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).


Niki said...

oooooo Kemi perfect timing, just when I decide to enchance my culinary skills.

Welcome back by the way.
Check out http://nyamfood.blogspot.com/ , learnt a few receipes from it.

Niki said...

awwww Kemi your husband is just so sweet. That is exactly the same prayer I pray for myself (the one Bolaji prayed) and I know God will give me more than I could ever ask for and imagine. My cup will overflow. Pray for me too :)
You guys seem sweet.

Niki said...

I don't know why I didn't just comment in one go, lol. Ok last time...

Though I'm not married Iso agree with you on the domestic help issue. Please guard your home. Proverbs 14:1 "a wise woman builds her home but with her own hands a foolish woman tears her home down". Be careful o because on the day your man tastes another womans cooking and enjoys it and starts comparing your food to hers....trouble.
My sisterly advice to you and anyone for that matter is don't be too busy that you cannot take care of your husband, I've seen the consequences of this myself and they are devastating. xxx

Myne Whitman said...

I loved this post. I do not enjoy cooking that much but I am an efficient and open minded chef. My hubby was also surprised at how versatile I was since he knew I wasn't one for the kitchen all the time. I like trying new things sha, so that will always get me in, he helps a lot too so it is fun times in the heat, lol.

As for help, I don't need it now but will sure get some when I do. A wise woman will know that she is not superwoman.

Niki said...

I agree with you Myne, I actually discussed the issue of domestic help with a friend last night. I suppose it all comes down to wisdom really.

Just...Toluwa said...

hmmm...love the food...and u have a sweet husband...

nt one for the kitchen...wld love to cook, bt everytime i try, i create a disaster. oh wells, i guess i didnt inherit that gene, cos my mom can cook heaven and hell...one gene i did inherit is the eating one, so please mail me that ur food..hehehe

domestic help...i dnt think is a good idea..good luck tho..

Blowing Blessings Your Way said...

Good job Kemi! And Bo was sooooo sweet for saying that!!! awwwwww....

I agree with you on house helps jare!

Anonymous said...

i love cooking and baking and learning new stuff... unfortunately my boyfriend loves to cook as well so there isn't really much room for me in the kitchen.. still trying to decide who is the better cook.. hmm.. will check out the food blogs.

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