In 2015, whilst pregnant with Louie, I wrote and shot an entire cookbook in my one bedroom Berlin apartment. On my own, with only Andy to help with the mountains and mountains upon mountains of dishes. Once I had a printed and bound book to hold in my hands, the whole experience felt like a dream. Flipping through the pages for the first time, I truly couldn't believe that I photographed something so beautiful, all by myself, on my bedroom floor, when I could barely see my toes. Reading it, I couldn't believe that it was me who put those words together, and that my lighthearted and playful approach to cooking managed to shine through the cloud of pregnancy and breastfeeding that had taken residence in my brain and is yet to leave.
Between the square, hard cover is a collection of vegan recipes that I hope can be enjoyed by anyone. I wrote it with everyday people in mind, using simple ingredients and methods, with the hope that I can inspire people to eat more plants, regardless of whether they are vegan or not. I hope you like it and I hope you will buy it, not only for yourself but also for your friends and family, so that I can make another book, and another one after that.
It’s available through amazon and other major online retailers, as well as cool stores and bookshops around the globe.
So many people have asked me how my book came to be, and the story is pretty funny and cute, so I thought I'd share it here.
In 2015, Wholy Goodness was nominated for the 'Best New Voice' category in the Saveur Blog Awards. My blog didn't win, nor did I expect it to, but it was a nice little nod from the universe that I was on the right path and it validated this tingly feeling that was keeping me awake at night that told me I was on the precipice of something great.
Fast forward a few weeks and my easy, breezy, happy little life did a 180 degree flip. First, I found out I was pregnant with Louie, which was an unplanned surprise that you can read about here. Then, a number of days later, I was awaiting an email from my health insurance provider and when it didn't show up, I checked my spam folder to see if it had gone there. I never, ever check my spam folder, but it's so luck I did because in there I spied an email from Kajal of Hardie Grant UK that had been sent two minutes earlier. A follow up email no less, to an email she had sent me the previous week, asking if I would like to do a book with her and Hardie Grant. I almost fell off my chair. Possibly my biggest technological glitch to date (and trust me, there have been many), it turned out that every email that had ever been sent to me through my blog had gone to my spam folder. Oops. There were more than a few emails - from publishing houses and literary agents alike - all who had seen my blog in the Saveur Blog Awards and were reaching out to see if I was interested in doing a book. Naturally, I called Andy squealing, and then my mum and then whoever else would pick up their phone. I had wanted to create a cookbook for as long as I could remember but never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to happen so soon. I was only 29 and it was something I expected to happen much, much later in life, when I was in my 40's or 50's and had decades of recipe developing and photography experience under my belt.
Hardie Grant hold a special place in my heart because the company was started in Melbourne by the parents of a dear friend, and they were the publishing house I had hoped to eventually land a deal with, so I didn't even consider going with a different publisher. I flew to London, we shared ideas, I wrote up a proposal, it got accepted and so began the unfathomable process writing and shooting a cookbook whilst simultaneously growing a human.
It was so much work. More work than anyone who hasn't written a cookbook could ever imagine. In the hardest moments, I found myself saying 'never again' to Andy and my friends, but the truth is, I loved every moment of it, even the shitty ones, and before I was even finished, my brain was spurting out ideas for the next one.