The Pretend Chef

Egg and Sardine Empanada Filling

Egg and Sardine empanada filling

The Egg and sardine Empanada filling is almost a non-cook, easy to make filling, almost because you will need to boil the egg. It uses ingredients that will normally be in your kitchen already. If you have empanada dough in your freezer that needs to be used up but you don’t want to put in the effort of making more complicated dough filling, this is the filling for you. It is simply delicious and effortless.

You can substitute canned sardines with



Flaky baked empanada

Empanada is a type of stuffed pastry (hand pie) common in Latin American countries, Spain and some parts of the far east. It can be fried, baked, grilled or even cooked on a griddle. You can make it big or small, sweet or savoury and of different shapes.

Different countries have their peculiar way of making empanada. Some use


Nigerian Fish Stew (Imoyo)

Rich and spicy Nigerian fish stew (Imoyo), Obe eja tutu

Seafood, Stews/ Sauces/ dips | August 21, 2017 | By

If food were music, Obe imoyo will be my Love song and eja (fish) will be the lyrics, fresh fish to be precise. I love Nigerian fish stew especially served with boiled yam, Iyoh or ipoko yam from Abakiliki in Eastern Nigeria. This Imoyo is not the same Imoyo from the Caribbean.

There are different types of Imoyo depending on


Minced Beef Empanada Filling

Minced beef Empanada filling

Meat, Stews/ Sauces/ dips | August 18, 2017 | By

Minced beef empanada filling is a juicy, delicious, hearty pie filling, similar to the Jamaican beef patty. It is very easy and straightforward to make and is the filling I use the most.

This filling can be made even more substantial when you include 


Gizdodo, Gizzard and fried Plantain

Sweet and salty gizdodo, gizzard and plantain

Gizdodo, gizzard + dodo = gizdodo (dodo is fried plantain). The name is simple enough for one to guess the 2 main ingredients, gizzard and plantain. The dish is also simple enough to prepare and cook but when it comes to the taste, you realise where the originator of this dish channelled their creative energy. Gizdodo is fried gizzard and plantain coated in tomato sauce.


Peppered Ponmo, Peppered Cowskin

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)

Peppered Ponmo is a staple ‘small chop’ (hors d’oeuvre)in Nigerian parties and bars. It is soft, hot, spicy and slightly sticky with a sauce that feels like savoury caramel. Delicious in every sense of the word. Normally, you will not serve your guests only Ponmo in their soup or stew, you will include other cuts of meat. An exception is if you are serving Peppered Ponmo.

Ponmo is the processed skin of a cow. The skin from different parts of the cow will have subtle differences in taste and texture. Some are


Amazing facts about Tiger nut oil

tiger nut

I have never associated Tiger nut with oil, never. Tiger nuts, Cyperus esculentus, sedge, chufas (Spain), aya (hausa), imumu/ofio (yoruba), aki awusa (Igbo) are those tiny nuts, that are not really nuts sold by street vendors in their wheelbarrows on Nigerian streets, alongside dry dates and kuli-kuli. Crunchy, sweet and juicy, they are actually tubers.

Munching the fresh or rehydrated dry tiger nuts, drinking tiger nut milk, even making the flour and using it in delicious recipes, these are things I do with tigernuts, but tiger nut oil? I was totally blown away and happy I came across it. I have said to myself anything that comes from tiger nuts must be good and delicious, I need to buy tiger nut oil from

All plants contain oils or fats example, olive oil and cocoa butter but mainly in their seeds, tiger nut is for the time being the only known plant that accumulates oil in a substantial amount in its tuber/root (up to 27% oil). This oil is very versatile in its usage and for each way it is used, it ranks superior. For cooking, hair, skin, as biodiesel etc.

Tiger nut oil can be purchased online on

tiger nut

Tigernut oil fatty acids profile


About Tigernut oil

Physical and Chemical properties of Tigernut oil

  • Tiger nut oil is golden brown in colour and has a rich nutty taste.
  • It can be extracted without the addition of external heat by cold compress which makes it a very superior oil.
  • It is considered a stable oil because it remains in a uniform liquid state even when refrigerated at very low temperatures.
  • Tiger nut oil has a very long shelf life, it does not go rancid fast because the oil is extremely resistant to oxidation.
  • It has a higher oxidative stability than other oils, due to its low content of polyunsaturated fatty acid, high content of vitamin E and other antioxidants.
  • Tiger nut oil is resistant to chemical decomposition at high temperatures so is good for high-temperature cooking.
  •  It is a heart-healthy oil with a high Vitamin E content.
  • Tiger nut oil has a similar lipid profile as olive oil ( see table above ).
  • It predominantly consists of oleic acid. Other major fatty acids present are palmitic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid.
  • It has a balanced ratio of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron.
  • Tiger nut oil is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin C and E.
  • The quantity of polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid & linolenic acid) is enough to cover the daily minimum needed by the human body which is about 10g.
  • Tiger nuts oil is also cholesterol free and has very low sodium content.
  • It is rich in omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids.
  • Due to the presence of short and medium chain fatty acids, oleic acid and essential fatty acids, tiger nut oil stimulates the absorption of calcium in bones and the production of new bone material.
  • It reduces LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol).
  • It can also reduce levels of triglycerides in the blood.


Culinary/Nutritional properties of Tigernut oil

  • Tigernut oil is considered a stable oil which remains in a uniform liquid form at refrigeration temperature making it suitable as a salad dressing and vegetable based ice-cream.
  • It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so ideal for high-temperature cooking like deep frying, stir-frying etc.
  • Due to its extraction by a cold, virgin process, tiger nut oil retains all its unique nutritional qualities.
  • Highly recommended for cooking above other oils because it is more resistant to chemical decomposition at high temperatures.
  • Less fat is absorbed into the food as tigernut oil creates a crust on the surface of the food during cooking, preventing the oil itself being absorbed into the food.

tiger nut

Use of Tigernut oil in the cosmetic industry

Skin care products

  • Tigernut oil has a high oleic acid and vitamin E content, but low acidity which makes it excellent for the skin.
  • Tigernut oil is effective against skin alterations, premature ageing, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis etc.
  • Its antioxidizing activity helps the skin fight free radicals that facilitate the ageing process thereby preserving its youth.
  • It nourishes the skin and improves skin elasticity making it soft.
  • Tigernut oil is easily absorbed into the skin and is highly moisturising due to its oleic acid content which prevents dehydration and dry skin.
  • It contains a small amount of behenic acid making it ideal for smoothening out wrinkles.
  • The omegas 6 present in the oil promotes skin cell renewal.
  • Tigernut oil is recommended for skin care during and after pregnancy.
  • Tigernut oil is also used for making bathing soap.
  • It serves as a lovely soothing massage oil.


Hair care products

  • Tigernut oil slows the regrowth of body hair after epilation, which is the removal of hair from the roots.
  • It is a moisturising oil which can penetrate the hair shaft and add moisture to the hair.
  • Tigernut oil smoothens out split-ends.
  • Tigernut oil helps to condition, protect and add shine to the hair, even damaged hair.
  • It calms frizzy and dry hair.



  • Besides the cosmetic industry, it is also used in the textile industry, in medicine and medical research,
  • It is used in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • The tubers are mildly fragrant and the essential oil produced is used as a perfume and insect repellant in Asia.
  • In the textile industry, the oil is used to waterproof textile fibres.
  • Research is on going on tigernut oil as a possible economic biodiesel.
  • In the United Kingdom, tigernut oil is mostly used in the fishing industry. It is known to be effective especially for anglers.



The information given here is not medical or nutritional advice but purely informative and nothing more. You will need to see a doctor if you have any disorder and a nutritionist for advice on your diet.

Do you have any suggestions, comments or questions, I will love to know in the comments below. Check out my 30 Amazing Facts About Tigernut Milk, 25 Amazing Facts About Tiger nut flour, 30 Amazing facts about Tiger nuts. Also an Index of Tiger nut recipes coming soon. Learn how to make delectable Tiger nut milk (Kunnu-Aya, Chufas de Horchata) and Tigernut energy balls.


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Eteshola E et al., JAOCS 1996, 2, 255, Plant lipids and fat, cyberlipid center

Tigernuts oil

Dr Robert Griffiths, Importance of Oxidative Stability in the Shelf Life of Foods and Ingredients Technical Specialist (rssl science with service);

Bamishaiye, E.I., et al., “Tiger Nut: As a Plant, Its Derivatives and Benefits,” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 2011, 11(5);

Onyinye Ezeh, Michael H Gordon and Keshavan Niranjan, Tiger nut oil (Cyperus esculentus L.): A review of its composition and Physico-chemical properties, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom;

Jozef PH, Linssen GM, Kielman JLC and W Pilnik, Comparison of chufa and olive oil. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1988; 28:  279-285.

He YZ, Milford AH, Yusuf A and L Nan, Yellow nut-sedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) tuber oil as a fuel 1996;5: 177-181.

Adejuyitan, J.A. (2011). Tigernut processing: its food uses and health benefits. Am J Food Technol 6(3):197–201.

Bep Oliver-Bever, Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa.

Turesson Helle, et al. Sept. 2010,  Characterization of oil and starch accumulation in tubers of Cyperus esculentus var. sativus (Cyperaceae): A novel model system to study oil reserves in non-seed tissue.

A. K. KEHAYOGLOU, et al., Calcium absorption in the normal, bile-duct ligated, and cirrhotic rat, with observations on the effect of long- and medium-chain triglycerides


Afang soup deluxe

Afang Soup Deluxe

Afang Soup Deluxe is basically Afang soup taken from delicious to exquisite, this recipe will blow your Afang loving minds. A lot of experimentation goes on in the modern kitchen, the reason being that people are bolder now, taking risks in the kitchen. Be it the professional or home cook, everyone is prepared to go against the establishment and make a statement with their food, tell stories, put their personality or signature on the food they cook.

There is also a lot of fusion going on in food preparation. Afang Soup Deluxe is a fusion


Asaro (Mashed yam porridge)

Asaro (mashed yam porridge)

Asaro is an easy one pot dish of yam porridge/pottage which is popular in western Nigeria. Different from the other type of yam porridge, Asaro is cooked with tomatoes and peppers, then mashed to a complete puree or with a few lumps of yam left unmashed for texture.

It is most times cooked without


Pigeon Pea in Coconut Milk (fiofio)

Pigeon pea in coconut milk served with Nigerian tomato stew

Pigeon pea is a species of beans and is grown and eaten in most parts of the world now. It has a high nutritional value, rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and lipids and is a wholesome food for both vegetarians and weight watchers. Pigeon pea can be cooked at different stages of


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