CATERPILLAR BUNS

Me and bread ehn?

Something about baking bread always gets me in my core.From mixing and kneading the dough to the wiff of the yeast as it starts to act ,to the heady aroma of homemade bread from the oven(which I find very comforting in an odd way).The result of this ever growing baking bias has seen me amass quite a repertoire of bread recipes.I must say that having a family that consumes a lot of bread is a good incentive too;)

So don’t be surprised if my interest goes from the regular to the unusual specialty kind of loaf,as long as it’s bread, I’m all for it.One thing bread has going for it, in my humble opinion is the many varieties of recipes you could try your hands on as an armature bread baker,but I guarantee you that it does take some work.However the results far outweigh the effort.

Now my sources for inspiration for baking bread come from seeing pictures and I go “wooow isn’t that worth trying out?”Luckily my pantry is always stocked with flour and baking stuff so who am I not to try really?

So away with the recipe!!!

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp yeast

Pinch of baking powder

1 tbs

Tbsp sugar 

1 tsp salt

1 egg( lightly beaten )

1 tbsp melted butter/margarine

2 tbsp oil

1tbsp milk powder.

METHOD

1. Sieve flour into a mixing bowl.

2. Add the milk powder,baking powder,sugar,yeast and salt and mix well.

3.Gradually add the milk in a slow stream and begin to knead (if you are using a mixer attach the dough hook to do this)

4. Turn out dough into a kneading table and Knead for 8 to 10 minutes.(the longer you knead, the softer/more pliable the dough will be so take time to get this step right).

5.Drizzle some vegetable oil in to the bottom of the mixing bowl,put the ball of dough into the bowl and roll it over the oil.This prevents the dough from drying out while resting.

6.Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and set in a draught free area to rise for about 40 to 60 minutes or till it doubles in size.

7. Punch down the  dough and divide it into 5 sections.Roll each section into an oval or rectangular shape of about 1/4 inch thickness.Brush with butter or margarine,then cut strips about 1/3 of the way into the rolled dough.

8.Add your desired filling() on the opposite side of where the strips have been cut ,fold dough over the filling to enclose it then gently roll all the way to the end.The strips will cover the top of the bun giving it it’s caterpillar like finish.(do pinch the ends of the strips under the dough so it does not uncurl or open up during baking.

9.Repeat with the rest dough and place all on a well greased tray.Cover with kitchen towel and allow buns rest for 20  to 30 mins to allow them rise slightly.

10. Brush with egg wash,garnish with sesame seeds (if you have some)and bake in a pre-heated oven  for 25 minutes.

*I normally repeat brushing with egg wash 5 minutes before baking time is up for that glossy look*

11. Remove buns from oven and brush with the melted butter.Keep covered with kitchen towel to help retain its softness till serving time.

Enjoy…

COCONUT BEEF SAUCE.

The weekends are so short for me these days; anyone else feel the same?I wake up on Saturdays and choose to lie in,oh yes !it is my Sabbath day rest.I so love that slow pace of things on Saturdays.So, fast forward to lunch time and I have to be in and out of the kitchen in no time so my slow ticking Saturday continues uninterrupted,my choice of a sauce to go with rice on such days is the coconut beef sauce.

It’s simple and quick to make and does taste good too.Luckily I shop on Fridays and keep some boiled beef handy in the freezer;) so things will be on top speed.Thats not to say you can’t use raw beef (or any other meat for that matter!).The good thing about this recipe is that it works well with any meat or fish you throw at it;yeah :it’s that versatile.Ok let’s do this!

INGREDIENTS

6 medium sized cut beef(already seasoned and boiled)

1 cup meat stock

5 medium sized carrots. 

1 large green pepper.

100 gr runner beans.

1 cup sweet corn.

3 spring onions.

1 clove of garlic.

1 small ginger root.

2 Knorr Seasoning cubes.

2 tsp white pepper.

1 cooking spoonful vegetable oil.

3 tablespoonfuls cornflour

Salt to taste.

1 cup coconut milk.

METHOD

Cut meat into smaller bits.(this will allow it cook faster)

Slice the carrots,spring onions,green pepper and runner beans.

Grate/crush garlic and ginger.

Pour oil in a saucepan and heat for a few minutes.

Add crushed garlic and ginger with some spring onions to the oil and stir.

Add the meat and sear till crisp on the outside.

Pour in the meat stock and coconut milk in saucepan and bring to a boil on low heat.

(The above step is for when using boiled beef,with raw beef just sear the beef cuts in hot oil till all sides are crisp, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil to allow beef cook till tender)

Add seasoning cube and white pepper.

Add the sliced veggies starting with the runner beans then the carrots, turn heat low to a simmer.

Make a paste with the cornflour (ratio of water to corn flour shoul be 4:3)and add it to the simmering liquid in the saucepan.(this should thicken the sauce).

Add the green pepper  and sweet corn,salt to taste and turn of heat to allow pepper steam.

Enjoy with your white rice!

 APPLE PIE 

Well the kids came back from holidaying at their grandma’s and as usual have had me on a new treat challenge. They happen to be very much responsible for my foray into uncharted cooking territories all the time. So from my first attempt at making pizza to this :making Apple pie I have the fantastic four to thank for continously bringing me out of my comfort zone. 

Apple pies though not popular with a lot of Africans can and should be tried out. I do love the sweet and tangy taste of the filling as well as the aroma of the spices used, plus the added bonus of it being vegan, I mean pies don’t have to be filled with meat alone to be tasty or  be appreciated. Do try it out this weekend. 

