Nourished by Nature – Putting More Plants on Your Plate

Nourished by Nature is a cookbook 30 years in the making. Chef, nutritionist and author Pandora Colledge likes to joke that after a very long gestation, she has finally given birth to her book. A lover of colour, flavour and nutrition, the Coffs Coast local cooks the kind of health food no one can resist. She’s adding more plants to the plate – for your health and the planet’s.

“Lots of people want to eat more plants but wonder how to cook them without doing what my grandparents did, which was boiling brussels sprouts to within an inch of their lives!” laughs Pandora Colledge. “That’s what everyone thinks vegetarian food is.”

“But you can make it exciting, delicious, nutritious!”

Putting Plants on Your Plate

That is exactly what Pandora has done in her first cookbook, Nourished by Nature. It’s full of her vibrant superfood salads, clean treats and moreish mains. She says it provides a toolbox for those looking to add more plants to their plate. 

“You can use it if you don’t know where to start with vegetarian food or if you want to add a salad to your dinner,” Pandora suggests. “Every salad, every treat, every snack in the book has a balance of protein, carbohydrate and good fats.”  

Pandora comes from a family line of passionate home cooks. She remembers her parents throwing wild dinner parties, serving flavour-rich Indian and Japanese food. She says her grandparents would eat from their own garden and cook everything from scratch.  

“Somewhere along the way I fell in love with healthy food,” Pandora explains. “I became a nutritionist and a personal trainer, I then did a vegan chef course and a raw food chef course.”

A Labour of Love

A cookbook was always in the back of Pandora’s mind. Her family and friends encouraged her, but she was waiting for just the right time. When COVID-19 hit, Pandora and her husband sold their plumbing business. She raised the idea of the cookbook, testing the waters with her daughter Montanna. Her enthusiastic response meant there was no backing out. Montanna began to teach herself graphic design via YouTube and Pandora got her daughters’ boyfriends Tom and Joel on board as photographer and editor respectively. 

“It was such a journey and we learnt so much along the way,” she explains. “There were a few tears and tantrums, I’ve got to say.”

“That’s the thing about working with your family – you can get some brutal honesty!” 

Pandora has nothing but praise for Montanna who she says ran the whole project and kept her in line.  

“Initially I thought it wouldn’t be too hard – just typing out recipes and putting them all together,” she says before looking at Montanna with a chuckle. “But now I know better!”

Family Favourites

When asked about the oldest recipe in the book, Montanna is first to suggest her mum’s chicken soup, which became a vegetarian Immune Soup for the book. 

“Whenever any of us were sick it was always the soup mum would cook and it seriously works miracles,” she explains. “Mum has some classic recipes but that one is iconic.”

“That’s one that will go down through the generations,” Pandora adds. “This will become that book for the grandchildren of the grandchildren: That was your great, great, great grandmother’s recipe and we use it still today!”

Find it at Kaleidoscope

As a self-published author, Pandora is selling Nourished by Nature through her website. But Coffs Coast locals can find it at Kaleidoscope, the new maker’s emporium at Coffs Central. The opening of Kaleidoscope was timed perfectly with the release of the book, something Pandora can hardly believe.  

“Bringing a whole lot of local makers together with a sustainability philosophy at the heart of it is such a great idea,” she says. “Most of us aren’t big enough to have a shop front for ourselves but to be in a space together where we can complement and promote each other, it’s just outstanding.”

Nourished by Nature combines Pandora’s nutritional wisdom with her love for cooking and a desire to do what’s best for the planet. She says it’s a biography of the last 30 years of her life told through food.

“I can change the world one bite at a time, that’s the plan!”

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