So, 2014, has gone, gone, gone. It was a very great year, more ups than downs, and even the downs taught me Patience and trusting The Lord. No matter how you try to hurry things, He has His own timetable. I have always been a step back and look at the bigger picture kind of person, and last year, when I finally understood what it means to be patient, I saw an entire tapestry. My mother would smile when she reads this. One of my weaknesses is Patience, or should I say the lack of it. I want things done now, scratch that, I want them done yesterday. I saw His hand in moving obstacles out of my way with a finality, connecting me to people, without effort, and I had so many a ha moments last year. For things that did not happen, I understood why they hadn’t happened. One particular thing about the blog design and another concept, that kept me worrying for months, and my friend Kemi said Dunni, don’t be negative about this new venture, it will end in praise. Events happened in the last few weeks that I played no part in, and I thought OMG!!!!!! So this is why this thing was delayed. The powers that be, must be having a laugh. When you are hurrying for things to happen, you don’t know what you are being protected from, by not having it yet. I just hope this new found understanding of patience and trust lasts. Maybe it is with getting older, or it is with finally feeling like my life means something. Whatever it is, I like it, I won’t lie.
So, what should you be looking forward to on Dooney’s Kitchen
New Logo – this took months to design, with so many iterations, my graphics designer Hemanth, must have strangled me multiple times in his head. I didn’t want a cliche food/kitchen logo, and I wanted something that represented Dooney’s Kitchen as a Nigerian brand, so I used an ankara-esque custom design print. The first thing Kemi Kings said when she saw it was, oooooh Dunni, I like the ankara feel. I didn’t even tell her that was the inspiration behind the design, but she got it, and I hope you do too. My friend Ade said the d, k, and h, look like soup ladle handles – another plus. I hope you like it, and the Tagline too. The tagline I especially love. It came to me because of all the comments, and feedback I have received from my recipes, plus the cooking tutelage I have received over the years. Food Memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you soooooo much Hemanth.
1. More Nigerian Recipes – I posted on Instagram on yesterday about suffering a mini crisis of direction, which caused me a lot of panic. You can click on the comments to see my message.
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I had a mini crisis of direction a few months ago. I told my close friends, (my inner caucus) I will soon run out of things to cook. I already have so many Nigerian recipes, maybe I should concentrate more on fusion, because I really want to crossover so baaaaad. My most level headed friend Ms Joxy said, you have to decide where you want to stand. You can dabble into a bit of both, but know what your core audience and core focus is and stick with it. The reason you've done so well is because of your Nigerian recipes, never forget it, or you will lose your reader base if you move too much to the other side. When I look at the Nigerian music industry for examples of artists who were too quick to reach for international acceptance, her words of wisdom brought it all home. The international food scene is going to have to accept me with my Nigerian food. No two ways about it. I am one of the admins of the largest food group on Facebook and truly, it is core Nigerian food that rules the roost. My Instagram stats and Google Analytics stats also reflect this, so in 2015 – be prepared for even more Nigerian food. I am going to start calling all those old Aunties of mine to dig out recipes from the past. To those that need a modern twist, I will sprinkle Dooney's Kitchen fairy dust on them. Presentation will be better, thanks to @pinchofyum and @minimalistbaker, for their amazing food photography tutelage, my photography will be better too. This is my pledge to you guys, so help me God. Happy New year in advance
I was listening to The Secret Audiobook on Dec 30th. Say what you like about self help books, or New Age Psychology, that book provided a life changing experience when I picked it up in 2009. I was listening to it while making dinner on Dec 30th, and the part where it said what you complain about the most, you get more of, made me laugh, because looking back through the year, it was oh so true. I was running out of things to cook, and that was all I saw till I started having sleepless nights, and the mere sight of the blog started to irritate me. For those it took me one week to respond to your comments, I truly, sincerely apologise. What you are thankful about the most, you get more of, so I started to flip the switch and be grateful for the recipes I already had, for the Aunties, the friends, my mum and grandmother’s who have given me so much, I have over a 100 recipes on this blog. A switch in my perception from lack to abundance, started opening doors, and people from nowhere started sending me messages of recipes I had never heard of before. Oh Dunni, have you tried this, readers would leave comments telling me about something their mums used to do, or something they ate somewhere. I am also very thankful for my friends because they gave me perspective. In a time of crisis you need solid people to hold you steady through the storm you created in your own head. As I wrote in that Instagram post, this is my pledge to you all that read this blog. More Nigerian recipes. You can also let The Almighty use you to bless me. Any new or old recipes you will like me to try, drop a comment here, send me a message on Instagram or Facebook, send me an email – [email protected]
2. Saving Recipes via Big Oven – I wanted to introduce this feature in the new blog, but alas He had other plans. You can ask about the new blog and I am happy to say, we are in a good place now. Outsourcing turned out to be more trouble than the cost saved. I kept asking to be led to a UK based web developer, and she literally fell into my lap. I mean literally. I was sitting pretty at home and Kemi of Kemi Kings Makeup paid me a visit. She is adorable by the way. That is how she gave me the name of someone she also discovered by accident. There are no accidents in Creation. None at all. So, back to saving recipes. I think it is an amazing idea. Gosh the number of times I get requests for a particular recipe, the number of times I had to go search for one myself and provide the link. People can be quite lazy sometimes, but hey, it comes with the territory. I wanted to introduce this since August last year. I found Ziplist and thought score!!!!! I approached them to be a featured partner, and they first gave me some one kind conditions, so I told them straight, you need people from my part of the world to know you exist. I explained all the business advantages of a Nigerian audience, yadi yadi yada, and they agreed. Dooney’s Kitchen was suddenly on the list of their partners, sitting amongst, some of the best food blogs in the world. Who said being a Nigerian, can’t be used to your advantage, and then bad news came – Ziplist was shutting down the business. I went into panic mode looking for a replacement. I found one but would you believe the nerve of them. They copy your ENTIRE recipe, so when a reader saves a recipe, they never have to visit the blog again. Not just that, this company reserves the right to use your recipe ANYWHERE, without taking permission from you. What kind of Copyright Infringement nonsense is that? So, the search continued and I found Big Oven.
