Jade Temepara tells Sarah Pollok about her new garden and food show.

Tell us about your new show, He Kākano.

The show is a lifestyle series that is basically all about teaching people how to grow their own food and cook it healthily as well as checking out the backyards of a few Kiwi celebrities. Tiki Taane is a really good friend of mine so he gave us a tour of his little vege patch, and Dr Hinemoa Elder has this beautiful garden on Waiheke, it's like a little piece of paradise that we got to visit. We also make some delicious meals through the series that are inspired by traditional Māori cooking methods, which has been fantastic.

How did your journey to gardening and organic food start?

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Well, I have five children, so I guess it started when I was thinking about what to feed them and looking at healthier alternatives. Eventually, I started my own charity organisation that taught people how to grow food at home, which lead to me setting up Kākano Cafe in Christchurch. There is a 160sq m garden that supplies the food for the cafe, but also hosts our educational workshops. So, it's very much a part of my life in lots of different ways!

What about people who aren't so gifted in the garden?

Working in the education space I meet a lot of busy people who want to make drastic changes in their lives, but don't know where to start. So, my hope is that they just start one thing at a time, just master one thing, even if its herbs in a pot or being inspired by natural foods the next time they make a school lunch. I mean, I've been growing my own food for 15 years but we all have to start somewhere; you know?

You mentioned a focus on traditional Māori cuisine?

Yes! This show is really a testament to the ethos I have in my own life and diet but also of my cooking school in Christchurch. It is really vital, especially for our Māori people, to reconnect with the land and the resources we have around us. That's really my hope for the show, that it will inspire us to get a bit more creative and use our land as a resource and learning tool to enhance our lives and our children's. We have such beautiful kaimoana, and wonderful fruit and veges that have got a history and a whakapapa, and so the show just embrace those things. It's freaking exciting!

What is a myth people often believe about healthy lifestyles?

I think time is the biggest factor, we often think we can't fit it into our lives. Everyone loves the idea of being the healthiest they can be but can be a little uncertain as to how it fits into their life, so they end up buying what is convenient. I know that growing and eating healthy good isn't the saviour of everything, but it's just such an amazing way to live. He Kākano, I hope, is a great stepping stone to making some changes.

You interact with a lot of young children in the show, how did they respond to getting involved?

Often kids aren't being taught much about food at home, so school is the only opportunity, and the kids loved it! They are like sponges, they wanted to know everything they possibly could and it was great to help create a way for them to explore that both at school and at home. There is so much richness that comes from exploring what our country can offer and I think we miss a lot of that as parents.

Any highlights from the first 10 episodes?

Oh, I just think everything has been so amazing! We visited so many children, which is always full of energy and fun. Seeing their wee faces after they've weeded out a patch or helped create a garden was just amazing. The cooking is incredible as well, we get to make some really beautiful dishes. Really, the whole experience has just been so positive and uplifting!

Watch He Kakano on Māori Television, Wednesdays, 7.30pm

Berrylicious Vegan Cheesecake

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup coconut milk (use homemade for the raw version or full fat for the vegan one)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 cup dry pitted dates, soaked overnight
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil

Method:

1. Line a round 6" pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Make the crust first - place the dates and almonds in the food processor and pulse to obtain a sticky mixture.

3. Spread the mixture in the pan and press it to evenly arrange.

4. Drain the cashews and place them in the food processor along with the lime juice, coconut oil and and coconut milk.

5. Process to obtain a smooth cream.

6. Pour the cashew mixture into the pan on top of the crust, and spread evenly.

7. Place the berries in the food processor and pulse to obtain a puree.

8. Top the cheesecake with the puree, cover and freeze for at least 3 hours.

9. For serving, let it stay at room temperature for 15 mins until it can be cut easily.