Monthly Archives: February 2014

Orange Almond and Carrot Cake – Gluten Free :)

I really like cooking with ground almonds instead of flour (especially as the extra protien is great for our Dad!) and replacing some of the fat and sugar with fruit juices or fruit. Here is another experiment, which turned out pretty tasty 🙂


3 tbsp pine nuts (browned in a frying pan)

3 medium carrots (grated)

100ml mixed Orange and Lemon juice

90g sultanas

100ml mixed Orange and Lemon juice

120g caster sugar

125ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 free-range eggs

200g ground almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice



Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round springform cake tin

Put the sultanas in a small saucepan with the mixed fruit juice and bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Whisk the sugar and oil until airily mixed.

Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs and, when well whisked, fold in the ground almonds, cinnamon, grated carrots, sultanas and, finally, the lemon zest and juice.

Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the cake and put it into the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the top is risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out sticky but more or less clean.

Pour into the prepared cake tin.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin

Then turn out… and ENJOY!

Maybe with some lemon or plain greek yoghurt.

It can’t have been bad as five minutes later… HALF WAS GONE!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richmond Park, Sunshine and Deer: Outside at Last!

Yesterday we decided to rent bikes in Richmond Park from Park Cycle at Roehampton Gate (Postcode: SW15 5JR)… This was our first proper attempt at cycling outside for real! Getting bikes of our own is massively to of our “to do list”! But renting them was a good start… I didn’t even know that this was an option until a great friend suggested the idea. Thank you Laura!!

After a hesitant start we had an absolutely fantastic time. We initially rented road bikes, but pretty quickly (after about 200m!) realised that this was a massive mistake – not only did it mean we couldn’t get away from the traffic and into the park proper, but they were also rather difficult to get the hang of. After swapping to mountain bikes we had so much fun cycling on the off road tracks and grass in glorious sunshine through the beautiful scenery:

We even saw some Deer:

The eight mile circumference of the park whizzed past us in no time!

There is a cafe right next to the bike-hire shop which looked like it served pretty good food (albeit rather pricey!) We now can’t wait to go back… hopefully next time we will get there before the traffic builds up so we can give the road bikes a proper chance!

If you’ve never been to Richmond Park and you live anywhere near London it is definitely worth a visit!

The morning’s cycle left us feeling inspired and excited about our challenge – we are now in the process of planning our route and searching in earnest for the right bike. We still aren’t 100% sure whether we need a road bike, a touring bike, a cyclocross bike or a hybrid bike – it is all quite foreign to me – so any advice would be very much appreciated!

Categories: training, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The London BikeShow, Anonymous Flowers and Random Acts of Kindness

So I know this isn’t directly related to our challenge, but we have been on the receiving end of so many kind gestures that Alice felt inspired to write one more thing about kindness…

Our parents received the most lovely anonymous gift yesterday, which really brightened their day 🙂

Whoever sent it – you are so right and Thank You!

We also visited the London Bike Show at the Excel Centre on Thursday night. Getting there after work was a bit of a rush, but it was fantastic – so much so that I am hoping to go back for a longer visit tomorrow! There was a fantastic display of road and mountain bikes (sadly not too many hybrid bikes), but Chris the owner of TRIUK was really helpful and we might just have to make a visit to their showroom in Yeovil where he assured us he had plenty of hybrid and touring bikes! We were even almost persuaded to sign up for the Nevis Triathlon… It looks SO fun… very tempting, but we are trying to remain focussed on the talk in hand!

What struck us most was how kind everyone was and how keen to help us. In particular we were touched by our encounter with Tom at the nuun stand… (their electrolyte drinks are yummy by the way and almost calorie free!).

He asked why I was taking so many notes (i’m sad like that!) … I explained about our challenge and he immediately offered to help. He also told us about his wetsuit company BlueSeventy – which looks great!  Actually really great. Especially as I kind of have Reynauds syndrome, which means I have really poor resistance to the cold – so for me to survive the swim Lake Windermere I will need the warmest wetsuit known to man!

