Delaney Mes came back to Auckland, oh, a couple of years ago after a decade or so in Wellington. She’s a former lawyer but a better cook and so she started a blog called Heartbreak Pie which was about breakups and food. Since she’s been back up here, she’s made a name for herself throwing dinner parties – for readers, for friends, for strangers. They’re casual, rustic affairs and there is always a lot of red wine. She’s ebullient, funny and thoroughly enthusiastic. Just what Auckland needs – check out her monthly column in Metro magazine too. She lives in Ponsonby.
1. Food-related gifts are great, and friends that come for dinner and bring treats from their garden are my favourite. I haven’t quite got to growing my own, but I love fresh chillies in cooking.
2. My part-time flatmates live in Wellington, but stay here instead of using hotels when in Auckland. The first night Rachel stayed she brought far too much cheese for two of us, as well as delicious steak and champagne. I always seem to end up with ends of cheese: one was leftover from a wedding I worked at, and there’s always some hardening parmesan lurking in the back there.
3. I like to always keep gin in the cupboard, lemons in the fruit bowl, and Quina Fina Tonic Water in the fridge. It’s the best.
4. Fresh As freeze-dried powders, left over from a couple of dinner parties I cooked for recently. The raspberry powder is so intense – we used it to make a raspberry cream pie to flavour a white chocolate cream cheese filling. The tarragon is a gorgeous alternative to dried tarragon – freeze dried just increases the flavour and intensity. I mixed it with some aioli and served it with homemade potato fries. It was luscious.
5. And if there’s one thing I always have in the fridge, it’s fancy butter. Specifically: Lewis Road Creamery Premium Butter. It’s basically perfect on fresh bread, and it graces the table at any dinner party I have. A couple of my friends have dubbed it crack butter. And though I don’t bake as much as I used to, I bake with it too. I’m in awe of people who dedicate their life and business to doing one product really well. Lewis Road now does milk and cream too, which is dangerous.