The Matatu (team minibus) is slipping sideways, the traction is lost and the minibus tips and leans precariously close to the ground. Suddenly my face is against the passenger door, inches from the earthy bank. We are stuck!
Unusually there was continuous rain overnight which has left the non-tarmacked road leading to today’s village looking more like a swamp then a road.
We are lodged in a deep gutter that is meant to drain the road (but clearly hasn’t), the wheels spin and we don’t move an inch. We carefully pile out and survey the situation. My feet slip and I fall flat on my backside, thankfully my hands go down quick enough to prevent my white “eye-doctor t-shirt” as Lucas likes to call it, being soaked and covered in mud.
We are on our way to a remote village and we are expecting a high-turn out. Almost every living resident still there was found by the advance team who were assisted by Kat, along with the village assistant chief who accompanied them and made a formal proposal to marry Kat. It turns out he was already married but he had no concerns about having a second wife, he thought the main obstacle would be the number of cows he would have to send Kat’s parents as dowry. As lovely and helpful as he was, Kat declined the generous offer.
Eventually we find a helpful guy on his bike who rides off to find us a length of rope. The big blue truck who forced us of the centre of the road is kindly waiting to give us a tow. After the best part of an hour we drag the matatu out of the ditch and recommence our journey.
Check out the video: (you may need to go to the site if not working within email)
The equipment van has also been stuck but managed to find a way to the clinic (miraculously). We eventually join them having been stuck four further times. The last leg of the journey involved half of us steering the matatu along the muddy road as it slipped all over the place as though it were on skis.
We stand watching the oval piece of dough go into the hot dry pan. A few seconds later a few bubbles appear underneath the surface of the dough, slowly they expand, the pocket is growing inside, Jedidah and I watch, there is something so satisfying about watching a pitta cook! Or maybe that’s just me! Actually Kat and Baz both agree.
It’s the second week of baking classes at our home, it has been a lot of fun and a great opportunity to begin teaching a variety of bakes, flavours and techniques to potential bakery staff. Whether hospitality or other roles we feel its very important everyone understand the products they are selling. Again the boys from the team were awaiting Jedidah’s great bakes so hopefully we are doing something right!
An ongoing challenge I’m working on is the development of recipes that are suitable for baking in the communities where people don’t have ovens as we know them and people are using more traditional Jiko charcoal stoves.
We have been working more on the bakery design with the architect and some invaluable advice from a bakery consultant in Canada, John and a hygiene consultant in the UK, Jonathan. At some point we will be very excited to share the designs with you.
We also met a very helpful lady who farms wheat, near Nakuru, they focus on sustainable farming and basically said they could grow us any wheat we would like! This could solve the big problem of finding hard wheat, a higher protein flour which is much better for bread making. In the UK we use strong flour, a high protein, hard wheat. Here in Kenya the easily accessible flour is from soft wheat.
Recipe – Rosemary crispy crackers
200g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp icing sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
4 tsp olive oil
- Add all dry ingredients , mix then add olive oil and water
- Bring together and gently knead
- Roll into a sausage, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge.
- Cut into 20 slices
- Mix ugali topping
- Roll out with topping sprinkled on
- Place on non-stick tray and bake at 190°C for 10ish minutes
- Leave to cool on a tea towel or wire rack
For a variation try: Fennel seeds and tea masala crispy crackers.
Add 1 tsp tea masala, half tsp fennel seeds and mix the ugali with two tablespoons icing sugar.