I have conflicting feelings about Yoga. On the one hand, all those un-pedicured bare feet, hovering bottoms and chanting and grunting in unison – well it’s just creepy. White people paying 7 Euro’s a class in Mitte (£12 at Triyoga in Primrose Hill, London) and then greeting each other with ‘Namaste’ seems contrived. On the other hand, it’s the only thing that stretches me out so effectively. One class is all it takes to uncurl my spine, push my shoulders back and make me more aware of my posture.
I found a modern, well-lit studio called City Yoga on Dorotheenstrasse (about 5 minutes from my house). I gave my husband instructions on how to keep our daughter alive and asked him to stir the trays of granola I had drying in the oven and off I went.
Our teacher was the human equivalent of a birch tree, impossibly tall and thin, with fantastic posture and bones jutting out in all the right places (collar bones, hips). She babbled in a whispery voice about god only knows what (in German), I could only make out ‘toll’ and ‘genau’ which was probably rather good, because I often find the narrative that accompanies yoga to be too much.
She started us off with some “Ommmmmmmms” before the entire room (30 people) broke out into an Indian chant / song. “Oh no! Here we go. She will probably want us to make lion faces next.” But luckily, the singing was the extent of the weirdness and we spent the next one and a half hours doing some great stretching exercises. The only other awkward moment came when we had to partner up and do head stands and no one wanted to be partners with the foreign girl who didn’t sing – Hello, 1st day in Kindergarten?!
It occurred to me that to get my body fat down to the extent our teacher had, I would probably have to live on a diet of sprouts and carrot juice, eschewing all animal products, sugars and flours.
Bah! As if!
But in the spirit of me finally getting my bum in gear and doing some exercise. Here is a great recipe for granola.
I think I only made granola once in London because every Tuesday was granola day at Melrose and Morgan so I would grab a fresh bag from there. That and I could easily get my hands on two of my favorite granolas Mini Magoo’s or Dorset Cereals. If I want to get Dorset Cereals here, I have to drive to KaDeWe and shell out well over €8. The most exciting thing that my local Rewe stocks is Special K. Clearly a case for making my own.
This recipe is loosely adapted from the Rose Bakery book Breakfast, Lunch, Tea although my version is only just slightly sweet (it uses about half the honey and sugar) but I have included the original quantities in parenthesis if you want to go for the real deal.
400g rolled oats (kernig in German)
150g (125g) whole almonds
125g (100g) sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
65ml (125ml) sunflower oil
125ml (250ml) honey
30g (50g) brown sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
a big pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 cup (or more depending how much fruit you like) of sour cherries, or cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C
2. Put the sunflower oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a pan with 65ml (1/4 cup) (125ml 1/2 cup) of water.
3. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly (the mixture will overflow if allowed to boil unattended). Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well.
4. Spread evenly onto two large baking trays and bake for about 1 hour.
5. Reduce the temperature to 130°C and continue baking until the granola is golden (about 1 hour).
6. Turn off the oven and leave to dry out for about 4 hours or overnight.
7. When cold, add the dried fruit and store in an airtight container where it will keep for 1 month.