I love Nigerian food. It is probably the most patriotic element I have. Lol. Preparing for my trip to complete my degree, I stubbornly decided to eat only Nigerian food, so much so that I packed more food than clothes during my first trip, including some not so *cough, *cough items. I was battle ready to keep cooking what I was used to, since I was going to be living in a strange country, no family close by, probably no local Nigerian shops, temperate climate etc. Plymouth isn’t exactly immigrant haven, so I wanted to have some comforts and reminders of home. Many a night, I comforted myself with fish peppersoup, and boiled rice during long cold winter nights, while I missed home terribly. My flatmates complained about the aroma, but they got used to it, and became curious. I can tell you many funny stories about explaining to an English person why plantains are NOT big bananas. Lol.
During the Christmas holiday of 2009. I made my first trip to Paris, and not only did I fall in love with the city (it is still my favourite city till date), I fell in love with French food. You see, British food has a bad reputation which it lives up to. French food on the other hand has a great reputation, which it upholds. The entire week I spent there I was gorging on French food like a glutton. I loved the food in the cafe’s, bistro’s and patisseries. I was on a student budget and travelling in the company of fellow students, so we ate cheap, nothing fancy, yet the food was amazing.
Hopping on a short flight to Rome, I had my first authentic culinary experience with Italian food. Oh my word, for someone who grew up hating cheese, I found myself digging voraciously into cheese-based dishes. I would take a bite, close my eyes and just relish the meal. For the first time I thought, ooookay, it seems I’ve been fiercely protective of my Nigerian food, and I’ve not allowed my palate to experience food from other cultures. Since 2009, I’ve been travelling often, and I make sure I immerse myself in the local cuisine, and this has changed my palate, for the better I will say. I have more appreciation for food, and I am no longer stubbornly limiting myself to Nigerian food.
Below are some pictures detailing my journey to Food Fusion:
I am a 9ja foodie traitor you may be thinking. My response to you, would be no. Yes my palate has changed, but I have not substituted my Nigerian food. It still makes up 70 – 80% of what I cook, but the beauty is, by embracing the food of other cultures, I have introduced a Nigerian element into their recipes. I swear by Knorr Chicken cubes. If I am stranded on an island, you will find Knorr Chicken cubes with me (my preference for this seasoning, I will discuss later). So, as I was saying, I have been able to apply the recipes from other cultures and add a Nigerian twist to it, which has made the dish more robust, enjoyable, and best of all, familiar, which sometimes is the reason why some of us are not adventurous with food.
You’ll be eating my Lasagne but you’ll detect a bit of Nigeria in it, or my Seafood Paella, or Lamb Tajine. When I eat a dish on a holiday, I mentally envisage what went on into making the dish, sometimes I ask to see the chef, and after praising him/her (chefs love flattery, lol), I quiz them about cooking the dish, surprisingly most of them give me straight honest answers, and I recreate it when I’m back home. So, from being a local champion of Nigerian food, my cooking repertoire has expanded tremendously, and I started this blog to share it. If you are Nigerian, hopefully there’s a lot you will learn from my blog, and I hope it improves your attitude and relationship to Nigerian food. I will also try show you how to carry along your Nigerian heritage into other non-Nigerian food that you enjoy. We live in a global environment, and there’s so much food to experience out there, I don’t recommend the stubborn stance I adopted in the past. If you are not Nigerian, I hope to introduce you to Nigerian food, which hopefully you’ll share with your friends and family. To be a truly global food blog, I’ll be having dedicated food culture weeks. I’ll be cooking Italian, French, Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Mexican, Spanish, French and I’ll be replicating British and American classics, but with a Nigerian twist.
Below are Food Fusions I recreated in my kitchen. I’ll post the recipes in due course
I have posted some Italian recipes and I intend to post more. So look forward to my post on Lasagne and Linguine Vongole. Food weeks that will be coming up are; Spanish food week – think of Paella, Tapas dishes, Salsa’s. Middle Eastern Food week – Tagines, Keftas. Asian inspired food week – Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian. American Classics – I’ll focus a lot on food from the south: Chilli’s, Jambalaya, Gumbo etc. I’ll be remaking some British Classics. So, for the next coming weeks, food fusion recipes will be popping up in conjunction with my favourite 9ja recipes of course. Welcome on the journey to Food Fusion, I hope you will be a willing traveller.