Meet Chef B
Nigerian-born Canadian, Onyinyechukwu Blessing Okpala — a self acclaimed foodie and private chef — often dreams in spices and recipes. Onyinye, who is fondly called “Blessing” by her loved ones, was born and raised in metropolitan Lagos, Nigeria where her passion for cooking emanated from observing her Mother’s extraordinary culinary skills.
Blessing’s most vivid childhood memories are of their visits to local markets, searching for the freshest ingredients.These experiences left an imprint on her heart and sparked a deep passion to recreate and share the experience of enjoying home-made, wholesome foods with friends and family. As she immigrated to Canada to further her education at the University of Toronto, the inspiration followed.
Sharing the African-Canadian Food Fusion
After years of hosting and cooking for private events for friends and loved ones, Blessing formally launched 511kitchenamour; hosting private and city-hopping, pop-up events since 2017. Services include weekly and monthly customized meal preps, private functions, in-house private dining and upcoming interactive classes.
For a taste of what this looks like, read on and try her recipe for a healthier version of Nigerian Meat pie, also known as a Beef Empanada.
Nigerian Meat Pie (Beef Empanada) – Healthier Version!
Meat Pie Dough
- 1 ¼ cup of Oat Flour
- 1 cup of cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
- Pinch of salt
Meat Pie filling
- 2 medium carrots
- ½ minced veal meat
- ½ medium onions
- 1 Teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Oat flour
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ Teaspoons onion powder
- 1 Teaspoon better than bouillon organic beef base
- Salt to taste
- ½ Teaspoon curry powder
- ½ Teaspoon white pepper
Directions | Meat pie dough
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together oat flour, mashed sweet potatoes and salt until dough holds together in a soft ball.
- Cover with cling wrap and let dough rest
Directions | Meat pie filling
- Wash the onions and slice into tiny cube-like pieces. Using a potato peeler, peel the exterior of the carrots, wash and cut into small cubes. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of oil, followed by onions and garlic and stir for a few seconds. Add the veal minced meat and stir until the minced meat turns pale, about 5 mins.
- Add ¾ cup of water, better than bouillon, thyme, white pepper, onion powder and curry. Cover the saucepan to allow the content start boiling, once it starts, add diced carrots and cook for about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of oat flour and water until you get a smooth consistency and add to the meat pie filling.
- Add salt to taste, remove from stove top and let it cool.
Assembling the Meat Pie
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with olive oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, break the egg, beat it and set aside.
- On a clean surface, sprinkle some of the oat flour to help in the rolling process.
- Knead the dough a little more, using a rolling pin, roll it out to a desired thickness.
- Using a cutter, make small round cuts from the dough. Remove excess dough around the cuts.
- Scoop some of the meat pie filling into the center of the round cuts. Make sure you scoop a good amount that you can comfortably close the dough.
- Brush around the edges of the cut with the egg. Fold over the filling to cover it and press with a fork gently to seal the edges of the meat pie.
- Repeat for the rest of the meat pie filling and dough.
- Carefully place meat pie on a lined baking sheet, brush with eggs and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
What’s Next for 511Kitchenamour?
Chef B remains vested in the creation of unique and healthy recipes, fusing African and Canadian ingredients to create some of her signature dishes.
511kitchenamour hosted its first pop-up brunch series in Edmonton in the Summer of 2018 called, “Ladies Brunching in the City”. She’s since hosted several pop up events in Toronto, Edmonton and Lethbridge. This fall sees Chef B launching her first Fitness brunch series in the beautiful city of Toronto. The event will be taking place at a rooftop venue where guests will attend a 30-minute yoga class followed by a healthy 3 course brunch.