Oli at Natural Balance Foods was also really kind and I am literally addicted to their Nak’d bars and the Nak’d crunch bars are even better!  I’ve also just introduced our Dad to their high protein trek bars and now he is almost living on them… (well – those and Alice’s beetroot brownies!) I could tell he really needed protein when he said “they’d go well with a bit of cheese”! Maybe not exactly the Nak’d philosophy, but it is just good to see him eating. I now have quite a stash…

What is amazing to me is that this seems to be happening to us more and more – people just offering their support without us even asking. It feels amazing and we are so grateful! 

As Amelia Earhart said: “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” 

Here is Alice’s philosophy on kindness (please click to enlarge):

Alice's philosophy on Kindness

Continuing on this theme… Last night we saw Brendan Cole from strictly come dancing at the New Theatre – and I have to say it was pretty fantastic and amazingly it was bond themed – we had no idea, but it was a happy coincidence for our Dad who is a major Bond enthusiast! And they even did the last dance from Dirty Dancing, which made Alice’s night! The sweetest thing was when Brendan danced with two children from the audience at the request of their mother during the Q&A. It took 2 minutes of his time, but i’m sure is something they will remember for a long time!

In the words of the Dalai Lama: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Recipe: Beetroot, Orange, Date and Almond Brownies

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food”  George Bernard Shaw

Alice made these last night and they only survived a few hours… They are dangerously delicious!

We are trying to cook high protein and high nutrient meals as this is what our Dad really needs at the moment. We have been told that almonds and beetroots particularly good. I’m not sure if this means these brownies are slightly “healthier” than your traditional shop brownie, but they are certainly more yummy!!


brownies  3766

3 medjool dates (cut into small pieces)
100g butter (unsalted)
150g unrefined golden caster sugar
50g Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder
40g Ovaltine powder
splash of Vanilla essence
Juice of 2 Satsumas
75ml of Beet Juice
275g Ground Almonds
3 eggs
200g Dark Chocolate (we used Green and Blacks)


1. Grease and line a 10inch square tin
(or any deep roasting tin about that size, a bigger size will just mean thinner brownies and reduced cooking time)

2. Pre-heat the oven to 185 degrees C

3. Melt the butter and chocolate together over a low heat

4. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and foamy

5. Fold the remaining ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture
(trying to retain as much air as possible!)

brownies  3761

6. Fold in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.

7. Pour into the prepared tin and level out. (don’t be worried if the mixture looks pink!)

brownies  3762

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

9. Remove from tin and when cooled cut into squares.

brownies  3763

10. ENJOY!

Now we had better get cycling to burn these off!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A big Thank You!

We are so grateful for so many unexpected acts of kindness! This week a few people who don’t know us personally have sponsored us and we are really touched by the support!  I am sorry that we cannot say thank you more directly to our anonymous donors, but we can at least thank you here and hope that you might see it.

Perhaps even more touching are the words of encouragement from one donor: “You are doing something amazing and my heart goes out to you. It’s people like you that keep the world moving in the right direction. Never lose faith.” You really made our day – Thank you!

We’d love to hear your story if you know someone who has suffered with this disease. We’d also really love to hear if you know anyone who has found any food, treatment or therapy (conventional or otherwise) particularly helpful, as we’d love to share this information with our Dad and others!

Please feel free to:

–       comment on this blog

–       post on

–       email us at:

We are also really grateful to Debbie Waite, who has written a lovely article about our challenge in this week’s Oxford Mail, which you can read here.

All this kindness reminded me of George Saunders’s Commencement speech on kindness, which he gave at Syracuse University. I discovered it by chance a few months ago and shared it with my Dad, who is genuinely the kindest person I know! It made us both cry and is definitely worth reading if you haven’t already. You can read it here. I can’t recommend it enough!


“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~Bob Kerrey

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facing the fear: riding the Boris Bikes to work… and back!

Thanks to the tube strike today I finally ran out of excuses and cycled all the way to work… and back! And after nearly 2 hours on a bike in the streets of London I’m still here to tell the tale :).

My last experience of riding a bike in a town was through the cobbled streets of Florence with crazy Italian drivers swerving and honking their horns, but this morning was even more frantic. At least it was a steep learning curve. I now know:

Facing my fear of London cycling felt amazing. I can’t believe I have spent so long walking around London, when cycling makes everything so much more accessible and more fun! Now I have no excuse not to do it at least a couple of days a week… hopefully the terror will fade!

Never been so happy to get home in one piece!!

Categories: training | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: