From 15 to 19 September, 2017, I co-hosted a yoga retreat in the Highlands with Serena Lee. Serena is a very talented yoga instructor and has been our instructor for almost two years. Our guests were delightful and everyone had an excellent time. Thank you to each of you who joined us and a big thank you to Serena. In this blog post, I highlight the accommodations and the menu, complete with all recipes, that I prepared during the retreat. Everyone was well fed, of course!
Our guests stayed at Drummondreach Steading, a self-catering holiday cottage, on the Black Isle, just outside Inverness. The Steading is cosy and has amazing views over the Cromarty Firth.
Being on yoga retreat is not an excuse to eat little or to deprive oneself of delicious foods. Most of the foods I prepared, I skipped the oil, but not always. There are sweets made with dates and some with sugar. Everything is vegan. In general, the ingredients are not expensive. The exception to this is nuts. Nuts are always more expensive. So, they are a treat. None of the ingredients are difficult to source. I shopped at Highland Wholefoods Cooperative and Tesco.
White bean hummus with rosemary. No recipe, just eye the ingredients: white bean, chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, salt, rosemary, olive oil and/or aquafaba
Sticky Toffee Pudding. I used a muffin mould to make the sticky toffee pudding into individual portions. That worked out great and I will do it again
Drummondreach porridge to which I substituted the apricots for dried pears in the porridge you had because of an allergy to apricots and you can also use more dates instead of any non-fruit sugars and Fruit salad
Chickpea flour tofu (aka Burmese tofu) with sauerkraut. I use this recipe by Richa Hingle and modify it with various spices (garlic granules, onion powder) and I also blend in fermented foods (kimchi is also very tasty in it)
Lentil and sweet potato stew with orzo. Orzo is a type of Sicilian pasta. You can use any grain you like or none at all! The variation we had during the retreat was based upon this recipe. Once you have a lentil soup base you like, you can vary it as you wish
Spring greens with lemon cashew dressing. Steam spring greens or any other green you like. Dressing is half cup of cashews (soaked if you don’t have a high speed blender), lemon juice (whole lemon or to taste), salt and pepper to taste
Tiramisù. I did not use coffee for this one. Instead, I used an instant barley drink, like Barleycup (or Orzoro) that you can find in any health food shop and sometimes even in supermarkets
Citrussy chickpeas. For the dressing, mix juice and zest of a lemon with dijon mustard, cumin, salt and a bit of water. Add chopped orange, spring onions and mix the lot. And yes, oranges with chickpeas – a brilliant combination
Roasted cauliflower. You can make roasted cauliflower either spiced or plain – they’re both super tasty. I mix whatever Indian spices I have on hand (garam masala, curry powder, turmeric in your case) with a bit of olive oil and/or water and salt. Sprinkle and mix it all over the chopped cauliflower. Roast at 175-200 C for 10 minutes or so
Roasted beets. Plain as can be! I clean the skins well, but I do not peel them. Chop, sprinkle just a little bit of salt, cover and put in a bowl suitable for the oven. Roast until soft, around 20 minutes
Blanched kale and quinoa. With all the flavours above, you don’t need to do anything to these last two components. I like to blanch kale, which means immersing it in boiling water until it is bright green
Rosemary chocolate chip cookies. This recipe is from Isa Chandra’s book, Isa Does It, which I love and here is a video of her making the cookies . I wanted to illustrate to guests that combining savoury and sweet is something to embrace and try. This is the perfect recipe for that. Plus these are my favourite ever biscuits
Pasta e patate con provola affumicata. Pasta with potatoes and smoked provola cheese. Side salad
Migliaccio for dessert. This is a classic Neapolitan dessert made with semolina and scented with oranges and lemon. One of our guests, a French woman, declared it to be similar in texture to flan patissier.
Tofu scramble with red peppers, onions and garlic. Use this simple method to get your tofu nice and solid. No need to press for hours. Mash the tofu in a bowl, add turmeric and kala namak. Set aside while you cook the red peppers, onions and garlic. Add the tofu about halfway through cooking the vegetables. Add any other spice you like
Water sauteed mushrooms and onions
Roasted Brussels sprouts with carrots. Cut sprouts in half and chop carrots thickly, add some olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover. Roast at 200C for 10 minutes. Then, uncover and use the broiler for a quick brown
Couscous. Add vegetable stock or water to the couscous, cover and let it soak it up. There is no need to cook it. Fluff it up. Add salt, pepper, tomatoes, onions and olive oil if you like
Porridge muffins. I used the leftover Drummondreach porridge to make these muffins. I added a bit of self raising flour, baking powder, raisins and soya yoghurt. Not an exact recipe! No photo!! I forgot!
Polenta with tomato sauce and marrow. Cooking polenta is easy. Boil water, slowly add the polenta so that you don’t end up with lumps and keep stirring until it’s done. You may need to add more water as you go. I also added butter, salt, soya yoghurt to the polenta as well as chopped marrow because that is what I had on hand. You could also add spinach at the end of the cooking process, just so it can wilt. For the tomato sauce, this is the simplest recipe and the one I use whenever I make tomato sauce
Steamed broccoli. The broccoli were meant to be steamed in the Instant Pot, but I got distracted by a conversation with one of our guests and I left them in too long! So, broccoli mash it was, to which I added the provola affumicata (the smoked cheese)
Chocolate mousse. Clearspring Organic silken tofu (one box per two people), 8 dates chopped and softened (pulpy) in a small amount of water, 2 teaspoons cacao powder (I like Aduna). Whizz up in blender or food processor. Taste for sweetness and either add more softened dates or maple or other syrup if you prefer it sweeter
Homemade butter: I also made homemade butter for our guests. This is my go to recipe for homemade vegan butter (use refined coconut oil if you prefer less coconut flavour). I use plain Alpro soya yoghurt and it works well
We can live deliciously without using animals. They want to live as much as we do and we have no good reason to use them. Going vegan is easy and this website can help you get started.