Making a Case for Insect Protein

When it rains heavily, there are those weird insects that pop up in the aftermath and people claim they are delicious + high in protein?

Gross, I know. But they might actually be onto something here, just hear me out. According to some really smart people, livestock will not be enough to meet the rising global need for meat (see what I did there?) and so we have to find other alternatives to complement or even replace meat for our much-needed protein intake.

“What’s happening is a big concern and if meat consumption goes up further it’s going to be massively more so,” said Prof Tim Key, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and co-author of the review. “On a broad level you can say that eating substantial amounts of meat is bad for the environment.”

Protein is a vital part of any balanced diet, seeing as they do most of the work in cells, and are required for the function of our body tissues and all that. Meat is one of the most popular sources of protein and is (if prepared well!) frankly, quite delicious. However, due to the rapidly rising global population and it’s demand for meat, we might need to start seriously considering other alternatives - like insects and edible worms.


Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g. crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Besides, they emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock. Insects can be grown on organic waste. Therefore, insects are a potential source for conventional production (mini-livestock) of protein, either for direct human consumption, or indirectly in recomposed foods (with extracted protein from insects); and as a protein source into feedstock mixtures.
— Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Entomophagy, which refers to the consumption of insects by humans is widely practised globally and is as old as humans itself. In some Nigerian communities, insects are considered a delicacy and are prepared and eaten in a diverse number of ways, from roasting to frying and sometimes in vegetable soups. According to this study, eating insects is very popular in Benue State with the termite and the large African cricket being the most popular.

Views about the consumption of bugs differ wildly, scientists encourage it as they can be a high source of protein and some people (like me) find it completely gross. Between these two extremes, how do we introduce bugs into our diet in a way that *might* appeal to both ends?

Okay, I know that this sounds unbelievably gross, it’s not something I would be ecstatic about either... but, I think we can find creative ways to infuse it into our diets.

You know how some people who don’t like to see onions in their food blend it with pepper and tomatoes and cook with it? Well, that can be done with critters as well. It would serve as an extra source of protein. I came across a recipe that infuses bugs in a brilliant way. All you need to do is blend spicy jalapeno peppers, corn flour and crickets together. Dried, toasted crickets apparently adds a different flavour to the fritter.

Curry, Meghan. “Spicy Critter Fritters.”  Bug Vivant , 4 Oct. 2014, bugvivant.com/recipe/cricket-powder-recipe-spicy-critter-fritters/.

Curry, Meghan. “Spicy Critter Fritters.” Bug Vivant, 4 Oct. 2014, bugvivant.com/recipe/cricket-powder-recipe-spicy-critter-fritters/.

You can probably blend different bugs into flour to be used in baking cookies, cakes etc. If you’re not averse to the idea of seeing creepy crawlies on your plate, dried, toasted and roasted bugs can provide a different texture - crunch- to meals.

Ok, I’ll stop now.

I’ve grossed myself out writing this. Maybe we can consider saving the environment and go insect heavy in our diets.

Or maybe not.

Down for the Drinks at #EatDrinkAbuja

Over the last couple of days, we’ve focused on the ‘eat’ part of the festival. Now, it’s time to get down with the drinks! Here are my reviews for the sweets and eats at the first #EatDrinkFestival Abuja

Compared to the food vendors, there were much fewer drink vendors at the #EatDrinkFestival. Though small in number, I had a really pleasant time trying out the drinks that caught my fancy.


Entrees Cocktails

Drink: Red Raspberry

Thoughts

So it turns out that entrees cocktails was not serving cocktails; they were serving shaved ice! The weather at the EatDrinkFestival shuffled between hot and cold so honestly, this drink could’ve come for me at a better time. The lady at the stand had the cutest jacket on and a bubbly aura, just like the Waffle Stop lady. I think their stands were next to each other so maybe the energy at the side of the park was just really hyper

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I think the most striking thing about this cocktail - can we call it that even though technically it’s not? I’m not sure but let’s pretend we can. The most striking thing was its colour. It was the most dazzling shade of red I’ve ever laid eyes on. In retrospect, this is probably the shade of red I should’ve dyed my hair. Maybe next time.

At first sip, the cocktail came off as sweet but once it settled in, it had this kick which jolted every sense in your body; just like raspberries.

Verdict

The Red Raspberry was very refreshing. The flavour, texture - the shaved ice - and everything about it simply worked. It’s a smiling a smiling Larry David face from me.


Crazy Pe0ple’s Cocktails

Drink: The Screaming Orgasm & Moscow Mule

Thoughts

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While ordering this cocktail, I had to ask the bartender: “When people order the Screaming Orgasm, do they do so with a straight face?” Apparently, most people tried their best but usually ended up laughing.

