Throwback to Glastonbury

20th January 2017

By Sophie Jackson

In the middle of November last year, I catered for my second retreat and this time, it was in Glastonbury. The first one I did was in a beautiful barn conversion in the Peak District. I didn’t think you could have a more perfect setting in England than the Peaks but I’d never actually been to Glastonbury so I was really excited to see somewhere new – and even more excited when my friend sent over some sneak peeks of the venue!

I spent a good couple of months planning the menu, recipe testing (and tasting!), and finding out all the best seasonal produce to use and where to find it. One of the things I love and enjoy so much about food is how it constantly changes with the seasons, it makes so much sense then why we crave different things, hot/cold, sweet/savoury, light/heavy and reminds us of how connected we are to nature in this way. When you start focusing on the amazing and delicious things that autumn and winter can bring, the crisp colder weather really doesn’t seem all that bad.

I was asked to cater for this retreat in Glastonbury back in July so I had to fast forward my mind to thinking about autumnal food and what would be in season and I quickly got super excited. I especially love all the incredible vegetables and root vegetables that are around and at their best this time of year – squash, beetroot, parsnips, courgettes, fennel, Brussels sprouts! Plus so many more.

The retreat weekend quickly came around! After a leisurely 3 and a half hour drive, a couple of necessary refuelling stops (for us and the van!), and the standard de-tour after getting lost down some winding rural roads, we had arrived at our destination…


There was nothing about this place that didn’t exude peace, tranquillity and beauty. I love the way it’s quite literally, immersed in nature, it looks as though it’s ‘meant to be’, these are the sorts of places that when we look at them we can’t help but smile and take a sigh of satisfaction and awe at something that looks so effortless.

With about 3 hours until people started arriving we had time for a quick explore before unpacking and beginning some prep! I instantly felt even more excited about all the food we had planned for everyone. When it comes to nature it speaks for itself, the simple things are the most amazing, sometimes it’s just about taking a pause and a step back to appreciate the natural beauty that’s always there. There’s nothing about nature that’s trying to be something it’s not, only the best version of itself that it thrives to be.

The natural tastes, textures and colours of all these amazing plant foods is what I hoped to excite people with over the weekend and for them to enjoy what nature has to offer, in a creative but simple way and to feel this innate connection with nature that I think we’ve become very much detached from.

7 o’clock came and dinner was served…


…My Ultimate Veggie Chilli with lettuce tacos, guacamole and tomato salsa. Simple but so warming and nourishing on a cold November evening!



Followed by my Raw Pink Velvet Cheesecake…




It’s always a lovely relief to hear happy and excited reactions, when you prepare and make food for people other than close friends and family.

Feeling satisfied and relaxed after providing everyone with a successful, wholesome meal, I couldn’t wait to flop into bed, even more so as this was sat at the foot of it…


…no chance of getting cold feet tonight!

After a restful (and toasty!) night’s sleep we were up to make supergreens shots for everyone, post-yoga.


Followed by my Berry Beet Beauty breakfast smoothie…



A short while before lunch prep needed to begin left us with just enough time for a little explore of the grounds.




We had the luxury of staying in our own gorgeous annex…


And were lucky enough to meet our new friendly neighbour…


Spotted this little feature round the back too!


What a perfect place to relax with a glass of something cool and watch the sun go down…



Soon enough it was time to prepare and serve lunch!

A colourful spread consisting of; Spinach, Rocket & Watercress Salad, Courgette, Fennel & Orange Salad, Apricot, Mint & Pistachio Quinoa, my favourite Beetroot Hummus, Avocado and Cheesey Kale Crisps.




The afternoon consisted (for the guests) of an hour’s post-lunch countryside walk, followed by a relaxed but educational nutrition talk and workshop.




Followed by more chill-out time and some pre-dinner yoga.

I love how the colder weather brings with it the urge for warming foods, we want to wrap our hands around a warm bowl and for every mouthful to feel like an internal and external hug! Well what I had planned for dinner wasn’t to be served in a bowl, but the colours and ingredients were earthy, grounding and I was sure it wasn’t going to leave anyone not feeling nourished and loved.

For dinner we served Nutty Apricot Roast, Pea Puree, Pickled Beetroot, Cranberry Sauce, Mushroom Gravy, Crisped Parsnip.



Followed by one of my favourite desserts, the Chocolate Orange Salted Caramel Tart.




Saturday night dinner successfully served, we sat down to tuck into our own, before tidying up and heading back to our lovely annex for some well deserved chill-out time.

Sunday morning arose and it was time for breakfast!…


The green smoothie-filled guests headed out for a Sunday morning walk followed by a raw chocolate workshop – we were there to test out any dodgy ones of course!! They were making all different kinds; hazelnut praline, white chocolate blueberry, raspberry coconut bomb, my favourite was the one with orange buckwheat crispies in! Sadly I didn’t get any photos of these, but I can assure you they were amazing and these chocolates really are good for you!

Lunch came around and for the last meal of the retreat we served; Spinach, Watercress & Rocket Salad, Raw Brussels Slaw, Coronation Potatoes, Butternut Squash & Hazelnut Hummus, Avocado and Cheesey Kale Crisps.





Feeling successful and content with the weekend just about complete, we packed all our belongings, loaded up the van and set off for the drive home just as the sun was setting.



Need any help?

Cotes Mill
- 01509 261000

St. John's
- 020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street
- 020 3837 5900

Need any help? Please email:

Cotes Mill - 01509 261000

St. John's Square - 020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street - 020 3837 5900

© 2018 deVOL Kitchens.
Cotes Mill, Nottingham Road, Cotes,
Loughborough, LE12 5TL.