The complexity involved in putting together a beautiful, wholesome, delicious meal requires an understanding of the food and ingredients being used. There must be balance and everything on the plate should complement one another.

Women are complex beings, we have so many layers that make us who we are, yet we are expected to look beautiful, be in the best moods, say the right things and be perfect at everything. In reality, a lot of women “mask” their true persona behind a façade…..not a sustainable way to live by any means.

 Like a great meal, women should be free to be themselves, be comfortable in their own skin and free to be accepted just as they are.

Today’s recipes will focus on the beauty of naked cakes. Think shabby chic, elegant yummines….yes I know…..that’s a lot of paradoxes but when you try these recipes, I know that you will come round.

The Classic White cake:
This cake is simple and unpretentious with mild hints of vanilla and almond it envelops you in its subtle fluffiness. It’s quit easy to throw together too.  You can find full directions here

To garnish you can use some whipped cream and any assortment of preferred fruits or chocolate scattered over the top.

   
   NOTE: You may opt to halve the recipe and make just one cake.

Orange Syrup Cake

This baked yummy appears to be plain but is packed with flavour and texture. This dense moist cake will pair well with a generous scoop of ice cream or can be enjoyed on its own. Addiction alert: Be sure not be left alone with this cake! Find the full guide for making this cake here

NOTE: If you have orange syrup to hand already, then like I did, you may decide to skip making the candied oranges and use fresh oranges to garnish your cake.

   
   Let’s take a walk on the spicy side, shall we? How about a Spiced Apple Caramel Cake? Dense, dark, moist and riveting, it will be way to Hoover this cake unaided! You have been warned, follow this recipe and adjust the quantities accordingly. Omit the butter cream frosting, drizzle salted caramel over the cake and voila!

   
 
Chocolate, Rum and lemon cakes are not to be left out. Great recipes for these can be found here, here and here.

   
   

   
 

   

 These cakes are distinct, bold, gorgeous and delicious. They are not fussy in how they are presented but remain true to what they are.

Enjoy unmasking the inner cake in you.

I have never been keen on slaving over hot stoves, cookers, burners, hobs and ovens…….this includes hot pressing irons….which is why I am happy to pay to get my clothes ironed……but I digress….

A quick easy way to prepare meals is to use a variety of complementary spices in making the dish. Pilau rice is a fantastic example; it is big on flavour and requires minimum effort to throw together.

The spices I used in making it comprise of cloves, cardamon, pepper corns, cassia bark, cinnamon, cumin and dry coriander and ginger. Some mixes may include, chili and turmeric. It sounds like a lot but with balanced proportions these aromatic ingredients lend themselves beautifully to the dish.

In some parts of East Africa such as Tanzania, pilau is served only at special occasions like weddings. This so because spices like cloves are highly valued in that region and in fact are exported globally as cash crops.

Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock or water
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 tbs pilau spice mix (ensure that all spices are represented)
1 tbs vegetable oil.
1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes or cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste ( adjust quantity depending on stock or if using using plain water)

The “How To”

Using a shallow skillet wide frying pan ( that has a lid) heat the pan dry and then add your spice mix as well as the chili or cayenne. Toast them in the dry hot pan for about a minute; this “activates” the spices, releasing their oils and intensifying their flavours.
Next, add the vegetable oil and chopped onions, garlic and green pepper stir for about 2 minutes until the onions are translucent; be careful not to burn them. Add the rinsed basmati rice to the pan and coat it completely with the spice and onion mix.

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Pour in the stock/water, turn the heat down and put the lid on. Minimise opening the pan until,the rice is cooked. When it is cooked (between 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the quality of the rice) let it sit for a few extra minutes with a dish cloth over the pan, fluff with a fork before serving.

I was feeling extra lazy the day, I made this meal so it went with some grilled beef sausages and a coconut cream sauce.

For the sauce you need 50 grams of butter, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp corn flour, 1 tsp black pepper and salt to taste.

Mix butter and corn flour in a sauce pan over medium heat until you have a roux. Then slowly add in the coconut milk stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. It is ready when you have a homogenous sauce that lightly coats the back of a spoon.

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When a dear friend and her daughter came round to lunch the other day, I was frazzled because the munchkins were running me ragged. My guests needed nourishment for their tummies.

Rice and fish came to mind but I wanted it to look like I made an effort. The result? Sunny bright saffron rice and lemony herby fish.

