Welcome to Just Cook Kai!
I’m Megan, and if you are reading this it means that somehow you made it to my food blog. My happy place! The place where I get to share recipes and ideas, try out new recipes found on other blogs (of course fair credit and links always provided), and a place I get to be myself. OCD quirks and all…
Growing up I remember my mom being in the kitchen and cooking, but only when she needed to feed us. It wasn’t a place she loved spending most of her time. Conversely, I have always loved being in the kitchen. It’s where I find myself relaxing, it calms me down. It gives me great pleasure to cook for people – it’s how I show my love. I am more a cook than a baker, but most recently have started upskilling myself in the baking department. I enjoy the odd pat on the back when I bake something pretty or my bread is a success.
I’m by no means a professional chef, I’ve never had any formal training (unless 2 years of home economics count for anything!?) but through the years I have built up some confidence in my cooking ability. I’ve always had a great interest in photography, nothing serious of course but I enjoy taking photos and especially finding creative angles to take pictures from.
So why a food blog?
The idea for this blog only recently came to light. It so happened I was lying on the floor, on a mattress contemplating what my next move would be. A little while back our family relocated from South Africa to Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown was never on the cards, being a small tourist town. But a decent job offer which my husband couldn’t say no to came to light. As I was previously a brand manager in the pharma industry I knew the move to Queenstown would mean a temporary halt in my corporate career. I was however excited to get to spend more time with my two boys.
Our home contents were packed up and shipped, and then COVID-19 struck… Our container delivery was postponed and we continued to camp in our new rental. Anyone that has immigrated will relate to sleeping on the floor and sitting on camp chairs. During our lockdown I was spending a vast amount of my time cooking, baking, being in the kitchen for hours on end. #myhappyplace
But what makes it stand out?
In particular, I longed for South African dishes as we settled into our new home and found the New Zealand variety of ingredients to use during the making of these meals quite daunting. I started experimenting with the ingredients to substitute with what I had previously used in South Africa. I realised that there may be many more South African home-based cooks, just like me, battling through aisles of ingredients to find the right ones. As a result of this, the idea of a food blog came to mind. Besides having always wanted to capture and document my favourite recipes, I want to show how one can simplify cooking South African recipes in NZ. Which ingredients are best suited for South African dishes such as vetkoek, melktert, bobotie, and others? In simple terms, cook a variety of easy recipes with New Zealand ingredients.
What does the blog name mean?
Some may think that I am favouring my youngest son, Kai, and have named the blog after him. In fact, it so turned out, that our food-loving youngest’s name, in the native Maori language means food.
He nui te kai: te parāoa, te huka, te tī, te pīkara, te tōhi, te pīwhi, te poaka, me te tini o ngā kai (KO 15/12/1886:8). / There was plenty of food: bread, sugar, tea, pickles, toast, beef, pork, and much more.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 33-34; Te Māhuri Textbook (Ed. 2): 35-49;)
What you don’t or do know about me
- If I could have ice-cream for breakfast every day I would. Seriously, there are a few things as satisfying to me as a bowl of good ice-cream. I make a kickass homemade mint and dark chocolate ice-cream.
- My favourite spice is cinnamon
- My least favourite herb is coriander – I know right, it seems like so many recipes call for it!
- The dish that I find the most satisfying to make is Chicken Jalfrezi.
- Onions, onions, onions. The basis of a lot of my meals. Because why not?
- I prefer homemade pasta to store-bought – because believe me, once you have tried this homemade recipe you’ll never buy again.
- If I could cook in my high heels I would. I am a total sucker for beautiful high heels. My collection is relatively large, my family would argue I have way too many pairs.
- I probably own 90% of the currently available kitchen appliances. Storage of these, well yes that’s a problem. I’ve decided to share some of my favourites with you can find on my shop page.
- I love vegetables, I could easily be a vegetarian. My husband would object to this.
- Above all, I like to try new things, hence, if you have a recipe you would like for me to try, don’t be shy to reach out and send them to me.
- One of my all-time favourite food blogs to visit is https://www.budgetbytes.com/. It is a blog run by the owner Beth, who particularly looks at how to cook on a budget.
- I’m a mom of two beautiful boys, Kai and Quan.
Finally, I hope that my blog brings you joy while you scroll through my pages and view my videos (remember to subscribe to our youtube channel) Similarly, tag #justcookkai when you decide to try any of our recipes.