Eleanor’s simple and beautifully photographed recipes are an inspiration to many healthy cooks around the world. Her blog – Petite Kitchen – is one you could lose yourself in for hours, rolling lazily from homemade honey beeswax moisturising creme to boiled orange chocolate cake.
Auckland local, author, blogger and mum to little Izabella – Eleanor’s simple recipes reflect a slow and conscious way of eating, using whole and lovingly selected ingredients. I am so thankful (and thrilled to bits!) to have the opportunity to ask Eleanor a few questions about life, nourishing food and her favourite local hangouts. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.
What’s your food philosophy and how did it begin?
I believe food should nourish every aspect of your life. Simply by eating a wholesome and natural diet, you can enjoy life’s delicious pleasures whilst creating positivity in both your mental and physical life. The road to simple eating began when our 5 year old daughter Izabella, developed what was seemingly incurable severe eczema. After countless visits to doctors and specialists, nobody could shine light on her condition, nor explain the impact it had on her behavior. In despair, we visited a Naturopath, who explained to us that Izabella was suffering from Gut and Psychology Syndrome (also known as GAPS), which is an imbalance of bad gut bacteria causing toxins, which was resulting in the eczema and her extreme mood fluctuations.
The remedy? To eliminate grain, sugar, additives and preservatives from her diet, and adopt a simple, clean way of eating that our generations seemed to have lost sight of. It has been around one year since we have changed our way of eating, and I am happy to tell you that our little girl is back. Her eczema and her behavioral problems are now a distant memory. Not only has this change in diet helped our little girl in a way I cant even explain, the impact it has had on my husband, my one year old son and of course myself, have been almost unbelievable. Energy, positivity and a new lease on life now graces our home.
Health food stores can be a confusing place! What are your essential ingredients?
There are a couple of basic ingredients which I always have stocked up in the pantry. They are, extra virgin coconut oil, raw honey, medjool dates, dried fruit, a couple of different types of nut flours, nut butters and coconut flour, lentils, chickpeas, other beans, canned organic tomatoes, a good olive oil, and of course my favorite, apple cider vinegar! More recently, I have started to invest in more superfoods, such as quinoa, chia seeds, maca powder, mesquite powder and some other amazing health foods which I try to add to our diets on a daily basis.
If you were trying to encourage a friend to eat healthier, what would you cook for them?
I would cook them a super easy and delicious vegetable casserole full of plenty of beautiful flavors, lots of garlic and herbs. I would show them that all it takes is a little creativity, and that it can be so easy to prepare something incredible. I would also make either some raw ‘fudge’ or one of my sweet treat recipes, to show them that we don’t need to use flour and refined sugar to create something delicious and sweet.
Let’s talk sweat. What do you do to stay active?
I don’t get much time to exercise to be honest, I try to go for a walk once a day, or the occasional run If I can fit it in! I would love to get back in to Yoga again, as it does wonders for my mental health.
Any tips on getting started in the health and wellness industry?
My number one tip is be passionate, and just keep on going! Its easy to start out with all guns blazing, the hardest part is to actually persevere. Be sure of what your vision is, and if you are passionate enough, this will shine through in whatever it is you do.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when travelling?
I always try to make a batch of seed crackers, which I will serve with some home made dip or cheese. Date and nut truffles, and home made baking are always great for when you are in the mood for something sweet. The best thing is to just be prepared, otherwise you end up buying something terrible from the closest dairy or convenience store!
“Take care of your body, its the only place you have to live”
The Local Roundup:
Best Cafe: I love the Little Bird Unbakery in Kingsland, Auckland. They have the most incredible raw cheesecake I have ever tried.
Best Beach: I have always loved Piha, or any West Coast beaches in New Zealand, they really are unlike anywhere else in the world.
Best Walk: Karangahake Gorge on the the way to our family batch in Waihi is a stunning walk. My ideal day would be to pack a picnic lunch and go for a trek, stopping to eat and to enjoy the incredible view.
Where I’d take a tourist:
Up the top of Mount Eden. I have lived in the lovely suburb Mount Eden my whole life, and can not seem to move anywhere else. When I go up the mountain, I am always astounded by the amazing view of Auckland, you can see around the whole city. Its incredible!
A recipe from Eleanor: Rich Black Bean Fudge
Fudge has always been one of my favorite indulgences. As it is traditionally loaded with sugar, or condensed milk I decided to come up with a dairy, gluten and sugar free recipe. This rich chocolatey version has an incredible silky texture and is decadently creamy and sweet. You would never guess that it is made out of organic black beans. Enjoy 1 can organic black beans, drained (you could also use lentils)
4 heaped tbsp honey
4 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa
6 tbsp coconut butter (you could also use coconut oil or cocoa butter)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
Line a small square or rectangle tray with baking paper. I used a small kids shoe box, as I did not have a tray small enough. A tupperware container could work also.
Place all ingredients in to a food processer and blend until completely smooth. Spoon in to the prepared tray or container. Place a piece of baking paper on top of the mixture. Press down until evenly smoothed out. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours to set.
Remove from the freezer and transfer to a chopping board. Carefully peel off the baking paper, then cut in to bite size pieces.
Makes 35-40 pieces. Best kept in the fridge, or even in the freezer for a fudgey frozen treat.