Maggie OgunbanwoFebruary 1, 2022
Author Maggie Ogunbanwo is based in north Wales where she runs Maggie’s African Twist, selling predominantly African sourced or themed food products both on and offline. These days Maggie’s African Twist operates from The Red Lion in the village of Penygroes, surrounded by the beautiful Snowdonia countryside with its rich heritage and culture. Its roots however are deep in African soil, passed down through generations of instinctive, but highly gifted culinary masters who also doubled as mothers and grandmothers.
Maggie is passionate about food and cooking as well as being committed to quality and the support of local providers. Her influences flow from her Mam and Nain but are extended through contact with and work in environments with West Indian, Caribbean, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean and Latino foods. They continue to grow and meld with an additional Welsh touch added to the mix, widening Maggie’s international scope to tantalise a range of taste buds.
In 2021, with support from the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, Graffeg published Maggie’s book, The Melting Pot, which showcased the diversity and variety of the Welsh BAME community’s culinary expertise. African Twist is her second recipe book, and includes a collection of 30 delicious vegan recipes with traditional Nigerian flavours. Maggie’s immaculate balance of flavours combined with playful presentation ensures these are recipes to remember for those wanting to explore broader, more environmentally responsible culinary horizons.
We caught up with Maggie recently to find out more about her exciting new publication …
Tell us a little about your new recipe book African Twist …
Over the years I have experienced the food and cooking of many countries and cultures as well as taught cooking. I tend to modify recipes with influences from the cooking that I learnt from my mother and grandmother. In the book African Twist we have brought together a collection of recipes from my life that are totally plant based, like puffpuff and my broccoli soup (which I don’t think I have ever prepared without adding chilli in some form or another!), both a shout out to my Nigerian heritage. African Twist seeks to bring you familiar ingredients that have been given an African twist with the unfamiliar and the African.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I generally say my cooking style is never to prepare the same thing the same way twice! My heritage from my ma and grandma however is a thread that runs through the food I cook.
What or who has been your cooking inspiration(s)?
Undoubtedly my grandma and my mum were superb cooks, my mum built upon that by training in the UK, and I have taken it further by cooking food from all around Africa and other world cuisines.
If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?
A live wire!
If you could invite any three people for dinner, whom would you invite?
God as I want to know how he made the universe and is holding it all together, Tony Robbins as his book Awaken the giant within changed my life, and a small child as they are so full of anecdotal wisdom and unconscious about it.
In what way have books and libraries influenced you during your lifetime?
I love libraries and books. I find libraries a way that my introvert side can escape and be quiet and the smell of real books a delight. My father insisted that we grew up with the art of reading and we regularly had to increase our word power!
Will there be another recipe book in the future?
I am yet to take my readers into the intricate world of African food and baking under sand, so there is still room for more than just another recipe book.
Do you have any words of advice for anyone wanting to improve their cooking skills?
There is nothing to be scared about in the art of cooking. I think that most recipes that we have today came about because someone mixed a little of this and a little of that and eh voila! Talk to me!
African Twist will be published 24 February 2022 by Graffeg.
Keep up-to-date with Maggie on Twitter (@MaggieOgunbanwo), Facebook (@maggiesafricantwist) and Instagram (maggiesafricantwist).