The Aga Concept African Inspired Cooking Utensils And Accessories

 

The newsletter of textile designer Eva Sonaike introduced me to a stylish range of African inspired cooking utensils by The Aga Concept, a design and lifestyle brand that is inspired by culture and everyday living in Africa. For a lot of Zimbabweans living abroad, and most likely for a lot of Africans in general, cooking traditional food is simply not the authentic experience we crave without the traditional utensils from home, usually brought back on every trip, because buying and using that wooden spoon or pestle and mortar from your local store is somehow just not the same. Our traditional utensils have been created just right for producing each dish. And this is the ethos behind The Aga Concept’s beautiful collection of ergonomically design cooking utensils inspired by African culture.

 

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Aduna Make Baobab The African Superfood Famous Campaign

Health, beauty and social brand, Aduna, has recently launched #MakeBaobabFamous, a nationwide campaign to help increase awareness of baobab the African superfood. Found in 32 countries across the continent the baobab tree has been revered throughout Africa for its longevity and natural well-being properties. Baobab fruit has many health benefits as it  is rich in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, which contributes to normal immune function, energy release and skin health. Yet, despite growing abundantly, baobab fruit mainly goes to waste due to a lack of demand and global awareness of the benefits, but with an estimated worth of $1 billion to rural Africa, as a superfood the fruit could potentially provide an income for around 10 million households.
[Image credit: Aduna Baobab Superfruit Powder – Aduna]

Modern African Food And Recipes From The Groundnut Cookbook

Modern African Food And Recipes From The Groundnut Cookbook

 

Whilst passing through Waterstones Piccadilly, my eye was drawn to a colourful book display positioned in front of the elevators. Stopping to get a better a look I was introduced to The Groundnut Cookbook, exploring modern African food. The Groundnut Cookbook was written by Duval Timothy, Jacob Fodio Todd and Folayemi Brown three friends who run a bi-monthly London supper club called The Groundnut, hence the name of the book.

 

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Modern African Food Colourful Cooking With Siba Mtongana

Viewers of the Africa Channel will be familiar with cooking show, ‘Cooking with Siba’, presented by food editor and writer, Siba Mtongana. Siba’s vivacious personality won her many fans, not just in her home country South Africa, but also across the Continent. In October Siba brought her fusion of modern African food and international cooking styles to a global audience with the premiere of her new show, ‘Siba’s Table’ on the Food Network UK cable channel. Siba becomes the second South African TV Chef to get a Food Network show after her mentor Jenny Morris. I did not manage to catch all the episodes, but those I did offered an insight into Siba’s home life and the food she cooks for friends and family.
[Image credits: Siba’s Sunday Trifle, Siba’s Table – Food Network UK]
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African Food Made Easy Pepper & Stew Cooking Sauces

Sky Living TV channel in the UK is currently running a series called Cooks to Market. The concept of the show is to get budding cooks and food brands onto retail shelves, and see two different brands going up against each other and selling their product in food market and win the chance to pitch their idea to a panel of leading food UK experts. Of the two episodes I have managed to catch, both featured African food brands who  both outsold their rivals to go on and make impassioned pitches, which has landed both brands shelf space in Partridges, one of the UK’s most prestigious food retailers who have the honour of being the Queen’s grocers. Pepper & Stew was one of the brands featured, introducing their range of African cooking sauces to a new audience.
 [Image credits: African Cooking Sauces – Pepper & Stew]

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Modern Artisanal Honest Chocolate Made In South Africa

Experimentation using raw cacao to produce a healthy treat led to the creation of Honest Chocolate; a small artisanal chocolate company based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company’s founder, Anthony Gird began teaching himself the art of chocolate making and was soon joined by Michael de Klerk who had also been experimenting with raw chocolate whilst in London. Using ‘traditional, old school chocolate making methods’ small batches are handmade by a team of four that includes Anthony and Michael. The Honest Chocolate made in South Africa uses raw organic cacao hat comes from Ecuador.
[Image credits: clockwise from top left, Bonbons, Chocolate Spread, Chocolate Slabs – Honest Chocolate]
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Modern Mauritian Food Shelina Permalloo Master Chef UK Winner

A chef who brings ‘…bring[s] sunshine to a plate’ is how Gregg Wallace and John Torode, the judges of Masterchef UK described 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo’s cooking of modern Mauritian food. British-born of Mauritian descent Shelina was inspired to cook by her mum and aunty, developing a love of food at a young age as she helped her Mum with the cooking. Having grown-up in the UK Shelina also credits food with helping her to better understand her Mauritian heritage and culture, saying it makes her feel closer to Mauritius, her heritage and her family. Throughout the competition Shelina brought her Mauritian heritage into her dishes, the winning menu of modern Mauritian food which comprised octopus for starter, mutton curry for the main and mango cannelloni filled with lime curd for dessert, had the judges proclaiming that ‘they were the best they had ever tasted on the show’, hight praise indeed! Winning the title of Masterchef 2012 also meant that Shelina has become only the second women in the show’s eight years to win the title.
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Modern African Food Kitchens Of Africa Cooking Sauces

There is nothing wrong with slow cooking, in fact it can be an enjoyable experience as you mix, stir, season and simmer in anticipation of savouring your culinary efforts. Unfortunately in the face of hectic schedules, reality bites and slow cooking is just not possible night after night with so many other things competing for your time prompting the turn to convenience food. Convenience food has its pros, meals in minutes and it’s cons, a reputation of nasty additives, flavour enhancers and preservatives. However, the availability of pre-prepared foods like sauces can be an introduction to the tastes of other cultures without the unfamiliar preparation and cooking methods that people can be afraid of. A wander through the shelves of any supermarket or deli will bring forth bottles or packets of Thai Green Curry or Chicken Tikka Masala to be whipped up in minutes. Nothing beats the original process of fresh homemade cooking but when the craving strikes and time is not on your side a pre-prepared sauce to which you just simply add a few other ingredients can be just what you need to bring forth the flavours and tastes of home; and the concept which was the inspiration behind Kitchens of Africa, a modern African food brand I stumbled across via the blog, Afroklectic. Homesick for food from home, but faced with the long cooking process that often comes with African cooking, Kitchens of Africa was founded by Jainaba Jeng, who was born and raised in The Gambia but is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jainaba also wanted to use the opportunity to introduce some of the diverse and unique tastes of Africa to the world.
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Ndali Intense Fairtrade Vanilla Extract From Uganda

I love the taste and smell of vanilla; and find creamy vanilla ice-cream, the kind where you can just see the bean flecks, and light fluffy sponges made with real vanilla extract irresistible and comforting. Good quality vanilla bean pod sticks, extract and paste is valued by bakers and chefs looking to add that familiar rich flavour and intense aroma to their culinary creations. One brand favoured by some of the UK’s leading chefs is Ndali fairtrade vanilla, which comes from a 1000-acre farm located in the midst of the explosion craters of the Ndali Volcanic Field in Western Uganda; and is a farm that specialises in producing high quality vanilla extract, powder and pods. Extracted and cured on the farm, most of the vanilla produced is exported in bulk, with the cream of the crop packaged into small batches and sold under the name Ndali.
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