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Best Friday Night Takeaways

I can’t wait until the Covid-19 restrictions ease a little so we can get back to some sense of a functioning community again but the way local restaurants in particular have adapted to doing business differently during Level 3 restrictions has impressed me hugely.

The optimism shown by the operators I have been talking with has kept me hopeful that the vast majority of restaurants and cafes in the region will survive this incredibly unusual and frustrating situation.

We have been doing our bit by using the home delivery services offered by places like supermarkets, Prego and Raeward Fresh as well as doing the ‘click & collect’ thing at various places. As I said last week we have decided to buy a meal from one of the restaurants and cafes preparing food for people to heat and eat at home.

Last Friday we bought a Chicken Fricassee from Hardy St Eatery. It cost us $35 and we added rice and a green vegetable to make it a complete meal (it would have been fine by itself) and that meant we had enough for lunch the next day too. Not only was it delicious but it was outstanding value too.

It was ready for me to collect at about mid-day on the Friday and all we had to do was put the foil dish in a hot oven for 25 minutes to have some of the best tasting and best value Friday night takeaways we have had for a long time. Hardy St Eatery isn’t doing takeaways this week while they prepare the restaurant for trading under Level 2 but the option has been so popular with regulars they are going to carry on providing the takeaway service regularly going forward.

This week we have to choose between dinner for two from Arden and delicious sushi from Miyazu Japanese Restaurant at The Rutherford; we will buy from both in the next couple of weeks, it’s just a matter of which one this week.

While we’re trying to decide where we’re getting takeaways from we made a super easy Earl Grey Teacake to enjoy while we decide.


  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 225g soft brown sugar (or light Muscovado sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g almond meal
  • 2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 170ml strong Earl Grey tea, brewed fresh from leaves and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease a deep 9cm x 22cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using electric beaters until light & fluffy
  3. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each egg is added
  4. Combine the sifted flour, baking powder, almond meal and tea leaves then add to the butter mixture -alternating with the brewed tea making sure you mix thoroughly after each addition to make a smooth batter
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until cooked (skewer comes out clean when checked)
  6. Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Serve a slice as it is when it’s slightly warm and fresh.

This cake is not only tasty but it keeps well for a few days, if you have some left the next day just spread with a little butter, you can even lightly toast it if you want to.

Published in the Nelson Mail 13.05.20

I have been writing a regular wine column for The Nelson Mail newspaper since 2000.

Unfortunately the column space is not big enough to include my thoughts on all of the many wines I taste. Hopefully this blog will fix that. It also gives me somewhere to archive the many columns I write. I will also include some favourite recipes from my dearly beloved who loves cooking and of course because wine and food simply go together. I will also point you in the direction of upcoming events and websites I think are great. Enjoy, Neil

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