Cookbook Review - Hibiscus by Lope Ariyo

I was excited when the other day, I was contacted by HarperCollins UK to lend some support to a  new Nigerian cookbook about to launch this June.

I immediately accepted because first I am so pleased that a mainstream publishing house is actually taking an interest in Nigerian cookery, assuming (among other things), because they see economic viability in it. Then second of all, I feel so happy when I see progress being made in any area of Nigerian culture, and most especially in the area of Food, Nigeran Food...!

I have to mention at this point that there is a bit of a background to this success story for Lope. It was a year ago when the opportunity surfaced through a competition sponsored by Red Magazine and Harper Collins...(Both UK based). There was a call out for African food connoisseurs to present their best African food recipes and ideas...for a cash and publishing contract star prize...... As I was not in the UK at the time, I was unable to participate but so thrilled that Ms Lope Ariyo, with her unique twist on Nigerian cuisine, came out on top...

"Hibiscus", is a West Africa Inspired Cookbook authored by Lope Ariyo.  A cookbook that offers a compilation of different recipes that home cooks can use to prepare and enjoy "Nigerian dishes" with a Western twist OR British dishes made with a Nigerian twist..!

As indicated by Lope in the book, which I am in agreement with, the cookbook provides a glimpse of what West African inspired food has to offer... The cookbook perhaps is not for the die-hard traditional Nigerian foodie, but I can say quite firmly that those who love the fun side of food, those who love to explore new tastes and flavours will find that the book is a treasure to have.

Those who are open to the idea of transforming their cooking into something spectacular, with the use of little known and underappreciated food ingredients, certainly need to get a copy of Lope's Hibiscus...!

Contents
In the Introduction, Lope provides very valuable detail of her background and how this has shaped her cooking style and preferences.

In the following chapter, she provides very useful information on all her usual ingredients, especially those used in the recipes featured in the cookbook. Exotic food ingredients and those that are not well known were adequately described to give readers a reasonable level of understanding of what they are.

The book then progresses into about 150 pages of recipes placed under 5 categories:

  • Fruit, Vegetables & Tubers 
  • Grains & Pulses 
  • Fish & Seafood 
  • Meat & Poultry 
  • Baking and Desserts. 


Recipes
The recipes are well detailed, each one well introduced and starting on a new page, making it easy to understand and follow. Most of the recipes are accompanied with vivid high-resolution pictures of the resulting dish.

Some of my favourite recipes in the book include Braided Agege Bread, Hibiscus & Sumac Prawns, Hibiscus Chicken. Yes, like Lope, I love Hibiscus (Zobo) because it is so versatile, aside from the fact that it is also full of nutrients. Actually, there is a notably high number of recipes that use Hibiscus (hence the name, I suppose).

The book ends with a detailed Index Section of all the keywords used and a much needed and very useful Conversion Charts.

The cookbook itself comes in hardcover and quite visually attractive. It will complement other cookbooks you might have on your bookshelf, and quite frankly will comfortably command its own presence.

Some Recipes I find really exciting
Braided Agege Bread
Hibiscus Chicken
Hassleback Plantains with Mushroom Steak

Bookshelf Worthy?
I learned about Lope's style of cooking which is really all about exploring and appreciating little known and exotic Nigerian (West African)  tastes and flavours. She has successfully provided a glimpse into what West African inspired food can be, and how it can create exciting new additions to your menu. Yes, it's definitely worth staying on my bookshelf.

Book Details
ISBN: 9780008225384
Imprint: HarperCollins
On Sale: 01/06/2017
Format: Hardcover
Trimsize: 18.900
Pages: 192
List Price: £18.99

The cookbook can be purchased online on Amazon and Harper Collins website. Also available in some selected bookshops nationwide. Available for sale from today.... 1st June 2017

About the Authors
www.LopeAriyo.com

Disclaimer
The Hibiscus cookbook was sent to me for review by HarperCollins Publishing UK.  As usual, the opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

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