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
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:
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