Real Country

After a week of the flu it was good to get out of the city and into the fresh country air at Nana C’s pad. She recently acquired chickens that now provide the freshest, most delicious free range eggs. My 7 year old took to feeding the chooks and checking the coup for eggs with enthusiasm and even named a few – Vanessa is the white speckled hen.

The cows in the neighbouring paddock were particulary friendly, especially when offered some grass.

Nana and the little country girl made did some baking, and bubs was free range on the grass.
All in all a great weekend after a miserable week of the flu 😦 🙂


Real Seafood Sunday

The Sunday just gone turned out to be quite a seafood feast. The Morrin Road markets in Glen Innes provided our seafood and fresh produce for both lunch and dinner. My mum bought two whole mullets for $9.50, and we bought a pot of fresh mussles for $7 shelled by this friendly man at the seafood stall.


We also bought fresh cassava, taro and fresh salad greens


For lunch we had whole baked mullet, taro and green salad


And for dinner mussel fritters, cassava and a green salad



The baked fish is pretty straight forward; after cleaning bake with slices of lemon and bay leaves. Ours took about 30 minutes in a moderate oven.

For the mussel fritters I choppped up mussels (about 500 grams) into small pieces, added lots of fresh coriander, some spring onion, chilli flakes, pepper, about half a cup of tapioca flour and fried in coconut oil.

To cook taro and cassava cut off skin, chop into pieces and boil until you can stick a knife easily through.

So healthy, so fresh so good!

Real Cleaning


As an earlier post mentioned I am upping my sustainable ways as a way to reduce our living costs and consequently reduce our waste. I have been experimenting with various concoctions of  baking soda, white vinegar, lemons, sunlight soap and essential oil for cleaning my home and my body and I have been getting amazing results! I no longer need to buy:

  • toilet cleaner

white vinegar (re-use toilet cleaner bottle and replace liquid with vinegar)

  • general household cleaner spray

white vinegar (dilute with water in spray bottle)

  • window cleaner

white vinegar (as above)

  • shower cleaner

white vinegar spray and baking soda for scum build up

  • washing powder

washing soda crystals, sunlight soap (1.5kg soda crystals, use the food processor to break crystals down, finely grate 3/4 sunlight soap bar then combine)

  • laundry refresher/whitener

lemon juice added to rinse cycle

  • dish-wash detergent

sunlight soap (finely grate a couple of tablespoons of sunlight soap, add to warm water in a suitable bottle, shake to dissolve then top up with cold water)

  • hand-wash

sunlight soap (same method as above)

  • fabric softener

white vinegar

  • deodorant

see the zero waste chefs’ great recipe here

  • shampoo & conditioner

baking soda, white vinegar (amazing results- where have you been all my life!)

  • face wash

baking soda (made into a paste with water)

  • insect repellent

neem soap and water (same method as hand-wash and dish-wash, this can be used on plants as-well as a natural alternative to rid bugs)

Uses for baking soda and vinegar are endless – if you have a household cleaning tip please share by leaving a comment, it would be very much appreciated!






Real Waste Education


On Saturday I attended a training workshop run by the Auckland City Council on how to run a zero waste event. It was very interesting to learn about the different types of packaging and their effect on the environment. I certainly think I could  lessen my family’s packaging footprint in a few areas by being more organised. For example only buying fresh produce at my local market and making home made gifts.

I was alarmed to find out that the so called plastic ‘eco bags’ being used by many retailers now are just as damaging as regular plastic bags, if not more, due to their unique breakdown. These bags made by Eco-Pal Ltd claim to be environmentally friendly and suitable for domestic compost. However an investigation proved this claim as misleading, and in August 2013 the company were sentenced at the Auckland District Court for breaching the Fair Trading Act (read the press release here).



On a lighter note, it was great to meet like-minded people that shared a passion for building a sustainable and healthy future for our communities. I even managed to set up a possible future collaboration that I look forward to documenting on this blog.

As Auckland City moves towards it’s long term goal to be a zero waste city by 2040 there are some great things happening in the realm of sustainability. So check out your local council website and see what sustainable projects are under-way or upcoming. They are are great way to connect with your community and to be part of the bigger picture; that is, to build a greener, cleaner future for generations to come.

