Guest Post 7: A mindful business, a retreat & a recipe

When Nicole van Kan from Équilibre told me about their upcoming retreat, I thought it sounded fabulous enough to warrant its very own post. Thankfully, Nicole thought so too!

One of the great joys in my life is the fact that I can pop out my back door and gather together a variety of edible greenery from my herb garden, so I am also excited that Nicole’s post features Sophie Zalokar’s simple and delicious recipe for greens with an apple cider vinegar dressing.

Enjoy!

H 🙂

*

Équilibre + Our Autumn Retreat
by Nicole van Kan

20130410 equilibre-big

Équilibre is a health and fitness business with a difference. We don’t believe in quick fixes, miracle cures or gimmicks. We do believe in the sheer enjoyment of food, cooking with love and exercising for how it makes you feel. We also believe in BALANCE!

It would be very easy to hand clients a calorie controlled diet sheet full of low fat foods and tell them to weigh, measure, eat this and not that, all while doing numerous high energy exercise sessions per week. And you know what? If they followed it to the letter, they probably would end up losing weight and feeling better. But ultimately, we don’t think this approach is sustainable or really very healthy.

Very much like Hannah does at A Foodly Affair, we advocate a mindful approach to food and believe that everyone needs to discover what works best for their own body. A healthy body image and harmonious, connected relationship with food (and exercise) is the real key.

As a way of demonstrating our ethos in action, we had always envisaged running retreat style getaways. So, on discovering Foragers – a farm-based cooking school and dining room with gorgeous self-contained accommodation in the Southern Forests of WA – we knew that it would be the perfect setting. A weekend of beautiful food, wine, cooking, fresh produce and shared meals; all balanced with gentle, invigorating exercise and the opportunity to form a foundation for glowing good health and fitness.

Our first retreat at Foragers last spring turned out to be an amazing weekend and surpassed our expectations (and those of our guests!). That’s why we’re heading back for more this autumn with our Mother’s Day weekend retreat.

Sophie Zalokar owns and runs Foragers, along with her Swiss-born husband Chris, who is the craftsman behind many of the beautiful buildings and chalets. She grew up in the Barossa Valley and qualified as a chef under Maggie Beer. Sophie’s view is that cooking and food production is not only a fundamental life skill but also one of life’s greatest pleasures. We couldn’t agree more.

20130410 blackboard-big
Image courtesy of Sophie Zalokar

You can see from the menu for our Saturday evening ‘seasonal dinner’ that Sophie is adept at creating mouth-watering dishes based on the freshest seasonal produce, all with an inherent balance. Ingredients are sourced from the local area wherever possible – including, in this instance, watercress from the brook at the edge of the property, about an hour before dinner!

Our lunchtime cooking class with Sophie was also a special experience. We came away armed and inspired with an array of classic recipes that have become a welcome part of my own cooking repertoire, including labna (yoghurt cheese), a herb and spice spiked aromatic sea salt and a golden chicken stock.

I’ll leave you with Sophie’s recipe for this quick and easy apple cider vinaigrette, which makes leafy greens and herbs taste spectacular, especially if picked freshly from your own garden (still a work in progress for this non-green thumb!).

Recipes like these are a great reminder that simple really is better and that getting back to basics can be good for our taste buds, as well as our health.

20130410 foragedgreens-big

Recipe #140: Foraged Greens with Herb Infused Vinaigrette.
by Sophie Zalokar (reprinted with permission)

You will need– for the dressing:
► 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
► 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
► 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
► 3 tbsp mild oil (I use cold-pressed macadamia oil)
► sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
► 1 tsp each chervil, tarragon, chives, parsley & mint

– for the salad greens:
► 4 large handfuls of a mixture of the following: watercress, landcress, oakleaf or cos, turnip tops, Italian parsley leaves, radicchio, salad burnett, mustard leaves, corn salad, endive, broad bean tops…
► optional extras: avocado, radish, seed mixture

Mix together the mustard & vinegar with a little salt & pepper. Whisk in the oils and then add the herbs. Check the seasoning. Dress the salad by lightly tossing the salad greens with the fresh dressing.

We still have a few places available at our autumn retreat which runs from the 10th-12th May, so if you feel inspired to join us, be sure to get in touch very soon!

Équilibre also runs an outdoor group exercise program called Fitness for Foodies and will be commencing an exciting new workshop series mid-2013 for those who want to learn the secrets to joyful eating, fabulous fitness and healthy balance!


Thanks again to Nicole for sharing!

My guest posts typically get lots of clicks well after they are published – because I only choose talented & interesting people to contribute to A Very Foodly Diary! Check out previous guest posts via their links:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s