Nigerian Style Uziza Ribs

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I promised to post this recipe, so here it is. First of all, I just want to say yay for my good friend who is in town for the moment. We all have that one friend who puts a smile on our face and kind of makes all our woes go away for a moment 🙂

I developed a recipe for braised short ribs last year, but I felt like it was missing something so I went on the internet and googled different easy recipes and the only one I really fancied after a year was the recipe by divas can cook. The first time I tried out their recipe, it was really good; the next time I made it, I tweaked it with some freshly grounded Uziza seeds i.e. piper guineense and kaboom!

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When it comes to me fusing Nigerian recipes with Western recipes, I try not to make any drastic changes, but it could also be quite frustrating. I don’t know about other food bloggers, but sometimes my passion feels like a burden; and not only when you don’t have all your gadgets in place, but also when you have to think about recipes. Sometimes, it could be so over whelming, but on days like that, I take a break; a well deserved and long one to clear my head.

Now speaking of gadgets, our laptop has been over heating and doing some other magic and my camera has been acting like it has a mind of it’s own. In fact I feel like a farmer with a damaged hoe(the farm implement that is). The only people patient enough to use the laptop are my ajebutters.  Most days, I just leave it closed, sitting and looking miserable in the corner. But would you blame the poor thing? Ive had it for over four years. Blogging aint easy! And to blog, one has to have the right gadgets to work with. On days like today, I get excited about new recipes to try and photograph, but once I think of or remember my camera and computer, I almost lose interest…sigh! Well, Im praying and working hard for a Mac and a new Camera. Until then, I remain passionate 🙂

Back to the ribs! I loveeeee ribs and I was laughing internally when my friend called me and asked “please can you make me ribs?” I said to myself “she has been converted.” hehehe

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Mince Meat In Ayamase Sauce(Mince Meat Ayamase Sauce)

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This recipe is very dear to me and I was saving it for the holidays, but I love you guys too much not to share.

This recipe came about through a conversation I was having with @chefseuny on Instagram. See, we are friends on Facebook and sometimes we have food banter. One day I made a Chinese pineapple bowl filled with ground beef and she asked, is that mince meat Ayamase? And ding! The idea began to grow in my head until I decided to make some one day. I mean, it can serve as our own version of Chinese sauce sha. Imagine turning a favorite past time recipe into staple and favorite (covers face).

My favorite way to enjoy this sauce is by pairing it with soft fried plantains and rice. Not just any rice, but Ofada rice.

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One Pot Efik Style Coconut Rice (Edesi Isip)

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If there was ever any Efik dish I enjoy cooking, it’s this simple coconut rice. On days I want something quick and easy and one pot, this recipe comes in very handy. One pot dishes for me are quite exciting as it makes use of less dishes and pots! This means it’s less dishes to wash(I don’t like doing dishes).

I have shared before that my son has some food allergies and sometimes I run out of ideas for his lunch pack for school. One Tuesday morning, I made him a veggie cheese sandwich and I just felt so awful at the fact that it wasn’t “real food,” so I decided to think up something simple and easy to add to his food table and this recipe came to mind.

There’s no way you could mess this recipe up. It’s simple, easy and straight to the point with directions.

One other thing that pleases my palettes when it comes to this recipe is the smokiness and creaminess of the rice after cooking. It reminds me of Warri coconut rice; which when made comes out smoky, creamy and mmm delicious.

I love  Efik recipes because of the different variations they have. There are some recipes that’s are not so straight to the point, some that require a ton of ingredients and the ones like this.

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Ofe Okazi(Okazi Soup)

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I am excited and my stomach is filled with butterflies as I watch my ajebutters eat this soup and love every single bite. In fact, I am full, but I want to go for seconds, just so I can savor the very delicate taste.

Ofe Okazi(also known as Ukazi soup) is one of the jewels of  south east Nigeria. It’s one those soups that reminds me of my mother’s kitchen…My mother made this soup, but not always as it was just one of those soups, you don’t just cook just because……

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Local Yam Pottage Stew. When Local Hits The Spot!!!!

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Have you ever had those days when you were hungry and all you had were a few ingredients? Even though, I like the partially old yam, it’s new yam season and with no rice in sight, I made this bowl of yam pottage stew.

I have not always been an ajebutter. Growing up, there were times when things were quite tough. There were days when mother made native soup with coco yam and tiny bush snails. We also ate palm oil rice and yam pottage stew.

I call this dish pottage stew because of it’s slightly soupy nature. It’s not squishy or really broken down like the regular Asaro or Igbo version of yam pottage(ji’ akukwo). It’s made to fill whomever may be eating it and not only with comfort, but in the belly too.

