July 2016

The week just gone was a lot less traumatic than the one previous, as the current state of having lots on (I hate saying ‘I’m busy’ probably ever since reading this article) has become the new normal and it hit me that it was all exciting, fun stuff that I'm doing, and that having full working days and nights is the best way to be as a freelancer, and that I can sleep when I’m dead so to just chill out and enjoy it, rather than feel stressed or overwhelmed. 

Monday

// Posted by Delaney at 3:06 PM // Labels: a week in the life

Summer is all well and good, but I think winter is an unsung hero. It doesn’t get the glory it deserves, but there’s so much to love about rugging up, getting cosy, and comfort food. Weekends away in winter are especially underrated. A group of friends, a house across the road from a lake, a fireplace, a bit of fresh air and sunshine, and plenty of red wine make for winter weekend perfection.   

Creating a delicious yet reasonably simple feast is ideal for group weekends away. It’s also good to play your strengths in the kitchen. On my weekend away just gone, one of the boys was a poached egg master, and served up the best bacon and eggs I’d had in a long time on Sunday morning. They were served alongside crispy bacon, grainy toast, avocado (the avocalypse is over), and a really good relish. It was the perfect lazy Sunday morning, reading the paper with plenty of coffee and the sun streaming in.   

Recipe inside!

Napoli-style meatballs with a fennel salad

This recipe is the second in a series I'm doing for Fisher & Paykel.

Serves 4-5

For the meatballs

1 cup 3-day old sourdough, cut into cubes (or simply use 1 cup breadcrumbs)

800g ground beef mince

2 free range eggs

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup pecorino cheese, finely grated

Small bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)

2 tbsp pine nuts, gently toasted in a dry frying pan until golden brown

Generous pinch flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce

2 x 400g cans tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

Flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper

Soak the bread chunks in water for a few minutes, before removing and squeezing by hand to remove excess water. Add the bread to a large bowl, along with the mince, eggs, garlic, cheese, parsley, pinenuts, and the salt and pepper. Using wet hands, mix well to combine, before rolling into small balls.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the balls in batches until golden brown and crisp around the edges.

In a roasting tray, add the canned tomatoes, stir through the garlic, and season. Add the meatballs as they’re cooked, then cook in a 180C oven until the sauce thickens a little and is heated through - about 20-25 minutes.

 

Creamy polenta

3 cups water

1 cup coarse polenta

½ cup cream

¼ cup finely grated parmesan

1 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, then using a whisk, slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and stir through the cream, parmesan and butter. Season and stir, and taste and adjust as necessary.

 

Fennel salad

1 fennel bulb

1 small red onion

1 cup baby green salad leaves (I used baby kale and baby spinach)

Juice of one lemon

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil

Using a mandolin, or the slice disc of a food processor, slice the fennel and the onion. Add to a bowl with the green leaves, then add the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. Season and toss gently with your hands, and serve with the meatballs on polenta.    

 

// Posted by Delaney at 5:14 PM // Labels: meatballs

It is no secret that I love gin. I love it! I love trying new kinds, with different mixers, and different garnishes, or just straight (if the occasion requires it). I was an unashamed early adopter of the artisan tonic revolution that I am so, so glad has taken hold of bars and supermarkets. Late last year I hit a career high when I was asked to be on the judging panel of the Beefeater Mix London bartending competition. 

// Posted by Delaney at 5:07 PM // Labels: gin, recipes, cocktails, winter

It’s been a big week, and one I'm not sad to see the back of. It was a classic week-in-the-life of this food-freelancer, so I thought I'd toy with the idea of a new weekly instalment. Two of my good friends told me on the weekend that when I started my first blog Heartbreak Pie, people reading were interested not just in food, but also in what I was up to. And that since I quit a legal career for a food and freelance one, that was probably still the case. And because I'm single and in my 30s and full of entertaining stories, I should be writing about it (I'm saving the one about the tumble out of the uber after a goodnight kiss for the book though). It makes sense to start with this Sunday in particular, because my week effectively began last Sunday night, "rotting in the depths of hungover despair on my friend’s couch" (which you can read about here) after I thought I had been maybe getting somewhere with an eligible bachelor at a house party, before having it comprehensively confirmed that I most definitely was not. Yolo?

Monday

// Posted by Delaney at 11:14 PM // Labels: auckland, life, a week in the life

Sundays can be an emotional roller coaster, where many factors are at play. Relationship status, family obligations, hangover level, financial situation, or how much you love or hate your job, for example. It’s pretty easy to just continue on with life during the week, but something about Sundays can bring it all crashing to a halt and bring all your insecurities to the forefront of your mind. Especially if you had lindauer and birthday cake for dinner on Saturday night (don’t ask).

Cooking has always been one of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. There is something so cathartic about the process of creating a feast that always makes me feel better. Even if you start out rotting in the depths of hungover lonely despair on your mate’s couch, the lure of getting a meal out always gets me in the end.

Recipe inside!

Roasted shredded pork with quick pickled cucumbers, spicy sauce, and flatbreads

Roasted shredded pork

Ingredients

1.8-2kg pork shoulder (bone in or out)

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 tbsp cooking oil

2 x 355ml (approx) cans or bottles of beer (use beer with citrus notes if you can, otherwise whatever you have will work here. I’ve used Double Brown before to great success)

Juice of one orange

Method

Preheat oven to 175C.

