Hi, and welcome to peas and pine nuts, an offshoot to my blog From the Kitchen, where I will be sharing my favourite vegetarian, almost-vegetarian and vegan recipes. After three years of writing From the Kitchen I was starting to feel like I needed some creative evolution, as I seemed to be veering off into commercial territory and was becoming preoccupied with producing photos that I hoped would suit my clients, and ironically along the way, straying from the looks I like best and struggling to keep to one look. Also - I have been toying with the idea of 'going' vegetarian for a long time, and I thought that the day had finally arrived. There was no major catalyst, apart from watching a fabulous, hairless little piggy snuggling up to his singing carer on a video doing the rounds on Facebook, (gorgeous little creature), and I guess I thought - holy shit, I can't eat him! Or any of his mates/brothers/sisters/mum. Totally my decision, my thoughts, and for me.

On that note, I am vehemently opposed to preachey people, and you won't be getting any of that here. This is also a no-bullshit department. I will not be inviting you to craft, dwell or imbibe - or gather and meditate on your blessings. Don't get me wrong, I actually do feel bloody blessed, but it is a private thing - I thank God (the universe/whatever) every day for my beautiful sons, my long-suffering (and occasionally insufferable) husband and the fact that we are all currently in good health - but this is a private thing. I will not be shoving my blessings down your throat! 

With regards to my food philosophy I don't really have one. Basically I aim to eat seasonally with a focus on fresh vegetables. I do eat dairy and eggs and occasionally, fish, but no beef, chicken or pork. I am not gluten or sugar free, but I am aware of not od'ing on sugar, as basically any carbohydrates you eat in excess of the 2000 calories worth your body can store, are converted and stored as fat. (I'm also an ex-personal trainer). I used to be a runner, but had given it away due to recurring knee/itb issues - which was a big deal. At my best running was pure freedom for me - like dancing and laughing and singing at the same time :) I have been doing yoga for the last 6 months, and tentatively bought a new pair of running shoes last week - still sitting all bright, shiny and unused in my wardrobe. Soon I will take them for a test drive, in the knowledge that I will be devastated by the disappearance of my runner's body, speed and stamina...

I have been married for 10 billion years to my (ageing - ssshhhhh - hipster) husband Nick, who I started going out with when I was just 16 years old, and we have two fabulous sons. Henry (Pog) is 20 years old, studying design in Wellington - ascerbic, witty, super-talented, honest, caring, handsome, slim as a whippet with ice blonde dyed hair and a myriad of tattoos, he is a wonderful man. Richie (Hoob or Schnub) is about to turn 18 and studying (haha) for his final Cambridge school exams - funny, loud, a naturally talented actor and entertainer who looks like a handsome young Brando, louche, social and able to charm the birds from the trees since the moment he could talk. It would be impossible to be any prouder.

And that's about it - I live in Auckland, New Zealand with Nick, Rich (until he leaves the nest for uni next year) and our two mad terriers - one neurotic border terrier (Dougal) and one effervescent westie (Maggie). 

Other stuff - I am a professional food and travel writer and photographer. I shoot with a Nikon D800 using an 85mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.4 lens. I edit in photoshop with occasional use of vsco filters. I contribute regularly to Dish magazine and Fairfax newspapers around the country. I am always learning, never satisfied (or hardly ever) and live in the hope that one day I will know enough to be happy with my work.

...oh - and peas and pine nuts? They are two of the ingredients I couldn't live with out along with lemons, garlic, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, dukkah, natural yoghurt and a truck-load of veges.


peas & pine nuts

2 cups frozen peas

1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

1 small ball (about 70 grams) buffalo mozzarella

3 tablespoons basil pesto

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to serve

Bring a pot of water to the boil and drop in peas. Wait til the water comes back up to the boil (a few minutes) then drain well. Toss through pesto and most of the pine nuts and serve with a torn piece of mozzarella, a wee drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a dollop of pesto and plenty of sea salt and black pepper. Beautiful as a side or on it's own with some lovely bread. You can also cook a finely sliced leek or fennel bulb in a little olive oil and combine with the peas, for a more substantial dish. Serves 1-2 depending on your pea appetite! :)