Our first Mediterranean cookery retreat hosted by author Katie Caldesi was an unforgettable experience. Designed to share with guests the enjoyment and secrets of the truly magical healing benefits of a low carb Mediterranean diet, whilst recharging both their mind and body in our little piece of paradise.
Guests were welcomed with a scrumptious feast giving them time to relax and get to know one another. Over the following week Katie shared the many benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle which includes a diet rich in fresh vegetables, meat, fish, herbs and wholegrains. Learning how to mix and match foods with hands on cooking classes and demonstrations as well as foraging in our greenhouse.
Along with new cookery skills guests tasted local cuisine and practiced healthy meal planning. Learning how to remove refined white grains and minimise sugar and replace with healthier options. Meals in under 30 minutes and slow-cooks for batch cooking were included for guests to take inspiration back home and utilise in their busy lives.
Katie was the perfect teacher sharing freely her knowledge, skills and humour. Her passion to share insight into how to eat a healthy diet comes from her and her husband Giancarlo Caldesi’s personal experience. Their journey to reverse diabetes and put it into remission without the need for medication is featured in their recently published book with Jenny Phillips ‘The Reverse your Diabetes cookbook”. Helping people break the bad habits and sharing useful tips to keep others motivated on their journey.
So many of us don’t realise how much sugar is contained in our everyday foods, by keeping things simple and making adjustment to our meals can have huge beneficial effects on our health. Having been encouraged to try a glucose monitor by Katie I have been surprised to see which foods have affected my sugar levels. I now have a much greater understanding and by making small changes am seeing the benefits already.
Why not try one of our chef’s local recipes to start your healthy meal planning which Katie incorporated into the retreat.
Turkish Recipe to try at Home
Katie’s Ingredient and Cooking Tips
I have watched Çağlar Bozkurt cook many recipes in Turkey and had to think how I would cook them at home with ingredients available at my local shops. I believe the importance of watching him cook is to see the wonders of the Mediterranean diet in the abundant use of olive oil with seasonal and local vegetables, preferably from the hotel garden or his farm in the village.
Fresh herbs – He uses a generous handful of herbs, mainly parsley and in this area I haven’t seen fresh coriander for sale.
He uses two types of paprika, sweet or hot which he often describes as chilli but it isn’t our chilli, it is from larger peppers that are dried and flaked.
Turkish white cheese is not quite the same as feta which is stronger in flavour and more crumbly. However do use feta, perhaps a little more sparingly.
The tomato paste is already very salty so when he adds this he often doesn’t need to season the dish.
The cooking fat is always extra-virgin olive oil from his farm. The butter isn’t salted but it doesn’t matter if it is back at home.
The fresh and the tomatoes from jars can be substituted with canned Italian chopped tomatoes.
The peppers he uses are mild and can be replaced by the long, red Romano peppers or bell peppers we have in supermarkets. Bell peppers can take longer to cook as they are thicker.
This is Çağlar Bozkurt’s recipe for the traditional way to cook tomatoes and eggs for breakfast. If you don’t have large fresh tomatoes used a can of chopped Italian tomatoes instead. Fresh garlic is available in Spring however if you don’t have it add a fat clove of older garlic with the first tomatoes.
- Plenty of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 green mild pepper, roughly chopped, main core removed
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped, main core removed
- 1 large tomato, peeled and cored
- 1 large tomato, cored, roughly cut
- 1 small handful of parsley stalks, finely chopped and leaves, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Sweet paprika
- 4 eggs
- 25 g butter
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a gentle heat until warm, then add the green and red peppers and cook until they are just getting soft. Add the tomatoes that have had their skins taken off and the parsley to the pan.
When the first tomatoes are half cooked, add the other tomatoes that have the skin on, to the pan. As Çağlar says “when everything is breaking down nicely”, the garlic goes in because it is quite fresh and has a very mild taste. Next add a knob of butter at, and then the eggs. Stir the white into the tomatoes leaving the yolks whole. Serve when the yolks have just started to set around the outside.
Nourishing the Soul
Nourishing their wellbeing was also a priority for guests, resting and recharging by our pool surrounded by the scenic mountains with a good book and cool drink. Treating themselves to cleansing Turkish bath and massage in the hammam or taking an afternoon walk up in the mountains.
We are so very pleased to be welcoming Katie back to Yenice Vadi, she will be hosting her second Mediterranean Wellness Week in September 2023. Contact email@example.com for more information about future retreats.
Katie will be freely sharing her knowledge and skills with large doses of olive oil and humour.