My Nigerian Tummy; Ogbono Soup

 

Hello again.

My kitchen activities have been majorly interrupted in these past days. I’ve had so many things on my hands – designing my website(never knew I could do that!), drawing up business plans, having meetings with my lawyers, I’m just really stretched! It’s all for good anyway, I’ll be making a big reveal when all the plans are put together.

Okay, to the business of today. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Nigerian soups but if you are, you’d know that Ogbono(Igbo name) or Apon(Yoruba name) soup is one of the favorites. Ogbono is the seed of the African/Wild mango but its ground to a powdery form before it can be used for the soup. It’s commonly called draw soup because of it’s stretchy characteristics.

Here’s the recipe below:

  • Palm oil (1 cup)
  • Ground Habanero peppers(to taste)
  • Dry Fish/Fish/Meat/Snails
  • Stock Cubes (I used 2 Maggi Chicken cubes)
  • Ogbono Powder (3/4 cup)
  • Crayfish (3 tsp)
  • Red onion (half, chopped)
  • Bitterleaf/Water leaves/Pumpkin Leaves/Spinach [All thoroughly washed and chopped] (100g)
  • Periwinkles (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Note: when using bitter leaves, endeavor to properly wash and squeeze to remove the bitter taste. You can put it in boiling water for 3 minutes, and then wash out in cool water. You don’t want your soup to be a struggle to eat.

Procedure:

Heat the palm oil in your saucepan, and add the onions, stirring until they get soft.

Add your ground pepper and let fry till it mixes with the oil, then put in your fish/snails/parboiled meat, stock cubes, and stir till all ingredients are well combined. Add about 3 cups of water and cover to boil.

When it’s fully boiling, pour in the Ogbono powder slowly in a circular motion so it doesn’t form a clump on one spot, then stir properly and leave to boil. Don’t cover the pot after the Ogbono has been put in, as it reduces its stretchy ability. Once the soup starts to thicken, you can add your crayfish powder, periwinkles, salt and leaves. Leave for about a minute, then turn of the heat.

Serves 5 – 6.

Enjoy with semovita or any “swallow” of your choice!

Advertisements

The Best Ways To Impress a Nigerian Dad…

…when his daughter is your girlfriend.
I’m going to list out most of the important things to note and all the factors that relate to them. Most of them may be familiar to you, others may not. Learn anyway, and enjoy the read!

…when his daughter is your girlfriend.

Dad’s the world over react the same way, feel the same and guard the same when it comes to their (forever) little girls. However, because of the differences in cultures, the way you impress (for instance) an American dad could be similar to that of a Nigerian that but has some key additions that should be noted.

I’m going to list out most of the important things to note and all the factors that relate to them. Most of them may be familiar to you, others may not. Learn anyway, and enjoy the read!

  1. NEVER OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST IMPRESSION

Please, take this very seriously! Most dads are already suspicious of the guy their sweet little girl is with before meeting him, so they would be on the lookout for any turn-off that they can point out and use as a yardstick in their future defense – against you.

2. SHOW HIM RESPECT

This may seem easy to do, but it’s quite different with most Nigerian dads. We have various tribes in Nigeria, the most prominent being Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo. There are TONS more. Each tribe has distinctly varying cultures, all  mostly marked by different actions showing respect. Learn your lady’s tribe, learn her cultures, and learn what’s respectful to fathers in those cultures. You might regret it if you don’t.

3. APPEARANCE MATTERS!

Whether or not your bride comes from a rich home, her father wants to see that a man who can take care of himself can also take care of his daughter. This goes hand-in-hand with  the first point, and may be influenced by the next.

For instance, try as hard as possible to avoid:

  • sagging your pants/trousers,
  • wearing colors that are too bright,
  • wearing tee shirts with offensive visible slogans,
  • wearing makeup/loud accessories (if you have any visible piercing, please take the accessory off just for that day!)
  • wearing too-casual footwear

…etc. You can dress like you’re going to a semi-casual dinner just to be on the safe side. Still don’t overdo it.

4. HAVE A STEADY SOURCE OF INCOME…

…because he’ll ask you, and if it’s not satisfactory, that’s an instant NO on his end. You don’t have to be earning in millions annually, just have a set goal for your life you’re working hard towards, it’s hard to hide it if you do. (This inspirational talk is for another day anyway)

5. COME BEARING GIFTS

This is just a way to soften the man towards you so he can give you a chance, it doesn’t mean he’ll accept you immediately, but it means he’ll hear you out (lol).

Get gifts for your lady’s mum as well, the man would be happy you made his wife happy.

6. LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT HIS INTERESTS

Research! Research! Research! Know something about everything and everything about something. Never be the cause of any awkward silences. Be able to offer meaningful opinions about topics brought up and if you have opposing views, don’t argue violently like an areaboy at a bar (a riffraff), have a constructive argument. However, if you notice her old man is one that hates to be wrong, know when to stop and don’t always want to have the final say. Find out his likes and dislikes and have conversations with them in mind.

7. LEARN HOW TO COMPLIMENT GENUINELY

Yes, this goes for both the mother and the father. GENUINELY compliment some things around him; the house, his clothing choices, etc. This boosts a man’s ego and informs him that his efforts have not gone unnoticed. But, note that insincere compliments cannot go unnoticed.