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Ingredients
For the fish
2 large white fish fillets (I used cod)
2 tbs herbed butter
1 lemon
1 1/2 Black pepper
1 1/2 cayenne pepper
1 tbs butter
3/4 tbs salt.

For Saffron Rice
2 cups Basmati rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 good pinch saffron threads
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs butter (optional)
Salt (to taste)

The “How To”

Heat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius
Place the the fillets on a shopping board and pat them completely dry with a paper towel. You may halve them or leave them whole depending on your preferred portion size.

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Sprinkle the fillets liberally on both sides with black and cayenne pepper. Then carefully, and evenly season both sides with salt.

Line a roasting pan with foil ensuring that you have an over hang on the sides to allow to allow you wrap the fish up in a parcel as it cooks. Heat a skillet with the table spoon of butter and sear the fellows for about a minute on each side then transfer them to the roasting the pan and squeeze half a lemon over them. Place a couple of slices of lemon on them and distribute the herbed butter as well. Wrap them up and place in the oven. After 17 minutes take them out and leave them to rest for a further 5 minutes stilled wrapped.

For an accompanying sauce, use the recipe described above for the pilau rice but add the pan drippings to it to infuse with the lemon and herbs.

To make the saffron rice simply add all ingredients except the butter in a skillet, bring to a boil, put the lid on and simmer until the rice is cooked. Least the rice sit for a few minutes in the pot for a few minutes then add the butter and fluff with a fork.

I added a small salad to garnish the plate and cleanse our palates as we dined. It was essentially sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with a wasabi dressing (it’s purely optional).

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Dessert was a berry treat. In my next post I will share the recipe for the 2 berry poke cake that promptly vanished after lunch.

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It was a delightful day and I enjoyed playing hostess.

FFF tip of the Day

Instead of using better as set out in the recipes here, you could replace with olive oil for a healthier alternative. Even your fresh herbs can be preserved in olive. Simply place washed herbs in ice trays and pour oil oil over them. Freeze and use as desired.

Don’t you just hate walking past a dessert display longing to plunge in head first but you can’t because you are either lactose intolerant or can’t take gluten or diabetic or just on a diet….sigh…..does it ever end? I have marvelous news for you; there is hope and it is called “Coconut citrus cream cake”.

By now you know that I am a recipe trawler and I found this fascinating recipe that truly seemed too good to be true. I took a quick stock of my supplies and realised that I had all the ingredients to hand even the odd sounding agave nectar.

In case you are wondering how I got hold of agave nectar in Lagos, I must quickly point out that it was given to me by my best friend. She has undergone a total life style change and diet overhaul which means no sugar, gluten or dairy consumption. You would think that her life would be dull and dreary but no it isn’t! Because of her I am now aware of a whole new realm of foods that include quinoa, agave and almond flour. She is a nut for almonds by the way; just in case you were curious…….anyway I digress……

The original recipe called for just lime and is in fact a coconut lime cream cake. I took one look at it gave it my own twist and ended up with something quite marvelous. Instead of a pistachio crust I used dankuwa or dankwa and almonds.

Dankuwa is peanut based snack from North Nigeria; it is spicy and sweet and invokes memories from my childhood; It is a real treat.

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I also took the liberty of using lemons, oranges as well as limes for a zesty zingy kick to this dessert.

Ingredients
Crust:
1/2 cup flaked almonds
6 balls dankuwa or dankwa
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
pinch of salt
Filling:
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight (you could also use coconut cream if available)
1 avocado
6 Tbsp Agave Nectar
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs orange juice
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp coconut extract
Zest of 1/2 lime
Zest of 1/3 orange
Zest of 1/3 lemon
Topping
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight (you could also use coconut cream if available)

The “How – to”

Mix the crust ingredients (dankuwa, almonds, agave, and salt) in a food processor until the mixture holds together. Divide evenly between the muffin pans. Press the mixture firmly with your fingers or the back of a spoon into the bottom of the pan, set aside and commence making the filling.

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In a food processor combine the rest of the ingredients. You only want to use the fatty, cream part of the coconut milk or coconut cream which, if chilled the night before, will be nicely separated to the top of the can and will scoop out easily. Mix ingredients until well combined and evenly distribute the batter into the tart shells almost to the top (leave at least half an inch) and place in freezer.

