Recipes: Yam Porridge Delight For The Family

Highly nutritious and considered a superfood, yams are tropical tubers indigenous to the peoples of West Africa, most parts of Asia, and Latin Americans (South and Central). Yams are high in dietary fibre and carbohydrates; thus a major source of energy. Yams are also ample source of other nutrients such as: Vitamins A, B, C, and essential minerals – potassium, copper and iron.
Little wonder yam is an accepted staple food in many homes universally. All of the nutrients found in yam are required for maintaining a healthy balance in adults – promotes good functioning of the heart, kidney, and muscle.
There are many yam species and they can be cooked in varied appetizing ways; top on the list of yam delicacies is yam porridge. Yam porridge is a very common meal easy to cook, and enjoyed by both young and old. When cooked properly, the natural sweet taste of yam is loved by all.
To get the best out of yam porridge, we will be adding chunks of fish and very soft chicken; this will provide extra protein and flavour.
Required ingredients are:

1 tuber of yam (yam size may vary according to the number of servings required)
Palm oil
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh Bell Pepper (Tatashe)
Fresh scotch bonnet (ata rodo)
1 medium sized onion
Ground crayfish
Dried or fresh shrimps (optional)
Shredded chicken (well seasoned and boiled)
Dried Fish or Smoked fish (Mackerel (popular Titus fish) is suggested because of its yummy taste)
Seasoning cubes (I use Knorr but any of your choice will do fine)
Salt to taste.

Cooking Guide:
Peel and cut yam into small chunks, then put into pot of water to cook (you may want to add a teaspoon of sugar for some sweetness if it’s New Yam that’s being used).
Wash the tomatoes, pepper (tatashe and rodo), and onion then blend (try to use minimal water so you can get a paste-like pepper mix after blending).
Leave the yam to cook for about 5 minutes then pour blended pepper into the pot of boiling yam. Add ground crayfish, the washed smoked fish, seasoning cubes, a bit of salt, and then add some palm oil sparingly. Allow to cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
By now the yam should be very soft, begin to mash till you get a thick consistency; little lumps of yam can be left. Add in the shredded boiled chicken, taste for salt (a bit more can be added if needed), and then leave to cook for another 2-3 minutes on low heat. Your delicious pot of yam pottage (popularly called asaro in Yoruba) is ready to be devoured!
Another delicious twist to cooking yam porridge is adding green vegetables (Ugwu or Spinach). Some kids don’t like this addition (my daughter doesn’t) so to play safe, you can prepare your vegetable as a side dish for the yam porridge to be enjoyed by adults.

10 Healthy Naija Style Breakfast Menus

The phrase that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has become so familiar that it’s lost its tangible meaning. As common as it may sound, this wise saying is in fact a reality but not all adhere to it.
A healthy breakfast should be a mix of fibre, protein, a dash of carbs and of course, some fruits and vegetables. For a healthy balance of essential nutrients, fruits whether sliced, juiced or pureed can be added to your breakfast.
With all of the above in mind, let’s go through some delectable breakfast menus:
1. Moimoi with ogi (pap), custard or oats. Moimoi can always be prepared ahead and kept in the freezer for future consumption.
2. Plantain (boiled or fried) with eggs, sauce/stew, vegetables or even beans.
3. Rice is the most common meal in Nigeria and it is loved by all, especially children. Rice can be cooked and had as breakfast in a variety of ways – White rice, jollof rice, coconut rice, fried rice, and even concoction rice (a rice quickie). Chicken/ meat/fish, and plantain or beans are perfect combinations to any of the rice varieties.
4. Yams (either boiled or fried) can be enjoyed with beans / fried eggs/ fish or meat stew/sauce. Yam porridge is another good variation of yam that you can have for breakfast.
5. Cereals can be filling and they are great breakfast choices, easy and quick to prepare. There are a whole range of cereal assortments to choose from. Children love: Corn Flakes, Golden Morn, Kellogg’s varieties – Crunchy Nuts, Honey Loops, Frosties, Rice Krispies etc. For adults, oats, weetabix and several bran cereals are very ideal and can be enjoyed with milk, fruits and yoghurt.
6. Akara (fried bean cake) is another beans delicacy that can be enjoyed with pap, custard or oats.
7. Potatoes (Irish or Sweet) can be savoured fried or boiled with beans, any sauce/stew of choice, or/and fried eggs.
8. Bread. There are a thousand and one delicious ways to enjoy bread (plain or toasted); with beans (ewa agoyin…heavenly), eggs (boiled or fried), any butter/spreads of choice, or stew/sauce.
9. Don’t we all love pancakes? Pancakes can be enjoyed with tea/coffee/hot or cold cocoa beverages, oats/custard and even with vegetable salad. Pancakes are always on point with kids (my daughter needs no persuasion in eating her breakfast if it’s pancakes).
10.  Pasta is an enjoyable delicacy made from durum wheat flour that is loved by most Nigerians. The good thing is pasta comes in various styles and shapes; most common ones here in Nigeria are spaghetti, macaroni, and noodles. You can get very creative with pasta and get them cooked in loads of appetizing ways.
Nigerians love life and eating good food is a part of our lifestyle. Now you get to enjoy a healthy breakfast the Nigerian way! 

