Breakfast in Bed Food Chronicles with Folu Storms on Smooth 98.1FM Lagos

Hey Fam,

The incredibly talented Folu Storms from Smooth 98.1FM asked me to come into the studio a few weeks ago to talk about the baking and pastry arts. She was also kind enough to give me a recording of our chat, which I’ve uploaded.

Listen in:

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GTBank Food & Drink Fair Masterclass

I had the privilege of teaching a pastry demo class at the GTBank Food & Drink Fair yesterday. I was really excited at the number of people who signed up for the class, and those who stood in line to gain entry. It was awesome to see so many people genuinely interested in the baking and pastry arts.

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For those who couldn’t gain access to the class, I want you to know that the organisers did everything possible to accommodate you but had space constraints due to the massive demand!

In the class, I demonstrated the use of laminated dough to make almond croissants, peach danishes and pain aux raisins. I promised to post recipes for the dough, along with the base creams and sauces today, so here goes:

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole/UHT full cream milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2tbsp cornflour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp rum
  • 2tbsp unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, along with the vanilla and rum.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar to the yolks, salt and cornflour.
  3. Temper the hot milk into the yolk mixture with a whisk, then strain back into the pot.
  4. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens, then add the butter and whisk until combined.
  5. Cover the pastry cream with clingfilm directly on the surface, then cool rapidly.

Almond Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch salt

Method:

  1. Cream the soft butter with sugar.
  2. Slowly add the eggs/vanilla mix at room temperature.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients all at once, until combined.

Croissant Dough

For the dough (detrempe):

  • 3cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1.5tsp instant yeast
  • 1 3/4cups cold water

For the butter (beurrage):

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 1/4cup all purpose flour

Method:

  1. Mix the soft butter with the flour until incorporated.
  2. Cover a small serving/baking tray with cling film and deposit the beurrage. Use a spatula to smoothly cover the surface of the tray with the butter. Place in fridge
  3. For the detrempe, mix all the ingredients together either in an electric mixer with the dough hook for 3 minutes on speed 1 and another 3 minutes on speed two, or knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
  4. Cover with plastic and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. Apply dusting flour to the work surface and flatten the dough into a rough rectangle before rolling it out into a larger rectangle with a rolling pin.
  6. Place the beurrage on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half over the butter. Crimp the edges with your fingertips, turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out into another rectangle. Fold the left side of the dough to centre, followed by the right side to the centre as well over the left fold. Turn 90 degrees and repeat this process, then rest the dough for at least an hour. You should perform at least 5 folds, and make sure to rest the dough for an hour after every two folds. After the 5th fold, rest for another hour and then the dough is ready to be rolled out as demonstrated in the masterclass.

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After you roll out and cut the dough, make sure not to overbake to achieve lovely flaky on the outside and soft on the inside laminated pastries.

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Until next time, remember to cook with class and serve with style.

Yours, Alex.

 

 

French Toast with a Twist

French toast to me, means comfort food. It’s quick and easy to make, but when done right – with the right ingredients – can be elevated to stand alongside the best of morning and dessert classics.

Today, I going to show you a flavour pairing that just sets my senses off, I mean these three flavours in tandem make my mouth (and belly) sing HALLELUJAH!

I’m talking about orange, natural honey (or maple syrup) and cardamom. In fact, I think I’m in a relationship with these three flavours, and it’s complicated. Hmm…

Anyway, back on task. Here’s my recipe for “French Toast with a Twist.”

You’ll need (enough for 4-6 servings):

  • 1 Brioche loaf (staled a day or two on the kitchen counter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1tbsp orange marmalade, confit or jam
  • 2pods of cardamom, cracked open and seeds ground and sieved
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream

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Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C, get an oven tray lined with parchment paper ready.

Slice the bread into rough two-three inch dice. You may take off the crust as well if you’re not a fan, I’ve left them on for a rustic look and feel to the dish, plus brioche isn’t really a “crusty” bread.

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Mix the custard: in a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, cinnamon and cardamom, honey (or maple syrup), orange marmalade, sugar and salt. Whisk together.

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Dunk and soak the brioche chunks in the custard. Make sure they are completely soaked for a nice moist french toast.

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Place on baking tray, top with peanut sized chunks of butter, and place in oven.

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When the top appears to be browning, flip over and top again with butter. Place back in oven and cook until the underside of the french toast appears brown again.

Serve with ice cream, caramel sauce, gingersnap or graham crumbs. You can also toast some flaked almonds or blend them into a coarse “sand,” this adds a new flavour profile to the mix which works very well with those we’ve already built up.

Enjoy 😀

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This is a quick and easy French Toast with a Twist that’s sure to entertain a Saturday or Sunday brunch, or a dinner party.

Until next time, keep cooking with class and serving with style ;).

Yours truly,

Alex.

Vegan Banana Loaf

I can tell you for free that Lagos is hectic. If it isn’t a driver problem then it’s fuel, or traffic, or which church to attend, or power, or anything and everything under the sun.

It’s stressful…

…and so it’s important to celebrate the small victories that come our way now and again. Temporary mood alleviators as I like to call them, such as finding a free bench at the gym, or a piece of cake to eat thereafter :).

Against this backdrop, alternative diets such as vegan, paleo, gluten free etc seem far removed – a first world problem; but I’m probably not the first to tell you that these are gaining traction in Nigeria and you’ll find devotees and gatherings all around Lagos for example.

To celebrate these hipster “alternative” folks, I’ve decided to share my dairy free, vegan banana bread with muesli streusel.

You’ll need (makes one standard loaf):
Bread flour 225g (sub with rice flour for gluten free)
Baking Soda 7g
Salt 3g
Cinnamon 7g
Nutmeg 1g
Vegetable Oil 53g
1 ripe and soft avocado (sub with 1 large egg for non-vegan)
1/4 cup cornflour (sub with 61g of whole milk for non-vegan)
Brown Sugar 150g
Honey 50g
Ripe Bananas (mashed) 225g
Vanilla Extract7g

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How To
Sift together dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

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With whisk or by hand, beat sugar and bananas until broken up.

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Add diced avocado (or beaten egg) and whisk on medium high until the mix starts to lighten in colour. Slowly add all the liquid ingredients one at a time in any order.

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Fold in dry ingredients all at once.

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Spray or grease a standard loaf pan and preheat oven to 175C. Deposit batter and sprinkle muesli streusel over surface, bake for about 35 minutes or until ready.

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Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the centre of the loaf, it it comes out clean your banana loaf is ready.

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Cool on a rack.

Chef’s notes
I was in a hurry to get this recipe to you, and only had semi-ripe bananas and avocados at my disposal. It’s important to source yellow bananas and super soft avocados, as this will improve the taste your loaf and the quality of the final product.

The honey in this recipe helps the loaf stay moist for up to a week, and my recommendation would be to refrigerate it until you’re ready to eat or serve, and only then bring up to room temperature.

As always, please post some feedback or send a DM with your loafs to my Instagram. I’m always eager to hear how my recipes work for you.

Until next time remember to cook with class and serve with style.

Chef Alex.

Stuffed Coconut Banana Soy Crepes

First off, thanks for your comments and questions in my last entry. As I said before, I’d like to keep this as interactive as possible, and will do my best to respond to valid and focused questions in a timely manner. With regard to portion size (too large, too small etc.), I always include a suggested number of servings as I outline the ingredients you’ll need.

Today, I’ve decided to feature another breakfast/brunch option, following from the popularity of feedback requesting recipes similar to my last one. This recipe is quite versatile, and will be focused around demonstrating how to properly cook a crepe and include fillings (bear in mind that you can use any combination of jams, jellies, preserves, custards or nuts).

I’ve chosen a flavour combination that’s close to my heart and belly – it also helps that these items are readily available in Nigeria. Now, before the fitfam disciples out there get on my case for promoting an unhealthy breakfast, let me reiterate that I’ve made some key modifications from a standard crepe recipe. We’ll use whipped coconut milk instead of whipping cream, soy instead of whole milk, homemade banana jam to cut out excessive sugar, and include healthy nuts in line with recommended daily servings of essential fats and proteins.

