When Neneh and Andi Dish it Up
May 7, 2007.
By Franka Philip
Remember long ago whenever Black people appeared on popular mainstream TV shows, we used to call our friends to say “ay, check out channel X, there’s a Black girl or a Black fella on so and so show”? It might seem like a long time ago, especially for those who grew up looking at a lot of American TV, but Black people in the UK still have those kind of moments.
You still don’t see a lot of Black and ethnic minority people on the box here, especially in lifestyle programmes but for the last few weeks, I’ve been clearing my schedule on Wednesday evenings to make sure and catch a wonderful new cooking show featuring two vivacious Black women - Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver.
Neneh and Andi Dish It Up is not an instructional cooking show, it’s a programme featuring two friends who love cooking together. A good way to describe it would be to think of when Black women get together to cook for a lime or a big celebration and the kitchen is usually filled with scandalous laughter, juicy gossip and the odd bit of debate over how to cook something.
This is how the show works, Neneh and Andi have to cook a three course meal for a group of friends and family so we follow them to buy the produce in the markets, watch them cook the meal and at the end of 30 minutes, we’re salivating as they serve the meal to eager family and friends.
I like this show a lot because it doesn’t have pretensions to being some totally illuminating cookery programme. Neneh and Andi have known each other for more than 20 years and as former pop stars, they have both travelled extensively and of course, have eaten all over the world. They never try to impress the viewers with their knowledge of ‘exotic’ ingredients but they are assured enough that we know they aren’t rank amateurs in the kitchen.
Andi’s family background is Jamaican while Neneh’s is African and European, so I think an apt way to describe their style of cooking would be eclectic international with a Caribbean twist.
In case you’re wondering whether Neneh Cherry is the same lady who sang the 1989 hit Buffalo Stance, then you’re correct. Andi Oliver is also an established singer who is better known in the UK and Europe as a member of the band Rip Rig and Panic. You can read more about them on the BBC Food website, where you’ll also find their recipes.
My favourite dishes so far have been Wasabi avocado, Pecorino polenta slices, Callaloo-inspired greens, Roasted vegetable stack on griddled halloumi cheese with minted grapefruit dressing and Hibiscus sorbet cocktail.
I’ll try the Hibuscus Sorbet Cocktail for the next lime and it’s not difficult, as it’s essentially boozy sorrel sorbet. Here’s the recipe which I’ve adapted a bit to suit Caribbean folks.
Hibiscus (Sorrel) Sorbet Cocktail
1 x 75g/2½oz sorrel
Honey, to taste
Maple syrup, to taste (alternatively replace the honey and maple syrup with sugar to taste)
Large handful ice
4 shots vodka
1 punnet frozen raspberries
1 punnet frozen tropical fruit
1 bottle rosé champagne or cava
1 bunch fresh mint
Dash lime juice
A few mint leaves
1. Boil a medium-sized kettle of water.
2. Place the sorrel in a large pan and pour in most of the kettle of boiled water.
3. Let the water cool, strain the flowers and discard them. Sweeten with honey and maple syrup to taste (or, if you prefer, just use sugar to taste).
4. Fill a blender with the ice, vodka, raspberries and tropical fruit and about 300ml/½ pint of the brewed hibiscus-flavoured water, then blend. (You can add a tablespoon of honey, syrup or sugar to the remaining brewed hibiscus and keep it in the refrigerator for a refreshing drink.) At this point it should have a slushy consistency.
5. To serve, pour the blended mix into a Martini glass until half-full, then top up with champagne (or cava). Add a dash of lime and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve with a small spoon if desired or drink it like a frozen Margarita.
Recipes by Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver from the BBC's Neneh and Andi Dish It Up
Franka Philip is a food expert and a journalist with the BBC in London. She blogs at www.cancookmustcook.com