Chunky stews are a favourite of Nick and mine, and this week we were in the mood for Italian flavours. This super easy stew is simply cutting up all the ingredients and then letting it simmer to incorporate the flavours. A few simple herbs add to the flavour and all the different vegetables pack a punch of nutrients and health benefits. Enjoy it with fresh sourdough, quinoa or even sheep/goat yogurt which acts as sour cream, and have a hearty delicious feast!
Spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative to pasta as it contains no fat and is low in carbs, and resembles strands of spaghetti when cooked. I found some at Dunn & Walton, and they're not easily found in Perth so I had to get a couple of these beauties. As it's so healthy, I felt the need to indulge a little with some vegan coconut butter fried mushrooms turning it into a hearty dish.
I discovered patacones, or tostones last year in Costa Rica, plantain being a stable food item there. They are usually twice fried plantain slices, fried for a couple of mins of each side, then flattened before being fried again. I chose a healthier alternative by cooking them first then frying them once. Adding a good dose of healthy Himalayan salt in the process is the key to a great savoury dish. I use this as an alternative to bread as a side, or mash them up for a hashbrown for breakfast, being a great substitute for potatoes.
With a large batch of basil oil in my fridge, I decided to use it for a hearty casserole. It's so versatile, my last recipe being a fresh zesty avocado salad so this time I went with a filling earthy dish. I used leeks instead of onions as it added a mild sweet flavour, helped along with carrots and winter melon. If you can't find winter melon, you can use zucchinis instead. I got mine from Subiaco Markets, but most asian stores will usually have them as well. It's actually recognised for its medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine. In Chinese cuisine, it's often cooked with meat or put into soup, making dishes sweeter and more mild. The earthy flavours of the mushrooms and lentils balance this dish out perfectly.
I was in Costa Rica last year and one of my favourite dishes was an avocado salad served on a yoga retreat and plantain chips which was readily available throughout the country. I was at the Subiaco market last weekend and they had some lovely green plantains so I got some to make my own chips at home. I made this zesty fresh salad to go with it for a South American inspired night. An abundance of basil in my garden was a blessing as it was key to create the perfect dressing.
My garden is overgrown in summer now with this aromatic fresh herb - basil is a wonderful herb to use in culinary dishes, as well as containing beneficial medicinal properties. The oils from basil contains antibacterial properties as well as provide anti-inflammatory effects, giving relief from rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. This simple oil dressing compliments any salad and incorporates all the benefits of this herb. Check out the avocado salad with this as a dressing.
I use this sauce for one of my favourite dishes, spaghetti meatballs. I like chunky sauces and adding fresh herbs from the garden makes it all the more flavoursome. Tomatoes are known for their outstanding antioxidant content, packed full of nutrients. Being relatively high in water content, they provide hydration as well as make them a filling food.
Saying these are the best is a pretty bold statement, but after many attempts I finally found a combination of ingredients that I think is perfect. The meatballs are not heavy, but full of flavour and filling, while the thick sauce is chunky tomatoes with the taste of fresh basil in every bite. I only used a cup of walnuts for the whole thing, which means that they weren't heavy at all, being mainly made up from mushrooms, carrots and sundried tomatoes. The sauce I used has fresh basil from the garden and is very flavoursome, if you have cherry tomatoes on hand here's another marinara sauce to try.
This is a great dressing to compliment any Mexican or Latin inspired cuisine. I made this to go with a Mexican stuffed sweet potato and we finished it all in the one sitting. I've used this for toasties and wraps as well, adding a fresh zesty flavour to any dish!
I was at the Subiaco Farmers Market and picked up some giant sweet potatoes, one of which is the length of baking tray! It was the perfect opportunity to make stuffed sweet potato, and since we love Mexican food I thought I'd add a twist to it. With some black beans and the right spices, plus a great herb dressing this transformed from a plain roasted sweet potato to a spicy garlicky flavoursome meal. We finished all the dressing as it's such a good complimentary flavour so don't be afraid to use it all up!
"I am not what happened to me,
I am what I choose to become"
Carl Gustave Jung
I'm Binny, a full time Bikram Yoga teacher and studio owner that lives in Perth, Australia.
I started this blog to share the things I love the best in the world: being healthy and happy, food (especially raw), yoga, traveling and most importantly, learning how to love and be true to myself.
I suffered from severe digestive problems when I was younger, being gluten and lactose intolerant, and developed compartment syndrome and fibromyalgia in my teens. I have lived with constant pain for over 16 years now.
Over the past 10 years, I've shifted to a mainly plant based diet and realised that being well and healthy is a way of life. I have been teaching Bikram yoga since 2011, in the US and Australia. Due to my health issues I've also had a lot of bodywork done as well as explored alternative therapies.
I've become much more aware of myself as a result of all this - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Right now I love my life. In my career I love what I do and I do what I love. I have traveled to some amazing places around the world and made lifelong friends. In between working and traveling, I cook up a storm in the kitchen, especially raw desserts, spend time with the people I love the best, which now includes a yoga husband, a mini yogini Estell, and our dog! I try to listen to my body the best I can.
I truly believe that we all have the power and the capabilities to heal our own bodies, to nourish the spirit and seek our own happiness and life's purpose. This my journey...