Here is a sample –
Image credit – Glamorous Bite
Big Oven is providing the same functionalities as Ziplist. I emailed the CEO and introduced myself. I told him, Sir, Nigerians are about the enter the building, and we don’t do things in small measure. We love to cook too and your app is suddenly going to be downloaded in its hundreds of thousands, and I want some of the action. We shall see how that plays out in the future, but I am excited to finally bring this feature to Dooney’s Kitchen. For already existing recipes, I am going to have to ask if a code can be applied to do it at once, because I am so not looking forward to doing them manually. Give me some time to figure it out. Any new recipe that is published, will come in the format above but with step by step pictures too. It will look plain for now, but my developer and I will decide on the colour scheme when the new site gets launched. You like the recipe, just click on the Save recipe button. Open a free Big Oven account, and the recipe will be saved. You can also ask for the ingredients to be added to your shopping List. Such fun. Download the big oven app on your phone – android or Iphone, and carry your recipes with you anywhere. The best part for me, you only get a snippet of the recipe. You want to cook the dish, you would have to click on a link to take you back to Dooney’s Kitchen. Saves you searching. Win – Win situation. Big Oven offers 50 free saved recipes, after which you will have to pay a small annual subscription fee. But 50 recipes free, that is still a good bargain. You will also be able to print my recipes in printable acceptable formats, so you don’t have to write them down.
3. The New Nigerian Cookery – one of my favourite phrases last year was 2014 Nigerian Cooking. Well, that is kind of last year now. While I was in the process of re- designing the new blog, my friend Ade and I came up with this phrase from Heston Blumenthal. Heston Blumenthal is one of my cooking heroes, and it is from him what will now be my signature phrase, ‘The New Nigerian Cookery‘ was invented. This phrase truly embodies the blog will be about in 2015. New methods of cooking, new twists to Nigerian food, new methods of presentation, new food fusions. Anywhere you see the hashtag #thenewNigeriancookery, you would know it is from Dooney’s Kitchen and it is about new possibilities and frontiers with Nigerian Cooking.
4. Editor and Guest Posts – I was getting to the point of being overwhelmed last year. I love what I do, but it felt too much juggling it all. A kind person Remi contacted me early last year and said if she could help with anything. I am a very suspicious somebody, I won’t lie. Hehehehehe. I told her thank you, and kept it moving. Then she reached out to me again months after with an amazing testimony of how my post about sharing good news my family received touched her life, and the rest of the story brought tears to my eyes. She said Dunni, again I am being told to ask you how I can be of service. I really need to, so I said okay, you are going to be an Editor of the blog. Remi will be working behind the scenes with me with Posts, responding to comments, and email queries. You will feel her impact much more when the new site is up. Everybody and their mother knows I can’t bake to save my life, so I have requested for help from an amazing baker in Saudi Arabia. We met through SYTYCC and she has agreed to be a Guest Contributor for Dooney’s Kitchen, for all types of baking recipes, and she will chip on some Middle Eastern recipes too. As I am going to be keeping my strong focus on Nigerian food, I still would like recipes from around the world. Daniella who lives in Milan is half Rwandan, half Italian. She approached me for collaboration, and I said Yes. She will be providing Italian and Rwandan Recipes. Score!!!!!! I would like to make Dooney’s Kitchen a more robust site, and healthy/vegan and vegetarian recipes is part of my new vision. I did find someone but sadly it didn’t work out, so I am on the lookout for someone else. Preferably someone American/Canadian with an African background, because I want recipes we can relate to. If you have anyone in mind, who isn’t already a food blogger, please let me know.
