The Pretend Chef

Banana Bread/Banana muffin

ultimate, moist, dense and flavour packed banana bread/banana muffin

Desserts/ finger food, Recipes | March 29, 2016 | By

Banana bread is a great and delicious way to use up overripe bananas, it is moist, dense and flavourful. The bananas really need to be overripe for the flavour to be bold and the bread, sweet. I love when I can salvage an ingredient that otherwise is headed for the bin.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is, it is very easy, straight forward and forgiving. Also, it can be used for Banana bread or turned into a muffin by just changing the loaf pan to a muffin pan and decreasing the baking time.

Overripe bananas can also be

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Plantain Mosa

gratifyingly delicious deep golden brown plantain mosa

The riper the plantains the sweeter they taste. This is one of those times we rejoice that our fresh produce is on the verge of spoiling, so what do we do with those overripe plantains? Plantain mosa. Deep fried dough sweetened with mashed overripe plantains.  

It is a street food and a party finger food in Nigeria. Plantain Mosa is similar to the Ghanaian Tamale, the only difference is in the spices used.

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Egusi Soup, Lumpy Egusi soup

mouthwateringly rich egusi soup (melon seed soup)

Recipes, Soups/ light soups | March 29, 2016 | By

It can arguably be said that Egusi Soup is the most universal of all Nigerian soups. It is nutty and mildly sweet, with the rich oil from the egusi seeds making it taste delectable.

Egusi soup is so versatile, it can be paired with a number of other soups e.g Egusi and ogbono soup, egusi in ora soup, egusi in okazi soup etc. Also, the leafy vegetables that can be added to it are so many, ugu, okazi, onugbu, uziza, awa, spinach etc.

Egusi or white melon seed is the seed of a melon native to tropical Africa. It is high in protein and good oils.

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Buttermilk Pancake, American Pancake

Tender, moist and fluffy homemade buttermilk pancake

Buttermilk pancake is one of the ultimate comfort foods for breakfast. There are different types of pancakes peculiar to different parts of the world. In Nigeria, we have our diet, a spicy pancake that originates from the French crepe, the Chinese Congyou bing or spring onion pancake is another one. Buttermilk pancake is an icon of the American breakfast. It is fluffy, tender and moist.

It is also sold as a pre made pancake mix in the powdered form. I can’t stand store bought pancake mix I always prefer this homemade version which I am sure you will love, the difference will be obvious to you.

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Adalu, beans and corn porridge

Most delicious plate of beans porridge ever, Adalu, beans and corn porridge

I didn’t like beans growing up, till I got to boarding school ( F.G.G.C Benin) and tasted the beans and dodo (fried plantain) and I fell in love. I don’t know what it was about the boarding school beans, might have been the tiny weevils, when you got tired of picking them out you just ate. I later lost taste for beans again until I met Adalu and I am in love again, this time I know this love is here to stay, #truelove. Adalu, beans and corn porridge, is so scrumptious, a marriage between sweet and savoury, what can beat that.

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Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn fritters is a great way to get some veggies into breakfast or snacks. These soft fritters let the sweet juicy corn kernels burst in your mouth. It is simple and easy to make especially if you are in a rush and need to throw breakfast together.

It is a sweet or savory snack that the whole family or your friends will love. It can be served for breakfast, snack or as a starter. 

s.corn prstn-1

For the Sweet:

You can spread some butter, syrup, cream, jam or honey on the fritters or dust with some icing sugar. Sweetcorn fritters can also be eaten with a fruit salad, pap (corn paste gruel), custard, etc.

For the savoury sweetcorn fritter:

Serve with tomato relish, hot pepper sauce, guacamole, a vegetable salad, a light soup etc. I love it with Sweet Thai chilli sauce.

To make Sweetcorn fritters:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1½ cups whole sweet corn kernel
Vegetable oil for frying

 

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well and add egg, milk, and butter, mix till well combined.

s.corn mix-1

Stir in the corn kernels and stir to distribute.

s.corn mix1-1

For Patties:

Place frying pan over medium heat and grease with a little oil, pour 2 tablespoons of batter into it and spread with a spoon.

s.corn fry-1        s.corn fry-1-2

Fry until golden brown underneath, then flip to fry other side till golden brown. Drain on paper towel, transfer to a plate and leave in a warm oven. Keep cooking till all batter has been fried.

For balls:

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a frying pan to medium hot, about 170°C, drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and deep-fry till golden brown.

pltn msa-1

Drain on paper towels, keep frying till all batter has been fried.

