Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stir fried Shrimp Egg Noodles

The other day (more like months ago), at my neighbourhood supermarket, I stumbled upon packs of egg noddles. Gladly, they were being sold at a reasonable price, so I threw one into my basket.

A few days later, I whipped out the pack, rummaged through my cupboards and refrigerator and here's what I came up with;



Preparation

I chopped up some red onions, tomatoes and green beans and stir fried them in a heated, lightly greased pan - adding in that order. I then added the noodles (which had soaked in hot water until tender), as well as some pre-cooked shrimp.  Finally, I added a couple of dashes of soy sauce and 'garlic and chilli' sauce, as well as salt and black pepper to taste.

The result was the simple yet delicious meal above. Not a bad substitute for a Chinese take away :D

Monday, August 13, 2012

My version of Piedmont BBQ Sauce

I spoke about whipping up some BBQ sauce in my last post. Basically, I had a craving for some BBQ, with some solid glazing (and maybe dipping) sauce. Typically, I would run to the grocery store and buy a bottle, but being on this side of the pond, it's sometimes a bit difficult and expensive to find.

I have seen a couple of chefs make their own. Plus, it is the healthier and more adventurous choice. Who knows... maybe 'BBQ saucing' could become my new obsession and one day you'll find yourself running to the store for a bottle of 'Ovuoke's Fine BBQ sauce' :-)

To get me started on this quest, I looked up a few recipes online. As usual, I looked for something simple but tasty. So here's what I came up with;
It's a classic Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce - which is said to be typically served on smoked pork. I tweaked the recipe a bit, utilizing more readily available ingredients (recipe calls for cider vinegar rather than white wine vinegar and red pepper flakes rather than cayenne pepper)... well, what I had at home, and voila!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Preparation:Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days, allowing the flavors to blend. Shake before using.


It is designed to be a thin but flavorful sauce. However, preferring a thicker sauce, (and haven seen a few TV chefs at work) I reduced the mixture on the stove top for about 15 mins till it was about a third of the original volume.


I used the sauce with some chicken, and loved every bite of it. I'm sure you will too!

Here's my jar of 'Ovuoke's Piedmont BBQ Sauce'. It's still in the developmental stage :D

Firing up the grill 'just because'

Oh my... I looked at the date of my last post and almost passed out. I honestly cannot believe it's been over a year since my last post.

Life has been quite different since I left the states and I guess re-assimilation combined with less readily available ingredients, I just haven't experimented that much. I did however keep blogging - just not about food (check out naijacopa.blogspot.com).

Anyhoo... in all this time, one thing that I have gotten round to do, on the cooking tip is barbequing. I've loved to bbq since my mom bought our first outdoor grill some 15 or so years ago. Back then, I'd beg her to let me experiment with meats and bless her heart, even though my efforts were not exactly always successful, it gave me the confidence I needed to keep at it.

Fast forward to today. I won't call myself the next Bobby Flay and claim grill master (madame) status, but I do, do pretty ok. I got courageous a few months back and attempted to whip up my own BBQ sauce out of ingredients I already had at home, and charred up some chicken. Both were quite successful if I say so myself :-)

Titus fish - which is quite popular out here in Nigeria, is another frequent choice for me on the 'barbie'. I try to experiment with my spice mixture each time - one of my favs is a dried cumin/thyme mix which has this earthy and aromatic kick to it.

More recently - I went for a slightly bolder choice and skewered up some juicy chicken gizzards marinated in a mixture of dried spices and garlic & chilli sauce - something about the garlic & chilli sauce and gizzards, just works for me.

Below are some pictures (I apologize... forgot to take pictures most times). Hope you enjoy them, and they inspire you to light up your grill, experiment with spices, marinades and flavors; and just get lost for a few minutes in the delightful flavors of charcoal, smoke, spices and meat.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Corn, corn, and more corn

Hey friends... really haven't been doing too much experimenting with food lately. However... it's rainy season in Nigeria! Why is this good news folks? Corn (on the cob) that's why. Maize, corn, or whatever you call it, is an excellent option as a side dish... both on or off the cob. It's healthy, and as such fits into any diet, but most importantly, if you are a foodie like me... it tastes delicious.

As you walk or drive around the streets of Lagos. At almost every corner, there has emerged in the last few weeks, a street vendor steaming or roasting (BBQ style) some fresh corn.

After salivating for weeks, and convincing myself that I wouldn't have a single bite until I (or my mom or dad) purchased some fresh corn and I (or my mom) cooked it ourselves at home... my corn dream finally came true about a week ago.

There isn't really much to cooking corn on the cob. Some people like to steam it, which is actually an excellent way of retaining all of its nutrients.... but, sticking to the way it was done by my mom when I was a kid, and... considering that Nigerian corn is a little more tender than corn in the US (an attribute I actually prefer), I like to boil it in salted water. Depending on the quantity and tenderness, it takes about 30-45 minutes, and voila... happy eatings (feel free to rub on some butter/spread before devouring, but for me... I've never really been a fan of buttering my corn).

The batch we cooked last week was gone in a few days. Mostly my fault, I confess. I'd have corn alone for dinner some days (no shame in my game folks!), and so I hooked up another batch today. I enjoyed it so much I was inspired to share my joy with you. Yum all the way!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jerk Chicken

Since I've been back, the one thing I have been doing more than usual, on the cooking tip, is firing up the grill.

Forget the fancy, smancy, dual this, dual that, state-of-the- art grills out there on the market. What we've got is a simple, but highly effective charcoal (coal) grill. I've been experimenting with this grill since my teenage years, and today, with self proclaimed 'grill-master' status, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Today's recipe is 'Jerk Chicken'. A Jamaican classic, found in every self-respecting Jamaican restaurant, anywhere in the world. It has been one of my favorites for years, and I've made versions of it using the dried spice mixes, and jarred pastes.

In the absence of the above, I went back to basics. I pulled up a recipe from a cookbook, tweeked ingredients here and there, based on availability... and voila - Jerk Chicken a la moi!

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds of chicken
1 large scotch-bunny(habanero) pepper
1/2 medium red onion
1 2-inch piece of ginger
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsps white wine vinegar
3 tbsps light soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste (optional)

Method

- Prepare chicken and drain water (set aside)
- Finely chop the onion, scotch bunny pepper(remove seeds), ginger and garlic, place in bowl

- Add, thyme, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper, mix well

- Using a mortar & pestel (or a food processor) combine the mixture as well as possible

- Pour the mixture over the chicken, making sure all pieces are well coated

- Cover the chicken and place in a refrigerator to marinade for at least 2 hours
- Prepare your grill
- When hot, cook chicken on the grill, basting with the left over marinade and oil as often as need

Sit back and relax... while you enjoy this mouth watering dish on its own, or along with your favorite sides.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Delights

Happy New Year family!

Christmas traditions are common in most families, and in mine, it's in the way we prepare our Christmas lunch/dinner. The food preparation starts sometime in the evening on the 24th and ends early in the morning on the 25th.

Glad to be home again after so many years, although it was just me and my mom this year, my mom sat back and allowed me to prepare our spread. After she had done the grocery shopping (went to the market), I got down to business, and by 10 am on Christmas day, as we headed to church, we were looking forward to the following;

- Poulet braisse (grilled chicken)
- Stewed beef
- Curried goat
- Jollof rice
- Coconut rice
- Fried plantain

... and then we washed it all down with some store-bought fruit cake and ice-cream. Couldn't have had a better 2009 Christmas experience.



p.s - most recipes are already on here, the rest are coming soon...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Treacle Pudding with Custard

I stopped over in Birmingham, UK in August before I came home to Lagos, and on my last day there, my family took me out to dinner at a traditional English Pub. The atmosphere was just like you'd imagine - kinda like in the movies, and thus, was an excellent way to end my vacation.

After a nice dinner, I decided to go for a proper English Pudding (as the Brits like to call their dessert). Unlike some of the more adventurous sounding English desserts like the spotted dick (which is pretty much a sponge type cake with currants), the 'Treacle Pudding' is an excellent choice.

Treacle is a type of syrup, quite similar to maple syrup, but a little more golden in color, thicker and not as sweet in taste. The pudding is basically a typical sponge cake (something between an angel food cake and a white cake in density)with treacle (which isn't actually incorporated in the cake) drizzled and cooked on top of it. The cake was served with warm custard (The English tend to serve their puddings with custard rather than ice-cream like the Americans do), which tasted pretty excellent with the cake.

If you ever get a chance to visit a restaurant serving this dessert, I suggest you give it a try. It is a simple, light and delicious way to end any meal.