Neighbourhood Eats Cookbook

Introducing this beautiful cookbook filled with treasured family recipes from the Napier Central School neighbourhood…

Dael and I are thrilled to have played a small part in this beautiful cookbook, “Neighbourhood Eats”, which features mouth-watering, tried and trusted recipes from the Napier Central School community. The book is a school fundraiser to raise money to help save their school pool, which needs major refurbishments.

I know when you envisage a school cookbook you might think photocopied pages and spiral binding, but not this cookbook! Neighbourhood Eats is the most beautiful hardback book filled with 275 recipes and more than 300 incredible original photographs shot by our favourite photographer, Florence Charvin.

Every family has at least one or two favourite recipes. You know the ones handed down from your grandmother; the ones that have a story that goes with them, and a history; the ones that have been experimented with and adjusted until they’re just right. Put together in one stunning book, the recipes and the stories in Neighbourhood Eats will make their way into your kitchen and your heart.

The recipes in this book are a perfect reflection of the cultural diversity found at Napier Central School. As well as Kiwi kids, they have pupils whose backgrounds include Thai, Swedish, Scottish, Malaysian, Japanese, Indian, Australian, Irish, Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, and German, to name a few. Also scattered through the book are recipes from some well known New Zealanders - Jacinda Ardern, Peter Gordon, and Jospeh Parker have all donated their favourite recipe.

Behind the scenes there has been the most incredible group of people working tirelessly to make this book a reality. A group of volunteer cooks made up of mums, dads, grandmothers and teachers, cooked all of the recipes. Members of the Napier Central PTA organised and oversaw the photoshoots, liaised with the graphic designer, recruited sponsors, organised printing, donating their time all in an effort to help their childrens’ school.

The name Neighbourhood Eats came about because of the huge effort put in from the whole community - parents, teachers, pupils and local businesses. Sponsorship support from a large number of local businesses covered all of the production costs, which means that 100% of the profits can go directly into the Napier Central School “save the pool” fund. Between us Dael and I have five daughters, all of whom are past pupils of this wonderful school, so we were very happy to be able to help with this project, sponsoring the ‘soups and breads’ chapter.

The Neighbourhood Eats cookbook costs $45 and can be ordered from their great looking website (built by Kathryn McGarvey). What a brilliant gift it would make, so why not grab a few copies for your mum and your sister too, knowing that you’ll be giving a fantastic gift as well as contributing to a worthy cause. I’m sure these are going to fly out the door, so don’t miss out, order your copy today.

My Food Bag

As a wife and a mother, I (like many others, I'm sure) have come to dread those age-old words "what's for dinner?". If I'm perfectly honest there are about a million things I'd rather be doing than cooking a meal night after night, but the health of my family deems it necessary ;) Now, if someone told me what to cook each night and delivered all the food to my door, that would be half the battle. My Food Bag to the rescue... the concept is brilliant - a nutritious weekly menu with all the ingredients and step-by-step recipes for four to five meals, delivered to your door at the start of each week.

Head chef and dietitian, Nadia Lim, works with a talented team to design delicious, easy-to-follow recipes each week. There are five different food bags to choose from:

My Classic Food Bag: 5 recipes to feed 2 adults and 2-3 teens, or 4 adults. 
My Family Food Bag: 5 recipes to feed 2 adults and 2-3 younger children. 
My Gourmet Food Bag: 4 recipes to feed 2 adults. 
My Veggie Food Bag: 4 vegetarian recipes to feed 2 adults.
My Own Food Bag: 4 recipes for 5 meals to feed 1 adult (1 recipe feeds 2 adults).

Once you've chosen the Food Bag that suits you can choose to have it delivered every week or every fortnight, and either on Sunday or Monday. A few days before the bag arrives you'll be emailed your menu and notified of any staple ingredients you'll need eg: flour, olive oil (things you generally have in your pantry already). This gives you time to pick anything up you don't have. Your Food Bag is then delivered to your door with the freshest ingredients, and all seasonal produce (free-range and sustainably farmed products are used whenever possible).

My Family Food Bag

My Classic Food Bag

Hawke's Bay is one of the latest areas to receive My Food Bag deliveries, so Dael and I were super excited to try it out. Dael chose My Classic Food Bag, and I decided to try My Family Food Bag so that we could compare the two. We were emailed our menu for the week ahead and on Sunday afternoon everything was delivered to our door.

There was a large chillbox holding all the meat and deli items, and two paper bags filled with everything else - delicious, fresh veges, eggs, spice mixes, bread crumbs, rice etc. You also get a free recipe folder with the week's recipes. The recipe cards are fantastic and really easy to follow, including the prep and cook time, and nutritional information.

It was lovely to feel so organised and know exactly what was for dinner each night. I really enjoyed the cooking experience and trying new ideas, and there was much excitement, as well as critiques from my family when they sat around the table in the evening.

Dael's family loved their meals too. Her husband, Lee, had taken the week off work to look after their two girls during the school holidays, so for them the delivery of My Food Bag was perfect timing. With everything he needed on hand and instructions, meal time was a breeze, and it was lovely for Dael to come home to. One night when they had friends over for dinner they gave the kids something simple and served their guests 'Char Siu Pork with Sticky Sesame Pea Rice and Veges'. Needless to say the guest were most impressed!

After trialling My Food Bag for a week, Dael and I both highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take the stress out of meal times. With the busy lifestyles most of us live, it's a fantastic way to make sure your family is getting a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal. You don't have to be a Master Chef either, if I can do it, you definitely can. Why don't you give it a go.