Sunday, 3 May 2015

HONEY ROASTED SQUASH, BEETROOT, FETA SALAD

My One Day Yoga retreats are a great opportunity to serve some of my favourite recipes. This honey roasted squash and beetroot salad sprinkled with feta, herbs and seeds is always a big hit with all of my yogi guests. Best of all the recipe is very easy!




Ingredients

2 butternut squash
1 bunch of beetroots (4 or 5)
1 large red onion
3 tbsp. runny honey
a bunch of fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
150 g (1 cup) pine nuts or pumpkin seed
300 g (2 cups) crumbled feta
300 g chopped parsley
3 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes (optional)
for the dressing
olive oil
white wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey 
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°c. Distribute the crushed garlic and 
sliced red onions across roasts tray. Chop the butternut squash into cubes or slices of roughly equal size. You can choose to  leave the skin on for a little crispiness . Remove seed and core of the fruit and slice into wedges of equal thickness before dividing into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.

Remove the beetroots from their stalks and rinse. Once dried, cut them into cubes of a similar dimension to the squash. Add to the butternut squash, drizzle over with more olive oil and runny honey before  seasoning with a generous quantity of black pepper, two large pinches of salt and the 
roughly torn rosemary leaves. Toss the vegetables, using 
your hands to ensure that they are coated evenly. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until crisp on the outside. 

In a dry shallow frying pan fry the pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (less expensive )  for about 30 seconds on each side over 
low heat. When they start to slightly  remove. Toss with the, chopped parsley, crumbled feta and remaining dry herbs/spices. 

Combine the roasted vegetables with the dry ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss using your hands. Pour over the dressing and toss. This can be done up to an hour before serving as the flavour is strongest when the vegetables have had a chance to soak up some of the liquid and the salad is at room temperature. Delicious! 
My next One Day Rural Retreat in The Chilterns, South Bucks is on September 12th.You're very welcome!


Thursday, 30 April 2015

DESTRESS, DECLUTTER THIS SPRING

This Spring why not purge your inner horder and make a positive effort to lift your mood and declutter your home!

It turns out that clutter has a profound affect on our mood and self-esteem. Anthropologists, social scientists, and archaeologists found a link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. 

The more stuff, the more stress women feel. Men, on theother hand, don’t seem bothered by mess, which accounts for tensions between tidy wives and their messy husbands.

Many women associate a tidy home with a happy and successful family. The more dishes that pile up in the sink, the more anxious women feel.

Even families that want to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralysed when it comes to sorting and throwing out belongings.They either can’t break sentimental attachments to objects or believe their things have hidden monetary value.


Here are some top tips


 1. 
Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put away five things. Or, each hour, devote five minutes to de-cluttering. At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for an hour.


2. Clear and clean your kitchen sink and drainer every day. It only takes a couple of seconds more to place a dish in the dishwasher than dump it in the sink. A clean sink will instantly raise your spirits and decrease your anxiety.


3. Return to the days of our grandparents when only photos of ancestors or weddings earned a place on the mantelpiece. Put photos in an album, which will immediately de-clutter many flat surfaces.

4. Create new storage space in out-of-the-way places, like under the stairs.

5. Fill a box with items you don’t wear, love or use. Seal the box and place it in a cupboard. If you haven’t opened the box in a year, donate it (unopened!) to charity.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

WINTER SUN YOGA IN KERALA 2016


 Really excited to be taking bookings for my winter 2016 Yoga trip to Kerala in Southern India  - if you would like to join me see http://www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page15.htm for details!

WAKE UP BEACH YOGA





Booking now my 2016 Barefoot Beachfront Yoga trip to Kerala 

For all the details and photographs see http://www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page15.htm
Yes the beach really is this beautiful!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

SPRING QUINOA SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS


Spring is in the air with this Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing! This is just one of the recipes we will be serving on my Spring Yoga Retreat & Country Ramble in the beautiful Chiltern Hills of South Buckinghamshire this April.
For information about Elisa's yoga classes in West London, overseas yoga holidays and one day yoga retreats please visit www.elisawilliamsyoga.com


Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil+1/4 cup olive oil, divided (or oil from sun-dried tomato jar)
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped and steamed
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ⅓ cup stoned black olives, halved
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sliced basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey
Instructions
  1. Rinse the quinoa well and then put it in a medium saucepan with the water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, cooking for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and water has evaporated. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 250c
  3. Arrange asparagus on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush with the 2 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 minutes. Cool and then cut into 1-inch slices.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, asparagus, kale, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. For the dressing, in the food processor or with a blending wand, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic, and honey. Pulse until pureed. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Toss with the salad and serve at room temperature or slightly warm.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

HALLOUMI KEBABS KICK OFF THE SPRING BARBECUE

The long awaited arrival of our Spring weather seems like a excellent time to light an early evening barbecue. Halloumi cheese is a constant feature in our fridge - largely due to the inumerous Meditteranean grocery stores we have here in this part of West London so these new potato, Red onion & Halloumi kebabs couldn't be easier to throw together. Boil potatoes first and for added flavour brush with garlic and rosemary  infused olive oil before grilling.
Serve with a quinoa or couscous salad or crunchy bread with a Spring leaves salad.




Toasted halloumi, new potatoes and roasted red onion on herby skewers



Herby halloumi, new potato and onion kebabs

For information about Elisa's yoga classes in West London, overseas yoga holidays and One Day Retreats please visit www.elisawilliamsyoga.com

Monday, 13 April 2015

BAREFOOT BEACHFRONT YOGA IN KERALA

My next beachfront yoga holiday in Northern Kerala is now booked for 20th - 27th February 2016 and I have now begun to take bookings. This unspoilt location off the beaten track was a real find and we are keen to enjoy its charms yet again before the secret gets out and this undiscovered region succumbs to the indelible imprint of mass tourism.

