Lemon Sardines with Cherry Tomatoes


LEMON SARDINES Recipe card_HiRes 1

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes – GF, DF, P

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 12 fresh sardine fillets
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red (Spanish) onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g / 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro)leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C (350*F)
  2. Lay the sardines skin-side down on a baking tray. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and salt, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes or until just cooked through.
  3.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Remove from the heat and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Lay the sardines on a serving plate, spoon over the tomato mixture, then scatter with coriander leaves and chia seeds and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note: Sardines are oily fish that are incredibly nutritious and, because they are small, they are a good clean option, packed with protein, and a rich source of omega-3 and vitamin D. It’s useful to load up on these during winter when we see less of the sun.

Miso Barramundi with Kale & Peruvian Groundcherry Brown Rice



Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 15 minutes freezing | Cooking time: 1 hour – GF

Serves 4.

What you need:

  • 440g (2 cups) brown rice
  • 4 barramundi fillets, about 200g each, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150g Peruvian groundcherries (Inca berries)
  • 2 teaspoons tamarai (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 large kale leaves, thinly sliced, stalks removed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Miso Coriander Dressing

  • 145g white (shiro) miso
  • 90g or 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves


  1. Put the rice in a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand, covered for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid during cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing to use as a marinade. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add the fish, turn to coat and allow to marinade for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish, skin-side down, and cook without moving for 10-12 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes or until just cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove from the pan and rest.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in a separate frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then add the brown rice and stir for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Add the Peruvian ground cherries and tamari and the cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the kale, season with salt and pepper and cook for another minute or until the kale is wilted and heated through. Sprinkle the miso barramundi with the sesame seeds and serve immediately the warm brown rice and lemon wedges.

Note: Miso is fermented soy beans. It supports the digestive system with beneficial bacteria, and has plenty of protein and other nutrients as well.

Organic sisters to organic operators: the story of About Life


About Life started in 1996 as a small juice bar and café with a few shelves of natural groceries, in a 100sqm site on Darling St Rozelle Sydney. Sisters Jodie Stewart and Tammie Phillips had previously held corporate jobs that involved a lot of travel, jet lag, and food choices based on convenience.


Jodie Stewart (left) & Tammie Phillips (right)

As part of their extensive travels, they both lived in Japan for a while and loved the delicious diet over there. This is when they first started to genuinely comprehend the relationship between nutritious food and longevity and quality of life. They also experienced the relatively new idea of the wholefood store and started thinking about how they could take these concepts back to Australia, not just as a cafe but as a whole new way of eating, a genuine alternative to the traditional supermarkets.

The founding principle of About Life has never changed: no food complexity, just simplicity and goodness.  ‘Food as medicine’ remains one of the cornerstone philosophies. Everything that has been built  stems from this core belief and is the guiding principle in all our decisions; from the people we work with to the way we market ourselves. As the business has grown our interests have expanded to encompass a range of environmental and social issues, which is reflected through our product offering, and provides a spot at the table for everyone. 

Read more on our story at: www.aboutlife.com.au/our-story

Rosemary, butter nut & teff cookies


A twist on the traditional oat cookies made for Anzac Day – replacing oats with teff. A fine grain, that comes in a variety of colours from white and red to dark brown. It packs a serious nutritional punch. Like quinoa, teff has an excellent balance of amino acids, and it is also high in protein, calcium & iron.

Teff is high in resistant starch type of dietary fiber providing sustainable energy without getting that high spike in sugar levels, therefore it can benefit to those who are on blood sugar management weight control. Teff is also a gluten free grain making a great substitute for many gluten free recipes. It can also be used instead of rice. It has a mild nutty flavour, therefore making it great in baking recipes!


Perfect biscuit with your coffee this Anzac Day. Recipe by Vladia Cobrdova

This recipe makes 26 cookies.


  • 1/2 cup of uncooked teff grain
  • 1 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 / 2 cup of oats
    1/2 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of honey
    ½ cup of coconut butter
    1 tsp. vanilla paste
    1 cup almond butter
  • ½ cup Chopped macadamias
  • ½ cup of hot water
  • 2 whisked eggs


  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 / 2 bunch of rosemary sprigs


Preheat oven to 180 degrees & line a baking tray with baking paper.

