March 2018

 

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