Egusi soup is not usually my favourite thing to eat and it is not helped by the childhood memories I have of spending HOURS shelling them.

Egusi is essentially the seeds of a melon or squash (please don’t ask me which variety ๐Ÿ™‚ ) which have been dried. They are then shelled and the white interior is what is milled and used in cooking.

However, after I made the egusi recipe that I am about to share with you, I must admit that I have had change of heart. It is easy to make and would be excellent for a weekend meal.


I bring this recipe in conjunction with Evron Food Store. They provided all the ingredients used in its preparation and used the photos for a media campaign which ran earlier, in February.

It was fun cooking and shooting the whole process. Of course eating it was the best part of it all!

Please note that this post is not sponsored by Evron Food store and all opinions are mine.

The ensuing slide show will set out the process in 8 simple steps.

The first step to making a great meal begins with using the best ingredients and mis en place.

To serve 4 people you will need:

Ingredients

  1. 200 grams goat meat (cut up in medium-sized pieces)
  2. 1 medium-sized smoked/dry fish
  3. 2 teaspoons milled cray fish
  4. 100 grams milled egusi
  5. 4 tablespoons palm oil
  6. 2 scotch bonnet peppers aka ata rodo (chopped)
  7. 50 grams finely julienned utazi leaves (you could use pumpkin leaves or kale but the utazi is wonderfully fragrant so it’ a nice addition)
  8. Salt as required.

Boil the goat meat until its tender. I seasoned mine with some ginger, the crayfish and salt but you cam season it however you prefer to. Reserve the stock.

Next, Bring a some water to boil and steep the dry fish in it with some salt for at least 15 minutes. This helps to rehydrate it as well as get rid of any grit/dirt on it. Carefully debone it and extract the fleshy bits and set aside. Now follow through on the easy steps in the slide show.

I opted to serve mine with some steamed rice although the normal pairing is with eba, pounded yam, fufu or other similar starchy meal (there so many options! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

The “How To”

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If you make this recipe, please take a picture and tag us on instagram using #foodfashionfusion. We will be happy to repost!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed from my recent personal retreat to sunny Zanzibar I have hit my food lab with renewed vigor. Armed with a variety of spices and dry herbs, it has been an aromatic infusion since my return. But this time my focus will be on using fresh herbs.

Today, I whipped up two simple meals for lunch and breakfast and show cased herbed butter in both meals.

I had bought a bunch of curly leaf parsley on impulse earlier in the week and didn’t want it to perish in my fridge so I chopped it up and mixed it in with 200 grams of butter (at room temperature). To finalize the preservation process, I placed the mixture in some cling film and carefully rolled it into an even cylindrical shape. I plonked in the deep freeze and all but forgot about it. All this happened late one night so I was in no condition to take pictures……I was practically sleep walking…..anyway getting back on track….

Breakfast was a simple fare of sliced bread, fried eggs, beef sausages and baked beans but the kicker was……yes you guessed it! Herbed butter! It just elevated the meal nicely. Isn’t it amazing how a simple inclusion makes a big difference?

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To give your sausages and eggs a mini make over follow these tips.

1. Scour your sausages with diagonal slashes before frying or grilling. Be careful not to slice it through just light cuts.
2. To make your eggs look geometric use a round metal cookie cutter to give the egg definition.

Simply place your non-stick pan on the burner and place a lightly greased or oiled cookie metal cutter in the pan. Add a bit of butter or cooking oil on the pan but inside the cookie cutter. Then carefully crack an egg in a bowl and pour it gently into the cookie cutter. Let the egg set for about 2 minutes; you may season with salt and pepper at thus point. If you like your yolk runny the cook the egg for a further minute and take off the heat. If like me you like your eggs well done then place a lid over the pan for at least two minutes and voilร  nicely rounded fried eggs.

Lunch had to easy to make too as I was in no mood for complex dishes. I had marinaded some pork chops yesterday so I just had to figure out what else to pair it with. I settled for sweet potatoes and carrots.

Ingredients.

