Nadia Lim is multi-tasking.
She's cooking pasta with tomato sauce for lunch as two noisy little boys rough and tumble round the kitchen, all the while chatting to Woman's Day about her amazing new life.
It's exactly a year since the celebrity chef made the move from Auckland to an idyllic property near Arrowtown in Central Otago, where she's now farming with her husband Carlos Bagrie. It's a dream come true for both of them, but in all honesty, it's not all roses.
"I'm having one of those days," Nadia, 35, admits ruefully as her sons shriek together. With her foodie career as successful as ever, the challenge of learning how to farm, and high-energy sons Bodhi, 4, and River, two, Nadia's rural lifestyle is more busy than serene. She has chickens to feed, sheep to muster, a huge vegetable garden to tend to and recipes to create – there is a never-ending to-do list.
"Lots of things go wrong and the kids can drive you mad," she confesses, laughing. "I'd say that my garden is probably what keeps me sane. It gets me outside where there are no people, no noises, nothing. I can just plant out my pea seedlings and take the laterals off the tomatoes, and that's my me-time."
With eggs from their chickens, honey from their own hives, veges from the garden and meat from Carlos' hunting trips, the family is now almost self-sufficient.
Despite her big-city upbringing in Kuala Lumpur and Auckland, Nadia has always been a country girl at heart and has taken to the life like a natural. She is never happier than when she is hanging out with her family on their own 500 hectares.
"The biggest change I've found is life at the weekends," she says. "In the city, we would find things to do to entertain ourselves, like going to a café or the movies. Here, we are literally getting to explore our own backyard. We'll pack up a picnic lunch and go to a different spot on the farm, maybe by one of the streams.
"And there's always something to do. Something as simple as shovelling dried cow poo into a wheelbarrow keeps the kids entertained for a couple of hours! They have competitions to see who can throw it in, then we use it in the garden."
The boys are very different. Bodhi has inherited his mum's looks, while River is more like his dad. Nadia says they have distinct personalities too.
"Bodhi is very much the older sibling, calm and considered, but a bit bossy. River is more gung-ho and reckless – I have to watch him all the time. He is the real farm boy. He loves the animals and being outside on the tractor with Dad."
The age difference between them means the brothers haven't always been the best of friends.
"I've always said they only get on 10 per cent of the time and the other 90 per cent they fight," says Nadia. "It's getting better now. I reckon they now get on 25 per cent of the time, so there's hope."
She and Carlos share the same parenting style and the boys are expected to pitch in with lots of chores.
"If Dad's got work to do, the kids can put on their gumboots and go out to help," explains Nadia. "And if I've got dinner to cook, I'll give them a job to try to do. They love making things like gnocchi and pasta.
"Sometimes, to be honest, it takes twice the time and creates four times the mess. It makes me want to tear my hair out. But at least they're happy and they feel like they've contributed. I'm investing in the hope that when they're older, they'll be cooking for themselves and give me a bit of a break."
Carlos comes from a farming background. Generations of his family worked the land in Central Otago and Southland, and before that in Scotland. Nadia, though, was a rookie.
"I remember this time last year, I was helping muster sheep and one of them got stuck in a muddy wallow, so Carlos said to get off the bike and help it. I went wading into the swamp and it went over the top of my gumboots.
"I was covered in muck and trying to pull out this sheep, and I thought, 'Oh, gosh, I can't do this job properly.' Now I go all in. I don't worry about muck any more. You've just got to get on and do it."
Farming life has inspired Nadia's latest career move, children's picture book Marvellous Marvin (Scholastic, $19.99), illustrated by Fifi Colston, about a chick that Nadia hatched in a muslin-lined cake tin after its mother abandoned her eggs. Her share of the profits is going to charities Garden To Table and HUHA (Helping You Help Animals). Meanwhile, the real-life Marvin is turning into a rather dashing rooster.
"Yes, he's handsome, but he's starting to develop some teenage-boy characteristics!" says Nadia, shooing the cheeky chook out of her kitchen.
What with hand-raising orphaned lambs, wrangling chickens and learning organic farming methods to look after the land she loves, the first 12 months of country life has flown by and Nadia is looking forward to more.
While she will continue to be involved with My Food Bag and will never stop creating recipes, she intends to pull back on tackling too many other jobs in 2021.
"I'm going to try to avoid taking on any new projects or doing too many events next year. My focus will be on the farm and My Food Bag."
Lunch is ready now and the boys are hungry – and making sure everyone knows it. Nadia has her hands full.
"I always thought I wanted four kids," she laughs.
"I've definitely been put off that idea! Maybe when they're getting on at least half of the time, then I'll consider it, but at the moment, two is enough!"