Kazan ridi

It’s been a minute. Life. The other day, my friend JokeB came round to recreate the food she had grown up with. We had both lived in Kaduna at around the same time, but our paths hadn’t crossed then. We posted pictures on a Facebook group we belong to,So you think you can cook (SYTYCC),  but didn’t put up a recipe. I thought I’d get one off the internet and put up a link, but haven’t found any since. As far as I am aware, this is the first one up, I stand to be corrected though, it’s only food🙂. So without further ado, here goes.

Kazan ridi loosely translated means sesame chicken. Here’s what you’ll need

  • Chicken pieces according to preference
  • Chopped onions
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Crushed chilli flakes
  • Whole dried chillies
  • Salt and seasoning to taste
  • Oil for frying

Season the chicken to taste and marinade for a few hours or preferably overnight, in the fridge. Place in pot with a little water, and bring to the boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 10 minutes depending on the size of the pieces, stirring from time to time. Remove from stock and drain, and then fry in hot oil, turning from side to side till cooked, and crispy. Remove from oil, and set aside.

Dry roast the sesame seeds for a few minutes, just long enough to release the warm nutty fragrance, then empty into a bowl to cool, and to prevent them from catching. Once cool enough, grind them in the dry mill grinder to a rough powder.

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Fry chopped onions till golden, add crushed chilli flakes and whole dried chillies and fry for a minute more, then add ground sesame seeds, with salt to taste.

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Stir in the chicken pieces, being careful to see that every piece is well coated. Keep moving the pieces around for another five minutes or so, and you’re done. Serve with sliced onions.

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This is not a very detailed recipe, so I’ll be happy to answer any questions, here, or on the group.

Thanks for stopping by🙂.

 

 

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The morning so far

Noticed at some point this morning that it was raining. E3 repeated insistently that she had no desire to go to school. ‘I do not want to see my friends’ she said firmly, pre-empting my stock response. E2 wanted her hair in a plait at the back, so her hat could sit on her head comfortably. I looked at the rain. I tell E2 ‘I had wanted to go walking in the fields again after dropping you off at school, but I can’t because it is raining. When I went yesterday, it was like walking on wet clay, very slippery. I think I’ll give it a miss. But what if it rains again tomorrow?’ I ponder over this as I get each girl’s hair into an acceptable state and then it occurs to me that I can still go for my walk, albeit along a different route.

The fields

The fields

On the way to school, I notice my friend Toyin’s car behind us. I keep an eye on her, and on the road ahead. There is a build up of traffic in front of us, and l see her turn off into a side road. Suddenly, I have a mission. To beat her to school. ‘Come on girls!’ I exclaim , ‘we need to get to school before your aunty’. E1 turns to look at me perplexed. ‘Mama, are you sure it was Aunty Toyin behind us?’ ‘Yes I am’ I reply as I inch forward, impatient to turn into the next side road. ‘Well, what if it wasn’t her and you are trying to race a random car which might not even be going to our school?’ ‘It doesn’t matter’ I retort. ‘It’s the taking part that counts. And the winning.’ There isn’t any logic in this, but it makes perfect sense to me. We get to school and park, Toyin is nowhere in sight, then as the girls come out of the car, we see her drive up. ‘I was racing you!’ I yell across the road at her. ‘Mama, shh, you’re shouting’ remonstrates E1 ‘it’s embarrassing.’ ‘Anyway,’ she continues, ‘it can’t be any more embarrassing than what happened yesterday.’ I had been exasperated at her and had roared ‘shut up’ at the top of my lungs, surprising all of us in the process. ‘Yes,’ I agree, giggling. ‘That was a rather loud shout wasn’t it? The force of it made me come to a halt as I was walking.’ We both laugh.

Some yellow crop...rapeseed?

Some yellow crop…rapeseed?

The girls safe in school, a mother goes past talking to Toyin. She says ‘Yes, I was even telling Jokey…..’ I smile at both of them and walk on. And then I turn and say ‘Vee, it’s Jo-KEH! Jo-KEH, not Jokey.’ Toyin bursts out laughing. I’m in fine form this morning. Someone else is given the same lecture before I get to my car. I wait for Toyin and Yemi so we can have our morning gist. ‘Are you going to the party this weekend?’ Yemi asks. ‘No o’ I reply, it’s not on my radar at all. Neither Toyin nor Yemi are going, they have other engagements. I set off for home shortly after.

