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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Beetroot seems to be topmost in my condiment list these days, especially since I discovered its amazing nutritional contents, I have been looking for ways to incorporate it into my meals ever since. So taking centre stage today is my beetroot salad that I made using feta cheese and chicken as accompanying condiments, both gives this salad a perfect juxtaposition of sweet and salty

This beet salad is creamy, tasty and very easy to make, it is also a very healthy option for people who are looking to loose a bit of weight. Beetroot is very delicious when eaten raw, even though it is typically cooked in most recipes, I feel its nutritional contents and its amazing colour is best retained when used raw, it has a sweet yet earthy taste, a bit like sweet potatoes and it adds an amazing crunch to this salad. I just love the taste of it!

I made a beetroot juice on the blog recently which I sweetened with pineapples, you can click this link to get that recipe, I also outlined some amazing benefits of consuming beetroot in that post. The juice is another great way to incorporate beets into your family’s menu, you really need to try it out.

Let’s cook!

Ingredients
1) 2 beetroot
2) Lettuce 100g
3) Roasted chicken 100g
4) Feta cheese 100g
5) 1 medium sized onion
6) Cherry tomatoes 20g
7) Olives 10g




Directions
1) Prepare the ingredients by washing thoroughly and chopping as required

2) Season the chicken with ginger and garlic paste, olive oil, seasoning and salt, roast in the oven until cooked through, shred this into bits with hands

Cooks tip: I used chicken breast for this salad because it is far fleshier than other chicken parts

3) In a clean salad bowl, add all of the ingredients and serve with any salad dressing of your choice and your beet salad is ready!


Have you ever tried beetroot before? Please comment below I will like to hear

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The summer holiday was quite a long one and even though my kids attended summer coaching for a bit, they were home full time Thursday through Sunday. I had been promising to make them pizza for a while and since my sisters kids were around for the holidays as well, it seemed like the perfect time to make one

This recipe is a hearty meaty delight that is bound to keep your family happy, my kids could not wait for the pizza to come out the oven because they added the toppings on the pizza, they were all so excited and stayed glued to the oven door watching the whole cooking process.

The secret to this delicious meaty pizza is my rich tomato sauce which is the base for whatever topping goes on afterwards, this sauce can also serve as a pasta sauce, it is really delicious. I have the recipe here, you can try it out too.

The upside to making pizza at home is that, you can totally make it your own, in terms of adding any toppings that will delight your family, so feel free to use whatever toppings your family love and watch them gobble it all up. My kids wanted practically everything on this pizza, I ended up making two different pizzas but I kept the toppings as minimal as I could.

Let’s cook!

Ingredients for pizza crust

1) Flour 5 cups

2) Yeast 1 table spoon

3) Baking soda 1 table spoon

4) Pinch of salt

5) 2 table spoons olive oil


Toppings
1) Mozzarella cheese

2) Tomato sauce

3) Mixed bell peppers (green, red and yellow)

4) Onions

5) Beef

6) Chicken franks

Directions
1) Add all the pizza crust ingredients into a bowl and add about two cups of warm water, add this in bits while you kneed until you form a soft yet stretchy dough

2) Roll into a ball, set this into a clean bowl and cover with a cling film, set this aside and allow it to rise and double in size for about 25 minutes.








3) While the dough is rising, season and stir fry your beef until tender and tasty, once this is done

4) Take the pizza dough and cut into 2 or 3 portions, depending on the size of pizza you want to make, spread flour on a flat surface or in the pan you intend to use, roll out the dough, making sure to shape it well

Cooks tip: I made two 14 inch pizzas from this dough
5) Now spread the tomato sauce on first, and the start adding all of the toppings you want before finishing off with the grated mozzarella cheese








6) Pop in a preheated oven at gas mark 220 for 20 minutes and your pizza is ready. I like to use the lower oven burner for 15 minutes and the upper burner for 5 minutes so that the pizza is cooked through.


What special treat did you give your children this summer holidays? I would love to hear!

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