Lopè Ariyo's Debut Cookbook Hibiscus: Fresh Flavours From Africa
Lopè Ariyo, photography by Ellis Parrinder (c).
Lopè Ariyo is a self-taught cook, food blogger and recipe developer bringing West African cuisine to the masses. In her final year of completing a maths degree Lopè entered a competition to find a cook who would “break an African cuisine into the home kitchens of the UK”. Her modern twist on Nigerian cooking impressed the judges and she went on to win, securing publishing deals with both Red Magazine & HarperCollins. She has since been named as The Observer’s Rising Star in Food for 2017 and released her debut cookbook Hibiscus, which showcases Nigerian-inspired flavours and cooking methods.
We speak to Lopè to find out her favourite recipes from the book, where she gets inspiration for her creations and how she uses baobab & moringa:
Congratulations on releasing your debut cookbook Hibiscus. What has been the reaction to the book so far?
I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback! A lot of people love the cover AND the recipes which is all I could have hoped for! I get really happy when people tell me they’ve tried a huge selection of my recipes or that because of me they’ve tried something they were really scared of making before.
What does Nigerian food mean to you and where do you get your inspiration for recipes?
To me Nigerian food is representative of who I am and it’s part of my culture. When I’m not around my family, cooking Nigerian food allows me to create a home away from home. A lot of the recipes I make are inspired by the times I’ve spent with my family and friends in Nigeria.
Moringa Beef Stew from Hibiscus
Are there any common misconceptions of Nigerian food?
Everything is spicy! While I accept that we do like a lot of heat, I think it all boils down to who cooks the food.
African cooking is still relatively new to the UK – when do you think it will really hit the mainstream?
I think it’ll be once you start seeing all the key spices and ingredients hit ALL the supermarkets in the UK! I can see people making suya kebabs on a regular basis if they could easily pick uda pods (grains of Selim) from a supermarket shelf.
Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?
Haha, I think the title gives it away - my favourite recipes are the ones that include hibiscus! Especially the Hibiscus Puff Puff and Hibiscus Chicken.
Do you use our African super-ingredients baobab, moringa and cacao in your cooking? If so, how?
I do! I like adding baobab to meat and fish dishes to add a sweet and slightly citrusy taste. I’ve got a really great recipe for a Hausa inspired stew dish, called Miyan Zogale, complete with bean dumplings which uses both baobab and moringa!
Find out more about the Nigerian chef and her new cookbook Hibiscus on the Lopè Ariyo website.
'Hibiscus' by Lopè Ariyo is published by HarpersCollins UK, £18.99.
Want to get your hands on a copy of Hibiscus and try out some Nigerian cooking in the kitchen? We're offering 3 lucky Aduna Feel Good Tribers the chance to win one copy of Lopè Ariyo's new book Hibiscus. Simply head over to our Twitter page for the full details.
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