling “cheffy” nor did I wish to show up empty-handed. As I eyed the contents of my fridge and pantry, it struck me that I had a huge bunch of bananas which my mum had supplied (she rarely does things in small measures), cinnamon sticks from my forage in a spice souk in Dubai (many moons ago) and some self-raising flour, it just seemed natural to make banana fritters.

All set to make banana fritters


I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of making this treat; I love to eat them but had never attempted to make them. I set about grinding the cinnamon and sifting all the dry ingredients. Prepped and measured the eggs and milk, made the batter and was ready to commence frying. The first batch looked misshapen but I finally figured how to get less grotesque looking fritters. Before the cooled I dusted them with castor sugar and icing sugar and I must say, they were divine. They were warm, spicy, soft and oh so decadent. The tray of fritters was welcomed heartily at the hangout; the accompanying salad was firmly ignored.

Banana fritters with a dusting of sugar


My spirits bolstered, I proceeded to make banana fritters for the rest of the week which damn well nearly drove Femi bananas; in fact I don’t think he can bear to even look at the fruit now.
Undaunted, I found an amazing one-ingredient ice cream recipe as I wandered through Flipboard and I just “knew” that I was destined to make it. What was the one ingredient? I hear you ask…..Bananas of course!
There were five recipes to choose from but I opted to go with the peanut butter and dark chocolate options. The recipe was easy enough to follow and in no time I had peanut butter and dark chocolate flavoured banana ice cream.

Much to my amazement, Femi hated it! After I got over my mild mortification, I was secretly pleased because it left more for me. So I was two for two.

Dark chocolaty goodness


Undaunted and determined to bring him into the banana republic, I decided to incorporate a Vietnamese fried banana treat into a Sunday lunch menu. Typically this recipe is served as a dessert but I altered the ingredients of the batter to give it a more savoury slant; think fried plantain encased in savoury rice flour crust.

Savoury Vietnamese influenced fried bananas

And yet again, it was another failure to Femi’s banana assaulted palette. While I thought, “Interesting take on the fried plantain option”, he was thinking “I never want to see that on my plate again”.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom for my banana adventure; my son tasted mashed bananas for the first time and absolutely loved it!
In the end, it all got to my head; it really did. I made a snap decision to chop off my relaxed hair and go natural. In the spirit of all things natural, I found an organic banana and honey hair conditioning treatment on-line which was simple enough to put together. The only problem was, the banana bits got stuck in my hair despite several vigorous rinses. I ended up spending over an hour combing bits of banana out of my hair which was tedious to say the least.
I’d say that I conquered the banana, using it in every conceivable way, and am now pondering my next conquest 🙂
TIP OF THE DAY
When cooking with chopped or mashed raw bananas it helps to squeeze some lime or lemon juice over them so that it inhibits the natural discolouration of the fruit.

I enjoy trawling the net for recipes, sifting through endless information that I can use as inspiration in my food making experiments. So you can imagine my joy when I found Caroline’s food blog a few days ago. Her mango ice cream was a recipe I knew I was fated to make especially since my mum had just supplied me with a basket full of mangoes.

In case you hadn’t guessed by now; I love mangoes and with the onset of the rains signaling the end of the reign of mangoes for this season I couldn’t have chosen a better way to commemorate this fruit. This would be the first time I have ever attempted to make this kind of dessert and I was nervous and excited.

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The recipe was simple enough and it took no time at all to put it all together.

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I don’t own an ice cream maker so I had to churn the ice cream by hand periodically before letting it set in the freezer. It may sound laborious but trust me, you don’t know hard labour until you have to fend off a six foot sweet tooth. Yes, my ever willing food sampler of a husband was more than feverish with anticipation at the prospect of sampling this homemade treat; come to think of it, so was my gelato-loving friend who lived next door 🙂
Caroline had indicated that the ice cream worked well when it followed a curry based meal and since I had some left over coconut milk, I decided to make a curry for lunch.

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Before serving up the dessert, I prepared a chilli syrup which would be topping. I had never had chilli and ice cream before so I was keen to try it.

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When I took the first spoonful, the burst of flavour took me by surprise. The cold sweet full bodied mango flavour with a subliminal tangy hint of lime married well with the chewy slivers of ruby red chilli which provided a warm heat. The coconut milk gave this treat a lovely velveteen texture and the syrup finished it off with a glassy sheen. All these elements combined made for a very refreshing, pretty-looking dessert.

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After hubby had polished off the last spoonful, he declared rather theatrically (think Shakespeare play) that he would never look at ice cream the same way again.
And so I thought to myself, “Well then, if this could bring out the Shakespeare in him, I’d better uncover another dessert gem to make and fast!”
And so commences my dessert making chronicles.
TIP OF THE DAY: When a recipe calls for the use of a specific type of sugar you may substitute it for another type. However ensure that they have similar qualities such as texture and colour. For instance, I substituted icing sugar for caster sugar in this recipe but I used more icing sugar because it is not typically as sweet as cast sugar.
June 2, 2012
By popular demand, mostly by hubby, I have an encore of this delight-some dessert. This time though I have made the dairy version by incorporating lashings of cream as well as coconut milk. The topping is a double treat with chilli syrup and desiccated coconut.

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