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Recipe inside!

Green pea pesto pasta, with goats cheese

Green pea pesto pasta, with goats cheese

serves one

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted under running water
Decent handful fresh basil
Small handful fresh mint and parsley
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly dry toasted in a frying pan
Zest of one lemon, plus one Tbsp juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Heaps of salt and pepper
One portion wholemeal spaghetti, cooked in salted boiling water until al dente
Splash of Peter Yealands reserve sauv that you’re drinking

To serve:
Soft crumbly goats cheese (or use feta of you prefer)
Extra herbs
Salt and pepper
Peter Yealands Marlborough Sauv

Optional:
Braise some thick slices of fennel and some additional peas in a little butter and salt and lemon juice until golden brown, piled on top.

Method:

Run the peas under some hot water to soften and defrost. Drain, and add to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the herbs, the garlic, the toasted walnuts, lemon zest and juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Blitz until blended but still chunky. Taste and adjust as necessary. You might want to up the lemon or the salt.

If braising the fennel and peas, simply brown a knob of butter in a pan, and on a medium-high heat add the fennel and a handful of peas and a sprinkle of sea salt and cook for about ten minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a tiny bit of the cooking water. Add a splash of sauv and the pesto to the same pot and mix through. Twirl it onto your plate with tongs and garnish with chunks of goats cheese. Pour yourself a glass of Peter Yealands Reserve sauv and have a very happy Sauvignon Blanc day.

// Posted by Delaney at 9:23 PM

I was thrilled to find out earlier this year that I was the recipient of an Auckland Council and Love Food Hate Waste grant, to help raise awareness about food waste, and encourage everyone to get involved in reducing the embarrassing amount of perfectly edible food that New Zealanders throw into the rubbish every year.

This is part one of a 3-part series. Words by me. Photography by Bailey Mes.  

In order to talk about food waste, we must first talk about laziness. And to talk about laziness we must take a good hard look at ourselves, and reflect on how we eat and how we cook.

Maybe you know how it goes. You've had a busy week and you’re catching up on Queer Eye on Netflix, and you need to eat dinner and you want it to be reasonably healthy, like vegetables of some sort. A simple pasta from the cupboard feels too hard and eggs are boring, you console yourself with. You just have a scroll through UberEats or some other delivery food service. Every cuisine at your fingertips…

// Posted by Delaney at 11:32 AM

 

The great hot cross bun hunt of 2018 began early in March. Although they’d been in supermarkets since Christmas, slowly they seeped into my instagram feed with increased frequency, and so it was time to begin.

The latest in “the gourmetisation of basic foods” my boyfriend said with an eye-roll, he was outraged to see them at cafes for upwards of $3.50, lamenting they were 19p when he was young. And it’s true: this is essentially a fruit bun, something you’d expect to see in a bakery for a dollar or two. But not so in this instagram age we live in, where the simplest of foods becomes a thing and you find yourself paying $4 for an artisan, kneaded from scratch bun with a vanilla pastry cream cross.

// Posted by Delaney at 5:27 PM // Labels: easter, hot cross buns

I am frantically hitting publish on this post with your best interests at heart, because peach season has about five minutes left and I think you should make this cocktail. Never fear: pear season follows, and this drink is most excellent with pears and rosemary instead of peach and thyme, but last Friday when I was home alone and still working I realised I had black peaches, gin, and a withering, de-zested lemon at my disposal, and so I ditched the thyme and made myself one of these and reader, it was glorious. 

The name black boy peach makes me (and this guy) cringe every time I see it, so after considering some alternatives (purple ombre, bright maroon) I decided to instead just drop the boy part and therefore am now just calling them black peaches. They grace us at the latest of summer, as the mornings crisp up but the sun still shines, and they're tart but sweet and very very good. Excellent in a caprese, delicious in a cocktail.

This drink turns the peach into a syrup that's a lovely intense purple, and like it's main ingredient, the drink becomes that perfect mix of tart and sweet, like any good Tom Collins should. A tangy pick-me-up for a Friday back in the freelancing game, and the perfect aperitif to your weekend. Happy Friday x

Recipe inside!

The black peach tom collins

A version of this recipe was first published in my Herald on Sunday column. Original recipe here.  

Makes two. 