With that in mind, here’s what you’ll need (for 3-4 servings or 7-8 crepes):

For the crepe:  

1

  • 1cup white bread or cake flour
  • 1cup soymilk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tbsp. yoghurt, sour cream or crème fraiche (optional – if you enjoy a slight tang to your crepe)

For the filling:   

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  • ¼ – ½ cup each of slivered almonds and shredded coconut
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/vanilla sugar to garnish

Banana Jam

  • 5-6 bananas, mashed up
  • 1-2 tsp. brown sugar

Whipped coconut milk

  • One 250ml can of coconut milk (very cold, almost frozen)

Procedure

Mix the flour, eggs, soymilk and optional yoghurt in a large bowl with a spatula until the ingredients are combined and the batter smooth. Place in fridge.

2

Empty the cold coconut milk into a large bowl and whisk vigorously until air is incorporated and it stiffens enough to hold its shape (consider using a hand/table mixer if you have this). Cover and place in the fridge.

Place the mashed up bananas in a small pot on medium-low heat, add brown sugar and cook until it just starts bubbling, stirring often. Remove and let cool on stove.

Place a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the slivered almonds and toast until light golden, tossing often. Repeat this with the shredded coconut, keeping in mind that the coconut will toast much more quickly.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel dipped in a tiny bit of melted butter, just enough to barely coat the pan and re-place on medium-low heat.

Remove the crepe batter from the fridge and using a medium serving spoon or ladle, spoon into the pan.

3

Take the pan by the handle and move in a circular motion, spreading the batter, which will thicken as it comes in contact with the hot pan – work quickly.

4

Replace on the heat and using the tip of a spatula to lift up an edge, check for doneness. When it looks something like this (after 2-3 minutes)

5

Pick it up with your fingertips and flip the crepe. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until done. (Don’t worry, you will almost always have to discard or taste the first crepe, as it probably will be unusable. This “test crepe’ will give you an idea of how much batter you will need the second time around to cover the base of the pan.) Using the paper towel from step 5, wipe the pan and repeat step 6.

Cook all your batter and let the crepes rest until cool to the touch.

6

Place a crepe on a flat counter or cutting board, use a spatula to spread a small dollop of banana jam, followed by the whipped coconut milk from the fridge.

8

Make sure to spread out only until about an inch from the edge, as the filling will spread when the crepe is folded. (If you have a piping bag handy as I did, it helps with the coconut whip – this is not essential to the outcome).

Sprinkle shredded coconut and slivered almonds. Gently fold in half…

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…then in quarter

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as pictured. Garnish with slivered almonds and cinnamon/vanilla sugar.

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Placing the finished plate in the fridge with firm up the whipped coconut milk and enhance the tangy taste if you used any of the sour cultures I suggested. Serving at room temperature also works just fine!

That’s it folks! I know this recipe can be daunting to kitchen novices, but as soon as you get the hang of the crepe motion, you’ll be able to bang these out in less than 30 minutes.

Feel free to use store bought jams, puddings or custards in order to cut down on prep time, and enhance your creativity.

As per usual ladies and gents, don’t forget to cook with class and serve with style. 😉

Yours,

Alex.

Sweet Potato and Plantain Frittata

I arrived in Lagos a few days ago and I’ve felt very welcome, thanks for all the support and kindness. Eko o ni baje! (with phoné :))

I’ve been itching to cook with authentic Nigerian ingredients and flavours, and so I haven’t rested much since my arrival. I opened up my fridge this morning and found a big bowl of egg whites from yesterday’s baking extravaganza, and a light bulb clicked on in my head – make a frittata for breakfast.

So…here goes:

You’ll need (for 3 servings):

  • Egg whites from 10-12 eggs
  • ½ large or 1 small plantain
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • One Romano Pepper (tatashe)
  • ½ onion
  • Olive oil, salt and sweet paprika to taste

1

Method:

Slice up the pepper and onion. Cut the plantain into large dice and the sweet potato into smaller dice.

2

Place a large frying pan (choose one with a lid) on high heat with about a tablespoon of oil; add the onion, plantain and sweet potato when it heats up. Fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring quite often.

Turn down the heat to medium; add the pepper and fry for another 7-10 minutes.

3

Turn the heat down to very low, pour in the egg whites, sprinkle salt and sweet paprika to taste and cover the pan.

4

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the whites appear cooked.

5

There it is! Quick, easy and yummy – I recommend this recipe for readers on the go early in the morning or on an early lunch break from work. It pairs very well with whole-wheat toast or a savoury breakfast scone, but is a meal unto itself for lighter eaters.

I always welcome questions about food and life in general so if you see me, don’t hesistate to strike up a conversation. If you’re shy (hehe) then use this forum, post a comment or ask a question.

Until next time, remember to cook with class, and serve with style.

Honey Glazed Citrus Habanero Chicken

Now, my people know that I’m a patissier by trade, and although I love what I do, nobody else is going to cook my dinner (sad panda face). So yes, I do in fact cook savoury food, however my pastry background usually drives me to combine very different ingredients to create bold (and often wacky) flavour profiles. I especially love the chemistry between fiery peppers and fragrant fruits, or earthy nuts and sweet syrups.

I need nutritive food that can power long days on my feet, cooking. At night, I’m usually in the mood for a lean dinner that can fuel tissue growth and repair without inducing a food coma or weighing me down the next morning, i.e. chicken breast.

One of my go-to recipes is a honey glazed citrus habanero chicken breast, and today I’ve paired it with an avocado, sun dried tomato and peanut pesto and sweet potato chips, and garnished with a desiccated slice of ruby red grapefruit.

The best part of this recipe is how easy it is to make, you’ll just need a bit of time to let the chips dry up in the oven!

You’ll need (serves 2):

For the chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Juice and zest from half an orange, lemon and grapefruit
  • ½ white or yellow onion, diced.
  • 2-4 habanero (ata rodo or scotch bonnet peppers), rough chopped
  • ½ – 1tsp. salt
  • A dash of regular (or smoked) paprika
  • 1tbsp. honey

For the pesto:

  • ½ cup, peanuts
  • ½ avocado
  • 1tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp. regular (or smoked) paprika
  • 1tbsp. honey
  • 1tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes and 1tbsp. Dijon mustard (or 2tbsp. Provençale mustard)
  • Salt to taste, water to adjust the consistency

For the chips and garnish:

  • 1x fairly large sweet potato, sliced very thinly
  • ½ grapefruit, sliced very thinly
  • Icing sugar, salt

Method:

Cut two or three very thin grapefruit slices and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, dust lightly with icing sugar. 1

Cut the sweet potato in the same way and place on another paper-lined tray sprinkle generously with salt.

2

3

Bake these two in the oven for 2 hours at a very low 80 degrees Celsius. Remove them and flip each individual chip, then bake for another 1-2 hours until dry.                                                                 4

(these can be done at a different time, and stored; the sweet potato chips can also be deep fried for more flavour, albeit less healthy)

Rinse and place the chicken breasts in a bowl, add the chopped onion, habaneros, citrus zests and juices. DO NOT ADD SALT YET! Mix and cover, marinade at room temperature for at least an hour.

5

Combine the pesto ingredients (except for the avocado) in a blender and use the pulse function, adjusting with water until the desired consistency is reached. Mash the avocado with a spoon and stir it up the other blended ingredients like Bob Marley.

6

Turn the oven on to 210 Celsius. Place an oven-ready frying pan on the stove to high with a drizzle of olive oil and allow to heat up. Sear the chicken breasts on either side for about 3-5 minutes, adding the salt and paprika to taste.

7

Glaze the topsides with honey and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until ready.

8

Plate and enjoy!

9(baked chips)

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 19.31.44(fried chips, with greens to make myself feel better)

These elements sure make for a pretty plate, and it’s a great recipe to woo your partner with on a Saturday night. Sigh…if only. Get creative, change it up, be bold, and c’mon, live a little!

Until next time ladies and gents, remember to cook with class and serve with style!

Alex.

xo