I started cooking seriously when I lived alone post-college and grew weary of meals of Thai takeout, pasta at the local Italian, and the endless homemade tuna salads, lentil stews and hang-over numbing fry-ups. I also was within walking distance to a Greek grocery store, a Polish deli, a gourmet supermarket and a 10-minute drive from 2 different weekend organic produce markets, so what was to stop me? I really got started when I was given 6 huge pots of herbs to put in my little patio which wafted fragant lavender, lemon thyme and basil into my living room! I am all about fresh vegetables and fruit, which is probably what I enjoy eating most, and I love using any home-grown herbs and flowers to flavour meals. I am an obsessive stock maker, and always has several liters-worth of chicken and vegie stock stacked in little containers in my freezer, and always save beef and lamb bones and prawn shells to boil up. My mum, who loathes cooking with a passion but is nonetheless a genius with fish - the fresher the better, the more simply prepared, the tastier. The Pacific Island specialties she grew up on are to die for - seasoned greens, coconut-steamed taro, banana-leaf-roasted sago and boiled mud crab are the stuff dreams are made of! My dad grew up eating the Ukrainian classics, and constantly headed into to kitchen attempt the holubsi, studenetz, platski, borsch and, of course, pyrohy prepared to perfection by my grandmother. He claims it can't compare, but I could live on the stuff!