I am Megan, and some of my friends call me Morgan (it’s a weird nick name and comes with a long story, but it caught on and now it’s part of who I am!). I am a home cook and sometimes I blog about my food experiences, or share my recipes online.
I grew up in Newcastle, New South Wales. Newcastle is a beautiful coastal city located north of Sydney and is ideally super close to the Hunter Valley, where you will find an abundance of local produce, river-caught seafood and most-importantly, some of Australia’s oldest vineyards, and therefore the best wines in the country, arguably even the world! Newcastle is a foodie’s paradise and boasts some of the best cafes and bars I have ever experienced; it really was the ideal place for a food lover like me to grow up in and definitely influenced my love of coffee, café culture and of course, eating! I now live in beautiful Townsville, North Queensland and you can find me on most weekends peddling my baked goods at one of the town’s fantastic handmade or vintage markets.
I learnt to cook growing up around my Mum and Grandma, who both baked moreish, no-nonsense home style cakes, biscuits and slices, as well as wholesome, hearty foods like stews, casseroles and soups. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was little but we always ate well because my Mum was thrifty and made everything from scratch - we rarely had store-bought cakes or biscuits in our school lunches, instead we had home made apple tea cake, banana cake or Anzac Slice. Dinner was always a treat and most nights we also enjoyed a yummy dessert like my Mum’s butterscotch pudding and custard.
I started off baking when I was around 8, just making simple packet cakes and following my mum’s recipes for pikelets and Anzac biscuits. As my confidence grew, my mum allowed me free reign to move onto more difficult recipes and I was able to experiment and create to my heart’s content. I was given my first cook book – a book on cookies and biscuits - as a secret Santa gift one year, and I relished the chance to cook for my family and often made edible gifts like gingerbread out of my little cookie book, and fudge as gifts at Christmas time. I still make the same fail-proof gingerbread these days! In the final years of my schooling I got addicted to Jamie Oliver’s TV series ‘The Naked Chef’ and Nigella's ‘Nigella Bites’ and started making dinners for the family. I loved it because firstly, I got to enjoy time in the kitchen, and the bonus was in our house whoever made dinner didn’t have to do the dishes – every cook’s dream! Mum and I used to also set a challenge where we’d try not to buy anything for a week and use only what we had in the pantry – it was fun coming up with ideas of what to make without spending a cent, inevitably you strike gold with new dishes you may not normally make – you should try it some time!
When I was a teenager I wanted so badly to be a chef and while studying Commercial Cookery in my final years at school, I had the chance to work in real kitchens, enjoying the pressure, adrenalin and buzz of a real kitchen service period – it’s quite addictive! After school, I went on to study at the International College of Tourism and Hotel Management in Sydney and absolutely relished the chance to further my studies in all things hospitality, from the art of flambé, to cocktail making, to fine dining training – we did it all and sometimes under high-pressure - it was the most hands-on and rewarding learning experience you could imagine and really shaped the person I am today. Eventually, I decided not to be a chef, but instead made my way into the event management industry, before realising that Marketing was my jam. I still work in marketing now and absolutely love the creative side to the job and the fact that it gives me the freedom to enjoy my cooking in my spare time.
I believe that creating good food should be easy and that it doesn’t have to be fancy or take five hours to make or require expensive technical equipment or skill, in order to taste good. I am also really into using local produce and shopping locally as much as humanly possible. Being a homeowner on a single wage, I understand budget woes, and so I try to make my food as affordable as possible and use simple ingredients.
I started making cakes and slices to sell at the markets in 2016. I really should have done it so long ago and now that I’m doing it I wonder why it took me so long to get up the guts. It’s really thanks to the encouragement of my Mum and Dad, as well as the support of my good friends, that Morgan and Meg got off the ground. Now that I have my little market stall, it has only made me even more addicted to the thrill of creating good food for people to enjoy and re-ignited a long-term goal of having my own tiny little hole in the wall café. My café will be a welcoming, cosy, comfy space and will feature a menu that changes every day, depending on what is seasonably available or what I feel like making at the time. We’ll do baked treats, wholesome lunches like curries, soups and lentil stews, and we’ll also blend our own tea and brew our own chai. When you come to my café, you’ll feel like you’ve come home. I won’t tell you much more than that as I don’t want to spoil it. But that’s just a ‘taste’ (pun intended). Sometimes it feels like my goal is so close to becoming a reality, like it’s just within reach, and other times the doubt creeps in and it feels like it may never happen. But mark my words, it will happen, as I am determined to make it!
EIGHT THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME
- I lived and worked on a tropical island for 3 years of my life
- I am an avid collector of postcards, over 200 at last count
- I love period films and books. My all-time favourite is Jane Austin's Sense and Sensibility
- I have a Pinterest addiction – 74 boards and counting!
- I love gardening – even though I am totally crap and once killed the un-killable Desert Rose – I still love it and I am a regular watcher of Gardening Australia. Call me a Nanna, I don't care, I just love it that much.
- In 2012 I travelled overseas for the first time all by myself and spent 6 weeks in Europe – still the best thing I’ve ever done
- I can play the piano – although I never practice! But I do love it!
- I have a decent record collection - but no turn table!