Wednesday, 11 December 2013


I have to warn you, this sangria is dangerous. It’s so delicious that you’ll find yourself drinking glass after glass without realizing just how much alcohol you’ve consumed. It’s also dangerous because you can pretty much make it with all the things you have at home right now.

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Monday, 15 April 2013

Little sole goujons with a quick lemon & caper sauce

For a quick and easy fresh fish supper that's certain to be a big hit with the kids, you can't beat this lovely little dish. The fish is simply cooked in one pan and the sauce practically makes itself. I usually serve it with mash, but some chunky potato wedges or buttered new potatoes and a fresh green salad would be great, too.


  • 800 g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 g Dover sole fillets, fromsustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, skinned
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 80 ml milk
  • 40 g butter
  • 600 g spinach, washed and spun dry
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 1 small handful baby capers
  • 1 lemon, to serve

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Mighty mackerel with mixed tomato & quinoa salad


  • For the salad

  • 1 mug (300g) quinoa
  • ½ lemon
  • 800 g ripe mixed-colour tomatoes
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • For the mackerel

  • 4 x 200 g whole mackerel, scaled and gutted, fromsustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • To serve

  • 2 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 2 heaped teaspoons jarred grated horseradish
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh basil

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Chicken Piri Piri (Peri Peri) and Jollof Rice

Chicken Piri Piri is a dish made popular by Nandos Restaurants all over the world. Although Nandos has its origin in south Africa with a Portuguese-Mozambican flair ; Piri Piri (Swahili for pepper pepper) is actually a kind of chilli  grown in Nigeria and several other African countries.  Recipes for the sauce vary across the board, here is our version;
  • 2 cups fresh basil ( Efinrin)
  • ½ red onion (chopped)
  •  2 cloves of garlic
  • 4  fresh Peri Peri  chillies ( I used dried)
  • 1 teaspoon  paprika powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 table spoons vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, puree to a smooth paste.
For my version of Peri Peri chicken, I used the sauce as a finisher. Made simple over roasted chicken using this recipe and then tossed the cooked chicken with the sauce.
Have you been to Nandos? what is your favorite thing to eat there?

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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Gbegiri Soup: A Yoruba Delicacy

Gbegiri soup is a Yoruba (Western Nigerian) soup prepared with beans. On its own, it looks like baby food but it comes alive when you add Ewedu Soup and meat from your Beef & Chicken Stew.

Ingredients for Gbegiri Soup

  • 150g Black Eyed or Brown Beans
  • 1 small smoked Mackerel/Titus
  • 1 tablespoon ground crayfish
  • 1 big stock cube
  • 1 cooking spoon palm oil
  • Pepper and salt (to taste)

Before you cook Efo Riro

  1. Ensure you have some Beef & Chicken Stew because the beef for the Gbegiri Soup comes from this stew.
  2. Remove the beans coat and soak the beans for about 3 hours. This soaking makes the beans soft so that it cooks in less time. This way there will be no need to use potash to cook the beans. If you are using peeled and dried beans, you will need to soak it overnight.
  3. Prepare other ingredients: pound/blitz the pepper and grind the crayfish.

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the peeled and soaked beans into a sizeable pot. Pour water to cover the beans and start cooking at medium heat.
  2. While the beans is cooking, prepare the Ewedu Soup which is used to eat the Gbegiri Soup.
  3. Cook the beans till they become so soft that it practically melts when you mash it with your fingers. This takes about 1 hour. You will need to top up the water from time to time but make sure the water is always at the same level as the beans. This ensures that you have just the right amount of water in the soup when the beans is done.
  4. Mash the very soft beans with a potato masher. You can also blend it with your kitchen blender for a very smooth consistency. I do not like pouring the hot beans into my blender then pouring it back into the pot after blending. And it is not practical to wait for the beans to cool down, blend it and then continue cooking!
  5. When you are happy with the smoothness of the beans, add the smoked fish, salt, pepper, crayfish, stock cube and palm oil.
  6. Cover the pot and cook at medium heat for about 5 minutes or till the oil blends with the rest of the ingredients. This is when the oil changes from red to yellow.
  7. Stir from time to time so it does not burn.
  8. That's it! The Gbegiri Soup is done.
Dish the soup with Ewedu Soup, get the meat from your Beef & Chicken Stew and eat with Amala or any other Nigerian fufu meal.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Gangnam-style chicken wings


  • 8 higher-welfare chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce
  • 150 ml fresh cloudy apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons sweet miso
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 8 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced

Soak 8 small bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour before you start cooking, to stop them from catching. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Cut the tips from the wings and stretch them out as much as possible, then push a skewer through the length of each wing to straighten and secure.

Add the hot chilli sauce, apple juice, honey, miso, ginger, garlic and half of the spring onions to a roasting tray (roughly 25cm x 30cm). Mix well to combine, then transfer half the sauce to a small pan and set aside.

Place the chicken skewers into the roasting tray, turning them in the sauce to coat, then cover the tray with tin foil, making sure it's tightly sealed around the edges. Place in the hot oven for around 1 hour 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through, removing the foil for the final 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast gently for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

When the chicken is done, place the pan of sauce over a low heat for around 5 minutes, or until thickened to a nice consistency, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, place a griddle pan over a high heat, then add the skewers and griddle for 3 to 4 minutes, or until crisp and dark, turning halfway – you may need to do this in batches.

Transfer the wings to a serving platter, pouring over any juices from the tray. Drizzle with the sauce, then pick over the coriander leaves. Top with the remaining spring onions, fresh chilli and toasted sesame seeds.

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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ila-Asepo (Okra Soup)

Ila-asepo or okra soup is the Yoruba way of cooking okra soup. I’m not quite sure what it means literally translated, but I know it’s grated/chopped okra cooked in beef stock. Another way of cooking okra is to cook it in some water and serve with fish soup, which is then eaten with a starchy mould of your choice.
This would be my second attempt at making this. The first attempt was tasty, but I blended the okra with I guess a bit too much water and it didn’t draw as much. This time, I grated/chopped fresh okra to avoid the prior mistake.
I learned to make this from a friend of mine who makes the meanest ila-asepo. A few things I learned is not to add onions when cooking the okra as that prevents it from drawing and the entire essence of okra is the ‘draw.’
Without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to make Ila:
25-30 fresh okras
10-12 pieces tripe/ shaki
10-12 pieces goat meat
1/2 s/m red bell pepper
1/2 s/m tomato
2 scotch bonnet peppers/ habanero
1 tsp minced garlic
3 knorr cubes
3 tbsps ground red pepper
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning w/ cumin
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup Palm Oil
1. Wash, rinse okra and set aside
2. Rinse goat meat and tripe in cool water.
3. Turn stove on to medium heat. Drain and season meats in pot w/ garlic, 2 knorr cubes, ground red pepper, crushed pepper flakes, adobo and curry powder (don’t add water here). Put on stove, let sweat for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, add enough water to cover all the meat/tripe. Let cook for 2-3 hrs over medium heat (I like the meat really soft). Check every 45 minutes and ensure water doesn’t dry out, if it is, add 1 more cup of water till desired softness. *You want to retain at least 1-2 cups of stock after the meat is soft*.
5. While meat is cooking, grate okras using the smallest side or chop into tiny pieces with a knife. Set grated/chopped okras aside.
6. While meat is cooking, blend tomato, red bell pepper & scotch bonnet peppers. During the last 45 minutes of boiling the meat, add the blended peppers and palm oil to cook with meat. Once pepper is cooked and meat is soft, reduce heat to low.
7. Add grated/chopped okras. Stir with wooden spoon gently. Let cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes (taste at 5 min mark for seasoning, add last knorr cube if needed). Stir gently to ensure okra is spread evenly. *Some add ‘kaun’ to help it draw more (not sure what the English name is for kaun, but you could probably get it at an authentic African/Nigerian store*.
8. Remove from heat and let stand. Serve with pounded yam/ iyan, eba, amala.

Adding the blended peppers is an optional step, I just like it for that extra kick. My friend sometimes adds chopped spinach to hers, but I didn’t have any on hand, but you could if you want for a different dimension to it.
Also, if you decide to store any left overs still in the pot in the fridge, when you re-heat, don’t add water, just re-heat on low heat, water added will reduce the draw factor of the okra.
There are also different schools of thought as to whether or not to cover the soup when its cooking and um, I’m not really sure. If I recall, I covered the meat when it was boiling but not when I added the okra just so I could keep a close eye on it. Honestly, I don’t think it makes much of a difference; supposedly when you cover the pot, the okra doesn’t draw or it bubbles over furiously. However, IMO, either way is fine.
Some cook ila-asepo differently, but this is how I like to cook mine. Some prefer to blanch the palm oil (heat it till it becomes clear and starts smoking), but I’m not sure how that would translate, so I wouldn’t know what to tell you on that one. Try different ways and pick whichever works best for you. For right now, this would be it for me. In the event that I discover another way, I’ll be sure to share.

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