Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Donut Round Up.

After spotting a 'Whittaker’s Peanut Slab' Waitangi Day Special from Crosstown Doughnuts on my Instagram feed I was forced to: a) crave donuts, b) feel seriously nostalgic about being a Kiwi and eating my way around London, and c) reflect upon the vast array of donuts I have recently devoured.

If you follow @relishthememory on instagram you’ll know that I was lucky enough to have six weeks galavanting around Europe late last year (see: #rtmgoesglobal). I went with one mission - to EAT! And that’s exactly what I did. On the menu, was a true culinary adventure with a handful of the finest fellow food-loving female counterparts. Although not all of this sugar dipped goodness was divulged on this trip, the remainder of this list has been consumed since my return home.

So without further or do I give you the RTM Donut Round Up…

St John Donuts – Sugar dipped, stuffed with Vanilla Bean Custard & Chocolate Mousse.
St John Maltby, Maltby Street Market, London.
A small brick laneway market full of tantalizing smells and drool-worthy morsels. Everything from giant pans of cheesy potato bake, ten varieties of British Scotch eggs and even a Pic’s Peanut Butter stall (proud kiwi moment!). With hungry punters in every direction we swarmed our way through the crowds – with my cousin gunning it straight for the ‘St John’ bakery, scoring the last few donuts of the day. Washed down with bubbles, it made for a truly fabulous London laneway experience.

Beetroot Sourdough w. Lemon Thyme Custard, Lemon and Thyme infused Icing and Biscuit crumb sprinkle
Soho Flagship Store, London
After insta-stalking these guys from afar I was determined to get my hands on one of these fascinating savoury-esqe donuts. Following a massive Indian feast at Dishoom, I dragged my fellow-feaster kicking and screaming to hunt this guy down. Perfectly soft, full of herby creamy goodness and pink(!) in every way.

Pumpkin Sourdough w. Nutmeg Spiked Custard, Cream Cheese Icing, Orange Zest & Pumpkin seeds.
Crosstown Doughnuts, Broadway Market Stall, Dalston.
Displeased with myself for not purchasing two flavours at the Soho store, I was euphoric upon spotting the Crosstown stall on my Broadway Market excursion with the finest kiwi tour guides! An autumn twist with another intriguing balance of soft, chewy sourdough, spicy custard and no offensive sugar hit. I also grabbed a Peanut Butter & Jam version for the aforementioned fellow feaster, as an ironic apology for making her eat so much. Needless to say, she was most grateful.

Two Giant Handmade Jam and Cream Donuts, plus several of the same mini donuts.
            The Whipped Baker, Tauranga Farmers Market.
I ordered these special guys for my Dad to enjoy down at his whitebaiting spot for his 60th Birthday. As you can see they were HUGE. Filled with fresh cream, encased in a soft doughy exterior and dunked in crunchy sugary goodness. Dad’s donut love was at an all time high after these beauties. Sharing the donut love I also ordered mini versions for his 60th birthday bash, enjoyed by guests after Dad pulled his cake-face-planting party trick and threw a few to the crowd for good measure. What a guy!

Fresh Jam and Cream Donut featuring generous amounts of cream and signature raspberry jam.
            Little Sister Café, Henderson, Auckland.
Well-known in the West, this café does a damn fine version of a donut. With an outrageous cream to dough ratio it made the post-holiday-first-week-back-to-work a little less painful. Particularly when your boss is paying.

Maple & Bacon Sugar Crusted Doughnut.
            Martin Bosley, City Market, Wellington.
Following a thought-provoking and fulfilling few days of food chat (and feasting) at the NZ Foodwriters Conference – this salty, sugary wee number was the perfect finale to the weekend. After proving brioche dough in the early hours of the morning the man himself – a highly acclaimed NZ Chef – is right at home feeding hungry Wellingtonian’s with the best Free Range Bacon and Egg Butties in town.

Mini Sourdough Donuts w. Tamarillo Compote & Goats Cheese Foam.
            Orphans Kitchen, Ponsonby Rd, Auckland.
No stranger to the Auckland food scene – Orphans Kitchen is well known for pushing boundaries and serving up thoughtful ingredients in an interesting way. These doughnuts were no exception. With a decent amount of sourdough chew, the tart tamarillo tang, the airy foam goats cheese and light sugar dust made for a seriously memorable mouthful.

