Tea Time; Let’s Have Homemade Herbal Tea

Did you know you can make your own tea using a blend of your favorite herbs and spices?

I do that all the time and i want to share one of my mixes with you.

The beauty of this is that, this is made with locally grown spices readily available in the market, especially from the Hausa spice vendors.

Tea is a beverage so popular it’s one of the most consumed in the world. It’s an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured tea leaves. Mostly had for breakfast, however in some cultures, tea is had at any time of the day.

In Nigeria tea is most popular as tea bags, and because of our British colonial past, we have our tea with a handsome helping of milk and sugar.

I really like using Zobo leaves to make tea, not only because it makes such a beautiful colour of tea, it’s also very aromatic and zingy.


Health benefits of this herbal tea.

Herbal teas are good detoxifiers. So is this tea. All the ingredients play a key role in metabolism, detoxification of xenobiotic and flushing toxins out of the body

It Aids in digestion, Treats nausea & headache, Prevents respiratory disorders, Aids in breast feeding, Helps in weight loss, Helps allergies , Improves skin health, Improves kidney health.

Increases Immunity;
The presence of vitamin C in sorrel is pretty impressive.
Vitamin C also referred to as ascorbic acid, increases the production of white blood cells and stimulates the immune system, which is the first line of protection against pathogens and other free radicals present in the body, hence helping to prevent cancer.


Ingredients

  • Dried Zobo leaves (Hibiscus Sabdariffa, Roselle, Red Sorrel, or Jamaican Sorrell.
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Dried Mint leaves
  • Cinnamon

Procedure

Blitz them all together in the dry mill of your blender, a food processor or coffee grinder. I don’t have a measurement for this. Just eye ball it and go with your gut.

To make a brew

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of the tea a cup of boiling water. Allow it to infuse. You can use a tea infuser or strain using a seive.

Sweeten with honey or any non-nutritive/zero calorie sweetener e.g Stevia or Truvia.

You can enjoy hot or cold. Do not add milk to this tea because the acidity in the zobo it will cuddle the milk.

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pearls is derived from the starch of tubers of cassava. In Lagos , Nigeria, you’d usually find them in sold in very dried dehydrated clusters. It’s usually an off white colour. 

Tapioca Pearls.

It consists of almost pure carbs and contains very little proteins, fibre or nutrients.

Tapioca is gluten free.

When it is cooked it becomes translucent gelatinous. It makes for a great breakfast meal. 

Recently I learnt that Tapioca is a staple for people of the Brazilian quarters of Lagos (Read about the origins of Lagos here), the indigenous people. While preparing for the Wake keep of a dear friend’s mum, she mentioned that since her mum was from Lagos and Lagos Island to be precise, her funeral rites wouldn’t be complete without serving Tapioca to guests at some point. So they made coolers of Tapioca and guests lined up to get some at the Wake Service. 

Tapioca Parfait (Tapioca, Chia Seeds, Pawpaw cubes, Avocado, Coconut Flakes)
Tapioca topped with coconut milk and Watermelon slices
Tapioca Parfait for a friend and I. That was our lunch



Tapioca topped with whipped cream





Recipe(Serves 3 or 4)

  •  1 full cup of dried tapioca
  •  1 small coconut (You can use 2 or 3 tbsp dessicated coconut and 1/2 cup canned coconut milk instead)
  •  Sugar (or Honey, Date syrup , sweetener )

Procedure 

  •  Rinse and soak Tapioca in 5parts water to 2 part tapioca overnight. You’ll be surprised at how much it would soak up all the water and double.

  • The next day strain your tapioca being careful not to get the sands in it too.
  • Break the coconut and for added coconut flavour save the water.
  •  Grate the coconut with the large holes in your grater. 
  • Divide into 2 parts. Extract the milk from one part using some warm water and sieve. 
  •  Put the extracted milk in a pot and warm on medium heat. 
  • Add the other half of the grated coconut, add sugar and bring almost to boil, then add tapioca.
  • Keep stirring till it thickens like ogi or custard, you’ll notice, the tapioca become more translucent. 
Pictorial. l-r Soaked Tapioca Pearls, Coconut milk, dessicated coconut, cooked tapioca
  • Then turn off the heat,

Serving idea.

You can top it with evaportaed milk or coconut  milk or cream, and serve with whatever you like e.g Akara, Pound Cake, fruits or serve as a parfait.

Tapioca Parfait. One of the jars has crushed cornflakes in it, can you tell which it is? (Tapioca, Chia Seeds,chopped Pawpaw,chopped Avocado, dehydrated coconut flakes, *crushed cornflakes)

Tapioca topped with whipped cream

This bowl looks really pretty.

Akara: A collection of 4 types of the ultimate Street food. 

Sometime back I shared tips on making great Akara balls  (You can look up the tips in this LINK). Akara is a simple delicious meal to make. However, you know how simple tasks can throw huge curve balls at you. Akara has shamed many a cook several times. This is my no fail recipe for great Akara balls. Check it out. 

Akara down in the South Western part of Nigeria is a street food you’d most likely find at breakfast hour. Vendors would likely be found hawking it with Ogi  (corn or guinea corn or millet pap or a combination of these grains) or with Bread or both. 

In this post I have made a collection of four methods of making Akara. All can be made in the comfort of your Home.

Enjoy my celebration of the Ultimate Street food.

  1. Homemade Akara  (Method 1)
  2. Homemade Akara (Method 2)
  3. Akara Osu (Method 3)
  4. Akara Elepo -Akara Oyo- (Method 4)


Homemade Akara ( Method 1)

HOMEMADE AKARA METHOD 1 

Recipe

(Serves 6)

(*all measurements refer to standard measuring cups and spoons )

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)
Ewa Oloyin (Honey Beans)
  • 2 tbsp roughly blended pepper mix (i used 2 scotch bonnet -atarodo- and 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe- and 1 small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water (a little more if your beans isn’t blending well but not more than 1/4 cup but it could be less)
  • 1 litre vegetable oil for frying (You could use palm oil if making akara elepo)

Procedure

  • Soak beans and peel the skins off the beans till your beans is white to reveal the white inside.
  • In a blender, blend the beans till smooth. *Don’t blend with too much water, 1 cup of water should be enough, blend the beans in small parts. If you are taking it out to a public mill, take a separate bowl  to collect the water*
  •  Now mix the paste till it is very fluffy. You can use a ladle, an egg whisk or a mixer to mix the paste.  Mixing is to incorporate as much air as possible into the paste. The paste should double or nearly double.
Kitchen Items you can use to mix your paste if you don’t have a mixer.
Steps 1 to 4 in Pictures
  • Once the paste is light and fluffy (the size would have doubled, if you are using a mixer, you’d achieve stiff peaks), fold in your blended pepper. *Add your seasonings and salt into the pepper mix before folding it into the paste* 


Step 4
  •  Using a deep pan, heat the oil up and deep fry the akara, scooping several tablespoons in at a time. Cook each side for not less than 2 mins and flip the sides.
Pictures of Step 5
  • Once your akara is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the akara into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve.

I have an earlier post where I extensively discussed   Tips for making great Akara balls  please check it out for more than I shared here.

Breakfast combo Akara and Custard

HOMEMADE AKARA METHOD 2


Recipe

* Use the same recipe as in Method 1
Procedure

  • Blend Beans/Peppers/Onions together to a smooth paste.

  • Mix the blended paste till air is well incorporated and the paste has doubled (or nearly doubled) in size.
  • Add salt and seasoning to taste while mixing when the paste has risen, stop mixing after adding the salt and seasoning.
  • Deep fry in hot vegetable oil, on medium heat, allowing each side to cook for equal amount of time.
  • Scoop into sieve or a bowl lined with paper towel .