Healthy Nigerian Smoothie Recipes

Making smoothies is a refreshing way to enjoy a healthy mix of fresh fruits and vegetables fast.
If you are on a weight loss journey like me, they come in handy as good substitutes for carbonated drinks.  I’ve recently developed a craving for smoothies and knowing the healthy punch they pack, I’m going to share some of my tryouts with you.

Pineapple Coconut Banana Smoothie:

This is an all time tropical mix – creamy and delicious! Highly nutritious coconuts and pineapple are rich in fibre, folate, vitamins C, E, and B. Minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are also nutrients to be enjoyed in this smoothie mix. Bananas have a good amount of healthy antioxidants; all three fruits are healthy and yummy!

1 cup of shredded coconut (for easy blending)
1 medium sized banana (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 cup of diced pineapple
1 cup of Coconut milk/Almond milk/Greek yoghurt

       2. Spinach Apple Cucumber Smoothie:
This mix is super nourishing. With the valuable nutrients found in the trio, a glass of this gives your body the vitamins A, C and K that it needs for the day. This smoothie is rich in fibre, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate, potassium, manganese. It’s got high antioxidant properties too.  For this smoothie, an addition of low fat yoghurt helps improve the taste of the spinach or ugwu leaves.

A handful of washed spinach/ ugwu leaves
1 medium sized chopped apple
1 medium sized chopped cucumber
½ tsp of ginger (optional for a hint of spice)
Crushed ice cubes (optional)
1 cup of low-fat/greek yoghurt

       3. Orange Pineapple Carrot Smoothie:
This particular one is my daughter’s favourite. Oranges are sodium free, sweet but low in calories, and are a healthy dose of vitamin C and fibre. Carrots are well-known for their nutritional benefits to the eyes, and studies have shown their potentiality in reducing the risk of certain cancers. Oranges are known to be quite effective in managing blood sugar levels. Add some pineapples to give it a dash of tropical flavour.

2 whole oranges (peeled and cut into small chunks)
2 whole carrots (washed and chopped)
1 cup of diced pineapples
¼ tsp of turmeric or ginger (optional for spice)
1 cup of water or low fat yoghurt (base)
Crushed ice cubes

The preparation method is simple, fast and straightforward:
Cut up your fruits, add them up into the blender and blend on high-speed for 1-3 minutes till you have it smooth and foamy. If you prefer your smoothie pulp-free, simply pour the thick blend through a strainer to have a purely liquid drink.
You’ve got busy mornings? Save some time by keeping your washed diced fruits in the fridge before you need them. This also makes it possible to drink your smoothie right after you blend the fruits without having to freeze it again.
There’s no limitation when it comes to smoothies. Make your choice from the wide array of fruits and vegetables in the market. And keep experimenting to find what suits your taste buds…cool right?  

Fruits & Vegetables For Conservative Diet

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, go on a diet or just stay healthy, certain fruits and vegetables have just the right nutrients to keep you going and they don’t cost a fortune.
Here are some fruits and vegetables to consider for a conservative diet:
1.  Citrus  
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are not only refreshingly sweet, but they are loaded with phytonutrients that can boost your heart’s health by lowering cholesterol and reducing the inflammation of your arteries. In addition, citrus fruits will boost your immune system due to the high presence of vitamin C in them, and are likely to reduce risks of female cancers while also improving skin health.
Common citrus fruits include:

They are rich in vitamin C and help give you an energy boost. An orange after a meal helps with digestion and prevents constipation.

Orange on the outside and red on the inside, these delicious fruits are tangy and sweet. They are great for losing weight and detoxing.

