What stood out for me was the warmth and friendliness of the team and their obvious expertise.
We might have had the odd sleepless night beforehand, in case all we’d be allowed to eat was lettuce and celery, but we needn’t have worried – the week’s cooking was done without any red meat, wheat, dairy, or added sugar, but our inventive chef Michael worked miracles and made sure no one went hungry. The buffet breakfast set us up for the day ahead, while lunch was another help yourself affair, with dishes including salads, bean stew, spelt cous cous, fish cakes, chicken skewers and vegetable curry.
Our three meals a day were creative, colourful, tasty, healthy and plentiful. Breakfast, including porridge made with apple juice and hazelnut milk, poached eggs, avocado and polenta toast, fruit smoothies, vegetable juices and freshly squeezed orange juice. There was chicken, lots of fish, including freshly seared tuna served with wild asparagus from our hikes, turkey burgers and tofu. Each day after lunch, which we ate in the courtyard sunshine even in early January, we’d pick an orange from the tree for dessert – they were cool, sweet and juicy with just the right tanginess. Drink options were fresh mint or lemon and ginger teas and water. By the time we were offered a glass of local bubbly on the last night, many of us were keen to stay in alcohol-free mode. A cookery demo showed us a few of the secrets of the chef Michael Arthur and his partner Nikki Clarke, encouraging us to season food with fresh herbs and lemon juice, rather than salt, and to grow our own alfalfa sprouts.
The chef, Michael Arthur, who has devised these recipes for Stella, agrees. ‘If you use lots of herbs and spices – more than most recipes call for – you can make delicious dishes without needing to add sugar or salt,’ he says, though he sometimes uses Perfect Sweet (xylitol) instead of sugar and Braggs liquid aminos in place of salt.
Even exercise-phobic yoga virgins fall in love with In:Spa….Come here to strip toxins and naughtiness from your diet, exchange caffeine hits for ginger juices…Miraculously it all still feels like a holiday…..a major bonus is that you never go hungry – food is deceptively delicious and plentiful, using organic local products as much as possible.
Shedding kilos at the Kasbah: fit camp in the Moroccan sun.
Will 2010 be the year when you get fit? Give yourself a head start by booking a holiday where you can shape up in the sun.
There are fat camps out there whose aim is weight loss through misery, but this is not one of them. Our chef, Michael, was a big lad (rule two: never trust a skinny chef) who made big, beautiful food. We’ll come back to the food, though, mainly because that’s just what we did all week, again and again and again.
My notes from one lunch list home-made hummus, tzatziki, baba ghanoush, chicken kebabs, sweet potato wedges, turkey and mango rissoles, tomato salad, falafel and char-grilled veg. At 4pm, there was fresh mint tea and fresh-from-the-oven cake.
The Welsh chef, Michael Arthur, wowed us with food so flavourful and herby that we never felt the lack of sugar or salt. Breakfast was fresh fruit soya smoothies, his special muesli, or frittata. Lunch and dinners included sesame singed tofu and green chicken curry.