10 Minutes With Victor Ehikhamenor…The Subtle Foodie

The ever smiling Victor Ehikamenor, a native of Edo State Nigeria is one artist that makes the Federal republic of Nigeria proud.

I first met Victor on Facebook through my friend Ruona and one thing that drew me to Victor was his writing; then I later got to know that he was an artist too. Victor describes his art as a figurative abstraction; using iconography. See big grammar on top o 🙂

There are days I would see a picture of his art work and though I may not understand it, for some reason it always feels so refreshing. They say the secret to a successful career is in genuinely enjoying what you do. Watching Victor as he relishes and enjoys his art is one that gives me joy. and as he draws, he stays smiling and stays drawing.

Victor can make a squeezed piece of paper have so many diverse meanings. His pencil on his paper seems to always make another sweet dream come true.

Two heads cannot wear one crown…by Victor Ehikamenor

Apart from the fact that he is an excellent artist, he is also a foodie and a fantastic food photographer. Knowing him as an artist helps me understand the story behind each photo. It’s like knowing how a person thinks and being able to kind of know their moods at a given time without them explaining.

A regular person would see a pretty plate of Ayamase sauce with rice and fried plantain above. But knowing Victor, this Ayamase came served from the gods for eternal satisfaction from hunger; just like Manna from the heavens. And these little things are just what fascinates me about him. Victor cannot just be ordinary.

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Seafood Ayamase…

Some months ago, I was instructed by my Doctor to eat more seafood. It kind of made me foodie sad because I love goat meat and suya; especially suya. How on earth am I supposed to eat in this life without the satisfaction of eating suya. Don’t you know that he who brings suya, brings life? Have you ever had suya and soaked garri?

I decided to eat more sea food and vegetables. Not easy, but better for me.

On this weekend, I craved Ayamase so bad, but with ponmo(cow skin) and offals. I knew there was going to be no Offals in my sauce because of my Doctor’s instruction; so I went for seafood and this is one recipe everyone has to enjoy.

After making Ayamase with seafood, I don’t think I will ever make it with Offals again. Even though them fried Offals are bae.

There is something about the taste of seafood and fish soaked and dripping with Ayamase sauce. Biting into the soft crab leg was so deliciously satisfying. And the eggs, all you have to do is boil them and using a tooth pick, poke tiny holes in them before dipping them into the sauce. The eggs soak in the sauce and the flavor is divine. For someone like me who isn’t crazy about eggs, this is probably the only way for me to honestly enjoy them.

My favorite part about cooking Ayamase is tasting the sweetness of the Iru. The Iru makes not only for a sweet smelling pot, but for one that tastes so good and reminds you of your mother’s home cooking.

I speak no more. Recipe below..

Seafood Ayamase…
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs seafood(crabs, shrimp, lobster, mussels, fish, oysters)
  • 4½ cups green pepper and habanero (ata-rodo) blend (blend 8 green peppers, 8 habaneros and boil until thickened into a paste)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsps. Iru (locust beans)
  • 1 tbsp. crayfish powder
  • 1-1½ cups meat stock or water
  • 1 cup bleached palm oil
  • 4 boiled eggs(poke with a tooth pick)
  • bouillon
  • salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Pour palm oil into a cooking pot with a tight lid. Heat the palm oil on low for about 10 minutes or more. You should have like a rum colored oil once bleached.
  2. Remove the pot and set aside until slightly cooled. Chop in the onion and fry until translucent. Add the Iru and fry until fragrant; then add the pepper blend and let it come to a slight boil until the oil floats to the top. add the eggs and the meat stock and cook until the oil floats to the top. Add the seafood and cook for another 4minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the oil (if it seems overwhelming) while you let the sea food sit and soak in the sauce. Enjoy.

 

10 Minutes With Adekunle Gold. Orente!

The stylish Adekunle Gold! The one and only Orente Master! If you have ever heard the Nigerian song “Pick up” and liked it; then you automatically like Adekunle Gold. Yes, it’s by force 😛 . He is not just a foodie, but he is one musician Nigerians have watched grow. At first when I sent him an email, I thought he would blow me off, but dude responded and promptly too.

2016/2017 has been a successful year for Adekunle Gold. My best friend and I first noticed Adekunle Gold on Simisola’s page on Instagram years ago. A few years later I heard the song “Pick up.” I went on Instagram and I became love struck with this guy’s voice; then I asked my friend “was this guy not Simi’s bruh/bae that year?” Beautiful!

Not only is he known for his acts of savagery/clap back on Twitter, but he is down to earth and never forgets his roots.

 

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10 minutes With Chris U Aguocha Esq…(Magical Jollof Rice and Plantain)

In the Western world, Nigerian Chefs are working hard to show case Nigerian food. Not only that, there are caterers and Nigerian restaurant owners catering to the needs of Nigerians who aren’t able to cook our local foods in their homes or people who just want to enjoy a good Nigerian meal without the prep and stress work.

I had the opportunity of talking to a good friend about the subject matter. And if there is anyone to talk to about Nigerian food in the USA, it is the avid foodie Mr. Chris Aguocha. Esq. Sometimes, it’s just better to look through the eyes of the Nigerian consumer when it comes to our food. Consumers who attend a lot of Nigerian parties and often visit Nigerian restaurants are even more important. These consumers help the Chefs tell their stories.

The thing is that, we have to do more than being mediocre when it comes to presenting our foods. and the running of our restaurants. When it comes to the Nigerian consumer, we must be open to try new things and when it comes to the Chefs we must understand how to sell our delicacies and in the right environment. I remember posting a photo of an already prepped canned stew/Jollof sauce base on social media a while ago and I asked a question wanting to know if Nigerians would buy the sauce to use as a short cut to making their stews and Jollof base. We all know how much prep work goes into even the simplest of Nigerian foods. The answers I got were very discouraging. Although it came from Chefs who would rather make theirs, we have to understand that our attitude to our Nigerian food reflects to others who judge these behavior in their decision making on whether to try Nigerian food or not. I’m not saying that making your own sauce is mediocre, I’m saying we must show support to our own who try to make these easy short cuts for us. Our attitude to our food works a great deal for or against us.

Just as the Westerners are comfortable eating and making Asian and Indian foods; even in their homes, it should even be easier for them to explore with Nigerian food. The way the Nigerian Chefs and consumers tell our stories through our food is ultimately important. I would love to see mainstream American food bloggers write about Nigerian food; and not only that, I would love to see them make some…

Mr. Chris, a friend is also a practicing Lawyer in the United States. He owns a law firm at oaulaw.com . A well known lawyer and Nigerian socialite with a foundation in Nigeria, he graduated from Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria with a Bachelor of Laws LL.B. (Honors), 1992 and with a Masters in international law and Juris Doctorate from Hofstra University NewYork; with Law licenses from NewYork, Conneticut, and District of Columbia. And in the interview below, we talked mildy about the growth of Nigerian food in the US food industry.

I have had in depth conversations about Nigerian food with Mr. Chris and his passion to see Nigerian Chefs promote Nigerian food; even as one who doesn’t cook much is very obvious.

Apart from being a foodie, Mr. Chris is a dear friend who has helped me tell my stories through my writing.

I have met people in my life, people who have been there and encouraged/helped me heal and his friendship is significant to me. When I’m comfortable discussing my passion with you, it means you are special to me. And when it comes to my passion, Mr. Chris is 100% in and I think it’s because it has something to do with food(tongue out). Who no like better thing? Here’s to friendship 🙂

So, if you want to know more about this awesome dude and his opinion about Nigerian food in the USA, continue reading below 🙂

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7 Creative Ideas To Celebrate A Girlfriend’s Birthday (Sponsored post)

There are thousand ways to make your birthday special. Some like loud parties with a big gang of friends, another prefer a quiet dinner in a family circle, some people don’t celebrate their birthday at all. But there is a huge difference between celebrating your own holiday and making a surprise for your special one. Many men sooner or later look for ideas for girlfriend’s birthday. Is it so hard to impress her? We are sure one of our options will be remembered for years.

1. Take her to an event
Hundreds of interesting events take place in every city and we know, yours is not an exception. You can do so much together on this special day: go to an art festival, watch a sport game you both love, listen to new artists on a music festival. The key thing is to hold your plans in secret right until the moment of celebration comes.
2. Plan a special trip
It can be very difficult to keep this present in secret, but you may hide your destination at least. So, chose a perfect place where you can stay together. It can be a nice cottage in the woods near the lake where you can swim, a picturesque resort at the seashore or an ancient city somewhere nearby. In all these cases, you can discover new interest sites and spend time all alone in a romantic atmosphere. When you get tickets or documents that prove your reservation, put them in a gift box so you could present a birthday trip as it should. Don’t know where to go? Ask about some places she dreams about in advance or ask her relatives for help, remember the most interesting and available destination for a weekend. You will make the biggest surprise in her life.
3. Become her personal chef
A man who can cook is one of the most impressive and sexy image for girls, especially when he cooks something special for her. Do you wish to astonish her as much as you can? Then prepare in advance! Learn some sophisticated recipe in a book or better on the web where you can watch a comprehensive video guide. On your girlfriend’s birthday, demonstrate your incredible cooking skills right since morning. Prepare her a breakfast and then tease her all day with sweets. In the evening, it will be a time for a romantic dinner!
4. Congratulate her at midnight