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As I cooked this pot of stew, a little bit of tears rolled down my eyes and unto my cheeks as I remembered my father. I remembered how hard things were at some point, I remembered how hard my mother worked and how this road helped me to grow to appreciate the little things that were done for me.

Things weren’t always tough for us. We lived as a middle class family when my father worked at NNPC(Nigerian National Petroleum Coporation). NNPC is a company through which the federal government of Nigeria regulates the production and sale of oil in Nigeria. While daddy worked there, we ate well, lived in a safe environment(NNPC housing estate) and had all our ajebutter friends to play with lol. My father worked as a supervisor at the Jetty. I remember him explaining to us once that the Jetty was the place through which the oil was brought and shipped out after being processed. He said each production of oil and it’s sales could feed the whole of Nigeria for a month without any problem.

At some point, my father was retired and we had to move out of the estate to an accommodation we could afford. I was quite young and really didn’t understand why we had to move. We eventually became a government of ourselves; as it is with most Nigerian citizens. We had to get our own water, our own security, transportation and power. We always had a farm, so we ate pretty much all we grew and that helped us a great deal.

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Pan Fried Coconut Jollof Chicken

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I have a perpetual love for chicken wings and I have made it in all kind of ways this Summer. As the Summer comes to an end, I want to share a recipe that would give my readers something to remember as we go into the cold season.

I had written the first draft of this and I lost it. I don’t know who sent me to use my old laptop. The thing had already died, but I tried to revive it; as I haven’t been able to afford a new one in the spec that I need. I figured a Mac would be better and I trust God to provide me with it. Windows dun show me say I need to move on. Anyway, my oldie laptop said no and she and froze on me. Now I’m here, looking all shades of crazy, trying to remember all I had typed for the body of this recipe 🙂

There is something comforting about biting into a chicken wing. Apart from Jollof rice and plantain, it’s the next best thing to me when it comes to food. There are days I crave chicken wings so much that I can begin to smell it in my nostrils. On this particular day, I came home from a three mile walk and I could already taste the wings in my mouth and to my self I asked “which kind thing be this?!” I already lost some weight, so why this wing craving? You don’t have to provide an answer……(rhetoric)

How does it taste? Recently, I have been crushing on Phyno. In fact I call him my husband; then I listened to Tekno’s Pana and fell instantly in love. There’s something about a bad boy that makes women to lose themselves hehehe…So there I was on the floor of my bed room eating my chicken wings and nodding to Pana 🙂 …Eating my chicken wings also reminded me of when my son finally tasted soy butter and jelly for the first time. The way he described it was funny, but to a foodie like me, I understood every gesture. He said “mommy, I want that soy butter and jelly sandwich again for lunch. It tastes like peanut butter and when I bit into it like this (he gestured) mmm mmm it tasted so good!” So yes my chicken wings were mmm mmm good like the swag of Phyno and the naughtiness of Teckno…only those who have attended this groove will know what I mean 🙂

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Nigerian Lazy Chef and Nollywood…(10minutes with Nse)

 

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If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I have this undying love for Nollywood. Nollywood is to Nigerians what Hollywood is to Americans. Even in the continent of Africa, there is Nollywood; then there are the others 🙂

Last year, I made a good friend in Nse Ikpe Etim. Nse is a Nollywood actor and a beautiful one at that. She is a not only a good friend, but also my sisteh!…Nse is not just an actor, but she is an unrepentant foodie. I remember the first time we spoke, she was on location somewhere in South Africa, but all she could talk about during our conversation was food. She was “Hungry”. I mean she had food, but she wanted Nse’s cooking. She was so down to earth and I just could not believe she even took the time to call me. Each time I expressed my surprise at her humility, she would say things like “Nma, aren’t we sistehs?’ Apart from acting and cooking, Nse runs a natural/Artisan hair and body brand called Edenstheory…I mean, have you seen her skin and her hair?! Chukwunna! please check out http://edenstheory.com/

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If there is anything, I learnt from Nse, it’s to always pay attention to detail; no matter how small. She has taught me never to give up on anything I love, but to try harder before thinking of throwing the towel in.

To Nolly wood, Nse is the butter that glistens Jollof rice. There was a time I went for weeks and all I was doing was watching her movies. And for her glistening my Jollof and glistening our screens with precise performances, I want to celebrate her today! Yes I know, she has had other awards, but my celebrating her, kind of completes it for me; no vex :)…Please sit back, read and enjoy 🙂

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1) NLF: Nse, you’re an actor and a foodie, what got you into it?

Nse: Haha, I became a professional actor by accident. Emem Isong literally forced me out of my comfort zone to try it and here I am… I guess I took  being a foodie to another level… Dad made me cook when I was young and I made a horrible pot of Egusi soup and he ate it.. The horror on his face could not be masked by his love for me, so I swore that I would learn how to cook… I still don’t like Egusi by the way… Bad memories.. Then of course cooking for my siblings became my chore, mum ran a small restaurant and I had to oversee that with her help of course and I just kept on…

 

2) NLF: How do you balance your real life; being a foodie and a popular actor?

Nse: I don’t know about being popular but acting is my job….so it would be like asking any other professional how they balance loving food, and doing their job… I just get on with it… I love them both in different ways…. So I will say that there are so many facets in life and I have discovered along the way that I had to do a little bit of everything to keep the balance, difficult, but I am evolving.

 

3)NLF: You’re an obvious foodie. What’s your favorite food and how often do you get to cook/eat it?

Nse: Food is art. Every new recipe comes with its own experience and I am open.  I cook everyday and I might as well eat it… I also love take outs too when I find good food.

 

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4) NLF: How did you get your break into the movie industry?

Nse: Good friends always nudge you in the right direction. I am thankful to Emem Isong,  Jeta Amata , RMD and a whole lot of others.

 

5) NLF: How do you impact the community with your work?

Nse: I am enthused about social work. From Volunteering to Lectures at Institutions, and I am not averse to nurturing within the family hence we have established “The Nurtured Ones”.

 

6)NLF: How did you find out your passion was acting?

Nse: I did not know it was my passion until I did the movie “Reloaded” and then I reconnected with history ( Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Ava Gardener), and these actors inspired me to keep the drive.

 

7) NLF: As an actor and a foodie, where do you see yourself in the future?

Nse: I would like to pass on some of the things I have learnt in my journey through acting and food.

 

8)NLF: Your Instagram feed @nseikpeetim is filled with with beautiful pictures and pictures of food! Will you ever write a cook book?

Nse: Hehehehehe..Now that is encouraging…As an after thought, this could be in the pipeline.

 

9) NLF: Please tell us one funny, but embarrassing thing we don’t know about you.

Nse: I was coming down an escalator in a shopping mall, and I was making faces and being silly.. not looking at where I was headed. As I arrived at the bottom of the escalator, I fell face flat..It was a fun moment for the kids around.. How embarrassed was I?

 

10.) NLF: What advice will you give to me and others who are pursuing their passion; mine being food 🙂

Nse: Don’t Cook the books be thorough in all you do.

Thank you Nse…I’m still waiting for the Afang soup 🙂

Keep Calm and Eat Jollof Rice(Tips for making the perfect jollof rice)

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“What if I told you that Jollof is a state  of mind?” As a Nigerian, “Jollof” is a state of mind. To a Nigerian, it means sweetness, happiness, joy:)

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Jollof rice is said to have originated from the Wolof tribe in Senegal, it was a great empire which was divided into parts of the Gambia.
Now in the whole of Africa, different countries celebrate this dish in their own way. Each country has their different technique with which they cook the perfect Jollof rice. I have seen the Ghanaian style and the Nigerian style (which I have spent the year perfecting). There is this untold battle between Nigerians and Ghanaians on whose jollof rice is better. The Ghanians tend to have a softer and mushier rice; while the Nigerians enjoy their version steamed, a little dry and in single grains. I did taste some Ethiopian style jollof rice made with broken rice. It had the color and looked delicious, but it was mushy and had no maggi 😦  No way! And they used perfumed rice for it…All I could taste was the smell…Don’t ask abeg *eye roll…I keep reading about the untold battle between Nigerians and Ghanaians on who makes the best Jollof rice. Oh puhlease! There is no battle…it’s quite unnecessary when we already know that there’s no doubt that Nigerians make the best Jollof rice (go and argue with your emotions please:) )

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Will Travel For Food(My Trip To Chicago)

I have a dream and it’s to work for CNN as a food correspondent in Africa. I would love to travel like Anthony Bourdain and show the world what Africa has to offer when it comes to food. Not only that, being a food writer for the food companies is something of great interest to me. From my mouth to God’s ears.

