And, to crown it all one last finger food recipe and some salads and crisps to complete the African picnic. All these recipe ideas and photographs were provided by Nky Iweka of Tupelo and Green.
I think picnics are most fun with food that you mean you eschew cutlery: chicken drumsticks for instance. I used chicken niblets, which look like mini drumsticks, using this marinade for a few hours.
Ingredients for chicken marinade
- soy sauce
- Cameroon Pepper (use your favourite dried chilli if you can’t get this)
As suggested in an earlier post, for quantities, start with a tablespoon of everything, and adjust to taste.
Cooking chicken niblets
- Pop in the oven or on a barbecue until the juices run clear.
- You may wish to wrap the ends in foil to make things a tad less messy for your guests.
These always go down well with young and old alike. Why not try making your own from tropical vegetables: sweet potatoes, cassava and green (or slightly ripe) plantains.
Make your own crisps
Peel, and then thinly slice into rounds or lengths using a speed peeler or a mandoline. Add salt, herbs, chilli or other dried spices if you like before deep-frying. I prefer them plain and sometimes serve them with ginger and chilli sauce or avocado and tomato dip as shown here. The recipe is from a Colombian friend of my mothers: roughly chop some tomatoes (seeded, if you like. I don’t bother), avocado, green chillies (optional) and fresh coriander (a combination of fresh mint and parsley also works). Squeeze over some lime juice to stop the avocado from turning brown, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss with some olive oil. Add some lime zest for extra zing.
Salads are definitely de rigueur at picnics. Avoid limp salad leaves by packing salad dressing separately from the salad and mix it in just before serving.
Coleslaw, a stalwart Nigerian favourite, can be brought up to date by using julienned vegetables.
- carrots (grated)
- courgettes (thinly sliced)
- red cabbage (thinly sliced)
- lime or lemon juice
- spring onions (chopped)
Making the coleslaw
- Toss the combination of carrots, courgettes and thinly sliced red cabbage.
- Toss with some mayonnaise (made lighter and tangier by squeezing in some lemon or lime juice and adding some of the zest).
- Mix in some chopped spring onions, season with freshly ground pepper and salt, and you are good to go.
Give an African twist to the ever popular potato salad by adding some boiled (or roasted) sweet potatoes. Add extra colour and freshness with fresh parsley and mint.
Other ideas include: Akara (spicy bean fritters) stuffed into pitta bread or other flat bread. Serve with some salsa, hummus or salsa verde and some salad leaves; Nigerian meat pies (a cross between Cornish pasties and Jamaican patties); and the ubiquitious Jollof Rice.
Now you have all the ingredients for an African picnic, why not treat yourself to an Adire inspired tablecloth? Use in the garden for now, and transfer to your dining table later…