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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

Spring has well and truly sprung in NZ and it's that glorious time of year where things can be all sunshine and lollipops one minute, and sideways icy rain the next. It's also peony season (praise be!) and nearly the silly season, and yet again, the time for new season asparagus. In a former life I was a huge fan of roasting it to within an inch of it's life in the oven, with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sometimes chilli flakes, but this year especially I’ve lightened things up a bit. It’s great just blanched, and it’s great on the barbecue, and I’ve even been successfully just chopping it and chucking it into a bowl of water and then in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I’ve also been munching it raw: my seasonal addiction knows no bounds.

Recipe inside!

Asparagus and pea salad

I have basically just been eating variations of asparagus salads all spring, and this is yet another. Remember to omit or change anything you don't like, it's a forgiving recipe! 

Dressing: 

1/2 red onion or 1 shallot, finely diced

1 tsp dijon mustard

Juice of half a lemon 

1 clove garlic, crushed 

1 tbsp white wine vinegar (could sub for rice wine or red wine vinegar)

2 tbsp olive oil 

Pinch sea salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork, until emulsified. Taste and adjust as necessary. 

Salad: 

1-2 cups frozen peas

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 3-4cm lengths

1/2 avocado, cut into cubes

2 tbsp sauerkraut (I have a recipe here if you want to try making your own, and you should!)

1/2 cup mixed seeds and nuts of your choice: I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped almonds, lightly dry toasted in a frying pan

Few leaves each fresh basil and mint, finely chopped

OPTIONAL EXTRAS: haloumi; smoked salmon; feta; poached or panfried chicken. ALSO: this would make a great topping for toast, along with a eggs. 

Method: 

Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, drop the peas in and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped asparagus and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and drain immediately, then rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl. 

Add the avocado, sauerkraut, herbs, and nuts and seeds. Pour over the dressing and gently mix to combine. Serve with whatever you like - I used smoked salmon and haloumi for this one and it was great! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

// Posted by Delaney at 3:58 PM // Labels: asparagus, spring, easy dinners

There was a time in my late teens when I would be on a dancefloor in some awful bar, and a remix of Madonna's Like a Prayer would come on and I would squawk to my friends "OMG IT'S MY RINGTONE! MY RINGTONE!" as if the fact you could compose a tune from music on the internet into your pink Nokia 3310 was something to be truly proud of. 

At that time I would probably be wearing a halterneck top and black pants, and I would usually be drinking vodka and cranberry juice, in a tall glass. If I wanted to appear really cool, I would go for Absolut Mandarin as my vodka of choice, and a squeeze of fresh lime if they had it (which was never). Those days were followed by stints of Malibu and pineapple and Malibu and coke respectively, until I graduated to gin and tonics, before I properly embraced beer.    

Recipe inside!

Vodka Cranberry 2.0

This is not so much a recipe as a mixed drink.

You will need: 

1 tall glass

Lots of ice (fancy spheres with flower petals, if you're that way inclined)(I am obsessed)

A generous slug of vodka

Juice of half a lime

1 x 250ml bottle Karma Cola Lime & Cranberry dry

Method:

Fill the glass with ice. Add the squeeze of lime and the vodka. Top with Lime & Cranberry dry. Enjoy! 

 

 

// Posted by Delaney at 4:30 PM // Labels: friday drinks, cocktails

In the immortal words of George and Paul and John and Ringo, it’s been a long, cold, lonely Winter. But just as the Beatles (and Belle and Sebastian here) famously sang, here comes the sun, hopefully, and along with it my just about favourite thing about the warmer months: summer fruit. We’ve already got some new season Aussie strawberries teasing us in the supermarket, and I for one am excited.

Keeping with the theme, the clever people at Lewis Road have added strawberry to their repertoire of excellently creamy ice creams and milks. It’s a true strawberry flavour, and the ice cream in particular is a strawberries-and-cream delight. They asked me to come up with a cocktail using their new goodies, which is basically my dream job.

