Thursday, 27 September 2012


There's something about food cooked the traditional way that makes it taste so much better than the conventional method. Since i learnt how to make stew this way, i can count the number of times i've made regular stew with vegetable oil.

This recipe is pretty straight forward, the only tricky part is the "bleaching" of the palm oil. Just make sure you're in a well ventilated kitchen and you'll be fine.

1 Guinea Fowl (Freshly killed and cleaned up)
250grms Dried Fish
8 Medium Sized Snails
7 Large Tatashe or Red Bell Pepper (de-seeded)
10 - 15 Medium Sized Fresh Tomatoes
2 Cups Palm Oil
3 Onions
1/2 Cup Crayfish
1 Tablespoon Iru/Dawadawa
1 Teaspoon Curry
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Cup Tomato Puree
3 Seasoning Cubes
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Inch Sized Fresh peeled Ginger
Salt & Pepper

Guinea fowl is a no carb, low fat, high protein and high vitamin bird. It has a characteristic greyish skin and has really good flavour.

Blend some of your tatashe with 1 onion, half of your ginger, 1 teaspoon of garlic and pour over your bird. Season with 1 seasoning cube, salt, pepper, curry and thyme. Mix thoroughly so that the entire bird is covered then set it aside in the fridge.

Break up and wash your dried fish and also set aside.

When you buy snails in the market, more often than not they will take it out of the shell and clean it for you. this is NOT enough. You need to still give it a good was using a lot of salt get get out the slime, rinse and scrub the body again with sliced limes or alum to cut all that slime. Repeat until your snail is literally squeaky clean. Snails that aren't cleaned properly can trigger allergic reactions in certain people, i know cos i'm one of those people.

After cleaning set your snail aside.

Blend your remaining tatashe, tomatoes, onions and ginger together. Add tomato puree and mix properly into the tomatoes. I like to do it this way to save my precious skin during the frying process. Last thing you want to be doing is breaking up tomato puree in a hissing and spitting pot of boiling hot oil!

Add your palm oil into you pot and allow to cook for 5 - 10 minutes on high heat. By this time it will be very smoky and the oil would be taking a yellowish-orange colour. The longer you "bleach" your oil for, the more flavour you get out of it.

Very carefully add your guinea fowl into the oil, stir and stand back. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. The hot oil will sear the skin this way and during the rest of the stewing process the inside of the bird will get cooked and tender.

Add tomato mix and left over marinate from the fowl and cover the pot. Allow to cook that way for 20 minutes.

Add crayfish and dried fish. Rinse off your iru/dawadawa and add as well. Stir and season as needed.

Cook for another 5 minutes, by this time your stew should be coming together, add the snails and turn down the heat. We do not want the snail to over cook, so this is the last leg of the cooking process. Properly cooked snail should still have a bit of a bite to it and you need to bear in mind that it continues to cook in the heat of the stew until it cools off completely

In another 10 minutes turn the heat off, scoop out excess oil (if any) and serve with white rice or boiled yam.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Growing up, the very sight of okro would have me bawling my eyes out! i did not like it at all and even only started tolerating it maybe 2 years ago and got to start enjoying it last year. Well it may have something to do with a chat my mum had with me about my very selective palette (especially with soups)... It kinda went like this, "you never know who you will end up with in life, will you say you won't cook so and so because you don't like it or would you deprive your kids of food they could potentially like yada yada yada..."

Well here we are...

2kg Cow Leg (with the bone)
2 Cups Cleaned Periwinkles
250grms Stock Fish
11/2 Cup Ground Crayfish
500grms Okro
1 Medium Sized Bunch of Ugwu
2 Cups Chopped Uziza
1 Onion (Chopped)
1 Cup Palm Oil
2 Seasoning Cubes
Salt and Pepper

Wash your cow leg thoroughly pop in your pressure cooker, bones and all. If you toss out the bone you lose potential flavour that it could be adding to your soup. 

Season with salt, pepper, seasoning cubes and onions, Add water to cover and set it to cook for 30 - 40 minutes. If you aren't using a pressure cooker, you will have to give a lot more time for the cow leg to cook and keep adding water until it is tender. 

While your meat cooks, wash up and chop you ugwu finely (on the left) and your uziza leaves (on the right) a bit more roughly and set aside.

Uziza is an amazing herb used in a number of ibo soups and other recipes. It has a spicy, almost hot taste and packs amazing flavour. There is a huge difference between soup cooked with uziza and one cooked without.

Chop or grate your okro. I like to do a bit of both so that i get the "draw" from the okro but still get some chewy bits. 

Wash periwinkle, pour a little water over it with a pinch of salt and set aside preferably in the fridge until you're ready to use.

When your cow leg is tender, transfer meat and stock into a big cooking pot. Please always be careful when opening a pressure cooker, people have suffered severe steam burns from being too much in a hurry.

Add stock fish and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. if your stock level is low, add some more water until it come just up to the level of your meats.

Add crayfish and periwinkles and taste for seasoning. Cover and allow them all to party for another 5 minutes.

The rest of the cooking is going to happen really quickly cos we want our veggies nice and fresh, nothing worse than over cooked, brown overly soft okro. yuck!

Add palm oil to the pot, stir and immediately add chopped/grated okro and mix it all up. Cover for 5 minutes only. Add ugwu and uziza, stir and take off the heat immediately. Never mind the heat will cook down your vegetables but still leave them nice and fresh.

Serve up and eat with eba or semolina.


Thursday, 20 September 2012


Whether it be a rainy day or a day when you just need a pick-me-up this chicken noodle soup is very soothing and its a low calorie meal.

250grm Boneless Chicken Breast
100 grms Glass Noodles
6 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Onions
1 Large Ginger (Chopped Roughly)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Carrots
1 Teaspoon Peppercorns
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsely
1 Spring Onion
1 Celery
Red and Green Bell Peppers Sliced
A Pinch of Salt

If you don't have any chicken stock available, you can easily make yours.

Toss your chicken into pot with 4 cups of water, 1 onion coarsely chopped, chopped celery stalk, carrot, spring onions, peppercorns and bring to boil. Add parsley, thyme and allow to simmer for 1 hour.

Take chicken out and strain broth.

Place noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water, cover and set aside. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then strain.

Chop chicken into rough 1 inch sizes.

Slice ginger, onions and peppers.

Combine broth , sliced onions, ginger and fish sauce (soy sauce can be used as an alternative) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the ginger slices, stir in chicken and noodles and allow cook through for another 2 minutes.

Laddle into a bowl and garnish with chopped dried chilli and mint leaves.

Tuck in...

Saturday, 15 September 2012


I have come to know for a fact that what scares a lot of people from cooking is big language used in books and on tv and i'm here to tell you that cooking is easy. Not saying it 'cos i have a passion for it, i'm saying it because i'm a genuinely lazy person and for me i'd rather cook than do dishes, iron clothes or even make a bed!

Get the "hard" part out of the way first and its just you dropping things in a pot at intervals. The hard part of course is prepping and now you can get food stuff almost all prepped in the stores, i mean i saw chopped onions for crying out loud.

This is an example of a scary easy meal! The only work i had to do was chop the veggies, true story.

1kg Pork Loin Chops
2 Cups of Couscous
1 Cup White Wine
A few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Salt and Black Pepper
Pork Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
A Dash of Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Onions, Aubergine, Red and Green bell Peppers, Tomatoes (all chopped roughly or torn into pieces, you can add any veg of your choice except efo, ugwu and co, this is not that kinda em...recipe)

Mix all your spices together with brown sugar and vinegar (brown sugar will caramelize on the surface of your pork, glazing it nicely and giving a subtle sweet taste cos of the molasses in it. Vinegar helps to cut the fat and bring a subtle tang). Use it to coat your pork and give it a good massage. Pop it into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

Pre-heat your oven.

Start with pouring hot water over your couscous till its covers it and comes up about half and inch. Cover for 10 minutes. By this time the couscous would have soaked up all the water, fluff it up with a fork and set aside.

Add veggies into a dry pan, season with salt and pepper and put on the heat for about 5 minutes till it gives off its excess liquid content but is not cooked. 

Transfer veggies to a baking pan to cover the surface.

Bring out pork and place over the veggies. Throw in fresh thyme. Pour in white wine over the meat (not directly into the pan), drizzle with olive oil then pop into the oven  to grill for 30 minutes, 15 minutes on each side. Grill, not bake. Check your oven settings.

All of the juices from the pork will drip down onto your veggies, filling them with all that goodness. We don't want soggy veggies that's why we dehydrated them a bit plus the dry heat almost burning the veggies releases great aroma and flavour from them.

Serve with Couscous and spoon on the run off sauce from the baking pan.

Now how hard was that?

Winner winner, pork chops dinner!

Thursday, 13 September 2012


I love seafood, its my fave protein to cook with especially when i'm hungry cos it cooks in mere minutes and low in cholesterol.

This recipe is a healthy pasta dish due to some slight variations.

250grm Wheat Spaghetti
500grms Calamari
350grm Prawns (De-veined but with the tail still on)
1 Chopped Spring (Green) Onion
1 Cup Roughly Cut Basil
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
A few Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Cups Tomato Sauce
3/4 Cup Single Cream
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Dried Basil (for garnishing)

Put a pot of water to boil, add your pasta and a pinch of salt. You really don't need to add any oil when making pasta, as long as your pot isn't  crowded and you have enough water in the pot, your pasta won't stick together.

Cook until al dente (half done with just a bit of a bite). Rinse out with cold water and allow to sit in a colander.

A lot of us do not know the true form of some of the foods we eat. The alien looking white stuff on the left (for those who don't know) is Squid aka Calamari. Hope this doesn't put you off, a dear friend thanked me for showing her the picture AFTER we were done eating. Lol. Well, yeah, this is where the amazing breaded, fried calamari rings come from...

Rinse your prawns and calamari then cut up your calamari into little pieces and pop in the fridge.

Chop your herbs and set aside.

Pour olive oil into pan/pot/wok and add your tomato sauce and season. Allow to cook for 5 minutes then add calamari and prawns.

Next pour in your single cream and add all the herbs. Stir until its all properly combined then turn down the heat.

Add pasta, taste for seasoning and cover to cook for another 5 minutes. You want a moist pasta so it doesn't have to be dry before you take it off the heat, allow for a little sauce especially if you've cooked a big pot of food that you will have to refrigerate and re-heat.

Garnish with some dried basil and olives...

Thursday, 6 September 2012


When you bring a little of the native and add to a classic, you will most likely come up with something your stomach will be forever grateful for. With this every spoon full was a promise kept!

In this recipe is something that a lot of people have never cooked with, bone marrow. It is amazing! if you love to play with your food, have little chewy bits to punctuate your meal, you will love it (if you eat fish head  don't even dare turn up your nose at this). :p

Its cheap too. Just go to the market and ask your butcher.

Beef marrow isn't necessarily nutritious but it is high in calcium. It is also high in fats (the good fats) so in this recipe we won't be using any oil to cook (ok, just 1 tablespoon of palm oil for colour).

500grm Beef
100gms Beef Bone Marrow
2 Smoked Mackerels (bones taken out)
2 Tablespoons Ground Crayfish (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Garlic and Ginger
1 Large Onion
1 Tablespoon Palm Oil
2 Cups of Coconut Milk
Scent Leaf (chopped)

Put beef and bone marrow together in a pot to cook for about 30 minutes, season with salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and half of an onion. 

In another pot, bring rice to the boil, drain and was 2 or 3 times, drain again and set aside.

Add coconut milk, crayfish and palm oil to meat and stock, add smoked fish and rice.

When rice is almost cooked, add the remaining onions and chopped scent leaf. Taste for seasoning.

Serve and eat hot!