It has been so much fun being home in New Zealand for the launch of my cook book, Real Food Pledge. I have been at book signings, interviews and live radio chats, all of which have been fabulous fun, a new experience and little bit like ‘oh my goodness, I am actually doing this!’. Next week from the 1 May until 3 May I will be at the New Zealand Food Show in Christchurch which I am very excited about.
I wanted to share with you a sneaky look at my Dad’s garden, because it is quite impressive.
My family lives in the North of New Zealand in a town called Whangarei. You can pronounce my home town like this… fong-a-ray or if you look on Google they suggest fa-nga-rei. I spent my whole life in Whangarei, until I was 20 years old and flew the coupe to move to the big smoke! I often visit home and really enjoy it when I do.
One of the aspects that I love about life in Whangarei, is that most people have fruit tree’s in their back yard. The house that I was brought up in, had plum trees, orange trees, a huge fig tree and of course lemons, just to name a few. As kids we also used to spend time foraging on the side of the road for things like wild cape gooseberries, plums or blackberries. We would make jam with our picked goods or just enjoy eating the fruit as we picked it.
Going to my Dads place is a huge treat for me and my children. The garden is laden with fruit, he has a freezer full of hand caught seafood, cupboards full of preserves and a cellar (the shed) full of home-made wine!
When I was at his place during this visit, I taste tests a few of his latest brews of plum and grape wine. My Dad kept cracking caps until he found a wine that my taste buds would enjoy! He had fejoia wine mulling away in big containers which looks and smells a little gross, but the final product will make a nice drop I am told, maybe I will taste test that next time!
My Dad took me for what turned out to be an eating and smelling tour around his garden. I tasted the tomatoes which were coming to an end as well at guava’s, tamerillo’s and fejoia’s. I was invited to bite into a chilli, however declined! There have also been lush wild mushrooms popping up on his lawn which he has been collecting, I think that is really amazing.
He has cleverly planted 3 varieties of avocados, which are meant to ripen at different times of the year. If his plan works out then he will be able to have ripe avocado’s from his own garden all year round.
Other amazing edibles that Dad has in his garden are chilli’s, including my favourite variety jalapeno’s. He has sliverbeet, pumpkins, zucchini, parsley, leeks, banana’s, apples, peaches, plumbs, lemonades and rhubarb just to name a few. Upon first glance at the garden you don’t see all the fruit trees, vegetables and herbs because they are rambling amongst other trees and flower bushes, but as you walk around there are surprises literally under every bush!