Thursday, 8 August 2013


A little digression before we continue with the decoration topics, remember all work and no play makes me a bored girl. So, last week, I was discussing with some colleagues on ways to loose weight and sustain it and apart from the "reduced quantity on food intake", another important factor they stated was trying to live mainly on fruits and vegetables. I totally agree with this idea and while you may be thinking "oh how can I make vegetables and cut fruits on a daily basis?" Here is a quick and easy way that it can be done- make it into a salad! Salads are one of the easiest recipes to create because there are no strict rules to it. You can add and subtract whatever you like or don't like. To save even more time, make enough for about a week and keep in the fridge.

As a typical Nigerian, this goes well with me because to tell you the truth, the greatest tasting Nigerian dishes I've had didn't come prepared from a cookbook. Most Nigerians would agree with me that we cook to taste. A funny story to prove my point as we go along. I have some relatives in the USA and my grandpa (God rest his soul) went to visit one of my uncles some years ago. On his arrival, some Nigerian dishes were prepared for his welcome. Their American neighbour who was invited loved the aroma and taste of the food and decided he wanted to learn to make it. He approached my aunt who promised to tutor him in the process of making the dish. On the set date, he came around for the lessons and watched, as she put in the salt, he asked "how much salt did you put in?" she was a bit puzzled by this question but she gave him a reply "enough to taste". This process went on for when she added the pepper, crayfish, seasoning e.t.c. My question, "did the American learn to make the dish?" probably not! but I'm pretty sure my aunt thought she'd taught him something new that day. Maybe she did. The Nigerian way of cooking is an art not a science. You learn by observation.

Back to the salad, A salad is a popular ready-to-eat dish made of different ingredients, usually served chilled or at a moderate temperature. It can be served with or without a dressing; as an appetizer, a side dish to main courses, as dessert and as a main course for breakfast or dinner. Occasionally, especially when it is served as a meal, other ingredients like meat, seafood, potatoes, pasta, sweet corn e.t.c may also be included in the vegetable salad. The warm mixture of a vegetable salad (i.e. cooked) is often called casserole or a sandwich topping. 

There are two main types of salad; the vegetable salad and the fruit salad.

The main ingredients are cabbage, carrot, peas or green beans, lettuce, onions, fresh ripe tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and green pepper. The occasional additions are potatoes, meat (can be beef or chicken), seafood (fish or shrimps), sweet corn, baked beans, pasta or eggs, vinegar or salt and water

  • Start by preparing your ingredients. 
  • Wash all of them. 
  • Boil the eggs, meat or seafood, potatoes or pasta till done. Egg must be hard-boiled. 
  • Open the canned sweet corn and drain the fluid preservative and rinse with clean warm water
  • Slice the cabbage into short tiny strips
  • Grate the carrot into tiny strips or dice them into little squares
  • Dice the green beans and potatoes too.
  • Don't cut the lettuce with a knife, it'll make them turn black. Break it into medium chunks with your hands.
  • Slice the onions, cucumber, green pepper, egg and tomatoes into round pieces. These would serve as  topping or garnishing.
After getting your ingredients ready, soak the vegetables in vinegar or salt in warm water, if you have no vinegar for a few minutes and drain. Get a big glass bowl and start to put in the vegetables and other ingredients one after the other in layers, but in no particular order. Top it off with the sliced cucumber, egg, onions, tomatoes and green pepper. Keep covered in the fridge and take a serving when you are ready to eat.

If you are trying to skip the high calorie and increased cholesterol content, which is the point of eating a green vegetable salad, then skip the canned foods, leave the beef, go for chicken instead. Take fish instead of shrimps. Forget about the potatoes and pasta. Remove the yolk from the egg. Totally skip the dressing!

Any type of fruit can be used but they should be ripe (not too ripe and not unripe either), sweet and can be cut into shapes without much ado. The commonest fruits used for a fruit salad in Nigeria are; watermelon, pineapple, pawpaw (papaya), apple, mangoes, banana e.t.c. Occasionally avocado pear and strawberry, cherries or plumes. You can use orange or lime juice as preservative especially when using bananas or they can serve as the dressing. Milk  or plain yoghurt mixed with honey can also serve as dressing but I'd avoid the honey if I'm looking to loose some weight. Grated coconut can serve as topping for extra effect.

  • Wash all the fruits
  • Remove the seeds from the fruits that come with them.
  • Peel anyone with a backing e.g pineapples, pear
  • Cut them up in sizable cubes of about 1x1inch
  • You can cut them into different shapes to give it a fun edge and probably make it more appetizing
  • mix it up in a glass bowl and refrigerate. 

A tip: cut up equal amounts of fruits using same size bowls to measure so you don't end up with too much watermelon and too little apples in your salad

This can be done with either only one leafy vegetable e.g. pumpkin leaf or a mixture of 2 or 3 or more e.g. waterleaf, green or utazi. It can be made into a soup, eaten with eba (farina) or as a sauce, fried with a bit of olive oil, fresh tomatoes, fresh pepper, onions, crayfish some spices with fish or meat. The sauce can be eaten as a meal or as an adjuvant to main courses like rice, yam or plantain.

Go out and have some fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting.