Malta & Yoga

You may be wondering why I haven’t posted many new recipes recently, and that’s because I’ve been on my summer (yes really in October) holiday.  This wasn’t just any holiday though, after years of always feeling like I need a holiday after a holiday I decided to opt for a real rest this year, and went on a Yoga holiday with Yoga Traveller to Gozo, the small Island which is part of Malta, in the South of the Mediterranean Sea. Just South of Sicily and East of Tunisia!

I was fed for the majority of the week on a vegetarian diet (!) by the chef organised by Yoga Traveller.  This involved a daily post yoga brunch of fruit, omelettes, lentil salads and then a post yoga evening meal – food such as vegetable-coconutty curry or bean burgers + loads of tasty side salads.

However when we weren’t fed there was time to go out for dinner :)  I had decided it would be good for me to avoid meat all week, and so indulged in some seafood and local fish when we had the opportunity.

Having had a late brunch, and early evening dinner, I was never really hungry in the middle of the day, but did snack on loads of fresh crudités, and some local cheese.  What a platter this one was – made on the day I arrived.  Contained, herb and garlic marinated feta cheese, mashed avocado, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, scattered with walnuts and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Paleo on a vegetarian diet isn’t really an option, and since it is good to vary your diet every now and again, and shock your body I enjoyed sampling other types of local food – such as sheep’s cheese (A Gozitan speciality) and loads of lentils.  I did however stick to my guns and avoid eating heavily processed foods such as bread, cereal, cows milk, ice-cream and pizza.  Now that was hard, but after a week of eating such vitamin rich and fresh food, combined with the daily yoga, meditation, sleep, reading and sun time – boy did I feel on top of the world.  If you ever get the opportunity to go on a holiday like this – I would highly recommend it as an experience.  Plus now I can say I am no longer trying to take up yoga – am an official yogi!!

Here are some of the new foods I discovered, which I hope to re-create on the blog in the near future.

  • Halva – a very sweet dessert made from creamed sesame seeds (tahini), egg whites, vanilla, sugar and with added whole nuts such as pistachio or almonds.  Since returning home I’ve found a few recipes which use honey instead of sugar, so whist this is an indulgent treat it would be easy to recreate using more nourishing ingredients.
  • Lampuki – the local fish, which was served with a salsa of tomato/capers/olives.  There is no UK equivalent of this fish, but the best way to describe it would be as a ‘meaty’ fish.  Delicious pan fried.  Many local dishes used capers and olives which were grown on the island.
  • Rabbit – I ate this on my last night there and it was the first bit of meat I’d had in 8 days.  I’m not one to be funny about eating animals such as this, so as it was a local speciality I thought I should make the most of it and taste it there.  Tastes a bit like chicken, really tasty.  I understand that the rabbits aren’t kept in captivity, and many are caught on the wild, so definitely free-range.
  • Gozitan Cheese – the local cheese is a sheeps cheese, which is marinated in black pepper and herbs – delicious crumbled over a salad.
  • Tomatoes  - I can’t fail to mention that the tomatoes are just amazing, in fact so amazing it makes me never want to eat a bland supermarket tomato ever again – it doesn’t even taste like the same vegetable.
  • The same goes for fruit – I had some amazing pears, honeydew melon, peaches and kiwis in my daily breakfast.
  • All the honey made on the island is actually raw honey – I only wish I’d bought a jar home with me….
Rabbit, cooked in a garlic and white wine sauce, with steamed vegetables (I did get a weird look from the waiter though when I said I didn’t want the accompanied chips that were on the menu…)

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