Cut the pork into large chunks (about 6-8 chunks) and place in a bowl. Any large chunks of skin/fat, score with a sharp knife (or craft knife). Add the spices and season generously. Toss the pieces to ensure the spices cover the meat.

In a large, heavy bottomed, oven proof, pan (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven, affectionately named Olive), heat a couple of teaspoons of oil. Heat to a medium heat, and add the pork in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Brown the meat on all sides using tongs, then remove the meat and set aside in a bowl. Keeping the pan on the heat, add the beer and the orange juice.

Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat and return the pork to the pan. Ensure the pork in about half covered by the liquid.

Place the pot in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn over the meat, and place the lid on the pot. Return to the oven for another 1 - 1.5 hours. While the meat is cooking prepare all your others bits and pieces for the meal.

Just before you’re ready to serve, remove the lid, and if there’s any pieces of skin/fat, place them upwards. Turn the oven to grill, and place the pot underneath - this will get the skin a bit crispy and puffy, like crackling. This should only take about 10 minutes.

Serve with the flatbreads, cucumbers, spicy sauce, fresh coriander, lime, and natural yoghurt.

 

Flatbreads

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon oil

Boiling water

Method

In a medium bowl, add the flour and the oil. Slowly add the boiling water and using a fork, stir constantly. Stop adding the water once the dough has bound into a ball. Dust flour on your bench, and turn the ball out. Knead the dough for a good 6-8 minutes. Divide dough into small balls (about 12 should be about right) and roll out into circles using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle). Heat a frying pan (preferably cast iron) to a medium-low heat, and cook each flatbread for about a minute each side. Serve immediately.

 

Quick pickled cucumbers

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

Pinch salt

½ tsp chilli flakes

Method

Cut the cucumber longways, then slice into thin slices. Place in a bowl with the salt and leave for about ten minutes. Drain the liquid, then add the vinegar and sugar. Set aside until ready to serve, and add chilli flakes as a garnish.

 

Spicy sauce

This is a very modified version of Ssamjang, a Korean chilli sauce. Drizzle it over your pork when cooked. Always remember to taste and adjust!

Ingredients

1 tbsp miso paste

1 tsp honey

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 finely chopped shallot

3 red chillis, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

3 finely chopped spring onions

Method

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork to combine. Taste and adjust as necessary.

 

// Posted by Delaney at 4:07 PM // Labels: pork, sundays

The Veuve Cliquot rose wine match at The Grove

 

Squid ink brioche with soft shell crab at Masu

Auckland is a great place to dine all year round, but come August there are plenty more reasons to uber yourself into the city and feast. Auckland Restaurant Month sees the CBD come alive with special events, visiting chefs, and special set-menus.

People are always asking me where I like to eat, and where I’ve been recently, or if I’ve tried a certain new place, or if I’ve been to their favourite dumpling joint. I love hearing about where other people like to dine out, and lucky for me I get to try all sorts of places and call it work. I’ve had some really great meals in Auckland lately, at both some old favourites and some new ones. Here’s a few eating highlights for me lately, and a few picks for August. YUM.

The Grove

// Posted by Delaney at 4:59 PM

I had the weekend in Wellington, which was delightful (instagramming up a storm, as per), and weirdly enough there is nothing like the comfort yet strangeness of a hotel room that gives me a bit of career clarity. Things swing from pretty quiet to insanely busy very quickly around here, and my bank balance reflects that (dizzying highs, crushing lows). This year especially I have found freelancing hard and despite very occasionally trawling seek for legal jobs, I pretty much always feel on the brink of something really exciting, which makes it all feel worthwhile and keeps me hanging on. Seeing this post on instagram this morning hit the message home. Being in Wellington, my former hood, reminded me that blogging was where it all began, and that it really was time to blog the backlog of photos and stories that are sitting on my computer and in my head and in the trusty notes section of my phone. 

Recipe inside!

Eggplant and tomato pasta

This recipe first appeared in the Herald on Sunday and is also available here on bite.co.nz.

2 drizzles olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 generous tsp chilli flakes

3 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 splash wine, anything you have, red or white

1½ kgs tomatoes (in Winter replace with tinned tomatoes or tomato passata or a mix of the two. I use those 500g tins of chopped tomatoes)

2 eggplant

4 servings fresh pasta (I have a recipe here in this article!)

 

Cut a small cross on the bottom of each tomato, and blanch them by carefully dropping them in boiling water, then transferring to cold water. Peel the skins off and set aside. If using tinned tomatoes or passata, omit this step. 

Prick holes in the eggplant and rub with a little olive oil. Roast whole in the oven at about 180C until shriveled – about half an hour. 

Cook off the onion, garlic, and chilli in a little olive oil, in a large heavy bottomed pot on a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the sundried tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Increase the heat and add a generous splash of wine. Add a little water and then the tomatoes, chopped.

Continue cooking on a medium-low heat.

Remove the eggplants from the oven and allow to cool slightly before carefully cutting them and scooping out the flesh. Season the flesh well with salt and pepper, then add to the tomato sauce mixture.

Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Cook your fresh pasta for two minutes, then drain well and stir through the sauce. Garnish with lemon zest, fresh basil, and parmesan.

// Posted by Delaney at 1:13 PM // Labels: nz herald, meat free monday, pasta, eggplant, bestie cafe