The road

The road

I park along the top of the road next to the field, set my timer, start MapMyWalk, and begin to walk. It is hard going. I am soon covered in a light sweat. I check my phone and blink in disbelief. It claims I have only been walking for 3 minutes. I gulp down some water and soldier on. It is my plan to walk 15 minutes up the road, and then retrace my steps to the car. The further I trudge on, the more apparent it becomes that I won’t make the whole 15 minutes. I am also getting dangerously close to my house, and I have a mental image of going to my neighbours, asking for my spare key, and begging for a lift back to my car when I have recovered from the walk. So I turn, and head back to my car. ‘Joke, ba wo ni? Kilon sele now?’ I look up to see Folake grinning at me, she is driving, and there’s a car behind her so she can’t stop.’ I wave at her, then call her on my phone. I explain that at my recent health check I was told to incorporate more activities into my day, hence the walking. She then asks if I am coming to the party. I say I’m not, and then she says ‘O de wa joo? The children would enjoy it and there’d be lots of food.’ She has said the magic word. Food. ‘Traditional ni, so you can wear anything’ she continues. ‘Joo now, it’ll be lots of fun.’ I mentally ransack my wardrobe. There’s a dress I could wear….and the girls would enjoy going out..’Okay, ma ro’ I respond. I am out of breath so I say goodbye.

My car is just ahead. The app claims I have walked for 17.55 minutes. I do not believe it. It feels like I have walked for hours. It claims I did 1.55km. I have no evidence to the contrary. I get into it with a sigh of relief. My top is damp, I feel accomplished.

At my health check, everything was fine. BMI 23.9 etc, but I guess I can do better. Hence the walking. If you live in the UK, and are over 40, you are entitled to a free health check at your GP’s. Height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, everything measured, so you can address any areas of concern. One life, take care of it.

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

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Vote for my choice or die!!!

Melodramatic enough for you? Nollywood has nothing on me!

I went on Twitter earlier today, and gathered that the Oba of Lagos had allegedly threatened Igbo leaders and by association their tribesmen, with death if they did not vote for his chosen candidate, Ambode in the upcoming elections on the 11th of April.

My first reaction was one of disbelief. I honestly did not believe that anyone in  his right mind could have made such a remark. I immediately assumed it was a smear campaign orchestrated by Ambode’s rivals in order to sway voters against him.

All the news articles I read on the matter, although penned by different ‘journalists’, had come from the same source, and were almost identical, word for word. This led further credence to my smear campaign theory.

And then the audio tape was released. Part of it was garbled, but enough of it was clear enough to hear the monarch make his pronouncements, of ‘dead bodies in the water.’ I was and still am deeply appalled that such xenophobic statements were uttered in the first place. I am beyond horrified that the Oba was surrounded by sycophantic obsequious fools who thought his statements were deserving of raucous applause.

Listen to the audio here http://www.thecable.ng/audio-akiolu-threatened-igbo-leaders-death

He had done great damage to Ambode’s cause, unwittingly or not. I have a naturally suspicious mind, I can’t help but wonder if a backhander from the PDP was the inspiration for this speech.

The Awujale of Ijebuland, said this to President Goodluck Jonathan a few weeks before the recently concluded presidential elections,

“It is not proper in Ijebuland or Yorubaland for an Oba to canvass for votes for any candidates seeking elective posts. In Ijebu here, it is not possible for any Oba, not even only in Ijebu, in Yorubaland, to go out and say vote for this, vote for that; that person is looking for trouble. But give them the opportunity to present their programmes so that people can make up their minds on what to do. I think this is a very sound democratic principle and that is what I have decided to do, to give you the opportunity of meeting with the people.”

This is the position a regent should take. Especially one who studied law, and rose through the ranks to become the Assistant Inspector General of Police before his retirement.

