So as if I wasn’t busy enough already what with the baking, blog, sewing, job that keeps me away from home 4 nights a week plus the long distance relationship, I now also have yoga to keep me occupied. Over the last two or three weeks, I have been doing an hour of yoga 6 days a week and already, I can’t imagine life without it! Around a year ago, I slipped a disc in my lower back and had to have a week off work. Ever since then, if I picked up too much weight or did certain exercises I would agitate it and the pain would return. This was very frustrating as I have always been into keeping fit and was a regular runner, boxer and regularly attended a boot camp, but if I did a squat too fast or threw a punch too hard, I would be in agony. Lifting cast iron pots at Le Creuset for a job didn’t help! I eventually went to see a chiropractor who said my spine was now also out of line and the back muscles are super tight. He advised most of the activity I was used to doing probably wasn’t doing me any favours, I kept trying for a couple of weeks to do exercises that were more back-friendly such as spin class and using a cross trainer. But still the pain persisted (sad face). So I did some research, spoke to a few people and the advise always seemed to be yoga. I kinda just ignored it at first, my perception of it was that it was just slow and boring, how could it possibly give me the workout I was used to? In the end, I reluctantly gave it a go. I started off with a beginners YouTube video. I could hardly hold the moves or even get into position!
This alone made me want to persevere. There are lots of different styles and I found the one that suited my needs the most, Vinyasa. Yoga wasn’t easy or boring, it was challenging and interesting. It was very obviously going to help build my core strength using moves such as planks and downwards dog, they stretched out my spine muscles and really eased the pain. I also found it very good for the mind, helping me to relax and take perspective, so much so, I feel the need to do it every day if possible. I turn my phone on silent and focus on my posture and body, forgetting the stresses of the day. I have felt really nervous about trying a class, I’m not very flexible or strong at the moment (and no one likes being the newbie) but I was really keen to make sure my posture is correct so booked myself a class on Saturday morning in Bermondsey. I’ll let you know how it goes!
This bake is unfussy. Simple and tasty. It’s one of the bakes I did with my homie, Eric Lanlard. It is gluten free as there is no flour, just a lot of ground almond which make this cake very rich. Then add the 8 eggs. This makes it very, very rich. Plus the cinnamon sugar syrup poured on as it cools. This makes it super rich! As a girl who can take my cake, I could easily settle with just one small slice of this cake. There is no need to worry about technique here so this is great for a baking beginner. Unlike a lot of gluten free recipes, this is not crumbly or dry, it is super moist and will keep for up to 4 days. I have used lemon for the syrup but Eric used orange so feel free to use either. I served this with clotted cream (a favourite of mine at the mo) but would also be superb with ice cream.
Gluten free almond and cinnamon cake
- 350g ground almonds
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 3 tsp gluten free baking powder (or normal baking powder)
- 8 eggs
- 400ml rapeseed/sunflower oil
- Zest of 2 lemons (or oranges)
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Juice of two lemons (or oranges)
- Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees. Grease and line a 24cm cake tin.
- Mix together the almonds, sugar, baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and oil. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir well.
- Grate the zest into the mix and stir again. Pour into your prepared tin and pop into the oven, this is a deep cake so don’t worry if it looks like you have a lot of mixture.
- Bake for around 50 minutes, check using a knife if the middle is cooked, if not, continue baking and check every 5 minutes. Put on a wire rack to cool but do not remove from the tin.
- As the cake bakes, make your syrup. In a pan, put the juice from your lemons plus the cinnamon and sugar into a pan and heat gently until it comes to the boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down and let simmer for 5 minutes then allow to cool.
- After your cake has been out for about 5 minutes, pour your syrup over the top and leave it to soak in. Leave it to cool completely before removing from the tin, the cake will have absorbed the syrup and be ridiculously moist.