Moist Carrot Cake

moist, tender, flavourful moist carrot cake

Desserts/ finger food, Recipes | March 28, 2016 | By

The sight of fresh carrots always makes me want to buy them. There is something attractive and appealing about the orange and green combo that spells healthy. This translates to whatever I use carrots for, like when I make my moist carrot cake, I feel It’s healthy, a vegetable cake after all. Well, that is how I console myself on the rare occasion I over indulge on carrot cake. Same goes with coleslaw, carrot orange juice, beetroot slaw etc.

This moist carrot cake is sweet, soft, moist, dense, mildly citrusy and flavourful, a true crowd pleaser. It is easy and straightforward to make.

fresh carrots for carrot cake

The only hard work is in grating the carrots. Use a food processor if you have one available, then making carrot cake becomes a breeze. You can also use store bought already grated carrots, though it’s not the best because they tend to be dry and won’t add moisture to your cake.

moist, tender, flavourful moist carrot cake

 

To make moist carrot cake

3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 tablespoons zest of orange
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

 

Wash, scrape and grate the carrots. set aside.

carrot grated using a food processor for moist carrot cake   grater used to grate carrot for moist carrot cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C, brush a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or oil and lightly sprinkle with flour.

In a large bowl, mix together oil, eggs, brown sugar, grated carrots, grated zest (skin) of orange, making sure the white part does not enter, and vanilla essence until well combined.

mix of wet ingredients for moist carrot cake

In another bowl, sift together, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spice, mix well.

mix of dry ingredients for moist carrot cake

Pour the flour mixture into the carrot mixture and using a balloon whisk, spatula or wooden spoon stir till well combined.

batter of moist carrot cake

Spoon the batter into prepared pan, smoothen the surface.

moist carrot cake batter in a pan

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre, comes out clean, touch the skewer to be sure it is dry or when the top of the cake is pressed, it bounces back.

moist carrot cake in a cake pan, looking delish

Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the pan then remove and transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

soft, moist, dense and flavourful moist carrot cake

Note

Do not grate the carrots too large. The smaller it is the better for it to be suspended in the batter to moisten it. There will also be no chance of chunky, crunchy bits of carrot.

Mix-ins

Some mix-ins to carrot cake include Raisins, pineapple cubes, coconut, nuts and applesauce. Too much of these will ruin the integrity of your carrot cake, so use sparingly.

Frosting

Carrot cakes are delicious as is but can be enhanced with a lemon glaze or cream cheese frosting, white icing, fondant etc. You can add nuts, raisins, crushed pineapples or desiccated coconut into the frosting, only if the cake doesn’t have mix-ins.

Storage

The cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, and kept at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, in the refrigerator, for 1 week, in the freezer, for 4 to 6 months.

 

Let me know how much you enjoyed this carrot cake, also try my exquisite chocolate cake, Moist fruit cake, Healthy beetroot cake or Red velvet cake.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Okro soup, Okra Soup

Fresh and tasty okro soup, okra soup

Recipes, Soups/ light soups | March 28, 2016 | By

Okro soup, Okra soup, Lady’s finger or gumbo, this soup by any name will taste mouthwateringly delicious. It is mucilaginous (slimy in a good way), cheap and is cooked across the length and breadth of Nigeria, from the north where dried okro is used, to the south where it is used fresh. Therefore, it can be called one of Nigeria’s national dishes.

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fiofio Pigeon peas

sweet, nutty, earthy, fiofio pigeon peas with vegetables

Fiofio Pigeon peas, a legume enjoyed in Africa, Asia and parts of South America. It is variously called Fiofio or Agbugbu in Igbo, Otili in Yoruba, Aduwa in Hausa is also called, Gungo peas in Jamaica and mbaazi in Kenya.

Pigeon pea has a sweet, mildly nutty and earthy flavour. It is delicious, hearty and very filling. The only downside to it is the length of time it takes to cook. If other types of beans take a yard to cook,

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OJOJO Water yam fritters

Delightful nigerian snack, ojojo water yam fritters

Ojojo water yam fritters is one of the most creative uses of water yam as far as I am concerned. The only warning I will give you is that you will so gorge yourself up on this delightful Nigerian snack, you will feel sick, my sister will attest to that.

Ojojo is a gift from the Yoruba speaking part of Nigeria to the rest of the Country and just like Akara, it can be served with Pap (Corn paste or cornflour) or custard.

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