Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MasterChef At Large

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I love cooking. Some people believe there are two kinds of people: cooking types and baking types. I am proud to say that I'm a bit of both. I love to cook and I absolutely love to bake. I've essentially live alone since the age of 17 up until the day I moved in with Bolaji. During the time I lived alone I was the child that tried baking and cooking everything from apple pies to chocolate cakes and everything in-between. Then I went off to college and though I cooked occasionally, I was missing a key ingredient: an audience. Cooking is definitely a labor of love and is not that much fun when you do it alone. Besides most cooks know that sometimes you just don't feel like eating after slaving away at the stove. Long story short, even after moving to Nigeria, Nando's and Sweet Sensation were my best friends. I would have occasional dinners where I would go all out but those where once in a blue moon. I had even garnered the reputation around my friends (and boyfriends!) that Kemi doesn't cook. I just smiled and said nothing. I heard a quote once that all women cook or know how to cook, if you are a man and they haven't cooked for you, they just are not that into you! :-)

I love my hubby for not EVER pressuring me about food. He, of course, also assumed I didn't know how to cook, but I can honestly say he just figured somehow we would eat and as long as he was dining with me, it didn't matter who cooked the food. This is a sweet thought, yes, but he didn't know how to cook either so I'm not sure what he had figured! LOL. Imagine his surprise when we moved in together and he would come home to hot cooked meals. We both don't eat too much Nigerian food so he would come home to tasty Italian, Indian, Mediterranean/Lebanese dishes. One of my first dishes was this:

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

I love Caribbean food and in Lagos there aren't many places for you to try Jerk Chicken or Curry Goat so I make it.

Of course the pictures above are not mine. I always say I'll take pictures of the things I cook but when I'm in the kitchen I'm moving so fast and it's a bit out of the way to have to grab the camera and take pictures while my onions are caramelizing! But I did manage to take a few photos on my phone:

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread

Homemade Gnocchi & Lamb Marinara sauce

Bolaji has told me of how he and his ex-girlfriend shared a lot of moments together in the kitchen. She apparently also loved to cook and they spent many times together laughing and trying so many recipes. He talks about those times like those were part of the good times of a past relationship. The other night as I made the gnocchi, he was also in the kitchen with me. I had never tried making it before so I was very skeptical about the whole thing but as I put the gnocchi balls in the hot water and it floated, Bolaji opens up and says, well, don't know if I ever told you this before but Sandy (his ex) tried to make gnocchi and it was such a disaster, the thing didn't float. So I tease him that all the while he was probably just waiting for my gnocchi to float before he would know for sure that we were having dinner that night! He smiles and goes off to the laundry room to iron his shirt. When dinner was ready I went in to call him and he grabs me and says you know what? "When my last relationship ended I prayed to God that the next person he brings into my life must be better than this one that's ending and I look at you and think of us and God gave me even more than I could ever wish for". Isn't that sweet?

I mentioned to Bo once though that I've read many places that this is how the honeymoon period is in a marriage so if say in five years I'm only cooking okro and beans or something, please he should be prepared for it oh. Lol. He says well he'd like his kids to also enjoy delicious home cooking, this is when I turn and snicker to him. Perhaps he should learn how to cook then! To be fair though, he asked me a few months ago if I wanted a cook since I'm so busy sometimes it's really difficult to come home from work then have to start thinking of what to cook etc. While I know there are many Lagos girls who would die for a cook, I just don't like having domestic staff period. I hate people in my space and for the life of me I can't wrap my head around letting complete strangers into the sanctity of my home. It seems so crazy that people readily do that here. For now I've said no to the cook but who knows, maybe I'll change my mind soon. For now, it's me practicing for my appearance on masterchef! :-)

Some of my favorite foodie blogs here:

As you can tell, I can probably go on forever. I love food blogs! For me the process usually is I look at the ingredients I have in my pantry or fridge, or if I'm craving something specifically, then I google the items or what I'm craving, click images, then pick the ones that seem to be on foodie blogs since they tend to give you step by step pictures along with the recipes. And then another tip for those who love cooking but also live in Lagos where we can't just waltz in a grocery store and find everything we want, stock up on spices little by little, then when shopping look for little treasures everywhere. I found eggplant at shoprite for N70! So just keep your eyes peeled. Anyway, I'll let you know when my masterchef appearance will be ;-) (j/k).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Break in Transmission

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From time to time I get periods that I'm so busy I have to schedule even my teethbrushing in the morning! This is one of those time periods. When I'm going through this I usually leave a cute pic and a short message so here we are. Cute Pic. Check. Short Message. Check.

To my new followers, welcome! I'm usually more interesting than this but work is my second husband for now and he needs tending to! I'll be back.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wedding Envy & Kemi Gets Her Groove Back!

Friday, June 4, 2010
I couldn't decide between the two titles so I've just included both in. They are kind of related. This post will probably be a little disjointed.

