Food Styling and Presentation....why slop?

A colored, soggy slop of food with no dimension seems to always sound like an African dish. I remember the words of my friend from Pakistan “Africa has varieties of lovely dishes but they have poor usually looks all over the plate….”

Gbegiri Ewedu and Stew...Slopped!!!

I am guessing my friend has been seeing a lot of African dishes like Amala, Ewedu, or Pounded Yam and Ogbona combined with the fact that we eat these meals with our bare hands.

I remember attending a Jamaican party and was served Brown Rice and Peas with Oxtail and Boiled Sweet Corn on the Cob. It was luscious but definitely weird looking to what I am used to having at parties.

Brown Rice and Peas

A Baked potato for lunch cut in half and stuffed with Cottage Cheese and Beetroot with sprinkles of black pepper and some salt?..uhmmm? Definitely weird looking, weird combo, weird taste but seeing a clean presentation of this would make you try before you even decide if it’s taste is right for you or not.

Potato, Beetroot,cottage cheese

One Impression that should remain standard here is that your food culture is your food culture and because of  the worlds stage of globalization we embrace other food culture to try our food culture. 
To make this possible, something comes into mind, the need for proper packaging and presentation so it can be globally acceptable.

In culinary arts, the duty of a chef is one -focusing on taste and gastronomy, hospitality is another but food styling and presentation is the extra value added to all the hard work.

Everyday African meals can be well presented and styled and greater attention must be paid to it, if it’s to be served at events. 

One of the major cues to presentation and food styling is color, crunch, aroma, texture and plating. 
The easiest way to incorporate all of these into your meals is to add vegetables making sure you steam them and not overcook them. 
The easiest colors are the greens, reds, yellows, oranges and sometimes purple. 
The best crunch is to slightly cook, steam, or leave raw fresh. 
The best aroma is to sprinkle black pepper, white pepper, parsley, coriander, thyme, basil, or mints leaves. The texture, whatever condiment it might be don’t overcook, avoid too runny, too sloppy, too sticky or too smelly. 
The plating, a white round plate, avoiding thumb prints, water marks, slippery or wet plate bottoms. For professionalism you can have your chef kit ready in other to create a fantastic creative look to your meals.
Here are some pictures of what an African dish can look like when it’s well presented.

Stewed Chicken Laps

Fried Plantain Sticks, Ofada Sauce with Turkey

Eba (Cassava Balls), Vegetable Spinach, sprinkled melon bits with Fried stewed Croacker Fish

Boiled Yam with Fried Egg

Basmati Jellof Rice with, Carrot sticks, Cabbage,Red Chili peppers and Turkey Chop.


Goat Meat Stew.. 'Imoyo'

'Imoyo'.. is a stew mostly sold in bukka's, eat outs, eateries and events. It hails from the "Egun tribe" from Cotonou, Republic Du Benin (similar to the Yoruba Western Nigeria) and Ghana West Africa. It's best cooked with Goat Meat.

Goat meat is a type of beef you have to pay attention to while cooking. It's pepper combination has to be right. You need ingredients that would boost it's aroma, you need to boil the meat accurately to get it tender and not too soft.
You need to be careful whilst cutting, in other not to get rid of all the bones.

It's a good combination with, Gbegiri (Beans Soup), Ewedu(Cooked Mallow chopped leaves) and Ogbono/Apon (Grinded Cooked Dika Nuts).

It goes with meals like Amala (Yam flour), Eba (Cassava Flour), Pounded yam flour, Plantain, Bread and stew and could be a sauce for that Beef Burger, a dip for that beef samosa or fried shrimps. It's a dynamic stew. (In this article stew and sauce mean the same thing.)

The different goat meat parts are essential to the making of this stew.
Use Goat Head, Tail, Beef and Feet.

How to cook;
1) First boil your Goat meat till it's tender

The ingredient you need to boil this is a mix of Herb Spices such as:
Thyme, Mint leaves, Curry and White grinded pepper with Onions,Garlic,Ginger, Stork cube and Salt.

Add these seasonings and spices to your taste. If you want a measurement do not do more than a full table spoon of spices. Except for massive quantities.

It's preferable you boil in a pressure pot as this would take less time to cook. If you cook in a pressure pot leave the meat to boil for 45 minutes. If otherwise leave for 1hr:30 Minutes. Check from time to time to ensure you don't over cook.

Once that is done, bring meat out of water, set not pour meat stork away.

2) Blend Peppers till it's all smooth and without bits.( Blend the quantity of pepper that is just enough for your meat to swim in).
Use a combination of Bell Pepper, Chili Pepper,Fresh Tomatoes,Tomato puree. If you are a chili lover, ensure you have more quantity of the chili than the rest of the peppers.
After blending, leave to boil for some minutes till pepper is cooked and really thick.

3) Once the pepper is done, add the boiled beef into the pepper, pour your meat stork in it, add a hint of black pepper, add your tomato puree, leave to boil for 10 mins, add a half full serving spoon of vegetable oil and palm oil, leave to finish cooking for 10 minutes.

Food is ready.

For your shopping list to prepare this.....

  • Goat meat parts(Head, Tail, Feet and the Beef).
  • Peppers(Bell, Chili and Fresh Tomatoes)
  • Tomato puree
  • Spices and seasonings ( Thyme, Curry, White pepper, black pepper, Mint, Stork cube and Salt)
  • Onions, Garlic,Ginger.
  • Vegetable Oil and Palm Oil


The Chicken

If you really love food and you like to cook, most times you would want to know where certain meals are derived from. I decided to find out where Chicken meat came from. Off course from a Chicken, Hen, Cock, Bird etc....but do you get the meat out of the Chicken...more like who kills the Chicken?.....a better question..have you killed a chicken before..????

I tried to learn over the weekend....I was ready with my knife, all sharpened and all...then I went to the Bird...and it tilted its head..there and then emotions took over...Couldn't do To make matters worse, out of being so sentimental i forgot to tie the chicken back and it let itself loose running all over the kitchen.....OH bouy!...I had to chase after the chicken with a very big basin so i could trap it underneath the basin. It was a lot of hard work, but when i remembered it was for a clients event, i got motivated more to get the chicken!

....Finally, Mum came to the rescue and killed the that moment, mum was my super hero. She held the Chicken by it's feathers, placed a leg on the legs and that was, she seemed like captain planet....though muttering the Lords the scenario was a whole lot of fun.......

However what does it take to kill a Chicken? Courage
What does it take to clean it up after killing?  Patience
What does it take to eat it? Having a mouth that loves food......
I am sure you are wondering why kill a Chicken when you can buy frozen already clean  ones...?

Here's my reason, "a fresh taste"
(Sometimes purchase fresh!! you don't have to kill it yourself, buy from a farm house or farm market an attendant would definitely do the job).

As simple as this reason might seem, its important. Freshness brings a lot of class and taste to your meals giving you the benefit of accessing 100% nutritional value. In this case of the Chicken, the Chicken juice, its natural oil and crunchy bone, gives you an allure that makes you forget your worries till the meal is over..hehehe!


The cleaning of a chicken is not such a hard work, Here are few patient tips.
  • After killing, wash away what is  left of its blood,
  • Soak the whole chicken in boiled water for 2 minutes making sure its all deepened in water,
  • Remove from hot water and pluck feathers using your hands, try and pluck as fast as possible.
  • When you are satisfied all the colored feathers are gone, light your cooker, hold the chicken above the cooker heat slightly turning it from side to side to get rid of the transparent white feathers that cant be plucked out. Do this for only a minute.

Once that's done,

  •  Cut open the chicken from its neck down just above its belly (middle). Open up the rest of the chicken using your hands.
  •  Gradually and gently pull out the intestine then dispose. You have to ensure the green fluid (Bile) hiding around the intestine doesn't burst , if not its going to spoil the taste of the whole chicken.

You can now cut your meat into any size you want.

  • Wash till it's thoroughly clean, per boil with a blend of herb spices, onions, garlic, ginger, salt and stork cube. 
  • Leave to boil for 30 minutes. You get an aroma that is divine and a taste so satisfying. Some cooks do a shallow frying of the chicken after it's boiled, some fry with vegetable oil.
If you want a taste so distinct i recommend you fry in butter, or better still deep boiled chicken in bread crumbs and fry with this, you will find a unique taste!.

There are some myths i would like to dispel...
  1. When pulling off the feathers of a chicken Don't talk or else the feathers would keep growing back. This made me laugh when my mother told me. I decided to practice. Called my little help to pluck some feathers on one, while i do the other. I engaged in a conversation whilst plucking the feathers, she didn't talk and she finished before me.....I was amazed...but I actually think the answer to this myth is do not get distracted so you can pluck out you chicken feathers as quickly as you can. They don't grow back lol.
  2. Some say you have to breath on the bile to avoid strange!! just clean the chicken and ensure the bile doesn't bust open.

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For more inquiries on how to kill a chicken.....Leave a comment or ask us on our facebook page, 'OFooDi'.


Roast Plantain And Roast Fish

One recipe that i will always recommend for any kind of treat is Plantain.
It's easy to come by and prepare.
A twist that i have been loving lately is the Roast one with Roast Fish and Fried "spicy hot pepper" stew!!.

Gosh its's filling, aromatic and just ideal for that long awaited hunger quench.

For 2 Servings.......

The Main Ingredients;

-4 Big Size Ripe Plantain  or 6 Medium Size Plantain
-2 Big Pieces of whole Fish - Croaker Fish
-Vegetable Oil
-Dry grounded pepper.
-Fresh Pepper (Chili-Tomato-Bell Pepper)
-Spice (Thyme-parsley-coriander-stork cube)

The Procedure;

You can either roast your plantain in an oven or use an open grill, but preferably use an open grill. The one that burns with Charcoal makes  food taste better..*winks*

Heat charcoals to start preparing the grill for cooking, same for the oven, heat up oven to get it ready for cooking-200 degrees Maximum. Heat for 15 minutes before you place any food on top.
What this means is that you have to get your plantain and fish ready for cooking in 15 minutes.......yes!...

The Plantain.......
Peel ripe plantain, make sure you get one that is not so ripe.
Do not dice or cut plantain
Rub a bit of salt on the body and dry pepper if you like.
Use a blunt knife to line the plantain from top to bottom.
Then place on the heated grill or oven.

The Fish......
Croacker is a very good type of fish to use for this.
Wash fish thoroughly and line the 2 sides with a sharp not cut. This is just to ensure the fish has a bit of opening for your spices to penetrate through.
Marinate Fish with Spices above.
Squeeze 2 limes on the fish.
Deep fish in Blended Fresh Pepper 
Bring out of fresh pepper
then sprinkle some dry pepper on it....
Add a bit of salt and stork cube to taste.
Stuff the 2 sides of the fish with fresh onions, dry parsley and  dry coriander....( if you can use a fresh one lucky you).
Then Place Fish on the grill or in oven.

While the Marinating of the fish is going on, ensure you are checking on the plantain and turning it from side to side.
Roast Plantain for like 20 Minutes... roast fish for like 35 minutes. Between 15 minutes intervals turn the fish from side to side.

 N.B You can grill the plantain and fish at the same time, on the same grill, just ensure you keep checking on the plantain so it doesn't burn. 

The Sauce.............
On the Other side....lit up your burner.....
Heat vegetable oil in frying pan till its hot enough,
Add onions, sprinkle some thyme on it, stork cubes and other spices of your choice 
Then add your remaining fresh pepper and leave it to fry.
This is a good side sauce that goes with the roast plantain.

1) Place Plantain on a flat plate horizontally, place your grill fish on the side, sprinkle some fried fresh pepper sauce on it.

2) Tear plantain to pieces on the plate, cut fish into half, place fish on plantain diagonally on each other, then add some sauce on top.

