Happy New 2015...

2015 Year of Sweet Treats...

Happy (belated) New Year to you all my wonderful readers. Welcome to Funke Koleosho's Food Blog (FKFB) 2015...

Yes, it is my very first post of the year....! No apologies though....because it seem it is in my nature to take my time catching up and gearing up.... after all the fun and enjoyment of the festivities of Christmas and New Year. I take a view that I do deserve a good rest after all the hard work of and a truly rewarding 2014.

Food Ideas - Zobo (Sorrel) Recipes

Funke Koleosho's Zobo Food/Recipe Ideas

In Nigeria, zobo (sorrel) petals are commonly used to make a tea/drink. The green variety is used to make a vegetable soup, known as obe ishapa by the Yorubas. But the other potential uses are largely overlooked and not explored at all....

I have been challenged, mainly by the huge nutritional benefits of this plant, to explore different ways of incorporating the use of the petals in my everyday food recipes...(check out the profile of Sorrel/Roselle plant here).

Zobo (Sorrel) Milkshake

Funke Koleosho's Zobo (Sorrel) Milkshake

I am discovering so many new things to do with sorrel these days, its really exciting. From the moment I was able to make syrup from this really largely overlooked, exotic ingredient, it has been one discovery after another.

Once upon a time, zobo (sorrel) petals were only used to make tea/drink. The green variety was used as a soup ingredient in combination with melon seeds (obe ishapa to the Yorubas). But now, I have created a range of dishes using zobo as the main ingredient or as an added ingredient.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Turkey Strips

Funke Koleosho's Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Turkey Strips

On Christmas day, I typically pay little attention to what to make for breakfast, because there is so much to serve and eat for lunch...! Nevertheless, I still have to serve breakfast. It is important, particularly for me to gain the energy needed to get through the day and also it is important for my guest to have some breakfast so that they dont put me under pressure to serve lunch earlier than necessary...!

Turkey Suya Skewers

Funke Koleosho's Turkey Suya Skewers

This holiday season has been so busy, that I had no time to post my planned Christmas menu recipes.... such a shame...! Nevertheless, I am posting the recipes herewith, though a little late for Christmas, but you can certainly use them to create exciting party food to entertain guests, whatever the occasion...!

Zobo (Sorrel) "Chapman"

Funke Koleosho's Zobo Chapman

Chapman is a popular punch/drink in Nigeria, not so sure where it originated from, my guess is that its got some Lebanese/Caribbean influences.

Chapman is basically a cocktail of sugary drinks. sugary syrup and a couple of sliced cucumber and loads of ice. Alcohol may also be added to provide an exciting kick to the drink. No doubt, Chapman can be quite refreshing especially on a hot summer day, but I tend to avoid drinking it because of its high sugar content. I have tried in the past to make a variation of this drink with some success....I say some success, not because the outcome of my creation was not equally refreshing/delicious, but because it could not really be called "Chapman".

Mulled Zobo (Sorrel)

Funke Koleosho's Mulled Zobo

Hibiscus tea, sorrel tea, Roselle drink, bissap tea, sobolo, zoborodo all refer to one and the same drink, made from same ingredient and which can be regarded as a tonic due to its high nutritional content. (Read more about the nutritional benefits of sorrel here.)

Food Ideas - Desserts

Funke Koleosho's Dessert Recipe Ideas

Call them desserts, afters, third course.... you will be needing some this festive season. Incorporating some native fruits, and popular Nigerian snacks, I have created a variety of dishes that can be served as desserts or served after meals.  They are exotic, excitingly different, yet delicious  and West Africa inspired. Try some out, they are all very simple desserts to make, just like those you may already be accustomed to.

Sorrel (Zobo) Cake, Mixed Fruits & Sorrel Syrup

Funke Koleosho's Sorrel Cake, Mixed Fruits

This is another really exciting creation. The presentation is fantastic, which I believe goes a long way in whetting appetite.

I would like to believe I have been able to create the "healthiest cake in the world"..... The cake was baked with less sugar, less fat and sorrel petals, which significantly adds to fibre content of the cake.

Sorrel (Zobo) Cake with Sorrel Gellee, Ice-cream & Mixed Fruits

Funke Koleosho's Sorrel Cake Dessert Recipe

I was really excited to serve up this dessert to my family. The idea is so simple and not at all complicated. I achieved success with the very first attempt.

This dessert presents an explosion of tastes and flavours, making your taste buds really excited. The major challenge was extracting the essence out of the dried sorrel petals and achieving the right consistency with it. Subsequently the rest was a breeze.

In Search of the "Nigerian Desserts"

In search of the Nigerian Desserts

Desserts are an import to Nigeria but are actually really loved by Nigerians who live or lived in the western world and are accustomed to western cuisine.

While the French are the masters of desserts, Nigerians (or West Africans) are not the only people who are not regular dessert eaters. The French, English and Americans will perhaps expect to have dessert after a meal, but the rest of the world would probably not care much and only eat some on special occasions.

Banga Soup (aka Palm Nut Soup)

Funke Koleosho's Palm Nut (Banga) Soup

I have put off writing this post several times, but I eventually got round to cooking banga soup.... I have posted in the past of how Nigeria may possibly be the world record holder for the nation with the highest number of different types of soups...!

Food Ideas - Canapés

Funke Koleosho's Small Chops Recipe Ideas

Are you stuck for ideas on what to serve up this festive season, or for any other food event for that matter. Try some exciting West Africa inspired Small Chops (Canapés) recipes and excite your guests in a different and memorable way...

Suya BBQ Wings

Funke Koleosho's Suya BBQ Wings

I present another quick and easy chicken recipe idea, particularly handy for the festive season or any other food event.

Suya is a spice which is probably the most popular spice in Nigeria. The making it is based on similar concepts that the Indians produce their masala spices. Suya spice constitutes a blend of different individual spices such as ginger, garlic, chilli powder, seasoning etc. As you would expect, the blends produce different tastes and level of chilli heat/spiciness.

"Playing With Food" - The Rolled "Swallow" Saga

Rolled Eba

It is well over a year that an image of a rolled eba dish went viral... This dish caused a lot of sensation with majority of people hailing it as a creative way to serve a really traditional meal.

My first impression on seeing the dish was....well, that catches my attention..! This is exactly what I envision for Nigerian Cuisine; the creation and presentation of Nigerian food in a way that catches people's attention, albeit positively.

"Nkwobi" Red Pepper Cups

Funke Koleosho's Nkwobi Red Pepper Cups

What do (Japanese invented) collagen soup and nkwobi have in common? They are both really rich in a protein believed to be super beneficial for the skin!

Nkwobi is an Eastern Nigerian delicacy, which can be described as a really thick/dense soup, traditionally made with palm oil, blended spices, chillies and.....cow's feet...!

Suya Spiced Prawn "Butterflies"

Funke Koleosho's Suya Spiced Prawn Butterflies

Right....the second of my food ideas for this festive season; suya spiced prawn butterflies. You can rarely go wrong with prawns. They are easy to prep, take minutes to cook and they taste ohh so yummy. This dish requires little effort and will be ideal to serve as a starter, to prepare your guests for things to come....

Pick & Dip Platter

Funke Koleosho's Pick & Dip Platter

The festive season in upon us, and its time for wining and dining...! As expected, I get to host lots of friends and family during this season and sometimes, truthfully, I run out of ideas of what to serve. This situation worsens by the fact that I always want to serve something different, something new to excite my guests. So you can see, its a real brain storm session in the kitchen over what to serve.

Stewed Spinach Omelette

Funke Koleosho's Stewed Spinach Omelette

Still on finding lighter ways to serve my stewed spinach... This recipe may sound unusual, but you've got to trust me.... it is delicious, simple to make and full of goodness. I am serving with some boiled yam, to make the dish nutritionally balanced.

Stewed Spinach Sandwich

Spinach gives you strength, so says Popeye!

Funke Koleosho's Stewed Spinach Sandwich

West Africans love their greens (even though its much preferred cooked/stewed than eaten raw.) Different types of green leafy vegetables are collectively referred to as spinach, and they can be cooked alone, with added fish, meat or combined with other vegetables, seeds (e.g. melon seeds) or nuts (groundnuts).

Eko Tutu

Funke Koleosho's Eko tutu served with Egusi Soup

What do grits, polenta and eko tutu have in common...? They are all made from maize/corn, even though they undergo somewhat different types of processing. It's actually quite fascinating how same ingredients are processed and utilised in different ways in different regions!

Beans & Plantain

Funke Koleosho's Beans & Plantain

Beans and plantains are a match made in foodie heaven...! They go so well together, with the beans providing your dose of protein and the plantain providing carbs, good carbs that is, the one which releases energy slowly. (Read more about Nigerian brown beans and plantain here)

Food Ideas - Plantain Recipes

Do you love plantains? Have you tried plantains? Are you looking for some inspiration on how to cook plantains?.... Check out all my delicious, creative plantain recipes here.

The Jollof Rice Saga (#JollofGate)

Jollof Rice served with mixed Vegetables

Two days ago, Twitter was on fire with tweets and comments, mostly protesting Jamie Oliver's twist on the much loved West African rice dish - Jollof Rice!

First, I would like to state that I am all for creative and innovative cooking....from my recipes, it is clear that I do not shy away from experimenting with ingredients with the aim to discover/achieve new tastes and flavours.....but even I, can only go so far.... while making my creations, I always bear in mind and show respect for the originality and passion that people hold, for which the dish is known and loved.

Understanding Nigerian Spices - Uda

Uda - Nigerian Spice

Another interesting spice indigenous to West Africa is the guinea or negro pepper locally known as uda. This spice is used for its aromatic crisp flavour. Not quite sure why it is described as a pepper cause it does not impart any peppery heat?...

Understanding Nigerian Spices - Aridan

Aridan - Nigerian Spice
pic courtesy - chefaporter.com.br

The tetrapleura tetraptera tree is common to West Africa and it produces a rare and unusual spice with exceptional fragrant, sweet and aromatic properties. This spice is called Aridan (Yoruba dialect) or prekese by the Ghanaians.

Understanding Nigerian Spices - Kanafuru

Kanafuru - Nigerian Spice

Yes, cloves grow in Nigeria where they are locally referred to as kanafuru. They are a traditional spice but are more commonly used in traditional medicine such as agbo or aseje, this is more common in Yoruba speaking areas.

Understanding Nigerian Spices - Ehuru

Shelled Ehuru - African Nutmeg

Ehuru, also known as African nutmeg, Calabash nutmeg or Jamaican nutmeg, is a seed used as a spice for its fragrant / aromatic properties. In traditional Nigerian cooking (particularly with the Yoruba and Igbo people of Nigeria), it is added to soups or stews and also used in traditional medicine concoctions.

Yellow Pawpaw

Yellow Pawpaw with bits of Coconut and Cantaloupe melon

In Nigeria. the term "Yellow Pawpaw" is jokingly used to refer to someone who is light skinned, (especially women)....but actually it is a term that describes over-ripe papaya. Such would have an all round yellow colouration on the skin and the fruit flesh/meat will be soft and sometimes mushy.

Back To Basics - Seafood Medley with Soaked Ijebu Gari

Back to Basics - Seafood Medley with Soaked Ijebu Gari

As I absolutely love experimenting with food and creating wonderful fusions, there are days that I just want the simplicity of Nigerian local delicacies, served the way they are meant to be served, though with a little "caveat", they still need to tally with my healthy eating agenda...! From now on, I will differentiate such recipes with the tag BToB - meaning Back To Basics.