One of my biggest worries about being a food blogger is the amount of food I waste. It is something I am honestly not proud of and why I do it, I don’t know. How do I waste food? My fridge. Despite it being set at 2 degrees, it somehow spoils my food, if kept in there for a week plus. Every week I do a fridge clear out, and with that comes with emptying some little leftovers and it upsets me. My mother and grandma would not find it funny at all, because I was raised better. Food wastage was not allowed growing up, it was called a crime against humanity, and now that I am running my own kitchen, it is the one thing of all the kitchen tutelage I have received, that I haven’t adopted.
So, this week, I said I will be making a conscious effort to not waste food. I looked through my freezer on Saturday night, the same time I normally do a fridge clean out and I spied this bowl of Egusi. I remembered Vivian’s post on Facebook where she posted an Egusi Ogbono dish that her mother in law prepared. I remember commenting that my mother did that but to recycle old Egusi soup into a new soup. Unlike my mum’s, Vivian’s dish is cooked with Egusi and Ogbono from scratch. A few weeks ago my friend Mary paid me a visit. She is in a special condition and she said she wanted Ogbono, which I didn’t have. She said ah no, don’t worry, I’ll eat what you have at home, but I said nah, Ogbono is something I can whip up with no notice. I thought of what Big Oladunni would do in this situation, cos this is something she had faced so many times. Uncles, Aunty’s friends always stopped by last-minute. They knew Ladunni would always have delicious food for them. So, I decided to channel her that Sunday, by using my leftover Efo Riro to make Ogbono. I literally cooked this dish below in under 30 minutes.
My mother can turn any old dish into a stunner. Her tips and suggestions to use are:
- fresh vegetables
- fresh pepper
- dry ingredients
- beef stock
- Rice or Pasta
With these ingredients above, you can foodcyle any old dish from your freezer. So, when I saw that bowl of Egusi soup, I just smiled, I knew I was going to add Ogbono to it. So this week, my recipes are going to be dedicated to food cycling. No more food wastage, we recycle old dishes to new. Let’s Cook
- Pre-cooked Egusi Soup
- Fresh pepper or leftover stew
- Powdered Ogbono
- Fresh Okro
- Fresh green veg (optional) - I used Uziza
- Another reminder, this dish is a foodcyle dish, but if you want to start from scratch and combine both soups, you can.
- Transfer your old egusi soup to a pot, and add enough water to create the volume/quantity that you would need for your new soup, depending on how many people you are feeding. You may also wish to add pieces of assorted meat.
- Re-season the Egusi stock with crayfish, salt and stock cubes if you wish. I would recommend you start with crayfish and work your way upwards. Like my Ogbono redefined recipe HERE, you can also add a little Ogiri. Allow this stock to boil. Think of this egusi stock like making Ogbono, same process
- When it boils, add some fresh pepper, or in my case, leftover stew
- Allow this to boil, taste and be sure you are happy with it, then add your powdered Ogbono in handfuls. Start with one handful, then go up carefully.
- Once the Ogbono is in, stir and as expected, it will thicken the stock and start to show signs of viscosity. Add a little hot water, if too thick, and just let it cook. The longer Ogbono cooks, the better it tastes
- If you have any green veg to add, add it once you are satisfied with the taste and consistency of the Ogbono. I used a few leaves of frozen Uziza
- For a nice fresh crunch, add cut okro rings.......and your old Egusi soup has been given new life. Believe me, this soup is delicious. If for a second you ever thought ogbono and egusi, no way, try this once, and you would take back your words
No one, and I mean no one would believe this came from leftovers. Here I am enjoying my foodcycled dish with some freshly prepared Onunu with an extra twist. Check out the video on Instagram (@dooneyskitchen) to know what the extra twist is.
I hope I have inspired you to also join in the no food waste campaign. The other recipes coming this week, are just as special.