Coffee and Walnut Cake, designing a bakery…


We have a blank canvas, well actually, a slightly crumpled up sheet of A4 paper. It is time to put the bakery designs on paper. Building from scratch means we actually have almost limitless possibilities for the design. We’ve spent the morning brainstorming with the architect. Lucas may have added some extra walls in when we were chatting so we will have to double check the blueprint!

Our minds are spinning with the possibilities for the interior layout, the styling and finish. Never mind what we will serve.

Last week I had the idea of a library and quiet corner for children to read, (we would laminate all the books!). I feel particularly inspired by this as unfortunately there are no libraries in Nakuru and books are so expensive. Having a library is certainly an incredible service I know I took for granted in the UK.

Then there is the playground… I’ve no idea what it’s called, but that stuff that looks like concrete but is actually soft and springy under all the playgrounds we find in the UK, we are going to have to find some!

The team are expecting a couple of film crews in the field with them tomorrow so we are planning on sending out some extra baked goods, maybe we can start generating some interest in Jamii Bakery.

Recipe – Coffee and Walnut Cake – Gluten free.

One of Harry Eastwoods from Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache


Cake mixture

200g rice flour

120g walnuts
3 eggs
160g light muscovado sugar
250g of finely grated carrot
2t baking powder
1/4t salt
1tbsp of coffee granules in 125ml water

50g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp of strong coffee


1. Blend up the nuts and flour in a processor until like fine breadcrumbs
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar, preferably with an electric hand blender, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and increased in volume.
3. Beat in the baking powder, salt, and coffee, then also add the carrot and flour/nut mix.

4. Divide mixture into tins and bake 30 mins at 180ºC.

5. Cool for 10 mins in tins, then remove and allow to cool completely.

6. Soften the butter with the beater in the mixer then add half the sugar and beat for a few minutes, followed by the remaining ingredients.  Add yogurt according to consistency required.

7. Sandwich the icing with two cakes and decorate with walnut halves.

“Where’s your smile Lucas?” – “Here it is!”


Cinnamon Breakfast Bread. We are definitely back in Kenya…


“We are going to have to close the gate, we can’t keep the flight any longer.”

We are at Wilson airport in Nairobi; Madeleine, Lucas, Donna and the kids are sat excitedly waiting to board the flight to the Massai Mara.

I plead with the lady at the desk, “he’s just around the corner” I say this in hope with no certainty that Matt is actually anywhere nearby. He’s on a tour of Nairobi searching for banks and ATMs to pay the travel agent. I try calling but can’t get through. The screen above the desk pings and the red writing exclaims “Gate Closed”.

I can’t believe that after months of excitement leading up to this 3-day holiday we are going to miss it. I look over at Madeleine trying to get her attention to answer the phone. She eventually picks up and I tell her not to board the small plane that sits just a few meters away with the propellers picking up speed. I know if they get on they’ll leave without us.

The lady at the desk encourages Madeleine to get on board, with some quick thinking she claims a toilet emergency for the kids and that they all have to pee before we get on, before there is chance to protest, Madeleine grabs Lucas and heads for the toilet (even though he wears a nappy…), the rest of the gang in tow.

I hear heavy footsteps and panting behind me, Matt has made it, we run through and join the others who have returned from the toilet just in time to get on board! Why do our flights always end up being so dramatic!


I stand on the roof of our apartment block, memories of our trip to the Massai Mara and time back in the UK still fresh in my mind. After an incredible 6 weeks of catching up with friends and family as well as touring Kenya with the Harrison’s (for the last 2 weeks), I look over at the lake and take in the stillness. There is chirping and chattering, I peek over the wall to see flutters of yellow and small round woven baskets dangling from the ends of the branches of the tree down below me.  The flutters of bright yellow are Weaver birds, they chitter and chatter moving from branch to branch. They are as common as the black bird of the UK, their nests sit on the end of branches away from predators like monkeys that can not balance this far along the branch.

It’s been really good for us to process the last 6 weeks as we get back into the swing of things here.  It is reassuring to see Lucas being so at home as we spend more time in the flat again. He is getting really good at asking, “what’s this, what’s that?” We went through his whole pack of tractor cards as he established what each tractor is doing and specifying their colour.  His knowledge of airports is certainly increasing too, when we flew out with George and Jack a few weeks ago, Lucas was in his element spotting the airport tractors, the luggage, control tower, conveyer belts.  Our layover in Dubai for 12 hours was constant entertainment, Lucas and Jack racing their Trunkies, running backwards on the flat escalator walkways.

Arriving back in Kenya to the burnt out Nairobi airport was like being at a huge wedding fair with temporary marquees and the workings that are usually behind the scene visible for all. The airport staff had done really well to keep things working and our return to Kenya was smooth despite the problems. Back to Nakuru and a couple of power and water cuts, the usual day to day fun… It is good to be back.

Recipe – Cinnamon Bread


100g Rye flour

400g Strong white flour

8g dried yeast

9g salt

400g water

For the topping – 

Large teaspoon of good quality cinnamon

50g Brown sugar


1. Mix all the bread ingredients together and knead for 8 minutes.

2. Leave to prove for 2 hours

3. Place in to a 20cm square, non-stick tin pre-sprinkled with flour

4. Gently spread the dough evenly over the tin

5. Leave to prove for a further 90 minutes

6. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and evenly sprinkle over the top

7. Place in the over at 220ºC for 10 minutes, then 200ºC for further 20 minutes

8. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack




George Lucas (and Jack) and Doughnuts on the Dark side…


One of the team stretches across, delicately balanced on a school chair which precariously sits on top of the school desk. He carefully nails the blackout curtains across the windows. The room descends in to darkness and the familiar hum of the generator starts up outside the window. The building has been split in to a designated dark side for the equipment and a sunlit area for interviews, registration and blood tests. Back to work as usual, except, there really never is a “usual” day. The journey here was challenging to say the least. The final 150 meter stretch to the clinic site was too dangerous to attempt in the bus so we all clamber down the path. Fortunately we have Redempta with us today who has kindly brought our guests (the Harrison’s) in her family 4×4.  She has the bright idea of unloading the equipment van into the pickup and doing a couple of runs with it down to the clinic and back. Over an hour later we are set up and seeing the queue of patients awaiting us. Jack (4) and Lucas “help” by carrying plastic stools from the dark side to the light side before heading outdoors with George to play with a couple of similarly aged kids. Matt and Donna have brought a couple of beach balls from the boy’s Auntie Sasha and the boys spend the next hour passing it to one another while the clinic presses on to avoid the imminent rains. There is something amazing about children and the universal language of football. Despite their very different backgrounds, in this moment, it is all about playing with the ball. No prejudice, no need for words, nothing, just fun.


After making doughnuts for the team and helping out in the field we wanted to maximise our visitors time in Kenya so we headed to the Kakamega rainforest for two days…..

Eagerly wanting to explore, Matt and I look at the rain clouds and listen to the soft thunder in the distance, we know the waterfall walk was smaller of the two so we head down on to the trail.  Colobus monkeys swing from tree to tree, the distinguishing red tailed monkeys dangle from the branches as we meander along a stream neighboured by wide tree trunks.  We can hear the patter of rain on the leaves above us and enjoy the protection the canopy gives us.  The lightening is frequent and the thunder begins to boom, we are starting to get very wet. We try to protect the cameras and realise packing a rain jacket for the “rainforest” would probably have been a good idea! We begin to walk very fast and before long our clothes are saturated. The boys, Matt, Donna and I are all laughing running through the warm rain, jumping over the little bridges that straddle the stream.  This is being part of the rainforest.  lightening strikes with a simultaneous mighty clap of thunder, I turn to Matt wanting to pretend I’m not scared but I think my face says the exact opposite! We climb the steps which have now become a  waterfall. Too wet to care we reach the relative safety of the gardens 200m from our cottage. We race back, the boys yelping with excitement and Lucas just yelping, Andrew greets us with towels and takes Lucas to dry him off.  After a lovely solar heated shower we are surprised by a very welcome knock at the door as the rain continues to pour down. Afternoon tea with chocolate cake delivered to our cottage by a man in a body length rain mac… awesome!

The next morning Lucas and Jack were very aware of where they went as we walked towards the waterfall again and Lucas was very clear as he repeated no rain, no rain!!

It has been such a special and incredible time sharing our Kenyan adventures with Matt, Donna and their two boys George and Jack, thank you guys!! Kuona baadaye.


PicMonkey Collage

Lucas and Jack playing by the high chlorine pool


The Harrison’s chillaxing on the veranda


Lucas – “I want Dorge and Jack come back”


Recipe – Doughnuts

Please see the recipe for jam doughnuts, the methods are very similar.

Shape and divide the dough into 20 equal portions, fold each one into a round – like a ball of doughnut. Continue to fold the top part of the dough underneath to stretch the gluten over the top and make the surface smooth, then poke your thumb through to make the hole and swing around on your finger to stretch the hole.  George (8) was very good at this and shaped nearly all the doughnuts.  Place on a floured tray and leave to rise until double in size.

Cook in the same way as jam doughnuts but you do not need to cook for as long as they are smaller and there is no centre of doughnut to be cooked.

To decorate we just used simple icing sugar and water with a little natural food colouring or cocoa and an additional sprinkling with seeds and nuts, this was a very fun messy activity!

Tip: when cooking keep an eye on the temperature of the oil as even if your gas is on a stable temperature it will continue to rise and just may need turning down or visa a versa.

Back to work (via the Massai Mara!), Beef pasties and special guests…


We are perched on a seat, barely one meter above the ground, the canvas sides of our vehicle are rolled up leaving us exposed to the warm air. We are captured by the majestic appearance of the “Daddy lion” who displaying a large array of sharp and powerful teeth. I continue to stare holding Lucas tightly, my heart rate begins to increase, we are only two meters away from that impressive jaw. The tension builds and the calm is broken. The lion turns, stretches and stands up, I suddenly feel very hot, my grip on Lucas is even tighter and I shift across the beige seats to put some distance between us. I start shouting, “move, move!” Andrew moves in the opposite direction to closer to the lions mouth “for a good photo”!!


The driver starts the engine and we move away. Still captivated and scared in equal measure I continue to stare at the king of the jungle. The lion then urinates, and then purposefully resumes his morning afternoon nap under the acacia tree; very relieved we all burst out laughing.  Just 10 minutes later and fuelled with awe and adrenalin we spot our first elephants, a family of three just a few meters away munching away at some bushes. The yelps of excitement from our land cruiser were loud enough to set off the migration of the Wildebeest!


When we thought it couldn’t get any better a herd of 100 elephant walked passed and we admired them breathlessly as these beautiful giants momentarily let us in to their world.


We arrived back in Kenya a few days ago and are honoured to have shared our big safari adventure to the Massai Mara with my cousin Matt his wife Donna and their two boys George and Jack. Lucas has been beside himself with excitement having two older boys to play with all day.


Whilst following lions, cheetahs, elephant herds, wildebeests, zebras and warthogs the mobile phone project was getting global media coverage. It went out last Thursday on the BBC and was soon picked up by Sky News, CBC (Canadian channel) and loads of newspapers. (Search “Portable Eye Examination Kit” to see how it has gone viral. Our phone and internet coverage was really poor but we did manage to watch one of the BBC clips, all very surreal!

(Click on the picture to see the BBC Video or go to

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 18.48.08

We returned to Nakuru to recommence the eye project, the bakery planning (see new page on the blog on this) and the baking challenge, and of course the blog. The first instalment after the break and returning to the field is beef pasties!

Recipe -Beef Pasties




250g butter cut in to 1 cm cubes

500g plain white flour

pinch salt

cold water



500g rump beef cut in to 1cm cubes

2 red onions finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon olive oil

150g carrots chopped 1cm cubes

150g potato cut into 1cm cubes

sprig rosemary chopped finely

1 cube beef stock

salt and pepper



1. Make the pastry add the butter to the flour and using your fingers rub the butter into the flour until you have fine bread crumbs, then gradually 1 add a little cold water until a dough is formed, bring together into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30mins.

2. For the filling mix all the ingredients together apart from the beef stock in a bowl.  Mix the beef stock cube in a tiny bit of boiling water until dissolved, then mix thoroughly into the bowl mix.

3. roll out the pastry until 2-3mm thick and use a saucer to cut around to make a circle about 12-15cm diameter.

4. Place a spoonful of filling on one half of the pastry circle leaving space at the edges, then fold over the pastry to make a semicircle shape and use a little water to stick the two pastry edges together, the the en of a fork or your finger to make the pattern around the edge of the pasty.  Place on a non-stick parchment on an oven tray.

5. Before placing in the oven brush with beaten egg.  Place in the oven at 200ºC for 10mins, then turn it down to 180ºC for a further 40mins.


p.s check out the new Bakery page and updated Eye Project Page!









On our way to an early morning safari – Lucas goes nowhere without his blue tractor


George, Lucas and Jack enjoying breakfast after the early safari



Massai warriors use Peek on each other


Lucas at the “airport” running for the plane


There it is!