Watermelon Jam Recipe

First of all, I’d like to thank @PotsandPans for the tutorial on how to make homemade jam. This is just one recipe I’ve learnt during this Covid-19 lockdown. I’m making my stay-at-home count, lol!


I’ve always researched for a homemade recipe for jam and one thing had always put me off- I don’t have any idea about where I can get ‘pectin’ which is a much required ingredient. Add to my dilemma, I don’t even know what pectin is called in French(I live in a French country) and do not know how it looks like. So I had enough reason to give up.
One day, I came across a free tutorial advert on @PotsandPans Facebook page. She promised to teach how to make jam at home. I jumped up at the opportunity (who doesn’t like freebies, lol). Something that captured my interest even more was the picture of the jam she made. I was impressed, so I was ready to learn this from her. She used grapes, and no pectin. Her jam was thick and delicious to look at.

Several weeks later, I had extra watermelon that I needed to use up. I thought it would be a good idea to try making my own jam using watermelon. Way to go!
The first time I tried it, I only chopped the watermelons. This was because I tried to imitate PotsandPans method. She didn’t blend the grapes.
My resulting jam was nice, tasted delicious but my children and I didn’t like the watermelon chunks in it.

So I decided to try another time but with blended watermelons.
At first I was scared because once after blending it looked like water. Aha! I thought it would never evaporate and thicken. But I said to myself, ‘have faith’😆. So the boiling began. I was excited to see the jam forming. Finally, a win!
So here I’m excited to share this super simple recipe with y’all. Something you can do so easily.

I used:

Method

>Blend the watermelon.

> Pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar and vinegar. Set over low to medium heat.

> Stir occasionally until it begins to boil. And continue stirring occasionally.

> You will notice that the water begins to evaporate and it begins to thicken.

>Reduce the heat and continue stirring. The jam is ready when you drag the laddle in it and it takes some time to cover up.

>Allow to cool and transfer to a bowl. You can refrigerate it for up to one month.

>Serve with your favorite snack. I like mine with doughnuts 😋.

Would you try it?

Let me know if you do.

Easy Red Velvet Cake(Oil-based)

When I first heard about Red Velvet Cake a few years ago, I thought it was just a red colored cake. It didn’t sound appealing to me because I’m not a fan of food colors. But I wondered what the meaning of the name ‘velvet’ could be for a cake. As I searched, I learned that Red-velvet cake has smoother, velvety crumbs unlike the ordinary cake. It fascinated me as I learnt that the ‘must have’ ingredients- vinegar and buttermilk- contribute to this. Also it seems according to many people that Red velvet cake was originally made with beetroot hence the red color. This appealed to me so I quickly experimented with that, making my first ever red velvet cake with beets. I loved it, my daughter loved it too. I cut some for her teacher and she loved it so much. She still remembers that cake. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it😬.
Continuing with my research, I understood that there is a reaction between vinegar and unprocessed cocoa powder which changes the color of the batter to a red hue. I was satisfied to know this.
However in recent times, beets have been removed from the list of ingredients and red food coloring has been used for enhancing the red color of the cake. Also, reaction between vinegar and cocoa powder is no longer as effective because of the probably over-processed cocoa powders available today.
With all these information, and still not being comfortable with the large quantity of ‘red’ coloring in a cake, I have developed my own red velvet cake using just a little quantity of red color; a teaspoon or even less works fine. I’m quite okay with this now because even though it’s dubbed ‘food’ color, it’s not food. It’s only accepted because it’s relatively not harmful when used in foods. So this is what initially put me off Red velvet cake.
This recipe is one of my best. My son’s favorite, the only cake my husband eats comfortably without complaining about sugar, oh my family has given me the best reviews on this cake. Yay!💃


I have three different recipes for Red velvet cake-

1)oil-based

2)butter-based


3)with beets
All taste amazing. And to say that the recipes are all so easy 😋.
The cake can be frosted with any cream of your choice, but I love to eat it just like that. It is very moist and delicious.