For the peach sugar syrup - 

2 black peaches

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar 

2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional) 

Cut the peach in half and remove the stone, and then cut each half into four pieces. Place in a small saucepan with the sugar, water, and thyme. 

Gently heat, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and remove the thyme sprigs. Leaving the peach chunks in the syrup, set aside until ready. You can make the syrup in advance, and it will keep in the fridge about a week.

For the cocktail - 

Place four chunks of the peach and 6 tsp of the syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle well. Fill with ice and add the lemon juice and the gin. Shake well until combined. Taste and adjust lemon or syrup according to taste (I like my Tom Collins' pretty tart, but it's all about balance and personal preference).

Fill two glasses with ice and evenly add the mixture. Top with soda water. Garnish with thyme, a peach slice, or lemon. 

Feel instantly relaxed and have an excellent weekend.  

 

// Posted by Delaney at 6:54 PM

"It's simply been too long between cheesecakes" is what I told my sister when she asked me why I spent yesterday morning making cheesecake. I had seen this photo on Ottolenghi's instagram and been intrigued, the recipe from his Mother's Day column on The Guardian. It's a gorgeous menu of lamb koftas, broccolini with anchovies and lemon oil, a curried carrot mash with brown butter and quick-pickled chillies, and this cheesecake. A honey and yoghurt set cheesecake. It all looked so delicious, with that perfect mix of accessible yet impressive.    

I’m as obsessed with Ottolenghi as ever, and with my happy new home life combined with a big break from the stress of deadlines, my joy for cooking has returned. This recipe was chosen because, well, do we need an excuse to make midweek cheesecake? But also because I had all the ingredients (not the biscuits, but some near expiring cream cheese and a wilting bundle of thyme) - something that was a big tick for whether I tried a recipe when I was a kid. 

Recipe inside!

Ottolenghi's Honey and Yoghurt set Cheesecake

The original recipe appears here on The Guardian. I halved the recipe, and as I said above, would strain the yoghurt longer and maybe add a little more butter for a less crumbly base. 

Ottolenghi's Honey and Yoghurt set Cheesecake 

500g Greek-style yoghurt
200g Hobnobs (I used wholewheat digestive biscuits) 
60g unsalted butter, melted
1½ tbsp thyme leaves
400g full-fat cream cheese 
40g icing sugar, sieved
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1 tsp)
150g white chocolate, broken into 1-2cm pieces
60g honey

Line a 23cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. (I used two small pans instead and that worked fine!) 

Line a sieve with a clean tea towel and set it above a bowl. Spoon in the yoghurt, then draw up the sides of the towel and squeeze the yoghurt into a ball, pressing out as much liquid as you can: you should end up with about 350g thickened yoghurt. 

Put the Hobnobs in a clean plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin until finely crushed. Mix with the butter and a tablespoon of thyme, then spoon into the base of the cake tin, pressing it down to form an even layer. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake mixture.

Whisk the cream cheese, strained yoghurt, icing sugar and lemon zest until smooth (use a free-standing or handheld mixer).

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is well clear of the hot water. Stir for two to three minutes, until the chocolate melts; take care not to get any moisture into the chocolate or it will seize up (white chocolate is much more temperamental than milk or dark). Scrape the chocolate into the cream mix and whisk together.

Spread the cheesecake mix evenly on top of the biscuit base, then refrigerate for two hours, until set.

To serve, warm the honey in a small saucepan with the remaining half-tablespoon of thyme leaves, until runny, then drizzle over the top of the cheesecake. Release the cheesecake from its tin, cut into eight slices and serve.

// Posted by Delaney at 10:00 AM

Summer is so tantalisingly close (next week, officially!). It feels like it’s been slow to start, but December is almost here and Christmas is coming. It’s warming up, finally, and just this week there have been picnic dinners on the beach, walks in the evening sun, and some very excellent sunsets.

And so, salad weather. Barbecues, last-minute get-some-mates-over dinners and drinks, and lots of ciders in the sun. Lewis Road has again expanded, beyond the best butter and the chocolate milk of your dreams, to a crisp, summery, premium apple cider. There are three varieties, infused with apple blossom, peach blossom, and orange blossom, and they’re gooood. Made with Bostock’s organic apples from the Hawke’s Bay and brewed by a winery in Tauranga, it’s a refreshingly festive summer tipple.

Recipe inside!

Summer salad with halloumi, asparagus and preserved lemon

Summer salad with halloumi, asparagus and preserved lemon

Ingredients

200g freekah (it’s a grain, you could replace with rice, quinoa, or whatever floats your boat)

1 and a half bunches asparagus (one bunch just isn’t enough)

1-2 blocks halloumi (I used Zany Zeus. I went with two blocks, but I’m addicted, so….)

2-3 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin

Large bunch fresh mint

Large bunch fresh parsley

Seeds from one pomegranate

Generous glug of your best olive oil

Flaky sea salt

Optional: your favourite nuts or seeds

The beauty of this salad is in it’s simplicity. No fancy dressings, just great flavours and textures. It is the perfect take-to-a-barbecue salad, or as a meal in its own right served alongside your favourite meat. Cider pairs especially well with crispy skinned chicken, so for this one I took a packet of Bostock’s Chicken Drumsticks, added olive oil, sea salt, ground cumin, a splash of chardonnay vinegar, a drizzle of chilli oil with some chilli flakes, and cooked in a hot oven.

Method

Cook the freekah as you would rice (bring to the boil in a pot filled with water to 1cm above the freekah. Reduce to low but keep the lid on and leave to absorb - about 20 minutes). Set aside.

Snap off the woody ends of your asparagus and cut stems into 4. Saute the pieces with a little water and a little olive oil until just cooked but still firm. Set aside.

Fry the halloumi until golden and crisp and cut into squares about 3cm x 3cm. Set aside.

In a bowl, add the freekah, asparagus, and halloumi. Add the preserved lemon, pomegranate seeds, and the herbs, chopped. Drizzle with a generous glug of good quality olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to combine and serve with your favourite meat or enjoy as is.

 

This blog post and recipe was a collaboration with Lewis Road. 

// Posted by Delaney at 4:16 PM

It was an extremely relaxing weekend at the beach, with long walks in the rainy drizzle, barbecue brunches of haloumi and asparagus, and board games and golf and platters. My plans for a romantic Saturday night fish’n’chip picnic on said beach were thwarted by some aggressive spring wind, but a venue change to the couch (still with bubbles in paper cups) proved more than sufficient in comparison. Fresh battered snapper with chips doused in malt vinegar and Louis Roederer is quite the food and wine match, I can tell you.

The rainy Labour Day Monday morning was spent with coffee and friends and Settlers of Catan, and coming in hot taunting us on the family group chat were Mum’s utterly perfect cheese scones. My sister had requested the recipe a few weeks ago, which I dutifully sent her, and so then too we were taunted with photos of her fresh batch. The recipe is from Wellington’s Ministry of Food - they are, quite simply, the best cheese scones ever. I realised I’d had them on my old blog but it’s quite the travesty they aren’t yet here. So herewith, perfect for long weekends, taunting family members, or otherwise. Just don’t forget to slather them in butter.

Recipe inside!

Best Cheese Scones

Recipe from Wellington's Ministry of Food, as seen here on the Cuisine website.

Makes 8 cheese scones. Can easily be halved if you're on your own and having a craving. 

Seriously, best scones I've ever made. 

2 cups flour (plain flour is fine, but they work well with spelt flour) 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch of smoked paprika (original recipe says use cayenne)
2 cups grated tasty cheese (a little parmesan on top works well)
1 cup full-cream milk

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper into a bowl.

Mix in the grated cheese.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk.

Mix lightly then turn out on a floured bench.

Shape into a rectangle about 3cm high. Cut into 8 and transfer on to a baking tray.

Bake at 220°C for 15-20 minutes until deep golden.

Serve slathered in butter with a cup of tea!

// Posted by Delaney at 1:15 PM // Labels: scones, cheese, baking

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and goodness knows I've spent the winter testing whether such a theory holds any such truth. There was a pretty last minute and mediocre chicken-broccoli-soba-noodle situation, and there were sticky date puddings, which after half had been eaten it was declared I'm going to be honest with you, I don't actually like dates. There was an attempt at pickled eggs, there was a near-perfect dish of salmon, and there was shortbread. 