5. The Great Big 2015 Kitchen Swap – I do an annual clean out, and get rid of stuff. With being a food blogger, I have acquired sooooooo many things in such a short space of time, that is my plates collection. I had to commandeer half of my wardrobe.
I took a critical look at some appliances I hadn’t used in over 8 months and thought, time to go. Rather than donate them to a faceless person via the charity shops, I thought to offer anyone who wants them on Instagram. See why you have to follow Dooney’s Kitchen, hehehehe. Juicy news are shared first on there. I have given out a Kenwood Smoothie maker to @rdjmama, @kemi.olusanya got the large multi functional manual grater, @nevique got the tapioca starch packets – to be used to make starch for Banga Soup, and someone else got the Onion Chopper.
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The two contenders for the Kenwood Smoothie maker – @rdjmama and @iamhorlar. The smoothie maker has gone to @rdjmama, the grater to @kemi.olusanya and the Tapioca starch to @nevique. Onion chopper still up for grabs. @thefashionliaison has given out her Kenwood Smoothie maker to @iamhorla. #thegreat2015KitchenSwap is already underway. Bless someone with a kitchen gadget or utensil that is just sitting there. Send me a message with a picture either on Instagram or via email – [email protected] and it will find a new home.
It occurred to me, to make this into a thing. So, I am announcing the Great 2015 Kitchen Swap. It is a segment on the blog for people who want to get rid of Kitchen utensils or gadgets. It has been sitting in your house unused or partly used, that wedding gift or gifts that have been taking space, bless someone and give it out. You can also find something you want that others want to give out. This beginning year, start looking through your cupboards, home store area and even wardrobes. Whatever Kitchen related item, you haven’t used in ages, don’t be a hoarder, find it a new home and someone will be grateful for it. When you find something(s), take a picture, send me an email – [email protected] or send me a picture via DM on Instagram or on Facebook – Dooney’s Kitchen, and I will put it up for you on the blog with the nearest PUBLIC pick up location ANYWHERE in the world you are. On the same day, someone offered another Kenwood Smoothie Maker, which has been given to @iamhorla. @j_kyari offered to give out a deep fryer, and @feyiolu has an Ice cream maker to give out too. See, the Great Kitchen Swap is already underway. I have announced this on Facebook too and people are already saying they have stuff they would like to give out. So, join in the fun. In the next coming weeks, I shall be posting the items on the blog. Be on the look out. I also gave out this Pasta Maker to @big_pretty
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And this has found a new home. Going to @big_pretty. I hope you put it to work, because I have never used it before. Other items still left to go #thegreat2014cleanoutcontinues. It occurred to me that we can make this into something. Come January 2015, I shall be announcing a segment on the blog for people who want to get rid of Kitchen utensils or gadgets. It has been sitting in your house unused or partly used, that wedding gift or gifts that have been taking space, bless someone and give it out. You can also find something you want that others want to give out. This end of year, start looking through your cupboards, home store area and even wardrobes. Whatever Kitchen related item, you haven't used in ages, don't be a hoarder, find it a new home and someone will be grateful for it. When you find something(s), take a picture, send me an email and I will put it up for you on the blog with the nearest PUBLIC pick up location ANYWHERE in the world you are. #payitforward #thegreat2015KitchenSwap #shoponDooneysKitchenforfree
I intend to make this very big. Our own Nigerian version of freecyle, but for kitchen items and who knows, it can extend to many other home items. When the need for this feature gets bigger, I will create a special sub site for it, but for now, it will be on Dooney’s Kitchen.
6. #CookCrush – I started this fun feature on my Instagram page, and I intend to continue. For me, it is a way to honour and feature home cooks, who are doing amazing work in the kitchen that nobody but their friends and family gets to see. So far, I started with a bang by featuring two home cooks, who are at the top of their game – Eva and Funmi, but I have been told my standards are too high, because those two present Nigerian food like you won’t believe. So, I am going to loosen the reigns a little. I just want food that you cooked that looks decent and easy on the eyes. Post it on Instagram and tag me with the hashtag #cookcrush and I will repost your food. Tag your friends and family who cook amazing food, tell them about this and I will be glad to feature them. This is strictly for home cooks, no bloggers or caterers please.
If you don’t have an Instagram account – why now??????? Open one, just to follow Dooney’s Kitchen. Hehehehehehe. You can also do this via Facebook. Post a picture of your food on the Dooney’s Kitchen Facebook page with the hashtag #cookcrush.
I would like to use this as a way to encourage and praise you guys, so get to cooking and hashtagging.
I wish you all an amazing year. You coloured my life immensely in 2014, and I am hoping for an explosion of rainbows this year. Dooney’s Kitchen will be bigger and better this year, more exciting features, I can’t wait for you guys to see the new blog design. Onwards and Upwards. Happy New Year.