Hi! My name is Cath Noonan and I am incredibly passionate about food and cooking from scratch!
Certificate in Nutrition 2015
My food philosophy
My food philosophy is that life is simply too short to eat bad food. With this in mind, I endeavour every day to create beautifully fresh, healthy and wholesome meals for my family and myself.
I believe that we are what we eat and that eating good food makes us feel good on the inside, look great on the outside and should never leave us feeling guilty, tired or unwell.
I love to cook from scratch
I love to cook from scratch and the ingredients I choose are often season dependent. For flavour, I use fresh herbs and spices and I avoid anything with artificial ingredients.
I’ve recently been creating meals that are predominantly gluten free, dairy free and refined-sugar free. Although this sounds specific, I promise that you really don’t need to be a flat-out coeliac with a chronic lactose intolerance to enjoy and benefit from my food. My food is for everyone who wants to look and feel good.
My family is my greatest influence. My family has always been incredibly self-sufficient when it comes to meat and fresh produce and this has ingrained in me an appreciation for wholesome locally-grown and homemade food.
Where it all began
As a youngster and during boarding school holidays, my home was our family beef cattle property in rural Queensland. The main homestead was set high in a valley, over 30 kilometres from town, so take-away food was never an option. Our home was without a microwave and although there was an electric frying-pan, the vast majority of our meals were cooked using the 50-year-old yellow Carmichael wood-fired stove. I taught myself to cook in our family kitchen, starting with old and simple recipes written by pioneering CWA women and Mrs Beeton before progressing through various stages to the likes of my favourite food magazine, Australian Gourmet Traveller.
The dining room
Seated around the dining room table, we would always celebrate a special occasion with a home-grown roast chook, vegetables and gravy made from scratch. Otherwise, when we weren’t feasting on mum’s Chinese beef [stir fry], fried rice, spaghetti-mince or lasagne, we’d have what she called ‘boring meat & vege’. Such meals, which were incredibly common, would feature beef or lamb roast, corned beef, steak, sausages, mince or stew or sometimes pork when we had fattened a pig. We always knew dinner was ready when we’d hear mum ringing an old cow bell that hung from a hook adjacent the stove. The meat we ate was never purchased. We always grew our own.
Milk came from the cow
Dad milked a ‘house-cow’ daily and at breakfast we’d have vita-brits or porridge with sugar and fresh cows milk. From the milk, Dad would skim the cream, which would be reserved to top desserts of home-grown stewed fruit and his sweet butter pastry. Otherwise mum would churn the cream to make butter. Dad used surplus milk to make desserts such as custard or junket, which would often be served alongside jelly and sometimes ice-cream too.
The tuckerbox & rainy days
Our school lunch boxes always had fruit and a Nutella or leftover spaghetti-mince sandwich. On weekends, Mum would pack a dog-eared cardboard ‘tucker-box’ with a thermos, roast beef sandwiches, fruit and fruit cake, which we’d enjoy when working at her property, ‘Watergon’.
Living on a farm, we were almost always outdoors when the weather was fine, but on rainy days when we were indoors, Dad would make us pikelets using fresh farm eggs. We’d sit and wait eagerly around the kitchen table as he flipped the pikelets in the electric frying pan and as they hit the table we’d gobble them up with homemade jam.
In the garden
In the garden little yellow cherry tomatoes would grow like weeds amongst the beans, snow peas, silverbeet and herbs. From time to time we’d dig beetroots, carrots and sweet potatoes from the earth and gather pecan and macadamia nuts from the under the trees (they aren’t ripe until they fall off, you see).
During summer, my brother and I would help Dad pick mangoes, which were stewed, eaten fresh alone or in a white-bread sandwich. In winter, our Grandfather would put the oranges to good use making prize-winning marmalade. Dad lovingly tended to his orchard daily and it was from here that he would take his sweet tree-ripened mandarins to the local cattle sale, where buyers and sellers alike would line-up for a free bag. Dad also grew pawpaws, bananas, custard apples, limes, avocados, mulberries, white peaches, star-fruit, lychees, passionfruit, pommegranites and figs too. In the nutrient-rich ash of burnt-out logs, he taught us to grow pumpkins and watermelons, the latter of which we’d spend summer afternoons eating on our patio, tossing the scraps to our pet emu Emily to peck the rind bare of its cool red flesh.
My inspiration and new motivation
Now grown-up and settled in an apartment on the northern headland of Bondi Beach, I share a wonderfully happy life and healthy lifestyle with my own new family. I have an adoring and supportive husband who inspires me everyday to be the best that I can be and I am so grateful for his willingness to test-taste my recipes too! Together we share newfound inspiration and motivation in our beautiful baby who is quickly growing into a little boy.
With having a baby, comes little opportunity to rest, so eating plentiful good food (while still losing pregnancy weight!) and having lots of energy to look after him is important to me. So too is teaching him later on about the virtues of a healthy lifestyle. It will never be too early for him to build the foundations for long-term good health either, so what better way to do it together, through making, creating and enjoying wholesome home-made food from scratch.
My husband likes to remind me, usually when I stop-start at traffic lights, that “he who hesitates, is lost” and the same applies to committing to healthy eating too. Remembering that life is too short to eat bad food, then what are you waiting for? Please join me in making food from scratch. Follow my recipes and you will notice the positive difference attributable to avoiding foods which are inflammatory, lack nutrition and are difficult to digest. In short, you can eat my food in abundance (including desserts!), still lose weight, look and feel amazing.