Sunday, May 27, 2018

Brown and Green Cafe

Brown and Green Breakfast
I've had a full English breakfast in many cafe's and restaurants ,some very disappointing and others pretty solid. If there was a premier league of places serving a full English , Brown and Green would be in my top tier of cafes actually competing for the tastiest full English breakfast cup. Pardon my football reference, the premier leagues over and I think am suffering from a case of withdrawal symptoms. I'm getting the shakes and for once it isnt due to rib eye cravings. The world cup kicks off in a few more weeks and that should help satiate my hunger. Speaking of hunger, let's get back to why I rate Crystal Palace's triangle Brown and Green soo highly. 

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Street feast at Woolwich public market review

Woolwich market street feast food
A quick trip to Woolwich public market Street Feast food stalls after work revealed an array of stalls selling drinks and different dishes. I was pretty impressed when I saw the variety of food stalls on display. The first thing that came to mind was when did this actually open and how come I had no idea. Well it turns out it opened just a few months ago, in March to be exact. A few comments on twitter from the Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey really centred on the various battles he had to go through opening Street Feast opposite the Royal Arsenal developments. I am glad the permission was granted for the public market to be transformed on weekends because Woolwich or Plumstead road is not exactly a cool place to hang out or spend friday evenings. A new foodie spot can really transform a place for good. Check out pictures of my evening below
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Nigerian spinach and melon seed stew recipe

Efo egusi
My forays into Nigerian cooking mostly involves making Jollof rice and fried rice. Yes i love my Jollof, but like many things can be tiresome when you have it 6 out of 7 days a week. Whilst watching a cooking show on BBC , a Masterchef meets Apprentice and Bake off style programme, I decided to try out a new Nigerian dish out of curiosity. The stew known as Efo Egusi or in English melon seed and spinach stew is possibly one of my favourite Nigerian stews. It goes well with pounded yams, cassava and ....drum beloved rice. Yes it looks like it's going to be rice 7 days a week. There are 3 important sources of inspiration when making this stew.

1) A Nigerian or African shop 

I walked into the Nigerian shop outside my flat to buy all the ingredients and to my amazement 2 much older ladies who were themselves shopping, started offering advice about the best ways of cooking the stew. The lovely man at the till also offered some advice by telling me the sort of fish to buy, what to do with the melon seed fry or not to fry, he basically went over the cooking process. I have to admit, many of it zoomed past my head. All I could think of was....this might just be as bad as my souffle attempt a few years ago. You ever tried making souffle in a cup because you didnt know what ramekins were ? .. well I did and I still get shivers. Anyways back to the food, their advice was pretty useful. I have a feeling I am going to rely a lot on advice from that shop in the future. 
Nigerian masterchef : He really gave me some good advice

2) Family Whatsapp group 

My family chat group really helped. My mum and her many sisters gave me tons of advice, even if they did make fun of me a little. I spoke to one in Chicago and another in Lagos. The stew was definitely intercontinental. Blending onions and mixing it into the melon seed powder before you stir it into the pot of pepper blended stew was one key advice.
Family chat picture 1
Family chat picture 2
Family chat 3

3) Internet 

There are tons of good Youtube videos out there, however it can all be a tad confusing as people tend to cook it slightly differently delending on what part of the country they are from. So I would say check out some videos, but really study the comment sections to see what other Nigerians think of the recipe.
Research over, it was time to start cooking up a storm. Here are a list of ingredients I bought 


3/4 cup of Palm oil
2 onions
3 bell peppers
1.5 scotchs bonnet 
1 plum tomatoes ( optional)
3 tbs of crayfish ( You can buy a liitle sachet )
3/4 cup of Melon seed powder ( you can buy a sachet )
Smoked catfish / stockfish ( 3/4 of a cup)
1 cup of Spinach leaves ( diced )
1.5 Cups of diced lamb - ( keep the stock when you boil this. You need 1.5 cups of stock)
1 knorr chicken stock cube
1 maggi cube 

Let the cooking begin 

Boil some well seasoned lamb ( you can season with onions, peppers, garlic , curry powder, knorr chicken stock cubes , salt and mixed herbs) for 40 minutes and save the stock. You need 1 to 1.5 cups of stock. Ps Nigerians can boil tripe ( shaki ) and ponmo as well. Non Nigerians should stick to meats of known origin as the assortments of meats I mentioned might make you grimace. If you want to try something new however, then ask your local butchers for those meats as well.
Boil some meat
Blend the 3 bell peppers, 1 onion and scotchs bonnet together. You can also add plum tomatoes, but this seems to be optional based on all the advice
Pepper mixture blend
Pour the palm oil into a pot and saute half a diced onion for 4 minutes on medium heat. Add your maggi cube and knorr chicken cube to the palm oil for a minute, then pour in your blended pepper mixture for about 8 mins. Pour in your cup of stock and let it simmer for 5 additional minutes.
Fried palm oil and onions
Blended pepper mixture
While the meat stock is doing its thing, blend half an onion and add this blend to the melon seed powder along with 2 spoons of the crayfish powder. Mix it and add it to the pepper mixture for 5 minutes.
Melon seed to the left and crayfish on top.
Melon seed powder, onion blend and crayfish
Stew with melon seed mixture
Add in your meats and fish for 5 mins.. You can add some salt after you taste it.
Boiled smoked catfish / stock fish and meats added into stew
Toss in your diced spinach leaves for 5 mins and take off the stove.My aunts also mentioned adding a few diced basil leaves, but thats optional.
Spinach leaves in melon seed stew
Stew is ready
There goes my first ever attempt. I had it with a plate of rice and plantains. A match made in heaven if you ask me. The verdict on my stew according to my taster was a healthy 7 out of 10. Pretty good for a first attempt. The recipe have added to this blog has been edited a little to encompass the comments. The maggi cube and 1.5 cup of stock instead of 1 cup is a new addition. I think adding tripe and ponmo ( meats ) also adds a bit to that flavour. 
Give this a go and let me know what you think. If you have any tips, I would love to see it in the comments as well.
Rice, stew and plantains
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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Best Spanish restaurant in Dartford

Grilled Sardines
This story is about a youngish Chilean man with ambition that I met at a Spanish restaurant in Welling 3 years ago. Lorenzo looked after the front of house and often spoke about his dream of opening a Spanish restaurant in Dartford, Kent.  This restaurant when he described it at the time was going to be in a building akin to that of a private member's club in Soho. A games area, a cigar room, a bar with the finest drinks and a tapas restaurant all within one building. Yep, it was definitely a big dream filled with tons of ideas, however when you hear Lorenzo speak you pretty much gather he has the drive to make it come true. When his life's long dream of opening a Spanish restaurant finally came to fruition by partnering with Craig and Greg, I just had to visit to see what he came up with. The verdict after two visits is definitely a positively glowing one, even with the missing Cuban cigar and games room (one day Lorenzo ) . The restaurant called Carnaval meat and tapas bar is located on 70 Spital street, a few minutes walk from Dartford station. I dare say this is the best Spanish restaurant in Dartford, or even the best restaurant in Dartford. The reviews and ratings on Tripadvisor pretty much captured my thoughts about the place.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

A fun all inclusive trip to Cape Verde's Sal Island

Bikini Beach Sal
Bikini Beach Sal
A holiday to Cape Verde's Sal Island was just what the doctor ordered after traumatic train cancellations and delays to and from work due to the interestingly named beast from the east. Snow in the middle of March? What's that all about. The hotel I ended up booking ( Melia Llana ) had a fabulous all inclusive package.This was all done via Tui group, formerly Thompson travel. This was my first ever package holiday and I have to say it far exceeded my expectations. The flight left on time, the plane journey was pretty uneventful (always a good thing), airport pick up was on time and the hotel itself was a joy to behold. The only slight pain was not having inflight entertainment, something I might have fixed by downloading movies on my Ipad the night before. The niggle aside, top marks to Tui group. On getting to the resort, I noticed they had tons of free daily activities (dance classes, yoga , pool exercises), basically a lot to get up to apart from just lounging by the pool side. Seeing as have got an allergy to exercise, I booked two restaurants within the resort, a teppanyaki night at a restaurant called Nami asian bistro and dinner at an Italian place called Casa Nostra. 

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Jollof rice and peri peri chicken for a dinner party

Hot pot of Jollof
Hot pot of Jollof
Hi readers, I know its been a few weeks since my last post. The past few weekends was spent eating out or entertaining friends with any little spare time spent watching Netflix instead of creating new content. One thing I did focus on over the past few weeks however was reaquainting myself with Bae... Bae being Jollof rice. Yes, the west african dish is that special. So special my friend Tavian posted a song on Youtube about eating the thing. That track really conveys my feelings about the dish. The voice sounded soft, sweet and then shaky at one point because he was holding back tears. We can safely say the dish means something to him and most west Africans. Keep on singing Tave. Let the next be a ballad about spinach stew and pounded yam my friend. I also posted soo much about Jollof a colleague sent me pictures of the Jollof rice she made for her mum on mothers day and from what I saw she didnt to too bad. Let's put it this way, it looked better than Jamie Olivers confused Jollof mix. Good job Taz.

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