i like food markets

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During my stay in Nigeria, I went shopping with my Grandma around several markets and observed the amount of energy and personal attention that goes into producing, preparing and selling food stuffs. The buzz of the market people and shoppers is a real treat! Could it be this same energy that adds spice and punchiness so many Nigerian dishes?

simpson street market ( a relatively upmarket market in Lagos)

My super friend Mottie has volunteereed to teach me a variety of Nigerian foods 😀 I am very excited! She even brought me beans to try out some moin moin. YAAAAAAAAYYY.

i LOVE food markets in london/anywhere in the world too. the mood is infectious!! fun, funnn, funnnest!

Blueberry & Sourcream ‘sorry’ cake

London

This is the first time I’ve made a proper round cake! Been a long time coming and I’m sooo happy I’ve done it. Not a big deal after all, just follow the recipe and take your time and it will come out delissh.

It’s pretty, light and fluffy! And had a yummy cream cheese icing topping.

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Although I was initially going to make it as an Olympics Celebration cake (don’t ask) I changed my mind and decided to make it for my lovely neighbour who i haven’t seen in a while…I haven’t been avoiding her (promise ) but my mum’s been around and it’s been very hard balancing ‘mummy time’ and ‘keeping up with friends time’. So, in a desperate attempt for getting back in her good books- I’m putting my amateur luck to the test:

I have to make a yummy cake for her.

The recipe is a Good Housekeeping magazine one, and was really simple!!

Recipe
– Self raising flour
– 175g butter
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 4 tablespoons of sour cream
– 200 g punnet of blueberries
– Raspberries optional

Chuck the flour, butter, vanilla, baking powder in a bowl and beat for 2 mins till smooth and lighter colour. Add in the sour cream and blueberries and stir in. Turn the oven to 180c, Line the cake tin with butter and grease proof paper and pour in the mixture. Put in the oven for 50minutes and take out when the cake springs up when you push it down. Was such a nice sensation pressing lightly on the sponge.

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Dramaaa

After taking time to mix all the ingredients, I THEN realised that Proper Cake requires grease proof paper to line the cake time. Rooky error. grrr. So i went all the way to Marks and Spencers (…ok fine 5mins down the road) and then the stupid store didn’t sell any : ( I’d just resigned to making the cake without paper and having yucky crumbly sides where i’d have to prise it free from the cake tin when a light bulb went off and i realised there was a bakery in the M&S. I smiled sweetly and asked the baker lady for some paper and thankfully she gave me an entire sheet, yippeeeee! So first obstacle overcome.

Dramaaa Pt 2
The cake was rising prettily and getting golden when my brother announced the service at church was earlier than normal, in fact in 30minutes time. grrrr. So I waited with the beloved cake as he and my mum went to church. Then when it was done I raced off to church to join them, leaving the decorating till later.

Icing
– 2 tablespoon Sour cream
– icing sugar
– 200g cream cheese ( I used low fat in a bid to get Olympic fit)

Mix it all in so it’s smooth. then when the cakes’ cooled down (15mins), patiently spread the icing on the cake. you can see i wasn’t that patient as mine poured all over the sides, but i actually think it looks rather snow-like and romantic.

Last step is to sprinkle your left over blueberries daintily to make pretty pretty cake.

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Took it round to my neighbour’s a couple of hours ago. We had some tea, ate some cake and caught up.

I think I’m forgiven. She even insisted I take a quarter of the cake back home for my mum and brother : )

Olympic Fever in London! 2012

olympics

London

Gosh, what a super long break I’ve taken. I’m back- hello!! I saw my baking and blogging mentor earlier today, we went back to an old haunt in Richmond, The Tea Box. Was very good to see her! As this very moment she is in the Olympic stadium! Eeek! Am so jalouse. So yes, it’s Olympic week and London is a buzz with an infectious party mood. Since the games started last week there’s been such an upbeat mood around town, an increase in chatter on the tubes and buses and general friendliness- it’s sooo fun!!! Am desperate to get tickets for next week! Woooooo!!!!

Well, in part celebration of the Olympics and in part celebration of me getting back to blogging, I am making a big, daring, beautiful cake! Weeee! And it’s Red, White and Blue in honour of Team Great Britain/ Team USA/Team France. Mwahahaha.

Ok, look, I’m all for team GB and a VERY proud Londoner (even if I can’t quite classify myself as British, as I am Naija till I die). BUT i decided the jingoism for the GB team got ridiculous when Mr Michael Phelps was swimming and the camera man decided to keep zooming in on an unknown Brit. AaaaaRGHH!! #!**$!!. I cannot forgive missing Mr Michael Phelps.

Yes yes yes- so Olympic fever time! And general happiness in London time at the moment 😀

Raspberry and apple cupcakes :)

London

Here is a cake I made back in June when I was working on a client site where they had a Baking monday. Was so lovely, they had a rota and the most unexpected people were on it: the Strategy director, the Race and Diversity head amongst others.

My raspberry and apple contribution was anonymous because I wasn’t on the rota; so I forfeited all compliments, sob. However, I did taste them myself when they were fresh out of the oven. I go by the old age adage ‘never trust a chef who doesn’t eat their own food!!’ and ‘never trust a skinny chef’- you got that second one for free. Ok, back to the point, it was gooey from the juice that came out of the raspberry, tangy AND had a fruity crunch. Also, a couple of my colleagues took cupcakes and said they yummaae scrummaae:D Oooooo, I am so proud, heheheh.

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Stay hungry, Stay foolish

I just watched Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech for the first time, I loved it! that was one brave man who thought hard about how he wanted to live, and put his philosophy into practice.

His philosophy being: don’t waste your life living somebody else’s, stay hungry to find and do what you love, be foolish enough to quit when you don’t love something and say NO to settling (watch the video, I know I was probably the last person to not have see it but just incase)

I hope I can be as courageous in my life- at ‘play’ and at work. I’m thankful to have started this little hobby of baking, it’s something I am excited about (I’m going to go back to the Nigerian food soon as i’m very excited about that)

Today I made a lime drizzle cake. as helped my friend Anna make one for a church event, then tried to recreate it at home but couldn’t remember the Levi Roots recipe we used so I just used Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake recipe instead.

I’m happy with it- it looks very sumptuous and homely. And it tastes so too- light but comforting 🙂 [I recently ate some cake from an italian cafe made with rice flour, it was v light and rather good, might try that soon] Very very pleased as it really is my first proper cake!! It’s not a cupcake and not a brownie- awesome!

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Also, my brother’s an excellent food photographer- how good is the contrast of green limes and pink bowl ? (Sorry for the crappy second photo- mea culpe)

Dreamy lazy weekend

After a whole week spent on an intense training and ‘networking’ (hate that word) with 40 brand new colleagues in Royston, I was thoroughly exhausted by Friday and very pleased to be back to home comforts in London. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the week. I actually liked it very much : ) was made up of a very good bunch of people.

Anyways- on friday night i went to Indochina in Soho, I barely ate any of my spicy beef noodle soup: i) because I was having an enthusiastic discussion with an ex workmate (debating CS Lewis and Nigerian development if you care) and my noodles got cold ii) because I had already stuffed my face with amazing takeaway my brother got before leaving home (Colombian chilli rice and lime fried chicken with verde sauce if you’re interested).

After dinner, my friend and i found a yummy GelateriA with delissh ice cream, I had chocolate and pistachio. He had nothing. : )

American Pancakes with bacon and honey, or blueberries and raspberries

My cousin and my brother and his gf were all home on Friday night when I got back. We stayed up till about 3 talking- and in our 3am sleepiness I offered to make breakfast and Charisa requested pancakes.

The star of the show were banana pancakes, I followed the recipe from my friend Susan’s blog (gratuitousnothingness.wordpress.com)

ingredients (for 12)

Mug of plain flour
Tsp Baking powder
2 bananas
2 eggs
Cup of milk

Separate the egg yolk and whites in put in separate bowls. In big mixing bowl poor flour, baking powder and milk. Pour in yolks and mix well till lumps reduced.

Whisk the egg whites very well the pour into rest of mixture. Fold in the yolks, makesure you don’t stir in. If too much air gets into mixture the a cakes won’t rise.

Then used a ladel to pour mix into hot pan with melted butter.

Then place some mushed banana on one side and leave to fry for a minute, then flip. Take off when both sides are golden!

outcome was yummmmm. Sadly I got mixed up with the egg whites so mine weren’t super fluffy but there were nice thick ‘ American movie’ style pancake.

salmon, eggs, spinach and mushroom

I also made this as a healthy alternative.

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outy or innie?

No, not your belly button, your personality.

Despite being lucky enough to have amazing friends in London, I’m actually someone who also enjoys alone-time ALOT. when I can just be with my own thoughts, read a book, go for a walk. my cousin salewa showed me a test on whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert. I would have said I was an ambivert, because as lots of u know I can be Very chatty. But I cAme out an innie. I’m not entirely convinced because although I like time alone, I also feel energised after seeing friends- so not sure.

I looked at the test again, and I’m definitely an ambivert. Do the test here http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-the-power-introverts/201103/quiz-are-you-introvert-or-extrovert-and-why-it-matters

has been a nice lazy, relatively introverted weekend. I attempted to go to a bar in notting hill with my cousins, but got there and was too tired to be friendly to a bunch of new people, so I nipped across the road to a cuuuute GelateriA called Dri Dri. It was all pastel and citrus colours and I had a refreshing pink grapefruit sorbet and a green apple one too. I also bumped into Hugh grant just outside !

Enjoying this weekend has made me thankful for downtime ! So good to rest and see family/friends. It’s helped me come to quite an important lifestyle decision about future work plans too!

What were your weekend activities? Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Test here -http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-the-power-introverts/201103/quiz-are-you-introvert-or-extrovert-and-why-it-matters

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Keeping up the adventure

I’ve just come back from a magical 2 weeks in South Africa. I feel refreshed and renewed from doing stuff I don’t normally do- surfing (trying to!) , horse riding (fast), swimming in gorgeous rivers, and sleeping in a hut!

Am determined to keep up a curiosity for new things back at home. And made a bright Indian Omelette for breakfast and a dinner of Ginger Chilli Okra and King prawn. Yummmmm. I was daring and put in way more spice than normal for the okra dish and it really worked. The omelette needed a handful more of each spice

Indian Omelette
This is really similar to a nigerian omelette, but I like the colour the spring onion and coriander adds

Fry 3 spring onions and chillies until soft
Beat 2 eggs with a handful of medium curry powder ( or White pepper naija style) ADD SALT. add egg to fried onions
Add chopped tomatoes and coriander and enjoy with flat bread- yay

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The below is how I actually ate it. How, at the age of almost 26, can I not flip an omelette without scrambling it :s

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King Prawn + Okra

Be patient and enjoy the fusing together of spring onion, fried fresh ginger, garlic, chilli ( I used scotch bonnet and Asian chilli) as they fry in butter on medium heat (10 mins)

Steam okra and courgette with salt until cooked but still crunchy ( I over steamed mine a bit, I’d say about 5 mins is a good amount- keep checking though and when the okra is turning too dark a green, get it off the heat 🙂 )

Add king prawn fried spices and fry. When they are turning pink (4mins), add some fresh tomatoes, I used tinned and actually it gave a nice tang, then add the okra and courgettes

Let all flavours mix for about a minute, then eat : D

This was really yummy- I really enjoyed it and it was satisfying without rice. okra is always incredible, the crunchy texture is amaze, and the courgette added some nice sweetness.

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Je t’aime

Happy Valentines Day everyone! By the time you read this, I’ll be in a safari park in South Africa- eeeek!

Here is a beautiful cake that my friend’s little sis made. Soo elegant. Mmmm, i love love. i am v surprised to be quite unbothered by Valentine’s even though I’m very single. Might have something to do with me going far far away : )