Black Soup  

Bubbling hot Black Soup in an earthen pot

Black Soup is a rich herby soup with a delicate balance of aromatic flavours if well cooked. 

Recipe 

  • 1 1/2 cup blended Bitterleaf (before blending it must have been washed till it is no longer bitter, it would have a little bitter sweet taste 
  • Efinrin leaves 
  • Utazi Leaves 

*combine in this propositions 1 part Efinrin to 1/2 part Utazi Leaves and blend together. You would need 1 Cup of a mixture of this blend to cook with 

  • 2 cups Palmnut Cream (Banga)
  • 1/2 cup blended pepper /onion/crayfish mix (you can use more if you like)
  • Smoked and dried fish variety (obokun,stockfisk, bongafish)
  • Boiled meats (beef or goat meat, cowfoot, shaki, ponmo…)
  • Rich stock 
  • Salt to taste
  • Bouillon cubes. 

Basic Ingredients: (Back-Front, Left-Right) Smoked Eja Obokun (blue catfish), blended washed bitterleaf, blended Utazi and Efirin leaves, blended fresh pepper and dried crayfish, boiled meats of choice, palm nut cream.

Procedure

  • In a pot heat up your stock and add your cooked meats, bring it to a boil and add your palm nut cream and pepper mix.
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 mins.
  • Add the smoked fish and cook. If you pre-soaked the smoked fish you may not cook longer than 3- 5mins, if it is not pre soaked cooked the fish in the soup for about 10mins.
  • Add your blended vegetables to the broth on medium heat and cook. 
  • Taste and add your desired amount of salt and seasoning 
  • Cook with lid off and let the water reduce, be careful also not to over cook the vegetables. Personally I try not to cook vegetables longer than 5-7 minutes. 

Procedure in pictures

Serve with your side of choice. Enjoy

I find the earthen ware gives it a very local appeal.

Garden Egg Sauce

My sister came into the kitchen this morning as I was preparing to make garden egg sauce and  she said, “Sis, isn’t this that sauce we hated as kids”. I told her, “Believe me, I now eat many of the things I hated as a child, so why not this one too”. 

Today probably is the first time I would eat Garden Egg sauce in probably 16 years. My husband on the other hand likes Garden Egg Sauce and for the 6 years we have been married, he has asked me several times to make it. My memories of garden egg sauce kept me from making it, well today I did and I loved it, so going forward I’d make new delicious memories of my own and share with my children.  


Recipe 
●    10 Garden Eggs

●   9 Tomatoes 

●   5 Jalapeño peppers ( Bawa / Sombo / long tatashe ) 

●   3 Scotch Bonnet ( Ata rodo ) 

●    1 large Onion 

●    De-boned , shredded mackerel fish

●    1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

●    2 Bouillon Cubes 

●   Salt (to taste)

Core ingredients

Procedure 
–    Wash and take off the stalks on the garden eggs. Then boil till the garden eggs are tender, and the  skin can peel easily. Peeling the skin is optional 


Douse the boiled garden egg in cold water so it is easier to peep the skin off.

–    Mash up the  softened garden egg

Mashed garden eggs with skin on

–    While boiling the garden eggs, blend your tomatoes and pepper. Chop onions 

–     Heat up vegetable oil in a pan, and add the onions.  Fry the onions lightly and add blended tomatoes and pepper.
–     Add your seasonings,  if you have stock, add a cup.
–     When the pepper is cooked and the water has reduced completely,  add the garden egg and the fish. Cook for an additional 7 – 10 minutes with the lid on. 


Garden Egg Sauce is most popularly served with boiled yam,  you can pair  it with anything you want. Serve warm.

*the grilled garden eggs tastes good too.

Ofe Onugbu

In recent times I’ve done very little “cooking”, most meals have consisted of quick fixes, take outs or otherwise cooked by someone else. I had a rough start this year. Thankfully it’s been rough for the right reasons, Growth in my  business Fontaine De Vie. Shortage of man power,  break down of some machinery welcomed the growth, it was a gruelling time because we just had to meet up. I went from a production staff strength of 5  to 1 coupled with no domestic staff to help with the home front, I found myself borrowing more hours  from the next day  only to fall short. It’s amazing how my health didn’t fail in all of this. I made it through and  I’m grateful  for the lessons I learnt during the phase.  Challenges are made to strengthen  you, it won’t break you if you don’t let it. 
Ofe Onugbu recipe is the same as that of Oha, only difference is the leaves, Oha and Onugbu (Bitter Leaf). I’m a yoruba girl who loves to cook eastern and south eastern soups, a little more pepper than the traditional requirement and I’m good!

Ingredients

•     Onugbu leaves (Bitter Leaf) a handful

    Thickeners 

•    Cocoyam – 8 small corms

Or

•    Achi (2 Tablespoons *powdered)

Or

•    Ofor  ( 2 Tablespoons *powdered)

•    Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons

•    Assorted Beef meats

•    Assorted dry  Fish

•    Fresh peppers (scotch bonnet / habenero /ata rodo)

•    Salt to taste

•    Crayfish (powdered)

•   Bouillon Cubes

•    1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)

Procedure

–    Grind pepper and set aside.

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Blended Pepper

Achi on the left, Ofor the right, ground mixture of both in front

*If using Cocoyam

–    Wash and boil the cocoyam corms till soft.
Remove the peels and  in a blender , blend to a smooth paste you can also use a mortar and pestle , that is the more traditional approach.

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Mashed Cocoyam using a blender

–   Personally I buy, bitter leaves that have been washed in the market. However when I get home I pour boiling hot water over the bitter leaves and leave it steep for about a minute and strain, a friend advised I use salt to just wash it a little more instead of using hot water,  to get rid of more of the bitterness. Now you may prefer to buy your own Bitter Leaf fresh , and wash from the scratch, I think it is tedious, but hey whatever rocks your boat. Set it aside.

–   Season and  boil the meats, when then are tender add stock fish and dry fish.

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–    Add the pepper, ogiri Igbo and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Now add either Achi/Ofor powder mix or the cocoyam paste in small lumps then the palm oil

See Pictures below.

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Ogiri

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–    Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick. 

* Remove smoked catfish if you are using any at this point to prevent disintegration

–    Add the washed Onugbu (bitter) leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.

* Ever since the Igbo woman who sells  me spices adviced I use a combination of Achi and Ofor instead of Cocoyam, I have come to fall in love with it. The smoothness, the consistency, the taste, is so different from what I get with cocoyam.  I love it.

Serve with your favourite starchy side dish. E.g Eba, Amala, Pounded Yam,  even Rice.

Egusi Soup; With a burst of flavours.

A picture they say, says a thousands words, unfortunately it does not express the fragrance or taste. If it did, you’d know how I feel about this plate of Egusi Soup. It tastes and smells good to the last drop!

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I wish we explored our local spices and flavours a little more then we would give up the excessive salt and MSG  we put in our food. I made this Egusi without palm oil, however,  I replaced palm oil with Palm nut cream, I used a generous about of Ehu ( Calabash Nutmeg), Ogiri and Uziza leaves.

Recipe

Ingredients

•    2 cups blended Egusi (Melon Seeds)

•    Assorted Meats (Snail, Cowleg, Goat meat)

•    Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)

•   1 tbsp Ground crayfish

•    3 cups shredded Ugu  (flute pumpkin leaves)

•    1 Cup Shredded Uziza leaves

•    2 1/2 Cups Blended Pepper Mix (Tomatoes + Scotch Bonnet + Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)

•    1 Large Onion

•   3 Umilo/Ulima Seed (blended with a dry mill or coffee blender,  in the absence of those pound it in a mortar

• 1 Ehu Seed (blend with the Ulima)

•    Meat Stock

•    2 Bouillon cubes

•    Salt to taste

•    1 wrap Ogiri

•    1  cup of concentrated Palm nut cream. If you’d be making yours use about 500g of  Palm nuts (Banga/Akwu). That should yield about 3 cups of palm nut extract.

Procedure

–   Wash, season with salt and bouillon cubes your assorted meats, cook with onion till tender, add assorted fish if using any and add blended pepper, cook till the pepper doesn’t taste raw.

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–    Add blended Ehu and Ulima seeds, crayfish and Ogiri. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

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–   Add your blended Egusi into the soup, it would soak up all the water.  Dilute the palm nut concentrate if you are using the tinned type and add to the egusi in the pot.  Stir till all is incorporated. At this point taste if it requires additional seasoning with salt or bouillon cubes. Adjust to your taste buds, do not over power.

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–      Allow the egusi to cook for 10 mins, then  stir in the two washed and shredded vegetables. Once the vegetables have gone in cook only for an additional 5 minutes, with the lid off, so as not to over cook and to let excess water escape. The heat of the soup is enough to finish it off after that. Serve with your choice of side dish.

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Afang Soup

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Anytime I see Afang Soup, it brings back fond memories of my first year in University. Brief story. I was allocated to Obafemi Awolowo Hall at the University of Ibadan, how I got there is a story for another. My roommates in F49 made my year really memorable. Unfortunately I have lost touch completely with all the ladies whom I know sadly by only their first names, I can’t recall the last names. Chinasa, Olatunde and the hardly ever around Motunrayo.

Anyway, Chinasa was engaged to  wonderful Calabar man called Victor. He loved to cook and his soups were the truth. Each time he came to school to visit his woman , he never came empty handed, he also came with a pot or two. My first ever encounter with Afang soup was from Victor. He brought his lady a pot of Afang one time she fell ill and the rest of us also descended on it like locust and devoured it. That was the day I fell in love with Afang!

image Recipe

Ingredients

 •    1 kg Water leaf  (chopped)

•    200g  Okazi  (shredded)

•    Assorted Meats ( tripe, cow foot, ponmo, Beef, etc)

•    Assorted Dried and smoked Fish (Cod fish/Panla/Oporoko, Smoked Catfish)

•    *1 cup Periwinkle  (removed from shell) optional

•    2 tbsp Fresh Blended pepper  (preferably scotch bonnet i.e Ata Rodo, I used Cameroon Pepper)

•   1 tbsp Blended Crayfish

•    Bouillon Cubes

•    Salt

•    1/2  Cup Palm Oil

Procedure

–    Boil your meats with bouillon cubes and salt to taste. As the meat gets tender, add the smoked catfish, and  stock fish.

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–   While the meat cooks, pound or use a blender to blitz the shredded Okazi.

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–    Add the  roughly blended pepper

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–   Now add the crayfish and then palm oil image image

–    Allow to cook for about 5 mins and add chopped water leaves.

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–     Leave the pot uncovered  and allow to cook for 5 mins  then add the blitzed Okazi

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–    Stir in the Okazi. Once the Okazi goes in the water in the vegetable thickens a bit.

–    To avoid having watery soup, boil your meats with little or no water, because waterleaf already has high water content.

Enjoy with a starchy accompaniment. In this case 2 tone Eba.

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