On my very delicious menu today is chicken and cauliflower soup, a dish that I have come to really love from the first time I tried it. I am a huge fan of cauliflower because, to me, it looks and tastes almost like broccoli and I love broccoli so much. No matter the recipe I make it into, for me broccoli will always be a favorite of mine, so being that cauliflower has semblance with broccoli, it makes my favorite vegetable list as well.

Cauliflower is an excellent healthy replacement for rice and potatoes, especially if you a diabetic, or just interested in a healthy lifestyle change due to the fact that it is weight loss friendly. The upside to adding cauliflower into your diet is that, because it has such a bland taste on its own, it tends to mop up the taste of every other ingredient you use along with it in any given recipe. Call it jack of all taste but master of none and you will be so right! Did I mention that it is also very filling? Hence it will keep you satiated for a long time but without the sugar rush. Just imagine substituting cauliflower for all your rice and potato dishes, then you would understand just how versatile this vegetable is.

Cauliflower can be made into jollof cauliflower rice, cauliflower fried rice, you can boil and mash it as a replacement for mashed potatoes, it can be grilled and eaten with a healthy dipping sauce, the taste of grilled cauliflower replicates roast yam but of course it is not the same. You can boil and mash it for use as cottage pie topping rather than potatoes, it can even be made into cauliflower swallow for those of us who love our solid food and soup.

Apart from how amazingly delicious this vegetable is, it is also a super-food that help ward off lots of diseases. such as diseases of the brain, heart diseases, diabetes and the dreaded cancer. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable just like broccoli and cabbage, kale and Brussel sprouts and it contains a combination of cancer fighting antioxidants such as, carotenoids, tocopherols and ascorbic acid. These are elements that are believed to reduce the size of cancerous tumours by about 50%.

As further explained on Draxe.com; studies has shown that, cauliflower is very useful for the prevention of cancer and for fighting inflammation. Also, it decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. So tell me why this vegetable shouldn’t make your own list of favorite vegetables?

If you really want to relish this recipe, try using fleshy parts of chicken, like chicken breasts, this way, there will be no obstructions with every mouthful you gobble up. For today though, I used chicken thighs and I left the bones in it, I like the extra flavor this adds to the dish and I get to crack some bones as well. I guess that makes me a true Nigerian as we love some bones in our meat.

I also like to make this dish a bit watery, just so I can sip the spicy soup along while I relax with outstretched legs on a cushion. But if you like it thick, you can leave it on low heat to simmer for a few more minutes, and this will allow the soup thicken to the consistency you desire.

Lets cook!

Ingredients
1) Broccoli 500g or 2 heads
2) Chicken 500g
3) Mixed bell peppers as desired (tatashe) (red, green and yellow)
4) Scotch bonnets atarodo (as desired)
5) Garlic ( I used a whole bulb) I love garlic a lot
6) Onions 1 medium sized bulb
7) Seasoning cubes 10g
8) Salt (small pinch)
9) Carrots (optional) just for more colors
10) Olive oil or any oil (3 table spoons)


Directions
1) Prepare all the ingredients by washing and cutting into bite size pieces, cut the cauliflower into little florets and grate the ginger, just so that you get all the ingredients in your spoon with every scoop. when you take a mouthful of the dish, you would have a everything in it

Cooks tip: this dish takes about 7 minutes cook time, the bulk of the work is used up preparing the ingredients.

2) In a clean pan, add in the 3 table spoons of oil, it might even be too much because chicken releases its own oils as well, so use maybe two spoons. I realized while cooking this recipe that my dish turned out a bit oily

3) Add in the grated garlic, sliced onions and half of the peppers that you have chopped, stir fry for a minute the quickly add the fresh chicken and the seasoning and salt

4) Keep stir frying until the chicken becomes tender, you would also notice an increase in the liquid in the pan, every meat releases its juices when it is under heat











Cookstip: at this point you will find out the fragrant garlic, the spicy scotch bonnets and the sweet peppers has been deeply infused into the chicken, flavoring it deeply and resulting into a perfect marriage of all the ingredients. I promise you, you and your family will fall in love with this dish

5) Once you have achieved this stage, add in the cauliflower and stir fry quickly, then pour in about 400ml of water.

Cookstip: I have a measuring cup at home, but you can use any cup and add as much water as you want, depends on the consistency that you want. Like I said before, I like mine a bit watery.

6) Allow this to simmer on low heat for another 3 minutes or until the cauliflower has soaked in all the goodness from the rich chicken stock and is visibly tender. Cauliflower doesn’t cook for too long, so try to watch out.








7) Once this is cooked to your desire, add in the rest of the chopped peppers, stir, drop it down and serve hot! This is a complete meal for me but you can serve this as a sauce with rice or pasta. I believe that your family would ask for more

 Drop your comments below and let us know what you think about this recipe. you can click the share button at the top of the page to share on all social media platforms as well.


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Plantain chips are the ultimate Nigerian street snack right now, especially for people who are on the go. I mean, everywhere you turn, you would find someone with a bag of plantain chips and I believe it’s because they are well packaged and portable and can fit easily into any bag. Sort of like a grab and go snack if I can call them that. Whether ripe or unripe, soft or crunchy, peppered or plain, plantain chips are also very filling as they help keep people satiated until about lunch time, am very sure that this is why plantain chips are a favourite amongst workers.

But did you know that a pack of plantain chips is loaded with a lot of salt? So much salt that it is almost impossible to taste the plantain at all. And the thing with our taste buds is that, once food gets into our mouth, the taste buds senses and responds to the different tastes and then sends this information to the brain regarding the taste of the food. That is, if it is salty, sweet, bitter or sour. It is believed that the taste buds in charge of sensing the saltiness in meals is located at the tip of the tongue, so once you stuff these salty plantain chips in your mouth, what your taste buds pick out is the saltiness first and not even the real taste of the plantain chips!

As stated in www.medicalnewstoday.com, our daily intake of salt is highly important for proper fluid balance and muscle and nerve function, as salt help regulate blood fluids in the human body. However, it has been proven by research that excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, stomach cancer, kidney stones and cardiovascular diseases.

So why not make your own plantain chips at home and control the amount of salt you add into it? Especially if you have unripe plantains at home like I do right now. Rather than leave them at home to ripen all at once, you can make them into chips and store in air tight containers for at least a week. You can make them in batches before they ripen and pack some for work too, if you are one who is constantly on the go. Alternatively you can buy plantains in small bits, 200 naira worth of unripe plantain is quite a lot, you can get this and make chips yourself.

The chips I have made today is just plain plantain chips but you can season and spice it as it pleases you, remember to go easy on the salt and you will be just fine with your recipe. I have never had to add salt to plantain when I chip them or fry as a side dish, I find this completely irrelevant, especially with ripe plantains because they are so sweet on their own. I totally skip adding salt and my family is used to this already. But when I serve guests, I find that I always have to explain my reasons and so far it is always accepted.

Let’s make chips!

Ingredients
1) Green plantains ( as much as you desire)

2) Oil for frying

3) 2 pinches of salt ( I suggest you do without it)

4) Milled dried chillies (optional, I didn’t use this in this recipe)


Directions
1) Peel the plantains and make sure none of the skin is left on the flesh, it there is, you can easily peel off when you are about to slice

2) Slice the plantains into desired shapes

Cooks tip: it could be full length, thin rounds or as diagonals, any shape at all, slice to shapes that pleases you. I sliced mine round today to replicate the chips on sale on the streets and to get this perfect thinly sliced rounds, I used a mandolin that I bought for 200 naira. As cheap as the mandolin was, it gave me the ultimate rounds!

Cooks tip: After slicing, I spread the plantains on a tray and left them to air for about 30 minutes. This is just so that any moisture on the plantains would dry out and this stopped the chips from sticking together when I started frying.

3) Heat the oil in a deep pan, make sure to add enough oil to fully cover the plantains and allow it to get really hot, about 400F is ideal, you can try this out by dropping a few plantains in the oil, once it sizzles then its ready










4) Now start adding the plantains to the hot oil, but be careful not to over crowd the pan so as to keep the plantains from sticking together

5) Fry and stir the plantains gently, you need to pay attention here as the plantains fry very quickly because of how thinly sliced they are.

6) Remove the chips from the oil once they are golden or fried to your desire, drain on paper towels to get rid of excess oil, sprinkle with very little salt, or leave this part out all together and your home made chips is ready! As it gets cooler, it gets crunchier.

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Hello everyone! On the menu today, is the very easy to make unripe plantain fufu recipe, I call it easy to make because, the process is totally devoid of hassles. And as you all know, quick and stress less recipes makes cooking enjoyable for many people.

Plantain is enjoyed by almost everyone, especially when it is made into dodo and eaten with delicious stewed beans like my last recipe here; but for me though, I prefer unripe plantain due to its versatility, as it can be made into many healthy recipe options, such as unripe plantain porridge, catfish pepper soup with unripe plantain like this other recipe I have here. it can be sliced thinly with a mandolin and made into plantain chips or grilled as boli served with delicious fish sauce and greens, it can also be dried and milled into plantain flour for amala, when ripe it can be made into desserts and breads and so much more. Unripe plantains which are such great substitutes for rice and potatoes for people who are diabetic or who are just looking to lose a bit of weight, are a great source of potassium and potassium helps combat the effects of sodium, thus making plantain an excellent blood pressure regulating food.

                                        

Plantains are high in fibre, so when consumed, plantains aid digestion, the high fibre content also means that plantains will keep you very full for a long time. They also contain magnesium which help keep the body healthy as well as control blood sugar level. While it’s ripe counterpart (ripe plantains) even though very sweet, contains natural sugars that grownups can do without.

The best thing about this recipe is that, the plantain does not undergo any form of processing like it does when it is turned into plantain flour, this means that all the vitamins and minerals are retained in this swallow as opposed to processed plantain flour which we honestly cannot vouch for its contents when bought from the market. What’s not to love?

Let’s cook!

Ingredients
1) Unripe plantains

2) Water for blending

 







Directions
1) Wash, peel and chop the plantains into chunks small enough to fit into your blender

2) Add the water and blend until you get a very smooth and moderately thick paste

3) Now transfer this blended plantain paste into a clean pot and turn on the heat to low

4) Continue stirring the paste nonstop until it thickens enough to your taste

5) Drop it down and serve with any Nigerian soup of your choice and lunch is ready!!!!






Cooks tip: I used 3 medium sized plantains and that made enough fufu for me and my two daughters. Its so easy and straight forward, I believe everyone will love to try this recipe out



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On our menu today, is the very delicious Nigerian stewed beans, a recipe after the hearts of every Nigerian student. This is because one doesn’t have to add too much condiments into prepping beans for it to be delicious and this is a story every student wants to hear. I remember back in the university; during the exam period, which was usually the period when most students would be broke, I would run out of food supplies but never beans because of its low price and easy availability. beans is a staple that no one cares about, and if you prepared some, no one would eat with you. So it was always at the far end of my food storage. Imagine all I missed then relegating sweet beans to the background (especially the honeyed beans) when in fact it should have been top most on my meal list.

Every type of beans available today is highly nutritious and there are over 60 different varieties of edible beans. With the scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris, beans are produced from plants which belong to the leguminosae family and they contain 10% water, 24.5 % protein, 48% carbohydrates 14% dietary fibre and about 3% lipids. Beans also contain vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin K and vitamin J. what’s even really amazing is that there are so many other recipes that can be made using beans, such as moi moi, akara, agoyin, beans and corn, beans and rice, ekuru and many more

Did you know that eating beans on a regular basis lowers cholesterol and sugar levels in the body? Well it does, due to the presence of dietary fibre, making it a go to staple for diabetics. It also helps prevent constipation and intestinal problems which is good news to those suffering from bloating. For this recipe today I will be preparing honeyed beans (oloyin) but feel free to use any beans you have in store, the recipe will still be grand! My recipe is simple and straight forward but most of all, it would put a smile on your family’s face.

Let’s cook!

Ingredients
1) Honeyed beans 600g
2) Scotch bonnets (atarodo) as desired
3) Tomatoes 60g
4) 2 large onion bulb
5) Seasoning 10g
6) Salt 2g
7) Palm oil half a cup
8) Water 6 cups
9) 1 Smoked mackerel optional



Directions
1) Measure and pick the beans neatly making sure there is no stone or chaff when you are ready to cook it

2) Rinse the beans once and then quickly add 6 cups of water or enough water to soften the beans into a clean pot and pour in the beans. Slice one of the onions into the pot at this point and allow it to cook together until tender

Cooks tip: I love soft beans, it has to practically melt in my mouth and I achieve this by adding enough water and sliced onions, then checking it regularly if a top up of water is needed to tenderize the beans to my taste. You should do this too

3) While the beans is simmering, wash and slice your tomatoes, scotch bonnets and the other large onion into small bits, don’t worry too much about the tomatoes because that disappears totally when it is fried and added into the beans. For the scotch bonnets, I used about 40g too because I love spicy beans. The spicier the better








4) In a clean small pot or frying pan, add the palm oil and allow to heat for 2 minutes, now add in the sliced onions and stir fry for a minute or until it begins to caramelise

5) Then add in the tomatoes and onions, stir fry these for about 5 minutes, you would find that you have a thick and rich tomatoes sauce, add in the smoked mackerel, seasoning and salt at this point and stir fry for another minute









Cooks tip: I must say to you that adding the mackerel is truly unnecessary, honeyed beans is so delicious on its own.the addition of tomatoes, sweetens it even further, albeit naturally, instead of adding sugar into beans as it is popularly done in Nigeria.









6) Now pour this sauce into the pot of beans, stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for 3 minutes or until the sauce is fully incorporated in the beans and it is ready!!!

7) Serve hot fried plantains or garri and tell me what you think about this recipe in the comments section below.


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My peachy food drink is on the spotlight today, I call it food drink because it is packed with vitamins and minerals and it is concentrated enough to keep you full for a long time due to its pulpy consistency, it is thick and rich and full of a lot of nourishing goodness.

I actually went shopping for peaches to make desserts, then I stumbled on papayas and grapefruits, I didn’t have any intentions of making juice out of all of these fruits until I got home. I have a fruit bowl in my kitchen so for me, filling it up with a variety of fruits for my family is what drives me. So if you call this juice a mariellasmenu inspiration, you wouldn’t be far from the truth. I love fresh fruits and I try as much as possible to have them readily available for my family at all times. The fresher the fruits are; the sweeter, the juicier, the better!

Peaches; as luscious as they are, are a member of the drupe or stone fruit family like mangoes and plums. These fleshy fruits are indigenous to China and south Asia but are also grown in Spain, Greece, the United States and Italy and according to foodfacts.mercola.com, peaches contains an assortments of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, sodium, niacin, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron lycopene and lutein just to mention a few. Together, these vitamins and minerals help regulate heart rate and fight heart diseases, lower blood pressure and prevent indigestion, prevents muscular degeneration and aging . So the next time you are up and about and peaches are close by, please put some in your shopping basket so your family can begin enjoy all these benefits.

Let’s make juice!

Ingredients
1) Peaches 400g or 6 peaches

2) 1 grapefruit

3) 1 small sized papaya

4) 3 table spoons honey


Directions
1) Wash the fruits thoroughly.

2) Cut the peaches and papaya in halves and remove the seeds at the center

3) Peel the papaya and cut into small chunks.

4) Blend the peaches and papaya together and sieve into a clean jug, set aside.

5) Now cut the grape fruit in half and extract the juice with a manual juicer, mix the 3 table spoons honey with the grapefruit juice, and pour this mixture into the peach and papaya blend.








Cooks tip: the addition of the grapefruit and honey gives this juice a slightly tangy, yet mellow vibe that sits well at the palates, your family will love this juice!

6) Serve chilled and the rest is history!




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My amazing tomato sauce recipe is on the spotlight today, this should totally inspire you because, it is my go to sauce for practically everything. It serves as my base for pasta, it is totally awesome when served with meatballs and pasta and it is delicious when used as a dipping sauce for chips and garlic breads.

A simple yet delightful recipe made with very fresh ingredients, this sauce wins my heart with its simplicity and amazing taste. You know how well basil and tomatoes blend together with garlic, I call all three of these ingredients best friends. They have their distinct tastes and aromas yet blend so well when used together.

You really need to try this at home! I won’t waste much of your time today. Let’s go straight to making the sauce.

Ingredients
1) Tomatoes 80g
2) Bell peppers 1 large
3) 1 scotch bonnet for some heat (optional)
4) Basil 3 sprigs
5) Garlic 4cloves
6) Onions 1 small bulb
7) Olive oil 3table spoons
8) Seasoning 3g
9) Pinch of salt

Directions
1) Prepare and wash all of the ingredients thoroughly

2) Place into a food processor or blender and pulse until you get the desired consistency. I like it a bit rough as this gives the sauce its extra texture that makes it unique to this recipe


3) In a clean skillet, add in the olive oil and allow to heat for 2 minutes

4) Pour in the tomato paste and allow to simmer on low heat until it is cooked to your desire and this very yummy looking sauce is ready to be poured into jars and stored for use.


What do you think of this sauce? Drop your comments below, and let us know.

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Wake up to my yummy chia breakfast pudding, one that I made from soaking chia seeds in coconut milk overnight and adding raw cocoa powder to the mix. To be completely honest with you, I can’t think of a more nutritious breakfast that can be as easy as this one. Just pop the soaked chia seeds in the fridge overnight and by morning, it is ready to eat. The upside to chia pudding is that, it is very nutritious and satisfying, eating it leaves you feeling full for a very long time. Which means you won’t have to snack on unhealthy foods before your actual lunch time. I have an easy chia pudding recipe that I made earlier on the blog, you can check that out by clicking here. This article also outlines the nutritional benefits of eating chia seeds and the many other uses of this wonderful seed.

If you are one like me, who likes a simple yet delicious breakfast, this recipe is for you to savour. The richness from the raw cocoa powder balances well with the coconut milk. Also the addition of honey to sweeten the pudding makes it the perfect breakfast to wake up to. I must say here that I topped this pudding with unsweetened shaved coconuts and pecan nuts for extra texture, but you can use any healthy toppings that you love such as fruits and nuts. Making this recipe totally yours will make you enjoy it even more. Please keep in mind that chia seeds double in size really quickly so a measurement of about a 100g will be just enough to feed a family of four at breakfast, you can adjust this measurement accordingly.

Breakfast time!

Ingredients
1) Chia seeds 100g
2) Coconut milk 500mls
3) Raw cocoa powder 2 table spoon full
4) Honey 30mls
5) Toppings (I used coconuts and raw pecan nuts)





Directions
1) Add the chia seeds into a clean bowl, one big enough to contain it once it has doubled in size

2) Pour in the coconut milk and mix it well so it does not form clumps

3) Pop this in the fridge and leave it overnight to soak up all the moisture and soften well enough to eat

4) by morning, it is time to take it out from the fridge, add more coconut milk if need be, that is if you want it a bit loose

5) It's at this point that you need to add in the raw cocoa powder and honey, mix all of these ingredients well and serve in small breakfast bowls, you can serve in ready to go breakfast pots like mine, that is if you would like to eat yours at work.




Cookstip: raw cocoa powder is rather bitter, be sure not to add too much, add just enough to give your pudding that chocolatey richness.

So you see, chia pudding really does taste as good as it is nutritious, try it today!  what did you have for breakfast? comment below i would love to hear.

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Today I am offering a delicious prawn sauce that is bound to tickle your fancy, this dish unearths the richness and versatility of prawns. With the additions of mixed bell peppers, scotch bonnets for some heat, and fragrant spices, this sauce surely will become a staple at your home after trying it out for the first time.

It is no secret that I love prawns, and this is because it is versatile and can easily be made into various dishes. There is so much I can make, just from having a bowl of prawns in my kitchen. It cooks quickly too, thus making it almost always included in my recipes. You can use it for rice dishes, curries and sauces too. It can be fried, grilled and even made into a salad, it can also be added into our Nigerian soups like okra and efo riro (see sample here) or made into prawn soup with other condiments like sweet corn or mushrooms. Whatever you decide to make with prawns, you are sure of a really tasty hearty meal.

A big bowl of garnished basmati rice could never taste better than it does when served with this sauce, the creamy richness of the sauce just makes it right for an amazing family dinner. Follow my recipe below and let me show you how to make this.

Let’s cook!

Ingredients
1) Prawns 1kg
2) Mixed bell peppers (red, yellow, green) 250g
3) Scotch bonnet peppers 3g
4) Onions 1 medium sized bulb
5) Garlic 6 cloves
6) Ginger 2g
7) Corn flour 2 table spoons
8) Olive oil 20mls
9) Seasoning 8g
10) Salt 1g


Directions
1) Prepare the ingredients by first washing them thoroughly, then peel the prawns and de-vein.

2) Chop the mixed bell peppers, scotch bonnets and onions

3) Now blend the peeled ginger and garlic with water to make a running paste. This increases the quantity of the sauce

4) In a clean pan, add in the olive oil and allow it heat up for about 1 minute, quickly add in the onions and allow this to sauté for one minute then pour in the ginger and garlic paste and stir, while this heats up for about two minutes








5) Now add in all the chopped peppers and prawns at the same time, I do not like overcooking bell peppers or prawns, so just give this another 3 minutes while you keep turning the prawns on all sides so it cooks through

6) Add in the seasoning and salt

 7) Now make a running corn flour paste with two table spoons of corn flour 


cooks tip: just enough corn flour to thicken the sauce, you do not want it overly thick, just about 2 tablespoons will do

8)Add this into the pan and stir. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for another two minutes, so that all of the spices are well incorporated and your delicious prawn sauce is ready!


Serve hot with a bowl of garnished white rice or pasta. Have you made a pasta dish lately? How did it taste? Comment below, I will like to know

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