Happy June Month! June is a great month, not only because it's the middle of the year, it's the real beginning of summer, or that i have many loved ones with birthdays in June, but the most important reason of all: I got engaged June 20, 2009! It's almost been a year since the whirlwind of my life started. I still tell Bo that that day was the best day of my life. Everything about it was beautiful. I loved the wedding day and my traditional day but nothing beats the romance and happiness of the day you get engaged. Actually in order of happiness? I would say Engagement Day, Traditional Wedding, then White Wedding. It seems weird to me because that's not what I would have expected but that's the order. I remember worrying myself silly as to whether Bolaji was going to buy me a ring, then funny enough being caught completely unawares when it actually happened. I remember like yesterday he telling me he wanted to share his life journey with me and then getting down on one knee. The feeling if I could describe it is being swept off my feet. I was so happy. The whole entire day I was lightheaded and dizzy and quite frankly could not believe it was happening to me. Absolutely happiest day of my life. My trad was quite simply magical and I will forever cherish it. Like seriously, m-a-g-i-c-a-l. My white wedding, I stressed about so many things and there were so many aspects of it that honestly, I could only enjoy it through the pictures after the event. Not necessarily stressed in a bad way but I tend to go into project management mode, so I essentially project managed my wedding and didn't really experience it and appreciate it until even now. So in short (HA!) here's to June 20, 2009 - what a difference a 24-hour day could make!

Now unto wedding envy, if any of my ladies here have been married and experienced wedding envy please do share your story. I'm learning a lesson about weddings that I would like to share. Essentially, it's that you will never have everything you wanted at your wedding, never. Some things will be off, some things will go wrong, (as I've talked about many times) some friends and family will disappoint, and you just might forget to decorate your cake table (lol), or your groom may be 1 1/2 hours late and therefore you loose your light for pictures (only brides truly understand the gravity of this lol). It is important to cleanse these things out of your soul (yes soul, it goes that deep) and let it go. The first wedding I went to after we got back from our mini-honeymoon, I was a wreck. Bolaji even had to almost shake me, like, Kemi, trust me, our wedding was FABULOUS. I was busy comparing everything I saw to what happened at mine and I got really sad and down. It was so bad, I became withdrawn and wanted to leave soon after we got there. And then I started comparing every wedding dress I saw to my own. It was just madness. Bolaji had to have a talk with me. He basically told me I was being ungrateful because I prayed so hard for my wedding and all the preparations around it and it went beautifully, the pictures are gorgeous, and it was intimate and purposeful like we had wanted and prayed for. Most of all, it was over! Lol. It might not have been your average perfect wedding, but no wedding ever is, it was YOUR wedding and love it dammit! Those were kind of his words but paraphrased. :-) I listened to him. As time goes by and things return to normal, I'm getting my objectivity and perspective back and truly all I can be is thankful. I'm happy and at peace with the way everything went. Now when I see or go to a wedding I just say another prayer, "thank God i'm a wedding graduate!"

Speaking of things returning to normal, boy I cannot say enough how happy I am that my world is returning back to normal post wedding planning. Truth be told I hated planning my wedding. Almost every aspect of it (except visiting my florist at her shop at the apex of a mountain surrounded by vineyards, oh and menu tasting with my sis-in-law). Your world gets subsumed into this planning machine and before you know it you don't even have time (or money quite frankly) to do the things you did before. Bolaji and I are pretty artsy folks, so we went to a lot of events in the Lagos indie art scene, there is one i assure you. But that's what we did, ate out at lovely restaurants, partied with friends at different night spots, and hang out with our expat friends. During planning though, we almost did none of these. We didn't have time, any down time you just wanted to sleep and not think. I'm very glad to say that we are slowly getting back into the groove of things. We are slowly getting back to the stage where the fact that we were getting married or are married is no longer the most interesting thing about us. It's lovely! This is spilling into all aspects of our lives. I have a confession. I mentioned that we didn't consummate our marriage on our wedding night. This is true. But we didn't consummate our marriage till about 3 days in. The only thing I can attribute this to is that we were just used to not having sex it wasn't that big of a deal and all of our guests were still around and we were still very busy. On the honeymoon, not much of action was going on there either, quite frankly I was busy being scared for my life (you try experiencing a hurricane while you're in a glass house in the middle of the ocean!). Interestingly though, is that what I've realized is that the more I unwound myself from wedding stress, the better our sex life has gotten. I'm being honest here. The first few weeks weren't like jumping off the chandeliers. But now....lol. I'll keep that to myself. :-) On a serious note though I wanted to mention that specifically because I have a sneaky feeling this is a lot more normal than one would think. I think it takes a while for you to unwind and de-stress yourself so if anyone out there experienced what I experienced, don't beat yourself up about it, sometime it happens like that.

Anyway so here we are, the year in review from June 20, 2009 to June 4, 2010. So much growth, so much learning, so much...experience. I'm in a good place, I'm getting back to the old me, and I'm glad!
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