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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


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The Pounamu Prophecy

Posted on : 13-03-2015 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Milestones, New Zealand, Traditions


COVER5hAt last, after months of prayer and pondering I finally have a title for my novel. The book has had four different names. If it was a person it would surely be suffering an identity crisis from so many changes! But thanks to my husband and sister-in-law, helped along by a few drinks sitting on a balcony in Bangkok, we have come up with a fantastic title: The Pounamu Prophecy.

Pounamu is a beautiful word for a beautiful stone. It is the Maori word for greenstone, a unique type of jade found only in the South Island of New Zealand. It is a sacred stone,  treasured by Maori as a sign of status or power and used for making peace. It is often carved into pendants and other jewellery which many tourists buy when they visit New Zealand.

In the past it was also carved into tools and weapons. Sometimes these valuable and most beautiful weapons were given to another tribe as a peace agreement. Pounamu is still used this way today. My husband’s tribe gave pounamu as a gesture of peace to another tribe after a dispute over his beautiful Mum’s body.

As a child I grew up on top of a hill where once stood a Maori pa site. A pounamu mere (a short flat club carved in the shape of a tear drop) was found in my father’s vegetable garden. (It was given to the local museum.)

Pounamu is smooth and cool to the touch. It has a depth of pattern, as though looking into the deepest green waters. In The Pounamu Prophecy, Helene, one of the characters, experiences the cool, soothing effect of this remarkable stone. It is a stone that one could readily endow with spiritual qualities but as Helene is reminded by her friend, Mere, ‘It is not the stone, but the maker of the stone that gives us peace.’

Shalom. Kia tau te rangi marie.


Should I drink bottled water?

Posted on : 01-04-2012 | By : Cindy | In : Drinks, Water


Why would you pay for water when you can drink it straight from the tap? Why indeed?

Recently I joined a throng of thirsty wine drinkers at the annual ‘NZ in a Glass’ wine tasting evening in Sydney.  Squeezing through the crowd was worth it to find fantastic wines like Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc and Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir. But at around 500 kilojoules per 150ml glass (that’s roughly the same as eating five squares of milk chocolate) it was a relief to stumble, not literally, upon Antipodes Water. It was the elegant shape of the bottle that caught my eye and discovering that it was sourced not far from where I grew up that made me stop and taste.

“Can you taste the smoothness? It’s the silica that gives it that smooth mouth feel,”  Simon enthusiastically explained to us. I had never thought of water as smooth but, yes, I had to agree that it did taste smooth on my tongue. Very nice. He reeled off the names of some top restaurateurs who refused to serve any water except Antipodes. And then he answered my unspoken question: why pay for something you can get from the tap?

“I can’t drink alcohol and whenever I would ask the waiter if they had something non-alcoholic they would

Croissants and silverbeet lasagna @ Whangamata, New Zealand

Posted on : 11-02-2012 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes, New Zealand, Travelling


I have spent the past month in New Zealand at the beach, cycling, rafting over the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall at Rotorua, walking on the beach, seeing friends and family – and eating some great food, not necessarily all healthy. We discovered arguably the best croissants in New Zealand at Oliver’s bakery in Whangamata. Each morning we cycled down to buy these buttery treats, eating them at the nearby wharf with a take-out coffee or carrying them home for a leisurely breakfast. Not exactly healthy but oh so delicious! And our weight didn’t sky-rocket because the rest of our meals included lots of fish, vegetables and fruit.

We had fresh silver beet, kamokamo (a type of marrow), tomatoes, corn and basil which I layered in a dish with canned tuna, then grated a little cheese on top and baked. We had freshly dug new potatoes boiled and served with mint from the garden, or par-boiled and then crisped on the BBQ. A few times I used the silver beet in lasagna. This low fat version has extra vegetables

Mussels: A mighty marine mollusc that packs a heavy load – 3 x more iron than beef!

Posted on : 20-11-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Seafood, Super-healthy...er...stuff


Which food pops into your mind when you read each of the following words?

Vitamin C

My guess is the answers to the first three would have been in order: fish, oysters and oranges (or kiwifruit). What about iron? Did you say beef or lamb? I would have too until recently when I did some work for Aquaculture NZ and discovered that New Zealand’s Greenshell Mussels have three times more iron than beef.

Just five Greenshell mussels provide as much iron as eating a man-sized 300 grams of rump steak. This is fantastic news for the less carnivorous of us. Five Greenshell Mussels provides