Today, Nigeria celebrates 55 years as an independent Nation. But the question on many people’s minds, would be, “So what???!!” There are so many things that are wrong with the country but there are also so many things that are right.

By no stretch of the imagination are we, as a country, attaining all that we can and should but I know that the cream will rise to the top. If every single person who believes in this country committed to restoring Nigeria through, diligence, forthrightness, patience, kindness and prayers, tangible, positive, sustainable change will be established. Please forgive the flurry of adjectives ?

So I embarked on making this cake on whim yesterday and I am happy with how it turned out especially since I was up till 2.30 am asking myself how I got myself into what had literally become a sticky situation?

  
But I would say it was worth it. I am happy with how it looks and what it represents.

  
The cake comprises two layers of lemon poppy seed cake and one layer of lemon blueberry cake. I chose these flavours because life is not always syrupy and sweet but has sour spots (tangy lemon) and bursts of goodness (represented by blueberries and poppy seeds). I believe a combo of these is what makes life what it is.

  
The 3 tiers represent the three arms of government; the legislature, the judiciary and the executive. The lollipop toppings represent the people of Nigeria. If you are a Nigerian reading this, yes, you are a lollipop ?.
The colors dripping down the cake represent our unity as well as the fact that we should be in tune with the 3 tiers; one and the same.

It sounds all so idealistic but remember what I said earlier?

One of the expressions I learned at an early age is, “Life is not all cake, there are flies on it”. My dad taught me that when I was about 9 years old. And he would add “It is your business to keep the flies off so that you can enjoy your own share of the cake”. 

So, get your fly swats out and let’s get rid of the flies that are preventing us from enjoying our country.

  
This is my country and I believe in Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.

Every time there’s a holiday like Saint Patrick’s day, Mardi gras or a national Independence celebration, I am inspired to make a meal to commemorate the occasion. I am neither Irish nor French but that hasn’t stopped me from making such meals as I did in my “Full Steam Ahead” post.

October 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day and the opportunity presented itself for another fun food lab activity.

I made Dafaduka, a Nigerian Rice dish, which was well received at my son’s school on their Independence/national day party. This one pot wonder is no fuss but packs maximum flavour.

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Recipe for Dafaduka

4 tbs Palm oil
4 cups of Rice
1 tinned plum tomatoes or 5 fresh tomatoes – chopped
1 tbs Cameroun peppers (dry)
2 Scotch bonnet peppers
1 medium Dry fish
1 onion
1 tbs dry ginger (fresh gingermaybe used if available)
1 Dawada (dry locust bean patty)
Chicken stock or water
Salt to taste

Method

Wash rice thoroughly, drain and put in a pot. Chop tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers and onions.

Add oil, chopped ingredients and dry spices to the pot except the salt and dry fish. Break up fish and steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain, then carefully take out all visible bones and set aside. Add stock or water (quantity of liquid will depend on the type if rice.

I used jasmine rice which cooks quickly. Add some salt and taste for salt at the end of cooking. Put the pot on and bring to a boil the reduce to simmer until rice is tender.

Add boned dry fish half way through cooking. Serve accompanied by dodo or simply enjoy on its own.

There you have it, a veritable Nigerian dish and a throw back to my childhood.

I saw an interesting recipe for Marsala chicken that I knew I had to try and the end result at the dinner table was happy smiles all around đŸ™‚

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Marsala Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless,
1/2 cup flour,
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Dried oregano to taste
4 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 tsps dry chili flakes (optional)
1 cup Marsala wine

Method
Pound chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/4″ thickness.
COMBINE flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a mixing bowl. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
HEAT oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts on medium heat for about 2 minutes on the first side, until lightly browned. Turn breasts over to cook other side, then add mushrooms, garlic and chili to the skillet. Cook breasts about 2 more minutes, until both sides are lightly browned. Continue to stir mushrooms.

Add Marsala wine around chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Transfer to serving plate.

Serve with side of your choice, I chose boiled potatoes, grilled aubergines and blanched mange touts.

Please note, I could not find Marsala wine so used a combination of a dry white wine and white grape juice. You could also use Madeira wine if you find it.

All in all it was an enjoyable holiday.

On to the next conquest!