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Finally, I get to write this post. Seriously, what do you do when you have plantains and peppers? Make a casserole! But you need to make sure you’ve got a can of chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, some salt and chili.
You start by making a chili tomato sauce. How do you do this? Fry an onion, add two cloves of garlic and about an inch of ginger, both chopped. Once fragrant (give about 5 minutes), add your chopped tomatoes and cook for 20 mins. Finish off by adding salt and chili pepper. Adjust to your taste. I personally use a vegetable stock cube, but if you don’t have this, salt and any stock cube would do.
The next thing is to prepare your plantains and peppers. Boil the plantains in their skin. Once cooked, cut into cubes. Put these in a glassware (pyrex), add your bell peppers all chopped (one of each colour). Pour the tomato sauce over the plantain and peppers. Make sure its all covered. Toss into a pre-heated oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are softened. Turn at intervals to prevent uneven heating. Remember to adjust the seasoning too.
Tip: If you want these to be sweet instead of savoury, add some honey. You can also do this if you find you’ve added too much chili! Plantains are really forgiving, they can be eaten sweet or savoury. I've done it both ways and it always get devoured! You can also play with some spices, and add some curry powder to the chili tomato sauce.
Tuck in and serve as a main meal or a side dish accompaniment to some rice and fish stew.
I can't believe I haven't written in such a long time! But I'm back now!
I was craving a vegetarian meal with no grains for some reason and came up with this recipe. I also was lucky to buy some saffron from Dubai and hence the name. Unfortunately, I don't have quantities since it's new. But you can be adventurous and play around with it. I'll simply just tell you what I used and what I did.
For the topping, blend the red lentils, and another can of chickpeas, black pepper, about a teaspoon of butter and a dash of milk (to reduce the thickness).
The rest is peasy easy. Tumble your filling into a glass bakeware, smoother with the topping, sprinkle with some saffron and bake for about 20 minutes. Bring it out and tuck in into some healthy goodness!
I apologise for the not so clear pictures.
Eating with one's hands is an old tradition as we definitely didn't always have forks, knives and spoons! In places like Nigeria, Sri Lanka and a lot of African countries, it's quite common to eat with your hands. We have a popular saying at home that food tastes better when eaten with the hands. I believe it to be true. There are certain meals that don't taste right when eaten with a fork and knife.
I decided to introduce my flatmates to this way of appreciating food. I made some egusi (melon seed) soup with pounded yam for dinner. Just in case it didn't turn out great, I made a backup meal of Nigerian fried rice. Haha, but it turned out that I didn't need to. They ate them all! The whole idea of sitting on the floor was also natural to them as they have similar practises in their own countries.
I've been craving this since one of my flatmates made some chicken curry. I couldn't have hers because I don't eat chicken :( and so I decided to make a seafood version. The Japanese have definitely it so convenient to cook curries. All you need is the curry stock cubes (they're huge), your choice of meat, onions, oil and some vegetables whichever you prefer. I used carrots, baby corn, peas, green peas and corn. The instructions are actually given on the packet of the curry stock cube, so you can't go wrong with it no matter how bad of a cook you think you are (which you're probably not).
I served this with some Udon noodles and it was very good.
So go on ahead, look for some Japanese curry stock, keep calm and make a curry. ;)
Bulgogi was what inspired this. It's a typical Korean dish mainly made with grilled meat. I often buy a bulgogi tuna as a quick snack when I'm hungry and it looks like a Californian roll with seaweed wrapped around rice and has spicy tuna in the middle. It's good. With this idea, I decided to make rice balls. And it had only six ingredients. Rice, shredded seaweed, tuna, sesame oil, salt and gochujang (Korean spicy red bean paste). You mix these and roll into balls. Refrigerate to cool. Eat when hungry or just eat.
Chestnuts. These things are so yummy! And even better in a salad. The only cooking that needed to be done was boiling the letilles vertes (green lentils). Toss some salad leaves, sweet corn, cooked lentils, cherry tomatoes, and cooked chestnuts.
In another version, I added some dried figs and they were as lovely. A sweet dressing like the honey yoghurt one goes really well with it.
My favourite hot drink is hot chocolate. It's a strong love, really. It's as bad as having been to every café around my home to see which does the best hot chocolate.
So when I found this 100% cacao bar in M&S I was excited to try it. And try it I did! By the way, cacao is simply raw cocoa before it's been turned into chocolate. It's as raw as you can get with cocoa. Raw means the food hasn't been heated above 42 degrees C. So all it's antioxidants are still retained.
The best hot chocolate is one made on the hob! on a gas cooker with some kind of milk. My preference is soy milk.
I heat some milk in a saucepan, add two bars of the cacao to the pan and let it melt. Whisk and mix thoroughly and serve. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg as you wish. I use both.
For some reason, this is my pick me up drink when I need some cheering up. It has some magic in it. Maybe it's those antioxidants :)
Melon seed is more commonly known as egusi in Nigeria. And we use it to make a ‘soup’. West African soups are usually more like a thick vegetable casserole and eaten with some starchy food. It's also eaten with your fingers and that's the best way to actually enjoy it.
Traditionally most soups are made using palm oil but palm oil is full of saturated fats. To make the egusi soup healthier, I make a spicy tomato sauce which we call 'stew' and add the cooked egusi in followed by chopped spinach or ugwu. Ugwu is another vegetable that you'd probably only find in Africa. Fortunately for me I found a shop which stocks frozen ugwu.
The outcome? My brother had it when he came visiting and it was gone in seconds… that's all I can say
Egusi soup can also be eaten with rice if you don't fancy the more common 'fufu'.