Serve hot or warm.

 AKARA OSU (Method 3)


Akara Osu

If you have ever traveled through the Ibadan/Ife Expressway, you’d be familiar with this akara popularly sold at the old toll gate entering into Ile Ife. It’s unique for its pale colour as compared to regular akara. It’s quite fluffy and dainty and you can be sure to have bread sellers shoving their wares into your face, so you can pair your bread with the Akara (Risky Burger it is called).

A bit of History Lesson.

After I shared this post on Facebook, two of the readers gave me a bit of history lesson on AKARA OSU . 

Yinka KuzyCosy Fagbohun said,

“Akara Osu got its name from Osu. Osu is a small town immediately after Ile- Ife and they are known for akara to badt whether elepo or olororo.Even with ede/prawn(whole). I remember when I was much younger(not like I am too agbalagba na oo 😀 ) , we used to travel through that town on our way to the village in Ekiti. And I always looked forward to us making a stopover at Osu for some sizzling hot and yummy akara with bread.

O dun baje.

The spot they are now on old Ile-Ife isn’t where they have always been. They moved because of the Ile- Ife / Ilesa expressway that had totally cut Osu off ,which meant less travellers on that Osu route .So the need to go meet the mountain. “

Ife Watson said

“I kind of still disagree with this notion that they are the ones who moved. Because I know most of the people selling Akara there now are from Modakeke in Ife. And the original Akara osu wasn’t even this pale. Also,  there’s still a spot on the Ilesha/Akure express where Akara Osu is still being sold. I grew up in Ife that’s why I’m insisting on my explanation 😊.”

Recipe

  • 2 cups White Beans


  • 1 tbsp  blended pepper mix (i used 1 scotch bonnet -atarodo- and 2 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe- and 1/2 a small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 litre vegetable oil for frying


Procedure.

  • Follow the steps in Method 1
  • Heat up the oil and fry multiple of the balls on heat that is between low and medium, fry each side for not longer than 30secs turning it constantly till it down. You don’t want the balls to take on a dark brown colour.

Scoop with a slotted spoon into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve.

Akara Osu is peculiar for its pale colour with faint specs of pepper.
Risky Burger (Agege Bread and Akara Osu)


AKARA ELEPO (Method 4)

Akara Elepo

Akara Elepo sometimes referred to as Akara Kengbe. It’s characteristic feature is the roughness of the surface and jagged edges.


Recipe

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)


  •  2 scotch bonnet -atarodo-


  • 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe-


  • 1 small onion)


  • Salt (to taste )


  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)


  • 1 cup of water


  • 750ml Palm oil (Red oil) for frying



Procedure

  • Peel Beans and blend to a slightly coarse paste. You should feel and see little granules of beans when you run it through your fingers.
This is the texture the beans would have
  • Use the next steps in either method 1 or two. You can blend the beans with or without the pepper. 


  • Mix well to incorporate air, add salt and seasoning and use a tablespoon to scoop into the heated oil and fry till well cooked.  

 Serve hot or warm. 


Scrambled Eggs with vegetables

If you are an 80’s child and you grew up in Nigeria then it is very likely fried eggs  featured in your weekend breakfast, Omelette, stewed eggs, scrambled eggs… or you packed it as lunch to school. You either had it with bread or yam. Fried eggs is a staple for breakfast any day of the week. I used to love plain flat omelette or Egg stew, Mr M likes his eggs scrambled with sliced tomatoes and peppers, so marriage found me cooking more scrambled eggs. So I want to share one of my scrambled eggs recipe with you. 

As a child even right up until my late teenage years, I won’t touch this type of eggs with a 10ft pole, if I was ever forced, I would pick out all the onions, tomatoes and vegetables. As if karma decided to repay me, my 5yr old won’t touch this type of eggs, he generally doesn’t want to see anything sticking out prominently out of his food, it is either plain or blended in. 

Recipe  

(Serves 2 or 3)

  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 small plum tomatoes 
  • 1 small onion 
  • 2 or 3 vegetable leaves (Lettuce,Spinach,Kale,Ugwu,… any vegetable of your choice)
  •  1/8 Cup Vegetable oil (please embrace heart friendly oils and low cholesterol oils, I used coconut oil )
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper alternatively you can chop peppers, bell peppers/scotch bonnet /jalapeños 
  • Salt to taste 
  • *Seasoning  (very optional though I sprinkled a bit of my Adobo Seasoning . 

Procedure 

–  Chop your onions , slice tomatoes , slice vegetables. I found some Kale in my local grocery and that is what I used in some of the pictures here, I used Lettuce in some others. Break eggs , add pepper , salt *optional seasoning –  I think it is better to season the vegetables instead though- whisk together thoroughly.


Cross section of ingredients


–    In a pan heat up your oil and add the onions, once the onions are tender add your tomatoes , cook under low heat till tomatoes softened , the tomatoes will wilt in the pan, add the chopped vegetables , cook for about a minute or two and add the egg mix. 

*If you are using chopped  peppers, add them after the onions before adding the tomatoes. 

Pictorial of the procedure

–    Stir the eggs properly into the vegetables  till it is cooked through (eggs are not runny)  

Typically with Naija breakfast, scrambled eggs can be served with Yam, Bread or Plantain, I’ve had friends pair their’s with noodles.

Yam and Scrambled Eggs with vegetables. I used Lettuce in this picture


French Toast 


On the world food calendar, today is French Toast Day. 
So here is some bite sized French Toast with Banana&Avocado slices, dried currants, toasted coconut flakes  and drizzled with honey.

 French Toast is super easy to make.

You need
•    4 Slices of  Bread 
•    1 Egg
•    1/4 cup milk
•    1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
•    *1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract 
•    * I used a pinch of powdered  cloves
•     1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp confectionery sugar 
1 tbsp oil (coconut or sunflower oil)

Procedure

–    Combine all the ingredients but the Bread, Butter and oil.
–    Dip the Bread in the mixture
–    Place a pan on medium heat, glaze pan with butter and oil and place the bread in, let it cook till it browns on the side then flip and repeat with the other side.


–    Serve as you like with your favourite syrup, honey, yogurt or fruits. 


Waffle Omelette

I was inspired to do this yesterday after I saw a recipe shared on one of the fitness groups I belong. The author used a sandwich toaster to make what she call Egg Sandwich. I tweaked her recipe a little and used a waffle maker to make this.

For those people on a protein diet,  this is perfect for you.

You can use a sandwich toaster instead of the waffle iron.

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Recipe

This serves 5 adults.

•      10 fresh eggs

•      1 Cup Flaked fish (Tuna or Mackerel preferable)

•      1 small onion  (chopped)

•      2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley  (you can use substitute with dried parsley

•      Salt (to taste)

•      1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (dried ground pepper or Atagigun as yoruba people call it)

Procedure 

As shown below. Beat eggs, add  all the ingredients together, spray some non-stick cooking spray on the waffle maker , scoop some mix onto the iron and cover till it beeps or the signal light comes on.

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Enjoy with a cup of green tea if you are on a protein diet or add whatever accompaniment you please.

Creamy Surf Soup (Fisherman’s Soup)

The secret is out! I love seafood!! When Le Hubs and I were courting, he told me he believed he was allergic to seafood. The reasons he gave for believing so were quite vague. He’d eat fish and meals cooked with dried and smoked shrimps/prawns et al and he won’t react, it didn’t take long for me to realise it was just his mind because he didn’t particularly like what seafood except fish looked like. Needless to say, this right here is his favourite seafood soup, served with bread rolls. Last Night I served with Pani Poopo a Samoan Coconut Bread!

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This is soooooooo easy to make! !

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Recipe

Ingredients

•   1 kg  Fish (personal  preference Cod or Hake)

•   1 Kg Jumbo Prawns  (shelled and devined) •   Periwinkle *out of shell(le hubs is not a fan so I substituted with Snails)

•   Snails

•   Crabs

•   Calamari

•   1 Can Evaporated Milk

•   Seasoning Cubes

•   1/8 Cup Flour

•   20 g Butter

•   *1 tbsp vegetable oil

•   1 medium sized Onions

•   Stock (from the boiled fish)

•   4 Yellow Scotch Bonnet pepper (Milled) * You can use red but I love the heat and the flavour of this.  If you live in Nigeria, the igbo women who sell soup ingredients know it as fresh Cameroon pepper. If you live abroad you’d find yellow habenero pepper, please use only one, that pepper packs on too much heat for you to use more than 1

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Procedure

–   Make sure all your sea food and snail is properly washed and cleaned.

–   Season, boil, snail and fish. Debone and flake the fish

–   Chop onions

–   Melt butter in a pot on fire, add a liitle oil to prevent the butter from burning. If using margarine you don’t need oil.

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–   Add chopped onions and fry not to colour,  add flour to it and stir to make a white roux. (white roux is a mixture created by cooking flour and butter as a thickening agent).

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–   Remove roux from fire and pour hot  stock in it, making sure it does not form lumps, add more stock or water if too thick. If it forms lumps you can remove and sieve.

–   Put back on fire, allow to simmer for 10 mins when removing the scum then season  with salt, seasoning cubes, pepper and  evaporated milk

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–   Add snail, and all your seafood, leave to simmer for about 15mins and add flaked fish. Turn off the heat. Serve hot soup with bread rolls.

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Mango Salsa

I love good food, but I also love to stay fit too, staying fit means eating healthy. I try fad diets now and again but I’ve learnt also that I can still enjoy my favourite foods as long as I control my portion and prepare them in a healthy way.

This long story is to let you know I  made mango salsa and I loved it. It is yummy and healthy too. #mangoaddict

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Easy Peesy

•   Mango

•   Cucumber

•   Tomato

•   Apple

•   a dash of Lemon juice

Chop all your fruits and vegetables, add a dash of lemon juice and toss them together. You can eat immediately or store in the fridge a little bit before eating.

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Mexicans have their’s with tacos, I chose toasted bread sticks

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Club Sandwich

Breakfast ideas. This is one of my quick, go to breakfast menus.

This is the recipe I use

Recipe

  • Chicken/Fish/Beef
  • Bacon (You can use Ham or Sliced Sausage)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Lettuce (you may use other vegetables like Cabbage, Spinach, Kale, Cucumber instead )
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 Loaf of Sliced Bread

Procedure
– Season and boil Chicken/fish/beef, then shred.

– Sautee Bacon and set aside

– Boil eggs and slice

– Wash lettuce and leave to strain

– Slice Tomatoes and set aside

– Lightly Toast bread -it makes the bread easier to handle-
*If don’t have a pop up toaster you can butter the oven pan and lay the bread slices in and put in the bottom of the oven for 5 minutes turning the sides at intervals. You can toast the bread using a dry frying pan too, just place your dry frying pan on low heat and lay the bread in the pan, turn the sides to get a light crisp on both sides*

Assemble
– Spread the mayonnaise on the bread and put the lettuce, and some shredded chicken, followed by another slice of bread with bacon, and tomatoes, then a slice with boiled eggs, topped with lettuce, and then the final slice to cover.

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*Note, that you spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread. For the slices in the middle spread mayonnaise on both sides.

With a sharp knife or a serrated bread knife, trim the edges of your bread, taking off the brown at the edges and any other spill outs.

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Then cut the bread into two triangles.

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Easy Peesy!!!

*If you are a Muslim or you can’t eat pork or any pig derivatives just use the other ingredients alone. They are sufficient to make the sandwich shine.

 

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