We’ve found a home …and here’s one I made earlier!

Madeleine: We started house hunting yesterday, the creaking suspension on the car struggling up the dirt road as we approached the apartment blocks.  First up was a lovely flat with a huge problem…there was NO oven! We had to decline…no discussion.  Second up was an identical flat in the same compound with a brand new oven! Perfect, we signed it! It is on the top floor with access to the roof. There are stunning views over lake Nakuru in one direction and it over looks the local primary school in another. We found home.  We woke up yesterday morning at the Rift Valley Sports Club where we stayed the past two nights, miraculously after a  breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee we were able to open a bank account and received the ATM card within hours! We met with the Estate agent and finalised the contract, picked up the keys, moved the 24 pieces of luggage, the internet was being fitted as we arrived, as was a new washing machine.  Gob-smacked at the speed of it all our new landlord came to meet us (from Eldoret – where the great Kenyan runners are from) with cleaning products, fresh fruit (including apples!), frying pans and a whole load of useful other household bits and she was apologising the flat wasn’t ready! What a contrast to our last landlords. We’ve been made to feel so welcome.

Lucas spent the morning running around the bank keeping the guards on their toes, pushing his trunkie (if you are not familiar with these, they are a genius kids suitcase that you can pull or be pulled on, Lucas has the bee!) around as I did a bit of packing before moving all the suitcases. Lucas became infatuated with the landlords niece who is five and was so patient as Lucas kept running over to her and taking her by the hand and bringing her over to the sofa to play with his trains..so cute! He did however get a bit excited and throw a train in her face!

Just in case anyone is missing a spot of baking and because of the Blue Peter in me, here is one I prepared earlier… (I prepared a few extra bakes at home in case there was a baking lag in moving).  This is a Scandinavian recipe traditionally eaten in Norway, Sweden and Denmark on Shrove Tuesday : Cardamom spelt buns with almond custard, I think they are really yummy. I adapted this recipe from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen.

Last minute addition from Andrew at the bottom of this post

Recipe: Mini Cardamom Buns with Almond Custard

Ingredients for cardamom dough:

325ml whole milk

50g butter

500g refined spelt of plain flour (I actually used 50% wholegrain spelt ant 50% strong white flour)

75g castor sugar

1 ½ tsp ground cardamon

2tsp fine sea salt (I used 1 tsp)

7g dried yeast (I use doves in a tin without any additives)

Ingredients for almond custard:

250ml milk

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp castor sugar

½ tsp vanilla essence

2 egg yolks

handful flaked or roughly chopped whole almonds


1. Scald the milk for the dough by heating it in a small pan with the butter until it is almost boiling then allow it to cool whilst preparing the next ingredients.  Scalding the milk makes the finished buns softer.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt together into a large bowl and add the dry yeast.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the scalded milk which should be just warm enough to touch, bring together until mixture becomes a dough.

4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling-film and place in the fridge to cold ferment (prove)

5. To make the almond custard, mix 4 tbsp milk with the flour, sugar and vanilla essence.

6. In a pan bring the remaining custard milk to the boil, stir in the mixture whisking constantly and bring to the boil again, it should become more like a custard.  Let it cool, add the egg yolks and whisk it well.

7. Transfer it to a bowl, let it cool and mix in the almonds then place in the fridge ready to fill the buns the next day.  Make sure you cover with cling-film so a skin does not form on the custard.

8. The following day remove the dough from the fridge and allow to reach room temperature.  Lightly oil two baking sheets and divide the dough into 24.  I found it easier to cut in half then divide into 12 twice over.  (Admittedly I weighed them).  To make them into little balls roll them between your palms then pinch 4 corners of dough, fold the pinched corners to the  middle like wrapping a parcel so that the dough is rounded and slightly stretched on the top of the bun.

9.  Prove in a warm place for 15-20mins until when you poke a finger into the dough, the dough does not spring back but holds an indent of your finger.

10. Lightly glaze each bun with a little beaten egg.

11. place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C with a splash of water in the bottom of the oven and bake for 10-15mins.  You can turn the heat down if the buns start to colour too much.

12. The cooked buns should look golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

13. When cool, make a slice through each one and fill with a teaspoon of almond custard.  To finish sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar over the top.

14. Eat very soon whilst fresh with a cuppa…so yummy!

Andrew: This has been our first full day in our new home. We ventured out in to town to buy some food. We bought a bag of fragrant bright red tomatoes and some other essentials (olives, flour, apples). I whipped up some tomato, red pepper and garlic sauce to go with pasta whilst Madeleine and Lucas were making the flat a home.

We are both very excited that we can fit in the kitchen simultaneously, a luxury we didn’t have in our last home. We have just had the ceremonial unveiling of the Kenwood Mixer which appears to have survived the journey (along with some added cook books Madeleine sneaked in to the crate!) Lucas is asleep in his pop up tent (probably not for long – sleep is still something that eludes us) and I’ve surveyed the flat for mosquitoes, gunning any down in sight with kitchen spray. 

Madeleine is in the kitchen preparing a loaf for tomorrow, we have however had a power cut, not that this even puts her out of her stride. On goes the head torch and it is business as usual.

Thank you all for your kind messages on the blog – we really appreciate them. Ciao for now

14 thoughts on “We’ve found a home …and here’s one I made earlier!

  1. Hi guys!
    Glad you’ve made it safely to Kenya 🙂
    Some people would be surprised that you nearly missed your flight, but having spent 7 years of school with Madeleine I wouldn’t expect anything less 😉 It made me chuckle, though I expect you guys weren’t chuckling at the time!
    The new pad sounds lovely – I’m just not sure how Mad is supposed to cook the bread when there’s a powercut, even though she can see it… but I am pretty sure that she’ll have some cunning back-up plan (harnessing Lucas’s energy into renewable energy??!).
    Let us know when you’re up and running on Skype xxx
    p.s. loving Lucas’ apron!!

  2. A head torch – hilarious! Only you Mads! So glad that you (and the Kenwood mixer!) have safely made it over there in one piece. Missed you all in class today but your new adventure all sounds wonderfully exciting and I eagerly await the next installment. Take care of each other and have lots of fun. Chris xx Ps I emailed the latest TTSO newsletter round this afternoon, so if it reaches you you’ll spy a familiar photo in it!

  3. Love that you turned down the first one because it had no oven – none of our ones had an oven! (But at least we don’t have to bake so much)!

  4. Home and landlord sound amazing. Lucas looking cool in nappy only!!! Enjoy apples and olives. Impressed that Mad located the head torch so speedily!!

  5. Woooooooow! Everything looks amazing! I’m totally exhausted and overwhelmed just reading it all! The flight experience – in retrospect – is hilarious! You’re gonna have so many stories! SO happy for you – you guys ROCK – fact. Loads of love to you all. xxx

  6. Wow guys you are amazing, you achieve so much so quickly, I’m feeling very guilty that I haven’t tried one of the bakes yet —– that’s Sunday’s challenge!!
    Love the blog, hugs to Lucas xx

  7. Jambo! Loving the updates. Made several loaves now, both white & wholemeal, also made some big pizzas. Can I make a suggestion for your baking challenge please? Dough balls! Yesterday I made about 100 dough balls & took them to my friend’s baby shower where we dipped them in a chocolate fondue – so yummy, especially in plain choc! We had a few left over so had some for tea tonight with a cheese & chive dip. I’m sure you guys could think of even more imaginative things to dip them in though! Loads of love to you all xxxx

    • Jambo guys..cool sounds fun and yummy! Yes I Like the idea of dough balls…really good for toddlers and sharing! I’m trying to get my head around all these yummy new veggies and how to make the local dishes…I’ve been thinking of an idea to make one into a dip and could go very well with dough balls! …I will let you know the potentially failed attemps as well as the successes! I hope the girls are well and having lots of fun, with love xxx

      • New home sounds lovely, really pleased you’ve had such a great welcome to your adventure, you deserve nothing less. Looking forward to catching up on Skype soon, sorry we didn’t chat on Sunday, me and mum got carried away shopping (I’m sure you expect no less when we get together!) and then I had to deposit her on a train back home. Miss you xx

  8. So good to hear from you. And that so many things have come together smoothly. Your home sounds good and surroundings look beautiful, great. Keep the attitude and the great adventure in mind, we are praying for you guys daily. Say hi to litte man.

  9. love the sound of your new flat!!! amazing that you have a view of the lake! loved the story of you running for the plane-had a very similar experience going to liberia with the once-weekly plane but without a toddler and many bags and tedious security!!!! looking forward to your next update : ) love to you all xxx

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