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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and if there’s one thing the silly season is good for, apart from annoying your flatmates with christmas music and gorging on christmas mince pies, it is trying out new things. And by things I mean cocktails.  

Here’s something I learned over the weekend: eggnog is served cold. I had no idea. It’s not something I’d ever tried nor made, but when Otaika Valley asked me to do a festive recipe for them using their free range eggs, I went with festive. Festive, and alcoholic.

Like a mythical thing seen only in fiction, I pictured eggnog as a comforting, warm, creamy drink. It is, in fact, quite a potent cocktail, and although definitely creamy, it’s also deliciously spicy with a decent kick. And traditionally served cold. Highly recommended for your next ugly-Christmas-sweater drinks soiree.

Recipe inside!

Eggnog

For the spiced rum:

250ml rum or brandy (you need 250ml for the recipe, but this amount of spice will take up to 500ml alcohol)

1 whole nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

½ vanilla bean pod

A few cloves

You can spice your rum a few days in advance before making this, but if you want to make it on the same day, give the spices about an hour to infuse.

Place the rum in a bottle or jar, and add the cinnamon stick, a generous grating of nutmeg, the vanilla pod, and a few cloves. Leave to infuse until you’re ready to make the eggnog. Strain through a tea strainer or muslin before serving.

For the eggnog: 

3 Otaika Valley free range eggs (at room temperature)

250ml spiced rum (see above)

80g caster sugar

450ml cream (make sure it’s chilled cold)

1 nutmeg, freshly grated, to garnish

1.Steep your booze, as per instructions above.

2.Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks with 40g of the sugar, until thick and pale.

3. Whisk in the strained booze and the cream. Whisk until well combined. Note: you can make this part of the mixture a few hours in advance until you’re ready to serve: just keep it in the fridge.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 40g of sugar. Beat until soft peaks form (I used my electric mixer for this). Fold into the booze mixture, then pour into glasses or mugs. Serve immediately, with a fresh grate of nutmeg on top.  

This recipe was a collaboration with Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs. 

// Posted by Delaney at 11:59 AM // Labels: eggnog, friday drinks, eggs

Until I live out my dream to open a 24 hour cheese toastie shop called Hot Cheese, I am getting very good at perfecting the art of the toasted sandwich at home. Bread choice is a major factor, plenty of butter for frying is also important, and there’s the eternal question of how many fillings. A crucial error is one ingredient too many; balance is key. One of the best I’ve made in recent times was on a Saturday night when a long lunch turned into a party in my kitchen, and I found myself making toasties with a rye sourdough, homemade ruby red sauerkraut, and tasty cheese, fried in butter. They were an absolute dream. Shortly afterwards, Lewis Road asked me to come up with a recipe using their new chocolate butter. Toasties were already on my mind, and so here we are.

The chocolate butter: it spreads like other chocolatey spreads you may already be familiar with, but has a definite dark chocolate flavour. I think this makes it taste a bit like ganache, but it’s spreadable, and it’s really good.

Recipe inside!

Chocolate butter sweet toastie

2 slices Lewis Road Sourdough

A tub of Lewis Road Chocolate Butter

Small handful fresh berries (I used blackberries)

A decent smear of mascarpone cheese

A knob of Lewis Road Lightly Salted Butter

Spread one slice of bread with chocolate butter. Spread the other slice with mascarpone. Gently smash the berries into the mascarpone. Close the sandwich by pressing two slices together.

Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat, and heat the knob of butter until melted. Add the sandwich, and place another frying pan on top as a weight. Cook a couple of minutes, then carefully flip and fry the other side, until golden. NB: you can use a toasted sandwich maker or press, just butter the outside of the sandwich before toasting.

Serve immediately.

 

// Posted by Delaney at 11:54 AM // Labels: chocolate, toasties

I had this afternoon what I might describe as a minor meltdown, in that I nearly felt so overwhelmed I could cry. I had had a very productive day, but still had so much to do, and even though I feel like I'm nearly on top of it all, there's still always so much more to do! However. I saw one of those inspirational quotes on instagram, that said something cheesy like 'if you get tired remember to rest, not to quit' and so I took a deep breath and told myself to dig deep and ploughed on through. The funny thing is all the stuff I'm overwhelmed about is really great stuff! I just need to remember, as always, to chill the F out. 

Recipe inside!

Perfect roast potatoes

My trick to perfect roast potatoes is three-fold.

  1. Bring to the boil before roasting. 
  2. Preheat the oil.
  3. Fluff them!

Here's the method:

Heat a generous drizzle of cooking oil (or duck fat if you're feeling game?!) in an oven tray, in a 220C oven.

Scrub then chop your potatoes (into chips, or halves, or however you fancy) and put in a pot. I always use agria potatoes. Cover with cold water and a little salt.

Bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the element and drain out the water. Keep the potatoes in the pot and put back onto the element for a few seconds, then shake the pot, with the lid on. I use a tea towel to hold the lid on. This is something Jamie Oliver calls fluffing. It dries them out, and helps with achieving the crispy-outer-soft-inner required of a perfectly roasted potato. Do this a few times - put on the element, remove and shake. Take your hot oil tray out of the oven, and carefully pour the potatoes (and any chunks that have broken away) into the tray. Season well with salt.

Roast for a good 30 minutes, but up to 40 or 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature, and make sure the potatoes go golden and crisp. 

// Posted by Delaney at 10:24 PM // Labels: heartbreak pie, roast potatoes

I've had many delicious trips to Sydney, and in January when I had no work on and had yet another what-am-I-doing-with-my-life lull, I spent my last $500 on a plane ticket: to sleep in my sister's lounge, hang out with her baby, cook them dinner, and gorge on Queensland mangoes like my life depended on it. It's such a great city - beautiful beaches, great restaurants and bars, warm weather, and good public transport. It makes for the perfect long weekend destination.

// Posted by Delaney at 10:52 AM

My email inbox swings wildly like a pendulum from the sublime to the ridiculous, but a couple of months back I was asked to do something I was genuinely excited about. Not trialling chocolate, or receiving vodka, or chasing me for a deadline, or an accounting bill, which are all exciting in their own way, I received an email from Mercury asking if I would like to trial an e.bike. Not just one e.bike, but two. Would I like to have an e.bike mini gang for a week, and blog about it? Hell yes, I said.

I am not a cyclist by any means. There was a time in my former life as a young professional that I got quite amongst spin classes at the gym, and when I lived in Wellington I had a vintage silver Mamachari bike called Sylvia, which had a cute basket and would get me to work along the waterfront in about 7 minutes flat. Late last year on an overseas trip, I loved cycling around both London and Taipei on public transport bikes you could pick up and drop off from locations all over the cities, but that’s about the extent of it. When I was in Victoria’s High Country at the start of the year I cycled along the Bright Rail Trail on what was described to me as the ‘Mercedes Benz of e.bikes’. The guy hiring it to me explained that you cycle as normal, but it feels like someone is giving you a gentle push, like a help along.  

// Posted by Delaney at 5:01 PM

I'm currently doing that thing where I have a couple of writing pieces to desperately finish but I'm procrastinating with a blog post, just to get a sense of achievement and to remind myself that I can write and that everything is going to be ok. Yesterday, amongst dealing to said deadlines alongside sending a bazillion emails regarding a reasonably all-encompassing project I'm currently tits-deep in, I had to go to the dentist and spend basically all my savings on my teeth. I left with an empty wallet and a numb mouth, and soft foods and smoothies was all I wanted. Less is more when it comes to smoothies I reckon: I so often think those fancy ones you see on menus have one too many difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, and often don't actually taste that good.

Recipe inside!

strawberry fruit toast peanut butter banana smoothie

Sorry about the long name, I was going to call it 'fruit toast smoothie' but then it's fruit toast peanut butter, and also the strawberries are important, and so is the banana. So here we are. 

Ingredients

1 frozen banana, or one banana and a small handful of ice

A decent handful of fresh strawberries (I bought a punnet and put all but two in the smoothie)

A decent pour of good quality natural or greek yoghurt (maybe half a cup if it's thick?) 

A sprinkle of LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds and ground almonds mix)

A wee splash of good quality vanilla extract 

About half a cup of almond milk (or whatever milk you want) - add more depending on how thick you like your smoothies 

1 decent spoonful (do what your heart tells you) of Fix and Fogg's Fruit Toast Peanut Butter (note: you could just use peanut butter)

Method

Blend all ingredients in a blender until very well blended. Taste and adjust as necessary, and then drink and enjoy! 

// Posted by Delaney at 5:12 PM // Labels: smoothie, liquid diet, peanut butter, fix and fogg

I have a terrible habit of a little too often letting my feelings and cravings dictate my meals. Yesterday, for example, there had been a shithouse earthquake down South, and then a storm, and as I was ploughing through mountains of work I was thinking about my friends and family and, well, everyone in the affected areas and it was grey and raining outside and all I wanted for dinner was carbs. And maybe cheese. A creamy pasta, I thought, or maybe mac'n'cheese. Then I thought French toast could be good, or pancakes, or maybe just tinned spaghetti on toast, the ultimate in lazy comfort eating. I'd been to the Dentist in the morning which was not fun or cheap, so was really craving comfort. Very close to walking in the rain to the dairy to buy a tin of spaghetti, I thought, urgh maybe I'll just check the fridge. And there was: baby leeks with about half a day left of life in them, a bunch of cavolo nero (in surprisingly good shape for how long it'd been in there), a bottle of half'n'half cream/milk leftover from scone making shenanigans last week, and some fancy goat's cheese Farro Fresh had sent me. I had fresh eggs in the cupboard and some kumara sourdough, and thus, getting dinner into my lap in 15 minutes flat, a fridge frittata (fridgtata if you will) was born. 

Recipe inside!

Baby leek and goat's cheese frittata

Serves One

Ingredients

3 fresh free-range eggs

A splash of milk or cream 

Salt and pepper

Greens of your choice - I used: 

2-3 baby leeks, sliced, or half a large leek, sliced

Small bunch cavolo nero, cut into chunks 

Goat's cheese, a few dollops (i was sent a pottle of Drunken Nanny soft goat's cheese which was amazing)

1 tbsp butter 

Method

Heat the butter in a medium sized frying pan, on a medium high heat. Add the leeks and the cavolo nero (or whatever greens you're using) and sauté until just soft. /

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the milk or cream and a pinch of salt and add to the pan of veggies. Move the pan around to evenly distribute the egg mixture. Take a rubber spatula and shimmy it around the edge of the frittata to ensure it gets a good edge. Crack over some pepper as it cooks through. Cook for a couple of minutes, moving the pan around if necessary to move any uncooked bits of egg from the top - this shouldn't be too much of a problem though if your fritatta isn't too high. 

Once it's done, add the dollops of goat's cheese, then try, using your rubber spatula, to elegantly shimmy the frittata from the pan to your plate. Mine ended up a broken mess. A delicious broken mess, but still. 

Serve with toast or a green salad.   

 

// Posted by Delaney at 3:28 PM // Labels: frittata, eggs, 15 minute dinners, vegetarian

A few things about dessert and caffeine and booze:

Firstly: Affogato is one of my favourite desserts. So simple, so delicious. A scoop of ice cream, a shot of hot espresso, and ideally, a shot of liqueur. What could possibly go wrong? And how do you improve on perfection?

Secondly: The popularity of the espresso martini shows no sign of slowing down. Again with that caffeine hit, and the booze, they really have the potential to turn a night around.

Third and finally: I used to care deeply about dessert at dinner parties, and when I was doing dinner parties for a job I’d put a lot of effort into pudding. I realised pretty quickly that more often than not, once people are full and a few drinks deep, dessert becomes an afterthought.

ENTER: The dessert cocktail. Pass them around on trays, whether people are still sitting and yarning or standing and spading, and let guests drink and keep being merry. Turn the party around, give them a sugar hit, get everyone on the dance floor, and sit back and watch the magic happen.

And so it is that I bring you the Affogato Martini. It’s basically an espresso martini but with coffee and gelato, which is basically an affogato but with kahlua and vodka or gin. A supercharged affogato, if you will. An ice-creamy martini. I could go on? I’ll stop.

Recipe inside!

Affogato Martini with Sheep Milk Gelato

Makes two

If you have a cocktail shaker, use that, but if not, just stir over ice then strain.

Ingredients

60ml vodka or gin

60ml kahlua (or another coffee liqueur)

2 x 60ml espresso shots, or 120mls strong black coffee (can be hot or cold, depending on your preference)

2 scoops Spring Sheep Milk Co. Gelato (Vanilla Bean or Dark Chocolate)

Freeze dried fruit, to garnish (I used freeze dried cherries)

Method

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vodka or gin, kahlua, and coffee. Shake well.

Strain into two glasses (you could use a martini glass, but I like to use mismatched glasses of all shapes). Add a scoop of gelato and crumble over some freeze dried fruit (I used cherries, some whole and some crumbled). Serve immediately with a small spoon.

This recipe was a collaboration with Spring Sheep Milk Co.

 

// Posted by Delaney at 1:19 PM

I’ve told this story a thousand times, but there’s cake at the end so bear with me. When I was 25 I started a food blog called Heartbreak Pie. I had seen a few food blogs overseas and thought “I could do that” plus I was freshly single, so I started writing about cooking and eating to make myself feel better. I didn’t think anyone, except for maybe a few food blogging American ladies, would read it. It was a cathartic, creative outlet which gave me something to do at night in my then shitty and cold and damp Mt Vic flat. They were the days before instagram, before excessive oversharing on the internet was commonplace, and at the time it felt very new and fun and exciting.

I am now 32 and thinking about some of the stuff I wrote and put on the internet makes me criiiiiinge, a bit like reading a teenage diary except that heaps of people have read it. Yeesh. Anyway! So last year I had a bit of a rebrand (/blog identity crisis) and decided my internet food writing could just happen under my name, and so I quietly removed Heartbreak Pie from the public eye (RIP/good riddance), had a bit of a party, launched delaneymes.com, and so here we are.

Recipe inside!

Plum and yoghurt cake

Ingredients

125g butter

200g white sugar

2 eggs

150g plain flour (I often use spelt flour, which is lovely and light)

1½ tsp baking powder

50g ground almonds

220g natural or greek yoghurt

1 x 850g tin black doris plums 

 

Preheat oven to 190C and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper and butter. Drain the tin of plums into a sieve (handy hint! I mixed the plum liquid with some water and froze it into ice cubes/spheres to fancy-up my drinks).

Cream together the butter and sugar very well, until pale and fluffy. Thistakes ages. When you think it's done, give it another couple of minutes. You want genuinely pale and soft. It will be worth it!

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture. Gently fold together until incorporated (I use my cake mixer on very low speed here).

Add the yoghurt and ground almonds, and mix to combine (again I use my cake mixer, but a spoon works fine!)

Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Remove the stones from the plums and gently press plum halves (they break in half easily) into the top of the cake. 

Bake for 50 minutes until golden. Turn the oven off, but leave the cake in the oven until cool (overnight is fine). This will help set the cake, although it's totally fine removed after 50 minutes and left to cool on a rack as normal. 

When ready to serve, dust the cake with a little icing sugar, and serve with yoghurt. It's also good gently warmed with softly whipped cream, and it's also really good with a thin layer of cream cheese icing made with just vanilla extract, lime or lemon juice, and a teency bit of icing sugar. Enjoy!  

// Posted by Delaney at 9:50 PM // Labels: cake, heartbreak pie, plums, baking

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