Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Sunday, 11 August 2013

£20,000. If I had it I would spend it like this. This blog also includes a Kenyan Curry.


Twenty thousand quid. Wow. If it were just me I suppose I would happily blow it all on a series of very expensive spa days, designer sunglasses, more Le Creuset than my kitchen actually has room for and a trip to New York, first class of course, but I need to think less about my need for pedicures and French cookware and more about actually how actually that amount of money could create something long lasting in the memories of Lola and Finn and invest it in providing some cherished family experiences. That being the case, I would love to take my family on Safari to Kenya.

 This is partly inspired by Phill’s experience of a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ safari that he was lucky enough to experience when he was younger. His enthusiasm for what he experienced: the sparse landscape, the heat, the amazing spectacle and privilege of seeing animals in their natural habitat, rather than peering at them, captive, through the bars in a zoo somewhere was a humbling experience that has never got old. I am gratified by Lola and Finn’s interest in natural history and their inquisitive minds when it comes to animals, and I hope the adventure of an early morning start, as the sun peers above the morning mist, the stillness, only disturbed by our movements in an off road vehicle and then by the amazing sight of elephants milling about around a watering hole, or the lion creeping as it stalks its prey, or the giraffe (Lola’s particular favourite!) elegantly reaching up to pick the leaves from the highest branches of the acacia trees.

I’d hope that both Lola and Finn would be up for sleeping in tents, closing their eyes surrounded by the sounds of the African bush, playing out some kind of Safari symphony – if not, well I could put up with one of those lovely safari lodges I am sure.
Africa, for me, seems a land of such contrasts, from the idyllic to something less so, where many find it almost impossible to forge a life because of the lack of infrastructure that we take for granted. To that end, I support charities like UNICEF and OXFAM in the hope that I can in some small way try to make a difference. I think it would be enormously beneficial with some of this twenty thousand pound windfall to involve our family with World Vision. I think sponsoring a child in another country would be a real opportunity for Lola and Finn to engage with and understand how life is for others.  I’d like my children to consider themselves as world citizens, rather than at the centre of their own little world. Food for thought.
Talking of food for this is, of course, a food blog, and as I am talking of Kenya, a Kenyan recipe might not go amiss. So here is something we ate a couple of nights ago which was enjoyed by all: Kenyan Ground Round Curry.

Kenyan Ground Round Curry, adapted from

Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad

An American recipe, so cup measurements

My adaptations in red

2 tablespoons oil
 1 cup onion, chopped
 1 lb lean ground beef mince
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I used medium curry powder, similar spices to what you might use in a Rogan Josh)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 medium tomatoes, chopped or 1 (12 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained (I used plum tomatoes and didn't drain)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (didn't use it)
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped 
 1/2 cup water (I used beef stock)

salt and pepper


In a deep medium-sized frying pan, sauté onions and beef mince in oil until meat is browned. Skim fat if necessary.

Add curry powder, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Fry briefly, then add tomato puree, (cinnamon) and coriander.
Stir and add water or beef stock and season to taste.

Simmer 20 minutes over medium heat to blend flavours. Serve over rice, spaghetti or with chapatis and sprinkle some more chopped coriander over if you like. Everybody loved this, even Finn, and this will become a weekday staple when I return to work full time in a couple of weeks or so.

This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here – and about the Britmums #Spend20K challenge here.


  1. Hi Stella,

    Great food for thoughts! Food for our mind and soul is another great way to feed our body :D

    I reckon that we are very lucky for what we are. Our kids are very well fed with warmth and shelter. I wonder what will I do if I have 20,000 pounds???


  2. So much in this post. I too love Le Creuset and would like a New York trip. The plans for the family though would create so many memories. Recipe to try too. Wow! Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

  3. I'd really love to go on a safari, I watch all the documentaries on the TV (LOVED Planet Earth Live last year!) and the zoo is always my tourist destination of choice wherever we visit :) x


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