Monday, 25 July 2016

Quote of the Day #QOTD

No matter how long you have travelled in the wrong direction, you can always turn around.
a.k.a Better Late than Never.

Toodles!XooX

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Garden Egg Stew

This post was inspired by my good friend Ejura. I went to her house and had her version of this stew with fried yam, i had to ask her how she made it. If you don't know by now i'm a food (self-proclaimed) and i quite enjoy cooking every once in a while and moreso loooveee eating what i cook. You are gonna see more cooking related posts on here and i hope it inspires you to whip up some easy tasty meals. 
If you are Nigerian you most likely heard/experienced the tomato scarcity due to many factors but mainly the tuta absoluta virus. 1 basket of Tomatoes i used to buy in Utako Market for #600 suddenly skyrocketed to #8,000 KILODE!! Honestly i can't wait to own my own house 'cos i must have a mini fruits and vegetable farm in it and i still wanna have a proper big farm at some point in my life, dunno what i'll plant yet sha. I digress.
Sooo as tomato turn to gold, my frugal sef turned my back on red stew and jollof rice for the time being o, best believe! I embraced native rice(a.k.a palm oil rice) and palm oil stew (btw red palm oil is a very healthy oil)with open arms! Tatashe (Romano pepper) and Rodo (scotch bonnet) became my best boos and i know some other Nigerians took this route too and also started experimenting with different types of red stew (Carrot stew, Tomatoless Stew, etc.)and ingredients to replace tomato, btw tomato cannot be fully replaced sha.
Next thing i know Tatashe sef turn Diamond o! we no see am for market and if u see am the price no go make sense o na the bad looking one u go see. Warrisallldis! When the family haff embrace palm oil stew with joy. 
Na so i come try this garden egg stew oo, i'v made garden egg sauce in the past but it was a totally different technique and the garden egg would be boiled and mashed not pureed, it was made with vegetable oil plus and u'll still get a tiny bit of a bitter taste from the sauce so it wasn't popular with the fam.
When you make this garden egg stew ehn! choi! especially if you use the combo of fish,jisox! Dem go just dey ask you wetin be this stew. Only someone with a very sharp sense of smell & taste will be able to decode its garden egg stew. It does not smell or look like the one they are used to.
Oya see the recipe below oo, forgive me as i'm an 'eye measurer' when cooking. I just taste as i go so i cannot give accurate measurements for the ingredients. Try to use similar measurements to when you are making your regular stew or taste as u go and add what you need to as per the recipe. Enjoy.
Recipe for Garden Egg Stew

Ingredients
  • Garden Egg (Eggplant.Variety-White with green stripes)
  • Sardine or Smoked Catfish or Dried catfish/Sawa (roasted herring fish)or a combo of all
  • Onions (i love onions so i used a good no.) 
  • Tatashe a.k.a Romano Pepper (optional)
  • Green Bell Pepper (optional)
  • Rodo (red or yellow scotch bonnet) Qty depends on how spicy u like ur food
  • Palm oil OR Vegetable oil (2-3 cooking spoons) depending on the qyt of stew u r cooking or how oily u like ur food
  • Crayfish (Grounded) Qty depends on you
  • Iru (fermented locust beans) Qty depends on you, also optional
  • Pombo (cow skin)
  • Preferred protein-Boiled/Fried or Grilled (optional)
  • Meat stock
  • Knorr cube (to ur taste)
  • Adobo spice (optional)
  • Yaji (optional)
  • Other preferred seasoning (optional)

Method
Slice your onions or Blend with your tatashe, green pepper and rodo with lil water to a somewhat rough or smooth texture depending on ur preference and set aside
 
Rinse your garden eggs thoroughly with water and a lil salt, cut off the stem and dice the garden eggs into your blender.
Add just enough water for it to be able to blend and Puree your garden eggs in the blender, it should be thick.
Heat up palm oil, add sliced onions, lightly rinsed iru grounded crayfish and meat stock to the hot oil and allow to fry for about 3 mins - (This is my fave kitchen aroma btw)
Iru (fermented locust beans)
Add your sardine or smoked catfish or dried catfish or a combo of all and allow to fry for about 2 mins
Sawa & Smoked Catfish
Add ur blended tatashe and rodo mix to the pot, stir it in and allow to fry until its a thick paste
Add your knorr cube, adobo, yaji (depends on how peppery you want the sauce) and other spices to the pot
Add your pureed garden egg
Stir it all well, cover the pot and allow it cook on medium heat
You can add in your cleaned pombo and boiled/fried/Grilled protein (beef, chicken, turkey, goat meat,etc.) at this point
Check and stir the stew once in a while, till you have a thick mix
Taste the stew and add more spices if needed
Stir again, remove the pot cover/lid and allow the stew fry till its a bit burnt (it gives it a nice Char flavour). Cooking time depends on the quantity of your garden egg stew and how much water you used in blending.
Voila!
Your Garden egg stew is ready to be eaten whatever you like-rice, beans, yam, bread, etc.
The fam don't even miss regular tomato stew, they wiped out this garden egg stew in 2 days and started requesting i make another batch asap. I obliged them 'cos me sef dey enjoy the thing wella and i made a huge batch this time.
This is our current staple stew.
The next experiment is Carrot Stew, Onion Stew and some other varieties of stew from DooneysKitchen (as a true Triber) i know will be really tasty.
Necessity is the mother of invention/improvisation/innovations &Curiousity is the mother of experiments
Stay Curious & Experiment.

Toodles!XooX

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Capital Naturals (Natural Hair Meetup!!)

Get in here!! Guys and Gals. Natural or Nah. This event should be worth OUR time. There's always something to learn. Check out my post on the last meetup.
Save the Date and Be at this event. See you There!

Toodles!XooX

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Eat.Drink.Chill & Play in Abuja

Source: CCTV-Africa
Abuja is now my home, since i moved here in 2008 for my corps service (NYSC). We also now have a family house here and i reside here with hubby. I love Abuja! Less Traffic, Great Road Network, Fairly Clean, Electricity supply is as ok as u get in naija, fairly safe and overall laid back town. Only complain is the high rent prices and hopefully we'll own our own house soon, then its tenement rates and ground rent we'll have to be paying, na wa.
I still love Lagos but we are in a weekend/holidays only kinda relationship. Most people complain that Abuja is boring or that there's no fun activities, of course its not as bubbly/hectic as Lasgidi but i disagree that it is boring. You gotta move with the right crowd and you'll have fun in Abuja. Here's my Eat, Drink, Chill & Play in Abuja guide.

EAT

1. Breakfast
  • Quarter Cafe
  • The Bukka (Transcorp Hilton)
  • Salamander Cafe
  • Saffron Cafe
  • Bon Cafe
  • Tulip Bistro
2. Lunch/Dinner
  • Al-Basha 
  • Nkoyo
  • Yabans
  • Jevenik
  • Vanilla
  • Dunes
  • Diznos
  • Bamboo
  • Barkono Grill
  • Traffic
  • Uptown Lounge
  • Anti Ajobi
  • Iya Oyo
  • Spice Platter
3. Fine Dining
  • Chez Victor
  • Papillon Restaurant (Sheraton Abuja)
  • Panache Restaurant
  • The Nile Place
  • Clan Cafe
4. Dessert/Sweets/Fruits/Smoothies
  • Andies Candies
  • Tutti Frutti
  • Yogurberry
  • Habib Yoghurt
  • Dunes
  • Chloe's cupcakes
  • Cupcake cuties
  • Smoothie Parlour
  • Farmers Market
5. Night Eats
  • Asokoro Suya
  • Unique Garden, Zone 5 Suya
  • Games Village Suya
  • Chicken Capitol Sharwama
  • Drumstix Sharwama
  • Gas Meat
  • Balango (Ram Meat)
  • Yahuza Suya

DRINK

CHILL & PLAY
  • Drive around town and check out the Landmarks 
  • Paintball
  • Bowling (Trukadero, The Dome)
  • Go Kart
  • Visiting Art Centres & Libraries (Thought Pyramid, Arts & Craft Village, House 33, Yaradua Centre)
  • Visit the Lake & Dam (Jabi Lake & Usuma Dam)
  • Visit Parks (Wonderland Amusent Park, Millenium Park, City Park, Riverplate Park)
Millenium Park
    • Visit the Zoo {Abuja National Children's Park & Zoo-its inside Wubassey Barracks after Niger Barracks, Asokoro)
    • Cinema
    • French Films Screening @ Centre de Culturel Francais
    • Indoor Gaming e.g. PS (Trukadero, Wonderland)
    • Swim
    • Salsa (Casalinda, Barcelona Hotel, Ceddi Plaza, Sheraton, The Cube Cafe)
    • Exercise (Zumba, Yoga, Pole Dance)
    • Hike (Abuja Hash House Harriers)
    • Paint
    Pottery @House 33 (Maker Library Network)
    • Spa (Mb Hammam)
    • Sports (IBB Golf course, Transcorp Hilton, Polo club)
    • Attend Events- Picnics, Freedom Hall, Festivals, Comedy Shows, Stage plays, Concerts, Pool parties, GATP, DMP, Fairs, etc.
    • Karaoke 
    • Nightlife-Gardens (Eden Garden, Blake, Mellow Fellows), Clubs (The Bank, Play, Crave Cubana, Aramis, Aqua,Moscow Underground), Lounges & Sit outs (Sky Lounge, Krystal Lounge, Sofa Lounge, The Secret Garden, Carribean Wine Cafe, Crush Cafe Traffic,Vanilla, Beer Barn, Nouveau, Ketchup, Zanzibar,Charcoal Grill Lounge)
    Check out my Foursquare 'Places in Abuja' list for more places in Abuja and my posts on Upcoming Events in Abuja. Enjoy!
    Toodles!XooX

    Tuesday, 5 July 2016

    New Small Chop Alert!! Deep Fried Gizdodo Dumplings

    Hallo ma lovelies!! Hope everyone is having a great July so far. My life as been pretty hectic due to a new project at work but thankfully my schedule is slowly stabilizing.
    My lil sis' birthday was on June 28th, she's staying with us while doing her corps service (NYSC) so hubby and I spoiled her a bit. She's like our adopted daughter afterall. 
    She's made me get more into making small chops, pastries and experimenting while she's been with us because she learnt how to make them after university and of course i love eating *wide grin* and we all know small chops (puff puff, samosa, spring roll) are za best!
    She wanted me to make gizdodo (Gizzard + Dodo in fried sauce) as part of the birthday menu and although i had a super busy week, I indulged her and made it. 
    Okay enough of my story and back to how this 'chop' was inspired by Afrolems & the recipe..
    You all know by now that i am a plantain lover and while surfing the web for new plantain recipes i stumbled on Afrolems dodo gizzard dumplings recipe (Check out their other plantain recipes). I was very interested in trying it out and having made a fresh batch of gizdodo this was the perfect opportunity. 
    I discussed it with my sis and we were gingered to experiment, she was to make the dough for the dumplings as the expert but we did not read the recipe properly nor follow the instructions to make the dough and we somehow also missed the point that the dumplings were to be steamed!! (Mistakes and Omissions don't always result in a disaster afterall. yayy!!)
    My sis made the dough and showed me how to roll it and put the fillings, na so we do the 1st batch of dumplings, they were on the big side but we just went with the flow. I had the water already boiling on the cooker and once i felt it was hot enough, i put the dumplings in a sieve and dunked it in the boiling water. After about 10 mins it did not look transparent and glossy like Afrolems recipe pics, we assumed it was because we made the flour mix in a different way or we 'cos did not roll the flour thin enough. 
    Boiled Gizdodo Dumpling
    We tasted it and though it tasted ok, it had a floury chewy taste/texture. We discussed on how to salvage the dumplings and decided to drain and deep fry the boiled dumplings and voila!! Crunchy yummy new small chop is born!! 
    Batch 1
    We made another batch of smaller gizdodo dumplings (4 pieces), the dough was rolled thinner this time as we hoped for a better result, similar to Afrolems. We boiled 2 pieces and deep fried the other 2 pieces. The fried option was still the winner, our boiled version tasted better with the dough rolled thinner but not as good as the fried one. 
    We will still give it one more attempt, following Afrolems instruction to the letter, fingers crossed it'll come out looking like hers and taste real good.
    After all my long tori, below is the recipe for the yummy deep fried version, i'll also be back to let you know how the fried version of the Afrolems recipe turns out. Enjoy!

    Recipe for Deep Fried Gizdodo Dumplings 

    Ingredients
    • Ready Made Gizdodo (I use DooneysKitchen Recipe)
    • Flour (1 cups)
    • Oil (1 tablespoons)
    • Sugar ( 1/4 cup)
    • Water
    Method
    Prep your ready-made gizdodo, it should be at room temperature
    In a bowl mix the flour and sugar together thoroughly then add the oil and mix together until the flour looks like bread crumbs. Add a little water and mix into the dough, keep adding the water until you get a soft dough. 
    Knead the dough thoroughly then put in a bowl, cover with a napkin and leave it to rest for about 15 mins in the fridge. 
    Take a little portion of the dough, knead on a floured surface (i used oil on the surface as i had run out of flour) and roll out thinly and cut with a round object,
    Cut rolled dough with a circular object
    Put a little portion of the gizdodo in the centre of the cut dough and bring the edges together pinching them with the ball of ur fingers to close it. 
    Add filling to center  (we overdid d filling)
    Pinch to close
    Option 1-Put your prepped raw dumplings in an iron sieve with handles 
    Raw Dumplings
    Boiled Dumplings
    and place the seive with the raw dumplings in hot water boil in, drain the boiled dumplings and then Deep Fry till golden brown
    Option 2- Deep fry your prepped raw dumplings till golden brown
    Both fried options came out crunchy and yummyyyy!
    Batch 2 (unsliced) Boiled & Fried
    Batch 2 (sliced) Boiled & Fried
    You can Google or check YouTube for different cool/stylish ways to wrap your dumplings. You can also choose to bake, steam, boil,etc. your dumplings.
    Big Shourrout to my sis for doing most of the work on this recipe dough-wise and hubby for being our willing taster. I lurrr u both.
    Our next experiments are the Pinwheel samosa/springroll with regular Nigerian samosa filling and Steamed samosa/springroll, we'll let you know how it turns out. 
    Barka da Sallah in advance to all my muslim readers. I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming hols and get to chill, rest, eat, etc. as i plan to and  also hope you will try out this recipe and enjoy it. IMO its a great new addition, that will become a fast fave, to the small chops range and hope to see it being sold or at served at weddings real soon. Stay Curious & Experiment.
    Toodles!XooX