Natural history adventures sailing the culinary seas...

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Safari Book

Masai Mara last weekend was fabulous. The highlight of the trip was a lioness with three suckling cubs! And a whole pride of lions walking across the endless grassland and two lionesses eating a zebra and five cheetahs of which three were lying in formation! Also a zillion zebras, hundreds of elephants, giraffes trying unsuccessfully to hide behind acacias, antelopes, gazelles, cute little silver galagos (bush babies!), fat bloated hippos and dangerous looking crocodiles, pink ostrich and a very strange secretary bird with stockings! :)
Well I do exaggerate a bit but we saw so much including some amazing birds. I can email a complete list to anyone interested. We were a little bit surprised at how close the animals let us come. They didn't care at all that 15 cars were surrounding them - the lionesses continued yawning/eating the zebra, the cheetah looked up and then turned away disinterested. I felt a bit let down as if this wasn't the "real" bush. A fantastic experience nonetheless getting to see such spectacular animals up close in the wild. It is crazy to think how many strangely patterned and uniquely beautiful animals there are in East Africa!

A mini crossing!
My favourite family of lions. :)
Secretary bird with stockings!

Kenya has been good to us and in spite of its bad reputation I've only had very positive experiences. I left my phone in a taxi and the driver actually returned it the next day. Also we don't have a car and we've still managed to travel around quite a bit. We went the the Kerio Valley where surprisingly they haven't seen any Indians before! And guess what I get asked about? The size of my nose... We went to the Aberdare National Park and saw some forest elephants, which are genetically distinct by millions of years from the bush elephants. Our lodge was a very curious little place shaped like a huge wooden boat with a viewing area from the 1960s, it was called "The Ark Lodge". You were just supposed to sit there and wait for the animals to come to you! Hehe! We got lucky though with the giant forest hogs, mongoose, porcupine, hyenas and 3 forest elephants going crazy eating great big mouthfuls of salty mud.

We missed our friends and families at our birthdays this year! But we celebrated Pete's birthday with a very yummy and easy to make double-layered vegan chocolate cake with a peanut-butter filling and a chocolate ganache topping! Here's the recipe (adapted from

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 180C
. Mix all the wet stuff and then all the dry stuff and then everything together till there are no lumps. Grease an 8 inch pan. Pour in the batter and bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean.
Gooey Ganache
2/3 cup soy milk, 
1/2 bar of good dark chocolate
, 3 tablespoons honey
Melt everything together!
Use the recipe to make 2 cakes. Put peanut butter in the middle (or whatever you really like) and then just pour the ganache over the cooled cake and kind of tilt the cake at all angles to get the ganache to drip down the sides. Refrigerate to cool and set the ganache. :)

Birthday cake

Oh and I have to mention - a Sykes monkey visited the garden yesterday to eat bird food! I love this place! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment