In November 2015, Salt the Radish catered for the first Dale Farm Yoga Retreat. This was a full weekend of yoga, mindful meditation and healthy food. From an early stage we decided that meat would not be on the menu. I love cooking vegetarian food and I enjoy creating vegetarian dishes that appeal to everyone. Plus, vegetarian and vegan food seems to go hand in hand with yoga practice.
As the bookings came in, Liz at Dale Farm Holidays told us we had a few vegetarians booked on to the course as well as one vegan. This made things a little harder. We didn't want a completely different vegan menu. But no eggs, cheese, milk, butter, cream? Sounds difficult. Once the planning started it was actually fairly easy devising a mostly vegan menu for the weekend. Using lots of herbs, spices and ingredients that are full of flavour is essential in our cooking. This is not only the key to vegan food but any successful dish.
One of our starters was homemade hummus with parsley salad and toasted pita bread. Very simple but with a garlicky kick and sumac sprinkled over the salad for a lemony tang. Our South Indian squash, chickpea and spinach curry was served with a big handful of coriander and chutneys and pickles. And our lunch time soups and salads made use of roasted vegetables, toasted seeds, spices and lots more herbs to enhance the flavour.
Ok, so I admit we didn't go totally vegan over the weekend. For dessert in the evenings we had a very indulgent chocolate brownie and a vanilla cheesecake with raspberry coulis. But to be honest, our vegan desserts seemed to get the best feedback. Maybe because they were a bit lighter after a two course meal? Especially the homemade coconut ice cream with pineapple and vegan chocolate sauce. Just three ingredients: coconut milk, sugar (or any kind of refined sugar replacement) and vanilla extract. No ice cream maker. Just whisk every so often to ensure the ice cream remains light. The finished product - a kind of ice cream / sorbet hybrid, full of coconut flavour. Everyone wanted to try some.
Overall the weekend was a success, friends were made and we are looking forward to catering for future retreats.
Our yoga teacher was Surrey based Rachael Hill of Mind Body Soul Yoga.