     
Always keen to escape the British winter, we visited this stunning beachside setting for the first time on our 2015 Indian yoga holiday. We struck gold at this wonderful boutique hotel with is pretty Keralan style bungalows each discretely set in beautiful, peaceful gardens and all with a view through the palm trees of the beach.
 
On this 7 day yoga holiday we immersed ourselves in a whole range of relaxing activities, including morning and evening yoga in the purpose built yoga shala, fabulous walks along Northern Kerala's swathes of completely deserted, spotless white sand beaches. Enjoyed taking boat rides in its famous backwaters, wonderful freshly prepared Keralan and Southern Indian cuisine and swimming in the blood warm waters of the Arabian sea and the resort's gorgeous pool.

Some of our 2015 guests used their time with us here as a stand alone holiday in its own right and were collected from Mangalore Airport by the hotel, while others let it form part of a more extensive winter trip to this fabulous region of Southern India. Guests in 2016 might choose to do the same and there are a number of travel companies specialising in Kerala than can help with planning further travel that we can recommend. Or we can happily suggest some fantastic family run home-stays, low key hotels, house boats and fabulous beaches and tea plantations to visit during extended stays.

 

We can't wait to put another yoga group together and return to this little corner of paradise before the secret gets out and this unspoilt region is placed firmly on the tourist map. It won't stay this peaceful for many more years so please read on if you would like to consider joining us in 2016.

  

For local colour and atmosphere there are local towns to visit and unearth the treasure trove that is India, its fabrics, spices and jewellery. As tourism has yet to have left its indelible mark here you still get to experience the real India. The welcome we received was overwhelming. We enjoyed sharing in the local festivals, being invited to share wonderful meals, visit locals in their homes and sampling a coconut tipple in the rustic toddy shops.

   

Other highlights of the holiday include watching the local fishermen launch and land their boats, early morning and sunset swimming with the dolphins that passed by our resort each day and afternoon tea spent lounging under the palms, sampling local delights such as coconut stuffed plantains and sweet fried bananas.
  
   

Here in Northern Kerala there are deserted backwaters, no less beautiful than the heavily commercialised southern backwaters of Aleppey, there are vibrant temples and ancient monuments, history and culture. We were welcomed everywhere we went by curious smiling locals,delighted to share what is often referred to as "God's Own Country." 

 

Our attractive French owned beachside resort provides beautiful garden bungalows in typical Keralan inspired style, with air-conditioning, stylish yet comfortable furnishings and a restaurant serving locally inspired food with a French twist. We practice yoga twice a day in the morning and at sunset  in the resort's newly built yoga shala or even on the tranquil shores of the Arabian sea.

 

Every bungalow within the resort offers a view of the sea through the palm trees and the pool and has its own sitting room, wrap around terrace with sun-loungers, a kitchen for making drinks, as well as an extremely comfortable and airy bedrooms with quiet air-conditioning and a view out towards the beach.

 

If you are looking for a boutique, barefoot and relaxing yoga holiday off the beaten track but still with everything you need catered for then this is definitely the answer you've been looking for. 

       
When you're not enjoying practicing yoga, which as always on our yoga yoga holidays are designed to suit all-comers and will comprise the spectrum between dynamic and deeply restorative yoga gently, you can do as much or as little as you please. 

     

The cost of the holiday includes; 10 yoga sessions of different lengths and contents - one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. Breakfast every day of your stay and 7 evening meals. Morning yoga will be followed by breakfast of fresh organic juices, fresh village bread, Keralan breakfast is optional, fresh coffee, tea, eggs, cereals, fresh fruits and yoghurt. 


Trips can be arranged, to a vibrant Hindu Theyyan Festival at a local temple, fishing, dolphin watching, adventure sports, bird-watching, it can even be arranged for elephants to come and visit us at our resort. We can take a back water trip on a traditional rice boat, canoeing and dinghy sailing is also available for 2016. There is WiFi, an inexpensive 24 hour taxi service or tuk tuk service so that guests can take themselves off to wherever they please.
Airport transfers from the nearest airports at Mangalore or Kannur can also be arranged with the hotel management.

 

Additional meals can also be arranged at lunchtime when the kitchen will be happy to prepare freshly cooked food to order from its extensive al la carte menu.  Guests wishing to stay extra nights at the hotel are welcome to do so at extra cost subject to availability of cottages. 

    
COST

The provisional cost per person for 7 nights sharing is £790.00 and £1000.00 single occupancy in a beautifully appointed garden bungalow with sea view and gardens views.
To book a non-returnable or transferrable deposit of 50% of the holiday is required of £390 per person sharing or £500.00 for single occupancy. 


                     

TRAVEL TIPS 

The Visa to India is being made less expensive and for the coming season is going to be available to UK visitors online. The nearest International airports to our resort near the coastal town of Nileshwar is Mangalore and new for 2016 is Kannur. Both airports are approximately a 2 hour transfer from the hotel. You can book a taxi or train transfer to Nileshwar to the beach resort or the management of the hotel is also able to help you with this.
In our opinion the best flight options to Northern Kerala are via Mumbai
TIP: see Jet airlines 2016 schedule.

   
TO BOOK 
To book please email me at elisawilliamsyoga@gmail.com and by return I will send you my bank details. Alternatively you can mail me a cheque payable to Elisa Williams 38 Ingersoll Road London W12 7BD.
For more information visit www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page15.htm