Andrew gets off the phone from Dr Rono, the eye surgeon in the west of Kenya who will be taking the lead on several Peek projects over the coming years. He excitedly tells me that Rono is meeting a group in his region working on non-communicable diseases/NCDs (diabetes, heart disease etc, diseases that are non-infectious), going door to door doing blood pressure and diabetes checks and trying to find people early before the disease have a serious effect on their health. As these diseases all have eye related problems they are keen to see if Peek could help. This area is my passion and the ethos of the bakery is to provide healthy choices to people who are surrounded by processed food (high in fats, sugars and salts that contribute to NCDs). I’d love to do research in greater depth looking at new ways of challenging unhealthy environments which encourage the increase in these diseases.
A few hours later we have a conference call with a great guy in Peru who is leading several programs tackling issues around NCDs, who had heard about Peek and the possibilities it has for use in NCD diagnosis and monitoring, we too had been thinking how the same platform can be quite easily transferred for exactly these uses. It’s been in the diary a while and given my love of Peru (I lived there for a year when I finished school) and I took Andrew there seven years ago to meet the family I had stayed with whilst on my medical school elective – Andrew was doing eye things. We spoke at length about the various projects in Peru and amazingly, it came to light that the team Rono was meeting in Kenya were partnered with the team in Peru – a small world! Both teams tackling similar issues we’ve written about previously. Somewhat in shock at the possibilities this opens up the day was complete with a notification email from Oxford that I had been offered the job I really wanted and had travelled back to the UK for! It is a fantastic post with a team that excel in primary care (general practice and health care in the community) and research in the areas I am passionate about.
The post in an incredible opportunity to continue work in this area for years to come so we are very thankful all that effort in travelling back with Lucas was well worth it!
Recipe – Victoria Sponge
Taken from Harry Eastwood’s “Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache”
For the sponge:
3 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
200g peeled and finely grated potatoes
100g white rice flour
2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
Tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
150mls whipped cream (original recipe uses 40g margarine but I think it is tastier like this)
90g icing sugar, sieved
Tsp boiling water
Half tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
150g blackcurrant jam (the original recipe uses strawberry)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Lightly oil the base and sides of two loose bottomed cake tins (18cm x 5cm). Place a circle of baking parchment over each base and oil lightly.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, fluffy and tripled in size. Stir in the potato, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Stir well to ensure that everything is incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tins and transferring to a wire rack.
For the filling, whisk the margarine then add in the icing sugar one tbsp at a time. Add the boiling water and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and salt and beat again.
Ice the bottom of one of the cold cakes covering the other one with jam. Sandwich the cakes together.
- Lick the bowl…