If you know Alexandra Tylee you will know she loves to cook.
The owner and chef at Havelock North's famous Pipi Cafe, successful author and mother of three loves nothing better than creating delicious food for family, friend and customers.
She has written two cookbooks and a children's book and decided that it would be great to create cookbook for children and adults.
"I cook for my children all the time and they love to cook so I approached Gecko Press to see if they would be interested. They said 'yes' and suggested I use Giselle Clarkson for the illustrations," Alexandra said.
So began Egg & Spoon, a scrumptious collection for anyone who loves good healthy food - and an occasional indulgence.
The book was launched at Woodford House on Monday.
Alexandra said Giselle was the perfect illustrator for the book. "She got the concept right away. I didn't want to use photographs - kids get the idea better with illustrations as photographs can just look too perfect.
"Far better for them to use their imagination and to not think they have failed if their food doesn't look exactly like the a photo. Giselle is brilliant, her illustrations are alive and fluid."
Giselle is a freelance illustrator based in Wellington.
When she's not drawing she likes to grow vegetables, go tramping, make music, do crosswords and cook for friends
Many of the recipes in Egg & Spoon are gluten free, vegan, dairy free and don't have processed sugar.
Alexandra's children have allergies and don't eat gluten.
"I grew up on afghans with loads of butter and sugar but I think these days people are looking for simple, healthy food to make for their families. Starting children cooking in the kitchen at a young age is good way for them to understand what food is all about and also for them to see that just because you don't use sugar it doesn't compromise the flavour or the visual appeal of food.
"That is a huge drive for me - to ensure the food is full of flavour and to make it fun and simple but at the same time not dumbing it down because they are kid's recipes.
"We grew up handling knives and there is a bit in the book about safety but I didn't want to patronise readers."
Her children are the taste testers.
"Every meal I cook is an experiment. They are honest and tell me if it's not quite ready yet. My kids are also good cooks. They have been part of the entire journey of Egg & Spoon."
Alexandra says the illustrated cookbook is not just for children.
"It's perfect for grandparents and children to cook together and also for older people learning to cook."
The book describes how to blend flours to make gluten-free flour instead of using the premixes available in supermarkets.
"I'm always looking at recipes and thinking about different ways to cook them."
The Egg & Spoon would be a perfect family Christmas gift.
Alexandra has recently started painting again. She paints mostly still lifes of fruit and is thinking of ways she can combine her two passions.
Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook
by Alexandra Tylee & Giselle Clarkson
Gecko Press, $39.99