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.

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.

20140718-230820-83300018.jpg

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.

20140718-224342-81822983.jpg

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.

20140718-225109-82269159.jpg

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.

20140718-225906-82746803.jpg

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.

There’s a predictability that comes at meal times that can make such periods tedious. Meals become a chore and there’s really no spark at the table. You can turn this around by taking bold chances in the kitchen.

I have been puttering in my Flab (Food lab) over he past couple of months since my last post and I have developed some truly amazing recipes using Nigerian staple foods.

A good example is the ube fruit. Ube is also known as bush butter or African pear. It is native to West Africa between Eastern Nigeria and Angola. Ube can be cooked by steeping it in hot water or roasting it. Traditionally it is paired with corn for a popular Eastern Nigerian snack but my interesting take on it converts it to a delicious nutritious spread or dip; a cross between a guacamole and a tapanade.

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Ingredients for Ube spread/dip
12 ubes
½ lime (just the juice)
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
½ cup of fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt (optional)
½ cup Flaked cooked fish (preferably a mild tasting one) (optional)
3 spring onions

METHOD
Steep ubes in boiling hot water for 5 minutes, drain and carefully scrape the cooked flesh into the a blender or food processor. Juice half a lime and add it in with black pepper, chopped spring onions, parsley, peeled garlic, flaked fish (optional).
Blend all ingredients in the blender/food processor until it forms a paste and then carefully add in the olive oil pulsing the blender/food processor until the paste loosens and becomes smooth. Taste for salt and serve.
This spread works well on a tortilla (or any flat bread) with a salad piled on: pictured below or as a delicious dip for your favourite snacks.

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You could also try stuffing tomatoes with the dip for an instant delicious snack or canape.

Stuffed Tomatoes Ingredients
6 firm ripe tomatoes
4 tbs of soft any soft mild cheese (like brie)
2 spring onions
4 tbs of sweet corn
4 tbs Ube spread (see recipe above)
Ground Black pepper

Method
Halve the tomatoes vertically and scoop out the pulp. Chop the spring onions and set aside. Then scatter some sweet corn at the bottom of each tomato reserving some for the topping. Scoop even portions of the ube spread into each tomato shell. Then add even bit of cheese, sprinkle with the reserved sweet corn.

Garnish each stuffed tomato with the chopped spring onions. To finish off, sprinkle each tomato with freshly ground black pepper. Now enjoy!
This spread really makes for a guilt free indulgence!

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Another great Nigerian food is plantain. The plantain is a staple meal in every Nigerian home and is so versatile that you can eat it ripe or unripe, boil, roast, and fry it. Boiled plantain serves as a great base for the Nigerian pottage, which could include any combination of yams and beans.
When fried plantain is known as dodo; a beloved meal by almost anyone who has eaaten it. Roasted plantain is a snack commonly enjoyed with a side of peanuts; roasting it intensifies its flavour.

But have you considered using it in a curry? The results might surprise you.

Ingredients for Nigerian Flair to a curry
3 tbs hot curry powder
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups chicken stock
2 blades of lemon grass
3 potatoes
2 ripe plantains
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 hard-boiled eggs.

Chop onions and garlic finely. Peel and cube plantains and potatoes (keep the sizes even). Heat a pan with the oil; add finely chopped onions and garlic. After 2 minutes, add plantains and potatoes and give it a good stir.
Make a thick paste of the curry and add to the pan, coating the contents evenly. Then pour in the chicken stock and add the lemon grass. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over boiled eggs with cooked rice of your choice.

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Please note: the Curry powder used in this recipe was quite spicy and the chicken stock was well seasoned so no salt was required. Adjust your recipe according to the salt required.
In the serving suggestion below, the curry is served with jasmine rice and a side of cucumber which helps to cool and cleanse the palette.

Another amazing experiment was the one I made with pap. Also known as ogi or akamu. A fellow foodie friend (Dooney) and I loathe the stuff so we challenged each other to come up with recipes that we could abide. She made a creme brûlée inspired dessert and I made a pudding type dessert that was surprisingly good.

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Substitute yams for potatoes as I did in the recipe below; or use both potatoes and yams.

Crispy Rosemary Chicken and Fries
Ingredients
8 chicken thighs
4 potatoes, quartered
3 slices of yam cut lengthways into chips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place chicken yams and potatoes into a large bowl. Pour olive oil over them, and stir to coat. Scatter the chicken and potato pieces in a large baking dish, or cookie sheet with sides. Sprinkle with rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, uncovered. Baste during the last 15 minutes for extra crispness.

Please note that the original recipe I followed called for chicken thighs but I used boneless chicken breasts which cooks a lot faster. So my cooking time was reduced.
Serve accompanied by a salad and dip of your choice.

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These recipes are so easy to follow that it should be a crime not to attempt them. So go on and add a surprising twist to your meal times.

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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