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Keeping it Spicy for a Spice at #EatDrinkAbuja

Hey people!

I’m (Denise) here again and I’d like to tell you how much I enjoyed - or not - some of the savoury dishes at #EatDrinkAbuja. While some of the vendors clearly updated their spice racks before the festival, very few left me disappointed and surprised.

Here’s a list of all the savoury dishes I tried:


Cocktailville and Chops

Dish: A Pack of Small Chops

Thoughts

I know I have a penchant for being dramatic. It’s my thing, I accept it wholeheartedly. However, when I say that these are the best small chops I have ever tasted, I am not joking!

When I saw everyone making a beeline for the small shop stand, I thought “typical”. Who goes to a food festival without trying to small chops? If only I’d known what magic was going down at this vendor , I’d have been there earlier.

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The pack of small chops contained puff puff, spring rolls, samosas, and a piece of chicken. The puff puff in this pack is the reason I will single handedly fight for world peace. It was soft, fluffy but with a nice crisp to it. The spring rolls were simply heavenly. Remember that thing I said about Keiysha Cole’s Sent From Heaven. Yup! This is one of those moments.

Honestly, I’m still thinking about these small chops.

Verdict

I know the first name of the vendor who runs this business. Soon, I will know the names and addresses  of all his family members in case he blocks me when I start calling him demanding for chops at 12 am. Thank God he lives in Lagos, we move!


Pow Pan Asian Restaurant

Dish: Pow Szechuan Chicken and Special Fried Rice

Thoughts

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If you enjoy spicy food, you’re more than likely to enjoy Asian food. When I learned there was going to be an Asian food vendor at the festival, I was beyond excited. This was one of the last things I tried so I feel as if I saved what I thought would be my best for last.

I had initially wanted to try the prawn and mayonnaise spring rolls but sadly, they were out by the time I got there. Tears! I decided to go for the next most appealing option to me, the Pow Szechuan Chicken and Special Fried Rice. The vendor let me know prior to ordering that the chicken was particularly spicy - peppery and fiery, really - but that was fine by me.

Frankly speaking, I don’t think I anticipated how spicy this dish was going to be because the amount of pepper ended up taking me by surprise. The rice was well done, chicken tender and sauce well flavoured. I really liked this one

Verdict

I will definitely try the chicken again but now I really would like to try their prawn and mayonnaise spring rolls. I feel like those are going to be a hit considering how fast it sold out.


Korede Spaghetti

Dish: Korede Special Stir Fry Spaghetti with Grilled Turkey

Thoughts

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Korede’s Spaghetti was one vendor that was choked from the beginning of the festival to the very end. Honestly, a part of me had given up on trying their food until my friend Misan decided that she was going to buy some food or die trying. Thankfully, no one died at the Festival and in less than 20 minutes of intense effort, she was able to get some food.

First things first, the spaghetti smelled delicious. I could already tell from the aroma of the days that I was going to be in for a treat and as expected, this vendor did not disappoint.

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I can’t begin to describe the flavour on this dish. The spaghetti was expertly spiced, with subtle hints of ginger and garlic. The veggies were not baptised in oil, which is a common occurrence for some stir fry dishes in Nigeria. The turkey had a crispiness to its skin but maintained its moisture and tenderness.

Verdict

Korede spaghetti did an absolutely amazing job with the special stir fry. From the flavour to the aroma and even the packaging, I think this was one well thought through process and I appreciate this vendor for doing this.


Jaka’s Grill

Dish: Burgers and Chips

Thoughts

Jaka’s Grill was another vendor which was absolutely rushed at the festival. I think he’s got quite a reputation for himself so people need to look out for him when they came to the festival.

The most striking thing about this vendor was how friendly he and his team were. They welcome you to the stand, spoke to you really nicely and didn’t even mind the fact that you were all up in their personal space with questions. You know, it’s always pleasant to be around pleasant people.

I tried their burger - a simple meat patty with lettuce, cheese, tomato and onions - and chips. For starters, I was happy that the chips were not soggy. Soggy chips are no no from me and I’m pretty sure they are a menu option in some afterlife for evil people. It definitely doesn’t belong on the side of eternity. I do think my favourite part of the burger was the dressing though.

Verdict

I would definitely love to eat that Jaka’s grill again and if not for anything, just to see the team smile at me again. They had such a pleasant aura. So warm, so cute.


Lily’s Hands

Dish: Basmati Thai Chilli and Oyster Mushroom Rice

Thoughts

While planning my menu for the festival, this was one dish I was really looking forward to trying. As I earlier expressed, I love Asian food and the prospects of oyster and mushroom really appealed to me. Till now, I am extremely sad that this vendor disappointed me.

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The service was great, they seemed pretty friendly but the food flavours were just not working for me. The rice was bland and oily. I’d expected some exotic flavour combinations but that was far from what I got. It felt like I was chewing pellets of oil.

Verdict

The word ‘disappointed’ doesn’t cut it. I had really high hopes for this meal and none of them came to fruition. Nothing breaks like a heart after a bad meal.


