Welcome to our little patch of paradise in sunny Nelson, New Zealand. Homegrown Kitchen is where I share our simple life of growing food in the backyard, making food from scratch, and favorite family recipes. For many years (over 18 years!) I have been studying, researching and teaching others about cooking and eating well through my writing, and cooking workshops in Nelson and around New Zealand.
I started this online journal as a place to share recipes and photography inspired by what is growing in my garden and all the vibrant seasonal goodness. With two young children life is full… so the food we eat is simple, fresh and easy to prepare. My garden harvest and fresh produce from local markets forms the base of most meals, combined with everyday pantry staples.
I also love making homemade essentials such as bread, yogurt, preserves and ferments from scratch. I have spent years refining and mastering these back-to-basics techniques to make them as simple as possible so to fit around our busy modern lives. I have shared these recipes and my favourite family meals in my new cookbook Homegrown Kitchen – Everyday Recipes for Eating Well.
A little kitchen and garden video from 2013 – my children are so little!
My love for cooking began in my Nana’s kitchen. Once a week she would pick me up after school and we would spend the afternoon cooking a meal to share later with the family. It was this sharing of food around my grandparents table that shaped the way I now cook for my own family.
This early introduction to cooking led me to first train as a chef and then several years later study natural nutrition while living in Canada. This sparked my interest into wholefoods and traditional cooking techniques such as sourdough and lacto-fermentation to enhance the digestibility and nutritional value of the food we eat.
On returning to New Zealand in 2003 I combined my knowledge of cooking and nutrition to run cooking workshops in Nelson, and eventually all around New Zealand. I also started me first recipe website (Alive Foods) and contributing recipes to publications. I have written four cookbooks, including the popular Feeding Little Tummies (2011 – out of print), Cooking for your Child (2006) and Alive! (2004). My fourth cookbook Homegrown Kitchen – Everyday Recipes for Eating Well, is now available in bookstores around NZ, plus signed copies HERE.
Although I have a strong interest in healthy cooking from my studies, at the heart of my food philosophy is a love for cooking good food and sharing this with others. I find importance in knowing where our food comes from – whether from my own backyard, a local grower or small artisan producer.
We are incredibly lucky to live in an area with an ideal climate for growing a wide range of vegetables and fruit in our backyard. With around 35 fruiting trees and plants ranging from a 30-year-old apricot to a thorn-less blackberry patch, a hedge of feijoas, plus nut and avocado trees, we grow a decent portion of our produce needs. We also have free-range hens to supply fresh eggs.
This is all accomplished on an urban property of about 800 square metres, with 30 square metres of garden beds. An indoor grapevine growing in our sunroom, just off the kitchen, literally brings the garden to our table. It is this indoor/outdoor space that gave life to this website, Homegrown Kitchen.
The garden is an integral part of my kitchen where I grow fresh seasonal food using basic organic methods. Before embarking on motherhood I co-owned an organic vegetable box delivery for 7 years. I came to appreciate that organic gardening is largely about feeding and nurturing the soil to grow healthy strong plants. Produce we then eat and gain the benefits of the healthy soil they grew in.
Every day I aim to spend time – however long or short – in the garden with my family. To take a break from the busyness of life, away from distractions and screens, to slow down to nature’s pace for a few quiet moments.
*Find my food writing and photography portfolio HERE. I write a fortnightly food column for Stuff.co.nz and associated publications – Dominion Post, The Press, Waikato Times, Nelson Mail (and more). Follow along on Facebook and Instagram
– Images above of the garden and chickens captured by my talented photographer sister Ana Galloway.
Reviews & Awards
- 2018 – Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook – NZ Winner Easy Home Recipes Category – Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – finalist in the 2018 ‘Best in the World’ awards.
- June 2017 – Sunday Star Times – Lynda Hallinan HK cookbook review
- June 2017 – Stuff.co.nz Homed – home kitchen tour and interview
- May 2017 – NZ Listener – Homegrown Kitchen cookbook review by Lauraine Jacobs
- April 2017 – NZ Gardener – Homegrown Vegetables for A Chef’s Garden
- April 2017 – interview on National Radio – Using vegetable scraps for stock making – listen HERE
- March 2016 – Cooking segment on Whanau Living TV One – watch HERE.
- February 2016 – interview on National Radio – Preserving the Harvest – listen HERE
- Finalist: Best NZ Publication – 2015 Culinary Quill Awards – NZ Guild of Food Writers
- March 2015 – interview on National Radio – Growing and cooking beetroot – listen HERE
- February 2014 – Cooking segment on Whanau Living – watch it HERE
- Finalist: Best Website/ Blog 2013 Culinary Quill Awards – NZ Guild of Food Writers (current member)
- Winner: Voted Best Food Blog – 2013 Munch Awards