Hi there, I’m Helen and I live in the stunning city of Sydney in Australia. I am a passionate home cook who firmly believes in the “paddock to plate” concept of eating. My kitchen is my happy place and my heart sings loudest when I am cooking up a feast using fresh seasonal produce and sharing it with loved ones.
In my past life I graduated from university and practised as a solicitor for many years. During this time I was also blessed with my four kids. With their arrival came a natural protective instinct, a sense of wanting what’s best for them and part of this was making sure they led an active outdoorsy lifestyle and their diets were well balanced and nutritionally dense. I also started noticing all the unknowns in food and realised the only way to know exactly what they were eating was to make it myself. This was the true beginning of my journey with home cooking.
I was born and bred in Sydney within a Greek family and was often sitting on the kitchen bench watching my yiayia (grandma in Greek) making all the traditional foods – bread, spinach and feta pies, ragu, hilopites, lentil soup, meatballs, biscotti, and walnut cake to name a few. She always gave me little jobs to keep me interested such as nipping the ends of the green beans or washing the spinach leaves freshly picked from the vegie patch out the back before they went into the pot. Such beautiful memories that I know I will cherish forever. Mum was, and is still, also a great cook and always made sure there was homemade food and bakes available – her baklava is still second to none!
The weekends were taken up by large family gatherings where we would get together with at least half a dozen other families, each one bringing a platter of food, meat and a dessert, of course, to put in the middle of the table and share with everyone else. It is the way I still love to eat – large platters filling a table, everyone reaching over everyone else, noisy, full of laughter and conversation, this is without a doubt the best way to spend a day!
Ever since I met my hubby (almost 20 years ago now!) we would go on road trips into the countryside on every free weekend. As our kiddies came along, the road trips would continue, the boot of the car becoming fuller and fuller with each passing year!
We realised many a moon ago that although we were both brought up in the city, we both had an undeniable affinity with the countryside. We purchased a farm in the Southern Highlands, about an hour and a half out of Sydney. We set about establishing a large vegetable patch and a large variety of fruit trees on the property. The veggie patch has been feeding us beautiful seasonal veggies throughout the years and the fruit trees are starting to provide us with plums, peaches, cherries, nectarines, apples, pears, chestnuts, walnuts, lemons, oranges and figs when they’re in season. Add to these a dozen or so Boer goats and a chook run with about 10 chickens pecking about and you have a sanctuary of clean air, slow living and an abundance of produce that has fuelled my paddock to plate cooking!
It is like living something of a double life, we love the fast pace of the city during the week and just adore sitting back in front of the fire with a glass of wine at hand – perfect for the Gemini in me! I would love to help people get back into the kitchen to cook local seasonal produce. It is not only a tastier and cheaper way to eat, it is also better for you and those you are cooking for. I also understand, very much so understand, that it’s ok to be a little naughty in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Baking anything, whether sweet or savoury, is an absolute joy and when combined with the addition of fresh produce, is definitely my favourite cooking pastime.
I hope to share my recipes with you, showcasing good honest country style cooking that everyone can enjoy, no matter where your kitchen may be! I have already learnt show much about developing recipes and food photography and hope to continue learning and sharing something different with you all.