Saturday, November 23, 2013

What I Ate: Chocolate Popcorn Crumble Cake!

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
                                                                             - Harriet Van Horne 
And so it was, that one fine rainy day I walked into my kitchen and decided to experiment. With little or no recipes, no TNT (tried and trusted) meals, and a willingness to go with the flow; I was able to create some deliciousness out of a combination of some unusual ingredients.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my "Chocolate Popcorn Crumble Cake with a Caramel/Granola topping"! I know...terrible name. lol. But trust me, it tasted so good I wouldn't mind naming it "That Crunchy Deliciousness" 

Here's how it happened. I have this TNT recipe for a chocolate cake via Food52 and I was badly in need of a cake fix. Unfortunately, I had no AP flour...Gasp! So I raided my pantry and found a pack of popcorn flour I had bought on a whim a couple of months ago and never used (I originally planned to make Banana-popcorn bread). I also had some corn flour on hand, and with a few tweaks to my favorite Chocolate cake recipe, my "Frankencake" was born.


1 Cup Popcorn Flour (You can actually make yours from popcorn, see techniques here and here)
1/2 Cup Corn Flour
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1  Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
5 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Essence
1 Cup Cold Water

For Caramel
Granulated Sugar, Honey and Butter cooked at medium heat until sugar melts completely and is golden brown. I added a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of Vanilla for added flavor

For Granola Topping
Here's a link to my Granola Recipe. I made some slight changes; dry toasted the oats and nuts in a pan (my cake was in the oven and I didn't want the temperature drops that would result from the constant opening) and then poured the hot caramel over them and mixed until fully coated. I also left the nuts whole.

Now for the main recipe: sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda into a large bowl and mix in the sugar. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and combine wet and dry ingredients.

Line the bottom of your baking pan with parchment paper and grease the sides (I use an oil spray).

Pour in the batter and bake at medium heat for twenty-five minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Note: Popcorn Flour and Corn flour are both gluten free so the cake will not bind...if you would like a less crumbly texture and more moisture, you could add ground flax seeds or gelatin to serve as a binding agent. (or stick to the original recipe here)

Once your cake is ready, pour the hot caramel over the top of the cake and spread the granola over it. The caramel will bind the granola to the cake. Remember to handle with care as melted sugar is extremely hot. You can press in the granola with a soft spatula to help seal it in some more. Allow to cool.

This is what it looked like when I was done.
You can take the cake out of the baking pan before adding the toppings

Yum! :D
I was pleased with the way this turned out and I'll definitely be doing it again in the near future (with some additional modifications).

Until next time, God bless you.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Quick and Cute: Pen Purse

I love pens...pens of different shapes and sizes; cheap ones, expensive ones given at exhibitions, conferences and the likes...the cute ones, the not-so-cute ones, highlighters, markers, pencils...colored pens, gel pens, ink pens, glitter pens...and the list goes on and on. I am that gal that always has a spare pen in church, or at the bank :D

So two days ago, I decided to switch bags (I avoid doing this as much as possible - I really do need to sew up one of those movable bag liner//pocket thingy's to make bag switching less stressful), and I was appalled at the dismal condition of my precious pens. While I have a pouch for my "stay-at-home" pens (I know, that sounds weird...lols), I had never really given much thought to keeping the mobile ones "organised". So I decided to make a Pen Purse before heading out.

This was a very quick project (much quicker than the time it took me to type this up) and took a little over ten minutes from start to finish.

I used a little piece of the same red leather I used for this purse last month and added a matching red zipper.

After fitting in my pens, I still had enough space to fit my pack of post-it-notes. Double yay for me :D

After completing this mini project, I got inspired to make a card holder, a much needed make-up purse, and an "unmentionables" holder.

I'll update with some pictures when I'm done with them. Now I'd better get back to serious sewing :D.

Until next time, God bless you.

Love, Preye.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Asos Inspired Dress

I first saw this dress on Girl With Curves and I knew right away that I was going to do a knock-off.

What I love about the dress is the fact that is suites just about every body shape there is. I am yet to see a picture where it's ill fitting.

It's the Asos Wiggle Dress with Border Print.

Source: Asos

And here is my version

My contrast isn't as distinct as the original dress...but then, that's exactly the look I was going for.

And unlike the original dress which was done with a border print fabric, I had to create the border with the reverse side of the fabric.

I made some small changes as well. Didn't really like the "Buba-like" sleeves in the original so I opted for a 3-quarter sleeve...but that didn't work out as well so I ended up chopping it to the present length. And because I had to wait a bit for DH before heading out to the event, I started playing around and came up with the belt, fancy cuffs and buttons just to add some character to the dress.

Sleeve Cuff


Here are some shots of the back.

And of course, my favorite zipper; the Metallic Zipper :D. My back neckline is also a lot deeper than the inspiration dress - I love scooped necklines.

I am very pleased with my new dress. I don't get to sew for myself very often these days and I was beginning to forget the joys of having a dress fit the exact way I want it to; so this serves as a beautiful reminder.

Happy with my new dress
All in all, last week was a very productive one, I made five dresses (including mine) while still meeting my office commitments.

This week, I have as my target four out of the six Bridesmaids dresses, so I've got my work cut out for me. I am pretty excited and look forward to when I can look at the BM's wearing the finished dresses.

Until Later, God bless you.


Friday, November 15, 2013

What I Ate: A Large Pasta Serving

Hi everyone. So this week was a roller coaster for me - what with the sewing, work, frustrations with NEPA, loss of all my phone contacts (still trying to sort that out), traffic...and the list goes on and on.

Well I was so caught up in all these activities that I lost my appetite. So even when I'd remember to eat, I wouldn't be able to eat anything substantial. DH was out of town so there was really no motivation to cook and eat alone anyways. Up until yesterday when a friend visited and we decided to whip up a quick meal (and suddenly, my appetite was back in full force :D).

So enter, a "giant" serving of pasta.

You know when you're hungry and you think you can eat a horse (or its equivalent in food) and then 5 spoons down you realize you gave your hunger too much credit? That's exactly what happened. Lol

By the time I had struggled to eat up half of the meal, I realized the folly of my ways :D. My Guest also had a large helping she couldn't finish and we had a good laugh at our "greed".

So did the food go to waste? Absolutely not! Who says you can't have left-over pasta for breakfast.

The sauce was basically a mix-mash of ingredients I had in my fridge.

Tomatoes and Peppers
Green Peas
White Onion
Freshly chopped garlic and ginger.

Everything was chopped up (by my friend/guest while I put finishing touches on her dress), onions and garlic sauteed in butter and canola oil, and then I added  the sausage and let it brown a bit, threw in the chopped tomatoes and peppers, and a little bit of water and allowed it simmer for a bit, added the peas, seasoned with the usual and some herbs, and added the carrots last of all to ensure they didn't get overcooked.

And that was it.

Oh yeah the pasta, I just threw into a pot of boiling water with some salt and veg oil for about 8minutes.

I enjoyed this meal a lot (especially for breakfast this morning). Goes to show that sometimes cooking without thinking pays off...sometimes :D

Until later, God bless.


Asoebi Sewing Rush

If you are Nigerian, then you are not new to the concept of "Asoebi".
Pronounced ASHO EYBEE: Nigerian outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to a party, wedding or naming ceremony...Asoebi translated to English means "Family Cloth". It is a phenomenon seen at Nigerian events where groups of people wear similar clothes to indicate their close relationships
I spent the last one week (Well effectively three days since I do an office job two days of the week) working on Asoebi outfits for a wedding coming up on Saturday and even as at yesterday, I still got a call from someone wanting a last minute dress. Sadly I had to turn her down because I still have my dress to make tonight (whew!)

So its been one busy week for me...busy, but fulfilling. Nothing like seeing a completed dress on a client - suddenly all the stress disappears and all is well in my world :D At least until I remember the next batch of clothes. Lols.