4 pork chops on the bone (about an inch thIck)
1 tbs wasabi
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs steak sauce or BBQ sauce
1tsp coarse salt
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbs vegetable oil

3 medium sized sweet potatoes
100 grams unsalted butter
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp black pepper

3 large carrots
1 tbs honey
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup green grapes

This meal serves 4.

The “How To”

Marinade your chops in a ziplock bag using the mustard, wasabi, steak sauce, sesame oil and salt. Give them a good rub in the bag and leave over night or at least 4 hours in the fridge.

Bring them out to come to room temperature fir at least 20 minutes before you intend cooking them.

Turn on your oven to 195 degrees centigrade.

Wash and peel you potatoes. Chop them in half and cook for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking commence prepping the chops.

Put a thick bottomed oven proof pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of vegetable oil to it. Leave the pan on for 3 minutes until the oil is very hot and even smoking slightly and carefully add your chops to the pan. (Be sure to scrape off most of the marinade of the meat before seating. This is only so you can use the marinade for a sauce later and also to ensure that the meat is relatively dry when it hits the pan to get good color on it).

Leave chops in the hot pan, heat turned to medium for 3 minutes without touching them. The carefully flip them over using a pair of tongs and put the pan straight into the oven for 10 minutes but keep checking them so as not to over cook and dry them out. From the 6 minute mark check their progress. It is cuit a point when you press on the middle of the meat with your find and it springs back immediately. Do not poke the heat to check for doneness as you will release essential juices.

Once the chops are cooked take them out and transfer them unto a plate and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutest this will allow the meat to “relax” and distribute it’s juices.

The potatoes should be cooked by now. Drain them, add 100 grams of butter and mash until you have a chunky consistency. Cover the pot and set aside. Scrape and slice carrots. Blanch them for about 3 minutes. Drain and drizzle 1 tbs of honey over them and mix through.

Add the marinade to the pan juices from the chops and cook for two minutes until slightly thicker. Sear cherry tomatoes and grapes in 1 tbs of vegetable oil on high heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Now you are ready to plate up and enjoy your meal! A nob of herbed butter completes this delicious meal!

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There was complete silence during this meal and all plates were returned completely devoid of food save for the bone from the chop.

My mum and hubby both took a nap after this meal so it is quite filling; be warned!…..lol!

FFF Tip: it is easier to work with herbed butter when it is frozen that way you can slice the pieces off as required.

A variety of herbs can be preserved in this fashion including basil, coriander, flat leaf parsley and tarragon. If you prefer a healthier route this mode of preservation, you can freeze the herbs in olive oil by placing them in an ice tray and filling with olive oil. Then you just use the required number you frozen cubes for your sauces and meals.

The humble egg, rice,ย  tomatoes and simple blacked eyed peas don’t conjure images of grand meals or exotic recipes. But used creatively, they could very well constitute an elegant plate.

There’s a saying in culinary circles that states that “people eat with their eyes first” and this is not entirely far from the truth except of course you are starving in the Kalahari desert and are more concerned with swallowing the food whole without any concern over how it has been presented.
If, on the other hand,ย  you are having a home cooked meal, there are many ways to plate it up in a “fashionable” way that would make ingredients like caviar, couscous, artichokes and scallops jealous.

The process is quite simple and just requires some creativity; a table-spoon can be used to make a quinelle, a small tin opened at both ends could become a mould, the strategic placement of food on a plate makes all the difference in the final presentation.
So the next time you are preparing a meal, before you present it, add a personal touch, tidy up the plate and you would be amazed at the results.
With these tips, even though you are not a cordon bleu, you could make beautiful meals pret a manger (ready to eat).
By popular demand, I am updating the photo gallery of this post with recent pictures of my meals. Bon appetit!

Two Cheese Sandwich with a side of Yoghurt and Pink grape fruit juice


Jollof rice and tuna salad


Chicken and Chips


Chicken curry, Plaintain Batonettes, herbs and tomato


Beef olives, roast veges and potatoes



Sauteed potatoes, vege and stuffed beef loin