If the rule of law held sway in Nigeria, I’m sure attempted vote tampering would have been an arrestable offence. Talk less of attempting to incite violence against a particular tribe or ethnic group. However, this is Nigeria.

The Oba did not speak in my name. I am Yoruba and deplore the sentiments he echoed in his speech. I make an unreseverved apology to everyone of Igbo descent for the offence caused by one of our traditional rulers. I appeal to my fellow Yorubas not to make excuses for the Oba. What is not good is not good, it does not have two names.

I urge everyone who has a PVC to vote according to their original intentions.

Eko o ni baje.

 

p.s. I do not believe the Oba is a deity. How he intends to know who voted for which candidate from inside the recesses of his palace is beyond my ken.

p.p.s I am very happy GMB won the elections. In my opinion, GEJ displayed an arrant lack of empathy for the plight of the common Nigerian. I believe he was out of touch with the nation as a whole. SaiBuhari. SaiBaba.

Thank you for stopping by Smile.

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#Electiongate

E1 ran for house prefect last term. She wrote a speech and went around her school campaigning. There were three girls and a boy competing for two positions. After the votes were cast and counted, E1 had the second highest vote. The highest vote was 9, she scored 8, the boy scored 3, the other girl one. E2 saw the collated votes and excitedly told her sister ‘well done, you got it’. She told me too.

Imagine then my shock the next day, when E1 came home from school a couple of days later, and told me the other spot had gone to the boy. I was furious. This was on a Friday evening, so there wasn’t much I could do other than let off steam at the school office. I also emailed the secretary expressing my extreme displeasure.

A meeting was scheduled witht the headteacher to discuss my concerns. During the meeting, she said the posts were traditionally filled by a boy and a girl, so the second post had gone to the boy. I contended that this fact had to been made clear to the candidates at the time, and this had made a mockery of the whole process. I then asked if her gender was the reason E1 had not been given the post, and she replied that it was. I said to her I was pursuing the matter further as I felt E1 had been cheated out of what was rightfully hers. She responded by saying the term ‘cheated’ was a bit harsh. The meeting ended with my telling her I wished to make a formal complaint, and would do so in writing in due course.

I wrote a letter the next day, outlining my grievances, and also pointed out that gender discrimination was illegal. This is a paragraph from the letter

”As I said yesterday, my daughter was cheated by your decision to award the

position to a lower scoring candidate. You expressed that the word ‘cheated’

was too strong, I however must confess to having been restrained in my

speech. The word I actually had in mind was ‘robbed’. I do not understand

why the principle of equal opportunities was denied to my daughter, and how

come the school is comfortable to pass the message across that her gender is

a deterrent to her achieving her set goals, should there be a lesser qualified

male seeking the same position.”

Two of my friends helped me in the composition and the editing of my missive. I eventually got a response. The school was not budging. So I appealed to the chairman of the board of governors in December.

In the meantime, E1 had been offered other positions in compensation. I told her it was okay for her to accept them, as long as she made it clear she was still holding out for the position she was elected to. In the end, she was made the Buddy Prefect, and given the resposibilities that the post entails.

All through this time, I impressed upon her how important it was to stand up for one’s rights, no matter the overwhelming odds one faced. It was a lonely fight, as some people either didn’t see the big deal in what had happened, or thought even though it wasn’t right, I should let it go. I learned to keep my own counsel, and table the matter before God in prayer. Constantly.

A month after I had written the letter, I sent a reminder to the chairman as I hadn’t gotten any response. He replied apologising for the delay, promising to get back to me eventually. I sent two more reminder emails, neither of which were acknowledged.

Last week, I was at the end of my tether. On Wednesday, I ranted to a  parent about how I was ready to go the local paper. I am a private person (contrary to what my incessant selfies on Facebook might suggest), and even though I was loath to do it, I was at the point where I was willing to sacrifice privacy to get some sort of redress. She said I should give the school an ultimatum. I intended to, but I wasn’t quite ready.

Then on Friday, at the close of school, I was handed a letter by the secretary. She said it was from the headteacher. Unlike me, I ripped it open once we got to the car. The long and short of the letter was that E1 had been awarded the prefectship!

Boy! Was I pleased. I turned to my daughter and said ‘You see why it is important to stick to your guns and fight for your rights?’ She nodded, with joy brimming out from her eyes. She knew what the letter said, as it had already been announced at that morning’s assembly.

So there it is. I have made tried to make this as succint as possible. It is one of the reasons I hadn’t been writing, it is hard to write when there are things on one’s mind clamouring for attention. I am happy I decided to return to this blog in spite of this, and other yet to be resolved issues. I am thankful to God, and the faith I have in Him through Christ Jesus. I believe He went ahead and fought on our behalf even though it seemed nothing was happening in the natural.

There are areas in which the school fell short of what is acceptable, but I have learnt to choose my battles, and stay focused on my goal.

I am trying to bring up my daughters to know that there are no limits to what they can achieve or how far they can go. They understand that success can only be achieved through great effort. They know that sometimes, they would have to stand and fight for their rights, and I hope they know I would always have their backs, as God gives me strength.

This is my life as I live it, thanks for stopping by🙂

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Soliloquy

Things have changed, yet everything is still the same.

I have no excuses for my absence, no explanations either. Today though, I need catharsis. An outlet for all the thoughts that rage through, incessantly.

I wonder at what is happening in Nigeria. As usual, the story is different depending on who you speak to. Some speak about how good things are, how they’d rather live in Nigeria than be a second-class citizen in someone else’s country. Others argue that the reality of living in Nigeria without having the right connections or the right name means you are a second-class citizen in your own country. What do you think?

Elections have been postponed till March and the naira is in free-fall. The incumbent presidential candidate is insistent he has done a good job so far, and reminds Nigerians of his benevolence in not locking up dissenters. The candidate for the opposition, a former head of state, is promising change. His campaign has been awash with stories of media manipulation and untruths. It is rumoured he is unwell, which in itself is not a bad thing. People get ill, and then they recover, or not. The subterfuge around the state of his health is bewildering. It matters not to me, one way or the other. I am disenfranchised, not being resident in Nigeria. And so are a lot of Nigerians who do live there. Some of my people are in the neighbouring counries of Chad and Cameroun, refugees who have been routed from their homes and livelihoods by Boko Haram. Voting is the last thing on their minds. All they want to do is survive. Live to see another day. And start again, despite having lost kith, kin, and wordly possessions. The PVC fiasco is another matter in itself. People who have changed their residence between the initial registeration exercise and the issuance of these cards have been disenfranchised in effect.

I am not a political pundit. I am not well versed in political matters. However, this is what I think. There is more honour in raising your hand up and admitting inefficiency, than trying to justify your inadequacies. I would rather vote for someone who says ‘I have made mistakes, I acknowledge this and would strive to do better’, than one who says ‘I repaired roads, and commissioned four naval warships in one day’. This is not good enough. As for the opposition, he is promising change, and I understand why this prospect is attractive to the electorate. I remember his previous term in office, and how the ‘War against Indiscipline’ seemed to make things work better. I am aware though, that no government can effect change in the mindset of a nation, no matter how well-intentioned they are. I do not see my people railing against corruption per se, they are merely indignant that the spoils are not accessible to them. And therein lies the rub.

The problem is with the people. They are the ones in government, and they are the ones pointing their fingers at the government. I believe in the oft-repeated mantra ‘e go better’, but when?

I had no idea what this was going to be about when I started writing. Whether to tell you about the Ecrew, what they’ve been up to, and tell you a bit about me. Theysay you can never forget how to ride a bicycle. I feared I had gotten rusty from not having written in yonks. I realise the words are there, just waiting to be released.

Thank you for stopping by🙂

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The reason

He took a swig from the cold can of cola I had lovingly placed beside the bowl of nuts, a mixture of roasted groundnuts and cashew nuts. I had been careful to select each nut carefully, checking to see that each was uniformly golden, with no burnt bits. He was very particular about his likes and dislikes, and I did not want to displease him. The cola had been chilled, but it was a hot day, the air conditioner had broken down, and condensation now ran down its metal sides in rivulets. He leant back into the warm embrace of his favourite sofa, belched, and further elaborated upon his theme.  

He loved the sound of his own voice, and I had loved it too, once upon a very distant time. I heard it from a distance as he explained that he could have had his pick of anyone to be the bearer of his name, but he had chosen me for that special honour. My friends had been concerned when we started dating, but they had soon learnt to keep their opinions to themselves, after he had confronted a couple of them about being jealous of our ‘special relationship’ as he called it. He had done it when there were no witnesses around, and it was their word against that of the charismatic fellowship leader.

He had been charming during our courtship, although sometimes in unguarded moments I had seen a darkness in his eyes that went beyond words. When we’d had a difference of opinions over the most mundane matters, I’d seen him clench his teeth together so hard his jaws seemed to be etched from stone, and then he’d laugh and say ‘you this girl sha, one day…’

My parents had never warmed to him even though they had always been courteous to him, especially after we had gotten married. They had expressed their reservations to me throughout our courtship, but had accepted in the end that it was my decision to make, my life to live. My inability to conceive was the main prayer point of the women’s group I headed in the church where he was now the pastor, I never let on to anyone that after he had beaten the third pregnancy out of me, I had vowed never to bring a child into his world and had taken steps to ensure this. When they prayed, I yelled ‘amen’ along with them.

I saw the pitying expressions in the eyes of the wives of our associate pastors, but we all pretended nothing was wrong. There was a period when I had to wear scarves to cover the choke marks on my neck, instead of asking why I was doing that in our hot climate, my church ladies had rushed out to buy similar scarves. And so we sat, and sweated, as we praised. When wives came to me seeking counsel about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their husbands, I listened sympathetically, and then told them to return home and pray until something happened. How could I fix them, when I too was broken?

I was a pharmacist. Or should I say I had been a pharmacist? He had made me stop work, saying that the Lord’s work was more important than the dispensing of any medication. My parents had tried to remonstrate with me, but all their words had fallen on deaf ears. I was determined to submit. To be the godly wife I knew I could be if I tried hard enough. The wife he deserved to have.

I came to as I realised he had stopped talking, and was crunching away noisily as he threw handfuls of nuts into his mouth. I wished he would choke to death. I wished he had beaten me hard enough to kill me. But not once did I ask myself #whyIstayed. 

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness/emergency_accommodation_if_homeless/womens_refuges 

http://www.refuge.org.uk/

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

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back for good?

It’s been a minute. I left that comment a few minutes ago on Sting’s blog. To be specific, on a blog post about farts in an enclosed space. Not her farts, someone else’s. On a small airplane. You can read all about it here. I found it hilarious. I’d linked to it from Nuttyjay’s blog, where she wrote about aging milk. It was such an apt post, and I could relate to everything. Check it out here.

I’d have missed both those posts if I hadn’t been on hiatus from FB. More on that later, maybe. You all know I like food right? Well, age and food has been catching up on me, so I decided to try reclaim my midriff. For the past few weeks, I’ve been downing oatmeal smoothies

Stunnababez smoothie

Stunnababez smoothie

 

and eating bulgur wheat like in this Middle Eastern salad I made, called tabboulehwpid-IMAG1202_1.jpg

 

and I have tried to cut out added sugar from my diet. I say tried, because this afternoon, I succumbed to gari and epa (with sugar), something I’d been craving for weeks, and I still feel pleasantly full, and dazed, this a good six hours after ingesting said meal.

I’d like to exercise too, but I have to be very careful, because the last time the mood struck me, so did tendonitis as I displeased one of my bionic hips in the process,and boy, did that hurt. This time I’m taking it easy. I am always slightly tired after watching my Blast off Belly Fat video, so I know I am on the right track.

Last year, Nkem set me a target, to drive to my parents’ with only the girls for company, no T. I was supposed to achieve this by August, I didn’t. This year, I was able to go one better. In April or so, I drove all the way to Enfield and back, on my own. This is over an hour away from where I live, and was a major achievement for me. No longer for me the title of ‘postcode driver’.

My girls are fine, and so is T, I remain thankful to God always for blessing me with these ones.  

 

I never intended to stay away this long, thank you for stopping by Smile.

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