30 October 2013

we're up all night to get lucky

It seems very unfair to have both insomnia and writer's block, not that I like the phrase writer's block because it seems so self-fulfilling, but these are the words that rolled around my head like a marble on a wooden floor this entire night (not like the regular marbles that we used to play with in school, or even the double-sized ones we called bonkers, but the rare prize known as the grandaddy, triple the size of a normal marble and like holding a planet in your own hand. Until you inevitably lost them all. I have no idea what the point of playing marbles was when you could spend all your time gazing deeply into them - needless to say I was much better at looking at them than playing with them competitively. Man, I guess I have a lot of feelings about marbles.) I paused only to have a brief but elaborate dream about being unable to go to sleep, which was, I don't know, a little bit on the nose even for my brain. 

But: I have a doctor's appointment today (which will basically be me pleading "make me slee-hee-heeeeeep") so hopefully that will start to take care of it. It being a complete state of somnambulance, of being unable to sleep more than two or three hours a night, of being unable to keep my eyelids from flying open and staying that way. Uncool! Sleeping should be one of those things you don't have to try too hard at, like being funny and paying attention to letters from the IRD.  

Also a bit unfair: I'm not sure that today's recipe is as good/irrefutably perfection as it could be, but I also think I know how to make it better, so I'm sharing it with you anyway. Every time I went to sweepingly refuse to write about it, I had to admit that it did taste really, really good. I'm talking about cinnamon date rolls, by the way.

But first, I'm talking about my Auckland cookbook launch last week. Wow. 

hard twee.

MC Rose Matafeo and I. She was super amazing. Also this is her instagram. Hope that's okay, Rose. Rose?

 I choo-choo-choose you.

It was such a fun, incredible night. My mum, dad, and little brother were able to be there, outlandishly stunning Sacha McNeil from Nightline came along; I invited Anna Coddington (who I've interviewed on this blog before) and she brought Anika Moa and I was like "HI ANIKA MOA THIS IS SO IMPORTANT"; I got to see so many friends and meet so many gorgeously terrific and terrifically gorgeous new people that I've previously only talked to online, like Amanda, Lani and Jilly, I got given a corsage (!!) and there were so many nice people and they were all so nice to me and it ruled. Seriously, do yourself a favour and have a cookbook launch party. 

Feverish and fervent thanks to Delaney Mes who helped in a million different ways to get the party happening, to Unity Books who supplied copies of my book and a friendly person to sell them on the night, to the people at the beauteous Bread and Butter Letter boutique for being charming and kind and having such a fun place for my party, and to fizzy sherbet lollies and pretzels for helping get me through the night. So many nights, in fact.

And, if you want, you can watch MC Rose's delightful intro and my own speech, which, like all public speaking, I ADORED. If you were at the Wellington launch party, yeah, I recycled most of my jokes. I'm not good at letting go. 

So finally, these cinnamon date rolls that I'm quite, but not intensely enthused about. Here's the deal. They are easy. Amazingly delicious. And other such adjectives. But...don't do what I did and use regular flour. It's tiresome, but if you specifically buy hi-grade/bread flour, these buns will have the extra gluten they deserve to become puffier and lighter and easier to knead and even more wonderful than they already are. So - if you only have regular flour, they're pretty much great, but go on. Learn from my stumbles. Since there are so many and all.

What I've done here is take two rectangles of dough and roll them, sushi-ly, around chopped dates, butter, cinnamon, and a gritty sprinkling of brown sugar. They're then scored, garlic-bread-style, and baked so they have a kind of pull-apart quality, while leaving the sticky, caramelly filling thoroughly cocooned in soft dough so it doesn't burn. Cinnamon is such a warm, comforting scent and for what it's worth, these will make your house smell incredible. Kneading the dough isn't so hard, it's just some patient, rather satisfying pushing and flattening, and the yeast comes in sachets so you don't have to worry about getting scientific with it. Just throw it in to the flour and go. There isn't actually that much sugar sprinkled into these, but what's there melts into the butter and creates sticky, syrupy toffee wonderfulness. That will burn your DNA off if you eat them straight from the oven, so try to let them cool a little.

cinnamon date rolls

A recipe by myself

500g plain flour
50g sugar
1 sachet instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
50g melted butter
3 tablespoons greek yoghurt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup dates
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50g butter, extra, cubed

Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Tip in the butter, yoghurt, and milk, and mix to make a rough, sticky dough. Knead repeatedly by pushing the dough with the palm of your hand and back into a ball repeatedly, until it forms a solidly cohesive-enough lump, which springs back quickly when you prod it. Cover with gladwrap and allow to rise in a warmish (or at least, not freezing, it doesn't actually have to be that warm) place for an hour or so, then get back in the kitchen with it. Push it down again with your fist and divide it into two even pieces. 

Roll them out into rectangles about fifteen centimetres wide and 25 centimetres long - although really, so long as they're similarly sized rectangles it doesn't matter about measurements. You may need to let the dough sit for ten minutes to allow it to relax a bit before rolling it further. Roughly chop the dates, and sprinkle them, along with the brown sugar, plenty of cinnamon, and the and cubed remaining butter, over the two rectangles. Roll them up from one of the long sides so you have two long tubular tubes of dough. 

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and sit the two dough rolls in a baking dish lined with baking paper, as I've done in these pictures. Using a serrated knife, make some decent slashes across the top of each roll of dough, which will allow you to be able to pull the whole thing apart into segments easier once it's coked. Allow to sit for a further fifteen minutes while the oven warms up - this stage is called proving, I guess because you have to prove your commitment to breadmaking by waiting again - and finally bake for around 40 minutes. 

Homemade bready things don't last like ones from a packet, but you and I both know (now that I've told you) that pulled apart pieces of this come back to life easily in the microwave.

Oh, okay, I guess I didn't have writer's block after all.

One more from the launch party -

Here I am signing a book for someone. Clearly my years and years of ballet training have reaped dividends, as far as my impeccable sitting posture goes.
title via: the assuredly ubiquitous Daft Punk song with the splendidly handsome Pharrell, Get Lucky. You'll probably like it.
Music lately: 

Bastille, Laura Palmer. I do like a good Twin Peaks reference. And a good song. This, luckily, is both.

Tim and I hosted a dear friend's birthday party on Saturday night. We danced till three am. In the morning. I particularly enjoyed flinging myself recklessly to Marina and the Diamonds' heart-searing song Shampain.
Next time: Sleep. If I have to stay awake and think about all the ways that I should be sleeping in order to make it happen. Also: a recipe that I believe in to some exaggerated percentage, like 799% or 100% or something.

21 October 2013

like lorne green you know i get paid, like caprese and with the basil

"I'm so tired! This sucks! I should've got up at 3am when I had the chance and used that time to blog!" - a thing I just said, at 6.52am. With more imprecation. From which you could deduce that while I'm very dedicated to this blog, my brain is not always that dedicated to my being a human. Yes, my sleeping has become worse than ever, leaving me oddly nostalgic for the time when I was merely a terrible sleeper. Yes, I'm going to go see a doctor about it. Yes: I will talk about cake soon. 

This weekend was the ideal mixture of ridiculous and spontaneous yet cosy and involving a lot of sitting down in my own house. There were spontaneous beers and a launch party and a photoshoot for a local magazine, but there was also a lot of Bob's Burgers and pizza, a trip to Holland Road to buy more yarn for exciting new knitting projects, and a Sunday evening watching Fire Walk With Me  with some babefriends. 

I needed some basil for the magazine photoshoot. They always come sheathed in plastic at the supermarket, so when I unwrapped it, it turned out I'd scored the most abundantly leafy plant. Basil in everything! Summer is coming! That, plus the fact that I wanted to bake something for the friends coming to watch the movie, but also knew we had dubiously meagre ingredients in the pantry, led to some creativity: A tin of black doris plums plus some sugar with an explosion of basil leaves in it might be the perfect early Spring cake. The wintry stewed plums, handily seasonal all year round in their can, plus the musky, smoky hint of summery basil - the faint spicy pepperiness of the leaves providing warmth while also heralding the warmer weather to come. Or something. I told you I haven't had much sleep. I stand by the use of "heralding" in regards to a cake. 

I'm really sorry that this cake uses a food processor - if you can work out a way to get the basil all up on the sugar efficiently without one then by all means, do it, and then mix the rest of the ingredients by hand. In my defense, I do have a lot of recipes that don't require a food processor. And you could always hunt around for a friend who does have one, then make this at their house and eat it with them. Cake! Bringing people together. Though: the food processor thing means that this is ready to go in about ten minutes with a minimum of fuss. 

The cake is sweet, yet headily perfumed, yet still very straightforward and not requiring too much defensive explanation. The plum syrup in the icing really doesn't add any extra flavour, but it does become a fantastically molten-fancy-lipstick colour which looks rather beauteous with the extra basil leaves strewn artlessly (haha, I arranged them SO carefully, with instagram in mind) over the top, their rich green even more glowingly vivid against the pink. Speaking of glowing vividly, Fire Walk With Me was equally hilarious, distressing, and terrifying, as though David Lynch had set out to make a parody David Lynch film. It did have a cameo by David Bowie, but - cruellest blow - the character James was in it heaps. James, you're so dull. No wait, the cruellest blow of all - no Audrey Horne. 

plum and basil cake

a recipe by myself

150g sugar
1/2 cup (very loosely packed) basil leaves
150g butter, softened
2 eggs
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 400g tin of plums
1/2 cup icing sugar

Set your oven to 180C/350F and line a 20cm springform caketin with baking paper. 

In a food processor, blend the sugar and basil leaves until the leaves are all dispersed and chopped up and the sugar is flecked with green. Throw in the butter and process again till the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy and light, then throw in the eggs, flour, and baking powder and process again to a thick batter. Pour in the milk and process again. Roughly slice the plums (or kind of hack them apart with a spoon, which is what I did) and add them to the mixture. Spatula all of this into the cake tin and bake for around 40 minutes. Truthfully: I lost track of time at this point and wasn't watching the clock, so it may be closer to 50 minutes. Once cool, mix together the icing sugar with a tablespoon or three of the canned plum syrup and drizzle it over the cake. Scatter over basil leaves if you like. They're more decorative than necessary for flavour, as the sugar provides all you need. So remove them before eating, if you like.

Tonight - adding somewhat to my general state of "whoa, um, okay" - Tim and I are flying up to Auckland for my cookbook launch party tomorrow. Want to come along? Email me! It will be MC'd by Rose Matafeo and I will be making a speech and there will be snacks and drinks and books for sale and really, none of that is concerning me so much as how I'm agonising over what to wear. Got to look fancy and Auckland-ready, but not like I'm trying too hard, but also spectacular. Which is an issue: trying too hard is one of my signature looks. I really am so, so very excited though - I will make sure there are plenty of photos and so on from the night to share with you all. 

Wish me luck! Just kidding, I make my own luck. 
title via: Beastie Boys, Ch-check it Out. I love these guys so much. Not least because they're always talking about food. 
music lately:
David Dallas, Runnin' - really feeling the lyrics and the beat and the chords and everything in this song. I mean like in a "I relate to this sentiment really hard" kind of way. 

Icona Pop, I Love It. I don't care, I love it. Sometimes you just want to shout that really loud. 

Porcelain Raft, Drifting In and Out. Let's get dreamy. Thanks to Amy for mentioning it in the first place. 
Next time: better have slept. Will be reporting back from my launch party. Reporting on its massive, amazing success, I hope!  

16 October 2013

oops!...i did it again

apple butterscotch chip muffins

Initially, I was concerned that I'd been so busy I might not have time to cook anything I could even blog about. All you need is one party here and one catch up there and one overtired unhungry evening and a weekend and...suddenly you realise you've eaten naught but candy love hearts and coffee for three days. Or at least, I realise that. 

And then my concern changed into the shape of fear that this recipe would be off-putting, because it has the irritatingly specific butterscotch chips in it. But I figured you could joyfully replace them with white chocolate. 

And then, the biggest concern of the three - I realised, deflating like a sad balloon all the while - I'd already blogged this recipe back in 2010. 

As Homer Simpson once said: It's like something out of that twilighty show about that zone.
Also more specifically: d'oh! 
Also less specifically: mmm, sacrelicious. 
I just really love Homer Simpson quotes, and relate to him quite a lot. (Him and Lisa.) 

To add to this increasing whirlpool of misadventure was that I then didn't sleep the entire night - well, I slept for fifteen minutes, around 7am the next morning, but that's all. Truly. At 3.30am I started writing this blog post obstinately anyway, in the face of all that doubtfulness. It seemed better than the alternative - staring at the walls in the dark. Sure, I'm feeling reproachful of myself for not being able to produce one single thing to blog about, but doubly sure I also have no time or brainspace, and c'mon, I gave you halloumi fries last week. Doesn't that allow me some beatific laurel-resting till around the year 2017?

So, uh, admittedly the recipe hasn't changed, but for the butterscotch chips instead of almonds. Said butterscotch chips were purchased from Martha's Backyard, this amazing American foodstuff and stuff-stuff supply store in Auckland, where I also bought liquid smoke, three large boxes of nerds, and a bunch of fake plastic roses, all in black. For Hallowe'en, or whatever occasion seems fitting sooner. The butterscotch chips are fun, but not essential - they have an oddly artificial smoky caramel flavour and terracotta hue, but work with the juicy chunks of apple and warm cinnamon. 

Muffins are so easy to make - for one thing, you barely have to stir the mixture, in fact the less the better - and also they take hardly any time in the oven. Just enough to make your house smell snugly of cinnamon. They're a lot smaller than your usual muffins from a shop, but they also have a tenderness that mass-produced ones tend to reject in favour of adopting the texture of a foam shoe insole. For a beige shoe.

These are just really delicious and comforting, and handle being frozen and then microwaved back to life as snacking needs dictate. And in case you missed it, again, the recipe is here. From...2010. At least it was late 2010!

Other life things:

Had a Campari and grapefruit cocktail during a last brunch before dear Kim and Brendan travelled overseas for seven weeks.

Started knitting a beanie with the leftover yarn from my cape. I just found a pattern online and worked out how to 'read' it, and started knitting. I'm very proud of myself for this progress.

Ate floor pizza and wine for Sarah-Rose's birthday. Strewed nerds candy hither and yon, but luckily mostly into my own mouth.

Went to my first ever No Lights No Lycra. Just dancing around in the dark for an hour: it was euphoric.

In most pressing news, changed my usual eyeliner from flicky to overloaded and smudgy (this is probably the most important thing I've ever said on this blog.)

AND: I've been in cahoots with Delaney to plan my Auckland cookbook launch next Tuesday! The venue is only wee so if you'd like an invite for yourself or someone else, just email it and I'll send it your way. I'm really excited - I get to make another speech! Come along! It will be fancy! If I have to say the word fancy once every five seconds!

title via: Britney. I still remember the dance from the chorus to this song.
music lately: 

Every now and then I listen to a lot of Kate Nash and howl at the moon from all the feelings it produces within me. We Get On does this in particular. So do all the rest of her songs.

Super Rich Kids, Frank Ocean. I adore this man. 
next time: I will have had a sleep, I promise. And I also will have made some food that I can blog about. That I didn't post about in 2010 (late 2010, at least!) 

6 October 2013

this is my idea of fun

Halloumi fries: they're not just A Thing, they're really something.

For all that I go on at length, such length, about how my brain can make my life difficult, occasionally it serves up an idea of distinct majesty that almost makes everything else worth it. Most recently: it was a frustrating, and frustratingly typical sleepless night when I had the idea for halloumi fries. What if you slice halloumi into thin rectangles, dust them with flour and deep-fry them? Would they be crunchy on the outside and melting on the inside with the stability of fries and the yielding salty tumescence of cheese? Or would they dissolve into puddles the instant they hit the hot pan, melting messily everywhere and absorbing half the oil and being generally horrific, in terms of taste, texture and money squandered? 

Happily - rapturously, in fact, mere happiness doesn't quite convey the um, rapture of the situation: it worked. I'm pretty used to things going disastrously wrong in the kitchen. Sometimes ingredients just don't do what I assume of them, sometimes I am very clumsy, sometimes an idea is misguided or, like athletics and mathematics and haircuts, simply better done by a professional that isn't me. 

But these were perfect. Really, really, sorta bafflingly exceptional. Given the propensity for things to go wrong - halloumi is expensive, hot oil is intimidating, I am me, I couldn't believe how breathtakingly straightforward the path to deliciousness was. 

Simply coating these in flour before frying makes them so spontaneous-fist-in-the-air crisp and crunchy, yet the insides still have that soft, buttery halloumi bulginess. They are delicious, so delicious that you will eat them with brows furrowed in wonderment at how you've hit the one of the (hopefully many) high points of your very own existence.

(I don't know, I kinda like this recipe, I guess.)

an unattractive but necessarily informative picture for you of the cheese frying. So now you know that this is what the cheese looks like when it's frying. 

They are sufficiently sublime on their own, but if you want some kind of accompaniment, I'd suggest a tomato relish of some form, or a mix of wholegrain mustard and mayonnaise, or maybe aioli if you're able to handle the rich-rich-rich of it all, or perhaps even just a dish of balsamic vinegar, which takes me back to pairing fish and chips with vinegar as a child.  

halloumi fries

a recipe by myself. I considered adding chili powder or paprika to the flour but minimal is best here, to show off the excellence of the cheese and the frying process. My one main caution here is make sure you use a brand of halloumi that you know is firm and holds its shape. Some brands are more melty than others. I used Axelos since it was all the no-good supermarket had, and it worked fantastically.

serves two, but only if you really like the person and can manage to huffily, begrudgingly sacrifice some of these fries to them (I'm such a dick, I know.) 

1 block - 200g or so - of halloumi
1/2 cup plain flour (I initially wanted to use polenta but I only had flour, so: flour.) 
Plain oil, such as rice bran or grapeseed, for frying

Slice the halloumi into relatively even rectangles. I can't tell whether I like these better as slightly wider, flatter shapes or thinner, more french-fry esque, so tend to do a bit of both. Any bits that crumble or fall off can still be used as a mid-frying snack for yourself. 

Heat up around an inch and a half of oil in a saucepan - really, that's all you need - using a little offcut of halloumi to work out when it's ready to go - put it in the pan and there should be rapid bubbles moving around it. Then eat it, of course.  

Place the flour on a plate and put about half the halloumi on it, turning over each slice to thoroughly coat it. Spoon each slice carefully into the pan - they might slowly float towards each other but they shouldn't stick or anything. Also I just used a regular metal serving spoon for this, tongs might be easier but I didn't want to dent or break the cheese slices. Allow the oil to bubble away and turn the slices over after a minute or so, once they're golden brown on the underside (obviously you will have to check this, I don't expect you to just know somehow.) Remove with the spoon to a plate with a couple of pieces of paper towel on it, and continue with the rest of the halloumi. The second batch tends to cook a lot faster, because the oil has really hit its stride in terms of being blastingly hot. 

Seriously. Thanks, brain. When I was eating these, I thought "this might actually be the most significant and valuable discovery of 2013". I think I was being pretty sincere, too. Which is a little concerning. But you eat these, and then try telling me I'm exaggerating. Presuming you both like and can eat cheese in the first place, of course. I know hybrid foods - the cronut, the...um, cronut, it's all I can think of right now - can be both overwrought and overdone till they've lost all sense of context and of being an actual food. These may speak of gimmick and wilful excess, neither of which I really have a problem with, but I promise you, in a fairly confident and calm manner, that these are simply incredibly good.

Also maybe some kind of potential phenomenon, if only in my brain. Which is not such a bad place all the time, after all.

So: it is a whole damn year since Tim and I got engaged in Central Park, New York City. This morning, while I wrote studiously and with minimal procrastination to meet a million deadlines, Tim went out to get some vegetables from the market so that we wouldn't shed our skins with scurvy in the upcoming week. He came back with alllll this.

I was like..."I would never have thought up something as nice as this" (there's some specificity - the flowers kind of look like poppies, and I just had one tattooed on me, San Pellegrino is my very favourite fizzy drink, we had fancy cakes present at the picnic when we got engaged, what is life.) I did invent halloumi fries though, so we're both bringing something to the table.

Also: I finished my latest knitting project, a hooded cape. I am so proud of myself about this - it's a large garment, it involved hours of stitching, I learned so many new moves, and...now I have a witchy cape which is hugely warm but also practical but also makes me feel a bit like Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. Not that she had an easy life, but she sure knew how to dress cunningly. 

Finally, I had a lovely, super-fun interview about my cookbook in Canta, the Canterbury Uni student magazine. You can see a pdf of it here, and I'm on page fourteen. Yay interviews, I love them!

Finally-finally, I am still trying to organise an Auckland launch party for the cookbook so if you have any perspicacious thoughts regarding that, get in touch.  
title via: Lana Del Rey, Video Games. She knows a thing or two about a thing or two. 
music lately:

Little Mix, Move. If you liked Girls Aloud's Biology, that kind of twenty-two-pop-songs-whisked-into-one sound, then this should appeal. But even if you hated that song, give this a try. It's so good.

One Direction, Kiss You. Yeah. I went to see the movie by myself on Friday night and honestly? I think I might go see it again at some stage. They're just so charming and adorable and real and lovely and the best of friends and scrappy and sweet and the music is really, really good.

Kanye West, Mercy. I love Kanye more every time he does something. Literally, almost anything he does, I'm like "yeah, Kanye!"
Next time: Hmmmmmm. Um. 

1 October 2013

she wore blue velvet

pickled blueberries.

Last week was big. I flew up home for the first time since Christmas (it's easy to be wayward when time moves so ridiculously fast, I for one refuse to believe it's any later than June. And certainly not October) and enjoyed wonderful, necessary quality time with family both immediate and extended, including the cats Roger and Poppy. Who were not entirely averse to my nuzzles.

This is Poppy. She looks like Roger, also a tabby. You can tell who is who though, because Roger's always studiously trying to be left alone and Poppy's always fixing to shred you like a confidential document.

I then met with friends on a sneaky weekend trip to Auckland, where we managed to halt the process of time somehow - unless it moves differently up there - and fit in a million different joyful activities, including magnificent brunch and endless coffee at Federal, hanging at Flash City, eating ice cream at The Dairy, drinking lunch beers at Tin Soldier, and trying on fancy beautiful dresses at Miss Crab. As well as that I met up for a coffee with rapper/poet Tourettes, which put the cool in "be cool" and that was all just Saturday, before we had a group snooze and pre-show beers and snacks and then saw WICKED. This was to be my third time seeing this musical, the first momentous occasion happening in London in 2011 and then again in New York City just a year ago. Having bawled so hard that I needed electrolyte replacement previously, I was prepared for more of the same, but managed to stay quite dry-faced for the most of it. Tears appeared, however, in I'm Not That Girl, (ughhh the poignancy) One Short Day (they're just such good friends!) and verily rained down during For Good (just run away together!) It was an incredible production, the cast was amazing, and - we are a tiny country - it was kinda neat to have such a juggernaut, a real proper modern Broadway show, here in New Zealand at roughly the same scale it should be. And even though I know every beat and tick of this show off by heart, nothing ever prepares me for the said-heart-dissolving experience of the end of Defying Gravity. Okay, I think I cried in that one, too.

I hadn't been to Auckland since November last year, which seems odd when I say it like that, but it's just how it has happened. So it was exciting to rush around and take in all the things it has and to feel all bright-lights-big-city (I adore Wellington, but it is wee.) Through some well-earned serendipity and just enough planning we managed to get into almost everywhere we wanted (except Depot - but hey) without delay, there were always carparks and everything we ate, from the swankest brunch to the most rapidly cooling fries-stuffed cheeseburgers with wine and beer at the kitchen table, was so, so excellent.

Speaking of eating excellent things: I had this idea recently, that mixing blueberries with a lot of aggressive yet balanced savoury ingredients could produce something quite delicious. I was correct - blueberries, sitting around in olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, spices, chilli, are so compelling, so head-shakingly correct together, that I nearly ate the lot before I even worked out what they were supposed to be. I called them pickled blueberries, but was it enough to just make them and eat them? I didn't think they'd work with chicken, steak and fruit is a derisive no, lamb - not quite, duck - too expensive, salmon - maybe? And then I had the idea to pair them with a chickpeas, their similar shape appealing to me, plus lots of creamy, rich, sharp feta, and to just build a salad from there. And it was the nicest thing ever.

But: don't feel you have to have a montage of self-discovery to make these, I mean, they really would've been perfect simply eaten out of the bowl till they were gone, and I still think they'd be swell with salmon, so if you want to make them and just do that: cool. There are no wrong answers. (Unless you serve it with steak. That is wrong.)

Blueberries have a particular sweetness, different to the jamminess of strawberries or the particular sour tang of raspberries - it's more subtly floral and muted. So, slightly unsettling though this recipe might sound, they actually work so well with all these strong flavours and textures, their blue juiciness bursting in your mouth with a rush of salt and sourness.

pickled blueberries

a recipe by myself. I wasn't sure if these actually counted as being pickled or whether they were just marinated or even just "blueberries with stuff" and was I just unconsciously buying in to some overarching pickle trend and then I was like "well this is just what I'm doing."

1 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh, get you with your seasonal fruit)
3 tablespoons olive oil, the best you can handle 
1 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely 
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Juice and zest of one lime
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
a dash of cinnamon
As much salt as you please

If the berries are frozen, allow them to defrost in a bowl, otherwise simply mix together all the ingredients, taste to see if you think it needs more salt, sugar, oil or vinegar, then leave to sit for at least ten minutes at room temperature before eating. They last around a week in the fridge, although the texture of the oil goes a bit odd when it's that cold it's certainly still very, very, thrice very edible.

I then stirred about 1/2 a cup of the berries into a salad along with 1 drained can of chickpeas, a few handfuls of handful of baby spinach leaves, one finely sliced and overpriced capsicum, an entire damn packet of feta, roughly crumbled, plus some more olive oil and coriander seeds and a generous spoonful of fried shallots from a packet. It was a wondrous combination - crispness and crunch of the juicy, fresh kind and the fried, brittle kind; the sweet blueberries against the creamy salty feta and the bite of chili against everything, really. 

Poppy, once more.  

Am still delighting in being a real cookbook author. In fact, I'm currently trying to organise an Auckland launch party for my cookbook, so get in touch if you want to give me a ton of premium champagne for free. If not: don't bother (oh my gosh, kidding, I've had so much lovely feedback and correspondence from people about the cookbook and it's the sweetest, kindest, heart-swellingest thing ever. Much sweeter than champagne.) Am still also not winning the gold medal for sleeping decently, in fact am somehow getting even worse at this sleeping regularly thing. But: getting there, slowly. One day at a time.

Oh, Poppy encore une fois. Despite about a seventh of my brain being solely dedicated to thinking about cats, I so rarely get to actually hang out with them. Hence the fervour.
title via: Blue Velvet. Obsessed with Lana Del Rey's cover of it. 
music lately:

The never-not-astounding Lorde's 400 Lux. Got a lot to not do.

Icona Pop's Just Another Night. I love the way the singer's voice breaks a tiny bit when she sings "it's just another night, on the other side." 

Sky Ferreira, You're Not The One. I love the enormous drums and spaciousness and general perfection of it all.
next time: after a week away, I kind of have no idea...