Respect The Jollof…Appio Restaurant and Bar

Have you ever seen a fat kid clutch on to their candy when they play around other children who possibly love candy more than they do? Why do they do this? They are probably afraid that they may get mugged…and their candy stolen 🙂

That was how I felt walking to Appio; a Ghanaian restaurant and bar located on U Street; close to Howard University in Washington DC. I walked into the restaurant and it looked quite chaotic…and I wouldn’t say it in a bad way. It just looked unorganized with quite a number of college kids.

The university isn’t too far from the restaurant, so quite a few students do patronize this place.

At first sight, Appio did nothing for me, but it was a last minute decision we made to eat there and seeing as I had an early evening flight to catch back to my base, I had to just make do.

Sitting in Appio, I felt as though there was no effort put into the setting up of the restaurant. The chairs were just strewn about the place with tables so low, you would think it was designed for a kindergartner. I took one look at my tour guide and said “let’s give it a try, maybe their food is good.”

The waitress was prompt with coming to the table. She was a dark skinned beautiful girl with a lovely smile. She seemed to me as one of those people who smile through everything. That actually is what waitresses and waiters are supposed to do while on the job; wear a smile. Though difficult sometimes.

As usual, I wanted a Mojito, but they had none. Please African restaurants in DC and the rest of the world, please learn to make Mojitos na! Warris this? Abi una want make I carry my own Mojito for hand dey waka? The gods forbid! Anyway, I ordered the Black Margarita and my tour guide had just water. E come be like say we dey vex.

I decided to request for some water before my drink would have been made and I requested lemons with it, and the waitress brought the lemons on a tissue…would have been nice if the lemons were served in a saucer 🙂

Finally, the Margarita came and on tasting it, it tasted like Zobo! Zobo y’all! Zobo mixed with Tequila! You say?! How can you serve Sorrel tea as Black Margarita?

Continue reading “Respect The Jollof…Appio Restaurant and Bar”

The Elixir That is Palm Wine.

My memories of palm wine is both crazy and sweet at the same time.

First things first, what is Palm wine? It is pretty much an alcoholic drink created from the sap of different species of the palm tree. It’s also known by different names; depending on the continent/place where it is located. For example, the Cameroonians call it “Tombo.” And most Nigerians call it Palmy or Simply Palm wine.

Continue reading “The Elixir That is Palm Wine.”

Aphrodisiacs and the African Culture

What is an Aphrodisiac?

An Aphrodisiac is a food or drink or even a fruit that stimulates sexual desire/libido in a man or woman.

In the African culture, it’s almost a taboo to openly talk about sex. We believe the issues or conversations about the bedroom should remain in the bedroom and amongst couples.

On this post, I’ll be talking lightly about some African foods/fruits that are aphrodisiacs that can help in stimulating sexual excitement between African couples.

Ose i.e. chili pepper: Most Africans love all kinds of chili peppers. Who would have thought that it could stimulate sexual excitement. Chili peppers A.k.A Ose Nsukka are known to stimulate endorphins which causes one to sweat and gives that feeling of sexual arousal.

There is also the watermelon which contains Lycopene. It is known to be the master of all aphrodisiacs.

Continue reading “Aphrodisiacs and the African Culture”

Nigerian Palm Oil Rice and Buying Nigeria (Iwuk Edesi)

There was a recent campaign for Nigerians to buy Nigerian. But if there is one thing to celebrate in Nigeria, it’s our agricultural sector.

Nigeria is rich in mineral resources, but we forget the gold mine we have in our agricultural resources.

One gold mine is the Ofada rice. To people in the diaspora, Ofada rice is gold. To a Nigerian Ofada rice is brown rice to others. Apart from the smell, it is very healthy as it is unpolished and full of fiber.

We as Nigerians, we take our resources for granted. Not only do we rely on oil, but we can rely greatly on agriculture.

The day I heard that Nigeria to imported tooth picks, I almost cried for my country. As many trees and timbers that we have, we are still importing tooth picks.

The Nigerian government, even with the production of various types of rice, continues to import other types of parboiled rice.

Not only must we fight corruption, but we must learn to put things in perspective. we must understand that our country can survive on agriculture too.

I saw a picture of a jollof sauce produced and packed by a Nigerian and a question was asked “would you buy this?” All the Nigerians on that thread vowed never to buy such sauces, but most would rather buy Ketchup made by Heinz. Nothing against Heinz, but if you can buy other condiments made by and in other countries; then you should be able to buy and grow Nigeria. In fact if I was a non-Nigerian on that thread, it would be difficult for me to eat anything Nigerian with the responses I read.