ICYMI, here’s my review for the sweets. You can catch my next and final review of the drinks at the Festival in my next post later in the week.

Cool Things to Do With Coffee in the Kitchen

My first impression of coffee was that it was this super strong serum that had the magical ability to make human beings become functional in the morning. I blame Hollywood for this. However, these movies were not too far from the truth because coffee contains caffeine, which is a nervous system stimulant that makes the brain more aware and alert. Simply put, it is a drug.

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I can’t exactly remember my first cup of coffee, or how it tasted...but I do know that I rather enjoy the flavour and coffee > tea. And by tea, I mean teabags steeped in hot water and not the Nigerian ‘tea’ which is actually hot chocolate. I enjoy that as much as the next person. I think coffee is on a different level, however, and it is a widely accepted beverage. The flavour is quite unique such that it is used in cake, candy, yogurt, ice cream and even chewing gum.

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People do some really cool stuff with coffee, like mixing it with other ingredients and making iced versions and calling the drinks some fancy names that makes you want to try it all. Heck, whole brands have been created around coffee drinks. Think Starbucks and Cafe Neo. However, there are some even cooler stuff you can do with coffee outside of drinking it, so I thought I’d share with y’all:

Sweet Little Rain

The first one is a classic coffee drink, and is a special in a cafe called Mellower in Singapore.  Called Sweet Little Rain, this cup of Americano is served with a ball of cotton candy suspended over it which enables the steam from the hot drink to melt it, simulating raindrops as it melts into the cup of coffee. It is undeniably cute, and instgrammable to a T.

Marinade

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Like i said earlier, (and as I’m sure you know) coffee has a lovely, distinct flavour that is perfect for accentuating spices when grilling meat. Apart from using coffee grounds to enhance the spices on a piece of meat for grilling- which causes a nice caramelized crust which seals in moisture and flavour, brewed coffee can also be used as a marinade. Soaking the meat in coffee can let it act as a tenderizer and will infuse the meat with that distinct flavour. Z-Kitchen, in VI, has a coffee rubbed steak on the menu.

Deodorizer

You know how the smell of onions always lingers even hours after cooking with it? Well, If you find it as annoying as I do, using coffee is apparently a good way  to get rid of the scent. The smell of coffee can be relaxing and fresh; and it also acts as a good deodorizer, which means that you can get rid of all kinds of odors or smells from onion-y hands, to animal urine, and even the weird smells that fridges have; with it. All you have to do is scrub with old coffee grounds and the smell is neutralized. Another clever way to do this is infusing the grounds into homemade candles.

Gardening

Coffee can also be useful for people with green fingers. It is a great fertilizer, because it contains nitrogen which adds nutrients which in turn aids the growth of plants.


Skincare

Another great way to use coffee grounds is by adding it to your skincare routine or products. Coffee grounds in DIY face scrubs has benefits and this is aided by caffeine which contains antioxidants that helps with aging.  

There are so many other ways to make good use of your coffee outside of drinking it; and the fact that most of them require coffee grounds means that you should invest in a coffee beans, or grind and none of that nasty instant stuff.

New Dish, Who This? Creative Ways to Use Leftovers

Like a lot of things in life, leftovers are inevitable. Death, taxes and leftovers. Either you threw a party the night before, or your neighbors were very generous over Christmas or you just cooked too much beans because you didn’t think your sister would eat something else, leftovers are a thing that happens in most homes.

Unlike jollof rice that tastes better the next day (this is a proven fact), it might be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to do with leftovers - especially when you do not like wasting food and with those dishes that are unappealing when cold, not to speak of a day old. Not every dish has the fortitude of jollof rice after all.

If you’re like me and do not like throwing food out (seriously, I hate being wasteful, especially with food), here are a few creative ways to revamp leftovers and make new meals out of them.

Repurposing your boiled yam

I’m personally not a fan of boiled yam, I’d rather have it fried; but leftover boiled yam can still be made into something nice. Yamarita is basically fancy fried yam, coated with eggs or battered and fried. If you’re not with all the hassle, you could just cut the already boiled yam into chips, add a little salt and fry it. The fact that it is already boiled makes the yam crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.

White rice and stew into makeshift jollof rice

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This is really easy, and just as tasty as intentional jollof rice. All you have to do is heat up the rice, add ths stew, maybe a few spices to enhance the taste, stir and stir and viola!

P.S : this can also be done with spaghetti.

Bread into breadcrumbs

Bread doesn’t take long to go stale, but before it does; if you happen to have a large loaf without a large family, you can freeze half of it immediately to use as breadcrumbs later. Breadcrumbs give a delightful crunchy texture to certain meals, it sure doesn’t have to waste!

Bananas, into so much more!

Bananas are quite rude, they ripen too fast and get mushy and disgusting (especially those fat red ones), but they don’t have to go to waste. You don’t have to eat it in such a gross state either. Overripe bananas can be used to bake banana bread, banana ice cream, banana pudding, banana pancakes even smoothies. Don’t throw those overripe bananas out, employ other ingredients like nuts, coconut, chocolate, flour, peanut butter, cheese, and put them to good use!