Recipe inside!

Double strawberry hard shake

With Lewis Road Creamery Strawberry Milk and Strawberry ice cream

Makes 2

Ingredients

1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

2 generous scoops Lewis Road strawberry ice cream

75mls vodka

500mls Lewis Road strawberry milk

½ tsp good quality vanilla extract

30mls Aperol

150ml Lewis Road single cream, whipped

To garnish: freeze dried strawberries, fresh strawberries

Method

Blend all ingredients except cream in a blender until well combined.

Taste and adjust depending on your preferences:

  • You could increase the alcohol level slightly

  • You could add more ice cream for a thicker consistency

  • You could add more fresh strawberries for colour and flavour

Pour into a glass of you choice and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, freeze dried strawberries, crushed slightly, and a fresh strawberry on the side.

This makes a fun cocktail for a sunny afternoon, or an excellent alternative to dessert.

 

// Posted by Delaney at 5:16 PM // Labels: milkshake, cocktails, lewis road, strawberry

Burgers have become such a massive thing. I mean they’ve always been popular, but it seems like now there are more burger joints than ever, and everyone has an opinion on what makes one good. What’s not to like though, right? Vegetables, meat or not, held together in a bun, dripping with condiments, and able to be picked up and eaten with your hands without judgement, they are close to being the perfect meal. Ever since I ate 17 burgers over 17 consecutive days back in 2011, I’ve had quite the affinity with this particular food group. And without, errr, wanting to describe myself as fussy, let’s just say I have high standards.

Some common mistakes when making burgers: too sloppy, bad quality and/or under-toasted buns, and my personal pet peeve: the careless addition of unnecessary ingredients. You know that saying less is more? That is very important when burgers are concerned.

Auckland burger joint Burger Burger has teamed up with Mainland and are encouraging everyone to enter their Burger by Design competition. You create a burger using a Mainland cheese, and the winner gets theirs on the menu at Burger Burger. Amazing!

Recipe inside!

Creamy Blue Cheese Buffalo Burgers

Makes two

Crispy buffalo chicken:

2-4 free range, boneless, skinless chicken thighs (depending on size - I used one per person but could have gone up to two)

Neutral cooking oil

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Buffalo hot sauce (I used Culley’s and it was amazing. You could try making it if you wanted to be fancy)

  1. Unfold the chicken thighs and give them a gentle bash (covered in glad wrap, then use a rolling pin) to flatten slightly.

  2. Heat 2cm neutral cooking oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan to a medium heat.

  3. In a medium bowl, place the flour, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper, and stir gently.

  4. Douse the chicken in the flour to ensure it is well coated.

  5. Using tongs, place the chicken in the oil and fry until crispy and golden. This should take about 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the pieces). I flipped mine a couple of times to ensure each side was golden. Test a piece of chicken to check it is cooked through if you’re worried.

  6. Cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.

  7. Rest the chicken pieces for a couple of minutes in a sieve or on a wire cooling rack - this helps keep it crispy (whoever knew that paper towels were a bad idea?! I learned that and more about frying chicken from this article).

  8. Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl and douse in buffalo sauce. Remove with tongs and add to the burger.

Blue cheese mayo:

60g Mainland Creamy Blue Cheese, crumbled

3 heaped tbsp mayonnaise

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Using a fork, mix the blue cheese into the mayo. Add the celery and mix well to combine.

 

To assemble the burgers:

2 burger buns of your choice, toasted or grilled (I used Wild Wheat hamburger buns - so good)

Iceberg lettuce

Chicken (above)

Blue cheese mayo (above)

 

Take your toasted buns, place iceberg lettuce on the bottom bun. On the lid, apply a thick layer of blue cheese mayo. Place the hot-sauced chicken piece (or pieces) on the lettuce, then place the lid on. ENJOY.  


If you’ve got a delicious idea for a burger, head into a Burger Burger store to fill out an entry, or simply check out the Burger Burger app here.

// Posted by Delaney at 5:14 PM

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