Showing posts from 2016

Chestnut and veggie stew with herby dumplings

In the depths of winter there's nothing quite like homemade stew, preferably with dumplings.  Before my daughter became a vegetarian (nearly a year ago) I relied heavily on my slow cooker for hearty, warming dinners on a weekday, normally with beef or chicken as the star of the show.  Until now I hadn't made a such a stew with veg, fearing a loss of flavour, relying more on Asian or Middle-Eastern spices to add flavour.

But yesterday I watched Nigel Slater make a delicious-looking vegetable stew so adapted his idea to make one of my own today for Sunday dinner, with very pleasing results.  Here's the recipe if you want to try it - or add your own twist.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 bag of frozen casserole veg (I know, the lazy option).  By all means chop your own selection of carrot, celery, swede, parsnip, or any other root veg.
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 pack cooked chestnuts (you could also use chick p…

Correspondence from Cambodia

I'm currently on a 2 week visit to Cambodia, following up on the twinning project between the Royal College of Midwives and the Cambodian Midwives Association (CMA) that ran between 2012-2015. During that time around 25 UK midwives visited Cambodia for short-term placements with the CMA or its partners (NGOs and various clinical and academic sites).  We also had six workshops, addressing various needs identified by the CMA and six visits from RCM staff (me and others).  We hosted 2 reciprocal visits to the UK and all attended the triennial International Midwives Congress in Prague in 2014 together with other twinned associations from Ugandan and Nepal.  This project was funded by UK-Aid through the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET).

What difference, if any, did these activities make to midwifery in Cambodia? That's what I'm here to find out and also to identify any further possibilities for the RCM to continue our partnership with CMA in the future.

I'm fortu…

Joy Kemp cycles to France via the North Pole!

The moment has finally come. I'm on my way to Portsmouth to join the Royal College of Midwives' staff team cycling 230 miles across France for Women's Aid, our chosen charity of the year.  This is a huge personal challenge for me, being around 6 Stone overweight and not doing much exercise on a regular basis except for walking the dog to my favourite teashop. I am responsible for the RCM's global work and spend much time on planes, in far flung guesthouses with carb-heavy menus and a working long days in London when in the UK with a two-hour commute and too many station sandwiches. And then there's the cake which is a steady feature at the Royal College of Midwives office!

However, I turned 50 last summer and vowed to make some changes. My back and knees were complaining and my parents, 30 years older, seemed fitter and healthier than me! In early July. Whilst attending a training course in The Hague, I found myself cycling to and from the B&B at the insistenc…

An interpretation of Indian Winter Soup

My daughter is currently vegetarian.  I’m not sure where her motivation comes from, she doesn’t seem to have a strongly held philosophical position other than being ‘against animal testing’ and ‘it’s healthier’ but I’m happy to support her and we’re probably all better for not eating too much meat.  The problem is that I’m trying to avoid gluten and diary for health reasons, so it’s a challenge to cook meals that we all enjoy and that fit the bill.  I came across this recipe for Indian Winter Soup and have adapted it to be gluten free.  It is absolutely delicious, cheap as chips and will definitely become a go-to regular.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan and add 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves and a ‘thumb’ sized piece of grated fresh ginger (or take the lazy option and  use 2 tsp garlic and ginger paste from a jar!) Add the spices: 1 tsp cumin seeds2 chopped chillies (or chilli powder/flakes/dried chilli – what you have!)Bay leaf2 cloves1 small cinnamon…

If you want to go far, go together

There is a Ugandan Proverb that says: 'If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together'.  We've had to constantly remind ourselves of this during the past week at our MOMENTUM project workshop where the Royal College of Midwives' UK consultants came together with their Ugandan counterparts to develop a shared understanding of mentorship, explore some teaching and learning theories, consider the context of Ugandan midwifery (where maternal mortality is 438:100,000 compared to 9 in the UK and 4 in Sweden) and finalise workplans for the next 5 months.  It's all too easy for us to fly in, require our partners to drop everything to escort us around and attend our workshop, and expect our plans to be their top priority.  We can tend to be results and outcomes driven, rather than learning from our twins about the importance of relationship, of respecting cultural traditions and putting family first.  We try to remember that that building capacity and…

Negotiating Access for Action Research

I’ve now been back in Uganda for over a week and the team is growing.  Eleanor, the RCM’s Global Projects Officer, arrived on Thursday and tomorrow we will welcome Dr. Lucie Byrne-Davis and Dr. Jo Hart from Manchester University’s ‘Change ExchangeProject’ who are working alongside our MOMENTUM mentorship action research project, helping us to maximise the effectiveness of health behaviour change interventions.
Due to double-booking at the lovely Emmaus Guest House, and to enable our UK midwifery consultants to stay together as a team, Eleanor and I have moved out to the ‘Christian Glory Guest House’ down the road.  So far it has been rather un-glorious but it’s only a bed – we are taking meals with the team and out all day. Our consultants headed out to their project sites for the past two days, meeting their ‘twins’ with whom they will work together, face to face and remotely, for the next 18 months and seeing the context, opportunities and challenges of their workplaces.  We’re exp…

Building MOMENTUM in Uganda

I'm back in Uganda, my 7th stay here since joining the Royal College of Midwives 3 years ago and so in many ways it feels like coming home.  Our new MOMENTUM (Developing a MOdel of MENTorship for Ugandan Midwifery students) project will be officially launched next week and tonight 7 UK volunteer midwife consultants, members of the RCM, will be arriving for four weeks to take up their roles in supporting the development of midwifery mentorship in Uganda.  In the first week they'll be meeting their Ugandan 'twins', seeing the challenges they face and gathering some baseline data.  Some will be in Kampala but others will be based at hospitals, clinics or Universities further afield.  The following week we will all come together for a workshop to launch the programme with various dignitaries, to share ideas, identify challenges and opportunities and set workplans for the next year.  I'll be leading the workshop with our partners, the Uganda Private Midwives Associatio…