Monday, February 2, 2015

Not your mama's Banga Soup

Banga soup is a staple in West African culture. In Nigeria it has now become a nationwide staple, but originally it was a Niger-Delta delicacy. My people (Isoko wado) usually eat this soup with starch, but being a Lagos-Isoko chic and one who's mum doesn't care much for starch, I have no idea what that tastes like - but love it with poundo yam or poundo plantain.

I attribute the love of the poundo plantain to my Abidjanaise days - Sauce Graine avec foutou banane. Delicious!!!

Also, I am not one to wash palm kennels like my mama used to when I was a kid.Thankful the stuff is being done by machines and canned, for a modern/easier twist to the process.

Anyways, here we go!

Ingredients
- 1 can of palm nut concentrate (Trofai, Ghana Fresh or whatever brand)
- 1 large can of tomato sauce
- 1 pack of chicken gizzards
- 1/2 a red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 a large onion (thinly sliced)
- 3 whole frozen Tilapia fish each cut into 3 or 4 pieces depending on size
- seasonings - salt, ground red pepper, ground ginger, ground garlic, maggi(boullion cube)

Preparation
- Place gizzards in a large pot with onions and seasonings (minus red pepper), add water and boil until tender.
- Add sliced red bell peppers and can of tomato sauce and boil for about 15 minutes.
- Add can of palm nut concentrate and about a can full of water and boil for about 5 minutes.
- Salt Tilapia fish and add to the sauce.
- Add ground red pepper and salt to taste (add another maggi cube if necessary).
- Reduce heat to a simmer and boil until clear palm oil floats to the top.
- If you like, do like I do and scoop excess oil from the top.
- Turn of heat and enjoy!

I love Banga soup with pretty much anything. I had it with poundo plantain one day, boiled plantains on another, and can't wait to have it with rice.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Easy (and kinda healthy) Pigs In A Blanket

Like most of my recipes, I am usually inspired by a good sale at the grocery store. About a week ago, I found some turkey sausage with cheddar cheese (on the inside) on sale for $0.99. They were close to their expiration date and immediately pigs in a blanket came to mind. It seemed like the perfect way to cook them all at once and experiment a little as well.

I decided I wanted to use biscuit dough rather than crescent roll dough like most recipes call for - in my mind biscuit dough is less greasy and dough-ier. I didn't quite buy the dough that day but I did today for $0.83 (store brand).

(so sorry for the empty packs :-))

With only two ingredients, it is super simple. There are 10 biscuits in the pack and they are pretty small, so I used 2 biscuits for each pig in a blanket. The pack of sausages was 6 but I used only 5 for obvious reasons (the left-over one would make a perfect part of tomorrow's breakfast :-))

Preparation is super simple:
- Going by the directions on the biscuit pack, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Grab 2 biscuits, press them together and flatten out to about 1/2 an inch thickness.
- Roll each sausage in the flattened biscuit dough
- Place on a baking sheet - folded side down
- Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes


Enjoy on it's own (like I did) or with your favorite dipping sauce.





Friday, January 23, 2015

Puff-puff

My go to quick pick me up snack is puff-puff. I used to think it was so hard to make and it probably is when making a large batch. But for me and my quick mix to satisfy a sugar craving, here's what you do.

I make 2 versions, one with or without bananas. The bananas make it more nutritious but let me warn you - they are addictive.

Ingredients
All purpose flour
Granulated sugar (to desired sweetness)
Instant yeast
Warm water
Cooking oil
Bananas - optional

Preparation

  • Mix flour sugar, sugar and instant yeast and warm water until you get a sticky consistency and all ingredients are properly incorporated.
  • Cover in a bowl with a cloth and leave to rise at least an hour.
  • If using bananas, mash and incorporate into the mixture.
  • Heat cooking oil and drop spoonfuls of the mixture in the hot oil
  • Fry, flipping until browned on both sides and cooked on the inside (a few minutes)
It is best enjoyed hot but still delicious when cooled down.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Spicy Gizzards

Happy New Year y'all. Here's a quick yet yummy one perfect for any occasion. 

Ingredients

A pack of chicken gizzards (turkey is fine as well)
Garlic powder
Ground ginger
Light soy sauce
Chili garlic sauce (or sweet chili sauce)

Instructions
  • Season cleaned gizzards with a generous amount of garlic and ginger powders and place in a sauce pan.
  • Place on mid/low heat (gas mark 4) and allow to cook in own liquid stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until soft. Add little amounts of water from time to time if needed.
  • When soft and most of the liquid is done, add soy sauce and chili garlic sauce to taste.
  • Stir continuously for about a minute until gizzard if fully coated.
  • Take off heat and enjoy!

This delicious protein on its own as a snack (skewer or stick in toothpicks) or along with your favorite sides.


(Pictured here with a mixture of greens and boxed broccoli rice to which I added chopped carrots)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ham, Potato and Egg Casserole

I am always looking for interesting ways to cook potatoes. Given that they are starchy and high carbohydrate vegetables; and usually fats like butter and cheese are added to make them taste delicious, doing the diet thing, I tend to want to stay away.

When I do get a craving, not wanting to go for a mash or use them in my go to shepherd's pie, after a little recipe research, I came up with this. It is in some ways like a frittata but I skip the stove top portion and go straight to the oven.



Ingredients

One large russet potato (baking potato)
3 large eggs
Deli sliced ham (or whatever protein you have)
1/3 cup of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of skim milk
1/3 of a large red onion
1/3 of a large green pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation

- Peel and thinly slice potatoes and boil in water until tender
- Dice up onions and green pepper finely
- Whisk eggs and milk together and season with salt and pepper
- Slice up ham
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F once potatoes are done
- Grab a baking dish and spray with cooking spray
- Layer potatoes
- Scatter diced up onions and green peppers over potatoes
- Pour over egg mixture and place dish in oven
- After about 15-20 minutes the eggs should have almost completely come together
- Scatter shredded cheese over the top of the casserole
- Place in over for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the casserole start to brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick n Easy Brunch

It was around 2pm and I was just starting my day (don't judge me yo!). I wasn't really feeling like a typical breakfast but I wasn't ready for a full meal either.

So... I came up with sort of a frittata. I dug through left-overs in the fridge and came up with this.

You could probably use whatever left-overs you like and come up with something just as delicious.

Here's what I used: 
2 eggs
Oven roasted sweet potatoes/yams
Cooked spinach
Breakfast sausage
Caesar dressing (odd but delish)

What to do:
Place a skillet on the stove top on medium heat
Whisk eggs and caesar dressing in a bowl
Chop potatoes into bit size and add to heated pan sprayed with cooking spray
Saute for about a minute then add chopped up breakfast sausage
Saute for about a minute and add cooked spinach
After about another minute add whisked eggs
Cook until the bottom is done and flip - no worries if it breaks up. You can sort of put it back together.
Once fully done, slide onto a plate and grab a fork.

Crave worthy and satisfying!

Semi-homemade Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Inspired by half a box of left-over dark chocolate brownie mix and a family member fixing for a snack, I came up with this.

I am not sure why I was convinced I could make cookies from brownie mix, maybe I had seen it on one of the many cookie shows I'd watched and really what is the real difference between cakes, brownies (blondies) and cookies!

I did a little internet search, tweaked a bit to suit my taste and ingredients I had at home and voila!

What you need:

1/2 a box of brownie mix (Pillsbury 18.4oz)
1 egg
1 Tbsp of water
3 Tbsps of canola oil
1/4 cup of flour
Handful of chopped pecans

Preparation:

Mix egg, water and canola oil in a bowl
Add flour and brownie mix
Add chopped pecans
Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are fully combined
(Add 1 more Tbsp of water if needed)
Scoop onto a cookie sheet/baking pan and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 - 15 minutes
Allow to cool and enjoy!

I made these cookie along with my oatmeal cookies (see recipe on blog) and they went a whole lot faster.

Simple, a little healthier than the brownies if made according to directions and much more delicious!!!