In two separate bowls combine the wet and dry ingredients. Then mix the wet and dry ingredients together to form cookie dough.

Shape dough into walnut-sized balls, then flatten them gently with a fork

Bake for 15 minutes, then when cool, brush the top of cookies with honey and top with rosemary sprigs. 🙂



This is a naughty but nice kind of treat and it’s no wonder that it’s on our bestsellers list week after week! The creaminess from the tahini adds real caramel flavour.


Raw Caramel Slice – Photo by customer Cerise via Instagram @petitepickings

Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 45 minutes freezing | Cooking time: Nil – V, VG, GF, DF & RAW

Makes 12 pieces.

What you need:


  • 160g (1 cup) pitted dates
  • 440g (2 & 3/4 cups) almond kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Caramel Layer

  • 205g (3/4 cup) tahini
  • 250ml (1 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt


  • 80g (3/54 cup) cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons carob powder
  • 250ml (1 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tinned coconut milk


To make the base, put all of the ingredients into a blender with 2 tablespoons of water and blend until coarsely chopped. Turn the mixture into a lightly greased 34 x 24cm baking tin and press down with the palm of your hand until the mixture covers the base of the tin in an even layer.

To make the caramel layer, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Pour into the tin over the base and freeze for 15 minutes or until set.

To make the topping, put all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Pour into the tin over the caramel layer and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes or until set. Cut into 12 pieces.

This slice will keep for about 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge 🙂

NOTE: Dates are a sweet substitute for sugar and as they are easily digested, they make a great afternoon snack. Try them with almond butter or peanut butter!



Egg Nourishment


This is a bestselling dish in our cafes: we change menus seasonally, but I would not dare touch this one. People from all over ask for the recipe for this tasty creation – so delicious and creamy, and good to eat at any time of the day – so we’ve included it again in this book. It’s a winner!

About Life Egg Nourishment 1

Egg Nourishment. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes – V, GF

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped
  • 370g (13 oz/2 cups) cooked quinoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto (home-made or ready made is fine)
  • 160g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g (2 cups) finely chopped cavolo nero or kale leaves, stalks removed
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon linseeds (flaxseeds)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. In pan, heat olive oil with red onion and sauté for 1 min.
  2. Add cooked quinoa and sauté until hot.
  3. Whisk eggs, add to the pan and stir through.
  4. Add pesto and mix through for 1 minute.
  5. Add cherry tomatoes, kale, salt, pepper and mix through for another minute.
  6. Remove from heat and place in bowls.
  7. Sprinkle with linseeds.
  8. Serve with wedge of lemon.

Recipe by About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova



A WHOLE NEW WAY TO EAT by Vladia Cobrdova


From the people who led the wholefood movement in Australia, we have at long last put together a collection of our beloved recipes. Our philosophy towards food hasn’t changed over the 20 years of operation, no more complexity, just simplicity and goodness: food as medicine.

Nutritionist and recipe developer (plus our Wellness Ambassador!) Vladia Cobrdova recreated over 135 of the mouth-watering dishes she made popular in our stores’ busy cafes, takeaway and ready-made meal sections. These are recipes your body will love from your taste buds to your gut.

A Whole New Way to Eat is a modern take on healthy eating for those more interested in eating well than following the latest craze. With recipes to cover every social occasion or lifestyle choice as well as being seasonal, local, sustainable and delicious, this is a must have cookbook for every Australian kitchen.

Our customers always ask us questions on everything from wholefoods and well-being to food lifestyle choices and About Life’s philosophy – we sat down with the lovely Vladia and asked her a few questions about all these areas.

How did you come to be a recipe developer?

I have always been interested in food and most importantly eating it too. Ever since I remember I have been cooking with my mum and grandma, having the best connections over a plate of food. I had such a passion for healthy food that 15 years ago, I enrolled myself into a nutrition school in Sydney and started to satisfy my curiosity for good food and the effects on the body that food has on us. Then I landed my dream job working in one of the pioneering health food stores About Life in Sydney as a juice bar girl and that is where it all began. Mixing smoothies, developing recipes and writing cookbooks.

