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This whole eating for a living thing is really great most of the time, and I am a big fan of loving oneself always, and loving one’s body as it is. Sometimes though, you might find you’ve just had three days of eating in say, Singapore, where you ate dumplings for dinner and curry for breakfast and that came pretty quickly after a week of eating and drinking in say, Melbourne and regional Victoria, where you did wine tasting after beer tasting, after café hopping and 10 course meals. And dotted between the two there may have been a stint of restaurant judging: three course meal after six course meal with a couple of wine matches thrown in for good measure.

Recipe inside!

Supercharged berry breakfast smoothie

1 x Banana (I always use All Good Organics)

About 1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you fancy)

Handful of frozen berries (I used strawberries and they were great)

¼ tsp guarana powder (available from health food stores)

1 tbsp LSA mix (or use oats)

1 tsp honey (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Enjoy! 

// Posted by Delaney at 12:05 PM // Labels: smoothie, recipe, breakfast

Melbourne is a fantastic city to visit, especially if you love eating great food and drinking delicious beer and cocktails and local wine and excellent coffee. I was over there recently thanks to Tourism Victoria and Qantas, and as the food writer in the group (alongside Julia and Libby, Art and Matilda, Megan from Blogger at Large, Aimee from My Beloved Style, and Lola Photography) I had a personalised itinerary that was heavy on the eating and the drinking. Any gaps in said itinerary I expertly managed to fill with breakfasts and oysters and craft beer and fried chicken. Here’s a highlight reel.

1. Champagne for lunch at the Qantas lounge

As Qantas was a partner on the trip, the eight of us had lounge access at the airport before our Auckland-Melbourne flight. It was just before midday, and never one to break my life-rule of never saying no to free champagne, I cracked open a bottle of Mumm. I tried my hardest to get the rest of the group to have champagne for lunch too (wellness bloggers and paleo advocates included), and with the few who said yes we managed to finish a bottle. Good start.  

// Posted by Delaney at 4:11 PM // Labels: melbourne, Travel, australia, ten delicious things

I love a good fruit salad, but how often when you buy them either on a menu or pre-packaged are they just large chunks of underripe melon? Blergh. The cafe I worked at as a teenager here in Auckland used to make a great fruit salad, theirs served doused in passionfruit, and this one I made for the NZ Herald last year had the subtle perfume of orange blossom, just for something different. Fruit salad is a great addition to a shared brunch table, and it's the perfect late summer dessert. 

This one comes to you thanks to my wayward month around South East Asia years ago, where I first learned about putting salt and chilli on to fresh fruit. It neutralises the acidity, making pineapple especially, sweeter, and lifts it to being a superbly flavoursome snack. Mint and watermelon is a classic combo already, and since a recent press release alerted me to the fact that February has been declared National Watermelon Month by a leading grower of this magical fruit, I thought I'd combine them all in one. What we end up with is a chilli-salty-sweet-minty sprinkle, and my goodness it is good.  

Recipe inside!

late summer watermelon salad

Ingredients

For the fruit salad: 

Watermelon, sliced into chunks with seeds removed

Peach, slices

Raspberries

Also good with pineapple or another berry! 

Chop fruit into slices and lay on a plate. Sprinkle with the sprinkle and serve immediately! 

For the mint-chilli-sprinkle: 

Small bunch mint, finely chopped

About 1 tsp sea salt

A small pinch of white sugar

A small pinch of chilli flakes

Stir together all ingredients and sprinkle over your fruit. Dream of South East Asia and your long-gone wayward youth and enjoy. 

// Posted by Delaney at 12:13 PM // Labels: fruit, fruit salad, watermelon, summer

I’ve been throwing out extreme phrases all year as far as food is concerned. Best burger I’ve ever had! (the fresh snapper burger at Pauanui Takeaways). Most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had! (the kimchi pancake at Little Bird Unbakery in Ponsonby). One of the top five cocktails of my life! (the watermelon vermouth number at Kensington St Social in Sydney). You get the idea. Likewise, best beach swim, juciest mango, and stone fruit being the absolute, hands down, best thing about summer.

// Posted by Delaney at 6:20 PM // Labels: stone fruit, peaches, cherries, dessert, summer

Going booze free for February lasted approximately 10 and a half days, until it was trumped by my life-rule of never saying no to champagne. The culprit? Veuve Cliquot rosé, at the launch of Lewis Road Creamery’s latest product, ice cream.

On one of Auckland’s most sweltering of summer days, I sweated up a storm driving the 25 minutes or so to the North Shore’s beautiful Narrow Neck beach for the launch. The mini ice cream cones on the beautifullly styled tables were an instant giveaway – this great little NZ company has added to it’s butter, cream, milk, and bread line up of products with premium and artisan ice cream.

The premium range features chocolate (made with Belgian chocolate), vanilla (creamy as anything, and strewn with Heilala vanilla seeds) and hokey pokey; double hokey pokey in fact. Chocolate was my favourite, followed closely by vanilla - I can’t wait to douse it in hot coffee and add frangelico and drown happily in affogato forever.

// Posted by Delaney at 4:36 PM // Labels: nz food news, ice cream, valentine's day

If I hear one more person talk about giving up carbs for their new year's resolution, or that their clothes are tight after their summer holiday, or that they are unironically shredding for a wedding, I very may well scream. I am all for health, and eating lots of veggies, and getting exercise that you enjoy, but I am not at all for hating oneself, obsessing over calories, negatively comparing our bodies to others, or deprivation and guilt and self-loathing around food. It's food. You have to eat it three times a day, you might as well eat and enjoy and move on. Actually liking the body you're in, and yourself, is an incredibly powerful thing. Actually believing those inspirational quote photos on instagram instead of just posting them, and loving your body in all it's differences to everyone else and eating seasonally and enjoying it are just all great things I think we should try a bit harder to do. I despair, I utterly despair at the number of beautiful, intelligent, funny people I know who obsess over this shit. What if we all put that energy into something actually worth while? 

In the immortal words of Sarah Knight, maybe it's time to declutter your life and stop giving a fuck? About what other people, the bazillion dollar diet industry, or general society think? Hmmm? 

Recipe inside!

Zucchini, mint and feta fritters

Like most of my recipes, the quantities are approximate. Fritters are a very forgiving recipe! 

Ingredients

2-3 zucchini, grated 

Small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

Small crumble of feta, about 1 tbsp – I use Zany Zeus, it’s SO good

3 heaped tbsp flour – I use spelt flour as it’s a little lighter and just really nice

¾ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt and crack of black pepper

2 fresh, free range eggs  (although if you only have one egg, that should do it – just reduce the flour slightly)

Method

Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork.

Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and melt a knob of butter until bubbling. Reduce heat, and fry the fritters in batches, adding more butter or oil as necessary.

Serve with labne or good quality thick greek yoghurt. Add a green salad or a poached egg to make more of a meal. These are great made as minis as a canapé with labne and a dollop of beetroot relish too.

Note: to make labne, just mix 500g natural yoghurt with a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of lemon juice, then strain overnight either using a cheesecloth tied to a wooden spoon hanging over a conatiner, or a colander lined with paper towels, resting over a container. There's another recipe here if you're interested.

// Posted by Delaney at 3:44 PM

Well would you look at that, a new year. Life eh? Just continuing to happen, with its ups and downs, and deaths, and holidays, and babies and exes and sisters and former flatmates and great old friends and new ones too. Weddings and rain and brunch and beaches and espresso martinis and stone fruit and pork buns and, ahem, rice pudding. 

Because January starts to feel just a teeeeeency bit like unemployment when you're a freelancer, I thought there was simply not a better time than now to dust off ye olde food blog, and write up some damn recipes. Because just like in the glory days of my food blogging career (heartbreak pie circa 2010-11) I'm single and home alone and ever so slightly melancholy on a Sunday night.

Recipe inside!

Summer rice pudding with fresh peaches

This recipe is adapted from Annabel White's one here. 

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients

1 cup brown sushi rice (or any short grain rice you have handy)

4 cups full-fat milk (I used Lewis Road Creamery Silver top and Blue top)

1 scant tablespoon brown sugar

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract 

Small handful currants (or raisins)

Small pinch ground cinnamon 

Small knob butter

Method

Grease a small casserole dish with butter, then add the rice, milk, and sugar.

Add the currants/raisins, and the cinnamon and stir together gently. Add the knob of butter.  

Place in the oven at bake at 150C for about an hour and half. Turn the oven off and leave in there for another hour or two, or until you're ready to serve it. May I politely suggest putting this on during your sundowner G&T, turning it off as you start eating dinner but leaving it in the oven, then it will be the perfect temperature for pudding, and it's even better the next day for breakfast. Serve with fresh, ripe slices of peach.  

// Posted by Delaney at 9:36 PM // Labels: pudding, summer

At some point last year, I found myself often serving up snacks for dinner, or preparing a simple cheese board, or throwing together a platter, and really wanting them to look good. Presentation is not often my strong point, but I'd seen some beautifully put-together platters and decided I really needed to lift my game. 

I started simple - lots of fresh herbs or flowers, and utilising all the different coloured little dishes and ramekins and plates I've collected over the years. I also got a couple of great wooden boards, and a few cute knives. A good mixture of colour is crucial, a mixture of textures, and enough of a cracker/chip/crisp type thing. I'm heavily into oatcakes at the moment, for example. I started using the hashtag #plattergram to show off my ever-improving platters, and learned to follow only one rule of plattergramming: no plastic. By all means use dips from a pottle, (although hummus is really easy to make, you guys) just put it in a ramekin first, ok? 

Recipe inside!

Honey, thyme, and sea salt walnuts

These are adapted only slightly from the amazing Gather Journal

Ingredients

1 cup (roughly) fresh walnuts (in NZ I use Uncle Joe's from Marlborough) 

1 very generous pinch flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

4-5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 tbsp clear, runny honey (I use J.Friend and Co Beechwood Honeydew)

Method

Preheat oven to about 190C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper, and scatter over the walnuts. 

Sprinkle over the sea salt. Pull some of the thyme leaves off the stalks, and scatter over the leaves. Add the other stalks whole amongst the walnuts. 

Roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, being very careful not to burn them.

Remove the tray from the oven, and while the walnuts are still hot, drizzle over the honey. 

Serve warm, or allow to cool to room temperature. They should keep in an airtight container for a good few days. 

// Posted by Delaney at 5:36 PM // Labels: platters, plattergram, walnuts

If you read about food and food trends regularly, you will have inevitably seen something about fermentation, and fermented foods. I knew vaguely what they meant, and have watched with interest as menus increasingly feature kimchi and pickles. But it wasn't until this year I was seeing more and more people I know fermenting their own stuff, and making it look easy. 

Sauerkraut is lacto-fermented cabbage, and you might be used to seeing shredded rather than cut into chunks, or made with white cabbage rather than red. It's also a crucial element in the famous Reuben sandwich. My friend Jesse had been harping on about making kombucha and pickling things, but it wasn't until he posted step-by-step 'kraut making instructions on his twitter page that I sat up and took notice. I think it was the picture of the cabbage, an onion, and some salt with the caption: 'these are the only ingredients you need' that really got me over the line. 

Recipe inside!

Basic Sauerkraut

This kraut recipe was taken and adapted slightly from food writer Jesse Mulligan's twitter account. Similar instructions can be found on The Kitchn.

Ingredients: 

1 red cabbage

1 red onion

1 tbsp good quality sea salt 

1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Remove tough outer leaves frm the cabbage. Chop into bite size chunks, throwing away the core, and rinse thoroughly under running water. Dry off in a salad spinner or with a tea towel. Place in a large bowl. 

2. Chop onion into small chunks and add the the bowl. 

3. Add salt and cayenne and massage it into the cabbage. Take a good 5-10 minutes to do this. The liquid will start to come out of the cabbage. Make sure you massage the salt well into the mix. 

4. Set aside for at least 5 minutes to rest, but ideally up to an hour. This will allow the liquid to start coming out. 

5. Take your clean jar, and transfer the cabbage mixture into the jar with tongs. Press down with a muddler or rolling pin or similar, and squash it hard so there are no air bubbles. Liquid will start to come up the jar as you press. Keep filling and pushing and filling and pushing unti your jar is full. Liquid should have come up most of the way. 

6. Put the lid loosely on top (it doesn't need to be sealed, it just needs to keep bugs away) and keep in a cool, dark place. Taste it after about 3 days, and then leave it fermenting until you like the taste (for me it's a little over a week) and then refrigerate, as this will arrest the ferment and keep it about that level of flavour and tang.

A few notes: 

- the liquid might drip over the top if you pack it a little high - I just keep a tea towel under the jar and keep an eye on it. 

- you might get a few white mould-like spots on top, just scrape them off and keep going. 

- the liquid in the bottom at the end of your batch can be used to kickstart the next. 

How to eat:

- with chopsticks, straight from the jar.

-  on noodles, with a crispy fried egg, some sauteed greens, and plenty of hot sauce and sesame oil.

- with matjes or pickled herrings or smoked fish on a platter.

- on any #plattergram worth its weight.

- on top of noodle soup/ramen. 

- on toast with avocado.

- for breakfast with eggs and salmon.

- with cream cheese or homemade labne on rye or crackers.   

   

// Posted by Delaney at 4:19 PM // Labels: fermenting, kraut, sauerkraut

After the frenetic madness that was the Netball World Cup (in case you missed it the Silver Ferns won Silver, my little sister included), my 31st birthday (there were tequila shots), and a week in Wellington for Visa Wellington on a Plate, things (touch wood) feel a little calmer at the moment, and I've thoroughly enjoyed being back in the kitchen. Althought the blog gets a little neglected, I've still been hard at work, taking photos, writing recipes, hustling for dollars, and baking cakes. 

// Posted by Delaney at 1:46 PM // Labels: cake, herald on sunday, caramel

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