Continue reading “Nigerian Palm Oil Rice and Buying Nigeria (Iwuk Edesi)”

The Beauty Of The Efik People(Efere Afang )

Apart from the Igbo’s, if there’s any people more passionate about their culture, it’s the Efik people of Nigeria.

The Efik speaking people are made up of an ethnic group sitting along the Cross River estuary and the banks of the Calabar River in Nigeria. (efikusa.org)

The Efik culture emphasizes the respect of seniority and their food. In the Efik culture, stealing is frowned upon. It is also known that the Efik women as a sign of respect do not shake hands with men in public.

All Efik speaking people are seen as royalty/freeborn. It is also said that love is expressed better by the Efik women to their husbands/lovers through the art of cooking. It is said that once an Efik woman cooks for you, you never go back 🙂

Continue reading “The Beauty Of The Efik People(Efere Afang )”

One Reason You Must Visit Cote D’Ivoire

A lot of times, some people think Africa is a country. Others think we speak one language(No, we don’t speak African). But the beautiful thing is, Africa is a continent. The second largest continent in the world. Africa has 54 countries and about 2000 languages. It also is actually one of the richest continents in the world. With minerals and natural resources like cocoa, coltan, Nikel, diamond and gold.

One of the countries in Africa, located on the Western part of the map and so rich in culture is Cote D’Ivoire…Also known as Ivory Coast…

Apart from the alluring French language, there are plenty other reasons why you must visit Cote D’Ivoire.

The music” says…Estelle…”the spontaneity, rythm, and dance moves are totally flavorful.

The local joints at night. It’s so lively with the music and people.” Olumide

The food, yes, but also the people, beaches. Assini and Asouinde are the beach resorts. Yamoussoukro has the Basilica of Our Lady of peace/Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix(considered one of the wonders of the world by many) and the crocodile lake.” Mimi

One reason,  I would love to visit Ivory Coast is for the food. Not just any food, but for Attieke and fish. Attieke, also known as Acheke is actually a side dish made out of Cassava. Attieke to me is like Couscous, but only finer when it comes to the grain and a little sour when it comes to the taste.

To prepare Attieke, some cassava is peeled and grated; then mixed into previously fermented cassava. It is then left to ferment some more until the natural hydrocyanic acid content has disappears. The cassava is thereafter squeezed to remove the water content; then drained and dried. The attieke is ready to be be eaten; when the dried grains are steamed with warm water…

Continue reading “One Reason You Must Visit Cote D’Ivoire”

Celebrating Ndudu by FaFa(Celebrating Food by FaFa)

It’s women crush Wednesday! If there’s any African Chef I totally adore, Fafa takes first place. Fafa is from Ghana in West Africa. She is so…I don’t even know how to describe her in simple words because it would be an understatement. Fafa is beautiful and so eloquent in speech,  she is a good cook and you will know this by how she mixes modern flavors with strong African flavors. Her food photography is one I admire…Now look at this Kelewele and tell me you don’t love the simplicity…

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She has a smile to die for and my favorite cooking video of hers is one which she did while making smokey jollof rice

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Her Africanness is so refreshing. She represents Africa a hundred percent and keeps it honestly funky. And she can slay!

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I remember trying one of her recipes for the first time. It was her fufu recipe. I had a craving for akpu i.e..Fermented cassava fufu, I tried making some, but it didn’t go well, so I found Fafa’s recipe for the Ghanaian method; which called for cassava(yucca) and unripe plantains and it was “bae!”

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Is it her suya recipe? Yum oh!

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I had an opportunity to ask Fafa some questions pertaining to her foodie life and honesly she is living the dream through her passion…Read on and smile 🙂

Servants of Africa: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from and how you knew cooking  and the culinary sciences was your calling…

FaFa: “My name is Fafa Gilbert from Ghana and resident in the UK. My love for cooking started at an early age where my Mum entertained a lot. I was particularlydrawn to the layback attitude at dinner, the permanent smile and warmth from the guests. I started helping my Mum in the Kitchen (a great bonding session) and loved that I was acknowledged for the little dishes I produced. Eventually I took over the dinner parties and haven’t looked back since.”

 Servants of Africa: What was your first experience with food an how did it make you feel?

FaFa: “The very first time I cooked independently was a disaster and with tears I presented my Mum with the dish (over cooked and under cooked rice porridge mixed together).  My mum was very kind to eat her portion and promised to teach me how to cook. The next time I made the porridge, I added a touch of nutmeg and my Mum was encouraging with every morsel she had. “

 Servants of Africa: What’s your favorite food?

FaFa: “My favourite dish is made from Molokai leaves, known in my tribal language as ‘Ademe’ (Ewe tribe from Ghana). The leaves are added to a mixed Seafood and Fish broth, which accompanies a slightly fermented and steamed milled corn dumpling, known as ‘Akple’. “

 Servants of Africa: Who is your Chef muse?

 FaFa: “Raymond Blanc is my inspiration, as he skilfully turns everyday dishes into work of arts and immense flavours.  The fact that he has his own amazing herb garden and he is forever experimenting, tickles my sense of imagination. “

 Servants of Africa: I see how passionate you are on Instagram especially. Where do you find the energy o blog and how did you decide on “Ndudu by FaFa?”

FaFa: “Time management plays a pivotal part of my business and as such my diary is my best friend. A typical day is planned to the letter including my Yoga class, recipe updates, replying to requests, meetings, filming etc I would love to be perfect though, where I can respond to everything immediately. “

 Servants of Africa: Where do you see yourself in the future?

FaFa: “I’m inspired by what makes me happy, being creative and taking risk. Cooking offers me the above and more. The great sense of escapism, creativity, promoting African ingredients, are perfect aspiring attributes, that cooking offers me and will continue to ignite my passion. The future is exciting with new opportunities including cookery books and running my own Kitchen.” 

You can also watch Fafa do her magic on the following social media sites

Website:

http://ndudu.co.uk/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/ndudu_by_fafa/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/NdudubyFafa/

 

 

 

For The Love Of Food

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Food does make pretty much a lot of us happy. Is it weird? Well, sort of; but in a good way 🙂

Food is in a lot of ways source of healing. Have you ever seen the way Antony Bourdain talks about food? or is it Ree Drummond from the Food network with all the food porn she serves?

Food brings people of all kinds together. There is always a certain feeling of togetherness when people come together to celebrate with food. Have you been to a foot ball party to see how people just unite over food? Have you ever seen a nagging couple nag over good food? I watch Nollywood so much that, I know that when every fight between a couple ends, it ends with the question “have you eaten?” It has now become a form of apology

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I remember how I came about this food thing. Apart from the fact that my mother is a retired chef, it’s personal for me. I suffered from depression a while ago and as you know,  it’s sometimes hard to relate to one who suffers from depression; except you have been there. To some people it causes them to eat and to some it causes them to loose every appetite. And for me, I hardly ate at this period.

“well snap out of it!” that is the last thing to tell one who feels low and cannot see anything good in themselves. I have been there. Some will say, you better “grow up! and stop acting like a kid.”

Continue reading “For The Love Of Food”

The Evolution Of Medicine and The Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends some questions about herbs, medicine and the kitchen. Hopefully this post will be a little insightful as to why we practice traditional medicine. Anyway, I was ill and I spoke to my friend about taking anything I can to give me some relief until I could get some medicine. She came with the garlic, ginger and green tea gist. I went for it, but I still felt ill. All that happened was me going peepee like every 2ominutes. See me see green tea and garlic o. I decided to go for a more “regular” medical treatment and lo and behold I felt better. Now that experience got me curious about traditional medicine.

Now some people cook what we call “Agbo” in their houses for times when they are ill and as a detox. This practice is known to be carried out in the whole of Africa by certain Africans who believe in it’s potency. Listen, I do believe in some practices. Like the use of bitter leaf extract to curb some stages of impotency in men. I know, I know, I’m not a man sha, but I have seen cases where it worked. I have also heard of a bitter leaf mixture used in making bath soap; and this is locally used to cure different stages of acne and sun burn.

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bitter leaf plant

Before I continue, here are some responses I got in answer to my question about Agbo mixtures

“I remember someone telling my momma to give me rice water to drink because I had diarrhea ….when I was much more younger and boiled lemon grass(dogonyaro) for severe malaria”… Racheal Ezechi

“Well, my father is a medical Doctor Who dabbled into traditional medicine, as well. When we were younger, I remember he used to boil pawpaw leaves, mango tree barks, lemon grass, dogonyaro (I don’t know it’s scientific name) leaves – I can’t remember if I missed anything – all in one pot, he’d build a small hut out of plantain leaves and crouch in it as the pot boiled, inhaling the vapor for just a few minutes. The water from the boiling would be sieved and stored in the refrigerator. He said a glass of it twice a day was enough to treat malaria, thus, he prepared ogwu iba.”(Malaria medicine) Alexander Ilouno
“Lemon grass, dongoyaro (neem) leaf, pawpaw leaf, mango leaf, orange leaf. Boil together for fever or malaria. This I personally do and It’s  been working for me. Maryam Meemee Musa
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Dogonyaro(Neem) leaves
“Sour sop leaves is used to knock down sugar levels. Wash like you would wash bitter leaves and sieve…only the juice is consumed 3-4times a day. It’s good to freshly prepare the juice each time. It easy and its not time consuming.” Obiageli Abor Elfrida
“Sour sop leaves are sophisticated leaves and shrinks cancerous cells. The leaves, the fruit too. Heard the seed and bark do one kind correct job. It also rids your body of free radicals. That I know. We planted a tree in my house by force” Ibitola Olatunji
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Leaves from a Soup sop tree
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Sour sop fruit in the basket

Although a lot of people swore by these local and herbal remedies Chal Ya says other wise. She did say she has seen people suffer from liver sclerosis due to the use of herbal medicine. As for me, I’m too much of a scaredy cat to drink any concoctions 🙂

The kitchen is not just a place for food. We mix all sorts in our kitchen. From local medicine to local body lotions made from palm kernel and shea butter. Before the arrival of the “White man’ s” medicine, these methods worked for our ancestors. Alot of people still use these methods; some don’t…I remember seeing some dry herbs hanging from my grand mother’s kitchen. I don’t know what she used it for when she boiled them, but it was this “liquidy” thing that she poured into a cup and sipped slowly. I was quite little, I didn’t even know to ask what it was 🙂

In some rural areas the kitchens are built outside the main house and in the wee hours of the morning, or sometime through the night, you would see gigantic pots sitting in the kitchens and covered with plantain leaves. In those pots, some herbs are left to simmer and steep through the night for a potent herbal concoction to heal different types of ailments.

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google image of a strong iron pot

I have only tried the ginger and garlic thing for cold. And there is the honey and green tea mixture for cough. But that’s as far as I have gone with these mixtures. please comment and let us know how herbal medicine has been of any benefit or not to you.

WORLD UNWAVERING ICON- NELSON MANDELA

An icon of peace, compassion and courage. An inspiration for the whole world. A crusader who was not ashamed to work day and night to abolish apartheid and all the injustices that came with it. Nelson Mandela was a historical figure or rather a perfect name to describe him is a transformational figure. Transformers are known well by how they plan; they carry their vision to chart the course, and also they have the skills to execute their plans. And to be transformational what Nelson Mandela was, is to have the courage of one’s total conviction, to sacrifice, to risk life and to lay everything you value and matters in your life on the line.

History of South Africa                                                                                                                     Let’s take a walk in the history and remind ourselves how was the situation in South Africa back then. Apartheid, which also means apartness reflected a violently repressive policy structured to ensure that white people, who approximately comprised 20% of the population of South Africa, would continue to settle and dominate the country. Racial discrimination in South Africa has had deep roots in the society since 1788 even though the policy of apartheid began officially in 1948. Since time in memorial, some laws and regulations set apart or separated the white settlers and the native Africans. This separation led the Africans to settle in specific areas which later were known as their homelands. The government that took in 1948 led the first campaign that majored on openly racist telling the whites to unite. So, there are some policies in the name of apartheid that were set by the ruling government and these are:
⦁ Prohibition of mixed marriages Act, which banned marriages between Europeans and Africans
⦁ The Population Registration Act, which categorized South African by race
⦁ The Group Areas Act. Now, this was the main core of Apatheism.

This Act marked areas of land for different racial groups. It also made it illegal for people to live in areas which they were not allocated. Thousands of South Africans were uprooted and moved into racially segregated neighborhoods in reserves where they were supposed to settle. The situation went far such that even black workers who were working on the white residents were required to use different public means of transportation, post offices, restaurants, schools, separate doors, benches and even counters.

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History Made by Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela came in this era. He was a young man who found his country in a messed up state. Because of that, he spent more than 40 years in the struggle of the racial regime which is well known as apartheid. 27 of the years he spent in prison. In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected the 1st black president of South Africa in multiracial and in a democratic election.

⦁ Nelson Mandela was an icon of resistance and perseverance, having spent 27 years in prison and still fighting for the freedom after his release in 1990.
⦁ He was an icon or a symbol of peace, having presided over the transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy and having pursued a plan of national reconciliation.
⦁ In 1999 when Nelson Mandela retired from the office of the president, he remained a loyal champion for peace and social justice in his country and around the whole world.
⦁ He also initiated some organizations example, the Influential Nelson Mandela Foundation, and The Elders; it is an independent group of public figures devoted to addressing global problems and easing human sufferings.
⦁ In the year 2002, Nelson Mandela became a vocal advocate of HIV and AIDS awareness and treatment agenda in a culture which the epidemic had brought in stigma and ignorance.

Nelson Mandela died in 2013. But it is right to say that he is not gone. He transformed South Africa from the ashes. He just left the earth, but his important call for freedom and fairness is still heard among-st the winds and the rains and in the hearts of the people all over the world. He changed the way of the history. What a man!