I have been on a journey, a journey of exploration of good food. Food provenance is very important to me and it is my joy to use fresh and local produce in my cooking.
Upon Arrival in Nigeria, after 6 months in England, I embarked on a road trip around some villages in Niger State. Minna, the capital of the city is approximately 180 miles from Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. The state is named after the popular River Niger which is the principal river flowing across West Africa. It is also the largest city in the country, spanning over 29,484 square miles. I could not have chosen a better place to commence my culinary adventure.
The towns and villages surrounding Minna are jewelled with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The proximity to other farming towns like Kano, Kaduna and Jos also makes this town great for fresh pickings of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, garden eggs and their cousins the aubergines, a wide variety of spinach and lots more.
In Kodo village, approximately 12 miles from Minna, we came across a group of women selling mangoes under a bush of mango trees. This was such a marvelous sight and a wonderful feeling, like when you pick fresh herbs from your own herb garden, or the little pot of sunshine sitting on your window sill. This closeness to nature is ethereal and inspiring.
My mother’s Moringa tree and Date palm are also such a blessing. I have been inspired to used them in wonderful recipes. Dates are an incredible sugar alternative. I have used them in granola , smoothies, and even created a sticky date jam. Moringa known as ‘the magical plant’ is truly magical in salads, soups, smoothies and stir fries.
I am enjoying living and breathing this culture of fresh food, a lot of which will feature in my recipes. Nigeria is blessed with incredible produce and I am excited to be on this journey of discovery and knowledge, cooking, eating and sharing with the world.