The forest cantina


This is my second and this time self-published cookbook. Funded by the generosity of backers from my Kickstarter campaign, it allowed me to produce a book independently that I am so proud of. A collection of treasured recipes with a guide to suburban self-sufficiency at the back. 

UPDATE: Thank you to all of you who have supported this book and have helped make it sold out worldwide! There is no second print run happening at this stage for two reasons. 1. I used some the profit of the first run to help pay for the deposit on our first home. 2. Traditionally a second print run is smaller than the first, and the smaller the print run the more expensive it is for me buy from the printer. In this case, if I brought HALF the amount it would be almost  3x more expensive to produce!  I would love to reprint again in the future sometime. 


For now, you can purchase a digital (PDF) copy below...




Best cookbook design, 2018 at the PANZ

(Publishers Association of New Zealand) awards.


The Forest Cantina - HOME is my second, and this time - self-published cookbook. I have named my book ‘Home’ because the style of my cooking is very much one of a ‘home cook’, and because I have included a guide at the back of the book to achieving your own home-grown produce. Also, because of how strongly I feel about home in the sense of my turangawaewae (home ground) being New Zealand.

I worked for 15 months, 6-7 days a week on this project and I couldn't be more proud of the finished result. I want to thank the 497 people who pledged toward my Kickstarter campaign and the 22 businesses who supported me in May 2016. Your early support gave me the financial freedom to have creative control over my work. It has resulted in a book that I absolutely adore, from front cover to back and every single page in between! For that, I will be forever grateful. 

I also want to thank my friend Bonny Beattie for all the time and love you put into this book - from all your ideas, styling, lifestyle photography, editing, being our on-location travel buddy - THANK YOU! And to Amanda Pierson for your amazing graphic design work, your attention to detail and for your perfectionism, I am very grateful! You can view a sample of the work Bonny, Amanda and I have created in the images below.  

The book's practical features

  • Hardcover so it wears well in the kitchen, with debossing on front and spine for extra pizzazz! 

  • 215mm x 265mm x 3mm (she's chunky!) 

  • 288 pages 

  • Gorgeous thick 140gsm matte paper stock (it feeeeels as good as it looks!) 

  • Every single recipe has an image to go with it, to inspire you to cook, and because I personally never cook a recipe without a photo to show me how it is supposed to look. I'm a visual kinda person. 

  • And, it has TWO marker ribbons


Inside the book

  • There are 80 recipes with a good mix of healthy meal ideas as well as treats for cheat days, plus mini recipes, serving suggestions and tips. 

  • The recipes have either been inspired by family favorites growing up, or by my travels and restaurants from within my city. I like to take classics or food that is hot right now and put my own spin on it, using as many ingredients from my backyard as possible. 

  • The recipe sections are; BREAKFAST, SAVOURY (tapas and preserves, grazing tables, salads and dressings, soups and main course) and SWEETS (desserts, baking, and drinks).

  • For those of you on a vegetarian diet, there is a full list of recipes under this section in the index for your convenience.  

  • Each recipe in this book was tested at least three times by three separate recipe testers, each with different skill levels in the kitchen. They not only made sure the recipes tasted good, but also helped me put together a realistic time frame for how long each recipe takes to prepare and cook – for normal people (not chefs).

  • There are many recipes in this book that can be gifted as a homemade present. If a recipe can be given as a gift, it will say under the time and serves: “Give: This recipe makes a great homemade gift”. A full list of homemade gifts can be found in the index. 

  • A guide to suburban self-sufficiency is at the back of the book (on grey pages, so it is slightly different from the recipe section) and it is there to give you all the very basics you need to know to start living off the land, producing homegrown ingredients in the space you have right now. The three key sections are ORGANIC GARDENING;  (soil basics, crop rotation + companion planting, seed raising, how to make natural pesticides, edible flowers, herbs, alliums, leafy greens, root vegetables and Nga rongoa o nga rakau - Maori medicinal use of plants), BACKYARD CHICKENS (choosing a chicken house, choosing breeds, what to feed chickens, general care, egg production and how to look after mother hen and her baby chicks) and URBAN BEEKEEPING (things to consider before becoming a beekeeper, choosing the right site, equipment, acquiring bees, a basic seasonal guide to working the bees and extracting honey without any expensive equipment).


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