This year’s innovation talent goes to Gisele Mwepu that with a huge drive and a desire to improve people’s lives has created Okapi Finance. Okapi has helped to reduce financial exclusion in poor countries by giving people the ability to conduct fast and secure financial transactions and gain legitimacy with banks and financial institutions. It contributes to a safe, inclusive and sustainable financial system in poor countries.
What an honor to be Swedish innovation talent of 2017! Thanks to all of you my employees, partners, board members, friends and family! You are the unseen heroes.
VINNOVA is the Swedish innovation agency. Our mission is to promote sustainable growth in Sweden by funding needs-driven research and developing effective innovation. Vinnova is a government agency under the Ministry of Industry and national contact authority for the EU’s framework program for research and development. General Director is Charlotte Brogren.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Kendra Valentine to be a Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary Shero because of her sheer and complete love of food. Beyond her love of food she’s obsessed with creating unique flavor combinations and inventive spice delivery techniques. All the while enhancing the experience of fellowship with friends and family and nourishing the body and mind. I first blogged about Kendra in July 2011. I’ve certainly enjoyed several meals with Kendra some that were homemade and others that we were served. Each were mindfully enjoyed and that’s what Kendra’s anniversary gift brings to us: her mindful creation of a recipe meant to be shared with those we love.
Bon appetite Kendra! Your recipe has me licking my lips in anticipation. Yum.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannelleni Beans & Kale on Spicy Polenta Cake
Black Women in Europe 10th Anniversary Recipe Created y Kendra Valentine
"I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE".
6 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
1 can cannelleni beans
2 cups chopped kale (packed)
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (diced)
1 leaf bay
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 can cherry tomatoes
1.5 cups red wine (or just chicken broth)
1 splash red wine vinegar
0.5 teaspoon thyme
0.5 teaspoon oregano
sprinkle black pepper
parsley or fresh herbs for plating
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 Small red chili (diced)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water (boiling)
oil (for frying)
I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE.
Vegetarian substitute for chicken: eggplant & chickpeas.
First, go ahead and brown the chicken thighs in a little oil… you’re not cooking them through just browning the outside… then set aside. Turn on the oven to heat up (200 C or 350 F)
Into the same roasting pot or Dutch oven (be sure you have oil left) we are going to start the braise with softening the onion and garlic. Also, add your bay leaves and go ahead and cook that down on medium heat until the onion is soft.
Next, add in a splash of vinegar… it will sizzle and release all the nice brown bits stuck to the pan… that helps get more delicious into the chicken!
Add in a nob of tomato paste and your herbs and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper (I like to salt in stages.)
Next, add in the chicken broth and red wine… it helps to break down the meat and gives great flavor. You could just use water or chicken broth as well. Also add in the canned cherry tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt.
Finally, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side up, and let that heat up to a nice simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low simmer and cover. All but the very tops of the chicken thighs should be covered in liquid.
Transfer to the oven, and after 30 min or so it will soften up…
Next, add in the chopped kale and beans. Try to get in beneath the chicken thighs, so it can cook in the liquid. Add a splash of water if needed. Salt to taste. Return to oven.
After 15 min., to finish off the thighs, open the pot and let the dish broil under high top heat for a few minutes until golden.
For the spicy polenta cakes:
(Tip: Get your mix done while the chicken is braising. When you are browning the thighs at the last step, start frying your cakes.)
Heat enough oil in a skillet or heavy bottom skillet on high heat. Oil should come up 1/3 up the side of the pan.
In a bowl, mix together polenta, salt, and diced chilies. Stir in enough boiling hot water so that the mixture comes together into a smooth batter. Creamy yet firm enough to form into a small patty.
Once the oil in the skillet is hot, spoon mixture into hands to form patty then gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Place a polenta cake on the plate and then top with the braised kale & cannelleni and juices (that polenta cake will sop it up!). Place a chicken thigh directly on top, and finish with a sprinkle of olive oil and chopped parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Enjoy with a bold red wine!
Kendra Valentine is an American expat living in Berlin and Stockholm. A Boston College Alumni, she currently works freelance with business strategy for start-ups, content development and copywriting. Combining her love of food, and background in film she created the food blog/YouTube channel: Americulinariska.com, which was a finalist in the SAVEUR Blog Awards for “Best Use of Video” 2015. She has also kept busy with illustrating digital children’s books on important topics such as tacos. Her next steps are looking for even more food related assignments as a writer, producer or talent.
About the blog:
Americulinariska: Promoting cooking it for yourself and pushing big flavors is the back bone… fried chicken and tacos complicitly involved. The blog videos are fun, straightforward, and based on exploring the diversity of American food heritage within an international context. The food focuses on cooking good eats no matter where you call home: using creativity and whole food.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I chose Claire Requa to be a Black Women in Europe Blog 10th Anniversary Shero because she makes beautiful things. I first blogged about Claire in March 2011 and she made our Power List in 2013. She makes beautiful things to adorn the body or celebrate the home. She’s won multiple awards for her creations and she’s sharing that award winning talent with us by dedicating two pieces of jewelry to our anniversary. You can grab the earrings and necklace on Etsy and admire them up close and personal.
Thank you for adorning us with your talent Claire.
Claire Requa, American-Jamaican designer, did shows in 1975 at Devon House craft fairs, moved to Los Angeles in 1980 where she had a small fashion line of tie-dyed clothing. She has lived in Copenhagen since 1988.