8. LET HIM SEE EVIDENCE OF YOUR LOVE

Every guy can tell when another guy genuinely loves a woman; from his little actions, the way he looks at her, the way he talks to her, the attention he gives her. A father wants to know that he’s leaving his baby in equally loving hands that aren’t gentle only in the bedroom but also with her heart. Don’t be ashamed to show him this, however, please do not bring on the PDA strongly, avoid intimate physical contacts, he really doesn’t want to see that.

9. BE A MAN

You’re a man, don’t be any less. Nobody leaves a precious artifact in the care of a boy, he’ll break it. So, showing him respect or giving him his authority is not a reason to be cowardly with him. Never cower, never accept derogatory statements about your person (but don’t be violent when refusing them), and never be easily manipulated or pushed around.

10. BE RELAXED

Enjoy the meeting, keeping all these things at the back of your mind. Fear not, he’s only human, and he just wants the best for his girl. It’s like trying a new product you’re initially uncertain about and then getting comfortable with it. Relax. You may really get along with her dad eventually.


If you want more information about Nigerian cultures or parents or anything else related, feel free to contact me privately

or comment (also if you have contributions). Let’s gist.

Cat-rearing in Nigeria

In the more rural areas of the different states of Nigeria, you can hardly find a home with a cat as a pet. This could be an understatement – you’d probably see a few strays at night, skulking around almost stealthily in search of food or probably just stretching; something they can’t do during the day.

In the more rural areas of the different states of Nigeria, you can hardly find a home with a cat as a pet. This could be an understatement – you’d probably see a few strays at night, skulking around almost stealthily in search of food or probably just stretching; something they can’t do during the day.

Actually, you can see a few cats during the day…smashed on main roads in very public view.

The reason for this is mainly the fact that most diabolic practices in Nigeria involving therianthropy (shapeshifting) have always involved cats. It’s kind of a known fact that witches are generally associated with cats. Therefore, we were mostly brought up being informed that the majority of cats are witches.

So, 2 days ago, I found a stray right outside my house, curled up and in plain sight – in danger. She’s a two-week-old mackerel tabby and she was quite pathetic when I saw her. I said, “Little girl, what the hell are you thinking just balancing in public in broad day light like this. You want to get killed? Your head could be smashed so easily!” Then I wondered where her mother was… Probably dead.

So I took her in. I have had a lot of experience with my friends’cats but I’ve never raised one.

First of all, I had to keep her in a very dusty, unused room outside the main house building because my mom would freak out if she saw a cat in the house, and also because one of my brothers can’t stand her (the cat). When finally introduced to others, my other brother suggested feeding her noodles, and one of my big dogs almost crushed her (out of excitement though, I don’t raise killers).

I had to go to work (I was on my way actually when I saw her) so Ieft her in a huge basket in the dusty room and hurriedly put a light cloth at the base, and a small bowl of milk in there as well. I was told that she shrieked all day.

The days following have been easier, with Google and a few other helpful websites, and my very helpful closest friend, Jemima. Having raised 5 stray siblings on her own, I call her the Cat Whisperer and take her advice very seriously.

I christened the cat Xena, and am currently in search of a suitable home for her. I have 2 dogs and one is quite big; my house is not an option.

image

Above is my dog curiously sniffing at the door of the dusty room.

It’s Your Life, Noone Else’s

Why be stuck trying to live up to other people’s expectations? Why shape your life around things that other people think you should do?

I discovered this really great App; Periscope. I realize that not so many people have embraced it yet, but I recommend! It’s fantastic because you get to learn things about people from everywhere in the world(if you follow the right people), and others get the privilege (it’s nothing other than that) to have a feel of what your life is like.

So yesterday, I was viewing some broadcasts and there was one that really interested me, so I decided to share.

This guy is like a backpacker – without the backpack. He spoke about how he is in debt (of about 300 dollars), is practically broke, owns only one complete outfit – minus the bathrobe he was clad in, and has burgers (or any other calorie-congested meal he desires) for breakfast.  Where most of us struggle every day at work and only dream of that island we really want to vacation at, or force ourselves to stick to cabbage and other plant foods (no offence meant, vegans) just to stay in shape, this young man is doing only exactly what he wants to do.

Why be stuck trying to live up to other people’s expectations? Why shape your life around things that other people think you should do?

This guy (I can’t, for the life of me, remember his name) is broke, lacking and in debt, but he’s deliriously happy – and he’s living his life. I’m absolutely not saying you should quit your job and sell your clothes and eat fatty foods all day long because you want to rebel, you’ll just get overweight, really poor and hungry, and you’d hate yourself -or me. I don’t want that. I just think that everybody who has the opportunity to be alive should be happy while doing it.

Test yourself:

  • If you are very reluctant or unenthusiastic every Monday morning when it’s time to get ready for work, that’s not the job for you. It means you don’t like what you do and you don’t enjoy it. If that’s the case, you’d NEVER succeed maximally in that job. Change it. (Take a cue from Claire in the movie “The Boss” if you want to make your exit extra-dramatic).
  • If you only think of ways to promote your business or new ideas for improvement during work hours, means you don’t like your job. The truth is, anything you love, you’d want to see grow. So quit.
  • Ask yourself, “What made me start this job?” If your reason has less to do with yourself than it has to do with money or someone else, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons and you should get out.

Try as much as possible to create a Win-Win situation in every endeavor of your life, never forfeit fulfillment for someone else’s satisfaction. Do what you love, everytime, and you’d be great doing it!

Do you really control your life? Or does your life control you…