Hello, I’m Lesh Karan.

I’m a former pharmacist turned professional writer – with a 5-second stint in food coaching – who's also authored a deliciously satisfying ebook. This is my little home on the web, where I share my musings on nourishing the belly and soul.

I hope you find something here that nourishes you too.

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.

Alan Keightley

Raspberry bakewell cake

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There was a time, before I started this blog, where I’d collect recipes from the weekend’s newspaper. Not each one, just the ones that piqued my fancy.

I took a break from it when I got serious about food – too serious. Now, that I’m over that, I revisited this cake recipe (clipped in 2009) when I made it for a cousin’s birthday about a month ago, and just last weekend for my mother’s birthday.

The recipe is modified, of course, to make it more wholesome (you know me). Yet, the deliciousness remains intact – in fact, dare I say, it has upped the taste factor.

I find the cake is perfect for afternoon tea, shared with good friends over cups of herbal brews. And, since berries are in season – in Melbourne, at least – why not use fresh raspberries for the recipe? I did.

Oh, and, I’m happy to say, I’m back to the craft of clipping piquing recipes from the paper.

Enjoy!

Recipe

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Serves 12 | Prep  + baking time 1 hour 35 minutes | Wheat-free (gluten-free + dairy-free options)

  • 1¼ cups (155 g) almond meal
  • ½ cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour (or just use spelt flour)
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 125 g butter, gently melted
  • ¾ cup rapadura or coconut sugar (or any brown sugar you have)
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 1 small (½ large ) lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or powder
  • 250 g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

Line and grease a 20 cm (no bigger!) springform cake tin.

In a food processor, add the first 10 ingredients and process until just combined (or you can do this step by hand, in a mixing bowl with a whisk).

Evenly spread half of the cake mixture (it’ll be quite thick) in the cake tin. Scatter over the berries in a single layer, top with the remaining mixture (it’s quite fiddly since the better is thick; and, don’t worry, you should have just enough).

Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, then cover the cake tin with foil before placing in the oven.

Bake for one hour and 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (total baking time is around 1 hour and 20 minutes).

Cool in pan. Best served warm – but still delicious at room temperature – either as is; or with some delicious cream, vanilla ice cream or lemon curd.

Variations

  • gluten-free – replace the ½ cup spelt flour with ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice (or buckwheat) flour and 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour; and add an extra egg.
  • dairy free – replace the butter with ½ cup macadamia nut oil or melted coconut oil.
  • different berry – try blackberries or blueberries.

2015 goals?

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What is it about a new year? Is it about starting afresh, having a clean canvas to paint?

1st January is just another day in our lives.

Even so, I love the ‘line in the sand’ a date can create. Crossing over 31st December does give a sense of new beginnings. Especially because it makes me reflect on what I learnt in the previous year – about myself and the type of life I wish to lead – and how I can translate that into the next. It also helps to write about it here, as a record for future contemplation, accountability and change.

Even though I have a handful of projects and experiments in store for 2015, these days, I don’t set concrete goals. It’s more about lifestyle rather than ‘achievements’. This calls for conscious awareness of what works and what doesn’t, and, then, to build supportive habits. This is a life-long process.

Over the last few years, I’ve tried different approaches.

Last year, I used my core values – freedom, health, deep connection, integrity and calm – as my guiding light.

In 2013, I used the ‘two words’ idea (my two words were connection and movement), and in 2012, I created a mission statement:

To live a holistic, happy life by making mindful time for people most important to me, eating nutritious food, looking after my health and having a career that doesn’t feel like a job.

All of these ‘goals’ and aspirations for a life well-lived still ring true. In fact, in writing this post, I see a strong theme – the importance I place on my holistic health and the people around me for my happiness.

It’s made me realise that work, in the traditional sense – or werk, as a dear friend calls it – is not my main purpose in life. I’m still getting my head around this epiphany, as, all my adult life, I thought this is how it had to be.

Even so, work still serves as an opportunity for joy and connection. In an indirect way, it feeds my soul – as long as I’m enjoying it and the people I work with, and, importantly, that it doesn’t take up all of the conventional working week, and more. This, no doubt, also helps me to be the best I can be at werk. I just need more time out to replenish, that’s all.

This year, I’m trialling Alexandra Franzen’s – whom I consider my virtual mentor – five questions for a bright clear and focussed new year:

  1. What am I bored of? The seriousness around food, and the same old routine.
  2. What do I want more of? Self-belief, light-heartedness and fun.
  3. What can I let go of? Taking responsibility for other’s feelings.
  4. What would give me peace of mind? Being punctual and patient, trusting life.
  5. What am I devoted to? Being helpful, kind and thoughtful, as often as I can.

What about you?