Saturday, August 30, 2014

UPDATE on status of CommunityConservation-Initiative (CCI-Kenya)

UPDATE... 30th August, 2014.
Unfortunately my CommunityConservation-Initiative (CCI-Kenya) project has now come to an end due to health reasons.

Since my last visit to community groups in Kenya in 2008 and community project updates here in 2011, my main CommunityConservation-Initiative (CCI-Kenya) website had become very out of date and has now been permanently closed down.

Please note that someone else is now using the website address as their own for something totally different. Links on this 'Cooking in a Basket' blog to my old CommunityConservation-Initiative (CCI-Kenya) website address should therefore now be ignored as the original pages and information contained on them are no longer available.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Latest News from Musul in Laikipia

2011 sees the exciting arrival of a new head teacher for the young maasai children attending Sherston Musul Primary School in Laikipia, Kenya. After much hard work and fundraising the new primary school now has accommodation for a teacher as well as a kitchen block and an extra classroom. Please visit the Sherston Musul website to see how you may be able to help the school achieve more water-tank, guttering, sports equipment and other much-needed facilities.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good news from Musul in Laikipia, Kenya

The following good news was received on 16/10/09 from Gordon Liddle regarding the drought in Laikipia and development of the new Sherston Musul Primary School.

"It has finally started to rain in Kenya! Just over an inch so far (over the last week) but Sherston Musul Primary School are confident that the rains have now started. The water tanks you helped to fund are already more than half full - including the new Musul tank - new gutters are working and we have only have one leak. This is being fixed this week..."

Further news, information and photos, including how you can help to donate to the Sherston Musul Primary School development project can be found at

Sunday, June 14, 2009

When the Cooking Basket is Empty...

In November 2004 I visited the remote semi-arid region of Western Mukogodo in Laikipia, Kenya for the very first time. Since then I have spent several weeks living with the local Maasai community based at Musul, a beautiful conservation area with resident leopards, eland, migratory elephants and stunning views of Mount Kenya in the distance. Whilst I was there during December 2006 the women of the community were introduced to the use of Cooking baskets as a means of helping to save firewood and water.

This week I received the following heart-wrenching request for help from Daniel LeMolo on behalf of the community at Musul -

"We are continuing struggling with the drought here with no rain at all...The situation at Musul is worst ever seen. No water, no food, children fainting in the class and a lot of problems. So, to your website, if people can donate so that we can try to feed these kids so we don't lose them to hunger. Please put this request to your website."

A recent newspaper article about the terrible effects of the drought in Laikipia can also be seen by clicking here.

If any of you would also like to make a monetry donation to help the children attend and receive a much-needed meal at local primary school (probably the only meal that they will eat in a day), please visit the Sherston Musul Primary School website where it is possible to make a PayPal donation or send a cheque.

The Sherston Musul website has been set up to help raise awareness and funds for the further development of Sherston Musul Primary School (provision of facilities such as classrooms, uniforms, books, writing materials, school meals, etc). The funds and funding priorities at the school are administered locally by Gill Ellias at O'Lentile in Kenya.

Further information about Musul and related links can be found at 'Postcards from Kenya'.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Root Vegetable & Ginger Soup

Happy New Year!
Here's a delicious, economical soup to help warm you up this winter-

Ingredients (- please adjust quantities to suit)
  • 1 onion. chopped
  • 1/2 a leek, chopped
  • Mixture of available winter vegetables (eg. carrot, swede, turnip, sweet potato, parsnip, Irish potato), chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • Half a cup of red split lentils
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce or HP sauce (if desired/available)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme or parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs if available)
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt (if desired)
  • 1 1/2 litres water

1) Heat oil in a large saucepan, add chopped onions and leek and cook gently until softened.
2) Then add chopped mixed vegetables, ginger and chopped tomato. Cover and cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Add water, stock cube, herbs, lentils. Stir thoroughly.
4) Add Worcestershire or HP sauce to taste.
5) Cover and gradually bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
6) Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
7) Place covered saucepan in cooking basket or haybox for 1 hour or so to finish cooking (or longer if required).
8) When cooked, blend soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
9) If desired, drizzle some natural yoghurt on top of soup before serving.

Delicious served hot with (or without) some fresh home-baked bread.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Using a Hay Box or Cooking Basket could help reduce your fuel bills...

In difficult financial times like these, cooking with a traditional Hay Box or Cooking Basket could help you to reduce the amount of cooking fuel that you use, thereby helping to save money and cut the cost of your household bills.

This 'Cooking in a Basket' blog includes instructions on how to make a Hay Box and Cooking Basket, as well as a variety of recipes to help get you started, and links to other related websites.

If you have any recipes or other useful suggestions of your own to help save money in the kitchen, please send them in and I'll include them here.