Levin from top of ranges
Horowhenua District, New Zealand

Hi fellow food lovers. I’m Susan – AKA the Kiwi Cook – from, you guessed it… the best little country in the world – New Zealand (Aotearoa). I live in Levin, a large town within the Horowhenua District (in the lower half of the North Island) – in a beautiful area nestled between the ranges and the west coast. The photo above is looking out from the top of the lower ranges (yes, I actually managed to walk up there!), out over Levin and towards the sea.

New Zealand is a melting-pot of indigenous Maori and settlers from all around the world. My Dutch father came to New Zealand along with the first wave of Dutch immigrants in 1952 and married my Kiwi mum. Her forebears arrived in the mid-late 1800s from England, Ireland and Scotland. So, I’m a Kiwi-Dutch-British-Irish hybrid – a rather interesting mix! As you can imagine, the food I grew up with reflected those cultures and mum (as the chief cook and bottle washer) deftly combined them into a perfectly coordinated repertoire of meals.

Unlike my mum, who had to learn how to cook quick-smart from the age of 18, I seem to have started late in the game. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’d tell you how surprised they were when I started a food blog at the ripe old age of 50! Yes, I ate food (all too well).. but as much as possible, avoided cooking it. Any time spent in the kitchen was a necessity rather than a calling. However, when my old oven died (actually it had been dying for years and all I really used was the stove top) and I was forced to get a new one (well, an old new one), I suddenly discovered the unadulterated joy of baking. No-one was more surprised than me!

A few years on, and the passion for cooking and baking hasn’t subsided. What has changed along the way, though, is my food philosophy. When I started out with this blog, I just wanted to make anything and everything – I was like a kid with a new box of toys. I joined The Daring Kitchen to help me expand my repertoire of skills and, one by one, knocked off all the dessert classics – pastries, breads, cakes, French baked custards (my favourite!). I was in culinary heaven; only problem was, my body didn’t agree. Food sensitivities turned into allergies and I started growing my very own muffin-top (oh how ironic that term is!). My doctor told me I had insulin resistance. Clearly, things had to change.

So I began to read voraciously about food and health and realised just how intertwined the two were (I mean, duh, right?). Along the way I became aware of a real shift in food awareness happening ‘out there’, much of which has been brought about by people who, like me, have been forced to eat differently for the sake of their health. This shift moves beyond simply eliminating or reducing problematic foods from your diet – rather, it’s about consciously choosing foods that are inherently healthy and eating them in their raw, or ‘whole’, state in order to retain their vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

Curiosity led me to try some of these whole-food recipes I was seeing in books and blogs. In particular, I was intrigued (not to mention sceptical!) by the idea that desserts and treats could actually be both healthy and delicious, and was enormously surprised to discover that, by and large, it was true (yes, it does require a little reconfiguring of the taste buds, but before long you’ll find the new level of ‘sweet’ more than sweet enough). I also noticed that as I brought more natural foods into my diet I was feeling increasingly better; my weight was going down and my energy was going up. I finally admitted to myself that there was no turning back, unless I was okay about heading towards chronic ill-health later on.

So… where does that leave me now? Well, I can’t pretend I’ve achieved Saint-status. However, I avoid, as much as possible, the foods I know I have a problem with – i.e. gluten-based products, refined sugar, packaged foods. I eat very healthily through the week (lots of fruit & veges, nuts & seeds, meat, eggs and organic yoghurt), but indulge a little on the weekends – that’s when I get to enjoy some of my favourite (albeit less than healthy) desserts or bakes! I try not to ‘should’ on myself, or feel guilty if I’ve over-indulged, but I do try to move towards increased health and well-being and, for me, food is at the heart of that.

So that’s me… Thanks for taking the time to read about my food journey. I hope you feel inspired to go and cook something delicious and share it with the people you’re closest to. After all, that’s what’s so great about cooking, isn’t it…

Susan, AKA Kiwicook
Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Cooking is love made visible

27 thoughts on “About

  1. I too have recently joined The Daring Kitchen and am awaiting the first challenge, looks like we will be tackling our first challenge together in the blogosphere!

    Here’s to our baking journeys!

  2. Hello,
    We bumped into you blog and we really like it – quite impressive!! Great recipes!!
    We would like to add your blog to the Top Food Blog list in mytaste.com/ .
    Adding your blog to our site will make your recipes available to our users (3million Users). Many blogs are already member and benefit from their exposure on us. MyTaste is one of the biggest worldwide when it comes to recipe search; it is also a social platform for foodies and blog/sites owners like you.
    To add your blog and see who join the Top Food Blog list, here’s the link
    Please be kind enough to reply to this message so we should know that you have received it. Thank you for your attention and cooperation. We hope to see you there soon!
    Warm Regards

  3. Would you please advise how I can get the foodgawker and tastespotting badges on my web-sites. I have just a few of my photos accepted there. Thank you!

  4. Hi, I’m sorry to bother you again. But I got on Tasteology for the first time after about 10 attempts! I searched for the Tasteology badge everywhere and could not find it. Would you help me with this one too please? Thank you so much!

  5. I don’t see that you have a Facebook page. If you want I can share your blog on mine, as a thank you for helping me and because your blog is a great cooking resource. I have 1673 followers there so far.

  6. To think that all we did was go out for dinner – which was incredibly enjoyable, every time, it has to be said – but think how we could critique the food NOW!! You’d be all knowledgeable-like, and I’d just be the gutsa I always was 😀 I am impressed with your amazing website and your amazing um “food work” (I’ll call it). You talented wee cookie! 😀

  7. Hello from the USA. Concerning the spike in traffic, Food Network aired an episode of Mystery Diners. The particular episode had a man who went by the name, “The Cooking Kiwi.” The premise of the show is employees who rip off their employers. The show appears to be completely fake and your site is the only thing that comes up when searching for him.

    1. Aaah, hahaha. That’s so funny… I had a feeling it was something like that, as I saw loads of searching terms “The Cooking Kiwi” so knew it wasn’t actually related to my blog. The nice thing is that people seem to have had a look around the site while they were here, so that’s a bonus! Thanks for letting me know!!

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