APPLE PIE RECIPE :

1/2 kg double crust pastry. 

3   large apples.

1/2tsp cinnamon.

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder.

4tbsp cornflour .

1tbsp lime/lemon juice.

2 tbsp sugar. 

EGG wash 

METHOD :

Wash and peel apples, decore  and deseed them. 

Cut peeled apples into thin slices and toss in the lime/lemon  juice. 

Line the inside of the pie dish with a rolled out sheet of double crust pastry. 

Mix cornflour, nutmeg and cinnamon together. 

Toss the apple slices in the dry mix. 

Fill the pastry  lined pie dish with the apple fillings.

Cover the top of the pie dish with the  remaining pastry and trim off the excess from the edges. 

Primp the edges with a fork and poke a hole on top to allow steam escape while the filling cooks. 

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes . 

Brush the top with the egg wash and bake for another couple of minutes. 

Slice up and Enjoy. 


EGG PLANT(GARDEN EGG) SAUCE 


 

When a public holiday makes the weekend long, you wake up with the thought of what to cook for breakfast that will keep the energy level of the kids up for a long time.Being kids and having some free time means lots of playtime for them so I  had to fall back on this meal that was a staple in our home while growing up. 

My parents  had green fingers and grew most of the food we ate, one plant in our garden that found regular use was the egg plant(popularly called garden eggs)the flat tasting  foreign variety we grew in the garden then are however no match for the local green bitter tasting variety [most likely why I did not enjoy them back then:?]. There is something about that bitter taste when it mixes with the flavours of the other condiments  that leaves your mouth watering.I will give the recipe here so you can go check it out for yourself, like they say experience is the best teacher and when you do try it out let me hear from you; tag me on instagram @jules_of_umami,twitter@julifekem or share it on the umami flavors Facebook page. 

EGGPLANT SAUCE RECIPE :

Eggplants 6(the green variety preferably) 

Scotch bonnet pepper  3

Plum tomatoes 2

Onions 1 medium sized bulb

Vegetable oil 2 cooking spoons 

Ground Crayfish 3 tbsp

Knorr seasoning cube 1

Salt to taste
METHOD :

Wash egg plants and cut into quarters. 

Steam egg plants till soft and squishy . 

Slice tomatoes, peppers and onion. 

Using a mortar and pestle mash the egg plant to a thick paste. 

Pour vegetable oil in sauce pan. 

Sauté  sliced onion till translucent. 

Add the sliced tomatoes and pepper, cook on low heat for 5 minutes. 

Add the mashed egg plant. 

Season with knorr cubes and a pinch of salt.

The sauce is ready, serve with boiled yam /plantain /potatoes  or a combination of yam and plantain. ENJOY




SEAFOOD OKRA SOUP

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My Love for seafood was rekindled last week Wednesday when my kid sister rushed in from the local market to excitedly tell me about a seafood monger she met. You see having grown up in Lagos in the early 80s my mum had inadvertently planted a love for seafood like crabs, prawns and shrimps in my young taste buds that finally developed into a crazy craving for them by the time the family moved to Asaba the Delta State capital in the early 2000s.
So there was I wishing I could eat em crabs and shrimps to my fill especially when I realized that the good ol River Niger was devoid of such. So for all my years of living here I’ve had to make do with the frozen prawns and shrimps available at the supermarkets but sadly:( no crabs.
So, yay! was my gesture when I got to meet the seafood seller and you can bet I doled out the cash and bought the thing like “kilode ”
Best part was we got her number to know when next she’d be in town and right now I am nursing the idea of being a dealer so I can help some other seafood craving resident like me. Shey they say” your frustration is your area of ministry “:) yels ke!
So today I offer you my recipe for seafood okra soup,and with all it’s Umami you are sure going to say hmm mm… I want more!

SEAFOOD OKRA SOUP

Ingredients :
4 medium sized crabs.
1/2cup prawns/shrimps.
1 cup grated okra/ladyfingers.
1/4cup thinly sliced uziza leaves.
1teaspoon ground dried Cameron pepper.
11/2 tablespoons ground cray fish.
1/2 cup palm oil.
1 1/2 cup water.
1 bulb medium sized onion(sliced).
1 cube of Maggi or knorr seasoning
A dash of ogili okpei or dawadawa(locust bean seasoning).
Salt to taste.

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DIRECTIONS
Wash and clean crabs and shrimps /prawns taking care to remove all unsavory parts.
Season with seasoning cubes and some of the sliced onions.
Add the 1 1/2 cup of water and bring to the boil.
Boil for 2 minutes then turn heat down to simmer.
Add crayfish powder, dried Cameroon pepper, ogili and oil and allow simmer for 5 more minutes.
Add grated okra and sliced uziza leaves.
Stir and add salt to taste.
Allow simmer for a minute or two then turn off the heat.
Serve with any swallow of choice.

ENJOY
!

UMAMI FLAVORS….. SO DIVINE !

Hello World! This is one of those nights again when my creative juices flow in my sleep till I get up and do something about the idea running through my head. So tonight I’m thinking of my past musings on starting a food blog and decided to give it a go. Signed up with WordPress.com and BAM! A new blogger on  the scene… so where do we go from here?Yeah that’s right! To my “umami- centric” cooking (wondering if there’s a word like that?me too),anyway the umami in foods is what makes me one huge “protein-holic” and it drives my passion and vision in creating dishes from recipes that heightenes the flavour.