African, exotic and plant based foods are so much healthier for us and yet many of us have never even tasted any of them.

A healthier plant-based diet emphasis is mainly on plant foods, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and healthy oils. Plant-based diet also tends to not including much of animal foods, like dairy, eggs, fish, meat and foods that contain animal products.

Of course, many of us would not enjoy our diet without animal foods and dairy but if we can substitute some of this with a plant-based recipe it will be a much healthier way to eat. Using exotic fruits in your recipes as well as African spices can change the taste straight away with popular exotic fruits like lemon, lime, peach and strawberry being popular for a long time but some up and coming exotic fruits include blood orange, passion fruit and guava.

We are not looking out for more adventurous sensory tastes with sauces becoming an extremely popular item to have in your pantry. They say there are 3 flavour categories in the exotic food range which are ethnic flavours, fruit flavours and spices. Many of which come in package form for us to try before we start cooking with it.

The African meal comes from spending a lot of time and attention to detail using basic ingredients, spices etc to make a beautiful meal.

Going back to the taste of African food, some of the most popular ones used throughout the world are Jollof Rice which is a meal prepared and enjoyed across the West African sub-regions It is a pot of rice prepared with tomato sauce and served with meat, fish or chicken.

Koki-Bean Cake (Cameroon) is a popular appetizer not to be missed and made with cow peas as its main ingredient. Koki is made when the peas are mashed then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Pap en Vleis/Shisa Nyama (South Africa) is a food regarded as an institution, not only in South Africa but across the length and breadth of the region. Nyama na irio (Kenya) is another national favourite in East Africa which comprises of mashed up potatoes, peas, beans, corn and onion and served with spiced roasted meat.

Koshari (Egypt) North Africa is a vegetarian serving of rice, lentils, macaroni, garlic and chickpeas, mixed with a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with friend onion.

Finally, Alloco (Ivory Coast) is considered as a snack, and consists of Ivorian fried plantain served with chilled pepper, onions or egg and tasty tomato sauce.

Some delicious tasty sauces and pastes already prepared to add to mouth-watering meals like Spiced Lamb Tangine, Somali Vegetable Hotpot or Ethiopian Berbere Lentil Stew are from a business called Saida Mia. Saida’s sauces include Spiced Tagine Sauce, Spiced Tangine Paste, Berbere Sauce, Berbere Paste, Moraq-Style Sauce and Moraq-Style Paste. The Paste’s are £4.30 and Sauces £4.95

Saida Mia was born in Somalia, East Africa then moved to Italy when she was six and enjoyed quite different food cultures. Her grandmother was an inspiring cook who travelled around Africa, the Middle East, Italy and Portugal. Her recipes have been passed down through the family for generations.

Saida’s tasty sauces and pastes offer you a culinary adventure which will tickle your taste buds to want more and more. She has recipes on the website for her Spiced Lamb Tangine, Spiced Chicken Tangine, Somali Vegetable Hot Pot, Somala Salmon with Vegetables, Ethiopian Berbere Lentil Stew and Ethiopian Berbere Kale Hotpot.



Did you know that if you add dried fruit to your recipes it can actually be better for you than fresh fruit. Dried fruit contains less water and is therefore a more concentrated source of nutrients.

The antioxidants in dried cranberries and grapes are twice as potent as in fresh fruit. Make sure you check the sugar content of some of them in particular cranberries, as they can be very high.

Fresh fruit can often sink to the bottom of batters.

Using dried fruit is a great addition to baked goods. 

Because dried fruits are very dense, if you substitute them into a recipe, keep in mind the ratio of, five to six pounds of fresh fruit is equal to one pound of dried.

Dried fruit is a great ingredient to have on standby for all sorts of dishes – from porridge toppings to tagines and stews.

Check the label when buying dried fruit. Some brands will soak the dried fruit in juice to add to the sweetness, but this will also increase the sugar content.

A 30g portion of dried fruit counts as one of your five-a-day – this is roughly equivalent to 80g of fresh fruit. 30g is approximately three tablespoons.