The Beauty of Central
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be whisked away on a mystery weekend by my husband. Now I’ll be honest; this is not a usual occurrence, but rather an event that has happened once before (our honeymoon). That just makes it all the more special. The mystery weekend was a gift for turning 30 and I wouldn’t mind turning 30 every year if I was lucky enough to have a weekend away as wonderful as this.
My husband is as kiwi as they come. His favourite pastimes involve gathering food - hunting wild game and fishing and of course watching our lads in black. But, I must say, he really out did himself by surprising me with a trip to Queenstown, one of my most beloved places. Along with Kaikoura, the Marlborough Sounds and the Coromandel (yes I know, four favourite places!).
With its raw beauty and the remarkable Remarkables right in front of you, you can’t help but let the delightfully overwhelming landscape of this region stop you in your steps. I found myself many times simply staring out the window or stopping on a park bench mid-adventure just to take my time admiring the beauty that is Central Otago. Snow-capped mountains, a lake enveloped by a walking track and a bounty of fresh seasonal produce make Queenstown a truly wonderful place to be active, eat beautiful fare and relax.
I ate plenty of nutritious food along with some treats (hand-cup chips with truffle oil and a decadent chocolate mousse cake to name two!) and enjoyed Champagne and Pinot Noir each evening. I absolutely loved every minute but it’s not a way I would eat and drink every day and that’s the important difference.
I see so many people who are worried about eating differently when they are away and stress out over the ‘damage’ when they return home but the important thing is to “get back on the horse” as they say and return to your regular eating patterns when you arrive home. However, you need to make fresh vegetables and colourful fruits a priority even when you are on holiday. They are bursting with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that keep our bodies healthy and functioning well. After all, you want to feel full of energy to make the most of your holiday!
Holidays are not an excuse to eat unwell but they are meant to be enjoyed and a few treats and some beautiful wine isn’t going to be the end of the world if it’s short-lived and surrounded by plenty of other nutritious foods and adventures to keep you active!
Make the most of restaurant and cafe menus and try different foods and vegetables prepared in ways you wouldn’t normally cook yourself. Therein lies inspiration for your own kitchen. We ate the most delicious chicken dish that was served upon a bright corn and broad bean salad and one that we are going to try and re-create this week. It also offers an opportunity to appreciate the different produce that grows in our regions. You may stumble across a nutritious beauty that you haven’t ever seen or tasted before! I still remember trying Dragon Fruit for the first time in Thailand.
Life is to be enjoyed but always remember it’s what you do MOST of the time that’s important, rather than what you do sometimes. Preparedness is the key. If you have a fridge and pantry stocked with nutritious food including plenty of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, lean protein and healthy fats you have everything you need to whip up simple, delicious and nutritious meals for your family.
Now bring on this corn and broad bean creation inspired by a most delightful weekend away!