EDL Weekender: HSE Tapas, Chef Jeff's Dinner and South Socials

We’re back from our short trip to Abuja and I’m not going to lie, coming back to Lagos was so hard. Abuja is so peaceful. If you missed Denise’s recap of the festival, read it HERE

 

Weekender!

Got too busy to update the playlist last week, but here’s your update


EAT

Tapas at HSE

For the next two months, HSE will be offering their Mexican-inspired menu on Thursdays and Fridays. If it’s up your alley, you should definitely check it out because HSE is great.

Chef Jeff at The Metaphor


DRINK

South Socials

South Socials is back again this Friday, featuring sets by DJ Honeeay and DJ IMJ. Here’s the Drink Lagos review of the cocktails at South.

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That’s all from me this week. Have a good weekend!

#EatDrinkAbuja: Denise's Official Recap

Over the last five years, the EDL team has hosted the residents of Lagos to a fun and flavour filled food festival known as the #EatDrinkFestival. Last weekend, the team spread its wings and took it all the #EatDrinkFestival all the way to the capital city!

On the 8th of June 2019, friends, families and foodies from all over the federal capital territory – and Nigeria, if we’re keeping it a buck – gathered at Harrow Park to delve into a world of culinary delicacies and delight. All day long, we were surrounded by pleasant aromas, a wide variety of flavours and people who were excited to eat just as much as we were! Between the sights, smells and scenery, we can’t tell what we loved most about the #EatDrinkFestival!



The Sights and Scents

The #EatDrinkFestival hosted 20 food and drink vendors and a myriad of side attractions powered by our sponsors Sterling Bank and Maggi.

Each vendor came prepared with a hands-on team and special menu curated specifically for the festival. Vendors kept their stands colourful by adorning them with balloons, flowers, signature umbrellas – hello, Crazy Pe0ple Cocktails – tiki cups and so much more!

All around the park, you could spot umbrellas attached to benches in Maggi’s signature yellow and red colours. These umbrellas provided much needed shade to the sun – and rain – while the festival took place. Asides the cute umbrellas, Maggi provided various side attractions including a live and colourful food demo by Chef Punshak on Chicken and SeaFood stir fry, a cooking competition with attractive prizes and an Instagram worthy photo accessory in no other word than ‘Maggi’.

Sterling bank brought their A-Game by giving us lovers of technology a bit more fun than we signed up for. At the Sterling stand, festival attendees were given the opportunity to participate in Karaoke, Virtual Reality Simulations and so much more! You were sure to laugh while hearing a scream or two coming from the VR stand. The word ‘hilarious’ doesn’t even cut it.

The #EatDrinkFestival kept it family friendly by providing giant versions of popular games such as Snakes and Ladders, Jenga and so much more! Watching the giant Jenga pieces tumble to the floor is top 2 most entertaining things on the planet and it is not number two.


The Scents and Scintillating Flavours

When you have 20 fabulous food vendors and a host of celebrity chefs like Chef Punshak and Chef Ayo, there’s no doubt that the flavours wafting about Harrow Park last weekend were only befitting for the gods.

At every corner, the rich, smoky smell of grilled meats and the sweet aromas of pastries and desserts were sure to be assaulting your senses. Pastry/dessert vendors like Waffle Stop kept it sweet while Legal Tender Cocktails kept it fresh and fruity for our vegan/fitness inclined attendees. From Chef Punshak’s deliciously aromatic stir fry to Chef Ette’s spicy barbecue grill, there was no escape to the siren scents of food.

Flavours and textures made to satisfy every food whim or craving were present at the #EatDrinkFestival last weekend. From the strong, delicious flavours of Korede Spagetti to the sweet, delectable frozen treats dished out be Entrees Cocktails, every possible flavour need was satisfied at the festival. Attendees came prepared to satisfy their cravings for exotic food flavours and scintillating scents. They were not disappointed.


The Scenery

Harrow Park provided lush green scenery to which vendors and sponsors dotted with colour. The sharp contrast of Maggi’s coloured umbrellas and the white tents created a delicate picturesque balance to the festival’s feng shui.

On entering the park, attendees were greeted with an Instagram worthy photo accessory pleasantly decorated with leaves and fruits. At the perimeter of the festival, the vendors set up shop, attending to foodies, friends and families alike. At the centre of the park, Sterling Bank hosted attendees to VR simulations, Karaoke and many other attractions. Just by the Sterling stand, attendees could be spotted participating in giant board games like Snakes and Ladders and Jenga. Sitting areas took up the area just beside the gaming area and the area close to the magi stand where Chef Punshak held his live demo and cooking competition. The park offered enough play room for kids and teenagers while giving adult enough space to stroll and bond over delicious food.

Our festival attendees kept their clothing comfy and classy. They really knew how to dress to impress while dressing to ingest. Many attendees kept it simple with off shoulder tops, free flowing gowns/jumpsuits or casual jeans/shorts and a top.

It was a good one, Abuja. The team will be back next year