authentic living


Easy Pumpkin, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Easy Pumpkin, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Hi Friends, Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post! This delicious and creamy pumpkin, mushroom and spinach risotto came about because I am really focusing on minimising food waste and being frugal in the kitchen. I had a butternut pumpkin (I think in America this […]

Mandarin, Almond and Honey Muffins

Mandarin, Almond and Honey Muffins

Hi Friends, Unfortunately it has been quite a while since my last post! For those of you that don’t know, I am actually pregnant with my first baby (21 weeks as I am writing this) and life has been a little hectic which hasn’t left […]

Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Hi Friends!

I’m back with another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe for you today! This past weekend in Melbourne was a doozy! I believe Saturday was the coldest March day in over 40 years and it poured with rain for most of the day. Whilst there are many downsides to being trapped inside all weekend, there are a few positives to come out of it. Firstly, drinking copious amounts of tea and reading all the books.  And secondly, getting to whip out and dust of my red lentil Dahl recipe that is perfect for this kind of weather!

Let’s talk about lentils!

These little legumes are low in calories and packed with nutrition. Lentils are high in fibre, iron, protein and folate, they help to lower blood cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar. Nutrition aside, lentils are easy to come by, extremely affordable and able to be sourced in bulk! Whilst there are so many great recipes you can use lentils for, one of my staples is a delicious and warming red lentil Dahl.

Dahl is prepared using dry lentils, spices and various sources of liquid to create a flavourful curry that can be served as a side, as a main, on its own, with rice, with naan bread…really the sky is the limit.

For my Dahl, I use both coconut milk and canned tomatoes to give extra flavour and creaminess, I also use homemade veggie stock and fresh curry leaves in addition to the dried spices to really make the flavour pop. Dahl is a super easy and quick meal, its cheap and extremely healthy, the perfect dish to add into your weekly rotation during the cooler months. I add a lot of fresh ginger to mine so it is very warming and good for your immune system, the chilli is optional, you can omit this if you don’t like too much spice, it will still have plenty of flavour from the other spices used. When I make this dish I will usually stir through some spinach in the final stage of cooking then serve on a bed of jasmine rice topped with some coconut yogurt and fresh coriander leaves with a side of steamed greens!

If you have never cooked with dried lentils before and would like to give it a go, this is a perfect recipe to start with. I do hope you enjoy this meal and it adds some warmth and flavour to your week. If you make this please feel free to share an image with me on Instagram by tagging or #kiahskitchen I would love to see your creations, alternatively leave a comment down below to let me know how you liked it!

Until next time,

Kiah x

Easy Creamy Coconut and Tomato Red Lentil Dahl

Lentils are seriously a little nutrition powerhouse, they are an excellent source of plant protein, folate, magnesium and fibre, they are packed with protein and help to reduce cholesterol while stabilising blood sugar. Lentils are super affordable making this Dahl recipe a cheap but flavourful and nourishing meal, great for the cooler months!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Dahl, Red Lentil Dahl, Vegan Dahl
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1.5 cups dried red lentils rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 whole brown onion diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp good quality curry powder
  • .5 tsp dried chilli flakes optional
  • 12 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed olive or avocado oil
  • 1 bunch coriander including stems roughly chopped
  • 1 whole lime
  • 4 servings jasmine or basmati rice

Optional for serving

  • 4 servings fresh steamed broccoli
  • 250 grams fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tub natural coconut yogurt


  1. Prepare onion, garlic and ginger and measure out spices into a small ramekin (makes cooking process easier)

  2. In a medium cast iron pot, heat olive oil over a medium/high heat

  3. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until becoming golden and translucent 

  4. Add garlic, ginger and curry leaves, stir well for another 1 minute

  5. Add all spices (turmeric, cumin, garam masala, curry powder and chilli flakes) and stir quickly so as not to burn, add a little water to prevent sticking and create a paste consistancy

  6. After a minute, add the rinsed red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes and vegetable stock and stir to combine

  7. Bring mixture to a boil then immediately turn down to a simmer and cover partially, set a timer for 30 minutes

  8. While the Dahl is cooking, prepare your rice according to packet directions (I use a rice cooker)

  9. After 30 minutes, lentils should be cooked, stir through most of the coriander (save some for serving) and fresh spinach leaves (if using)

  10. Dish rice into bowls, top with Dahl, sprinkle with remaining fresh coriander leaves and squeeze over lime juice, add a dollop of coconut yogurt (if using)

  11. Other options include serving with naan bread and adding some steamed greens on the side 

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 days or frozen for up to one month for optimum freshness. 

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Hi Friends! Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post, I’m sharing a super delicious, cheap and easy Coconut Kidney Bean Curry recipe! I have been continuing to read and explore the principles of diet according to Chinese Medicine and taking a more holistic approach […]

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew Recipe (Vegan) & Chinese Medicine learnings

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew Recipe (Vegan) & Chinese Medicine learnings

Hi Friends! Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post. I recently read a book called Food for the Seasons: Eat Well and Stay Healthy the Traditional Chinese Way by Lun Wong, it was a gift from my mum for Christmas and I loved it! I […]

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Hi Friends,

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Today I am sharing my recipe for a banana apple bread which is 100% dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free and could be made gluten free by changing out the flour, so it certainly ticks all the boxes.

The banana apple bread gets its sweetness from using over ripe bananas, fresh apple, a small amount of coconut sugar and some maple syrup. If you like your treats on the sweeter side you can always add a bit more coconut sugar or maple syrup however I find it sweet enough as it is.

As we move into autumn it’s once again cool enough to turn our ovens on and do some baking. I absolutely LOVE this time of year, traditionally the ‘harvest’ time where we experience the rewards of a fruitful growing season over summer. There are plenty of great fruits and veggies to work with in the kitchen and it’s time to create some more nourishing and warming meals to support our health and wellness as we head into the cooler months.

This banana apple bread can be cut into slices and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. It is the perfect work lunchbox snack or afternoon treat, I especially love heating it up and enjoying with a cup of tea on the side.

As with all of my recipes, if you give this a go, please let me know in the comments below how you liked it, if you share it on social media please tag me or #KiahsKitchen so I can see your creations!

I really hope you enjoy this recipe!

Until next time,

Kiah x

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

A delicious and easy banana bread recipe which is dairy free, egg free and refined sugar free. Great to make on a Sunday for snacks during the week, stores well in the fridge and can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Australian
Keyword Banana Bread, Banana Loaf, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Vegan Baking
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 large over ripe bananas
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other plant based milk)
  • 1 cup organic flour
  • 1 cup organic self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan forced)

  2. Combine the flaxseeds and water in a small bowl and set aside to soak

  3. Grease a loaf tin with some coconut oil and line with baking paper

  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, self raising flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and cinnamon) to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine, create a well in the centre

  5. Grate the apple (skin on) and set aside

  6. In NutriBullet or food processor, combine the three bananas, coconut oil, almond milk, coconut sugar and maple syrup and blend until smooth

  7. Add the blended banana mixture, the grated apple and the flaxseed/water mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and gently fold through until everything is combined

  8. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top

  9. Place banana loaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes

  10. Insert a skewer into the banana bread, if it comes out clean it's cooked through, if it comes out with batter on it, cook for a further five minutes

  11. Once cooked, remove the banana bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes or so 

  12. Slice banana bread and serve warm, enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To ensure the bread is sweet, it is important to use over ripe bananas. If you have a sweet tooth, add some extra coconut sugar or maple syrup to taste.

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Hi Friends! I’m back with another recipe for you! It is coming to the end of an exceptionally hot summer here in Australia. As much as I love the sun, the crisp edge in the air as we transition to autumn is very refreshing. One […]

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

Hi Friends! Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019, it’s going to be a good one! Often January is the time of year where everyone is setting goals and intentions, trying to break bad habits and implement better ones. That’s why I have decided to share […]

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

Hi Friends!

Welcome to 2019, another year, another opportunity to fill your life with good books.

Today I am sharing my top three favourite book picks from Reese Witherspoon’s book club for 2018!

As you may already know (and if not, you’re about to learn) I am an avid reader! A bookworm through and through. I love to fill my spare time immersed in the lives of fictional characters, experiencing their adventures through the pages of a book.

For 2018, I set myself a challenge to get through as much of the Dymocks Top 101 books list as I could (update to come on that) and at the same time I decided to follow Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club with Hello Sunshine. Reese is one of my favourite Hollywood stars, partially for her acting/producing skill but also because of what she stands for off the screen. I love that she has created this space to promote female authors, their characters and their stories.

If you’d like to check out the book club, I suggest following their Instagram account @reesesbookclubxhellosunshine and also join the group on Goodreads!

If you’d like to follow my personal Instagram where I talk about all things books check out @kiah.mcfarlane and follow me on Goodreads too!


So, what books did Reese Witherspoon select for her book club in 2018?

January: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

February: The Light We Lost by Jill Santapolo

March: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

April: Happiness by Heather Harpham

May: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

June: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

July: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

August: Still Lives by Maria Hummel

September: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

October: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

November: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

December: One Day In December by Josie Silver

Each time I read a book, I give it a rating out of five based on my opinion of the quality of writing, character development and story building, and of course on how much I enjoyed reading it overall. Today I am sharing my three highest rated book picks from the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine book club. The thing about ratings is that they are subjective and will vary based on the reader. I enjoyed every book Reese picked, however some I definitely liked more than others.

