Garden to Table

This year I started my backyard garden after procrastinating for over two years.

As a little girl I really enjoyed gardening. My maternal grandmother had a small garden outside her house in Molete for sometime and the highlight of my visit was helping to weed the garden. My parents also had a small garden behind our kitchen in our first house.

They grew Patminger , Snake gourd (It’s a climbing plant that is shaped like a snake, when it ripen it turns bright orange or red. The inside is red and tastes better than tomatoes in stew), vegetables etc. Eventually the garden moved to the backyard beside the well where my dad planted Bananas, plantain and citruses.

I even joined the Decor Team in church as the youngest member because it was the team that was tasked with beautification and horticulture in the church. The senior members were very nice and kind to me. They gave me cuttings to plant at home too.

Since I got married and got my own place I’ve been paying lip service to starting a garden. I even started by collecting containers I never put anything in, until one morning in July. I was just recovering from malaria I was bored stiff from being indoors. On impulse I instructed my staff to get me soil. With no clear idea or direction I started my garden. First as a vegetable garden and then I added ornamental plants.

Like my friend Ugochi said, the gardening bug that bit me left its fangs. I say it left its jaws too.

The Efo Tete I harvested today was one of the first set of plants I planted in July. Today it made it to my table. Absolutely organic. No synthetic fertilizers , no pesticides

And it did have a beautiful natural sweetness.

RECIPE

I’m sorry I eyeballed all of the ingredients so I don’t have specific measurements

  • Fresh Vegetables (chopped and unblanced)
  • Blitzed Pepper mix (tomatoes/peppers)
  • Chopped onions
  • Blended crayfish
  • Smoked Mackerel
  • Stock Fish (pre soak)
  • Seasoning cubes
  • Salt
  • Meats of choice ( I used snails)
  • Palm oil

Procedure

  • Heat Palm oil to smoke point, add chopped onions. Fry till tender. Then add pepper mix and crayfish.
  • Cook for 10 mins and add all your fish and cooked meats
  • Season with salt and Bouillon cubes.
  • Let the sauce reduce completemy before adding your rinsed and chopped vegetables.
  • Stir in the vegetables. Leave it on heat for not more than 3 mins. Then turn of the heat and leave the lid on for the heat to finish off the cooking

Seafood Ogbono

SEAFOOD OGBONO

I’m in love with seafood and that is no secret. Making this was inspired by making Seafood Okra.

Recipe
1. Ogbono Seeds (a 170g milk tin size)

2. Uziza leaves (a handful of thinly sliced leaves)

3. Assorted Fresh Seafood (shrimps/crabs/prawns/fish)

4. Smoked catfish and stockfish

5. 1/8 cup dried crayfish

6. 1/2 tsp Uziza seeds

7. 5 dried Cameron Pepper

8. Cayenne pepper ( ground dried chilli pepper )

9. 1 tbsp palm oil

10. 1 tbsp ogiri

11. Salt

12. Seasoning cubes

Procedure

I used a slightly different method to cook this. I cooked the Ogbono separately before adding it to a lot of cooked seafood

To cook the Ogbono

  • Grind Ogbono Seeds with crayfish.
  • Blend Cameroon pepper and Uziza seeds together.
  • Rinse Uziza and Ugu leaves .
  • Put a clean dry pot on heat and add palm oil, next add the ground Ogbono and stir till all lumps are dissolved now add your meat stock, if you don’t have meat stock add water. The soup starts to thicken and get stretchy.
  • Now add ground Uziza seeds and Cameroon pepper, and a little cayenne pepper for extra heat -if you can take it-
  • Now add your dissolved -dissolve with water- ogiri, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes now add the Uziza leaves and turn off heat after 3 mins.

Preparing the seafood

  • In another larger pot, cook the seafood starting with the fish, cooked with water, onions, seasoning cubes, salt, shredded stockfish, bonga fish.
  • When the fish is almost done, add the Carbs and cook for 3 mins, then add the Prawns.

At this point pour cooked Ogbono into the pot of Seafood and shake it together to mix.

I stirred very carefully with a wooden ladle , cooked for 5 mins and lastly I added the periwinkle. Cooked for 1 1/2 mins and turned off the heat.

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