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I had to remind myself today that I am a food blogger. I get so overwhelmed sometimes in my new life of not being a lawyer (more about that here) but instead of freelance writing, and cooking, and event coordinating, and throwing dinner parties. Sometimes I feel like I have so much to say and do, I just end up doing none of it. Today I just had to tell myself to chill out (something I find myself doing daily) and to get back in there (well, in here).

The pep talk happened at my kitchen bench while I was making these cookies, having already baked a cake, and mowed the lawns, and weeded the garden, and done a food photography session, and made a dent in my inbox, all after a very inspiring breakfast meeting. Mondays in my new life are way better than Mondays in my old one, despite the ever-woeful state of my bank balance. I did have haloumi with every meal today though, so there’s that. Also the new Metro magazine has come out, and for that issue I undertook a search for Auckland’s best falafel. That was fun.

Recipe inside!

haloumi and mint flatbreads

Adapted from Tony Kitous & Dan Lepard's Comptoir Libanais. In the original recipe you make the dough yourself. 

Ingredients

  • 1 block haloumi
  • 4 medium size thin pitas / flatbreads
  • salt, olive oil for drizzling
  • sprinkle of black sesame seeds
  • fresh mint

Method

  1. Turn oven to 190C. 
  2. Lay pitas out on an oven tray.
  3. Thinly slice haloumi and place over flatbreads. 
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  5. Grill or bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the edges crisp up and the haloumi melts.
  6. Roughly chop the fresh mint and scatter over the breads when they're hot out of the oven.  
// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 11:52 PM
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Along with a soda stream (the best thing that's ever happened to me), a fluro pink lipstick called Candy Yum Yum, a Christmas tumbler with a removable snowglobe (new favourite drinking vessel), a print of a swan by Evie Kemp, and a block of Lewis Road butter, I received a microplane for Christmas. I squealed when I opened it (the enthusiasm probably partly due to the champagne and croissants I'd consumed earlier for breakfast) as I'd wanted one for ages but was genuinely suprised to have one in my hand. Microplane graters are the best: their design is based on woodworking tools apparently, and I was devastated a few years ago when my flatmate, who owned one of every shape and size, moved out. 

Recipe inside!

Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and bacon

Ingredients

4 rashers bacon (I used Freedom Farms, streaky or rindless eye) cut into bite sized pieces

1 punnet cherry tomatoes (curious croppers summer medley are my current favourite)

2 cloves garlic (the fresh NZ stuff available at the moment is amazing) finely sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

A splash of cream (about 100mL)

Spaghetti, cooked al dente

salt and pepper, parmesan, and chopped fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

Method

In a large frying pan on low-medium heat, place a glug of olive oil and the onion and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes. 

Add the bacon and increase the heat. Cook until it goes crispy. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes until they blister (cut larger ones in half before cooking if you need).

Still on a high heat, add the cream and then the spaghetti. Mix it together, and cook until the cream has reduced and thickened and coated the pasta. 

Garnish and enjoy!  

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 10:51 PM // Labels: dinner, summer, pasta
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This post has been a long time coming. For so long I pondered how best to give heartbreak pie a shake up. I wondered if, with its tortured backstory, it needed a new name, or I needed somewhere else as an outlet. With writing a bit more my job now I was hesitant to publish posts which might not be good enough for these new standards I had. I wondered if anybody was still reading. I had so much to say over the past wee while, but was unable to hit publish so many times. I talked about it forever, and then I came to the conclusion she just needed a makeover. It's fortuitous that the redesign has come at the same time I just let fearlessness take over and allowed my hairdresser to attack my head with the clippers. A new look, a new house, a new career. I've said it before but I love new beginnings.

It's been months of emails to get this flashy new makeover out into the world. Tash at natashalinskill.com did  the design from London and Heath from Club Soda built the site from Wellington. They've put up with me endlessly changing my mind, and I'm thrilled. THANK YOU. 

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 4:42 PM
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It still blows my mind that someone has managed to make bagels cool in 2013, but I suppose if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Al Brown. He has the kind of food empire us budding food empresses dream of having; the TV shows, the excellent hospitality establishments, the books, the olive oil, the branded butter, and the bagels. His he claims are Montreal style; slightly sweet and different to those hailing from NYC.

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 4:33 PM
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Twitter is great for a number of things. Inviting yourself to crash coffee dates, sharing excellent articles, stalking people you like (remembering always the ever-important adage 'you can't make someone love you, you can only stalk them and hope for the best'), making jokes at your own expense that are borderline enough so people can't tell if you're joking or not. Those ones are my favourite. It's great!

Recipe inside!

Green salad with asparagus, broccolli and tahini dressing

Bench top grills are amazing for vegetables. I used to roast my broccolli and asparagus in the oven, doused in olive oil. Doing it this way means you control the oil content and seasoning with the dressing. Eggplant, courgette, and flat mushrooms are particularly excellent.

Salad:

  • Broccolli
  • Asparagus
  • Salad greens
  • Crunchy bean sprouts
  • Pumpkin seeds

Dressing:

  • Tahini
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  1. Grill some broccolli florets and some asparagus spears chopped into large yet bite sized chunks (about 3-4cm), on your grill.
  2. Make dressing. Combine about 2 tablespoons tahini, the juice of a medium lemon, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper, in a bowl. Whisk well with a fork or whisk, or combine the best way you know how. Taste, and season accordingly. Maybe go easy on the lemon juice to start with, and add more as you need it.
  3. Add the grilled vegetables to some mixed salad greens (I'm totally addicted to these bags I can get at my local vegetable market shop that contain edible flowers. Any will do though!). Add some of those fresh crunchy bean sprouts.  
  4. Add dressing and mix well (I ended up nearly drowning mine, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.) 
  5. Garnish with a generous sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, lightly dry-toasting them in a frying pan first if you can be bothered and aren't absolutely ravenous, as I was. Enjoy!
// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 4:26 PM // Labels: eating in, salad, vegan, vege
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It was one of those weekends where there wasn’t too much planned. I had an accidental 2am solo date to Burger Fuel after escaping a friend's leaving party when things were descending into debauchery on the dance floor. And there was a slight hangover on Saturday morning, the first in ages, and there were some random chance encounters, some café visits, and some karaoke. Sunday was a dream: a pancake party on the front lawn of a villa, under a pink tree, with a mixture of toppings, plenty of coffee, spring sunshine, and really great conversation. Ideas, creative pursuits, terrible dating stories, just so much good stuff. We talked about small gatherings a la Kinfolk magazine. We talked about beautiful food journals and publishing. We talked about Auckland, and it’s woeful lack of bars we want to go to. And also health and travelling and dinner parties, and it filled me with inspiration, and hope, and happiness. That sounds cheesy but it was just really freaking great. 

Recipe inside!

World's Best Pancakes

These have been adapted by the beautiful and talented Rebekah, who was the lady behind the frying pan on Sunday. The original recipe is here, from Runners World.

Dry ingredients:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened yoghurt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp rice bran oil
1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients together separately, then fold together. Cook over medium heat, brushing a little butter over the frying pan between batches.
Makes enough for four. Rebekah states: I normally make half the recipe because I'm cooking for two (or just me and I'm greedy for pancakes).

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 4:14 PM // Labels: brunch, pancakes
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The time of year is upon us where the baked goods that comforted me through my lonely, dateless winter have come back to bite me on the thighs. It's the time where me and brioche need to go on a break, spin classes must get cried and sweated through, and it's the time of year where I become all about salad.

Recipe inside!

Lemon salad

serves 2 

Some savvy internet searching featuring 'Nigel Slater' and 'salad' lead me to this gloriously simple recipe here. I've altered it slightly.

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers

Cut both ends of the lemons, and slice off the skin and pith. Thinly slice and place in a bowl with the olive oil and the sugar. Set aside.

Wilt your spinach. I took my laziness to new heights (thanks to Mr Slater's suggestive picture), and simply rinsed the spinach, and put it into a pot with about 3cm of boiling water, leaving the stalks on.

Add capers and parsley to the lemon, and mix in gently.

Pan fry your fish. I had some lemon sole I got from Jimmy the Fish, having eaten it there for lunch on Saturday (more about that shortly). At Jimmy's instruction I dusted it lightly in a little flour, and cooked it in oil.

You could serve the lemon salad as is, but I mixed it through some salad greens to bulk it up. Serve and enjoy. It's so good!

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 6:59 PM // Labels: eating in, fish
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One of my favourite discoveries in Singapore, apart from the amazingpurple dragonfruit and soursop fresh juice at the Maxwell Hawker Centre (I schlepped across town daily for a purple juice upon their discovery, shameless sweaty selfie of me drinking one here) was the Singapore Lomography store.

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 2:12 PM // Labels: Singapore, Travel
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I love birthdays. I love layer cakes. I love candlelit dinners. I love easy recipes that require only one vessel and one utensil because I don't love doing dishes. I love ganache and I love cherries and I love fresh flowers. I love Lucky Peach. I love baking for gifts. I love cake. I don't so much love chocolate cake (banana anyone?) but I do love baking them. I love Fridays. I love new mates. I love this.

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 6:52 PM // Labels: baking, cake, chocolate
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I invented a cocktail last Saturday. I even named it myself. It was born out of a long day, one that culminated with me talking to the dog while unpacking my $100 worth of groceries from Farro Fresh, channelling my inner posh-housewife. I'm housesitting you see, in one of Auckland's nicest suburbs, and the housesitting gig includes a great kitchen, a couple of cats, and a staffy-cross pooch called Optimus. There I was, spending all my remaining dollars at Farro, in my (non-fluro extremely daggy) exercise gear, liberated from makeup, having walked the dog (along Ponsonby Road to get a coffee, nothing strenuous) that morning and then being too lazy to get showered and into proper clothes. It had been a long and busy week, so when I did finally make myself presentable in preparation for friends coming over to cook me dinner, this cocktail was born. It's basically a cross between two of my favourite drinks: a gin and tonic, and a negroni. It uses the only tonic worth using, quina fina, and is named after how I was feeling after driving around all day bearing witness to attractive couple after attractive couple in their matching designer sunglasses. Alone, talking to a dog, this drink certainly helped the situation.

Recipe inside!

the bitter and cynical

  • Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • Campari
  • Quina Fina tonic
  • A slice of lemon

In a short glass or tumbler, put some ice. Add a shot of gin, and just under a shot of campari. Add a slice of lemon, and a wee squeeze of lemon too. Add tonic to nearly the top. Enjoy.

This would probably be really good with orange instead of lemon, but then it'd probably have to be called the Slightly Sweet and Cynical, and it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 11:13 AM // Labels: cocktails, drink
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