Hibisicus by Lope ariyo

Lopè Ariyo Brings Contemporary Nigerian Food To The World With Hibisicus

Who’s For Dinner is very pleased to feature the new cookbook by Lopè Ariyo. After helping to judge HarperCollins/Red Magazine’s “The Next Star of African Food” competition in 2016 it is great to see that Hibisicus has come to life! Despite having some of the most rich and vibrant flavours in the world, African cookery has so far taken a back seat in the British food scene. Lopè Ariyo is a 23 year old cooking talent, fresh out of university who wowed the judges with her modern approach to Nigerian cuisine. After winning the competition and landing herself a book deal, Lopè is set to take the cookery world by storm and her wonderful new cookbook Hibiscus was published on 1st June.

Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo

Featuring a stunning collection of delicious Nigerian recipes, Lopè has used the cooking she grew up with and has added her own British twist, adding contemporary touches to Nigerian classics. The book tells the story of Lope’s childhood through the dishes – from her early love affair with plantains, the street food from Lagos, all the way up to her Uncle Yomi’s baked eggs dance. It is a beautifully designed book with stunning images that make Nigerian food look as good as it actually tastes! By combing European ingrediants with African flavours, Hibisicus will open up a new world of culinary delights to people from a variety of backgrounds. It is time for Nigerian food to shine on an international level and Lopè will help to make it happen.
Nigerian cuisine is all about sharing and bringing people closer together – this book will do just that, as well as introducing a whole new audience to a delicious and incredibly vibrant cuisine. It’s time to make Nigerian food just as prevalent as Chinese and Indian food in the wider foodie community! The recipes are easy to follow and reflect Lopè’s vibrant and warm natured personality, we know she’s set to be a star!

Make sure you order a copy online or in book stores.

Photo credit Jade Nina Sarkhel starters Bistro Vadouvan

Who’s For Dinner With Chef-Patron Durga Misra of Bistro Vadouvan?

Bistro Vadouvan; based in Putney, South West London, is the first solo venture for Chef-patron and Michelin-trained Durga Misra. The menu delicately mixes elements of Middle Eastern and Asian spice with classical French cuisine, creating mouth-watering and original dishes which balance great flavours with a delicate, contemporary feel.  Chef-patron Durga’s inspiration comes from his Michelin-starred background, having worked with the likes of Eric Chavot, Joel Antunes and Pascal Proyart and ensures each one of the Bistro’s dishes is unique, perfectly balanced and utterly delicious. We were lucky enough to interview Chef-patron Durga and find out about his inspiration and passion for food.

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel- eating brunch at Bistro Vadouvan

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel- eating brunch

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where does your love of food come from?

I accidentally got into a cooking school and fell in love with the profession almost instantly. My boyhood dream had been to join the army and I think that the discipline which attracted me to that was also the magnet that first pulled me into the kitchen! But the propelling force, which keeps me going, is making somebody smile when they have the first mouthful of my food. The surprise element,  the wow factor and the joy when they take spoonful of all the flavours, savour them and watching how it can brings out different emotions in people is really fantastic. I always try to bring that element of “je ne sais quoi” in all the dishes we serve, to always surprise and delight with something different and delicious each time.

How did you start your career in food? 

My career took off in India in 1998 but I guess it really started when I joined Eric Chavot in 2004 in the 2 Michelin star Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge. He fed me with the basics of cuisine Francaise and taught me the finer details of flavor combinations and subtleties which have helped me later build my repertoire .

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel-crab and prawn salad

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel-crab and prawn salad

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel- duck leg pot au pho

Photo Credit Jade Nina Sarkhel- duck leg pot au pho

What would you say has been your greatest food-related accomplishment to date?

Creating the dishes for bistro Vadouvan! It’s been an incredible journey – for the first time being the person actually creating, defining and deciding on each dish. It’s a lot of pressure but unbelievably rewarding – especially now that we can see the customers really enjoying them and appreciating the effort we have made to bring out different flavours.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

To be honest everything has been a challenge as I am a novice as a businessman and it’s all been a really steep learning curve! But I am really fortunate to have a business partner and great friend in Uttam Tripathy who has a lot of experience in running a very successful restaurant already with Potli in Hammersmith. His good judgment and calm business ability has really helped me in every step.  I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have the support of my former mentor Eric Chavot, who has been quietly providing guidance and words of wisdom to help me develop the food side – not just creating dishes that taste great but that work for the restaurant, within the kitchen we have!

What is your favourite meal and why?

It’s always difficult for a chef to pinpoint one favorite meal. But as summer is here, I would love to start with a gorgeous salad of asparagus and broad beans,  for a second course I would love a bowl full of broth, maybe with some pasta or noodles and for dessert a chilled peach soup with Elderflower sorbet.

Name 3 ingredients that you cannot live without?

Olive oil, maldon salt , lemons

Photo credit Jade Nina Sarkhel starters Bistro Vadouvan

Photo credit Jade Nina Sarkhel – The starters at
Bistro Vadouvan

Who’s For Dinner with you? Who would you invite for a meal of a lifetime with you and why?

I am basically a chef’s chef and I live, eat and breathe cooking, so I would have my Dad who has always been a massive support and a great admirer of my cooking along with a table of the chefs whose cooking I really love. My dream-team table would have Pierre Koffmann, Eric Chavot, Bruno Loubet and Raffael Duntoye sitting round eating and discussing the food.

Bistro Vadouvan

Bistro Vadouvan is located at Brewhouse Lane,  Putney Wharf, Putney, London SW15 2JX  www.bistrovadouvan.co.uk

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Love Moin Moin: The Nigerian Ready Made Mix That Everyone Should Try

Review by Abiola Lawal

Love Moin Moin is a new ready made mix of a party favourite from the Real African Food Company. Moin Moin is a traditional savoury bean cake from Nigeria, consisting of black-eyed beans, peppers and spices it is popularly eaten with fried or jollof rice at parties or on it’s own as a delightful snack.
This prepared mix gives you the dry powder ingredients of black-eyed beans, peppers, and a range of spices without any of the hassle. Normally when cooking moin moin you must set aside at least 3 hours to sort the beans, soak them, and clean them of their skins before soaking them again to get the beans to the right consistency for grinding and this is all before blending and steaming the mix into the wonderful snack that is moin moin. It is a very time consuming task, as is most Nigerian food and for a lazy person like myself I jumped at the chance to cook one of my favourites without any of the hassle.
Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin
The Love Moin Moin mix was the right pale orange colour that I expected and as soon as I opened the packet the familiar smell of beans and spices hit me, it smelt like the real thing! The instructions on the back gave options for steaming in a pot or in a microwave, being a traditionalist I chose the pot. The instructions advise that you add water and 1 tablespoon of oil to 100g of the mix and mix into a smooth paste. You can then place the puree/paste into a greased ramekin and set in a pot of water to steam for 30 minutes. I do not have a ramekin so I went down the old school route of folding foil into a well sealed packet, sorry no banana leaves this time, and placed the mixture into my foil packet and went ahead with steaming.
Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin
After 30 minutes I checked if the foil was firm and it was so my moin moin was set! I opened and again the wonderfully familiar smell that always takes me back to Nigerian parties and wedding receptions hit me. I couldn’t believe that I could have moin moin in 30 minutes, but I actually did. And on first bite I was impressed the moin moin was well seasoned with the right balance of salt, pepper and spices, and the consistency was firm. My only negative is that the texture was not as smooth as I like but to be honest the amount of time this mix had saved me was worth it. Wanting to make sure that I was not dreaming I asked my mummy to taste and she gave it the thumbs up. Now my mum’s moin moin is always my favourite so for her to like it I knew it was good, she has since been asking me where can we buy it.
Love Moin Moin
I would definitely recommend this mix for parties or gatherings, or if you just want a quick snack without all of the hassle. It is easy to prepare, saves on washing up and is very tasty as well as being a great way for people who are unfamiliar with this West African favourite to try something new. It’s too easy not to give it a try!
A Pack of 3 sachets is £9.99 and is available to order online at www.realafricanfood.com
Who’s For Dinner was sent a sample to review, this is not a paid for feature.