As a mother of three little bears I don’t have much time to myself. In the light of that this past weekend was a little spot of heaven, sunshine and peaceful contemplation in my otherwise depressingly busy, chaotic and stressful usual life. For the first time ever I went on a yoga retreat….to Portugal no less! And it was 30 degrees every day and it was quiet and it was beautiful.
With only four other lovely ladies, we did yoga sessions first thing in the morning as the sun came up and last thing at night watching the sun go down, we ate healthy delicious food and we enjoyed each others company. Our teacher Anna was patient and encouraging with all of us and more than anything she was an inspiration. As a mother of three children herself she is a real woman practising a graceful and strong form of vinyasa flow yoga. Watching her practise her own much more advanced sequences than any of us students could cope with, was seriously impressive, I only hope I can develop half the strength that she has if I continue with my own yoga practice as seriously.
What I love about yoga is the peace and inner strength that you learn to develop through each and every session and I love the fact that I can see myself progressing every day. I managed to sit in a full Lotus pose for the first time since I was probably 8 years old and I held a Bird of Paradise pose momentarily before falling rather inelegantly to the ground! But I achieved something I’ve never achieved before and my body got stronger and more confident as I did it.
Now I’m back to reality with a bump into a busy Tuesday morning starting with a stressful hour long school run and a failed attempt to drive through surrey to a class that I never made it to because the traffic was so bad. Having given up and come home I decided to get back into the kitchen to de-stress and to try to recreate some of the magic I had experience in Portugal.
I realised whilst I was away that I don’t know anything about Portuguese food so I spent some time doing some foodie research with my tummy rumbling trying to decide what would be a good way to honour my yoga weekend. And this is what I came up with: a simple, rich and flavoursome Caldo Verde (Portuguese for “Green Broth”) full of nutritious kale and spicy chorizo. Naturally gluten and dairy free it’s made with a base of potatoes and onions and you can choose to make it as spicy or mild as you fancy.
Unconsciously I probably made enough for all of my yoga buddies plus their families so I’ve halved the recipe here to make it a more user friendly 2-4 person dish.
Portuguese Caldo Verde
You will need this:
- 600g potatoes
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2-2 pints veggie stock
- 160g bag of sliced kale (or slice fresh kale into strips)
- 225g chorizo ring (mild or spicy depending what you like)
- 6 rashers of bacon
- extra virgin olive oil for serving
You make it like this:
- Peel and chop your potatoes into chunks
- Peel and chop a small onion, peel the garlic cloves
- Pop the potatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil into a large saucepan with most of the stock (reserve a little bit of stock for later) and get it onto the boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for 2omins or so until soft and cooked through
- Whizz it up with a hand blender or soup maker or vitamix or whatever you have
- Pour back into your saucepan and bring back to a gentle heat
- Add the bag of kale and simmer for 10mins
- At this point you can adjust the consistency and add the rest of the stock if you like it thinner or leave it as it is if you like it thick
- Finely chop the whole chorizo ring and the bacon and fry in a dry pan until slightly browned and the paprika oils are running out of the chorizo
- Stir into the soup
- Serve hot with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
On a cold and rainy autumnal day this hot steaming bowl of nutritious soup is just the ticket. As I look out the window I am missing the blue skies and sunshine of beautiful Portugal and I am wondering when Anna will decide to plan her next retreat because I am there with bells on!! Thank you to a wonderful teacher and cheers to all the lovely friends I made, see you next year xx