Imagine a plate of rice served with stew made with a range of fresh red peppers, seasoned with the finest of herb ingredients with juice made out of marinated chicken stock, fried in hot sunflower seed oil or vegetable oil, with shredded beef, little bits of eja gbigbe (dry fish), fresh ring onions and a bit of locust bean,oh booy! the aroma is perfect!.........ok back to presentation! yea,.. served on top, with plantain on the side, well stewed soaked, yummy,tasty, fried chicken (2 pieces) just across the food, accompanied with a malt drink or a chilled fizzy pop (Coke) to step it down...then that's a perfect presentation.
Presentation is key and knowing what accompanies the meal you want to cook is important, for the lovers of Okro, AMALA is key *shinning teeth*....me i love amala sowee...*covering face* and to get the best of your Okro you need to be creative.
Before now i used to believe that making Okro cooked with potash (potassium / kauon) and served with stew (omiobe...the name sef is annoying..lol) was the best....but no....it aint! .."ILA ASEPO" is the very best!....not just any kind of okro combo oooh, but with fresh well seasoned and boiled Titus fish shredded into the Okro (fresh fish is the best to use as the taste of dried fish is just too predictable). Use the fish stock to deliver greatness in to the Okro, with boiled shrimps, bits of pomo (cow leg), few spoons of palm oil and more than a couple of Atarodo (chilli pepper). While eating, your amala would go down instantly, u know that swallowing sound now..Tukum! and the best drink to step it down with is ice water, not cold oh..ice! In Nigeria pure water would have been the best, especially with the squeeze of the wrapper...only God knows what that thing does to people....the feeling is just great...however, you can take a glass of juice later if you wish..*wink*
Now in serving this....some peeps spread the Amala on a plate and pour the Okro soup inside, personally i don't like it, in my opinion it's a very, very, very, poor presentation,.....but alas! the method actually works perfectly. Since the type of soup is drawing, its better to have it all in one place....it makes life easy and your appetite gets the best quench till the very last morsel of Amala..... however, serve neatly in a bowl and not on a plate especially not a flat one. Trying to use a fork and knife cannot pay you!.....truth!!.. using your hands makes it all worth it.*smiles*
N.B Okro shouldn't be too watery, it should have a considerable amount of thickness, not the type that would stream down your elbow line..like "pade mi ni igunpa kind of soup", NO...so be very careful when preparing....
Then dessert..... for my lovers of carrot cakes, you don't need too much, just pour the amount of creamy milk or custard you like on the cake (from Tesco or sainbury's c'est tres bien!) and dessert is served. Any cake can do this magic but i don't advice you use muffins. Sponge cakes are mostly perfect!....and cheese cakes?????..not so keen on them....but everything has a first time so you can
Here is a video clip to see how so much attention and creativity is put into food presentation in some places.
Being Creative.(please ignore the giggles and watch the chef)
sorry about the video quality when i have my own camera crew it would be perfect.lol
Now Plating up.
Some basic tips you should know!
- Always serve grains with stew on top, meat across and every other additions on the side.
- Pasta is best eaten made in sauce, not on top or by the side and when boiling pasta add a bit of oil, to stop it from sticking together. You can slice onions into the boiling pasta if you wish.
- Whilst boiling pepper its not wise to cover the pot as the bubbles from the pepper would spill on the cooker and in most cases the bubbles could be watery enough to put out the light from the cooker. This might leave your gas licking. For safety reasons if you must cover, add a couple of spoons of vegetable oil, stir and cover. If its burning reduce the heat.
- To avoid boiling your pepper for hours and hours, simply blend pepper in little amount of water, at this rate the water from the pepper drys faster and cooks quicker.
- For drawing soups like okro, ogbona, ewedu,etc...they go best served with grounded flour meals...Poundo yam is an exception, don't use coz its meant to be pounded not in grounded flour form.
- For your eggs, poached egg is best when running away from loads of calories. With scrambled eggs, if you avoid using milk and butter, you would save some calories too, water and seasoning would do just fine. For an omelette, you can either deep fry to get a well done egg that would be easy for you to flip, or you fry in less oil, and grill the top of your egg in an oven to get it well done.