Madeleine: ‘Mama Lucas’ as the children call me when they ask ‘How are you?’ as we arrive back at the flat, it is both sweet and comforting and helps to make us feel at home. I wake and climb out our mosquito net, Lucas is pulling on my finger saying ‘Tractor, tractor’ and he can’t wait to find his blue tractor. I have daily ups and downs of feeling, “yes, this is different but it is home for us three”, at other times I just want to go home (England), be wrapped up in a warm jumper and have a lovely cuppa. Thankfully we are settling in and I feel more able, bit by bit, to embrace our new home. We sit down for breakfast with a fresh Kenyan AA bean coffee, my sour dough toast and home-made passion fruit jam, with some chopped up juicy paw paw (payaya) and feel very blessed.
As most of you know I am not a city person and thrive outdoors, particularly in big green areas! Kenya is very green and beautiful. As we explore, we find little havens of quiet and lush green areas for Lucas to freely run around, the birds are just incredible and so colourful. I’ve no idea what they are called and so am planning to learn their names so I can help expand Lucas’ vocabulary beyond, “birdie”.
I love my exercise! Lucas keeps us active but I still crave getting my heart rate up and endorphins pumping! There is a nice hotel in town where I can use their pool…it’s not heated which has never bothered me, I just love swimming outside and its not a UK winter!! I probably got over enthusiastic and swam 80 lengths after which I felt very dizzy. I thought it was hunger or the altitude but when Andrew noticed my colour go and me shivering, it turns out I was actually hypothermic on the equator! I still can’t wait to go again….just need to persuade Andrew to come down too and look after Lucas! We also met some other “Mzungos” (foreigners) in our block. They have some high intensity exercise videos that they have invited me to join them in on the roof…who knows what I will be doing!..I got them running too and I’ve found another running buddy!
We visited the entrance to the Nakuru National Park just 5 miles from our flat (and I drove and navigated our way back!!) It costs 80,000 Kenyan Shillings, £65 per person (if you are a Mzungo) plus transport. It is so expensive but it is only £7.50 for a resident so we will enter when we have sorted all our resident status out – just needs a trip to Nairobi and loitering around various offices. We opted just to have lunch at the cafe by the main gate and Lucas’ face when he saw a herd of zebras 5 metres in front of him was brilliant, I don’t think he could believe it!! Next he saw the gazelles running and jumping and he started copying them! There was also a school bus that came through, Lucas was toddling around and started waving, then little heads popped out of every window in the bus waving back at him…he just walked along the side of the bus with a massive grin on his face giving a royal wave! So cute and funny!!
These “Millet Passion Fruit Jammy Dodgers” were inspired by the fact we could buy 24 fragrant passion fruit for less than 80p. I made some passion fruit jam which we have been enjoying on our home made bread every morning! I appreciate passion fruit are not this this cheap at home so maybe just try making a jam you haven’t made before and making Jammy Dodgers with that.
Andrew: It’s been 2 weeks now since we arrived and I’ve already stopped noticing some of my immediate surroundings. I take this as a sign of this new place becoming “normal”. Equally it may be a symptom of my inability to pay attention when navigating in any vehicle or on foot. The lack of Sat Nav as expected is proving to be a problem for me. It has often been said that I have a terrible sense of direction, Madeleine would disagree with this and say that I do not have a sense of direction all together. As Madeleine made the 5 mile drive back home from Lake Nakuru, clearly in a heightened state of stress as she was driving sat almost on top of the steering wheel, Lucas making a racket in the back of the car, she was not impressed when I had no idea which turn to take (so I made it up – thankfully this time I got lucky).
“I need to get the Grrr out”. If Madeleine has not exercised for a prolonged period of time (>48 hours) my life is particularly challenging and allowing an outlet for the Grrr benefits us all. We have found a hotel in town with a 15 meter pool which is surprisingly cold but mostly empty on week days. Lucas ran around the hotel (with me following) pointing at all the pictures of animals and sharing his Duplo horse with a 2 year old boy whilst Madeleine raced up and down the pool. When she’d finished her swim and cold shower she’d gone green and looked like she was going to pass out but at least the endorphins meant some high quality baking ensued. I’ve always loved Jammy Dodgers but these are something special.
90g plain white flour
85g millet flour
40g icing sugar
35g brown sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk blended with a tsp of milk
Passion fruit jam: (makes two 250g jams ish!)
12 passion fruits
550g Brown Sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Half a cup of water
For the jam:
1. Wash the passion fruits, cut in half and scoop out the pulp inside in to a bowl
2. Put half the passion fruit shells in a pan. just covered with water
3. Boil for 30 minutes till the insides are tender
4. Allow to cool then scrape out the remaining pulp (stringy bits) which should come out now – chop up.
5. Put all the pulp (plus the remainder you just harvested), 125mls of the boiled water in to a pan and bring to the boil.
6. Add the lemon juice and sugar once boiling, stir until dissolved and boil rapidly until jam setting point (105°C)
If you don’t have a cooking thermometer take a bit of jam on the back of a small spoon and if it wrinkles when you push the jam it is ready.
1. Put flours, salt and sugars into a bowl and gently mix, next add the cold chopped up butter and using the tips of your fingers rub into the dry ingredients until it is all worked in until it is like bread crumbs.
2. Make a well in the ingredients in the bowl and add the egg mixture and mix in using a blunted knife. Bring together to make a dough and wrap in cling film then chill for 30mins.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Roll out the chilled dough in-between two sheets of baking parchment until about 4mm thick. (You can half the dough and roll out two smaller bits if easier, if too sticky just sprinkle a light bit of plain flour over the dough). Using which every shaped cutters you prefer gently press out pairs of what ever you can fit. (I initiall made these with elephant cutter but I kept on burning of breaking trunks off!). In one of each pair press out a hole in the middle (like in jammy dodgers..I used the top of a toothpaste tube).
4. Place all cut outs onto baking parchment on flat trays and bake in the oven for about 15mins until just firm and barely coloured. Take out and place a small teaspoon of jam in the centre of each whole biscuit, spread to 1.5cm from the edge and place the matching pair with the hole in the middle on the top. Place back in the oven for 5 mins so the jam is just hot enough to stick the now cooked biscuits together.
5. Leave the biscuits to cool for 5mins then transfer to a wire rack.