Even my kids don’t want any frosting on it. See?😁.                     
Stay tuned to my blog because I’m going to share all, one by one.
I’m starting with the oil-based red velvet cake.

I used:
250g flour
1/2cup sugar
1/4teaspoon salt
1cup buttermilk
1/4cup cocoa powder
1tablespoon vinegar
1teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3cup oil
3medium eggs
1teaspoon red gel food coloring

Method
>Preheat your oven to about 200°. Grease an 8inch pan and line with parchment paper.
>Mix flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.


>In another bowl whisk the eggs until it foams. Add sugar and continue whisking.


> Add buttermilk and whisk.

>Then oil (oops! I forgot to add my oil at this point. I added it at the end and the result was still same. That’s why I decided to share this particular making, to show you can’t go wrong with this recipe 😉).
>Add the red food coloring and mix until all the gel dissolves.


>Add the vinegar and mix quickly.
>Pour the flour mixture in about three batches into the egg mixture.

>Use a firm spatula to mix until all is incorporated and there are no lumps(it was at this point I remembered to add the oil 🤦).


>Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

>Bake in the oven for about 30minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy as much as you want it 😋😀

Bell Pepper Sauce

This will be my second pepper sauce recipe on this blog- I have several more to post. It is a special one for me because it’s so easy to prepare- you just have to chop up most of the ingredients. I pounded the garlic and ginger lightly and the fresh peppers. You can use any good vegetable oil of your choice.

This sauce is kid-friendly, it’s not so hot. You can reduce the quantity of the fresh peppers, either habanero or scotch bonnet. And it tastes so good.

It can be eaten with anything- rice, pasta, potatoes, yam, meat, fish, even bread 🍞. Yes, it’s that delicious. I actually had it with fried sweet potatoes and some bread, yum 😋.

I used:

Bell peppers,

Habanero peppers

Fresh tomatoes

Courgette

Onions

Ginger

Garlic

Spring onion

Salt

Vegetable oil

(For the quantities the Bell peppers should be more, little fresh tomatoes, small courgette and little spring onion. Let the ginger, garlic and onion be according to your preference.)

Method

>Deseed the Bell peppers, wash and slice into long strands. Peel the onions, slice into rounds. Wash the tomatoes and chop.

>Peel the garlic and ginger and pound roughly. Wash the habanero peppers and pound also. You can use a food processor for this.

> Cut off the root of the spring onion then wash properly. Chop into pieces. Peel the courgette, wash and slice into long strands like the bell peppers.

>Heat some oil in a pot over low to medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir. Fry for five to ten seconds then add the onions and continue frying. Stir until the edges begin to turn golden.

>Once you notice that the edges are beginning to turn golden add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Allow to simmer but stir occasionally until the liquid almost dries up.

>Add the habanero peppers and stir. Add the courgette and stir. Allow to simmer for about thirty seconds then add the chopped bell peppers. Add salt to taste, stir and add the chopped spring onions. Stir and allow to simmer for ten seconds then turn off the heat.

It’s ready, enjoy with any dish of your choice.

Carrot Candy

Hey guys, how are you all doing? Hope you’re keeping safe. Even though on lockdown, I’ve been keeping myself quite busy bonding with my entire family. I’ve had more time to get to know my children better. Yeah, really. Staying with them the whole time has made us much more than friends. I love them even more now. However I can’t wait for this whole Covid-19 drama to pass and everyone can get back to work or school 😆.

During this period I’ve tried my hands on so many recipes that I can think of. Here, I want to share a very quick one- carrot candy.

First of all I came up with this recipe at a time when I had so many carrots left. So I thought about coconut candy and said to myself ‘why not use carrots in place of the coconuts?’. My children love anything carrots. So when I announced that I would try making candies out of it they were eager to see how it will turn out.

So here we go, it was beautiful, and easy.

I used:

100g carrots

50g sugar

A small stem of mint leaves(for added flavor)

(Yielded 10 candies)

Method

>Shred the carrots and put into a saucepan.

>Add the sugar and mint leaves and begin to stir over low heat.

>Keep stirring until all the sugar dissolves and begins to caramelize. Then remove the stem of mint leaves.

>Stir a little bit more and turn off the heat.

>Allow to cool then with your clean hands mold to desired shapes.

I molded onto a toothpick for fun. I got 10candies. This makes 5g of sugar in each candy. One candy for a day.

Leave to cool completely and then it hardens more.

Enjoy 😋

Easy way to Roast Groundnuts/Peanuts

What do you call this snack? In Nigeria it’s commonly called Groundnuts. It is one of the most common street food. Growing up I loved eating roasted groundnuts so much, and still do. One thing however that deterred me from buying regularly by the roadside then was the method commonly used in roasting- sand. It’s supposed to be neat sharp sand, but who knew the sources of the sand used by those local groundnut sellers then? As a result I only usually bought from a friend whom I was somehow sure of her level of hygiene.
Fast forward to several years later, I now live far away from home, with a new home, but I still love groundnuts so much. Living in an entirely different environment, Burkina Faso, I have seen that their method of roasting groundnuts is also totally different. They use a locally constructed drum-like oven specially made for roasting groundnuts. This oven is positioned over fire from firewood as the source of heat. There is a handle attached to it rotated manually to swirl around the drum where the groundnuts are put.

This is a great idea.


However, I wanted a simpler way to roast my groundnuts at home. I once met someone who said she roasts in garri (Nigerian food locally made from cassava). The first time I tried it, the result was awesome.

But again I had a second thought because the garri used becomes waste. So I decided to try to roast them in the oven. I hit it. I’m so excited to be sharing these two methods today. Whichever method you prefer it’s all up to you.
So my Nigerian friends in the diaspora, the oven roasting method is for you.

You need:

Groundnuts/Peanuts

Salt

Hot water

Garri/Oven

Method

>Prepare the groundnuts

Rinse the groundnuts in neat water and put in a bowl. Sprinkle enough salt and then add boiled water. The groundnuts will absorb some salt which will enhance it’s taste. Let sit for about 15minutes. Pour into a sieve to drain the water.

>

Spread on a flat tray and dry under the sun.

>

I divided into two parts. One for the oven I spread on an oven tray. The other I put into a pot with garri. I preheated the oven before putting the one then reduced the heat of the oven to minimum. I also checked, stirring at intervals. The other one I had to stir constantly using minimal heat too.

>

15minutes later both are beginning to brown and become crisp. I remove from heat and pour out onto a cooler container to stop heating.

And both are ready. Very ready.

My husband and children are very happy because they love groundnuts so much too. Now we have it handy to eat with cucumbers and bananas. 😋

I hope you try this out too and let me know what you think.

Tigernut Drink (Horchata)

Popularly known as horchata in Burkina Faso, this drink made it’s way so easily to my heart the first time I tasted it. I later realized that it’s quite common in Nigeria, my home country but I was never opportuned to have a taste of it back home until I traveled miles away to Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso is a country with very hot climate for the most part of the year, no wonder natural drinks are common, so many.


Horchata was just one of the first to win my attention. Made with very simple plant based ingredients, with no added sugars makes this drink excellent for anyone seeking for a healthy option in drinks. Not to mention the numerous health benefits which is not within the scope of this article (you may wish to Google it to learn about the health benefits of horchata drink). And too, it is very refreshing. Trust me, you’ll sleep like a baby after having just a glass of chilled horchata after dinner. So good .

There are three basic ingredients required:
Tigernuts, Coconut and Dates. Blend and extract the juice and that’s all. Here’s exactly how I made it:

I used:
1cup tigernuts
1cup dates
1coconut
1large finger of ginger (optional)
2litres water

Method:
>Wash and soak the tigernuts in water for 24hours. This allows it to absorb some water, freshen up and easier to blend.


>When the tigernuts are ready, soak the dates for about 2hours to soften and make it easier to separate the seeds from the fruit.
>Shred the coconut and peel the ginger.
>Rewash the tigernuts because you want to get rid of all soil particles on it. Also separate the seeds from the date fruits and rewash.


>Put everything in the blender, add some water and blend until smooth. Pour into a sieve and stir with a wooden spoon to extract the juice. You may want to blend again twice or more after which you pour out and extract juice. I blended and extracted juice three times.


>Use a fine chiffon cloth and sieve again to remove tinier particles.

>Pour into containers and chill.
Note: Consume within two days. And do not freeze. This drink is excellent at near-freezing temperatures.

Serve with cubes of ice. Enjoy😋

How to make HIBISCUS drink (BISSAP/ZOBO)

In Burkina Faso, it is known as bissap, in Nigeria it is known as zobo, but trust me, they’re basically the same drink made from hibiscus leaves.

A very healthy and nutritious drink perfect for the hot season, bissap is so easy to prepare at home with minimal ingredients. Most people who make this drink consider pineapple as a must (I used to think so too). However I’m glad to share with you a perfect bissap recipe without pineapples, and tastes so good 😋.

Some things though need to be noted in having a successful, delicious, sparkling bissap drink.

✓ Don’t skip the mint leaves(this enhances and adds to the delicious aroma of the hibiscus leaves)

✓ Add a dash of baking soda(this breaks down the sour taste of the hibiscus leaves)

✓ Don’t cook for too long (why would anyone cook for too long though? The leaves easily release their color even in cool water. Cooking them too long will only make the leaves become too soft and break down into tinier particles reducing your chances of getting that resulting sparkling drink you desire).

So here’s how I prepare mine:

I used:

11/2 cup hibiscus leaves

A handful of mint leaves

1teaspoon cloves

2large fingers ginger, grated( more or less according to your preference)

1/2teaspoon baking soda

4litres water

250g sugar (more or less according to your preference)

Method

>Wash the hibiscus leaves very well in a large bowl of salted water and rinse away the salt in another bowl of ordinary water.

>Put in a pot and add the 4litres of water. Add the mint leaves, cloves and ginger.

>Bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, add the baking soda and stir quickly. There’ll be a fizz sound, don’t worry. Cover and let cook for five minutes.

>Turn off the heat. Allow to cool.

>Make the sugar into syrup: put in a small pan and add a little water and place over low heat. Stir and allow to dissolve completely until the liquid looks syrupy. Turn off the heat.

>Sieve out the juice from the cooked hibiscus leaves. I sieve twice, first with a large sieve to remove the large particles. Next I use a fine chiffon cloth to remove the tinier particles.

>Pour the sugar syrup and mix together.

> Pour into different containers and chill.

It’s ready! Serve with ice cubes.

Would you try it?

Get the most Vitamin C from Peppers

During this period of pandemic, we’ve been hearing a lot about boosting our immune system in order to help us fight the COVID-19 disease. Why, though, is it important to do that? 

One valid reason is because there is no verified drug or medicine for the disease. This means that if one’s immune system is weak and he falls victim to this very infectious and deadly disease, then it may result in something fatal. The human body is created with the ability to replenish worn-out tissues, fight and ward off diseases on its own. No wonder some ailments do not require that you go see a doctor. Sometimes, too, even when you go to consult at a doctor’s office you realize that the doctor only prescribes you some rest, exercise or maybe supplements if need be. Only in severe cases is one hospitalized or given other form of medical treatment. So it’s important that we help our immune system to fight the ‘war’, and come off victorious. We need to equip it with necessary arms, right.

A strong immune system does not prevent COVID-19 infection, however it is the best defense one can have against any attack on the organs and system, not only COVID-19. How, though, can we boost our immune system?

Doctors and experts have encouraged people to eat healthier. It’s not as if this recommendation is new; it’s been there since long ago, but now it has taken on added meaning. People have begun to ‘listen’, taking it more seriously. Could it be the fear of dying? That’s by the way.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant needed for a healthy immune system and it’s commonly known to be a good and very effective immune booster. Even a recent report claims that vitamin C reduces ventilation times by 14-25%. That is to say that patients of the COVID-19 who had more vitamin C needed less ventilation times. If this claim is true, then there is hope, yes, hope. So, make sure you get the required daily vitamin C intake, that’s basically the advice. Why? Because normal vitamin C requirement for the human body is easy to obtain, about 90mg per day; many fruits and vegetables eaten just one-cup serving can supply even more than enough of that. So, while you eat one more fruit, one more serving of vegetable is good for you too. Little wonder vitamin C deficiency is a rare condition.

But, how to get vitamin C? What are common sources of vitamin C? I know already you’re thinking about oranges, limes, lemons, everything citrus. Yes, you’re on track. These are great sources of vitamin C, and pretty much easy to consume. However, there are outstanding sources also which are almost overlooked. Peppers!

How well do you know peppers? 

First of all, let’s clear the air about peppers. Fruits or Vegetables? Peppers are actually fruits but usually classified as vegetables.

Pepper is a very rich source of vitamin C/ascorbic acid. Did you know that peppers contain more vitamin C per 100 grams than oranges and lemons? Sounds surprising right? Yes, some peppers actually contain up to three times more vitamin C than other citrus fruits. Now that’s unbelievable! Let’s not talk about other beneficial nutrients of peppers, they’re so many. 

There are very different types of peppers common around the world. In Africa, chilies are most common in the rural areas with our grandparents cultivating them in their gardens. Chili peppers are part of almost every staple meal, from soups to stews and sauces. Little was it known that this humble little fruit is a dietary requirement. It is actually very high in vitamin C; one of the highest among all fruits.

Like mentioned before, peppers generally supply more than the daily requirement of vitamin C per cup serving; this amount varying from pepper to pepper. Some peppers have higher concentration of vitamin C than others. All the different types of peppers- habaneros, scotch bonnet, jalapenos, bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C. Because of the characteristic hotness, some may shy away from eating peppery foods. But there is good news.

Bell peppers, are among the best sources of vitamin C available. Available in different colors from green, red, yellow and so on, bell peppers are stars in the nutrient world because they do not have the characteristic hotness of other peppers and so are pretty much easy to eat a cup in your meal like salads. Perfecto!

However, the amount and concentration of vitamin C in peppers also depend on how ripe they are. Ripe peppers have higher level of vitamin C concentration than unripe peppers. Take for example green bell peppers which supply about 95mg of vitamin C while the ripe ones, red bell peppers supply up to 150mg of vitamin C.

It is advised though to consume peppers as raw as possible since vitamin C loses value as it heats; so bell peppers make a perfect fit into this requirement.

COVID-19 is not  what many people initially thought it to be.  Make it your aim to eat healthy balanced diet and increase your chances of successfully fighting this deadly disease.

The Global pandemic- Coronavirus(Covid-19) in Burkina Faso

Image: “State Public Health laboratory in Exton tests for Covid-19″ by Governor Tom Wolf (CC BY)

The whole world is in turmoil. Panic everywhere! Our little Burkina Faso is not forgiven. What a pandemic!

People had been in doubt, not believing. Some even called it the “Chinese disease”. Like it’s made in China? How wrong they were! It could’ve originated from anywhe nore else. Just like the black death of the 14th century, the cholera and smallpox outbreaks of the 18th century and more recent global epidemics. This is not the first in human history. Linking a disease outbreak to specific people is often followed by dire consequences as evidenced by previous outbreaks. 

Who knew this would get to us? Who believed it would cross our borders? They called it a “white man’s disease”. They thought it is not meant for Africa, ‘Africa’s immune is stronger’. Oh, how wrong they were! We believed the ‘experts’, we kept drinking more water. We subjected ourselves to unusual discomfort but it keeps spreading even at the speed of light. This is scary. We’ve got it wrong!

Did those already infected take less care? The ones who have died, did they wish it? Nobody wants to die is there? It becomes even scarier for those who already maintain a high sense of hygiene. What to do now?

