Panettone, Roast Goat and Tutaonana

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I hear screaming and heavy breathing from the next room. “Daktari, daktari, come quickly!” A lady in her 60’s is struggling to breath. She is sat amongst other patients who are being registered. She looks panicked but is clearly not having a medical emergency. The nurse sits with her until she calms down. After she settles she explains that the mention of identity cards sent her in to a panic. We ask all patients to bring their identity cards with them so we can ensure they are the same person as 5 years ago. Very few people know their date of birth and the variations in name spelling mean we need some form of identification which is consistent.

It transpires this lady went through a traumatic ordeal 5 years ago pre- the last elections. Whilst on a matatu (minibus – much like the one that transports our team from site to site) they were pulled over by police and their identity cards checked. Those of the “wrong” tribe were assaulted or worse killed. Very sadly huge ethnic divides exist in Kenya and politicians use this to canvass support of their fellow tribesmen. The last set of elections in Kenya were marred by high levels of corruption, bribery and violence, in which 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes, many of them from the Rift Valley area in which we are living. Many of our current team suffered, including one member who had his home and possessions burnt to the ground one year before he was due to retire.

This largely explains our difficulty in tracing the numbers we had hoped for. Many who were examined before the elections in 2007 were forced to move away when the violence was at it’s peak. Those examined after the elections (the trouble forced an 8 month break in the project) were frequently people who had been displaced and therefore the place they were examined in 2008 was  a temporary home for them and they have since moved back home.

The tensions are rising but thus far little violence has been evident. There is a feeling lessons have been learnt since the last elections but time will tell. We have been advised that as the elections are now getting close we should stop field work to ensure safety of the team and also many patients may be scared or unwilling to be examined through fear we represent a political party.

We therefore have made this last village, Wanyororo, our last before we have a break and head back to the UK. We plan to be back in Kenya in just over a month to continue where we have left off.

12 down, 88 to go…

The team have really worked hard these last few weeks and we have overcome some challenges, including money going missing, patients going missing and and at times my energy going missing. We promised the team that before we took a break we would treat them all to the local favourite, “Nyama Choma” – Roast Goat. The team all gathered and we enjoyed a goat together. Madeleine and I were surprised at how good it tasted. We avoided the soup (boiled goat’s head, hooves, organs etc). Followed by Madeleine’s Chocolate and Caramelised Orange peel Panettone we bid “Tutaonana” – See you later, to the team.

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I ask one of the team members what their favourite food is, I hear the same reply I have heard many times before, ‘Nyama Choma’ literately roast meat or roast goat, as they reply their faces light up with so much excitment, their shoulders relax and they look content even at the thought of Nyoma choma! With such consistent reactions to even the thought of Nyama choma we decide its time for a team BBQ and Nyoma choma it is.  Everyone is very excited. We sit down with our plates full and take a bite of the crispy meat hot from the charcoal, as I bite in, I feel as if I am sharing in the love this nation has for it’s Nyoma choma, it’s very tasty, a bit like lamb and I’m not a keen meat eater so this must be good! Andrew, Ailsa and I all tuck in whilst Lucas snuggles up in my arms smelling of mosquito repellent, fast asleep!

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With 12 clusters complete, we are due to fly back for a visit to the UK.  The past 4 and a half months has been a time getting to know the team. Most team members have enthusiastically taken hold of the vision for the project and given all their efforts. Each has a story to tell.

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With Ailsa’s birthday and valentines day being a big deal here in Kenya, possibly more so than Christmas, there had to be a theme of chocolate for cluster 12 and to accompany the Nyama choma. Chocolate orange panettone is what came out of the kitchen, yummy! I actually used much less butter in the panettone than most recipes call for but it still tasted great! Great toasted when stale a few days later!  Lucas had pure delight in watching and feeling the butter cubes melt in his hands.  I was trying to teach him how to say “Mummy’s sous chef” and he says in his cute toddler way “Mum-mee, pause, soo-she!”, it’s so cute I keep asking him to say it cos it makes me giggle!

Ailsa’a birthday celebration, Kenyan style:

With aunty Ailsa around, Andrew and I are so excited we manage a rare bit of time for just the 2 of us, a valentine’s date, with other commitments in the evening we opt for a “date” earlier in the day.  6.15am we are up and out in the cool breeze, chatting a way to each other as we run through the dusty roads by our home, it’s the first run we have managed together since being here, a perfect valentine’s date!

For now our Kenyan family and friends we wish you tutaonana…

Our rough plans for the next month:

20th February – Bakery research in Nairobi

21st February – Fly to London via Dubai

22nd February – Arrive back in England

2 weeks at our respective parents with a blindfolded run sandwiched in the middle (3.3.13 in Goring)

2 weeks in the South so Andrew can get to London for work

End of March/beginning April (pending elections etc) – back to Kenya

Recipe – Chocolate orange panettone

Ingredients:

7g dry yeast

85ml  milk

420g white strong flour

50g granulated sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp salt

70g unsalted butter cut into cubes at room temperature

150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, I find it easier to cut chunky shavings off with a pair of scissors

150g cup diced glazed orange peel

1/2 tsp pure almond extract

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

1. Put the yeast, milk, flour, sugar and eggs into a bowl, bring together and knead until you have a smooth dough or use a dough hook on a mixer.

2. Once a smooth dough mix in the butter until well incorporated into the dough, then fold in the remaining ingredients. Make into a round and place in a covered oiled bowl either put in the fridge overnight o leave to prove for 2-3 hours.

3. Line your tin with baking parchment, I used a small cake tin.

4. Gently spoon you ingredients into the cake tin or if you are able using floured hands make into a round and place in the tin, then gently smooth over the top.  Leave to rise for 2 hours until well risen.

5. Glaze with egg wash and place in the oven for 45-50minutes at 180ºC.

6. Remove and eave to cool in the tin, eat with coffee or toasted, yummy!

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Irish Soda Bread, Safari and bad eye surgery…

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He is wearing a black worn suit with missing buttons and loose thread hanging from the seams. Like most patients in the clinic he is wearing his best clothes. He is 93 and is clearly struggling to navigate and with some help we get him sat in position to be examined. As I peer down at the magnified view of his eyes I witness a familiar sight. His pupils are not clear and black but a cream white. No light can penetrate through them for me to see the back of his eyes. No light penetrates through them for him to see. He is blind.

I always feel a mix of sadness and excitement when I see patients like this who are blind from cataract – a curable condition. Sad that he has suffered unnecessarily but excited in the knowledge that something can be done and what’s more something will be done.

We explain his condition to him and offer him free surgery, including transport to and from the hospital.

I turn to the next patient but out of the corner of my eye see the on-going conversation with the patient and he is shaking his head. I soon get a tap on the shoulder; the cataract-blind man has decided he doesn’t want surgery. I ask the nurse to probe deeper. It turns out this man’s brother had eye surgery from which he was left permanently blind 20 years ago. The fear of seeing what had happened to his brother was enough to keep him blind.

Unfortunately I’m seeing this situation too often. Poor quality surgery not only blinds the individual but also can blind their community by preventing others from accessing care. Greater pride in surgical quality and outcome is needed, we take for granted the level of care we have in the UK and are soon to react if care is not to our high level of expectation. For this we should be grateful, here in rural Kenya, patients do not question their doctors and do not complain.

We have plans to implement the Eye Phone as a way of making sure all patients are followed up after their surgery and this information will be feed back to surgeons, donors and health ministers. The hope is pride will be taken in doing good surgery not just lots of surgery.

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Madeleine: The matatu (a small mini bus with big tyres and open roof) drives through the gates of Nakuru National Park. We (Ailsa, Lucas and I) are on safari only 10 minutes from our home. It’s been on our door step but it is not till Ailsa’s arrival that we’ve made it down and through the gates. Ailsa is taking a snooze in the heat as we drive to an area more dense with trees, Lucas is busy sticking trucks and cars all over his sticker book.  I am scanning, scanning in anticipation of seeing a giraffe.  I almost  jump out of my skin, nearly throwing Lucas to the floor and giving Ailsa quite a fright! “Stop stop giraffe, giraffe!’ And there they are, six giraffes, barely ten meters from us gracefully munching from the trees. The engine stops and we poke our heads up into this beautiful alive stillness as I take in the magnificent sight and Lucas munches as if he is a giraffe too.

Half an hour later we again poke our heads into stillness as Lucas practises his little roars and we spot the snoozing lions right by our vehicle. Thanks to Ailsa staying we have begun to experience the incredible wildlife of Kenya.

I look up, right by me is an ostrich, bald, kinda small head towering above me, I feel Lucas’ little hands gripping on to me, unsure of what is front of us. The ostrich is stood on his two legs looking directly at us, I want to smile, take his hand and welcome him into the park lodge but he has no hands to shake and I’m not quite sure what he is going to do with his mouth so Lucas and I step back and admire from a distance.

It is a wonderful time catching up with Ailsa and aside from breaking down in two different cars, two days in a row in the heat we have been able to admire the astounding birds, even whilst the car is being repaired.

A Pied Kingfisher swoops down on the lake, he comes up with a fish in his mouth, the grey neck Crowned Crane is just spectacular, the Greater Flamingos with their perfect necks are hardly real and there are many many more we would only normally dream about.

In honour of Ailsa (Irish) our dear friend who I have known for a good nine years now, we met studying medicine, I had to make her yummy recipe for Irish soda bread…it’s really tasty and very easy so a definite to try!

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Ailsa’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

450g wholemeal flour

275ml of butter milk (actually I used half milk, half yogurt with some extra milk to compensate for altitude).

1tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarbonate soda

1tsp salt

Methods:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC and line a loaf tin with vegetable oil.

2. Mix all the ingredients together into a dough and lightly knead.

3. Put the dough into the tin and press down, so flat, then with your fore finger and thumb roughly pinch the top of the dough randomly all over.

4. Place in the oven for 30mins, if it browns too much place tin foil over the top and continue cooking.

5. Cool on a wire rack.

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Some pictures from our safari:

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Pretzels and African Man Flu…

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Madeleine: I hear the now very recognisable rattle of a tuk tuk pulling into the apartment compound, Lucas screams “tuk tuk” like he’s not seen one in years, runs to the chair in front of the window and hauls himself up to peek out. He points with a look of amazement on his face.  I think of the box we carried our groceries home in the other day… an idea is born.  Two hours later whilst Andrew and Ailsa are out in the field, Lucas and I with a good load of glue and a bit of book-binding tape and scissors make Lucas’s very own tuk tuk. As we glue and stick, I encourage him to be patient before he gets in it, finally the moment has come when he can open the door and wriggle his body in. He screams “tuk tuk” and begins his drive. We had a small over turned tortoise moment but it didn’t last for long and he is back on his feet racing around! Admittedly I still have that hidden desire to be a Blue Peter presenter!

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After lunch, Lucas and I arrive to cheer on daddy and auntie Ailsa who is visiting the field to experience the eye work in action.  Lucas runs ahead “Daddy, Daddy”, he greets the study team each with a ‘gota’, our equivalent of “gimme some skin”, each time he smiles with delight at the responses and eagerly looks over at Divina who is just fitting some glasses. He wants his gota. As he hears Daddy’s voice he turns “da deee”and he runs over.   He has learnt to say “ant-ee” and checks around each corner to check if Ailsa is there, he’s even been following her to the toilet and watching her dry her hair, it so cute!

Lucas is really beginning to talk and he has a wonderful cheeky smile.  “Cheese” “cam-mee” (Camembert), “oo-li” (and a wibbly of his tongue, (olives), “burp-pee” ( butter) “app-el”. I am so enjoying this time.  I think he is picking up on the cooking, he was reaching up on tip toes to put pots on the cooker, opening the cupboard and getting plates out and following me around the kitchen today.

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The bakery plans are progressing we have been visiting proposed sites and working on the plans. Joseph and his family live here at the apartments, he is an architect and has offered to draw all the building plans up for free, not only that but he is in the process of buying land and has offered us the land for free as it will be a not for profit venture to support the local community. Amazing!

I’m not really sure why I made pretzels, I think I just like learning new things.  It is very satisfying pulling them out of the oven with that slight roasted sesame smell and golden finish.

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Andrew: My body is aching all over and my stomach doesn’t feel right. Madeleine and Ailsa have already left for their 6.15am run and I’m on the toilet for the 4th time in 30 minutes. I’m meant to be out in the field again today but I picture myself in my current state trying to examine patients whilst regularly running to the local latrine. I break in to a cold sweat and collapse back in to bed. I make a quick phone call and postpone the days work. I doubt it is Malaria as I’ve hardly been bitten, but more concerning, this could be man flu…

Yesterday’s field day went well but I have been feeling my energy levels dropping in the last few weeks and I had the feeling I might hit a brick wall soon. If it weren’t for the regular baked treats I think my energy would have long since dissipated.

10 down, 90 to go….

Pretzels Recipe

taken from ‘Crust’ by Richard Bertinet

Ingredients:

400g fermented white dough

(Prepare this the night before, mix 4g dry yeast, 500g strong white flour, 6g salt and 350g water and knead until a smooth dough, then place in to a lightly floured mixing bowl and cover, either leave out for 6 hours or put in the fridge overnight or for a day).

500g strong white flour

4g dry yeast

15g caster sugar

7g salt

50g unsalted butter

100g milk

100g water

Method

1. Mix all the above ingredients together and bring together into a stiff dough, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour.

2. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions 100g each.

3. Roll each piece to about 25 -30cm long rolls, bend into a heart shape by bringing the two ends to the centre, crossing the right end over the left, bringing it back underneath, then laying the ends either side of the point of the heart.

4. Lay the pretzels on a baking sheet or floured silicone sheet, glaze with egg wash and leave to prove for 45-60mins.  When nearly proved turn the oven on to 250C

5. Glaze again with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and or rock salt. Put into the oven and turn the heat down to 230C.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until dark and golden brown.

6. Cool on a wire rack.

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Banana Flour Banana Bread…

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I have a sinking feeling in my stomach, I can’t stop thinking I’ve forgotten something. The team are all getting in to the bus and we are already late. The Banana Bread! I left it on the table and Madeleine was up to some crazy hour getting it ready – she will kill me! I have to make a decision and make it fast. I tell the guys I’ll be back in a few minutes. I wave down a “piki piki”, motorbike taxi, and jump on the back. The roads are poor and it is much quicker on a bike to get to our flat less than 2 miles away. Dust kicks up behind us and before I know it I’m opening our front door and receiving an inquisitive look from Madeleine and Lucas. It is only at this moment that Madeleine realises what is going on. With a roll of her eyes and a good bye kiss, I am told I have been awarded a “Man Point” for my valiant efforts. Enough of these points and I might be allowed to watch some of the Rugby in town.

Ailsa spent the previous day with our advance team. The role of the advance team is to find as many of the patients from 5 years ago and persuade them to come the examination centre (wherever that may be) the next day. Patients undergoing a reading/near vision test and are given free reading glasses the next day when they attend. We also offer them free treatment should it be needed.

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“Tuk tuk!”, Lucas chirps as he scrambles up the sofa like a monkey, perching on the arm of the chair which he grips with his feet and leans across to the window bars beaming with excitment as he admires the passing tuk tuk.  Lucas spots a car, I peer into the wing mirror from three stories up, I can’t quite see the driver as the car parks beneath our apartment, a Mzungo appears from the back of the car. This time I jump off the chair, hugging Lucas and calling for daddy, I open the door and run down the stairs encouraging Lucas to practise saying his ail-sa, our close friend Ailsa has finally arrived we are all very excited!

That afternoon we head to the national park gate, Lucas spots the “baa boons” and the monkies, then points to his own backside as if asking where his tail is. I think it’s official he’s a monkey.

On the bakery note I was introduced to a lovely lady, a nutritionist who it turns out her daughter-in-law’s father is a wheat farmer here in Kenya and has been approached by the very popular bakery in Nairobi for stoneground flour, his brother is an ophthalmologist who set up a very well know eye hospital here in Kikuyu and their father started the flying doctors which then became AMREF (African Medical and REsearch Foundation) whom we are working with! It looks like baking and eyes have previous links and we have a very helpful contact from whom we could get good quality wheat flour!

It’s 9pm and I haven’t started baking for tomorrows village. I found banana flour a few weeks back and have been waiting to use it. With limited ingredients and limited time I needed to bake something simple yet tasty. This is a bit of a bizarre recipe as I had to improvise, it contains mango and courgette! It’s also gluten free, fat free and tastes yummy!

Recipe – Banana Flour Banana Bread

Ingredients

Recipe Banana flour banana bread!

Ingredients

140g very squashy mashed bananas

2 medium eggs

100g dark sugar

40g icing sugar

75g courgette grated

75g mango grated

150g banana flour (sorry I have no idea where to get this in the UK)

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1tsp cinnamon

 

Method

1. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment and turn the oven on to 180C.

2. Whisk the eggs and sugars for 3 minutes on high speed until about quadrupled in size.

3. Whisk in the mashed banana, and grated courgette and mango.

4. Beat in the flour, baking agents, vanilla and spice until well combined.

5. Pour in to your prepared tin and lace in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes.

The team enjoying the banana bread

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I think this is possibly the coolest hair style I’ve ever seen

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A grandma with a grandchild snoring away on her back whilst being examined

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At the back of our temporary eye clinic three kids chill in a wheel barrow

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Some pictures from our roaming photographer Ailsa as she joins the advance team

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Nap time at the local school.  I couldn’t see Lucas doing this when he get to school!

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Custard Slices, “pee pee” and a bakery…

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“Mummy more pee pee please” I can not stop myself from giggling uncontrollably as Lucas stands, covered in bubbles, in his big plastic tub we improvise as a bath. Having completed an impressive fountain of wee he looks down and wonders why it has stopped!

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I peer behind the sofa looking for the old green balloon, instead I am greeted with a slightly crusty poo! Lucas is following me and sees it too “phoo, phoo” he points as though he forgot to mention it earlier! Having wiped up so many pee pees and regularly sprayed down the tiles in antibacterial, Lucas now pees on the floor then goes to find a cloth and spray. I think it’s official toilet training is not working for now!! Ahh well it was worth a try! We will try again in a few months!

Lucas is really starting to speak now and it’s fascinating what he recognises and associates, if we go near the national park gate he is looking intently to find the baboons saying ‘Boone, Boone’ he still absolutely loves tuk tuks, as soon as they drive off  he looks disappointed and says “tuk tuk gone”. His “no” is very well developed with head shaking to boot. His “yes” is far less committal with a slight nod and a “hmm” is as much as we can get out of him.

In between the toilet training and listening to Lucas beginning to beautifully express himself an idea started brewing a few months back… To open a community bakery where all profits go back into in to eye care and an emphasis on creating healthy, high-quality but affordable baked goods made by local mothers. We’ve seen so many women struggling to make enough money to provide for themselves and their kids, the staple diet is high in carbohydrates with little variation providing them with little nutritional benefit. In brief, after discussing the initial idea with people at the Real Bread Campaign where I worked before moving to Kenya, it seems to be evolving in to a genuine possibility.  Through the Real Bread Campaign, artisan bakers in the UK have contacted us and offered and provided so many good ideas and excellent advice that we introduced the idea to our good Kenyan friends with a lot of business experience. They loved the idea and suddenly we find ourselves looking at possible facilities and land.  Nakuru, our home town, was described as a sleepy town but over the past few years that has been changing and there is a lot of expansion and more industry.  With the national park on its doorstep it has many tourists and hotels/lodges.  For this to work it has to be a sustainable business so here we are in the midst of beginning to budget set up costs, market research and really put plans together to see if it’s going to work.  We have been given some really helpful contacts both here and in the UK so I’ve gone a little email crazy when Lucas has his morning sleep!…to be continued!

After a few very welcome notes that the Comic Relief Great British Bake off was on I set about watching it on You Tube (BBC iPlayer doesn’t work here!). Admittedly it takes 30 minutes to buffer 2-3mins worth of video so it is pretty stop-start but I enjoyed the technical challenge, custard slices, and as I’ve never made them before I thought I’d have a go! If I’m honest I don’t really like this sort of pastry much I’m not a fan of the white icing and they are not nutritious at all but they are fun to make even if very sweet. As you can see from the photo the crème patisserie didn’t quite go to plan, unfortunately I had a few interruptions involving antibacterial spray and a cloth, but it still tasted good!

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There is a scratching and squeaking noise above my head. I look up from the slit-lamp and catch something moving in the roof. I look at one of the others with a face that says, “What was that?”

“It is probably a rat, or some other creature”

“Oh?” I reply slightly unnerved

“They sometimes jump on your head but not always”

Great! I’m going to have to take my chances as there is a queue of study patients waiting to be seen and word has got out that we are in town so we have a queue of people with eye complaints waiting to be seen.

It gets to 3pm and I haven’t been able to make contact with Madeleine all day (she pulled her back last night, too much mopping up pee I think, and was barely able to move this morning) as there has been no mobile phone coverage. I decided to take a breather and go for a short wander to see if I can pick up some signal. I leave the compound that neighbours a primary school and am mobbed by children with calls of “Mzungo, mzungo, how are you?” They then fall to the ground in hysterics when I acknowledge them. I have a sense of what the baboons must feel like in the national parks.

In total today we saw 42 patients, 29 of them study patients which is our best yet in terms of identifying patients from 5 years ago. Next week we will travel further than we have so far and will go to three different villages.

Patients awaiting registration

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Our equipment van and team van parked outside our examination centre

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Slit-lamp, Retinal Camera, autorefractor and Visual Field Analyser all in use

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Where else would you have a bongo as an eye drop table?

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The team breaks for lunch and Custard Slices!

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Recipe – Custard Slices

Taken from Paul Hollywood’s BBC Recipe as used in the Comic Relief Bake Off

Ingredients

For the rough puff pastry
  • 225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200g/7oz butter, chilled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 140-160ml/5-5½fl oz water
For the crème pâtissière
  • 500ml/18fl oz milk 
  • 1 vanilla pod, split down the middle and seeds scraped out
  • 100g/3½oz castaer sugar 
  • 4 free-range eggs, yolks only
  • 40g/1½oz cornflour
  • 40g/1½oz butter
For the icing
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 5 tsp water
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate, melted

Method

  1. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together. Rub in a third of the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then roughly rub in the remaining butter, leaving large lumps.
  2. Add the water a little at a time until the pastry just binds together (you may not need all the water).
  3. Tip the pastry out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a narrow rectangle about 2.5cm/1in thick.
  4. With the pastry vertically in front of you fold the bottom third of the pastry up onto the middle third then the top third down onto the other thirds. This is called a turn.
  5. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes
  6. Take out of fridge and with a rolling pin roll out again into a narrow rectangle and repeat the turn as before.
  7. Chill again and repeat the rolling and turning once more, so a total of three times. Wrap the pastry in cling film and return to the fridge to rest.
  8. While the pastry is resting, make the crème pâtissière. Pour the milk into a pan and add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat.
  9. Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl.
  10. Pour out a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well-combined, then return to the pan.
  11. Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes thick. It will just come to the boil.
  12. Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted and thoroughly combined.
  13. Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm and then chill before using.
  14. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  15. Divide the pastry into two equal pieces and roll out both pieces to 20cm/8in square and 5mm/¼in thick. Then place each pastry sheet onto the lined baking trays, and chill for 10-15 minutes.
  16. Bake the pastry sheets for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.
  17. While the pastry bakes, line a deep 23cm/9in square baking tray with foil with plenty of extra foil at the sides. The extra foil allows you to lift out the assembled slices.
  18. Place one pastry sheet in bottom of the lined baking tray. (Reserve the prettiest piece for the top.)
  19. Spread the crème pâtissière evenly onto the pastry in the baking tray before placing other piece of pastry, on top. Refrigerate while making the icing.
  20. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in cold water until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  21. Transfer the melted chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle, and set aside to firm up slightly.
  22. Take the custard slice from the fridge and spread the icing over the top layer of pastry.
  23. Using the piping bag, draw ten parallel lines along the top of the icing in one direction. Using a tooth pick, pull parallel lines about 2.5cm/1in across the melted chocolate and icing in alternating directions to create a feathered effect.
  24. Place the slice back into the fridge to set.
  25. Cut the finished vanilla slice into eight pieces.
  26. Using the foil carefully lift the portioned vanilla slices out of the tray and place onto a serving platter.

Lucas opted for some healthy fruit instead

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