Where does your inspiration come from when you’re creating recipes?

My inspiration comes from our shop floor. The endless selection of real ingredients and fresh produce is all I need. The ray of colours and aromas of seasonal produce – each season has a unique smell: mango and cherry in summer, pears and plums in autumn, broccoli and cauliflower in winter, fennel and asparagus in spring. When I am at the stage of creating a recipe, I take a stroll through our aisles and get inspired by all of the products.

Why the interest with wholefoods?

As a qualified nutritionist, I believe that eating good quality ingredients as close to their natural state as possible is the only way to eat. A lot of people these days do not know what they are eating as it is all processed foods full of preservatives, hormones and antibiotics which is having negative effects on the health of our society. We should be eating like our great grandparents used to. My hope is to inspire people to have a relaxed approach to eating without any restrictions – there is no such thing as good food or bad food. We lost that approach and that is why I was inspired to write my book where I showcase wholefoods nourishing feel good recipes without the restrictions.

Why does the movement include some of the things we’re often told to ditch in our diet, such as macaroni?

Because it is real food. The macaroni dish is made out from spelt pasta, a great wholefood. There is so much conversation to stay away from carbs, but this dish is loaded with cauliflower, sweet potatoes and kale too so it is a well-balanced dish that everyone can enjoy without feeling guilty.

I want to inspire people to make choices that suit them, food that comes from a good place and to stop labelling real food bad or good.

As a nutritionist, I believe in all food groups – it is about a balanced lifestyle. But I encourage people to tune into themselves and find out for themselves what agrees with them and what doesn’t. My motto is to become your own wellness expert.


Nutritious Macaroni Cheese  – Pg. 122

What is the one ingredient you couldn’t live without?

Yoghurt. I literally use it in nearly everything, adding to my main meals as a probiotic and digestion booster, making salad dressings, desserts, sauces in cooking – I especially love goat or sheep yoghurt which is a great alternative to cow.

What’s your favourite food crush right now?

Olive oil – I could almost drink this stuff – there is nothing better than a splash of good quality cold pressed olive oil on my plate.

What is your advice for anyone who wants to eat well?

Eat with the season and know where your food comes from. This way you ensure that you get the nourishment that your body needs and the ingredients your body recognises, keep it simple and have a variety of colours on your plate.

In healthy eating, what seems to be the trend?

Quality over quantity, eat seasonally and chemical free or organic if possible.

What’s the easiest way(s) anyone can make their home feel like a cafe?

Using good quality ingredients of fresh local produce (the taste of seasonal ripe tomatoes is incredible!). Be adventurous and experiment – don’t be afraid to muck up a poached egg, practice makes perfect. Mix it up – just because a recipe will state all the ingredients, doesn’t mean you have to follow – add your own touch. There are many recipes that I have created for our cafés and the ones I have shared in this book. The best-selling dish in our cafés is Egg Nourishment which is basically scrambled eggs with quinoa and basil pesto – yummiest dish ever!

What are your top tips for reducing food wastage?

Eat less, stop over consumption. I grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia where we knew what food really counted for. The fresh bread would be baked daily and it would be under supplied. We would have to queue up every morning to get a loaf and if you woke up late you would miss out. That is where I learnt the value of food.

My top 3 tips to reduce food waste

1. Always check what is in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping.

2. Cook less – as a nation we tend to overcook and over eat because it is rude not to eat everything on the plate right? Think of the planet, your wallet and your waistline.

3. Use up your leftovers – leftovers taste amazing the next day – salads or veggies can be used in a frittata, meat on salads for office lunch etc.

What’s new at About Life?

There is always something new – I have just created new Poke Bowls – which are inspired by Hawaiian poke bowls. It is a dish full of good grains, plant based veg, choice of fish or chicken paired up with avocado topped with tahini sauce!


Rainbow Poke Bowl – DIY in store now! (SYD only)

Follow Vladia and learn more about A Whole New Way to Eat: