top of page

Food for Thought is a book for anyone who likes to eat tasty food that is easy to make. A book for anyone who cares what they put into their body. A book for anyone who gives a damn about this planet. Be prepared to simplify and improve your attitude to cooking, to food and to the way you live your life.

Alesha Bilbrough-Collins (The Lion) is a chef who has worked across the hospitality industry, including stints for ottolenghi and Ramsay Holdings in London. Returning to New Zealand, Alesha and husband John (The Bear) opened BearLion Foods, which has had various incarnations, and these days operates as a sustainable and organic food, catering and private chef business based in Upper Moutere, Tasman.

Yes this salad is sitting on a chef jacket

For all the fucken chef jackets

For losing those little stupid buttons

For the ironing

For the wrinkles

For the stains



The minute you put it on

The sweat

The long arms, the short arms, the black or white

For the dude that used to come busting into the kitchen putting it in the dishwasher then microwaving it dry

For the one uniform I ever felt proud to wear

For the uniform that I no longer obey

CARDAMON2 copy.jpg
BANANACAKE7 copy_edited.jpg

Banana Cake with Five Spice (serves 8-12)


  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 heaped sp five spice

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

My favourite cake is banana cake and it seems it  runs in the family as the nephews and neices always request it. When I want to pimp it up a bit for myself, the addition of five spice is a nice change. Mr Bear is very good at whipping this one up for my birthday. What a great husbear.

Preheat oven to 150 degress celsius fan bake. Beat wet ingredients and sugar together, either by hand or use an electric beater. Once well beaten, pour mix into sifted dry ingredients and stir until mixed through evenly. Pour into greased or lined round cake tin (approx. 22cm) and bake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Topping or middle-filler options: try coconut caramel (page 236 of cookbook), maybe chopped with a few smashgans (page 245 of cookbook); topped with walnuts; maybe banana jam (page 255 of cookbook) spread between layers or mixed with caramel in equal parts.

Whats your combo going to be?

Invite me over, I'll taste test for you.

Pumpkin Crescents with Lentils, Broccoli & Feta (feeds 8-12)


  • 1/2 pumkin, skin on

  • salt & pepper

  • olive oil

  • 1/4 head of broccoli

  • 1 cup cooked lentils

  • 1 1/2 cup sweet onion jam (optional)

  • 2 tbsp fried garlic

  • 1 cup crumbed feta

  • 1 tbsp tarragon

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice & zest

Make a whole pumkin of cauliflower the star of the show. It's as simple as jazzing it up a bit with a nut crust or putting your favourite condiments on the side. The lentils make this a very hearty feast.

It's great for a late lunch or a warm winter meal.

Preheat oven to 220 degress celsius fan bake.

Wipe the pumkin clean, scoop out the seeds and cut into 6-8 crescents. Rub the pieces with olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper, then place them cut side down on a roasting tray in the hot oven. Roast for 40 mins or until a good golden colour and the flesh is tender. 

Turn oven temp down to 190 degrees celsius.

Clean and roughly chop the broccoli, place in kitchen whizz and blend until you have a crumble or rice looking texture. 

Mix all the ingredients well, adding broccoli and seasoning to taste. It should be a wet consistency but not sloppy.

Spoon equal amounts into each pumpkin crescent, pressing in tightly and shaping with the spoon. Bake in oven for 15-20 mins until the feta has begun to soften and the mix is heated through.

You may want green leaves to accompany this. I like adding some fresh chilli or tabasco sauce.

STUFFPUMP4 copy.jpg
bottom of page