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To make the topping use your second can of coconut milk the same way as the first, scooping out only the solids. whisk with hand mixer until it resembles whipped cream; it will firm very soft peaks but won’t hold it’s shape. I sweetened the coconut whipped cream a little with 1 tbsp agave nectar.

Pull cream cakes out of the freezer and create a smooth top with coconut whipped cream. Place back in freezer and allow to set up for at least 2 hours. The longer it stays in the freezer the better.

When you ready to serve remove from the freezer and take cream cakes out of pans. If they are frozen solid they should ease out fairly easily with some gentle teasing from a knife. Be careful that the base doesn’t separate from the creamy center and top.

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Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. And you should have a delicious treat with varying citrus notes that will delight your palette.

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 🙂 . 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 canapé on the platter. Be inspired and try a canapé recipe here or simply order 🙂

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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. 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

There aren’t that many fruits that are so versatile that they are pretty to look at, great to cook with, fabulous garnishes, and even excellent for cleaning. The lemon is one of those wholesome food items and I went to town with them this weekend.

I follow two amazing food blogs; Eat litle bird and The Patterned Plate, the women behind these blogs are nothing short of amazing and they are a source of inspiration for me and my food lab escapades. I was trawling their blogs (I am actually a permanent resident on both blogs but let’s keep that to ourselves shall we?) last week when I found some amazing recipes for lemon based cakes and treats.

In the last week, I have churned out 4 blueberry and lemon cakes, a batch of lemon drizzle friands, a batch of candied lemons and an amazing jar of fragrant lemon syrup.

Lemon cake and friands trio

These recipes are surprisingly easy to make and deliver such a wonderful eating experience that they are definitely worth making!

Without further a do, the recipe for Blueberry and Lemon Cake!

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, melted
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 140ml creme fraiche (I used butter milk)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 125g fresh blueberries

“The How To”
Pre-heat oven to 160°C.  Butter and lightly flour an 8 inch round cake pan or 9×5 inch loaf tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Add creme fraiche, lemon zest and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.

Gently fold through plain flour and baking powder. Then carefully fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the mixture into your preferred cake tin and bake for about an hour or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with some icing sugar and enjoy!

Blueberry and Lemon Cake cutBlueberry and lemon cake slice preferredThe lemon friands are also fuss free once you have all the ingredients. I couldn’t find ground almonds anywhere so I made mine by blitzing chopped almonds in my food processor.

lemon friands

Recipe

  • 160g unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus extra to brush
  • 2/3 cup (100g) plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 2/3 cups (250g) icing sugar, plus extra to dust
  • 1 cup (125g) ground almonds
  • 6 egg whites
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to serve (optional)

Lemon drizzle icing

  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) icing sugar, sifted
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon

 “The How To”

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 12-hole friand pan or muffin pan with a little melted butter, then dust with a little flour, shaking out excess.

Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl, then stir in the almond meal.

Place egg whites in a small bowl and lightly froth with a fork, then add to the flour mixture with the melted butter and lemon zest, stirring to combine.

Divide batter among friand/muffin holes, filling to two-thirds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, for the lemon icing, place the icing sugar and zest in a bowl, then stir in enough juice to make a soft runny icing.

Drizzle lemon icing over the cooled cakes and allow to set, top with candied lemon slices and garnish with extra lemon zest.

Lemon drizzled friands bittenAfter zesting all those lemons I couldn’t bear to let them go to waste so I made candied lemons to top the friands. I also ended up with the most fragrant lemon syrup.

Recipe for candied lemons

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water

“The How To”

Cut lemons into 1/8-inch-thick rounds using a mandolin or sharp knife; discard seeds. Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; about 4 minutes.

Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 30 – 40 minutes or until slightly translucent and rinds are softened.

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Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer on a wax paper lined tray, using tongs. Cool completely (about 1 hour).

Lemon drizzled friands on cake stand2The responses that I have received from these recipes have been wonderful. The lemon friands were a major hit with hubby and even the boys got in on the action (I had to hold back so they wouldn’t bounce off the walls with the sugar topping and all).

Baking these treats left my home smelling fresh and fragrant; it was truly a beautiful experience.

So next time life throws you a lemon, make lemon drizzle friands, blueberry lemon cake, candied lemons and lemon syrup!

TIP OF THE DAY:

You can use lemons to deordorise your fridge. Cut a lemon in half, put some salt on it and put it at the back of your fridge. It will absorb all those odd odours that fridges tend to harbour! Don’t you just love this fruit?

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.