2017

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

I’ve been away a lot lately, and it feels like I haven’t cooked for ages. But the one thing that is for sure in my kitchen at this time of year is soup. Soup, porridge, and spending a weekend afternoon baking while coveting lush winter coats and wearing giant scarves like a security blanket.

I have a lot of time for soup of the pumpkin variety, usually roasted and often with a decent hit of chilli. I also like kumara soup, often with blue cheese, or an old favourite from Nigella via my friend’s Nicky and Jimmy: chorizo, tinned tomato, and spicy black bean. But cauliflower really has my heart. It blends up to be so creamy and the flavour is allowed to be itself, and you can have a lot of fun with the garnishes. Roasting the cauliflower gives it a good depth of flavour, but the real fun comes when choosing your cheese. Blue cheese works well, but this time I’ve gone with straight up parmesan, because it turns this liquid meal into a throwback to cauliflower cheese. Delicious.

Recipe inside!

Cauliflower and parmesan soup with pancetta crumbs

Serves 4-5

 

1 head cauliflower

4-5 garlic cloves

1 brown onion, peeled and sliced

½ tsp chilli flakes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp flaky sea salt

½ cup cream

2-3 cup vegetable stock

¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for garnish

5-6 slices pancetta, fried until crispy

Additional extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

Cracked black pepper

 

Heat oven to 190C and line a roasting tray with baking paper.

Cut the cauliflower into florets, and cut the stalk into chunks too. Lay out on the roasting tray. Add the garlic cloves (skin still on) and drizzle over some olive oil. Season well with sea salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.  

Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Heat your stock gently in a saucepan.

In a large pot, heat a little oil to a medium-low heat, and add the onion. Saute gently for a good ten minutes until soft. Squeeze the garlic (from the tray of cauliflower) out of their skins (and discard the skins) then add the garlic, cauliflower, and any oil from the tray into the pot with the onion. Add the cream and warm through, then add the stock a little at a time, and gently increase the heat. Add the parmesan and mix well. Allow to simmer for a good 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to low until you’re ready to blend.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the chunks and place in the kMix blender, then carefully pour in the liquid. Blend for a few minutes until smooth - you may have to do this in batches.   

Return to the pot and keep warm while you gently fry the pancetta until crispy. Garnish with the pancetta and a drizzle of good olive oil, and whatever else your heart desires. Don’t forget the toast.

Thanks to Kenwood for lending me their gorgeous kMix products and for sponsoring this post - you’ll be lucky to get them back. Thanks to them I have a beautiful goody bag of some of my favourite kitchen tools and treats to giveaway over on my facebook page

#MyKenwood #ExpressYourself

 

// Posted by Delaney at 10:50 PM

I spent the long weekend in Wellington, mostly eating greek honey doughnuts at my chef friend Theo's new restaurant, but also drinking natural wine with duck pancakes at a Chinese BYO, and also dancing to the new Arcade Fire song (which sounds like this Yvonne Elliman song and I'm not complaining) and drinking malbec in front of a fireplace. There was a trip to my spiritual home Moore Wilson's, and an excellent fried chicken burger (standard) and the downing of many perfect flat whites.

Recipe inside!

Lazy brunch beans

This is a very forgiving recipe! Basically you add whatever spices you're into, with tinned tomatoes and tinned cannelini beans as the base. Chuck in any veggies you have lurking in your fridge if you need to use them up. I used a jar of Chantal Tomato Passata also because I'd been sent a jar of it and it was in the cupboard, but since passata is just strained tomatoes, you can use whatever you have. Also, you can cook it for longer to thicken it up, or you can keep it at a bit more like a chunky soup consistency. It's up to you! 

Ingredients

1 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil, for cooking

1 red onion, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how good your mates coming for brunch are)

Smoked paprika - a generous teaspoon

Ground cumin - a generous teaspoon

Dried herbs - whatever you fancy, however much you fancy ( I went with a generous sprinkle of dried basil) 

Salt and pepper

Chilli flakes - a generous sprinkle

2 x 330g tins tomatoes + 1 jar tomato passata (or just three tins tomatoes - I used a mixt of crushed and cherry tomatoes) 

2 x 330g tins cannellini beans 

2-3 chorizo (or bacon) 

Method

Thinly slice the onion. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or large frying pan with high sides. Saute the onion for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic. Keep cooking for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, add the sliced chorizo. Cook on a med-high heat to let all the oil out and so the chorizo goes crispy. After a couple of minutes, add the onion mix back into the pan, then add the tomatoes. Stir to combine and season, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the drained cannelini beans.

Simmer for a good ten minutes, and for up to about 25 minutes. Taste and adjust as neccessary.

Garnish with lemon zest and fresh parsley. Serve with good bread, marinated feta, hot sauce, and whatever else you like on the side.     

---

We had ours with: 

An amazing rye and fennel loaf of bread from Brooklyn Deli

Lewis Road butter  

Marinated feta (I just crumbled the feta in a small bowl and added olive oil, lemon zest, herbs, and peppercorns)  

6 minute soft boiled eggs

Portobello mushrooms: sauteed in butter, garlic, sage, and thyme, with a splash of balsamic.  

// Posted by Delaney at 1:08 PM

Carbs get a bad wrap. All the time I hear people saying they’re giving up bread and I’m just like: why. Gluten has been demonised, carbs are the enemy and all I can say is people are missing out. Bread is one of the greatest things ever, and I’m not talking about supermarket white bread (although that very much has a place: 3am spaghetti and cheese toasties; chip butties; paua fritter sandwiches) but about good quality, made-with-excellent-ingredients, proper delicious bread. Sourdough is very often my bread of choice, and I love that artisan bakeries are popping up everywhere.

Recipe inside!

Toast with poached figs, labneh, pistachios and honey

Toast with poached figs, labneh, pistachios and honey

This is a great breakfast, or if you cut your toast bits small, a great sweet canape.

 

Sourdough

Labneh

Honey

Poached figs

A few pistachios, lightly dry toasted in a frying pan and finely chopped

 

Cook a piece of toast, and allow to cool very slightly. Spread with labneh, spoon over a couple of poached figs, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle over some crushed pistachios.

 

For the labneh

500g natural yoghurt

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp sea salt

 

  1. Take a medium-sized bowl and line with cheesecloth.

  2. Pour in the yoghurt, and stir through the  salt.

  3. Tie the corners of the cloth around a large wooden spoon, or simply tie into a bundle with string, and hang over a bowl, then refrigerate overnight.

  4. Remove the thickened labneh from the cheesecloth and keep stored in a container or jar in the fridge.

For the poached figs

4 ripe figs, cut in half

¼ cup sugar

3/4 cup water

3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

½ a cinnamon stick

½ vanilla pod

½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)

Gently heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add the figs, and increase to a medium heat, and as it starts to simmer add the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange blossom (if using). Reduce heat and cook on the stop top at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve (these will keep in the fridge for a few days).

#MyKenwood #ExpressYourself

// Posted by Delaney at 8:17 AM // Labels: toast, labne, figs, breakfast

I returned home to Auckland last week after eating my way through 12 days in Taiwan, and until I write it up properly you'll be pleased to know I instagrammed up a storm. I ate so much good stuff, including a couple of incredible gua bao and plenty of tapioca laced bubble tea. Since being back it's been all go (when is it not all go?) and on Friday afternoon I got to talk about what I've been up to on Jesse Mulligan's afternoon show, on RNZ. As well as chatting about street food in Taipei, we yarned about my upcoming book (I borderline lost my mind over summer compiling a book of 50 restaurants across NZ, but the first proofs are checked, and it's looking beautiful, and you'll all be able to buy a copy in October!) and about making platters for dinner.

Recipe inside!

Book club bread

Book club bread

(stuffed feta and caramelised onion bread)

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp instant yeast

3/4 cup - 1 cup lukewarm water

2 tblsp oil

Combine flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add 3/4 cup water and the oil. Mix to form a soft dough, adding more water if required.

Place on a floured bench and knead lightly for 2 minutes.

Place in an oiled bowl and leave to (roughly) double in size (up to an hour - ideally while you caramelise the onions).

For the caramelised onions:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

3 large red onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and garlic, then add a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook gently, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a thick and sticky consistency, with no liquid left in the pan. This can take a good 25-30 minutes.

To assemble:

Knead out the dough for about 5 minutes. Roll it out into a big square on a tray lined with baking paper.

Spread over the onions, leaving about a 2cm border around the edge. Crumble over about 150g of  feta (or blue cheese works well). Fold the dough square carefully into three, lightly pressing down the sides. Rub the top with a little oil, and a few fennel seeds, or some sea salt and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Bake for 25-30mins at 200C until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush over a little more oil while it's still hot.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature as part of a platter.

