Posts belonging to Category 'Food'

Perth Wellness Retreat: Nature's Paradise, Mundaring.

Every now and then, I have what I like to call “ahh” moments. Something will cause me to pull my focus out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to sit back and appreciate the beauty of what is in front of me. I had one of these “ahh” moments as I arrived at Nature’s Paradise Wellness Retreat. Situated in Mundaring, about 45 minutes drive from central Perth, it feels a million miles from the daily grind, without actually being that far away at all.

Nature’s Paradise opened at Easter just this year, and owners Neil and Jenny have worked wonders to create such a beautiful space. The forest provides a breathtaking backdrop, and the retreat itself is a grand beauty. Neil welcomed me as I arrived, and gave me a tour of the retreat, which features 3 suites, each with access to the wrap-around balcony, plus a library, a guest retreat area and communal dining and sitting areas. The guest retreat area comes complete with an outdoor, claw-foot bath, hammocks, a massage room and infra-red sauna – just what this city girl’s aching muscles called for!

♥ The view from the Library

♥ The guest retreat area, with hammock seats and bath

♥ The outdoor bath

After showing me the house, we moved on to the gardens. Neil has worked incredibly hard to bring Nature’s Paradise to life, and his passion for the retreat is infectious. We toured the veggie garden, which provides an increasing amount of the produce used in the kitchen, and the various rock paths Neil has created to cater for guests who want to get some fresh air without straying too far from the comforts of their room. I wanted to see more of the forest, and Neil was more than happy to oblige- we walked for about an hour through the trees, stopping to take in some beautiful views of Mundaring Weir and the dam, as well as dropping by the Learning Centre, before coming home for a relaxing herbal tea and a chat with Jenny. On our wanders we spotted an echidna, wandering very lazily over the trail, which shows just how close to nature this retreat really is!

♥ The veggie patch

♥ Mr Echidna

♥ The views of Mundaring Weir

♥ The beautiful forest surrounding Natures Paradise

I have to be honest, at this point I didn’t think my visit could get much better, but it did! At Nature’s Paradise, all food is catered for- guests have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, tea and coffee, plus delicious treats made by Jenny throughout the day, and meals are served in the dining room which showcases the stunning forest scenery.

All food is vegetarian, organic, made in-house and mostly prepared according to raw food principles, but meat-eaters do not despair, you won’t feel like you’re missing out at all!

Dinner began with a pumpkin soup- warm, hearty and delicious, served with spelt bread, butter and olive oil with balsamic.

Next was Nature’s Paradise’s specialty- pizza! This pizza was no Domino’s variety though- made in a dehydrator with a buckwheat base full of herbs, and topped with avocado, olives, mushrooms, onion, capsicum and a cashew ‘cheese’, it tasted amazing and was as good for my body as it was for my taste buds! The recipe is a well-guarded secret, but Neil did share some tips with me which I am keen to try in my own kitchen!

The meal would not have been complete without sampling some of the home made ‘fruit & nut’ chocolates, which were absolutely divine!

Earlier during my tour of the property, I had gushed over the beautiful claw-foot bath on the deck in the outdoor guest retreat area. Jenny was kind enough to run me a macrobiotic sea salt bath after dinner, and as I lay in the bubbling water, looking up at the trees in the night sky, the cool air above me, I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt so relaxed. It was truly something special.

After my bath, I returned to my very spacious room, with its luxurious king-size bed and spa bath ensuite, and fell straight asleep (no prizes for guessing that I slept like a baby!).

♥ My very spacious Grande Deluxe room

Unfortunately I had to get up well before the sun in order to get back to my day-to-day responsibilities, but even then, Jenny made sure that a beautiful continental breakfast was laid out for me. Had I stayed, I was told that I could have expected a beautiful cooked breakfast, including eggs, buckwheat pancakes, fresh fruit and juices, plus tea, coffee and almost anything else my heart desired!

Nature’s Paradise is perfectly named- it is exactly that! Neil and Jenny are fabulous hosts- so welcoming, generous and knowledgeable- and they have created a place that truly caters for every interest. Whether you want to relax in the gardens, soak in the bath, challenge yourself with a personal training session, meditate or hike in the forest or ride trails through the trees, they have thought of it all! I have been reading lots of articles lately about the benefits of spending time with nature, and I absolutely agree. I left Nature’s Paradise feeling so well-rested, renewed and reinvigorated and would recommend it to anyone looking for a retreat to truly nourish mind, body and soul.

You can visit or telephone Neil 0412 977 487 or Jenny 0403 718 050 for more information.

What do you enjoy doing to “retreat”? What makes you feel rested and renewed? Let me know in the comments below!

Article by Katie, a wellness-focused career girl with a newfound appreciation for the power of nature.

Be well,



Healthy Perth Cafe Review: Solomons, Highgate.

While it's perfectly possible to dine out on a gluten and dairy free diet, it does get a bit tedious having to ask wait staff endless questions and sometimes having to compromise on what you really fancy. In spite of this hassle, I've persevered over the years because whilst I love to cook, I also relish the social side of eating out and don't want to isolate myself because of my dietary issues.

So when a gluten and dairy free restaurant recently opened up on my doorstep it was time for celebration! Solomon's is the brainchild of Paul Ridge aka rapper Drapht. Having experienced his own health challenges and dietary limitations, Paul was determined to create a quality health-focussed outlet in his neighbourhood, giving the food-challenged consumer more choices. Nothing inspires me more than when people turn personal adversity into a gift that helps others. Bravo Paul.

To say I was keen to sample the goods is a huge understatement! A lunch date was quickly arranged and giddy with excitement I was soon devouring the menu, feeling like a kid in a lolly shop knowing that nothing was off limits. The menu includes raw, vegan, fish and meat based options – great variety to suit all appetites and a range of prices to suit different budgets. But how to choose? A dilemma I haven't faced in a long time. It all sounded so amazing. From the sweet potato gnocchi with citrus and coriander pesto, to the purple carrot and black bean sliders on homemade quinoa bread. Heaven! Orders finally placed and fingers tightly crossed that my expectations would be met, we settled in with a vegan mango lassi and enormous pot of rooibos tea.

I wasn't disappointed. A combination of organic chicken, brown rice and broccoli salad with Asian herbs and spices, and raw falafels with coconut yoghurt was a winner. Great flavours, fresh ingredients and filling, but not heavy. A large side of kale chips served with pink salt and fresh orange wedges completed our entree.

The raw goji berry cheesecake proved impossible to resist – refined sugar free of course – and was so delicious that a small amount leftover was quickly wrapped to take home.

As well as serving up tasty, healthy food Solomon's has a relaxed friendly vibe, a cool urban interior and open air dining at the back of the restaurant. Paul was a fantastic host, generously sharing information about his naturopath and other health tips alongside the lovely food. Two very happy and loyal local customers achieved!

Solomon's, 487 Beaufort Street, Highgate
08 9328 7995

Have you been to Solomon's yet? How do you handle eating out with dietary limitations? Any go-to places in Perth that I should know about?!

Article by Karen, holistic health coach and owner of Conscious Cravings whose mission is to inspire people be more nourished with food, life and love. Find her on Facebook!

Be well,



Healthy Ingredients: Our Guide to 3 of the Best Whole Grains!

Whole grains are not only delicious, but also nutritious and versatile. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, as a slow release complex carbohydrate they provide a sustained energy source. Whole grains are a settling and calming food, aiding the release of serotonin, our happy hormone. They're also all-round cooking superstars, providing a nourishing accompaniment to main dishes, a base for yummy salads, warming porridges and baked goods.

For a long time my whole grain repertoire consisted of pasta and rice, rotated on an almost daily basis, with some oat porridge thrown in for good measure. My experimentation was limited to trying spelt pasta, but generally I was stuck in a fairly major food groove. Things couldn't be more different today – I'm happy to say that I've embraced the full range of whole grains in all their glory. My top three gorgeous gluten free grains at the moment are:

Quinoa: currently very popular, this South American seed-like grain is the most nutritious of the bunch and also cooks very quickly making it a boon for busy people. It contains all eight amino acids, is high in protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. Easily digested, quinoa makes a delicious side dish, salad base or porridge (use rolled or flaked quinoa for best results). I also add cooked quinoa to soups – it makes its way into my belly most days in some shape or form!

Quinoa must be rinsed before cooking to remove the saponin, its natural bitter coating. Cook one part quinoa to two parts water, covered, for 15 minutes (rolled or flaked version cooks much quicker). Try red quinoa for a very pretty addition to a meal.


Millet: I've recently discovered this tasty grain which is high in protein, iron, magnesium and potassium. It also contains silica which helps keep bones flexible, has anti-fungal properties, soothes indigestion and morning sickness, nourishes the stomach and kidneys, and is a 'warming' food, making it a great winter option. It can be used in porridges and to make breads, but I like it best as a side dish to a slow cooked stew or curry. Again, cook one part millet to two parts water, covered, with cooking time approximately 30 minutes.

Amaranth: another seed-like grain, the Aztecs and Incas loved amaranth and I can see why – I'm in love with my warming bowl of rolled amaranth porridge at the moment! I've also been using amaranth flour in baked goods with some good results. High in protein, amaranth also contains iron, phosphorus, calcium, copper and manganese and the amino acids methionine and lysine which are rare in grains. Cook one cup of the standard grain with three cups water for 25-30 minutes, covered (rolled amaranth cooks very quickly).

Some simple ideas for wholesome whole grain meals:

♥ Rolled amaranth or quinoa porridge cooked with your choice of milk – check the pack for recommended cooking times, mine takes 1-2 minutes. I sometimes add a scoop of vanilla pea protein powder during cooking, with a bit more water. Top with your favourite fruit, nuts, cinnamon, a drizzle of brown rice syrup etc.

♥ Cook extra grain with dinner and use as a base for a filling salad the next day. Add sliced avo, cherry tomatoes, roasted veg, lentils, chick peas, boiled egg, tuna etc., a dash of olive oil, lemon juice and and some black pepper.

♥ Make a pilaf. Cook the grain and whilst cooking stir fry an onion, a clove or two of garlic and some chopped mixed veggies such as leeks, zucchini, capsicum and broccoli. When the grain is ready, add it to the veggies and stir through. Lovely with a drizzle of tahini, a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped fresh herbs. Serve on its own or with grilled chicken or fish.

♥ Rolled quinoa can replace rolled oats to create gluten free baked goods – for example this delicious Apple & Cinnamon Breakfast Cookie!

For ultimate nutrition and digestibility, it's advisable to soak grains in water prior to cooking. Soaking softens grains and removes phytic acid which keeps some of the nutrients 'locked away'. Soak for 1-8 hours, drain and discard the soaking water. Also organic grains wherever you can – you can buy in bulk at some health food stores and markets.

What is your favourite whole grain? Be sure to share in the comments below, and if you have a favourite recipe I'd love to hear it! :)

Article by Karen, trainee health coach and avid blogger about experiencing true wellness by living your most authentic life. You can find her at and over on Facebook!

Be well,



Healthy Cafe Review: Simple Nosh, Fremantle.

Simple Nosh is a cosy family run café serving up fresh, healthy and deeelicious food (with loads of vegetarian options!). Fremantle is a healthy foodie hotspot, and this cute little café is tucked away on a quiet street just off the main strip.

We opted for a sunny spot on the outside verandah (YAY for Perth’s warm winter weather!) and scanned over the breakfast menu.

It really excites me when I see green smoothies on café menus and although this one sounded great (spinach, apple, kiwi, banana, lemon), I opted for a freshly squeezed carrot and ginger juice instead. This one was awesome and really hit the spot.

For breakfast I ordered the scrambled eggs on GF toast with a side of house made beans. After some recent terrible experiences (since when were baked beans and four bean mix considered house made beans!?), I’ve been on a mission to find the best beans in Perth. I’m pleased to report the beans here were VERY good! A huge portion of plump beans in the most delicious tomato sauce, the flavours were just right and tasted great with the eggs, YUM!

My dining partner opted for the breakfast roll. The huge roll was STUFFED full of spinach, mushroom, feta, smoked salmon, basil pesto and topped with 2 poached eggs. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the salmon was so fresh. Needless to say we were both extremely satisfied with our meals : )

Leah and her mum Irene have got a good thing going on. All ingredients are locally sourced (just what I like!), the vibe is welcoming and relaxed and they’re both are so friendly. The sofas inside looked rather comfy and would be perfect to snuggle into come winter!

I’ll be back soon, if anything to try a slice of one of their delicious looking homemade cakes 😉 Make sure you leave room!

Simple Nosh is open 6 days a week, Mon-Sat for breakfast and lunch. 14 Norfolk Street Fremantle.

Have you been to Simple Nosh before? What's your favourite place to eat brekky in Fremantle?

Review by Kavisha, breakfast eating connoisseur.

Kavisha was a guest of Simple Nosh, opinions & thoughts in no way influenced by this! :)

Be well,