More on the my jourmey over the past 7 months and a great lunch recipe too….Continue reading →
Cloud computing is not that novel a concept; I have been using cloud computing for over 2 decades! Yep you read right 🙂 You know how, you have tonnes of ideas, info and just stuff that you “plan” to put in writing ONE day? Well I have a gazillion bits of such data floating around in my head, stored away in different folders……….so that makes me the ultimate geek right? speaking of geeks…..this post is about a super geek I met a couple of months ago; this post is at least 5 months over due……..ok, before your eyes glaze over this post IS about food but hear me out.
The web is an amazing environment if you know how to navigate it; I belong to a foodie group on FB called “So You Think Yo for u Can Cook” or SYTYCC. It’s awesome! You meet the weird and the wonderful there. It didn’t take long before a young lady stood out for the simple reason that her meal concepts and recipes stood out. I was intrigued and you know me, when I am intrigued, what do I do? All together now, “I cyber stalk!” Her blog is just filled all sorts of amazing info and she take a time to break things down; even the most intricate recipes. And get this, she has managed to make meal preparations, especially Nigerian food a cinch. All sorts of nifty tricks for making laborious processes easier. And talk about modernizing the Nigerian cuisine, she has that down too. Don’t take my word for it, just take a look at Dooney’s Kitchen
In no time, we established a rapport of sorts and even started calling each other. She lives in the United Kingdom and I live in Nigeria but the expensive international call costs didn’t stop us from nattering on like old friends. She seemed nice, open and very very friendly so when she announced that she would be visiting Lagos, Nigeria it only made sense that we meet up!
After having met her, I can tell you authoritatively, that she is not nice, calling her friendly is just a lie!
Let me explain, she had a busy schedule so we decided that it would be better for her to come visit me at home. After navigating impossible traffic and dealing with a less than intelligent taxi driver, she arrived at about 5.30 pm. I rushed out to receive her and was met with a petite elegant lady who’s pictures belie her true beauty! The first words out of my mouth were “Welcome but I don’t like you much, how come you’re so small”? …..I know, I need to work on my social graces! But seriously! Who cooks all that food and remain svelte and elegant!?? WHO????? Is there no justice in this world?? 😀
Anyway, she totters into the house lugging shopping bags filled with gifts for me and the choc boys! I couldn’t believe it! I am thinking “but we only just met”! Calling her “nice” or “friendly” is a disservice. She’s truly a special person; warm, giving and DOWN – TO – EARTH!!!
In no time, we are talking about all and sundry including her grueling ordeal at the airport. On her arrival it took the better part of four hours before she could depart the airport or reach her parents for that matter. All this drama because the airport was undergoing renovations……go figure….
So, it was early evening and it was only proper to offer this lady something to eat. Problem was, I didn’t make anything social for her because A. I didn’t know what to offer her B. I didn’t know what to offer her C. I didn’t know what to offer her and D. I didn’t know what to offer her. Now, I know you’re probably wondering if I am off my rocker but please before you judge me, go to this site and then tell me what you would offer a person who can throw down like that?!
I offered her sautéed potatoes and meatballs and guess what she liked it! She actually ate it and asked for more meatballs! I swear the hallelujah chorus was playing! Over her meal, she revealed her picky eating habits which almost drove her mum nuts, the long list of foods that will not pass her lips and her key strategies for avoiding eating foods she hates. By the time she was done I whispered a prayer of gratitude for dodging all those bullets!!
The evening ended with us taking a gazillion selfies! It was mad fun! I was sorry to see her go because we got on like a house on fire.
Dunni Obata runs Dooney’s Kitchen as well as working full time as an IT expert; her role is so complicated that I don’t even quite fully grasp what she does…..lol. But I a know that she is multitalented and real; that’s the truth.
Today is the International day of the woman and if you are women reading this post, please take a moment to ensure that you’re life has meaning. Ensure that you aren’t just existing; Dare to Dream!
Hosting family and friends in our home is something that my husband and enjoy and from time to time we will have “feasts” most times without the expected association with a major holiday like Christmas or Easter (although we typically host friends and family during those periods too).
So when Gbemi and her family flew in from Houston for a short 4 day visit to Lagos it went without saying that we would have them over. Not only is Gbemi and her husband, Debola a very dear friend but she single handedly saved me from a wedding dress fiasco by miraculously making a dress for me in one day! Read all about that drama here.
We also had our fab friends, Bolaji and Okiki Marinho as well as the Ajuluchukwus over. It was a splendid gathering.
I wanted to keep the menu simple but with a mix of complementary flavours so I settled on Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy Meatballs, Sauteed Potato wedges, Hasselback potatoes, Pilau rice, Sun dried tomato focaccia and Rosemary focaccia (both accompanied by herb butter), Lemon Blueberry Bars, Orange Syrup Cake and Banana Raspberry Swirl ice cream; I basically pulled from my arsenal of favourite recipes.
It sounds like a lot but the great thing about this menu is that a lot of the dishes can be made a day ahead! So on Saturday I made everything save the potatoes, rice and chicken (which I marinated overnight).
For the Pilau rice recipe check out the “Flavour Infusion; Taste Explosion” post. My recent post titled “Special Cakes and Bakes; This is all it takes” has the decadent Orange Syrup Cake recipe and the banana raspberry swirl ice cream which is completely dairy and sugar free therefore completely guilt free can be found here. Follow the basic recipe and customize it to suit you, in this case I threw in a few raspberries. For a step-by-step guide to making hasselback potatoes please read the Tra-la-la-la-laa-laa-laa post. Spicy meatballs which is an FFF favourite can be found here. The easy focaccia recipe comes with a detailed step-by-step too. Herb butter is easy to make and you can take it anywhere. This version was inspired by a version I saw on We Call him Yes Chef! and I incorporated chopped basil, parsley, red onions, garlic, black pepper and chilli powder.
The teriyaki chicken and lemon blueberry bars were such a hit that I know they will become fixtures in future feasts. Here are the recipes.
The Lemon Bluberry treat was adapted from a recipe I found on Two peas and their Pod
For the crust:
1 250 gram packet of plain digestives (blitzed to fine crumbs in a food processor; alternatively, you could use graham cracker crumbs and you will need about 2 ½ cups and 1/3 cup sugar)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Zest of one lemon
For the filling:
4 large egg yolks
2 (14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
The “How To”
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius and spray an 8”x8” baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper; ensure that there is an overhang on two sides as this will help with lifting it out.
In a medium bowl, combine the digestive crumbs or graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar (if using), and lemon zest. Stir until the crumbs are moist. Using the back of a flat implement like a wooden mallet, press crumbs firmly into prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes in the oven. Remove from and allow to cool to room temperature. I will advise that you leave the oven on.
While the crust is cooling, make the filling; combine the egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Continue mixing until it is smooth and begins to slightly thicken then fold in the blueberries.
Pour the lemon blueberry filling evenly over the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until it is just set. Remove it from the oven and cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. If you can chill it over night that is even better, just be sure to carefully cover the pan with cling film (don’t let the cling film touch the surface of the dessert). When you are ready to serve, simply lift the parchment paper using the overhang, place on flat surface and slice with a sharp knife.
The recipe will keep in the ridge for 3-4 days but it so good that I seriously doubt that it will last that long! I mean just look at it!
For the Teriyaki chicken you will need
1 ½ kg chicken drum sticks
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tbs honey
2 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs chilli powder
1 tbs chopped fresh ginger (or ¾ tbs powdered ginger)
4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tbs black pepper
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tsp salt
The “How To”
Place all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it ensuring that all pieces are coated. Leave to marinate for at least two hours but if you can leave it overnight that would be better.
Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celcius. Heat a large thick bottomed skillet with 2 tbs of vegetable oil and sear chicken pieces, about 1 minute on each side and carefully arrange chicken in a deep roasting pan. Then pour the left over marinade over the chicken. Half way through the cooking time cover the chicken with a piece of foil if it looks like it is drying out. The chicken should be ready after about 30-35 minutes but please check for doneness before turning the oven off.
You should have quite a bit of juice at the bottom of the pan which is superb because this is the base for your glaze.
Carefully drain the juice into a saucepan and set over medium heat until the juice reduces to a dark slightly thick glaze. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Glaze all chicken pieces and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds if desired.
I thoroughly enjoyed having my friends round and for once I was not harried and sweating like an unfit hippo in the final stages of labour!! (Apologies hippos; you are gorgeous pleasantly plump creatures. I was only making an analogy) Making some of the meals ahead took A LOT of pressure off me!
Everyone enjoyed the meal and most people left with take away packs which gladdened my heart.
And there you have it; the anatomy of a feast. Read all about another “Anatomy of A feast” which I wrote about a few years ago here.