Hi and welcome to Stuck in the Kitchen – a New Zealand based food and recipe blog.
Waaay back in 2013 I started this blog while working for Kiwi celebrity cook Annabel Langbein doing recipe development, styling and occasional photography. It was a really great learning ground, but over time I became frustrated at the lack of opportunity to show my own style and share my favourite recipes…so I started Stuck in the Kitchen, then took the leap into solo freelance work – four years later and I am delighted to be a regular contributor to Dish magazine, Fairfax newspapers and Stuff.
I have no formal photography or cooking qualifications but I have always loved food and entertaining, and photography has been my passion for some time. Growing up my lovely Mum hated everything about cooking (especially dinner parties), finding the whole thing stressful and unpleasant – and she still does. Conversely I have always felt relaxed in the kitchen, it calms me down, and I have been known to bake up to six varieties of cakes in a day during a very stressful week before moving to Sydney a few years ago. I am neither a baker nor a cook, I’m not fussy, I love it all. I’m slightly perfectionist (my friends are laughing at a teeny, tiny bit of understatement) and it gives me enormous pleasure to cook for people – it is the way I show my love. I hosted my first dinner party for about 12 guests when I was 16, and catered a wedding (solo except for wait staff i.e my sister and her husband, bewildered by their lunatic relative) on Boxing Day when I was about 22 years old. Somehow though I never thought of ‘food’ as a proper job and started my career in the sales side of magazine publishing, where I spent 8 years. Many, many years later I fell into my foodie job and here I am – loving every minute of it.
In the way life changes mine underwent a massive shift in early 2016 when my youngest son Hoob (Richard) followed in his big brother Pog’s (Henry’s) footsteps by heading away to university. A few months later my husband also left to explore a new life and I was alone for the first time ever. Having found my main purpose as a wife and mother I found the transition to being a middle-aged singleton incredibly difficult – I guess you could say I came unstuck. For at least the first three months I was a total mess, but as I slowly managed to see outside myself and move forward, I found the purpose I so desperately needed in the creation of my first cookbook Coming Unstuck. It is as honest and frank as I could possibly make it, packed with all sorts of luscious feel good food, tips and photos. I am so excited to have it available for sale on my website here.
I live in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand, and am the incredibly proud mother of two fabulous, talented and gorgeous grown-up sons (one living in Melbourne, the other in Wellington) and two mad semi-incontinent terriers.
All the recipes, styling and photography on the blog are mine, photos taken with my Nikon D810. I always hope to have the food as the hero of the shot, I love choosing props and setting a mood but if you don’t want to dive in and eat what’s in the photo, I’m not achieving my goal.
I am a big fan of using fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Pretty much the only things I’ll ever use from a can are chickpeas, tomatoes and sweetened condensed milk. That said, I don’t believe in making life harder on yourself than necessary, and am all for food processors, blenders and the occasional use of the microwave.
When I have talked about this blog with people who know more about these things than me, I have been advised to choose an angle. I should pick something like vegan or vegetarian, or healthy or family meals, or baking and desserts, or gluten-free or whole-foods or organic. But I can’t. The thing is this is real food for real people who are multifaceted like me. Sometimes I crave a slow cooked beef rendang, other times all I want is loads of fresh, gorgeous vegetables or salads, occasionally a nice big piece of cake with a cup of tea or maybe a decadent dessert. I can’t choose, all I can do is share with you the recipes I love and hope that you will love them too.
My other career highlights include 8 years in sales management in magazine publishing, 2 years as Sales Director Of Elizabeth Arden NZ before leaving to have the first of my two lovely boys, and six years as the owner operator and personal trainer of a fitness boot camp which I sold just before starting my work in the ‘cooking’ industry. Throughout all of my other careers however, food was central to my very existence…obviously!
If you fancy, here are links to some of my recent interviews…
…and big thanks to the lovely Ben who took this recent updated pic of me, you can find more of his work here!