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.
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)
Stock Fish (pre soak)
Meats of choice ( I used snails)
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
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.
Filing this under food therapies. I’ve called this soup Ofe Assorted because that is what it is, I’ve used the basic principle for cooking soups like Oha, Onugbu, Ofe owerri to make this soup, using 3 of my favourite vegetables together. I have also resisted the temptation of calling this soup Ofe Owerri as I have no intention of offering the “Guardians of ancient recipes”, as that is tantamount to offending the gods of the land.
I have stayed a safe distance from entering right smack into the controversy of what vegetable goes into Ofe Owerri. I understand the importance of preserving ancient recipes, if you must tweak it, by all means mention that you put a spin on it but don’t say that is gospel.
I’m a Yoruba girl raised in Ibadan and I know that something as simple as a Ewedu soup has to be made as simple as it is yo stay true to it. Just Ewedu, iru water, salt ,seasoning and if you want to add potash to soften it. Addition of Egusi , fish and all what else is a spin on it, don’t sell it as the original recipe.
1 1/2 cup shredded Oha leaves
1 cup shredded Uziza leaves
1/2 cup shredded Utazi leaves
1 litre Stock
3 tbsp fresh pepper blend
1/2 Cup Palm oil
Assorted Meats (cooked)
3 tbsp ground crayfish
1/2 cup mini snails
1/2 cup periwinkle in shell
1/2 cup shredded Stockfish
1/2 cup shredded Bonga fish
1/2 cup shredded smoked Eja Osan
2 Bouillon cubes (I used knorr)
1 tsp Ogiri (optional)
1 tbsp dried Achi
Salt (to taste)
Cook your assorted meats till they are tender and you have about 1 litre of rich stock. To improve the flavour of your stock for this soup add some Stockfish or smoked fish head while cooking your meats.
Add your fresh pepper blend and palm oil, ground crayfish and cook for about 10mins.
Next add your smoked fish, stockfish, snails and periwinkle , cook for about 5 – 7 mins.
Add your achi , stirring it in carefully . Cook on medium heat for about 3 mins.
Add your vegetables, giving the Utazi and Uziza a 2 minutes head start before the Oha.
Turn the heat off after cooking it for about 5 mins.
On the streets of Lagos, Ewa Aganyin and Agege bread is known as the breakfast of champions.
Ewa Aganyin has Beninoise/Togolese roots, it’s a beans pottage meal whose star really is the Aganyin Sauce!
The beans usually cooked to a very soft mush, sometimes mashed to a grainy paste. I prefer Honey beans (Ewa Oloyin) because it is naturally sweet, commercial hawkers have been known to add a bit of sugar for a little sweetness.
This post is about Aganyin Sauce! A real star
1 1/2 cups sun dried Tatashe (Capsicum / Paprika)
1 cup Sun dried red jalapeño/cayenne peppers (Bawa / Sombo)
10 pieces of fresh bawa (red jalapeno/ cayenne peppers)
2 or 3 medium sized onions
2 tbsp Ground Crayfish (for added flavour you can blend your crayfish with some dried smoked bonga fish)
Salt to taste
2 Seasoning cubes
1 1/2 cups palm oil
Soak your dried peppers in hot water for about 30 mins to rehydrate and get rid of dirt.
Chop one of the onions. Now blend the soaked peppers with fresh pepper.
Bleach palm oil -you do this by heating the palm oil past smoke point, please be sure to leave the lid on when you do this so as not to hurt yourself as well as trap most of the smoke in the pot- Turn off the heat and allow the palm oil to cool a bit.
Once it is slightly cooled, turn the heat back on and pour the chopped Onions.
Allow the onions to fry slightly before pouring in the blended pepper.
Now add ground crayfish, salt and seasoning cubes.
On medium heat fry till the pepper till the water has reduced completely and you hear a slight sizzle. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn and the pepper cooks evenly.
It’s the long holidays and it’s the holiday most parents dread. The kids are in your face every minute, eating, talking and playing non stop!
Thankfully most schools have deviced a way to take them out of your hands for a few hours, Summer School they call it. But then they come back. As a parent you have to keep thinking of creative ways to keep them engaged and channel their energies positively.
So i have included in our fun list some cooking and baking in the schedule for them (my kid, my wards and a nephew).
So far we have made Sponge Cake , Plantain Loaf , Rainbow Meringue Cookies. We would be baking some pastry soon.
For the Sponge Cake we used a recipe by Terry Adido of Grated Nutmeg
120 Grams Cake Flour (1 Cup)
6 Large Eggs (Separated)
125 Grams Granulated White Sugar (1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons OR 10 Tablespoons)
50 Grams Granulated White Sugar (1/4 Cup OR 4 Tablespoons)
I’ve been quite obsessed with Ube the last couple of days. After making a Corn on Cob rubbed with Ube a few days back, I realised Ube can be a great Dip, pretty much like Hummus. Hummus is originally made with chickpeas, it’s of middle eastern origin.
Since Ube already pairs well with Corn, I tried it with some of my favourite things and it paired really well.
Cooked Ube’s is like mashed Sweet+Irish potatoes with a tang.
Makes about 2 250ml Mason jars.
50 medium sized Ube
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
* Optional Ingredients (didn’t use any)
Garlic paste. Procedure
Wash Ube gently but thoroughly to get rid of sand.
Bring about 1.5 litres of water to a boil.
Once boiled, dunk the Ube in it for not longer than 3 minutes and strain. (You can salt the water if you like but it’s unnecessary.
Allow it to cool a bit so you don’t burn your fingers before using a small knife to open the skin and peel the flesh off the seed of the Ube.
Blend in the Ube with Olive oil two batches a blender.
Store in an air tight container and refrigerate. (I haven’t tested the shelf life inside the fridge yet, with do, I’d update this post)
This is just a simple twist to the Corn and Ube you love. CORN on COB in a Skewer rubbed with mashed Ube
It’s Corn season and with corn comes Ube. Ube is an oval shaped, purple berry with a large seed in the centre. It’s in season at about the same time as corn. As a street food, corn is either boiled or roasted and usually paired with Coconut or Ube.
Top-Bottom; Corn , Ube. Picture credit: Google.
*Salted Butter (or Herb and Garlic butter)
*optional items are marked with asterisk Procedure
Dehusk the corn of it comes in a husk and cook the corn till done. Cook it in a pot with lid on
Ube is very easy to cook, just steam till the pod is soft and it would peel off easily. You can cook it by placing the Ube on the lid of the pot while the corn cooks.
Mash the Ube with salted butter ( Salted Butter is optional, I used garlic butter). Add some pepper flakes if you want some kick of heat.
1/4 cup Vegetable oil (for the sauce, you’d need more for trying the plantain.
3 cups chopped lighty fried meats (I used goat meat)
Shredded Fish (Smoked cod fish, dried sardines (bonga fish), about 1cup or more)
Bouillon cubes (2 or more depending on your tatse
Salt to taste
Chop up your plantains and deep fry till it’s almost turning brown and set aside.
You should have pre-fried your meats.
Pour 1/4 cup of oil in a pot, allow it to heat up, once hot pour the pepper mix , fry slightly and pour in the stock. If you are using bonga fish, rinse well and add to the pepper from the start. Cook for 5 mins and add the fried meats. On medium heat, cook the stew till the water has completely reduced add your bouillon cubes and salt. Cook with lid on.
Once the water has completely reduced, add smoked fish, and vegetable. Cook for about 5 minutes with the lid off.
Stir in the fried plantains and let it simmer for about 2 mins and turn the heat off.