Sunday, 30 December 2012


I love a good challenge, i really do and roasting a whole turkey is nothing short of that. First of all our turkeys are nothing like the oyinbo turkeys, ours have suffered and trekked and have rhino skin! So, treating them like oyinbo turkey might leave you with a emmm...not cooked through bird.

For this challenge of mine i had to consult with an amazing cook, miss @ajikespecial and she saw me through. Muah!

5Kg Whole Turkey
Turkey Giblets (Feet, Neck, Gizzard and all that jazz)
1 Cup of Butter
2 Lemons
Salt and Pepper
Poultry Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 Carrot
1 Celery Stalk + Leaves
1/4 Cup Chopped parsley
2 Onions

For a bird this big that would require a long cooking time, step 1 should always be a brine. The only container this bird could fit into was a cooler so into a cooler it went.

I covered it with brining mix and since it couldn't fit into my fridge i put it into the deep freezer with the lid off. Even for the cooler the turkey was still a tad big so from time to time i would go and turn it over to make sure it got a fairly even submersion all round. Don't worry about it being in the freezer if its a cooler, the insulation of the cooler won't let it freeze.

After 18 hours the skin had plumped up and even touching the bird you could tell that it was slightly softer. Now comes the work.

Make a dry rub of spices by mixing salt, pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic and onion powder and set aside.

Use a pair of kitchen scissors or a knife and make a little cut from the bottom area and then from the neck. Get your hands in there and carefully pry skin away from muscle.

Take dry rub and massage under the skin, the skin of a turkey is really thick so if you put your spices just on top, chances are you won't get much flavour on the inside.

PS. You might wanna wear a glove depending on how much pepper you're packing in that rub, my hands were burning for quite a while...

Roughly chop 1 onion, celery, parsley and carrot and transfer to a bowl, add about a third of your butter and a tablespoon of dry rub and mash it all together.

Now stuff your bird, bottom side first and then from the neck. These vegetables are not going to be eaten, we are just using them to further flavour the inside of your bird and to keep it nice and moist.

Seal using metal or wooden skewers (if you have any).

Using a paper towel, pat dry the top skin of your turkey. Mix remaining butter with dry rub to make a paste and rub over the turkey. If you don't dry off the skin of the turkey first the butter will not stick to the skin. You can also use a bit of vegetable oil to substitute the butter.

Back into now dry, now empty cooler and back into the freezer overnight.

I woke up bright and early, pre-heated my oven, brought turkey out to return to room temperature or close (about 1 hour). Spiced the turkey giblets and cooked down to make a nice stock (about 4 cups in volume) and set aside.

Got out a roasting pan, poured in stock, lemons cut into quarters, 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves of fresh garlic. Put a roasting rack in the pan (this elevates whatever your grilling off the liquid in the pan and catches the drippings from the turkey), then gently placed the turkey.

Now traditionally, for the turkey's that lived on Old McDonald's farm, cooking time would be 20 minutes per kilo plus 90 minutes but for this Nigerian backyard fowl i'd nearly double that. My bird was a 5kg bird, so i gave i total cooking time of a little over 5 hours.

Yeah, so where was i?

Place turkey on roasting rack, breast-side up and cover with a sheet of foil, scrunching and sealing it into the edges of your pan (in my pic it isn't completely covered, that was before my dear friend said to cover completely and maybe even double up...oops!). The foil is to stop the bird from browning too fast while it cooks. Place roasting pan on the lowest level of your oven.

Allow to go steady for 4 hours on medium temperature then take off the foil. If you have a cooking thermometer, stick it into your bird and if your internal temperature hits 82C/180F, your bird is cooked. To test if you have a nice moist bird, stick a table knife carefully where the thigh is attached to the body of the bird, if a clear juice oozes out, you have succeeded.

Turn up the heat. Using a turkey baster or soup laddle scoop some of the stock from the pan and pour over bird, you can also brush over with some melted butter or oil if you want a really crisp skin. Return into the oven and allow it to roast uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour.

When roasting, the juices in the meats move close to the skin, always allow resting time before cutting into it or you will lose all the juices and be left with a dry piece of meat. About 30 minutes will allow the turkey rest properly and have the juices redistribute.

While turkey rest, transfer stock from pan to pot, add a cup of water and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. take off the heat and strain.

Making a roux by melting equal quantities of butter and flour in a pan on high heat till you have a smooth paste, pour in strained stock little by little and turn down heat.

Allow to cook till it just begins to thicken up then take off the heat.

Serve with turkey slices.


I sure did!


Friday, 21 December 2012


I know beans may not come into anyone's Christmas menu but it is healthy, filling and will guarantee you a good sleep afterwards, and after cooking, hosting, laughing, smiling and hosting for hours, you could sneak a little portion and just pass out. :D

I do have a few friends who fly the beans flag and this post is dedicated to them.

2 Cups of Brown Beans 
1/2 Cup Crayfish
1 Dried Fish (Bones Removed)
3 Ripe Plantains
1 Onion
1 Cup Palm Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 Seasoning Cubes

For beans pottage, brown beans is best suited because it has more flavour even though it takes a bit longer to cook.

Always "pick" your beans to get rid of chaff and little stones.

Rinse and add to pressure pot with water to cover the beans a little.

Add chopped onion, crayfish, dried fish, pepper, stir and cover.

Allow to cook for about 20 minutes. It is believed that adding salt makes the cooking time longer, haven't confirmed this but this is how i know how to cook it and have always cooked it this way.

If you're cooking with a regular pot you have to cook the beans for much longer to get it bite soft and you might have to keep topping up the water because with steam escaping you will lose more water than when using a pressure cooker.

When its half about 3/4 cooked, add another cup of water and turn the heat down.

Chop 2 peeled ripe plantains and add to the beans.

Add palm oil, salt and seasoning cubes, mix properly, cover to cook for another 15 minutes (25 minutes if using a regular pot).

Serve up with a side of golden fried plantain.

Sweet dreams!


Meat is life! Don't argue, just accept it and we'll all be fine. Ok? Ok!

Topside cut of beef is even more life for the dieter because it almost has no fat, it is one of (if not) the leanest cut of beef which on the flip side makes it a bit tricky to cook because it can dry out really quickly if not handled properly but fear not...

2Kg Topside Steak
3 Cups Red Wine
3 Carrots
2 Celery Stalks
2 Onions
Fresh Rosemary 
Garlic & Ginger
Salt & Pepper
1/4 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Paprika
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour

Even though topside steak is a lean meat, it sometimes has some fat attached to it. With a sharp knife just trim these bits off.

Combine salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, thyme and paprika to make a rub. Massage this rub onto your steak, cover with cling film and pop into the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Turn your oven on and set to grill.

Add a little oil to a pan and with the temperature high but not smoking hot, add your steak. Sear off  all the sides for about 2 minutes each and set aside. This helps to seal in the juices, flavour and give the outside a nice crust.

Roughly chop carrots, celery and onions and add to an oven roasting dish, pour in red wine. Transfer steaks and fresh rosemary.

De-glaze the pan that was used to sear the meat with about a quarter cup of wine and add to the roasting dish.

Into the oven they go for 20 minutes on both sides (total cook time, 40 minutes), basting with the juices every 10 minutes so it doesn't dry out in the oven. If you like your meat well done, give it another 10 minutes.

Remove steak and set aside to rest. Never cut into any grilled or roasted meat immediately, it will "bleed" i.e. you will lose all the juices.

Transfer remaining contents of pan to a pot and bring to a light simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, for all the flavours to marry properly. Sieve and set liquid aside, say goodbye to everything else by chucking them in the bin, their work here is done.

We start our gravy by preparing a roux.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and melt down, then gently add 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir gently until its all properly combined, 2 - 3 minutes.

Gradually start pouring in the stock from your grill pan, keep stirring and turn your heat down low.

Taste for seasoning, add a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

As it begins to thicken, take it off the heat.

Slice steak and serve with potatoes and side salad, laddle in a generous amount of gravy and go to town on that plate!

Food, glorious food!!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012


It is just not possible for you to be putting together a list of top Ibo soups without mentioning Oha Soup. In a lot of Ibo homes, Oha is THE soup and it basically the lighter twin of bitterleaf soup, the only difference being the vegetable added in the end. 

500grms Beef
500grms Goat Meat
500grms Assorted Meat (Offals)
3/4 Cup Ground Crayfish
1 Teaspoon Ground Uziza Seeds
Dried Fish
Stock Fish
2 or 3 Small Cocoyams
1/2 Teaspoon Ogiri
11/2 Cup of Palm Oil
1 Onion (Chopped)
Oha Leaves
Salt & Pepper
2 Seasoning Cubes

Season all of your meats and stock fish with salt, pepper, onions and one seasoning cube. Add water up to the level of your meat and cook until tender, adding a little bit more water if needed.

On the side, wash cocoyam and boil until tender. Peel and pound in a mortar to a smooth paste using a little bit of the cooking water to help lubricate. You can also do this in a food processor, just cut up the cocoyam into little pieces and add a little of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

When your meat is cooked add crayfish, ground seeds, dried fish and kpomo and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Now its time for some smelly business also known as "ogiri time". It is a smelly paste made from fermented locust beans that (surprisingly) adds a nice flavour to the soup WHEN USED IN MODERATION! I use a little less than half a teaspoon. See that little missing portion? Yeah, that's all i used.

Add to the soup, add palm oil and add cocoyam in tiny little balls and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. By this time the cocoyam should have dissolved completely into the soup and started thickening the soup up. If your soup is too thick, add a little extra water.

As it cooks, rinse off your oha leaves and just using your hands just tear off some leaves and tear into little pieces. The leaf is very tender so if you try chopping it with a knife you will end up killing it completely and the colour will change from a pretty light green to dark green.

When your soup is at the right consistency, taste for seasoning, add extra seasoning cube if needed and then your oha leaves. Stir and take off the heat.


Thursday, 29 November 2012


I love meat! And i'm ready and willing to try out almost any meat recipe i can lay my hands on. 

I'd bought a massive rack of pork ribs and after chopping up and grilling the rib-rib part of it, i was left with this chunk of meat that even my meat cleaver couldn't hack into so i decided to cook the sucker down and have it 2 ways just for the heck of it! Ha!

2Kg Pork Ribs
1 Chopped Onion
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Coriander
Garlic & Ginger
Salt & Pepper
Pork Seasoning

Put your pork into a nice big pot, add your onions and all of your spices and about 4 cups of water. Turn the heat to medium and go watch a movie...or 3...or whatever will take 4.5 - 5 hours.

If you are using a pressure pot, make it about 5 cups of water as you won't be able to open the pot and top up as desired. Also, cut the cooking time down by half.

After 3.5 hours our pork has started breaking down but isn't quite there yet. Top up with another cup of water if need be. Taste for seasoning and cover.

After another 60 - 90 minutes, the meat has fallen clean off the bone! Ha! What bone? :p

Pasta Sauce

Pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a pan and add chopped onions and allow to sweat down.

Add blended tomatoes, pepper and garlic and allow to cook down. About 10 minutes.

As the sauce continues to bubble and thicken, add a healthy serving of your pulled pork to it and turn down the heat. Allow to cook for another 7 - 10 minutes to allow all the flavours marry and the tomatoes cook properly.

While that is going on take the skin off the pork, cut it up into little pieces and deep fry for a mouth filling, crunchy, fun "snack".

Now, a trick i learnt from my former Filipina colleagues (who eat pork everyday of every week) is, while the skin is frying, from time to time CAREFULLY splash a little bit of water (just from your finger tips) into the oil. It causes the oil to boil hotter and helps crisp up the skin to cracking. This frying process should take about 10 minutes.

Serve pulled pork sauce with spaghetti and cracklings, topped off with grated parmesan cheese.

Pulled Pork Sandwich:

Slice open your burger bun and lightly butter both sides and toast.

Layer with lettuce and slices tomatoes.

Heap on a healthy serving of warm pulled pork.

Top with a slice of cheese (the heat from the pulled pork will melt the cheese beautifully...mmmm...)

Cover with top bun and enjoy!

I went through all of this 'cos i couldn't hack into a piece of meat. Lol.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


So many ways to make a stew, so many little differences from country to country. Goulash is originally a hearty stew from Hungary that is either eaten on its own (with a piece of bread on a cold night, i can almost visualize this), with pasta or with potatoes. You can add it to your potatoes or cook your potatoes inside the stew, you can have beef strips/cubes or use ground beef. Here is how i cooked mine...

1 Kg Beef (cubed)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Mushrooms
1 Seasoning Cube
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Cups of Water
500 Gm Jar of Tomato Sauce 

Season beef to your taste and add beef to pan of hot oil, after it browns on all sides (about 2 minutes), add mushrooms.

Cook for another 3 minutes. Add paprika and nutmeg, stir and add tomato sauce, 1 seasoning cube and water. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 30 - 35 minutes or when stew is thick enough for you. 

I just love how as the stew cooks, it starts to turn a bright red from brownish, thanks to the paprika. :)

Taste for seasoning.

Soft boil potatoes and just smash it up a bit. Plate, serve up, pour on some yoghurt and garnish the chopped parsley.

Hearty, beautiful, joy inspiring meal.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


So its been a very busy 2 weeks with me moving house and settling in; tears, excitement, anxiety, frustration all rolled up into one tight little ball. Finally got settled in 2 days ago and after over a week of eating out i was determined to eat my own food, found this recipe and decided to jazz it up a bit.

1Kg Thinly Sliced Beef
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
200ml Smoky Barbecue Sauce
1/4 Cup Chopped Red and Green Chilies
1 Tablespoon Chopped Basil
1 Chopped Spring Onion (Leaf and Bulb Separated)
Dried Chili Flakes

Since this is a Thai recipe it goes perfectly with jasmine rice, a very light fragrant rice that you can get in the stores or even in the market. It doesn't however, follow the traditional rice cooking method. Try it and you'll end up with a sticky goop.

Season your meat to your taste and set aside. My seasoning is simple salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and a little onion powder. 

Pour your jasmine rice in a bowl and cover with cold water for about 15 minutes and set aside. On the stove pour salt and about 4 cups water and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, rinse your rice, transfer into the pot, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes with the pot UNCOVERED.

Now put your wok or pot or suatee pan on the stove and allow to get really hot. Add oil and toss in meat. Do not stir around too much or your meat will start to seat and let out its juices instead of fry. If this happens no matter how hard you try, just pour the juice into a bowl (to be re-incorporated into the sauce later) and add a little more oil.

Fry beef for about 3 minutes then add peppers and spring onion bulb. Cook for another minute and add soy sauce and barbecue sauce the turn down the heat. 

Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, if it is getting too thick, add a little bit of water.

While that is going on, take the rice off. run cold water into it, rinse it, drain it and put it back on low heat and put a lid on it for another 5 minutes to steam and soften properly.

Add basil to stir fry, stir and allow to cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Serve up with rice, garnishing with dried chili flakes and chopped spring onion leaf.

(The bbq sauce is my twist, it adds an earthiness and sweetness to this spicy dish and caramelizes the meat a touch.)

This is one of those dishes that taste even better the morning after.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012


I just got the BBC Foods app and went browsing and found this very simple recipe. I only added one more ingredient to it and it was delicious. I really am a lazy fellow and i put the on to cook, watched an episode of Chopped and came back and voila...

1 Kg Lamb
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Tumeric
1 Tablespoon Paprika
Salt & Pepper
2 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Parsley
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Chop lamb into 1 inch pieces (i always like to have a bit of bone 'cos that's where a lot of flavour hides). Season with salt, pepper and garlic and set aside for about an hour.

Add oil to hot pan or pot then add lamb and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
Add spices and stir and allow to cook for another minute until aromatic (i love the sound of that :D).

Stir in chopped tomatoes, one can at a time.

Taste for seasoning.

Cover and turn down the heat then go do as i did and watch tv for an hour, come back and stir every 15 minutes or so.

Take off the heat and garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve up with rice, couscous or even pasta. We had it with pasta and it was amazing!!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


This meal needs some overnight prepping, unless of course you're not big on brining your chicken. I read up about brining and found everything to be true. Especially in recipes that you have to sear then oven roat or grill your meat, you meat could end up really dry especially if you over cook it. Brining infuses moisture as well as flavour and leaves you meat moist. 

Everything else is pretty straight forward...even though it may seem to have a lot of ingredients, just stick with me.

6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Cream Cheese
1 Cup Chopped Spinach
1 Cup Chopped Button Mushrooms
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup. (Yes, you can totally re-purpose these.)
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon Corriander
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Thyme
Salt & Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Ground Peppercorns
Garlic and Ginger
1 Onion

Lay your chicken breast on a flat surface ad get a sharp knife to butterfly it with.

Placing one palm on top of the breast, slit the side in the middle so you have two (almost) equal halves and open up. Cut one side too thin and you will have your stuffing bursting out. make sure not to cut it all the way through.

Do this to all 6 breasts.

In a big bowl add a teaspoon of salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves and coriander and cover with 3 cups of boiling water. Stir it properly and allow the water to stand until it has cooled down completely.

Stir again thoroughly then add the chicken breasts. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge for 8 - 24hours.

Day 2 of cooking, mix cream cheese, spinach, half your mushrooms, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

Break eggs into a bowl and whisk.

Pour flour into another bowl, season with salt, pepper, garlic and ginger and set aside.

Place another tray at the end to end this assembly line.

Bring out chicken breasts from brine and pat dry with paper towel. DO NOT RINSE.

Scoop in some of your cream cheese mix. Don't over stuff or you will be unable to seal it.

After scooping paste in, use a couple of toothpicks to "stitch" the chicken shut.

Take each piece of chicken through the assembly line. Start with dunking chicken in eggs, then dust in flour, then place on a tray for about 10 minutes so the flours sets on the breast.

Turn on your  oven.

Pour about a little oil, just to glaze the cover of the pan, into a frying pan/skillet and place a few breasts at a time for about 3 minutes on each side. Do not over crowd your pan.

Transfer chicken breasts to an oiled oven tray and pop in a medium oven for 10 - 12 minutes on each side.

In the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and when it heats up, your onions.

Allow onions to sweat down then add mushrooms.

Season with thyme, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger.

Cook down on medium heat for another 3 minutes.

Pour in wine and stir to de-glaze pan and add cream of chicken sauce.

Turn down heat to lowest and allow to reduce until the sauce thickens up.

Don't forget to allow chicken to rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it when you get it out of the oven.

Serve with basmati rice.