Interesting books I have read for this project...

Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley

(of course)

I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson

Mister Johnson by Joyce Cary

The African Queen by C.S. Forester

And many other obscure volumes that are harder to come by, but the above were my favorites.


A Recipe for...

African Peanut Stew

Click on the picture to hear a bit of
African drum music...

A Few Things for
the Study...


   GOLD TRAP has taken me to the most fascinating places, and  -- as usual -- I couldn't resist bringing things back. Here in the study there are maps, music, and a collection of wonderful pictures and artifacts. Not to mention the books. Always books. Even a recipe  I would love to share with you.

But don't take too long to enjoy since I am already stashing things away and making plans for the next big adventure. One that will take us to a different world entirely and just about as opposite to the tropics as it can be. But that's the only hint I'll give out at the moment.

   GOLD TRAP was inspired by the true-life adventures of Mary Kingsley, an ordinary woman with no formal education, who spent most of her life caring for an invalid mother. But she had big dreams. She became an intrepid African explorer, beloved trader, and was the first European to climb Mount Cameroon. All this while maintaining her own personal standards as a woman and a Christian. As an example of the impression she made on  people, one can still view her hat on display at the Royal Geographical Society in England.

   Mostly because she was known for wearing eccentric clothing. Eccentric is such a nondescript word. In Mary's case, it meant simply that she refused to wear men's clothing while tramping through wilderness places. She traveled through sw
amps and rain-forests in the same outfits one would have seen on any respectable woman in downtown London. Her philosophy was "One should never tramp around in clothing one might feel ashamed of being seen in back home." Which worked in her favor in the long run. Especially when turning up in places no civilized person had ever visited before, because she was perceived more often as a curiosity rather than a threat.

      I chose Mary Kingsley as my true-life inspiration for this story for several reasons. First of all, she was brave beyond measure (only one-way tickets were sold to West Africa in her day, because most visitors died over there). Secondly, she lived true to her beliefs, spoke out publicly against injustice, served others more than herself all of her life. Not to mention she was witty, full of good common sense that is still valuable today, and highly entertaining. In fact, I feel richer for having spent time with her.


There are many different variations in recipes for
African Peanut Stew

because it is one of those dishes that can be adapted to any vegetables and meats one has on hand.

   I combined two recipes that I found here.. and here... and still changed things a bit to suit my family's individual tastes. West Africans would probably tell you it needs much more pepper, but you can adjust it for yourself any way you want. Here's the way I ended up liking it best.


2 chicken quarters

(legs and thighs attached)

1 medium sweet onion chopped, or several green onions (with the green parts)

1 leek (white part only) sliced thin

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1tsp grated fresh ginger

(or half tsp dry)

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 cups diced sweet potatoes

1 carrot (sliced)

1 tbs minced green chiles

1 can of diced or stewed tomatoes

1tsp salt

2 cups water or vegetable broth (enough to cover chicken when simmering)

1 half diced green pepper

half cup smooth peanut butter



Pour a bit of oil, or a pat of butter in the bottom of a medium-size soup pot or large sauce pan, and set over medium-high heat. Brown onions, leek, and meat. Add water (or broth) and spices, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except peanut butter and cook for 10 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are tender). Remove chicken quarters long enough to remove bones and skin, chop meat into bite-size pieces, and return to the pot. Stir in peanut butter and cook an additional 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve over rice. Mmm!