I find inspiration all around me in the UK, no matter what the season. That’s the beauty of the English Garden, it (nearly!) always has something healthy and vibrant to offer, which I can use to form the basis of a nutritious meal.
I’m especially lucky, not only because I have a great vegetable garden at home, but I also have a dedicated recipe-testing kitchen overlooking it. It’s a great luxury to be able to stroll through my garden, watch the plants bloom, and then spend a few hours in the kitchen creating recipes based on whatever has caught my eye that morning.
When I’m not pottering about in my kitchen garden, I love to expand my culinary horizons by mixing recipe-testing with my other great love: travelling. In the past this used to be a matter of choosing a country, reading up on its cuisine, then setting off, knife and fork in one hand, notebook and pencil in the other! These days, however, my travelling plans are no longer quite so fancy-free, being the mother of four means I’ve had to take a different (but no less exciting) approach! I simply plan ahead, and go to places where I know my curiosity and inspiration will be aroused. I also like to try to pack as much as I can into a much shorter break. And, of course, if at all possible I look to some experts for guidance!
Most recently, I called on Wellbeing Escapes to plan a solo trip. My brief was simple: I wanted somewhere with good food, a rich culinary tradition, nice weather, and the opportunity to recharge my batteries by doing more than just sitting on a beach. Could they help? They certainly could! They suggested Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, which I was delighted to agree to, I’ve always had a soft spot for South East Asia, and it’s been years since I last visited (as a backpacker, incidentally!). This award-winning wellness sanctuary sounded ideal, and is one of the most genuine and authentic holistic retreats in Asia. Wellbeing booked me onto one of their wellness programmes, custom-made breaks which incorporate detox, health, and nutrition, depending on the client’s needs. I definitely needed some revitalising, but I was hoping for some pampering and luxury too!
I wasn’t disappointed, Kamalaya is so beautiful, incredibly luxurious, and I was inundated with holistic and pampering treatments (which were part of my programme, but can also be booked independently).
A clear highlight of the trip, however, was the wonderful food from Executive Chef Edmond Che Hang Kwan. If I had to choose, I’d say that my favorites include Citrus Salad with Scallops (made with simple but exquisite ingredients), authentic Som Tum Salad (delightful, made with shredded green papaya with lime), and Yum Ma Muang Goong, made with fresh green mango with prawns. In fact freshness was an overriding feature of every dish, from my early-morning juices, to healthy post-yoga breakfasts, and stunning seafood dinners. All the ingredients are sourced locally, and highlighted the sharp and tangy flavours so resonant of Thailand.
The whole trip was fantastic from start to finish,