Image credit: pourquoidocteur.fr

Our little Burkina Faso with a population of about 20million people and known for its hospitality is affected, dangerously. Was it mistaken kindness? How did we walk into this mess? Or rather, how can we come out of this? We’re in the hole already aren’t we? An infection rate of about seven a day in the first few days, then tripling the next day is quite alarming. We want out of this hole. As a child who hurts himself needs loving care from his parents, Burkina Faso needs that care now. We need help. But what to do if the ‘parents’ are suffering even worse than the child? Yes, the parents are suffering too. But the parents are stronger than the child aren’t they? In time of crisis parents can still help a child isn’t it? Burkina Faso is not prepared for this, we have no adequate facilities to battle this problem. Our energy is already drained in the fight against terrorism. The economy is suffering. There are limited funds.

We’re new to this. The Ebola epidemic spared us. Guess that’s why the people of Burkina Faso were ill-prepared for an outbreak. That’s why they believed the Coronavirus will also spare us. How wrong they were! Now it is here. Spreading at the speed of light. How mistaken!

Hope is not lost, however. Social distancing is required. Staying indoors is painful, but that can help a lot too. Nationwide awareness is required at this time. But will people really learn? If only it is possible to reach the hearts of all the people, to make them understand. Illiteracy leads. They say it’s the “rich man’s disease”. They think they have no business with Covid-19. They say the disease is for those who fly on airplanes. How wrong they are! Here it is, closer than we think. Multiplying its victims by the minutes and seconds, spreading at the speed of light. The shut downs and curfews make it more real. It’s becoming scarier, and now we will value things that we otherwise took for granted- family most importantly. 

Covid-19 is real. It is powerful. We can overcome it. Together we will fight it. Obedience to the authorities can save our lives.

Now is the time to be more responsible. Take better care of our personal hygiene and follow the instructions of social distancing as recommended by health experts. It can mean our life.

I can’t wait for a time when sickness will be no more as God has promised.

Oatmeal Cookies

These oatmeal cookies are a hit!I’d never tried making oatmeal cookies so the first time I gave it a go they were soo delicious.I’m a person who usually gets busy when I have an extra something in my pantry; I naturally think of something to bake into either cake, cookie or bread. I play a lot with recipes, trying and making errors but not giving up. And when I think I got one right, my munchkins are ready to taste-test and announce the final result😅. Oh how I love that moment when I have mesmerized them by the goodness of it all 😋😋.

I used a very easy to master recipe that involves almost throwing everything in together. I used my discretion in measuring the quantities of the ingredients the first time. Here’s a picture of my first oatmeal cookies 👇:Because they turned out to be delicious I decided to make them again this time using definite quantities of the ingredients so that I can share this awesome recipe with you all. If you are a mum (not just mums though 😛), you have to plan to make this, and soon.Nothing beats homemade chewy oatmeal cookies. Trust me, you’ll not have just one cookie. You’ll want one more, and then one more and more and… Yeah, it’s that good.So why worry about buying biscuits for your kids when it can be fun to make this together with them and enjoy bonding with your little one(s). Afterall, you know exactly what goes into homemade right? It’s healthy and packed with nutrition.

In this recipe I used sugar, but feel free to use honey as a substitute for the sugar if you prefer. The nutmeg adds a very special flavor that for me it’s a must.

I used:

100g flour

80g quick oats

100g butter(melted)

70g sugar

3/4teaspoon baking powder

1/8teaspoon baking soda

1 full tablespoon powdered milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of nutmeg

1/4cup water

Method

>Preheat the oven to about 180°

>Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

>Add the melted butter and mix.

>Dissolve the milk in the water then add to the mixture. Mix until it forms a light and a bit of a sticky dough.

>Chill for 30minutes to firm up and reduce stickiness.

>Roll into small balls and press down a bit in the center. Place on a greased baking tray. Space them apart.(I rolled 17cookies😯).

>Bake for 10-15minutes in the preheated oven or until they begin to brown at the sides.

>Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

These oatmeal cookies can be eaten straight away. Feel free to double the recipe while you make it because you’ll surely want more.

By the way, did you see the difference with the one I made without measurements? Clear right. Always measure your ingredients is the lesson learned 😜.

Oh I love this.

Enjoy!!!!😋