Photograph — Kitchen Butterfly

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la … You know the rest.

Per the norm, jollying this season involves food, drinks, and spending quality time with friends and family. Although I’m not big on cooking, I sure love eating. But when it comes down to it and I have to cook, it’s always fun to try something new. This holiday, I implore you to move away from the norm, be it food or drinks. I’m pretty sure, everyone’s had enough Jollof and fried rice to last them a lifetime. And also the regular sodas and soft drinks too. Hence, you are encouraged to try these three recipes from the innovative chef, Kitchen Butterfly, below.

Agbalumo-Carrot Cake

The African star apple, locally known as Agbalumo or Udara is currently in season, so why not spice things up with the popular orange fruit in the dessert department.

Credit – Kitchen Butterfly


3/4 cup sugar – white & brown

2 eggs

2 cups plain (white) flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom/powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups carrots, shredded

1/2 cup Agbalumo chunks

Zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup yoghurt, plain

1/2 cup agbalumo puree


Preheat oven to 170 degrees C

Grease and flour a 9″ cake pan

In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until combined

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Add carrots, agbalumo chunks and orange zest – toss to coat

Combine oil, yoghurt and agbalumo puree

You’ll alternate the flour and yoghurt-oil-puree mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. This gives the cake a good texture

Begin with flour mixture – add a third to the egg mixture. Stir. Add 1/2 the yoghurt and oil. Repeat with another 1/3 of flour, followed by the remaining yoghurt mixture. Stir and finish with the flour, stirring till just combined

Pour batter into the pan and bake until golden, about 45-50 minutes

The edges should pull away from the sides and a skewer set in the centre should come out clean

Allow cool and serve as you wish

Snail Fried Rice

We know rice is a staple in this country, but that does not mean we can’t come up with something other than Jollof this holiday.

Credit – Kitchen Butterfly


4 cups basmati rice

3 – 4.5 cups stock

Par-cooked snails, cut into chunks

1/2 cup hard mixed veggies – onions, carrots; diced

1.5 cups soft mixed veggies – spring onions, bell peppers, green beans; diced

1/2 cup green tops of spring onions; sliced

1/2 cup sweetcorn

Aromatics – ginger & curry paste

Spices – curry powder, dried thyme

Yellow chilli peppers

Salt to taste


Soak basmati rice for at least 30 minutes

Cook Rice

Drain away the soaking liquid

Add stock to rice

Season lightly with salt

Set to cook on medium heat, about 12 – 15 minutes till al dente, cooked but with bite


In a large pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil

Add aromatics and onions – let cook for a minute or two

Follow with snails and carrots, stirring the whole time

Add the soft mixed veggies and continue to stir-fry. Season with spices to taste but with a light hand

After a few minutes, begin adding the cooked rice and sweetcorn in batches of 2 – 3 cooking spoons, stirring well each time

Continue this way till you’ve added all the rice

Taste and adjust seasoning

Put the lid on the top, and let cook

After 5 minutes, with the lid on, shake the top with flipping motions. This way, the grains don’t become mushy from over-stirring

Taste and let cook until ready

Watermelon Shandy

Do away with excess soda this season and go for easy to make healthy drinks like the watermelon shandy.

Credit – How sweet eats



Lime juice

Lager beer

Lemon/lime soda



Cut up your watermelon and refrigerate or freeze a day in advance

Juice your lime a few hours before

On the day, an hour or so to serving, juice or make a smoothie of the watermelon. Add lime juice and sweetener to taste, if you like.

Just before serving, add lager and lemon-lime soda (Sprite, 7up) to the watermelon and serve.

Cucumber works well as a garnish.


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