3) Pour some sauce in a bowl, shred the fish into the sauce, cut plantain into 2 halves and deep in to the bowl.
 4) You could be creative and throw some boiled veggies like carrots on the side of your plantain and fish.

If meal taste too spicy add some ketchup...

Viola!!!!!!!!!!!!! Food is ready!

Stressed Out!!!!!!

Stress is inevitable as we don't live in isolation. Working, eating, cooking, marriage, family, boss, government..stress is everywhere, no one is speared.The best you can do for yourself is to always find that relaxation time, where you not only sleep but eat stress relieving meals.

Eating just any meal generally could help you forget the stress but might not give you that total relief you so desire. Therefore, vital nutrients are needed to boost your body balance and energy level rather than swallowing medication whenever you are tired.

Asparagus is a very nourishing example, it's everywhere though not commonly eaten by everyone. It contains high folic acid that help's stabilize your mood. You could boil it or stir fry with seasoning or without, it's an excellent combination with mash/unmash potatoes and gravy, sea bass, fish and chips, fried rice and it could fit in to any thing you eat with vegetables. So ensure it's included in your meals, it's highly nutritious.

Beef  is another example. It's high level of Zinc, Iron, B Vitamins helps in strengthing the body, giving the body mass and also stabilizes your mood. (It is a protein diet option if you want to add weight).

Milk is high in antioxidants, vitamin B2 and B12. It is very ideal for breakfast and takes away that early morning sluggishness, teary eyes, frowny face, scowy brows,yawns and stretches that could prolong the day.

Fruits are generally high in Vitamin C and in some fiber, it's like a form of entertainment when everything/everywhere gets boring, just take it out on the apple or orange or a glass of fresh juice, it helps faster that "smushing" stress balls.

Picks/Nibbles are very good options when the mouth gets bored or when your taste buds starts giving you funny ideas about how it wishes to taste sushi or grilled fish while you are in front of your computer and cant be asked to cook or leave what you are doing.

Dessert is under this category also, especially if lunch wasn't enough and you are feeling weary, even after drinking water.

Tuna gives vitamins B6 and B12, so once in a while treat yourself to tuna chunks especially for light dinners that will allow your stomach breath while you are asleep.

A brief summary in form of a Food time table could help you have a stress free life and a happy face:

Breakfast Options:
A bowl of cereal with milk no choco, oats, pap, custard or yoghurts with fruits.

Brunch Options: ( After breakfast and before lunch)
A piece of toast, cold glass of orange juice, water or a cuppa (tea)

Lunch Options:
Full blown eba and ewedu or egusi with beef, banga soup with starch,gbegiri/ewedu and amala...hehehehe, rice-stew-boiled egg-beef and plantain, oxtail stew-rice and peas, sea food fried rice with beef, chowmein-beef chunks and prawns, fish and chips,pasta, courgettes, tuna salad, curry dishes. etc Ensure beef is included, a bit of veg- asparagus, carrots, sweetcorn, etc.

Dinner options:
A can of Tuna, pizza, noodles, amala and ewedu, beans and corn, cassava drink-garri and fish, suya-(roast beef) and garri, moi moi (bean pudding) and garri, asun (roast goat meat) and garri......i just love garri, it goes with almost anything.

Dessert Options:
As usual sweet nicks- cakes, almonds,flapjacks,monkey nuts, groundnuts, peanuts, roast plantain, roast/boiled corn,ice cream, plantain chips, gala, cookies,.............anything quick and easy to grab.

Time is very limited and can never be enough, so make a food routine that would help you relax even when there's no time and free yourself from stress.

Love ya loadsxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

What's your flavor?

Plantain is one choice of food you can use for an exciting combination. No matter what you cook with it , its rich sumptuous flavor still has an evident taste. It can either be a mixed recipe of plantain and beans, plantain and yam, plantain with potatoes, plantain and gizzard, roast plantain and groundnut... etc, you can't  deny your buds from identifying  it's sweetness, natural flavored aroma and how it brings color to your meals.

Boiled plantain and yam porridge is one combination i love especially for days  i have leftover yams and i am bored eating with only eggs, stew and them likes.

Here is a recipe i tried over the week (with my left over yams)

Plantain and Yam Porridge:
Pour 2 cups of water in a pot and leave to boil
Add your plantain with onions, fish, grounded crayfish and freshly chopped peppers,
stir together,

 Add 2-3 table spoons of palm oil or vegetable oil
Add a bit more water just enough to cook the plantain for 10 minutes
Add your yams

Stir together slightly mashing the plantain and yam
Add your salt, seasoning cubes
Cover pot for like 10 minutes and food is ready...

Enjoy the rich flavored taste of your plantain.

Crab Sensations

Crab Meat is one major delicacy you rarely find in family meals, probably because of the cost of sea food, or the stress of getting the meat out of  its shell, or the lack of what to cook with it.
Crab is really good in soups and surprisingly sandwiches.

For Sandwiches:...
Boil crab till its tender and get your meat out of the crab
mix with Philadelphia cheese or any grated cheese of your choice, sprinkle some black pepper
top with lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes
Serve with white bread, brown bread or baguettes  .
This can also be made as a toast or made as a Panini.
Simply fill up bread with crab mixture and its topping, then place in a toaster or panini machine to cook.

For a crab recipe :....Making the Stock

                                                          Serving 6-10 people.

Boil 6-10 crab in water
Add spices such as stock cubes,salt, thyme, mixed herbs
Add  sliced onions and leave to boil till crab is tender,
Add grounded cray fish,
Add dry fish or any other assortments of your choice (Optional)

Mama's recipes tv

At this stage you can do a lot with your crab recipe.

Option 1
Crab with vegetable

My recipes

Add 3 table spoons of palm oil or vegetable oil in to boiling crab stock
Add 4-5 table spoons of freshly blended pepper or dry pepper, allow to boil for 5 minutes
Add chopped Spinach or any type of vegetable leaf
Cover pot and reduce cooking heat to allow vegetable steam up for 5 minutes and retain its color...
Serve with rice, pasta or any local grain of your choice.

Option 2
Crab fried stew

Heat vegetable oil in a separate pan,
Add a tiny bit of garlic/onions into frying oil
Add chopped tomatoes and grounded pepper or freshly blended pepper in to frying oil
Stir fry till pepper/ tomato is looking a bit fried.
Add the already prepared crab stock with the crab in to the frying chopped tomatoes and pepper
Fry for another 3 minutes....then its ready
Serve with a combination of boiled rice and beans, or serve with boiled yam or boiled plantain or eat with plain boiled beans.

Option 3
Ogbono with Crab.

Add 2-3 table spoons of palm oil in a heated pan,( just slightly heat pan and not very hot)
Add 2-3 table spoons of grounded Ogbono in to preheated oil
Mix till it becomes a paste and its drawing.( Make sure you mix till there are no lumps visible)
Add paste into already prepared crab stock and mix thoroughly.
Depending on how thick you want it, add a bit of water, then leave to boil under considerable low heat for 5 mins.
Do not cover pot of soup, leave open till its done to prevent the soup from lacking texture and burning fast.

More recipes to come ...enjoy...!

Happy Birthday Dear Mother-The Inspiration of OFooDi

A little love letter to you mum.....if not for you there would be no OFooDi.....

Dear Mother of mine,

Thank you for being such a wonderful woman in my life
Thank you for being Gods gift to me
Thank you for your prayers over my life
Thank you for your encouragement
Thank you for your money
Thank you for collaborating with daddy to bring me into the world...*Winks*

Thank you for transferring your incomparable cooking skills to moi and allowing me to waste your ingredients on endless cooking practices...
.......thank you for letting me burn your food and knowing what it tastes like
....thank you for the knocks when i had too much water in the Eba and Dodo was never brown .....
So much to thank you for mum......
...may this new year you have started lead to greater heights and more achievements..... Amen

Loads of Love from your Children..Olasunkanmi, Dideolu,Oluwafolahan, Oluwayemi.......ooxoxoxoxo