So without further ado, here are the clothes I made in no particular order.

Dress one is a sleeveless flared dress with a Peter Pan Collar and Lace/Button details.

Metallic Zipper

Piping Detail
 I piped the collar and hemline with Pink Bias tape, the Lace and buttons running down the middle were an afterthought (after the fitting she wanted some more oomph to the dress) But its turned out better than when it was plain.
Dress Two: A sleeveless dress with pleats, rhinestones and a matching belt.

Yeah, I do love metallic Zippers



She Struck a Pose :)

 Dress Three: Similar to Dress two but with sleeves. Unfortunately I am yet to take any pictures of the Client in it so this tabletop picture (that doesnt really show anything come to think of it :D) is all I've got.

All the dresses were fully lined with a pink whatsitsname "polyesterish" fabric.

And Finally, dress number four; my favorite of them all and the one that gave me the most satisfaction and least stress :D A dress for a little princess :D

This was very simple and easy to whip up. I added the lace trimmings to make it more playful.

I am quite pleased with the amount of work I was able to squeeze into three days (My body isn't so thrilled though).

Next up, my dress for tomorrow which I am about 20% done with. I plan to finish it tonight after work...yeah, busy night ahead.

Until next time, be good and God Bless you.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Go-To-Snack: Granolas

As a Nigerian, when you think "food" the first three meals that come to mind would probably be;

  • Eba and Soup
  • Rice (in its many forms)
  • Beans (and dodo or yam/potatoes or my personal favorite with dry garri sprinkled on top)
I love Eba, but I find myself feeling tired after eating a meal of Eba and Soup (I just feel like sleeping right at the table...lols)

Rice...not so much and well beans for me takes commitment to cook especially the variety I like (brown/red beans) so I try to reduce my "exposure" and substitute with lentils.

Anyways, all this "story story" was to say, I try to include healthy snacks in my family's diet and reduce the frequency of heavy meals. We do the heavier meals for breakfast, and fruits, grains, yogurt etc for lunch and just "wing" dinner depending on the mood.

So enter Granola! My go-to meal/snack (it can serve either function).

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency... 
                                                                                                                  Source: Wikipedia 
While you can walk into most Supermarkets and get a pack (a pricey pack at that), I prefer making mine fresh each week with the exact ingredients I want.

So here's my "recipe" (I use that term loosely :D) for homemade granola.

  • Rolled Oats -  Roughly two cups
  • Nuts - Two cups (or less-I like a lot of nuts in my Granola )(I use Groundnuts, Almond Nuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Cashew Nuts and any other nuts I happen to have on ground)
  • Light Brown Sugar - Half Cup
  • Salt - Half a teaspoon
  • Honey - About a third of a cup.


Preheat your oven at medium heat

Step 1: Chop your nuts (for groundnuts I just crush them to split in two, and for larger nuts like pecans and almonds, I chop them up).
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, brown sugar and salt until combined then gradually add the honey allowing it coat the dry ingredients. You can use  a wooden spoon for this or your hands.
Step 3: Spread parchment/baking paper on a large baking tray (or two trays) and spread the mixture on the parchment paper. Here you want to make sure the granola is evenly spread and not piled up so the grains can cook evenly.
Step 4: Bake at 220 Degrees Celsius for about 20-30 minutes stirring every 5 minutes (Note that different ovens may produce different results).

Once fully browned pour in a tray and allow to cook before handling (Warning: Caramelized sugar is pretty hot). When cool store in an airtight container and enjoy your granola in many ways. Here are a few suggestions.

  • As a snack: I pack them as lunch time snacks for DH and I and also entertain guests (Tip: Serve with a Yogurt/Banana smoothy...yummy)
  • As a breakfast meal: Serve as you would your favorite cereal - with milk. No added sugar required
  • As a Garnish for ice-cream (and pretend the oats make the ice cream healthy lols)
  • In a Parfait: Here's a recipe for one Granola Parfait Recipe
  • Any other way you like...there is a world of possibilities out there. I am actually thinking up a pie with a granola crust...will let you know how that goes.
So there you go, my favorite go-to snack.

p.s there are numerous recipe's out there for Granola's but I played around until I found one that suited my palate so go ahead and explore. 

And as Alton Brown would say, "Until next time, I bid you good eat"


Smart Peplum

Hello everyone and welcome to a new week.

I finally completed the second  peplum outfit at about 6pm last night. I was very pleased with the outcome.

And from the smile on her face, sure you can tell she was also pleased. :D

I had to make some slight modifications (unavoidably) on the style she chose so I was a little nervous about her reaction. Turns out I had no reason to be worried as she liked the changes.

I tried to take some pictures of the details but these were taken at night so pardon the graininess.

Sleeve detail.

Remember the notions pictured in the last post? She finally chose the lighter set.

One of the modifications- Off center pleats instead of gathers all around

A little Bedazzling (We were pressed for time so had to settle for just a little-for now :)

And finally a belt to cinch in the waist.

The skirt was a simple smart skirt, although it ended up looking like a pencil skirt after I made some modifications at her request. I think it looks better this way.

So that's one down and 1,2,3,4,5...too many to go. lols. I have a full week ahead of me as I've got three "Asoebi" dresses for a wedding coming up on Saturday and I also have to make an outfit for myself (Which I don't get to do as often as I want these days).

Do have a great week.

Much Love,


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Late Night Snack: French Toast Crunch

After a long day at work and the usual Port Harcourt traffic, I really was in no mood to cook anything major when we arrived home...but a couple of hours down the line my stomach started making noises and DH admitted he was also hungry.

I had to figure out something quick and easy to make (that was also a stash buster...did I mention I love to shop? That love for shopping usually equals an abundance of ingredients waiting to be cooked up).

We had some bread left over from a couple of days back and I had gotten this recipe in my mail via Food52 some days prior but hadn't had time to execute it due to the morning rush on work days.

I paired it up with some left-over roasted chicken and the perfect late night snack was born.

This was perfect for the evening and got whipped up real quick. about half of the toast didn't make it on the serving dish as they got devoured straight out of the pan.

Here is a link to the recipe: French Toast Crunch

I of course made a few modifications, did mine in a pan over an open flame, used thinly sliced bread and skipped the milk altogether for less fuzz.

I'll recommend this any day and plan to do it again but as a breakfast meal.

Much Love, and God bless...


Wedding Dress Update + A Peplum Top and A Smart Skirt

Its been one busy week for me. I was able to put in some time on the wedding project...stitched the top and bottom pieces, attached pockets and did a fitting with the bride (which was a good thing because she happens to have lost a few inches off her waistline - better now than when the dress has been fully completed). As a precaution I am going to shave off an extra inch as well...based on the experience we had during the traditional marriage period, she does tend to lose weight alot I sure wish my weight came off that easily.

Here are a couple of construction pictures.

I also worked on and completed another project. A smart skirt and a matching peplum top.

It was a pretty straight forward style so I decided to add some pizzazz  by piping the sleeves and attaching a couple of covered buttons.

The skirt was as straight to the point as they come. 

 Before attaching the band

 Slit and Lining detail

I added metallic zippers to both pieces in keeping with the current trend.

And for a little fun detail for the top, I did a play of fabrics - alternating the self fabric with the matching lining. This gave me an idea for a top for myself which I'll hopefully find some time in the middle of my workload to make.

Anyways, I finished this up on Wednesday morning and commenced work on a slightly similar project of a skirt and a peplum top. But this is for a much younger lady so I get  to play around a bit more.

 Creating and cutting out patterns

Selecting notions. I plan on a little belt to cinch in the waist and turn-up sleeves with buttons.

I can't wait to finish this batch of clothes and get back to the wedding project.

Until later,

Much Love.