Pamela Allardice speaks to Vladia Cobrdova, wellness ambassador for the About Life wholefoods chain.

Whether you're after vegan, Paleo or vegetarian recipes, nutritionist and recipe developer Vladia creates mouthwatering dishes that she's made popular in About Life's busy cafes, takeaway, and grocery sections.

How did you become a recipe developer? I've always been interested in food - and eating it! My early memories are of cooking with my mum and grandma, which led me to enrol in nutrition school. Then I got lucky and started working in About Life as a juice bar girl, and I’ve never looked back. From mixing smoothies to developing recipes and now writing cookbooks.

Why wholefoods? Eating good quality ingredients as close to their natural state as possible is the only way to eat. I’m amazed how many people don’t realise that their food is full of preservatives, hormones and antibiotics. We should eat like our great-grandparents used to.

What's the one ingredient you couldn't live without? Yoghurt. I use it in nearly everything as a probiotic and digestion booster, making salad dressings, desserts, sauces ...

What's your favourite food crush right now? Olive oil – I could drink this stuff!

Describe your typical day: It starts with a stand-up paddle board session – being in the ocean and working on my core balance and fitness while watching the sun rise sets me up for the day. Then I go to work. By now, I've had about 1 litre of water with lemon, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric. At About Life, my workload is never the same. I try to be consistent with nutritional intake. I have a bullet-proof coffee to start my day and then I'll have a green brekkie plate. Lunch is a salad from our Nature’s Servery food bars. After work it’s beach time - swims, sand runs, body-surfing. At home, I cook. I don’t like waste so whatever needs to be used up might inspire me. After dinner, I'll walk – you guessed it, on the beach! Or play a board game or read.

The best part of your job? I love being in the wholefoods industry – it helps our bodies and has a positive effect on farmers and the planet. It’s my dream job.

Your advice for anyone who wants to eat well? Eat fresh and seasonally, and know where your food comes from.

Recipe and image from A Whole New Way To Eat by Vladia Cobrdova (Murdoch Books, $39.99). Photography: Rob Palmer


Green and gold pavlova

I was inspired to create this pavlova using Australian finger lime, turmeric and matcha. Go green and gold!
Serves 4
155g raw macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon raw honey
300ml pouring cream
½ teaspoon matcha
½ teaspoon finger lime powder
125g strawberries, hulled and halved
3 passionfruit
seasonal fruit, e.g. peaches, kiwifruit, star fruit
50g flaked almonds, toasted
10g coconut chips, toasted
5 egg whites
100g honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or flour

Preheat oven to 140°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
To make pavlova, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat egg whites until stiff. With the motor running, gradually add honey, whisking after each addition. Combine lemon juice and turmeric in a bowl, then gently fold into the meringue until just combined. Gently fold in the tapioca. Spoon mixture onto lined tray to create a 25cm round, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and stand on tray until cool.
Meanwhile, toast macadamias in a dry frying pan over high heat until golden. Add honey and cook for another minute until coated. Remove from heat and cool.
To serve, combine cream, matcha and finger lime powder in a bowl and whisk until firm. Place pavlova on a plate, spread cream over, and top with fruit, almonds, coconut and honey macadamias.