During the first lap of the summer I planned a vacation, but it didn’t work out. I had wanted to do some restaurant reviews during that vacation, but I really feel within me that it was for the best that I didn’t make it. After that, my friend and I were having a conversation and we talked the whole vacation thingamajig. She asked if I wanted to go to Chicago for the Umu Igbo Unite(UIU) conference. See, we had talked about it last year, but we couldn’t make it. Well, we got prepared and went for the conference. See I wasn’t too keen on attending the conference, I just wanted to “Eat in Chicago!” 🙂 As in, no body goes to Chicgo and leaves without trying their hot dogs, pizza and tacos (well the tacos were an addition by me)

See, Chicago is a beautiful place, I had visited twice with my family and this was the third time. First we had to navigate through the crazily built airport and we made our way to our hotel. First of all, NEVER get a hotel room in a building being renovated. See, we knew the place was being renovated, but we never knew how disturbing it would be. Embassy Suites man! As in, even on the day of our departure, all I heard was drilling. I felt it was their way of telling us “it’s check out time! And I digress 🙂

My first evening in Chicago met me going to visit my friend Boomie. I met Boomie on Facebook and we hit it off from there. I told her I would be visiting Chicago and she estatically invited us over! Well, I invited myself and she agreed lol! I simply said to her “I’m visiting Chicago soon and I’m coming to eat ayamase; and I want some to go oh! I even told her that “fried rice must dey too o!” Anyway, my friend and I rode 1 hour to go see Boomie and eat ayamase! She not only cooked for us, she had ayamase for us to go. As in eh see lem!(food in vanacular). The girl can cook! chei! This is beyond instagram o. She also caters in the Chicago area. You should check her out on instagram @twopeascooks

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my dinner plate at Boomie’s house

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This is what I did with my bowl of Ayamase

The next day found us just exploring the little city and the neighborhood of our hotel. We were going for the UIU event in the evening, so we had plenty time to kill. I even got treated to Pf Changs for the first time. Yes in all the decades I have lived, I had never had Pf Changs, so here is to popping my cherry ehn!

8:30pm same day:

My friend and I had to get ready to go to the UIU gathering that evening. Honestly, I just wanted to sleep. We even woke up late and got there a little late. By the time we got there at 9, the place was filled with Igbo youths. I had goose bumps walking in, because I had never seen so many of us in one place at the same time. There’s something about being Igbo that just make me warm inside. We made our way to find seats and ended up at the back of the hall(where the pretty girls were seated hehehe)…There was a plate of something that looked like a warm, but stale salad sitting on the table in a salad plate. It looked too scary to touch really. When time came for dinner, we got served some rice, chicken and something that looked like fried bananas or plantains. Being Nigerian, I thought the contents of the plate was fried Nigerian stew and chicken with white rice, but being the foodie that I am, I had to ask the server what it was that we got served in our dinner plates and the lady replied “chicken, sauce and rice pilaf…” I scratched my head and said silently “ewo!”…and with one scoop of the rice into my mouth, I called it a day with the food. The rice was not cooked and it was a little soupy…I didn’t know if they were shooting for some kind of rice and stew risotto. I even had to knock my friend’s hands down from eating the stale salad and bananas. Although the cheese cake had been sitting on the table all evening, it was pretty much the only thing I ate, In fact we left the venue early and found ourselves at McDonalds. I didn’t even care for Flavour that was coming to perform. I’m a foodie and once a gathering has bad food, it’s usually over for me. I don’t know, but this was supposed to be a gathering of Igbo youths and I was expecting little plates of abacha, nkwobi or even Utara and Ofe Achi or even Egusi Igbo…Some South east based tapas would have made the evening memorable…but mba! Una no try for that side oh! Some people come to parties for the food! And if the food is awful, how do you improve? Hire Nma to direct food affairs next year…hehehe…seriously though…

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Dinner plate at UIU

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Basmati Jollof Rice(A Jollof State of Mind)

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Oh Chim! I wasn’t going to post another recipe for Jollof rice, but I get questions asking me if I have a recipe for Basmati jollof rice and instead of typing recipes all the time, I’d rather just have it ready on here for your Jollof needs 🙂

“So what if I told you that Jollof rice is a state  of mind?” As a Nigerian, “Jollof” is our state of mind. To a Nigerian, it means sweetness, happiness, joy:) And what if I told you that you havent’t lived until you have had Jollof rice?

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When I posted this recipe on Motherlandsfinest.com, my girl Freeds from My burnt orange said “it is the same as Ghanaian Jollof,” but I doubt that Ghanaian Jollof can taste this good…teehee!

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I prefer to use Basmati rice for my jollof needs because of the smell and the nutty taste of the rice. The makers of this rice knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to go into Basmati production. It’s like my ultimate favorite!

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