Monday, 27 April 2009

Naked Chef - maybe worth thinking about

It’s a damp, misty and cold morning here in Nakuru.

Well the stories from this week….

I think I reported that Fatso had made the great escape and was no where to be found, I printed posters and enquired via the neighbours but to no avail. Kim spent the week being pampered, spending time indoors in the evening until she was up for guard duty. On Sunday Henry went off to church on his bike and wasn’t due back until about 7pm, he appeared at 2pm with a lot of noise, he had found Kim in Free Area with a man who claimed to be her owner. Apparently a fight ensued and Henry won, Fatso didn’t look too happy after her adventure and Kim didn’t seem to be too happy that Fatso was back, her days of being spoilt were soon to come to an end, one dog in the house is OK two crazy ones impossible.

After our successful attempt at cooking bread in our Bush Oven we decided we wanted to go whole hog and cook a roast dinner. We invited Joe a friend who had done some electrical work for me on the house and were looking forward to a great feast. Not quite that easy…… I had the job of lighting the fire under the oven and taking charge outside……. regulating heat etc… Edwina was in the kitchen preparing the dinner for cooking. We had roast chicken, Mediterranean vegetables and had planned on roast potatoes (the ended up as creamed pots as they over boiled!).

So far so good, except I was a bit concerned with the colour of the sky, a decided grey/black colour was developing……. I hurriedly grabbed a long length of black plastic (Henry had used to cover the seed bed to hasten germination of the seeds), this together with the tall ladder and some clothes pegs. Now my plan was to use the washing line and the ladder to suspend the black plastic over the oven in order to ward off the rain. I was very pleased with the result as no sooner had I secured the cover that the heavens opened, I still managed to man the fire and cook the dinner until the plastic decided it had taken on too much water and sagged badly, this resulted in the ladder toppling towards the oven… I grabbed a long length of wood and quickly thrust upwards dislodging the large amount of water, unfortunately it headed my way and I was soaked from head to toe, the fire on the other had was still roaring away.

The area where I was standing and the oven was positioned was a lake and in order for me to go inside I had to wade ankle deep in water to the house. I had to peel off my soaking clothes and change before I could eat my dinner as I was so, so cold and very, very wet, maybe next time I just forget the clothes and become Kenya's first NAKED CHEF!

Dinner was a great success although minus roast pots and Joe who unfortunately, or fortunately couldn’t make it as he came down with malaria and was confined to bed (he went to great lengths to avoid our cooking!) its Ok though Henry had his share.

Earlier on Friday, Faisal, a friend of mine told me he was going to Nairobi and returning the same day, I asked him to pick up some rhubarb en route at the roadside fruit stalls, (for some reason it is unavailable in Nakuru but abundant in Nairobi). My first difficulty was explaining what rhubarb was to someone who had never seen it, that accomplished he promised to get me some. 11pm Friday night I got a phone call to go to my gate, he appeared from the boot of his car with 4 big bunches of rhubarb, my description worked!

On Saturday I prepared and stewed the rhubarb ready for freezing and the long awaited CRUMBLE! Edwina and I went to Scann prepared to cut hair and Edwina to work on dance routine. Our plans were scuppered as we arrived the boys were called into a prayer assembly for Yasmin Gilani (one of the Trustees who was due to go into hospital for an operation that day). We went in with them and the boys planned and took the assembly themselves, it was lovely, such a lot of singing. I watched the boy’s faces and wandered how come in England there isn’t the heart and soul belief that I was seeing here, they put so much into the prayers and singing that I ended up excusing myself as I was overcome with emotion. The day was not to be a constructive one for Edwina and myself, the boys were concerned for Yasmin and the day was put aside for thoughts of her.

Edwina and I left (I was still feeling drained from being so emotional) we got Nick to pick us up as I needed to stop off for shopping at Highway supermarket. We got home and had soup for dinner made with veg and the carcass of the chicken, it was comfort food, I was actually not feeling too good and decided that hadn’t helped the emotions. I headed to bed early as it was cold and damp.

Sunday, um didn’t see much of Sunday, I got up to the alarm to switch off the security lights at 5.30am as usual. Then at 7am got up to feed chickens and Kim, then went back to bed, slept on and off then on for the majority of the day as I just couldn’t stay awake. Edwina cooked chocolate brownies and crumble, I got up to make the fire for the oven and then went back to bed. At 2pm when Henry appeared with Fatso I forced myself out of bed, had some crumble and sat and watched two James Bond movies with Edwina.

The heavens opened last evening and I really didn’t think they would close again, you could almost feel the drops hitting the ground. It was a good day to spend in bed, a duvet day, (although don’t have a duvet) I don’t regret wasting it as I was still not feeling 100% I know that if I had tried to do anything I would have failed miserable and frustrated.

Today is another day, as I have said at the start it is very misty and damp, bright but not sunny, the sky is that white after rain colour. I looked out the window this morning and thought, this could be any day back in the UK, its UK weather. I am now off to get dressed as at the moment sitting on my bed typing this, Edwina has gone in early to meet up with a friend, I am heading to town to meet up with her and go to the post office and internet before I head to SCANN.

Wishing you all a good start to your week, mine can only get better.
I am attaching the recipe for the bread we made and hopefully some photos too.
Love to you all,



Part 1
½ cup of margarine
1 tsp salt
1 small potato
¾ cup of potato water (with the small potato mashed in it)
1/3 cup of sugar
2 eggs

Part 2
½ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
2 heaped tsp yeast

Part 3
4&½ cups of strong white flour


Part 1
Boil a small potato. Mash it together with the water it was boiled in (¾ cup). Warm this water and pour of margarine, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 well beaten eggs.

Part 2
Mix lukewarm water, sugar and yeast, leave to soak for 10 minutes

Part 3
Mix parts 1 and 2. Add flour and knead well for about 5 minutes (at least 200 times!)
Leave to rise for about an hour and a half or until it has doubled in size.
Knead again and place into bread tins or make into rolls.
Pre heat oven to 180 C
When dough has risen put in the oven. Buns take about 10 minutes, loaves about 25.
When cooked brush with melted butter and put back in for a couple of minutes.

You can substitute milk for potato water. Eggs can be left out if making loaves.

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