It happened to you when someone texted you birthday congrats right at midnight, didn’t it? So when the day comes, wake her up at 12 and wish her a happy birthday. But don’t go back to sleep immediately. Invite her for a night walk or lay together at the backyard for stargazing. If you decide to stroll until down, then pick up a nice cafĂ© for romantic breakfast.
5. Set a day at SPA
Girls are not the only one who loves SPA and massage. Of course, your darling will be incredibly happy with the whole day of beauty procedures, but she will get more pleasure if you will be by your side. By the way you will also like this! Pay a whole day at the bet resort and enjoy it together. Swim in pools, relax in a hot tub, get massages, and just enjoy a day when everybody cares about you.
6. Make hidden notes
The night before her birthday writу funny, loving, and cute messages and congrats on as many papers as possible. Hide them in the places where she will go in the morning and during the whole day. Appropriate places are: her wardrobe, bathroom shelf where she stores her cosmetics, working table, her laptop, fridge (better put it on something she will eat), and a book she is reading. A nice prelude before starting a real celebration.

7. Pretend you forgot
If she has a remarkable sense of humor, she will definitely remember this celebration. The point is acting like you forgot about her birthday completely (it is easier to trick if you live separately). She can even get upset, but it is important to catch a right moment to reveal your surprise. You can just suddenly bring her to a restaurant, or give her a present she has always dreamed about, or set a huge surprise party! The last one will definitely knock her out.

 

 

 

visit romancecompass.com

Habanero and Mango Chicken Wings (Party Chicken)

There’s no party without chicken wings and my favorite happens to be the wings gotten from the stewing hen. I shared only one recipe this summer and I wanted something with a little excitement; especially for my children who happen to love chicken wings; and trust me I never thought my ajebutters would like these chicken wings until of course I made some and the whole gallon sized zip lock filled with chicken was gone.

Having a party, planning a girls night out or throwing a surprise birthday bash for your friends? This wing recipe has got you covered. One bite and you’ll fall in love.

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10 Minutes With Daniel Nwosu. Aka ThatsDax

Meet Mr. Daniel Nwosu Aka Thatsdax. A musician and college student with a love for basket ball who happens to be a Nigerian American; with a humility so humbling. Yes oh! We are proud of this young man. With his hit “I Want” making waves, Daniel has more 100k followers on Instagram, but he is more than an Instagram sensation and his music is being played beyond the shores of the United States.

I first heard of Daniel on Facebook. I fell in love with his music and pretty much said to myself “This guy is going to dine with kings.”Then I saw him on Instagram and listened to his music again and for obvious reasons, he reminded me of Pac. His cover of the shape of you done by Ed Sheeran is my favorite of his music. He mostly talks about real life’s issues and with the type of rap music being played out there, Daniel is the truth! That goes to say that to the American and Nigerian music industry, Daniel is the reincarnation of Tupac. The real Jollof of West Africa.

 

Once in a while, I like to talk to Nigerian celebrities who are also foodies. I’m sure that there are little things we would love to know about them; like what they eat, if they make their own food, if they eat eba with their fingers…I know celebs are humans too, but let me tell you, it’s quite fascinating to know little things about them. It sort of gives you the feeling that you know them. So officially, I know Daniel oh! he’s my friend *tongue out…Not everyday recipe abi? You’re in for a treat with this one 🙂

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Santi For Jollof.

The joy that we derive at the sight of food. One which makes us dance. I remember making jollof rice; knowing that I didn’t make any meat sauce. I used some local seasonings and at first taste I was dancing with all my heart and soul. The Hausa people call this behavior of dancing at the sight of good food Santi.

The first time I fried plantains…as easy as those things are to do, it’s easy to get the cooking process wrong. The temperature of the oil has to be just right for the insides of the plantains to cook. I fried the plantains and at first taste, I danced my heart away.
The Hausa people call this behavior Santi…
How many of you dance when you eat a very delicious meal or at the sight of golden fried puffpuff?

Like the lady in the video below, there is something good food does to you. It’s like orgasm after good sex. The way she speaks the Igbo as she scoops the Okra into her mouth is what we  call foodgasm 🙂

Even Mr Jollof  knows that where there is good jollof; there is no competition. Jollof is Jollof! Make it delicious, fry that stew, mix those spices and in the words of the bang master bangdadadang baby!

Even Kokun knows that food is right for everyone. By the way guys, please follow @kokunfoundation. He is doing amazing things to eliminate hunger in Nigeria.

Or is it when your crush dances at the sight of food?

My friends had somethings to say about food and santi:

 

Whenever I eat a delicious meal I don’t dance, it is my soul that betrays me. It does the Micheal Jackson backslide 😄😄. Chukwuemeka Ilo

I think it’s natural to me to dance at the sight of fried rice and salad. Me I dance o. No shy. Chimee Adioha

I don’t dance. There is however a sound I make when the food tastes so nice. My siblings have dubbed it santin Nana and they mimick it when they are eating something they like, in an attempt to tease me.
(I’m called Nana at home and by people who know me well, pronounced like cooking).

Santi is evidence that what someone’s EATING is delicious. It’s an expression of excitement.

For example when you give Modees Usman a taste of Rubywoo flavoured jollof and while eating, he begins to sing and bob his head, or he asks you how the food was made.

In hausaland, he’ll be seen to be making “santi” and anyone around will put a wedge behind him (which could be anything ranging from a pillow, a bag or a chair; especially when he is sitting without a back support) to prevent him from falling over due to santi.

About a couple of years back, a damsel from my neighbourhood came to my house at night. It was during the fasting month you see, so I offered her iced tea. At first she declined, saying she was okay, but then I insisted and so she agreed. One of my younger brothers was around, hence I gave him a glass to give to her.

After tasting, her response was: “wane flavour ne? Sorry” (what flavour is it? Sorry).

My brother still laughs over it, saying that she did “santi“, after declining the drink in the first place.

Zaniab Bonomi

Kitchen is my dancing place. I dance well well. I made plantain chips once on the spur of the moment. You would think I found the way to world peace. I ate one. I danced. I ate again, danced some more. Then I phoned my friend to say I made plantain chips. I was dancing and eating at the same time. My mum sings a special song when she makes her Ijebu dish, Ikokore! Something about enjoying it and it’s the devil that uses the yam for Gari. Kemi adeniyi Kale

There’s an Igbo song ọ that I know. Egwu nni ite sili n’ọkỄ… You repeat it as you dance or hover round the pot. Munoyedi Freda Athena Ogbolumani

I sing that song too,lol.sweet memories. Ochiabutor Ifunanya

I nod my head while eating o and dance after the eating the food. Anything Rice is bae. Chinwuba Kosi Linda

I dey dance Azonto. Laura Njoku

That excitement I feel at the sight of food is exactly why I cant be slim. 😐😐 I make noises. Depending on how delicious the food is, sometimes inappropriate noises. Even when I am describing food a friend of mine tells me I get a gleam and a faraway look in my eye 😁😁. Yemisi sawyerr

I don’t dance. I rub my hands with glee and my face lights up; according to those who have seen it first hand. Chidimma Nene Kayla Ezenduka-Ezike

I would like you to share your Santi with us by commenting below 🙂

Images on this post were gotten from Instagram @Mrjollof, @thatyorubaguy,  @kokunfoundation

 

Nigerian Gluten-Free

A year ago, my son was diagnosed with some food allergies and it broke my heart into pieces. Melodramatic much? No; I’d say.  I felt lost. What was I supposed to do? I wasn’t even used to eating gluten free foods. How was I to make meat pies, puffies (puffpuff) and African cookies (ChinChin)? Let me tell you, as much as we all love to be healthy, meat pies, puffpuff and chinchin are a huge part of our diet; especially when you’re Nigerian and your son loves meat pies and chinchin. Eep me to cry 🙁

A few weeks ago, I took my son for a check up after an allergic reaction. after conversing with the doctor and running a test, the Dr told me my son didn’t have celiac disease but just has a sensitivity to gluten. Meaning, his reaction to gluten is pretty much different from that of a person with Celiac disease. Praise God? Yes! Hallelujah!
Apart from our fried and baked snacks, Nigerian food is very healthy and mostly gluten free. It’s actually easy to live a gluten free life in Nigeria than it is in any other parts of the world. I don’t have facts, just speaking from experience. I remember living in Nigeria and making fresh meals with tons of vegetables for my father. You can go into the open market and get freshly butchered meats and freshly harvested vegetables and spices. Our local foods are gluten/wheat free except maybe the locally made breads; with which corn meal can be substituted.