The Screaming Orgasm combines two of my favourite alcoholic drinks, amongst others; Baileys and Rum. Watching mixologists work their magic with cocktails is always enjoyable. I watched as the vendor put the creams and liquors into this massive lidded container before shaking it all up.

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Creamy alcoholic drinks are a fave but this cocktail took my love for these to a whole new level. The cocktail starts off really sweet but at its end, there’s this kick which I still haven’t been able to place! This thing actually tasted like heaven in a cup. I liked this cocktail so much, I think I mentioned it to everyone I came across at the festival.

At the end of the festival, I wanted to get another Screaming Orgasm but they were all out. I never knew alcohol - or its lack thereof - could make me so sad. In the end, I settled for a Moscow Mule - which was equally amazing. Problem is, when you want a Screaming Orgasm, you should get a Screaming Orgasm. I still want one!

Verdict

If this cocktail were a person, I’d actually consider marriage. When I say I loved this cocktail, I am not in any way mincing my words. In all honesty, I think the only thing I enjoyed more than this cocktail at the festival were the small chops by Cocktailville n Chops.

A Trip to Godaif Village
 

FOLLY: If you want to feel like you’re not in Nigeria for a hot second (literally), the garden at Godaif village is good place to start. You may have to wear ear plugs so that you don’t hear the noise of the car horns and possible nose pegs for the smell of Nigeria but honestly, visually it’s an escape.

NOSA: The instagram pictures really do not do it any justice. It looks like one of those villas you find in telenovelas, but a bit smaller.

FOLLY: The inside as well is tastefully furnished, cozy and relaxing.

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FOLLY: The menu says an increased offering is coming soon but until then we have cafe staples - sandwiches, salads, and pastries.

NOSA: It’s a standard cafe menu with some wine added and an extensive tea selection. To be fair, I wouldn’t come here primarily for the food because that’s very much WIP. You should definitely come here for the space. It’s an absolutely wonderful space to work out of.

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NOSA: Picking the right sandwich to order was a bit of a challenge. I really wanted to try a bunch of the paninis, but they bagel sandwiches too.

FOLLY: I don’t like paninis that much. I find that there’s always too much bread and not enough of the stuff in between (fillings) so I opted for the Ham and Cheese Bagel Sandwich.

NOSA: While I settled for the Avocado and Chicken Panini

FOLLY: Bagels are still quite rare in Lagos so I never pass up the opportunity. Everything had cheese so i decided to risk it all in spite of my intolerance and go for it. I was already planning to have the cheesecake later so a little slice of cheese in my sandwich was not going to be my undoing, the cheesecake would be.  

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FOLLY: The bagel sandwich was good - it was a simple coffee shop sandwich. No frills. A chunky homemade spread or house sauce could have made it more interesting, but for a sandwich that didn’t announce itself to be more than a “Ham and Cheese bagel sandwich”, it was enough and delivered.

NOSA: The avocado and chicken sandwich was very much a chicken salad sandwich so I have no idea why I asked for it to be toasted. Chicken salad sandwiches are infinitely better when cold, but like a dunce, I got mine toasted. I definitely liked it, but it could’ve been a lot more enjoyable. Like, as enjoyable as the Quinoa Salad I ordered as well

The quinoa salad reminded me of those cute little salad things you get with dinner when you fly long haul and I really love those. It had quinoa, peppers, cucumbers, raisins and walnuts in it and it’s very vegetarian friendly

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FOLLY: The cheesecake was absolutely fantastic and possibly the best cheesecake I’ve had in Lagos. Craft Gourmet and Maison Kayser were previously tied in my “little black book” but Godaif Village’s blueberry cheesecake has likely dethroned both.

NOSA: Very very bold statement there.

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FOLLY: I don’t want to make a hasty conclusion so I need to go back and try the cheesecake again. Once I’ve done that, I promise to report back with an update.

NOSA: It might be nostalgia tainting your judgement. Or maybe you’re associating the good vibes of the space with the cheesecake.

FOLLY: It’s only fair because I’ve tried the cheesecake at Craft and Maison multiple times, it’ll be unfair to dethrone them on a single taste alone.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Will definitely return

FOLLY: Highly recommend for the cheesecake. I can’t wait to try it again soon.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Latte - N1500

Quinoa salad - N2300

Caramel macchiato - N1600

Ham & cheese bagel - N2600

Blueberry cheesecake - N2600

Chicken avocado panini - N2600

 

PARKING

 Small parking lot for about five cars

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.

Sweet Treats for a Sweet Girl at #EatDrinkAbuja

The EatDrinkFestival is an annual food festival proudly organized by the team. An ever-evolving event, the festival is aimed at connecting food vendors and celebrity chefs with aspiring chefs and individuals who simply have a fine taste for food. For most of its existence, the Festival had only been available to the residents of Lagos. Last weekend, however, things took a historical turn with the first ever #EatDrinkFestival hosted in Abuja!

A few members of the team and I made our way to Nigeria’s capital city last weekend. While other team members were choked with organisational duties and the smooth running of festival activities, I was in Abuja for one simple mission; Eat, Drink, Repeat. I did exactly that.

Food festivals are glorious. Being surrounded by pleasant aromas, a myriad of flavours and people who are just excited about food as you are is absolutely uplifting for the spirits. At the festival, 20 food and drink vendors dished out their finest and as always, I picked a thing or two I’d like to write about. I visited as many vendors as I could and now, I will be telling you why I will either find their home addresses or erase them from my memory, Dumbledore style. Over the next couple days I’ll be telling you about my favorite vendors at the Festival.

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Buttercream Abuja

Build Your Own Cupcake: Chocolate Cupcake, Maltesers, Caramel Popcorn and a Shot of Baileys

Thoughts

Buttercream Abuja happens to be the first vendor I tried at the festival. While everyone made a beeline to Cocktailville n Chops, I decided to start off sweet. One of the things that drew me to Buttercream’s stand was the giant pink balloon arch. It was so cute!

The owners were especially friendly, offering me a bit of their Nutella Banana Bread as a sample. It was absolutely delicious. That’s a lot coming from me because I would usually never put banana bread in my mouth.

I had the option of having a regular cupcake and building my own personalised treat. I decided to go with the latter. A chocolate cupcake, Maltesers, Caramel popcorn and shot of Baileys later, I was in my happy place.

Biting into the cupcake, I felt like I was biting into a fresh cloud. It was fluffy, moist and its sweetness was thoroughly balanced. The creaminess of the Baileys complimented the taste of the chocolate so well while the Maltesers and Caramel popcorn added a bit of crunch to the smooth, fluffy texture. Overall, this was a win.

Verdict

I absolutely loved them! Between their amazing customer service and the even more amazing cupcake, I can’t decide what got me the most. Would recommend to everyone I’ve ever met.

Yogurberry

Cookies and Cream Yoghurt, Cashews and Cookies (Toppings)

Thoughts

I visited the Yogurberry stand a bit late, so they’d run out of a couple of froyo flavours. Bummer! I feel like the vendor understood my pain because he looked sadder than I was telling me they only had a few flavours left. Of the ones available, the Cookies & Cream caught my fancy so I decided to try that out. For the toppings, I went with cashew nuts and chocolate chip cookies. The game was set.

The yoghurt was a flavour overload! The cashews provided a twist to the sweetness of the yoghurt and cookies. I have a sweet tooth but I don’t particularly fancy overwhelmingly sweet treats. This frozen treat kept its sugar levels friendly. On the matter of texture, the yoghurt was smooth and silky. I really enjoyed eating this.

Verdict

Yogurberry is doing an amazing job with frozen yoghurts. Unfortunately, they don’t have branches in Lagos so I can’t pop in at will.

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Waffle Stop

Waffle Pops – Waffles with chocolate and caramel syrup, coconut flakes and crushed Oreos

Thoughts

Taking a walk through the festival, my nose picked up on the most delightful thing and I absolutely had to trace the scent. That’s how I found myself at Waffle Pops. Waffles are a personal favourite so I took no time in ordering.

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The vendor at the Waffle Pops stand had to be one of the bubbliest people I’ve ever met. I loved her energy. The base dish was the waffle which could then be topped with an assortment of syrups and candies. I decided to go for chocolate syrup, coconut flakes and crushed Oreos. The bubbly lady was nice enough to drizzle on some extra caramel syrup and that made me pretty happy.

Let me tell you when I bit into this waffle, I caught a glimpse of paradise. It was warm, super soft and fluffy! It’s almost as if the waffle melted in my mouth. I can’t put into words the joy I felt eating this waffle. It was perfect. While making notes on all the things I’d tried, the only reaction I could muster on this was a ‘whoa!’ That’s exactly how I felt. That is still how I feel. I’m still shook!

Verdict

I want to be adopted by the owner of waffle pops and fed waffles everyday in an air-conditioned room while watching Rick and Morty. If my waistline breaks up with me because of these waffles I won’t even be mad. Transitioning from an hour-glass to a blob shouldn’t be too hard. Round is a shape, right?