New receipe book Kai Ora


Kai Ora

By Anne Thorp

Anne Thorp is the sparkling hostess of the winning Kai Ora cooking shows on Maori Television and The Food Channel and her swish Herne Bay and Pakiri homes have been featured in most of New Zealand's glossy magazines. Her specialty is taking our indigenous foods (from snapper and crayfish to kina, oysters and more exotic shellfish) and cooking them simply and quickly in a modern manner that delivers zest, zing and freshness.

She's been called "the Maori Queen of Cuisine" but her approach to food is also so much more than that: seafood is her strong suit and she inspires us to use it creatively and sometimes bravely!

With over 85 recipes, lifestyle shots and an essay by Anne on her fascinating life in food, this book serves as a quintessential guide to New Zealand indigenous food - from the bounty of our shores through to land-based ingredients such as piko piko and puha.

Featuring stunning photography by Aaron McLean.

Author Bio
Anne Thorp is a well known Auckland caterer/cook/media personality. Her well known cooking show Kai Ora screens on Maori Television.

A special feature is an essay by Auckland breast surgeon Trevor Smith who operated on Anne when she had surgery for breast cancer several years ago. Trevor believes that the right diet can reduce the incidence of cancer and has worked with Anne to highlight the 'cancer busting' ingredients in her recipes.
Read Trevor's essay from the book reproduced below:


I first met Anne 10 years ago when she discovered a breast lump. After preliminary tests, I had the difficult job of explaining to her that this was a breast cancer and then discussing treatment options with her. Anne went through her treatment successfully, and since then I have seen her regularly for follow-up appointments. She remains well and has retained her zest for life. As I have got to know her and discovered her passion for food and cooking, I have realised that her style of food preparation encompasses many of the principles that are now considered to be essential for healthy eating. I suspect that this has played a part in her recovery from breast cancer.

Healthy eating does not have to be onerous or boring. In fact, discovering and enjoying new foods can add excitement and interest to cooking for the whole family. Fewer people these days are preparing their own meals and consequently most of us no longer understand much about what goes into our food. Importantly from my perspective as a surgeon, research shows that healthy eating can reduce the risk of getting cancer and can also help in preventing recurrence of the disease in the future This book demonstrates how some simple guidelines and ideas can be used in preparing meals that are great to eat, but also healthy. Anne has used her vast knowledge of New Zealand ingredients to create meals that highlight tasty healthy cooking with a distinctive New Zealand flavour.

A little bit of theory to set the scene: Cancer rates vary dramatically across the world. The highest rates occur in Western, industrialised countries suggesting that lifestyle factors are an important consideration. The chart below shows rates of breast cancer in various countries. You will notice that USA tops the list with New Zealand uncomfortably close behind. Asian counties have dramatically lower rates.

Interestingly, when women migrate from a low risk country to a high-risk country they pick up the increased risk within a few years. The World Cancer Research Fund is a large and well-established organization. They have systematically reviewed the available data from across the world on risk factors for all types of cancer. They published their findings in November 2007. This quote is from the introduction to their detailed report.

"The estimate of the previous WCRF/AICR Report was that cancer is 30 to 40 per cent preventable over time, by appropriate food and nutrition, regular physical activity, and avoidance of obesity. On a global scale this represents over 3 to 4 million cases of cancer that can be prevented in these ways, every year. In many of its forms, cancer is a disease that can cause great suffering and claims many lives. The overall commitment of scientists and other professionals committed to disease prevention, as exemplified by this Report, is to reduce the rates not just of cancer, but of all diseases, so that more people enjoy good health until they eventually die in old age."

Here are some of their recommendations for cancer prevention.

I think that these provide an excellent and practical basis for healthy lifestyle changes.

Be as lean as possible without being underweight.

Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.

Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (particularly processed foods high in added sugar, or low in fibre, or high in fat.)

Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and pulses such as beans.

Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.

If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day.

Limit consumption of salty foods and food processed with salt (sodium)

Don't use supplements to protect against cancer. Research shows that high-dose nutrient supplements can adversely affect our risk of cancer, so it is best to opt for a balanced diet rather than relying on supplements. (Note: some supplements may be appropriate for specific groups of people.)

Do not smoke or chew tobacco.

Special population recommendations:

It's best for mothers to breast-feed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods.

After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

All of these simple measures can be implemented with immediate effect. You can visit their website ( for more detailed analysis of specific issues and for tips on how to make these changes.

It should come as no surprise that dietary recommendations form a key part of this strategy.

The first practical observation is that most of us simply eat too much relative to our level of physical activity. The body is very efficient at storing any unused calories as fat. Obesity is now a major health problem affecting many children as well as adults. Apart from the well-known risks of diabetes and heart disease, obesity also increases the risk of a number of cancers. Reducing the size of a helping and combining this with regular vigorous exercise would be an excellent starting point for tackling this problem. We need to reduce our consumption of energy dense, processed foods, which contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt. Processed foods also contain many preservatives, some of which can also increase cancer risk.

There has been a lot of research looking at the chemicals in natural foods that can limit cancer changes and actually interfere with the growth of tumours. Phyto-chemicals are naturally occurring substances that defend plants from disease. Many of these substances can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease in humans. Research in this area is still in its infancy, but it seems sensible to me to try to include more of these foods in our diet. The great news is that many of them are delicious. Free radicals are chemical molecules that are produced in cells during normal metabolism that can damage the cells' delicate genetic material. Antioxidants are chemicals that can neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals. Many of the plants that have been shown to reduce cancer risk contain substances that are powerful antioxidants. Examples are the carotenoids, flavonoids and retinoids. Carotenoids are the chemicals that give some fruit and vegetables their bright orange, green, yellow and red colours. Berries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that can protect cells from free radicals. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phyto-chemical with several anti cancer effects including being a strong anti-oxidant. It can reduce risk of prostate cancer.

Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel-sprouts, and cabbage, are all members of a group known as cruciferous vegetables. They contain phyto-chemicals called indoles. These increase liver enzyme activity that helps to metabolise carcinogens. Some also contain sulphorophane that produces liver enzymes that can block tumour growth.

Garlic, onions and leeks are members of the Allium family. They contain allyl sulphides and diallyl disulphides. These chemicals can slow the growth of cancer cells and increase liver enzymes.

Ginger and Turmeric are both members of the Zingiberaceae family. These plants come from South East Asia. Ginger contains gingerol and turmeric contains curcumin. Both of these substances have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that slow down development of cancer. They can particularly play a role in preventing colon cancer.

The quantity of vitamins and phyto-chemicals in plants diminishes rapidly over time. Try to harvest and use produce that is as fresh as possible. Eat more freshly prepared salads containing a variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. The bright colours are often produced by valuable phyto-chemicals. Vitamins and phyto-chemicals are best consumed in whole foods rather than processed into tablets. There are a phenomenal number of nutrients contained in whole fresh plants that cannot be filtrated into a bottle. They work best when absorbed together from fresh food. Most normal people can obtain all of their regular daily nutritional requirements from a balanced healthy diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables. It is completely wrong to think that this can be substituted by a couple of vitamin pills

Modern farming practice involves the use of many chemicals. It is important to wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to remove any chemical residue during food preparation. Better still, grow your own. That way you know exactly what went onto, and into your food. Anne buys much of her food from the Otara and Matakana markets where she can source fresh, organic produce.

Cooking processes can destroy many of the healthy vitamins and other phyto-chemicals in plants. Anne serves a lot of fresh produce and uses light and gentle cooking methods to bring out the flavours of the food. Overcooked steak and chops contain heterocyclic compounds that can cause cancer. Avoid charred parts of cooked foods. I love the fact that so much of Anne's food is grilled or steamed. These are really healthy cooking techniques.

High consumption of red meat is linked to increased rates of bowel cancer. WCRF recommend consuming less than 500g of red meat per week. Anne uses lots of seafood in her recipes. Fish such as salmon are rich in healthy omega 3 fatty acids. She also uses olive oils and serves these protein-based dishes with lots of green salads.

Enjoying a glass of wine with a good meal and great company is one of life's simple pleasures. From a cancer perspective, alcohol is known to be carcinogenic and high consumption of alcohol is linked to a number of cancers including breast cancer. WCRF recommend that " if consumed at all, limit alcohol to one standard unit per day for women and two for men. Have alcohol free days and experiment with non-alcoholic beverages at mealtime. Some of Anne's dishes have a few more calories than you would want to ingest at every meal, but there have to be treats in life and at Pakiri, one can always end the meal with a wonderful walk along the beach to burn up those extra calories!

Meals should be a time of relaxation and communion, when we slow down and make time for the simple things. Involving the children in food gathering and preparation is the best way to set a good example and to teach them about nutrition. It is also great family bonding time. Food is about more than pushing in calories. Gathering produce, preparing and sharing a meal can be an event to be enjoyed with family and friends, and Anne's hospitable style, which she shows at both Auckland and Pakiri is a great example of that.





Breast Care Book

Comprehensive Information and
advice on all aspects
of breast care.

website by bka interactive