If you would like to read more books in 2019 I think Reese’s book club is a great place to start, not only is it supporting and promoting female authors and characters, you might pick up books that you wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a great way to broaden your reading horizons, plus, the interaction on their Instagram is super fun to be a part of, they have built a great community of readers!

Without further ado, lets get into the reviews!

My top three favourite picks:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (September pick)

Rating: 5/5

Overview: Kya Clarke is the marsh girl. She’s also an outcast, a survivor and due to the prejudice of the townsfolk of Barkley Cove, Kya is a suspect in the murder of Chase Andrews. Set in small town North Carolina, this coming of age story follows Kya through her experience of being ostracised from society, and learning to survive with only the patterns of nature and the creatures of the marsh to teach her about life. As a result of this rejection, Kya closes her heart to the outside world. That is, until her beauty and mystery attracts the attention of a couple of young men from town. Will she learn to let others into her world, or has her trust been forever broken due to the mistreatment she’s been subjected to her whole life? Also…who murdered Chase Andrews?

My Thoughts: I LOVED this book! It’s probably one of my top favourites of 2018. It’s a beautiful story of courage and survival in the face of adversity, filled with lessons from nature, love, heartbreak, loneliness and a murder mystery. Delia Owens is actually a nature writer and Where the Crawdads Sing is her first fiction novel. Delia’s writing is mesmerising and unique. I cannot recommend this book enough, READ IT!

2. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (October pick)

Rating: 4/5

Overview: Rosie, an emergency doctor, and Pen, a novel writer, fall in love almost instantly, in fact, Rosie claims she knew Pen was the one before she even met him. From that first blind date, their love continues to grow and so too does their family. They have four wonderful sons and decide to try one final time for a daughter. Nine months later Claude is born, another healthy, beautiful boy.

From the beginning, Claude was different, but so too were all of Rosie and Pen’s sons, unique in their own way. Claude was intelligent and sensitive, he loved to bake cakes, write and illustrate mysteries and most of all wear dresses. If you were to ask Claude what he wanted to be when he grew up, his answer would be ‘a princess’. Perhaps Rosie’s wishes and hopes for a daughter had been answered after all. Rosie and Pen being the wonderful parents that they are want Claude to be whoever he (or she) is mean’t to be, but that doesn’t mean they have all of the answers. And so a secret it born. The thing about secrets is, they tend to come out. This is a beautiful story about transformation, acceptance, belonging and love. A story about family, trust, secrets and challenges. It’s the story of a boy who is actually a girl.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I have never read anything covering this subject matter before and although it is fiction, I still found it to be quite eye opening. I found myself questioning what I would do if one of my future children was in the same situation. The story does have its flaws, some sections are probably given more words than necessary and it did seem a little like Rosie and Pen are just ridiculously perfect parents that probably don’t exist in real life. However overall, I really enjoyed Laurie’s writing which was both heartfelt and humorous. I definitely recommend giving this one a read!

3. One Day In December by Josie Silver (December pick)

Rating: 4/5

Overview: Do you believe in love at first site? Laurie doesn’t. That is, until it happens to her. One day in December, through a bus window, Laurie falls in love with a perfect stranger sitting at a bus stop in London. And then the bus pulls away and she fears she has lost her soul mate forever. After a year of looking, Laurie is ready to accept she’ll never see ‘bus boy’ again. And then she does, at her annual christmas party where she is being introduced to him by her best friend and roommate Sarah…as her new boyfriend. And so begins Laurie’s difficult task of trying to fall out of love while watching Sarah and Jack’s relationship grow.

My Thoughts: This book was a fun read in December, it kind of reminded me of Bridget Jones Diary, mixed with Love Actually. Through the hope, the heartbreak, the life changes and challenges, personal growth, laughter, friendship and memories comes a story about love, fate and the non-linear journey of life. The thing I liked about this book was it was kind of lighthearted and fairly realistic. I enjoy learning about peoples’ life journey and (I know this is a fiction) but I find it comforting to know that no one’s life goes according to their original plan, I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life!

So what will you be reading this year? Share your top book picks in the comments below or feel free to head over to Instagram and continue the conversation there! I would love to hear from you!

I hope you have enjoyed this post, I definitely recommend checking out Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine, you just might find your next favourite book!

Until next time,

Kiah x

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Hi Friends! Today I’m sharing my super yummy, super healthy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Green Bean Curry recipe! Now for my fellow Australians, I am very aware it is November and we are heading into summer, however, curry is an all season staple for me, […]