 Raspberry & White Chocolate, Cinnamon, Salted Caramel Banana, Classic Custard & Crème Brulee.
Pre-engagement party antics in the 'Naki' consisted of lunching on luscious donuts with the ladies. Tangy raspberries balancing sweet white chocolate, toffee drizzle for crunch on the crème brulee and salted caramel banana-filled custard for the win. If you are looking for another reason to get yourself down to Taradise – these are it.

Well that’s that – the RTM donut round up. Of course the notorious Little and Friday Donuts may have been missing here, but they are certainly not forgotten. Here’s to many more sweet, round and sugary themed moments in 2016. X  

*Disclaimer - I have chosen to interchangeable use the spelling of both 'doughnut' and 'donut'. Mostly because when it comes to doughy's, I don't like to discriminate. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

How to Eat like a Royal in Queenstown: Part 1.

Not even a two-hour delay due to runway ice could have curbed my excitement for a week with my family in Queenstown. The prospect of snow-capped mountains, my very first ‘Fergburger’ and a seven course winery lunch was my kind of Monday morning mantra. The picturesque flight complete with clear blue skies and mountains that glistened in the morning sun truly took my breath away – whilst restoring my appetite to full capacity. 

Day 1. It all began in the crisp air of Arrowtown, with an Allpress coffee from Provisions (unfortunately their famous Sticky Buns had sold out!), a wander (READ: ice skate) through the quaint little town made complete with merino sock purchase and fudge tasting at The Remarkables Sweet Shop. Down a near-deserted alleyway and up the stairwell we were welcomed by the cosy, hip and hustling atmosphere of The Chop Shop Food Merchants. 

Following a classic ‘dad joke’ about the lack of chops, the rest of the menu promised some seriously interesting feasting. Confit rabbit, spiced roasted chestnuts and fried sage fettuccini complete with lemon labneh and French sorrel. Dreamy, creamy and devoured with forkfuls flying across the table. Their infamous ‘Elvis’ Corn Fritters with chilli caramel, coriander salad and a perfectly poached egg would have done the rock star proud. They tried to take it off the menu once before, but an up roar from locals meant it was there to stay. A few glasses of pinot gris, smoked pork hock hash and a savoury donut meant I didn’t even miss the Turkish eggs (another signature dish). Who am I kidding, I’m already planning my return. 

A wander around Lakes Hayes to digest lunch geared us up for the carb-fest that awaited, at The Cow - my Dad’s favourite restaurant in the world. This long-standing historic pub is hidden down Cow Lane, and serves up generous portions of ‘Pizza and Spaghetti’ to hungry families and hardcore ski-bunnies after a big day on the slopes. But the true gem in this place is their ‘Homemade Bread’ a warm wholemeal loaf slathered in garlic and herbs, served with a slab of softened butter and a giant bread knife so you can DIY! With the fireplace roaring we gorged on pizzas loaded with prawns, salami, tomatoes, olives and extra anchovies. Along with bowls of spaghetti where the seafood swam amongst the creamy white wine sauce and where chicken livers and mushrooms made the best of friends. An evening of comfort food and conversation that lead to full bellies and even fuller hearts.

Day 2. Waking up to a -7 degree morning was an experience in itself, but what it lacked in warmth it made up for in beauty. We warmed our cockles at the stunning and newly renovated Sherwood Hotel, restoring last night's gluttony with a Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga class in their very own (heated) studio. Followed by a bowl of hearty porridge in their chic refurbished eatery. Poached tamarillos and chia-cacao-nut crumble sprinkled on creamy oats was a hug in a bowl, washed down by coffee with a view. We heard a whisper that they are offering a range of yoga/health retreats - alongside food foraged straight from their kitchen garden. Guess I’ll be seeing you there.

A wander back along Lake Wakatipu in the brisk air awakened our zen senses, but nothing could prepare us for the gastronomic sensation that awaited at Amisfield. A Tuesday afternoon and this Winery/Bistro was full to the brim, and from the first bite, it was clear to see why. Our Trust the Chef menu was exceptional. From the award-winning wines, duck parfait on wafer-thin seed crackers and wild rabbit rillete to the mushroom truffle risotto. Lamb rump with roasted garlic puree, black fermented garlic and fried sage leaves blew us away, combined perfectly with two-way kumara, black truffle butter and more of those crispy sage sensations. Did I mention the wine. Two words. Pinot Noir. 

Dessert. A chocolate fondant, as it should be, rich, decadent and complete with oozing molten centre. Their take on a ‘Walnut Apple Crumble’ remains firmly engraved in my mind - beautifully plated with cinnamon cream, beetroot poached apple, candied walnut powder and balsamic reduction. Truly inspiring fare. It felt like a dream.

Not wanting the dream to end we finished the evening with a sophisticated lakeside drink at the historic Eichardt’s Private Hotel and Bar. Nibbling on squid ink battered calamari with lemon aioli and fries, cause clearly we were starving. Less than 48 hours and Queenstown had me hooked…

 TBC... x 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mind over Mandarin.

It’s about this time each year that many of us find ourselves elbow deep in mounds of mandarins. It’s hard not to love these petite little citrus – their easy-peel ring of moon shaped segments, bursting with sweet tangy juice that squirts in every direction and enough Vitamin C to sink a ship. However, if you have found yourself a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of your mandarin haul, here are a few ideas I have been whipping up recently to put your ‘mandys’ to good use.

No surprise that first and foremost on my mind was cake. Reverting to one of my all time favourites, the Orange Almond Cake. I came up with a plan for Mini Mandarin Ghana Cakes. These cakes are all about the dense fudgy texture and having the entire fruit in the mix (skin, pith and all) means they have just the right balance of sweet, fruity, nutty-ness.  Despite my attempt to grease them with coconut oil, the little buggers stuck like glue to the tray. I managed to save the ‘extra’ bits by using them as a sprinkle. Waste not, want not people.

The synergy between orange and chocolate, works just as well with mandarins. Melting Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana with a little coconut oil, I covered my sins with the devilish chocolate drizzle and sprinkled the crumb on top. Devoured as a brunch dessert with a dollop of honey yoghurt and a mandarin flower, all was well in the world. Delving back in the archives, I stumbled upon more of these mandarin flowers, that I had previously served with black sticky rice and coconut cream.

I even managed to match mandarins with one of my current kitchen obsessions – Tahini. Playing around with the recipe by wholefoods genius Sarah Britton, from her debut cookbook, My New RootsAnother of my culinary inspirations - Emma Galloway of My Darling Lemon Thyme, has showcased her recipe for Roasted Pumpkin on Black Rice with Tangerine Tahini Sauce on her blog here. Replacing tangerines with mandarins I whipped up this addictive concoction and served it alongside Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Avocado oil. Easy, nourishing and delicious.

As I delved further into the savoury side of things, I played around with a few takes on a Mandarin Asian Slaw. Nothing fancy, just your usual slaw suspects – red cabbage, carrot, spring onion and fresh herbs –both coriander and parsley. Shaking up a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, honey, mandarin juice, salt and pepper it brought new life to this vibrant salad. 

From here I mixed things up with whatever I had on hand - toasted sesame seeds, steamed broccoli, soba noodles, chopped spinach, chunks of baked salmon or a drizzle of tahini. The Fragrant Poached Chicken recipe from Kasey and Karena Bird's beautiful new cookbook - 'For the Love Of' goes so well with this slaw. Not only is that green spring onion sauce a revelation, their self-published book (!!!) is loaded with interesting inspiring recipes that make you want to lick the page and cook every night of the week. Do yourself a favour and go and purchase one now. 

Finally the perfect post dinner treat, to use up any of that leftover dark chocolate (if it has not yet disappeared). Simply melt the chocolate with a teaspoon of coconut oil in a small saucepan and then dip half of a single mandarin segment in the chocolate mix. Lay on greaseproof paper, sprinkle with sea salt and place in fridge til set.

Moral of the story don’t let a pile of mandarins get you down. Despite their annoying white pith, there are plenty of ways to get their juices flowing at every meal. And if in doubt, embrace their original state. Peel and consume one segment at a time. Mind over mandarin. 


Mandarin Ghana Cake
Recipe altered from Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake recipe here. I opted for mini cakes so used a muffin tray – but to avoid sticking be sure to use muffin liners or just stick with the cake tin!

6 medium mandarins – boiled and blitzed
150g coconut sugar (white sugar would be fine)
250g ground almonds
6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

150g dark chocolate – I used Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana
1 tsp coconut oil

Place mandarins in a pot, cover with water and boil, for about an hour or until soft. Leave to cool slightly. Drain and blitz in a food processor or blender until smooth.  
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a medium sized cake tin (approx. 22cm) or 12-hole muffin tray.
Transfer mandarins into a large bowl, add all other ingredients and mix to combine. Pour mixture into the tin.
Bake cake for 40 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. (20 minutes for the mini cakes).
Remove from oven and leave to cool for five minutes in tin then transfer to a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, preferably over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the coconut oil until smooth.
Drizzle over the cake and serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a fresh mandarin flower.