My Green Kitchen, by Neena Truscott & Belinda Macdonald

A cookbook that was made for New Zealanders.  Perfect.  I have to admit the reason it took me a while to get around to reviewing this cookbook because I was so busy trying out all the recipes.

This particular cookbook also doubles as a health guide tracing its way from spice-based smoothies such as the sunshine turmeric lassi to hearty bone broths and soups (the hot and sour Thai chicken became an instant favourite though if you have younger children kelp noodles might take some getting used to) as well options for creating your own sauerkraut, cultured ginger and carrots and basically giving your gut a good cleaning while you do so.

‘There is also a recipe for healing Kawakawa tea (and yes, we are in New Zealand so why not embrace the medicinal properties of our native plants) and also one for smoky hawthorn berry sauce. Depending if there’s any left over this could be a great Christmas present.

In fact, there is a range of potential gifts (no matter the time of the year) that you could make for others including Manuka and slippery elm cough lozenges, garlic oxymel ( simply a syrup made from vinegar, honey and herbs) that not only makes a great salad dressing but is also useful for sore throats, respiratory infections, congestion and colds.

The simplicity of the recipes is also what make this handy dandy cookbook quite appealing. Admittedly prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with homemade dukkah (simply a mix of nettle leaves, coriander and sesame with some kelp in this case) and soft eggs will not feed your army of hungry soldiers but they are an excellent snack. Similarly, the almond, rosemary and black pepper crackers are going straight into lunch boxes, no matter who’s taking them as they’re a handy snack for the non-stop tummy rumbles.

My favourite vinaigrette from this book is a lime and caper number that involves apple cider vinegar (if you haven’t got this in your pantry by now you definitely should) limes, capers, maple syrup, coriander, avocado oil and salt and pepper to taste. It’s magic over pan fried halloumi or fish and especially yummy with stuffed eggplants.

My own quibble is that there aren’t enough feed-a-family-of-six recipes and while it’s good to combine a few different ones together it does require some agile thinking. Having said that, the health benefits  and the numerous sweet healthy treats will have your friends begging for the recipe. This is definitely becoming one of my go-to books.

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Dione is an Auckland based theatre director and writer with background in performance and community & cultural development. She works as a freelance arts journalist, guest lecturer and creative advisor on a range of different projects both in New Zealand and internationally. She is primarily a non-fiction reviewer who adores travelogues, history, memoirs and creative cooking texts. Read more at

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