Real Therapy

I managed to finish work a week earlier than expected so today was my first weekday in yonks that I didn’t have to work. While baby was asleep I spent most of the morning in the kitchen cooking and cleaning while listening to a podcast from The Splendid Table. It was so therapeutic to be in my happy zone without having the pressure of work at the back of my mind.  I made savoury scones to take to a zero waste event training workshop that I will be attending tomorrow, roasted fresh macadamia nuts with coconut oil sprinkled with fresh rosemary that I got from my community garden and even managed to help my 7 year old who is home from school today to make a present for a birthday party she will be attending soon.
As I mentioned in an earlier post we are incorporating more indigenous foods into our diet. The other night we had slow cooked beef with potatoes, carrot and puha. Puha is a native leafy green vegetable that was a staple vegetable of the Maori people. It grows in the wild, however, it is hard to find in stores, but it is available at our local market from these lovely ladies (below) who you often see foraging in the neighbourhood.
Morrin Road Markets, Glen Innes
Pictured here is puha, plantains and cassava
Dinner- slow cooked beef with potatoes, carrot and puha 20140910_184421
Puha has a slight peppery taste and is best cooked in a stew, braise or a ‘boil up’ for the last 30 minutes. I have many recipes forming in my head using indigenous foods of my ancestors and with more time on my hands I can’t wait to get into the kitchen.
Happy Real Ancestral Eating x

Real Uses For Lemons


I’ve had several bags of lemons given to me recently and I have taken them gratefully. So far I have made several jars of preserved lemons, freshened up my laundry by adding lemon juice to the wash cycle and wiped my chopping boards with half a lemon to sanitize and refresh.  I know it’s no new idea to freeze lemon juice into ice cube trays but I thought I would liven them up by adding finely grated fresh ginger and chopped mint for a refreshing drink when added to hot or cold  water. They also are great for flavouring water keffir, or, add honey to hot water before popping in a cube for a soothing drink for sore throats.

Real Changes

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This week has been an exceptionally busy one, starting with handing in my resignation at work. We decided as a family that things needed to slow down a bit and the less stress the better. It will be a challenge financially but luckily my sustainable ways are economical, so I will be doing my best to apply those practices to more areas of my family’s life as a way of reducing our living costs. Since the day of my resignation I have had some work offered to me which is in line with my ethics and values, and where the hours and starting dates are family friendly; so, many doors are opening and as cliche as it sounds I am finally starting to see where I fit into this world.

Getting into the mode of implementing more sustainable practices into my life, I went to my local community garden hui. It was so interesting to hear the thoughts of local people on their personal health and that of Maori and Pasifika people in their family and wider community, which is mostly in poor shape. When the conversation turned to food what became immediately apparent to me was the rejection of the ancestral way of eating that is unfortunately endorsed by current conventional guidelines. This really concerns me, I am not a nutritionist nor am I a health professional, but if we think about it like this: My ancestors and those of other Pasifika and Maori people were specimens of health –

“…strange that these people enjoy perfect and uninterrupted health…we never saw a single person who appeared to have any bodily complaint…the great number of old men that we saw…appeared to be very ancient, yet none of them were decrepit; and although not equal to the young in muscular strength, were not a white behind them in cheerfulness and vivacity…”(Captain Cook speaking of the New Zealand Māori in 1772).

They ate root vegetables, seafood, meat, leafy greens and experienced good health (read Dr. Western Price’s studies about the health of indigenous populations).

My thought, and indeed the thought of many others, is that the main contributing factor to their poor health is the uptake by Maori and Pasifika people of the modern processed western diet that is high in refined carbohydrate and sugar. My mission is to encourage the Maori and Pasifika people in my community to reclaim their ancestral health by eating the diet of their ancestors. I intend to lead by example and incorporate more foods that my ancestors ate into my family’s daily diet and educate people in my community about food and to take pride in their food history.

We already eat meat, eggs, leafy greens, whole milk and butter but not enough seafood, taro, taro leaves and green bananas. Fish is expensive but shellfish is not, so we will be trying to have two meals a week that contain mussels. I’m excited about this challenge and will document my progress here on the blog.