When it comes to Nigerian swallows, there are various kinds which can absolutely be eaten safely by anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. there are various types from, Garri to Akpu; which are made from cassava root. There is also the corn swallow made from maize. Or is it the one gotten for cocoyam? Nigerian diet can safely be enjoyed by anyone at all. It’s actually healthier.

I received an email from Sally and below is the article she sent me about African food and gluten as it goes for Nigerian foods


Gluten-free Nigerian Ingredients
People on gluten-free diets often feel dismayed by the apparent lack of choice available to them. Lots of tasty dishes are suddenly off the menu, all because they happen to contain wheat, barley or other gluten-heavy grains. Luckily, many typical Nigerian ingredients are naturally free from gluten. You can go on enjoying a delicious range of healthy, scrumptious meals without the misery of gluten sensitivity or celiac symptoms.
Yam flour
You already know that yams are a traditional staple food, but did you know that they’re also free from gluten? Therefore, yam flour makes an ideal substitute for wheat or barley flours. Some recipes will have to be altered a little, but yam flour can be used to make all kinds of tasty baked treats and time-honored recipes.
As well as being free from gluten, yams are rich in dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. They are also full of vitamins, including vitamin B6 — something that people on gluten-free diets may struggle to obtain.
Plantain flour 

Plantains are a naturally gluten-free food. Plantain flour is delicious, and can be incorporated into lots of different recipes. Plantains are high in vitamins, especially B vitamins and vitamin C.
Coconut flour
Coconut is one of those classic ingredients that everyone loves, but not everyone’s tried cooking with coconut flour. With its light texture and mild sweetness, coconut flour is a delicious alternative to grain flour. It’s the ideal ingredient for sweet dishes such as pancakes, or can be stirred into sauces and soups. Coconut flour is also a good substitute for nut flours if you have a tree nut allergy.
Other benefits of coconut flour include its high dietary fiber and the important proteins it contains. If you’re looking for low-carb ingredients, coconut flour is a great option — it’s very low in carbohydrates and in calories, too. You can safely use coconut flour in many diabetic recipes, or for low-carb/high-protein diets.

Ogbono
Ogbono is a great ingredient for those on a gluten-free diet. You’ll be relieved to know that draw soup can be made completely free from gluten, just so long as you don’t add any gluten-containing ingredients. Ogbono is also nourishing and high in fiber, and helps regulate your appetite.
As you can see, it’s easy to adapt traditional Nigerian cooking to your gluten-free diet without sacrificing any of your favorite foods.

 

 

 

 

 

Wife, Not cook. #PepperdemEggs

A few months ago, there was a trending hashtag #wifenotcook amongst Nigerians  on social media. The hashtag was said to have been created by a Nigerian man on Twitter who wanted everyone to know that his wife was more than a cook and as usual, this got a lot of Nigerians arguing…Then another hashtag #husbandnotatm was created.

If only we knew what our priorities were, these hashtags wouldn’t have been an issue. Me when never eat belle full na me wan come follow people wen eat belle full argue. For why na?

When it comes to the African woman, I don’t think we relish enough in our strengths. The ability to multi task mostly 🙂
Before the dawn of Christianity, the African woman has always worked.  Not only have we always worked both inside and outside of the home, we have also cooked in addition; even before the arrival of feminism. Our roles have never changed.
In the early days, the men were always put first and “seen” as stronger. They were left to do the hunting and most of the farming. Sometimes, the women also went farming too and with their babies on their backs. When they got home in the evenings, the woman would still have her baby on her back and still prepare dinner for her family. Now ask yourselves “why was the life expectancy of the male lower in the early days as opposed to the womens’?”
Looking at this from a medical point of view as regards our health. It made the African woman live longer. We moved around a lot more than our male counter parts, we went to the farm, we cooked, we took care of our children and lookingat the benefits of exercising, it was more beneficial to us.
 I grew up watching my mother build her career as a Chef and she was also a mother, a wife to my father and a “cook” to us. The African woman is one of the strongest specie on the planet. We are known to juggle child birth, mothering, wifing(for lack of a better word) and a successful career.

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