In the 1990’s Claire Requa owned her own design shop /studio where she show-cased her own, as well as other international products and designs. Multi-faceted, her range of talents over the past three decades include clothing, textile and jewellery design, furniture “redesign”, interior innovations and renovations, graphic design and most recently, lamp design and product development.
From 2000-2007 working as a graphic designer by occupation for a product marketing company, Claire Requa was commissioned to design a lamp for an interiors publication in 2004. A prototype was made and put into production. This gave her inspiration to do more lighting.
In 2005, Claire Requa launched her own lighting creation Claire de Lune® Chandelier– a flat pack chandelier in polypropylene, PP, (and recently in acrylic), and branded her line of lighting products Claire de Lune®. She has also conceptualized and designed the carrying bag in PP as the packaging of the lamp, instead of using bulky cardboard that products typically are packaged in – making the product easy to carry from the retail outlet and very reusable. Exquisitely rounding out the concept, both the bag and the lamp are eco-friendly, and the consumer is encouraged to dispose of it in like fashion.
Claire Requa is an emerging talent and a true Designer Without Borders, taking inspiration from her current country of residence, her heritage and colorful cultural background and mixing it with her whimsical humour and creativity as well as function, to give the designs that are extremely unique and innovative expression. Claire’s creations have been featured in Danish interior magazines – Madog Bolig, Bo Bedre, Bolig Magasinet, foreign magazines such as Swiss Ideales Heim and UK’s MIX interiors, German Atrium, as well as included in blogs on Trendcurve.com and Homedecorhq.com and Design Sponge, to name a few.
She has exhibited at the following trade shows: Formland, Denmark; Tendence, Germany; Ambiente, Germany; Pulse, England; Maison et Objet, France; ICFF, NY, USA; IMM, Cologne, Germany, New Delhi, India. Most recently, has won design awards from Italy.
A Woman’s Painful Journey From Childhood Abuse N’ Trauma to Healing and Self-Love by Lucie B Linder
BIG BOTTOM BLUES is a gripping and emotional story about a woman’s traumatic childhood riddled with sexual and physical abuse and its devastating effects in her adult life. Lucie B takes us through the pain of body dysmorphia, isolation, addiction to food, binge eating disorder, shame, guilt and self-loathing that tormented her long after the abuse stopped. She tells her story from the heart, allowing readers to emotionally connect to her world of pain and tribulation. This is a raw and unnerving story that hits the nerve of every woman who has been sexually abused, particularly by the hands of a family member. This emotionally vulnerable book helps survivor step through their “Ring of Fire” to stand strong with renewal and the conviction to forge forward. Big Bottom Blues is more than just a book about healing from childhood rape: it is a story that inspires and empowers women to flip the script on their trauma and turn the shit into success!
The Bridge Conference in Lund, Sweden is about building a platform where science and business can meet and prosperous relationships grow. It is about connecting entrepreneurs, opinion leaders and investors with today’s most influential minds within life science and materials science. Our goal is to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges. Meet a keynote speaker.
Ms. Achenyo Idachaba is a Computer Scientist turned Social Entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Creative Director of MitiMeth, Nigeria. MitiMeth engages riverine communities and local artisans to create eco-friendly handcrafted home and personal accessories utilizing invasive aquatic weeds such as Water Hyacinth and Cattail, Agro-waste such as Banana and Maize.
She also utilizes non-timber forest resources, specifically wild Bamboo. In 2015, Achenyo was nominated the Emerging Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Creative Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria. In the same year she became a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme Awardee. She is a 2015 TED Speaker and is also the 2014 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Laureate for Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, MitiMeth received the Local Raw Materials Content Award from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) for her innovative use of local raw materials. Achenyo is also a YouWIN Awardee.
Her work at MitiMeth has been featured on CNBC Africa, CNN’s African Start-Up, The Nation and BusinessDay Newspapers, BusinessLife Magazine and also on BusinessAfrica TV. Her work has also been published in the Nigerian Field Journal. Prior to founding MitiMeth and Greennovative Chain Consulting, Achenyo spent 11 years with ExxonMobil where she held a variety of Regional and Global Advisor positions in Planning and Supply Chain operations. She has a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, an M.S. in Applied Computer Science from Illinois State University and an M.B.A from Cornell University. She lives and runs MitiMeth in the rustic Southwestern city of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Lesley-Ann Brown to be a Black Women in Europe Blog™ Shero because of her beautiful way with words. She’s a prolific poet and essayist with her own publishing imprint as well as dedicated mother, activist and wordsmith. I first blogged about Lesley-Ann in April 2008. Lesley-Ann also knows how to pull together a picnic in Copenhagen where a sister can meet other funny, inspiring and lovely sisters. Somehow Lesley-Ann found the time to write two poems to commemorate the Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary. How fortunate are we? Download your copy now.
Tak Lesley-Ann. Thank you for choosing your words wisely.
(A Poem for Black Women in Europe)
The memory of mother
(A Poem for Black Women in Europe)
Lesley-Ann Brown is an educator and writer. She writes for NBCBLK and has contributed to anthologies, both in Denmark and in the U.S. She blogs at www.blackgirlonmars.com and you can find all her recent writing here www.lesleyannbrownwrites.wordpress.com. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York and studied writing at the New School.