The deliciously vibrant spread set out on the kitchen table is really something special.
It could be the hour of yoga preceding the feast, or the fact it was dropped off in a brown paper bag the night before and has been waiting in the fridge looking tantalisingly tasty for some hours. It could be because it is the first professionally-prepared food I’ve enjoyed in weeks. Either way, this is definitely a meal to be savoured.
Brought to the kitchen table courtesy of the wonderful team at Emmeline, the poke bowl, juice, yoghurt and banana bread make up one half of a winning collaboration that has seen Clem Balfour take her successful Yoga Brunch Club formula into the virtual world.
If lockdown has proved anything, it’s that there are few things that can’t be done online with enough effort and imagination (with some exceptions of course).
The morning session starts at 10.30am (ten minutes before if you count shifting furniture around to create space for yoga). Clem’s smiling face greets many old friends as more people pop up on the laptop screen for a yoga class that has 85 members in total.
Those of us attending from homes across Bristol are joined by others from London. With everyone having dutifully turned their microphones off, it’s easy to relax into the class, the sound of soothing music filling the air from Clem’s suggested playlist as her calm, clear voice talks through some easy stretches and deep breathing to start out.
Catering to all abilities, the yoga instructor guides the class flawlessly through a vinyasa flow routine – giving more and less challenging options for each pose without missing a beat.
With so much uncertainty around at the moment, this concentrated hour or so of calm movement feels like a detoxing treat and a fantastic way to start a Sunday. And it only gets better with a couple of steps from yoga matt to kitchen table, where the spread providing by Emmeline the night before is laid out.
Packed full of flavour, the poke bowl is a vibrant medley of nourishment, featuring the likes of sushi rolls and edamame beans, avocado, fresh tomato and carrot swirls, topped with a generous helping of crunchy seeds, zesty dressing and a scattering of delicate edible flowers.
A dairy-free yoghurt, served with fresh fruit, cacao nibs, seeds and topped with a flower, and zesty green juice are refreshing accompaniments. The hearty piece of banana bread supplied by Pearly King Cakes rounds off a delicious brunch.
As we eat, Clem chats with Shona Graham from Emmeline about creating recipes at home and the fantastic work the Emmeline team are doing as part of Bristol Food Union, a collective of food producers and chefs working to supply provisions for NHS staff, vulnerable households and, in partnership with Caring in Bristol, people facing homelessness.
It helps bring a sense of community into the kitchen during lockdown.
Clem has more virtual events planned for the near future and is running online yoga classes. To find out more, visit www.yogabrunchclub.com/online-yoga.
Main photo of a Yoga Brunch Club session before lockdown measures were imposed. Photo ©Kasia Kiliszek