Lemons are good for more than just a refreshing glass of lemonade. They help with various conditions like diabetes and throat infections and even help improve your skin and teeth.
Key Lime: Limes serve as a good appetizers and their sour taste can drive your body out of fatigue. They can be added to tea or mixed with honey

Tangerines are really an all-in-one solution. They can be used to make a facial mask for brighter skin or used in a fruit salad for a protein boost

2. Leafy Greens:
The indispensable nutrients packed in leafy greens like spinach, pumpkin leaves (ugwu), kale, and cabbage are not to be missed. Aside from their alkalizing and cleansing effects in the body, kale and cabbage rank high in cancer-fighting natural properties like glucosinolates. These leafy wonders are good fibre sources and are super-packed with vital nutrients like magnesium and calcium which combined, may effectively slow the breakdown of bone as you age. Other nutrients found in them are vitamins A, C, K, folate, and potassium.
3. Tomatoes:
Tomatoes are found everywhere; we see them at every corner in the market and on the streets. But amazingly, we overlook the multiple nutritional values of this fruit. , and are an outstanding source of lycopene. Lycopenes are powerful antioxidants and diets rich in them can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. They also reduce the risk of stroke, breast and ovarian cancers significantly. Nursing mothers are not left out as tomatoes increase of Red carrots and watermelon also have abundance of Lycopene
4. Apples:
Do you know that the saying – an apple a day keeps the doctor away – isn’t farfetched? Apples boost immunity and are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that can reinforce your body’s disease-fighting abilities.
Looking for sure ways to improve your quality of life? With these fruits and vegetables, you’ll boost your health, keep some diseases away, and of course keep yourself fit & trim. They certainly shouldn’t be lacking on your list of consumables, don’t you agree?

Conquer Your Fear of Cooking

The fear of cooking is real for some people. They lack the confidence to serve their dishes to even loved ones. If you want to be better at cooking, you definitely can. Even if you think you are hopeless in the kitchen like everything else practice and increasing your knowledge makes perfect. Let these tips guide you to becoming a better cook;
1. Add to what you know
Search for recipes on the web and in cookery books, read them through even if it is a recipe for a meal you think you have perfected. With Nigerian food recipes, and any other world recipe, there are often many ways to cook a meal and achieve the same results. So there’s always something new to learn.
When you eat a familiar meal and you notice an improvement in the taste, it is good to ask the cook what he/she did to achieve that.
2. Timing
This is one of the top tips of how to become a good cook. Knowing the right time to add certain ingredients goes a long way in making your food taste better.
3. Organization
Some things need to be done before you even light up the stove. For example, you can take your time and cut up every vegetable that needs to be chopped. Once it is time to add these, it would be easy for you rather than hurriedly washing and cutting them to add.
4. Attention to detail
Watch out for how your cooking can benefit from low, medium or high heat. Sometimes with jollof rice for instance you would need low heat to steam and cook to avoid burning your food.
5. Have the basic tools you need
You cannot underestimate the convenience of a sharp knife.
6. Plan Ahead
It is a good idea to plan what you want to cook ahead of time. This is so that you can be sure to buy all the necessary ingredients for preparing the recipe.
7. Choose your time carefully
The less you are distracted from your cooking, the better attention you will pay to the preparation of the meal. This way, there will be no burnt/overcooked meals later! You might want to wait till after Elena’s Ghost to make that stew.
8. Keep Practicing Cooking
Practice makes perfect. The more often you cook, the more you learn new and better ways of the art of cooking.

Superwoman, Don’t Leave Out These Super Foods!

Certain foods packed with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients have been tagged “Super Foods for Women” because of the extra good they have to offer women. From nerve calming carbs to minerals and vitamins that sharpen mental perception. The old saying “you are what you eat” is by no means a tale. In truth, there’s a strong connection between food and health. What we eat could affect our bodies positively or negatively. Logically, to be healthy and fit we should eat the right kinds of food.
As women, our bodies undergo several complex changes through the years and that’s why our bodies need varieties of nutrients daily.
We’ve put together a list of some super foods easily found here in Nigeria and their benefits to you.
1. Egg Yolk

Egg yolks are packed with essential nutrients; especially choline, which is linked to lower breast cancer risks. Did you know that just one yolk supplies almost 25% of your daily need of choline? Eggs are a good source of protein, zinc and copper. Egg yolks also contain antioxidants that help prevent cataracts and degeneration of the retina. Eggs have often been linked to heart disease risk and are usually shunned by many but recent substantial evidence has shown that eggs are not harmful but healthy.
2. Low-Fat Yoghurt

Day by day, increasing benefits of low-fat yoghurt are being discovered. Prominent on the list of benefits is the fact that yoghurt can help reduce the risk of vaginal infections and reduce problems associated with inflammatory tract disorders (health conditions that affect more women than men).Well, not just yoghurt but fermented dairy products too! And that’s because of the high amount of healthy probiotics found in them. Calcium is crucial for preventing osteoporosis in women aged 20 above, and dairy products are good sources of protein and bone-healthy calcium.
3. Whole Grains

Whole grains are not to be left out in your diet. Oatmeal ranks high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods; the fibre in them works wonders in boosting your energy and metabolism. Oats are also essential for lowering cholesterol levels, boosting immunity and stabilizing blood sugar. Whole grains are good antioxidants, and the nutrients in them are significant in fighting heart diseases, diabetes, and feminine cancers.
4. Green Tea

Loaded with Polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, green tea is fast becoming known for its potent antioxidants and cancer-fighting activities. Did you know that green tea aids metabolism to burn calories faster, and protects against diabetes and weight gain? Green tea provides good support for the heart and bones, slows down the natural aging process in women, hydrates like water and is really effective in fighting fatigue and stress. Since I discovered the beneficial effects of this all-star brew, I’ve made drinking at least 2 cups of it an essential part of my daily diet …you should too!
5. Beans

Beans are low in fat and are a good source of protein. They also have soluble and insoluble fibre. Beans contain protease inhibitors which according to international studies slow the division of cancer cells and may have protective effects against cancer of the breast. Beans lower the risk of heart diseases. A high level of isoflavone – a nutrient known to aid hormone regulation and premenstrual syndrome issues – is likewise found in beans.

Cocktail Recipe: Homemade Milk Punch

Milk Punch cocktail is a true classic. It originated from New Orleans, United States in the 1700s. This pre-colonial drink is known not just for its soothing goodness but its ability to help cure a hangover. 
Are you having friends over and looking for something extra nice to make their day? Then this simple to mix, gosh of goodness is it!
Popularly known as the “Adult Milkshake”, this cocktail is quite flexible as the ingredients can be swapped to taste.
Let’s look at a Naija version of this milky sweetness.
Milk Punch Ingredients:
60ml alcohol – Brandy / Rum / Bourbon (as preferred)
150ml Three Crown Milk
1 tsp sugar or syrup – optional
5 cubes of ice – crushed
Cinnamon or Nutmeg for garnish – Ground or grated.
This serving makes 1 cup.

Put the alcohol, milk, syrup/sugar and crushed ice cubes into a shaker and shake vigorously for about a minute until content becomes frothy.
Pour content into a glass and garnish with a sprinkle of either ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

Your Milk punch cocktail is ready to drink.

Food Recipe: Oil-less Okro Soup

It’s all about popular yummy okro soup today. Protein-rich, okro is loaded with lots of other nutritional benefits. The soup itself is a favourite in most Nigerian homes. This probably is because it’s not just tasty but also easy to cook, and pocket friendly (whatever your choice of ingredients are, it turns out well).
If you are a keen weight watcher like me who wants to do away with palmoil as much as possible, here’s a delightful twist to enjoying your okro soup without fear of the calories in palm oil.
3 cups Fresh Okro – diced, chopped or grated.
Chicken/ Goat meat (Fish will also do nicely)
2 Medium sized smoked or dried fish
A handful of any green vegetables of choice (ugwu/ spinach/ bitter leaves/ scent leaves (efirin) – washed and chopped
1 Tbsp of locust beans (iru/dawadawa) – optional
Ground crayfish
Ponmo (your preferred quantity)
Dried Prawns – Optional
Fresh shrimps – Optional
Ground Dried Pepper
Chicken / Meat Stock
Seasoning cubes and salt to taste
Preparation time: 25 – 30 mins
Cooking: 12 -15 mins

Season and bring meat of choice to boil. Once well cooked, take out the meat into a bowl and set aside.
Now add your ground dried pepper (pepper can be used to suit your preference, I prefer mine hot & spicy), washed locust beans, ponmo and smoke fish, and shrimps/prawns into the pot of meat stock. Cover to cook for about 5 -7 minutes.
Now stir in your grated or diced okro, let it bubble on low heat for another 3 minutes before adding your washed and finely chopped green vegetables. If you are using bitter leaves, taste to ensure no bitterness before adding into soup. To get rid of the bitterness, you can boil already squeezed bitter leaves for about 3 minutes then rinse with cold water before adding into your pot of soup. Add a little water to soup if too thick.
Okro is best enjoyed crunchy so try not to let it over-cook. With your vegetables in, your meat can now go back into the pot and then, your ground crayfish.
Taste for salt, add a cube or two of seasoning (if needed) and stir well. Leave to steam for about 2 more minutes and voila, your oil-less okro is ready to be enjoyed.

Serve with any choice of swallow.

Tomato Stew With Less Cholesterol

Tomato stew is one of the most popular Nigerian food recipes, it is easy to make but requires patience. The ingredients needed could be found in almost every part of the world and almost anybody can cook up this stew in less than fifty minutes. Your personal preference determines if you would be having beef, fish, chicken or turkey tomato stew.

Chicken / Beef / Fish/ Turkey
Fresh tomato
Tin Tomato (Optional)


Wash the tomatoes and blend alongside the fresh pepper and onions to form a paste
Wash the meat (chicken, goat meat, beef… etc.)
Boil with preferred spices (I like to use lots of spices while boiling the meat. This is necessary if you want to have very tasty meats).
Boil till the meat is well cooked; there is nothing worse than struggling with tough meat.
Use the meat stock (water from the meat) for the main cooking
For stew with less cholesterol, avoid the usual frying of the tomato paste with vegetable, groundnut or palm oil. These oils are high in cholesterol.

Substitutes like olive oil can be used as it is possible to get delicious stew without any oils.

Add Tomato paste to the boiling stock.

Add Tin Tomato after about 10 minutes (Optional) ; this would give a deep red colour

Allow to boil for about 25 minutes. The sour taste is a sign of poorly cooked stew. For tomato to lose its sour taste, allow it to boil for longer if necessary. Taste to make sure it is not sour.

Add seasoning cubes, curry and thyme to taste

Allow to boil for about 10 Minutes

Taste (adjust where necessary )

Tomato Stew is ready
Serve with rice, yam, bread, swallow etc.

Creamy Breakfast Ideas

Enough protein in the morning can help start your day with energy and focus, plus it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Get your protein from high-quality sources like milk and dairy products, eggs, fish and lean cuts of meat.  
Creamy Breakfast Ideas
#1. Pancakes

2 cups flour (you could try half white and half whole wheat flour)
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons oil

1.     Pre heat and grease a griddle or frying pan.
2.     Combine all the ingredients until there are no lumps. Make sure not to over mix.
3.     Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter. When the edges become dry and the top is bubbly flip the pancake and cook the other side for about a minute.
4.     Let cool and freeze any leftovers. Re-heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds per pancake.
#2. Healthy Oatmeal
2 cups – lowfat or fat free milk
1 cup – old-fashioned or quick cooking oats 1 teaspoon – brown sugar
1 teaspoon – ground cinnamon
1/4 cup – strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons – sliced almonds
1/2 – banana
250ml glass of milk
1. Mix 2 cups of milk, oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent boiling over.
2. Cook until thickened; divide between 2 serving bowls and top with strawberries, cherries, and almonds or any nuts you have
 3. Serve immediately with 1/2 banana and remaining 250ml glass of milk.
*This makes 2 servings.
#3. Steamed Milk
·         6 tablespoons honey
·         1 quart milk
·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         3 whole cloves
·         Freshly grated nutmeg

Place 1 tablespoon of honey in each of six glasses; set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, scald milk until small bubbles start to appear around the edges.

-Remove from heat, and add cinnamon and cloves.
-Cover and let steep 20 minutes. Return milk to high heat, and bring to a boil.

Remove milk from heat, and using a teaspoon, remove and discard cloves. Transfer some of the hot milk to a blender, filling it halfway full.

-Cover blender, and place a kitchen towel over the lid to prevent hot liquid from splashing. Whip on high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Pour into glasses, topping each with some foam; repeat with remaining hot milk.

Stir milk to dissolve honey. Garnish with nutmeg, and serve

#4. Real Custard
         1 cup whole milk
·         1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
·         6 egg yolks
·         1/3 cup sugar
·         Freshly grated nutmeg
·         You may add flavors; vanilla

Preheat oven to 163 degrees Celcius. Put a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
In a small saucepan; add milk and salt to a simmer on the stove. Simmer for about 10 minutes. You may add your flavouring.
In a bowl, whisk yolks and sugar until fully incorporated. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Place six tea cups inside a roasting pan and divide the custard (the mixture) evenly among them. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, halfway up the sides of the tea cups. Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, just until the custards are set.
Remove tea cups from the oven and transfer to the fridge to chill completely, at least two hours and up to overnight.
Sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg over custards just before serving.