Nurturing Kitchen

IMG_20150315_092817Tiny hands, messy counter, big bowls and nurturing heart. Our days always begin and end in our kitchen, and it is here in our crazy little space filled with good food that I know how to show love best. Through our play, creating and sharing we are nurtured each and every day, and create memories around our kitchen table. Being lured out of bed by sweet voices asking for breakfast has made the happiest and most fulfilled version of myself and I am honoured to have the role of ‘mama’ to nourish and create with my children and partner daily.

Nurturing kitchen is my space to share with you the kind of foods that we share together as a family with two young children. When our first baby started eating solid food, I never once made her separate food or fed her separately to us. We always made the time to sit together, and from there she learned about all of the exciting foods and flavours her mama and papa loved to eat. Sure I adapted some things for her, but it was always much of the same as us and I couldn’t imagine making separate meals once our baby got bigger and our family grew. Nurturing kitchen is about nurturing not only yourself, but your little ones, elders and nature too. Food which nourishes from within and nurtures the souls of your loved ones, what ever age they may be.

You’ll find all of our tried and tested family recipes here, as well as other things we love to do as a family; crafting, gardening, connecting with nature and some of my thoughts on pregnancy, parenting and birth. I aim to integrate a deep connection with the earth and it’s cycles in my family, and our activities and meals revolve around this faith. Be it eating seasonally, growing our own vegetables, composting or honouring the moon cycles, we show gratitude to the gift that mother nature gives us daily. Nurturing kitchen is about nurturing not only our bodies, but giving back to nature too.

DSC_0404Nurturing kitchen food philosophy

Coming from a background of vegan and gluten free catering, you will find that most of my recipes come under those categories, although I am not defined by these labels at all. As a family, we enjoy a wide range of foods, including some animal products, but these make up a small portion of our diet compared to the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses which make up the bulk of our meals. You will find that the majority of the recipes here are suitable for vegans, are gluten free or easily adaptable and are all free from refined sugar and grains. I would consider my diet plant-based for these reasons, but I am very keen not to force too many restrictions or labels on my children. Food is a pleasure and sometimes that means a decadent raw berry cheezecake, and sometimes real Italian geleto when on holiday and both are ok! We love our food and find pleasure in not denying ourselves anything, whilst surrounding ourselves with the most nutritious food we can at home. If I had to define my food philosophy and cooking style, and what you can expect to find here on the blog, it would be this:

  • Our meals are always plant-based (not necessarily vegan) and include a wide range of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • We choose to eat as seasonally as possible, buying our produce at local smallholders or growing our own.
  • We use a lot of foraged ingredients, from wild berries, greens and sea-vegetables and tree-nuts and fruits.
  • I use mainly gluten-free grains, not because we are intolerant but because I believe that eating a wide range of grains which have not been hybridized as commercial wheat has, to be healthier and more versatile in the kitchen. I love using a wide variety of flours, whole grains and even nuts and pulses in place of refined grains, and enjoy the diversity of flavours they all offer.
  • I am very aware of the oils we use for cooking, choosing good quality olive oil for dressings, and unrefined coconut oil or real butter for cooking. I steer clear of all refined vegetable and seed oils and margarine, and enjoy full-fat dairy when we do use it.
  • I eat no dairy products at all for ethical reasons and because it makes me feel better than including it in my diet. We do keep some dairy products in the house as my partner eats them but all of our cooking is done without dairy.
  • When we eat eggs, they are from our neighbours chickens. I personally only eat them very occasionally and have learned how to cook amazing cakes without eggs and prefer to eat plant based proteins. Store brought eggs, even so called ‘free-range’ still practice farming techniques I’d rather not consume.
  • All of the food we make is free from refined sugar. Instead we use nutritious sweeteners like dates, fruits, honey and maple syrup to make our sweet treats, and have found that our taste for sugar has dropped to crave natural sweetness over intense sugary foods.
  • I hope that you enjoy what we have to offer you here and I love hearing your comments, stories and opinions! You can find out much more about me here, follow our daily shenanigans over on Instagram and keep up to date on Facebook.

From our nurturing kitchen to yours..

Jo xxx

Ps.. My time spent serving delicious dishes at The Nectar Cafe was a crazy-happy time, and I look back at them with fond memories whilst I now spend my days gathering veggies with my daughter an making baby cakes! I’m so grateful that a dear friend capture some of the special moments at the cafe before we closed, which you can see in this little video below…