Jesus & Jollof, Big News & Bold Flavours
Love, generosity and fabulous African recipes to add to your holiday menu
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A Very Warm Welcome & Big News!
Thank you for being here and to our new members for joining our group of flavour and sunshine seekers. You may have read or heard certain exciting news and found your way here through the announcements and press releases. And if you have not, it is with immense pleasure that I share news of winning a place as a fellow on the hotly contested Substack Food Writers Intensive. Read more here.
This is a wonderful opportunity to accelerate writers who are covering food and beverage from unique perspectives in culture, politics, and history. I look forward to strengthening and growing this newsletter while bringing more of us together to share the wonders of African cooking and its place on a global table. I am excited to test different formats, from voice to video, and perhaps most exciting is the opportunity to be mentored by leading voices in food writing and media at large, from Ruth Reichl to Mark Bittman, both of whom are also Substack writers and many more to come over the course of our three-month fellowship.
As part of my ambitious plans for our newsletter, I have more exciting news to share with you soon as we will be embarking on quite the expedition together. So buckle up! None of this would be possible without YOU. The success of this newsletter relies upon your support, and your participation; in reading, liking, commenting, and sharing. I thank you for that!
Jesus & Jollof
Easter is upon us and I am looking forward to a sumptuous feast with African and British delights, from Jollof to chocolate truffles. (I am not a fan of easter eggs.) I have just returned from a soul healing holiday and cookery holiday recce in Accra, Ghana (Yes! I am taking you to Africa) and have since been struck with a cold (…thankfully, not covid, as I am often made to clarify.) After 2 years of staying put in the UK, the peace, relaxation, and ‘enjoyment’ must have been so much that my body had no choice but to protest on my return to cooler climes in England. Alas, this Easter weekend is warm, bright, and beautiful, especially on the Sussex coast where I live. Growing up within a Nigerian home and with a Catholic mother, regardless of our English/British dispositions, rather than baking hot cross buns and burying easter eggs, the most important part of the season for us included Jesus and Jollof! We would attend mass and vigils throughout the holy season, religiously from Holy Thursday to Good Friday with strict meat-free meals for the day, a vigil for Passover on Saturday and Easter Sunday mass, with an abundant feast to ensue. On Sunday morning, I would wake to the sweet smell of tomatoes, peppers and aromatics bubbling away in large pots sat on hot coals, as the cooks sprinkled magical spices, and wielded these large batons as they stirred away until we returned from mass to devour it all. I would pine desperately to taste the glorious food before embarking on the lengthy mass that awaited us. Every year my mother would invite these women who were exceptional cooks, to prepare large quantities of jollof rice, stewed meats, roasted fish, plantains, and moin moin (delightful steamed bean cakes), which was shared amongst charities, orphanages and the neighbours. In retrospect, this must have been my very first taste of the joy of cooking for others. What a wonderful feeling it must have been for mum, to share abundantly and to bring happiness to others through food.
Happy Easter. May you enjoy the abundance of love, generosity and great food, to fill your heart, soul and body!
What will you be cooking or eating this holiday?
Go BOLD with flavours and try these African feasts!
I’ll be cooking some of my favourites as seen below and since being gifted a bundt tin by Waitrose over a month ago, I quite fancy baking a recipe from my fellow Substack Food Writers cohort & bestselling author, dare I name drop - Anne Byrn’s Rum Cake. It sounds delightful and right up my street. The perfect boozy cake to lift my body and spirit. Except for the nuts which I have sadly developed a serious intolerance to. (More about nut allergies in the future) Let’s get cooking!
Curried Beef & Potato Pie inspired by the fragrant Nigerian meat pies I enjoyed growing up. This time I gave it a quick revamp using a block of puff pastry and carving it in the style of a French Pithivier.
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