A throwaway comment about a fondness for shortbread was dutifully stashed in my memory bank, only to be outsourced to my iphone notes section, where all important things (to-do lists, things to bake, life plans, invoices to send, random sentences which end up in articles, etc) get dutifully stashed. A few days later I googled recipes, purchased some fancy butter, learnt that my oven has a defect setting which burns everything on the bottom, bought more fancy butter, made a new lump of dough, and ate chunks of the aformentioned dough, before making the perfect batch and thus proving my love language is definitely acts of service. Let's just say they were melt in your mouth delicious, and they were very well received. I cannot recommend highly enough making these for someone who's heart you're paving your way into. 

Recipe inside!

Classic shortbread

Adapted from a number of recipes. 

Ingredients 

250g butter, softened

1 cup icing sugar

1 cup cornflour

2 cup plain flour 

Cream the butter with the icing sugar until white and fluffy. Gradually add the cornflour and the plain flour. 

Knead the dough out onto a floured surface, then roll into two logs. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (but can leave for longer). 

 

Preheat your oven to 150C and line two baking trays with baking paper. 

Slice the dough into rounds and place on the lined baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool on the tray and serve. 

Note: slice leftover dough into rounds and freeze in a snaplock bag if you aren't making the entire batch at once. 

 

 

// Posted by Delaney at 12:47 PM

About a year ago I was asked by Penguin Random House if I would like to undertake the NZ Restaurant Cookbook - choosing 50 restaurants across the country, asking them politely for a recipe or two, and writing an intro about each one, and to the book itself. Flattered, I thought that sounded simple enough (and fun) so enthusiastically I said yes. What proceeded was a rollercoaster of a project - of wrangling spreadsheets, and harassing chefs (during Christmas when they're insanely busy and January when they're on holiday) and tweaking recipes and generally, well, pulling a book together. It's fair to say I nearly lost the plot on more than one occasion, but it happened and now it's here!

Liz Clarkson photographed the entire thing - she traversed the country and faced cancelled flights, ash clouds, flooding, and earthquakes - to get stunning original photography of the restaurants, the people, and of course, the food.

Now that the book is in stores and in my hand, I can safely say it’s beautiful and I am thrilled.

// Posted by Delaney at 9:00 AM

When we were kids, we had a few staple meals in our house. Rotating dinners included vegetable soup on Sundays in Winter, a rotisserie chicken with pita breads, cucumber, tomato and mayonnaise instead of takeaways, Dad’s spaghetti bolognaise, and tacos. 

The tacos of my childhood were not the kind you see on menus today: there were no soft tortillas, there was no fresh fish, there was no hot sauce, and there most certainly was not fresh coriander. No. Mum would arrange a large ‘90s ceramic platter with hard taco shells, iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, and grated cheese, there would be a pot of beans, sometimes with mince, and there would be a jar of supermarket salsa and a pottle of sour cream. It was one of those dinners that didn’t get me super excited, and sometimes I imagine we probably moaned, but I remember always ending up enjoying them, me mostly using mine as a vessel to eat as much sour cream as possible.

Recipe inside!

Taco bowls

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion

500g Countdown Angus Mince

1 tbsp harissa spice mix or 1 tbsp harissa paste

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

Pinch ground coriander

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 330g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 x 330g can crushed tomatoes

In a large frying pan, gently heat the olive oil and saute the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft, then add the mince. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, separate the mince and mix well. Cook for a few minutes until browned a little, then add the spices and garlic.

Increase the heat slightly and continue cooking and stirring. Add the kidney beans and the tomatoes, and mix together well. Gently simmer for another ten minutes, then leave on a gentle heat until ready to serve.

To assemble:

Handful of corn chips per person

1 iceberg lettuce, either chopped or whole leaves (to line the bowl)

2 x ripe tomatoes, chopped

Handful of grated cheese

Sour cream

Hot sauce

Coriander (optional)

Salsa of your choice

Assemble the taco bowls as you wish, with corn chips, and lettuce first, and then the mince. Cover in the toppings as you wish. Enjoy!

 

To celebrate Countdown's new meat packaging and set sizes I have a $50 Countdown gift card to giveaway. Head over to my facebook page to see it.

// Posted by Delaney at 10:12 AM

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