 

// Posted by Delaney at 3:41 PM // Labels: bread, snacks, heartbreak pie

It's that most glorious time of the year where the nights are cool and the mornings are crisp and feijoa trees are dropping fruit daily, leaving a magical rotting carpet in backyards and driveways across the city. Even though Winter is looming, and the emotions associated with saying goodbye to the luscious stone-fruits of summer are akin to those associated with the abrupt end to a crush because they go and do something stupid like fall in love, there is hope in autumn. It is a promising time, filled with gym sessions and slow cooking and blog-rejuvination and baking. Autumn produce is so good: feijoas feature heavily, as do figs and pears and brussels sprouts.

The fragrant and tangy feijoa lends itself to baking extremely well, but they're also great scooped onto your morning porridge, and they're amazing thrown into a milkshake or smoothie. If you're getting stuck in with just a spoon and eating them raw, just be careful not to overdo it and shit yourself, ok?

Here's a few of my favourite ways with feijoas. Autumn! New beginnings, new crushes, and a shit-ton of feijoas. Tis the season!

Feijoa coconut gems

Recipe inside!

Apple and Feijoa Crumble

This recipe is adapted from the very excellent Pipi The Cookbook by Alexandra Tylee 

  • About 1.5kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices, and about 500g feijoa flesh
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250g butter, melted

Put the apples in a saucepan with a quarter of a cup of cold water. Sprinkle over the sugar and cook until soft. Add the feijoas for the last five minutes.  

In a bowl, mix together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter, the luscious, luscious melted butter. Mix to combine. 

Drain the fruit and lay into a baking dish. Spoon the crumble over the top, being careful not to push it down flat.

Bake at 190C for one hour, until the crumble is completely cooked and golden brown (keep an eye on it as it may not need the full hour). Serve with runny cream or ice cream.

// Posted by Delaney at 1:03 PM // Labels: feijoas, baking, autumn

I've been away a lot this year, as trips to Wellington have been required, and weddings have been attended. Weddings in Hobart, and Nelson, and Omaha, and Hawke's Bay. I went hunting and foraging in North Canterbury (more about that later) and I finished a book project (more about that later, too). Most recently though I was in Melbourne (a pattern is emerging, I know, but trust me when I say there will be more about that shortly) and when I got home late last week it was with both an overweight suitcase and a sense of relief. To have a weekend mostly devoid of plans was a joy, and as a result I did what I did best: caught up with people, drank beer and ranted about gender equality, and ate.

// Posted by Delaney at 9:45 PM // Labels: auckland, eating, burgers, cake, beer

I'm a big fan of a cocktail in lieu of dessert. Sometimes the night is just heading that way, right? Like you want something a little sweet, but you don't want anything big or heavy. And you've already maybe had a few wines and a switch up to liqueur would just be the perfect end to (/continuation of) a night? You know?

Well. If you're out to impress with something that's just a wee step up from pouring straight liquor into a glass (which I fully support by the way, I'm just covering you for when you've got chocoholic mates over. Or if you're embracing the spirit of Valentine's Day from earlier this week and just simply want to #treatyoself) then I suggest you give this after dark iced chocolate a go. It features Lewis Road Creamery’s new chocolate liqueur - a creamy, sweet, Irish-cream like beverage, with the luscious addition of chocolate. It's perfect if you are craving something creamy but not caffeine-filled, and something decadent in drinkable form.

Recipe inside!

The after dark iced chocolate

Lewis Road Creamery asked me to come up with a recipe using their new liqueur, and this is it.

For the chocolate ganache sauce:

150g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

150g cream

Gently melt the cream and chocolate together in a small saucepan, on a low heat. Remove before the chocolate is fully melted and stir constantly until you get a glossy sauce. Use immediately.

For one cocktail:

4 tbsp ganache sauce, plus 1 tbsp to finish

Ice

30ml vodka

90ml LRC chocolate liqueur, chilled

Drizzle liquid cream, chilled

Drizzle 4 tbsp ganache sauce around the inside of your glass. Fill glass with ice.

Method

Add vodka and chocolate liqueur and stir with a swizzle stick.

Drizzle in a little liquid cream, then drizzle over 1 tbsp ganache. Garnish with a flower if it takes your fancy, and enjoy!  

 

// Posted by Delaney at 11:39 AM // Labels: friday drinks, booze, chocolate