Pizsa Zsa Gabor

Main

Some things never change; Zsas is a spitfire with a heart of gold and we love her for all that she has done in keeping our lives together.

After her driver dropped her off at 5PM for our dinner (this is due to the elderly needing to eat early, and by that I mean Annelie and I need to eat early) she immediately launched into her concerns that I was living in an unsafe neighbourhood (“Grifters and vagrants everywhere, Darling”) and my kitchen was barely that (“This box is a kitchen? Darling, we will call it the Deluded Kitchen until you upgrade”).

Being that Zsa Zsa was like a surrogate mother to us throughout the years, we felt the need to make something homely and loving, so went with a Pizsa Zsa Gabor.

 

pizsa-zsa-gabor-1

 

The dough had nothing it needed to prove (classic), being as warm and soft as one of Zsas’ hugs. In turn, the pizza was as spicy as her love life, brought out her exotic edge … and highlighted her hot temper.

She loved it, we love her. Enjoy!

 

pizsa-zsa-gabor-2

 

Pizsa Zsa Gabor
Ingredients
Pizza Dough
2 cups warm water
1 ½ tsp dried yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
785g plain flour
1 tbs salt
3 tbs grated parmesan
3 tbs finely chopped herbs (I use oregano, rosemary and sage)

Topping and assembly
½ butternut pumpkin, diced
cinnamon
200g feta, diced
chilli flakes
small bunch of sage
tomato sauce or paste
herbs
cheese to top

Method
Place yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Stand for 5 minutes, or until mixture starts to foam. Sift flour and salt into a bowl, add the yeast mixture, parmesan and herbs and stir until dough starts to come together.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic (you could use an electric mixer, but we learnt that kneading was therapeutic in anger management). Move to a large, oiled bowl and cover with cling-wrap; set aside in a warm place to prove for 3 hours or until doubled in size.

Knock back the dough and divide into 6 balls. Place on a large tray and cover with a damp cloth (tea towels work great) for a further 2 hours. If you don’t want to make 6 pizzas (don’t know why you wouldn’t but in case), you can wrap the remaining dough balls in cling-wrap before proving and freeze for 2 months. You can then defrost and prove as usual.

When you’re almost ready to start, pre-heat oven to 180C.

Spread diced pumpkin on a small tray and coat with a dash of oil and some cinnamon (I am pretty heavy handed, but this is discretionary). Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

While the pumpkin is cooling slightly, flatten the dough out to fit the pizza tray (or whatever you are cooking it on). Full disclosure, I am terrible at flattening out the dough. I would suggest searching YouTube for instructions. It didn’t help me, but I assume it didn’t hurt either.

Cover with a tomato sauce (I just used tomato paste and the remaining herbs), sprinkle with chilli flakes (again, quantity is discretionary) and spread sage leaves, pumpkin and feta over the top.

Bake, serve and then eat.

Dinner, darling?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Annelie and I got the surprise of our lives this morning when Zsa Zsa’s people called to tee-up a dinner date.

Don’t get me wrong, we love Zsa Zsa and think of her like family, we just kind of forgot she was still alive…so thankfully she wanted to catch-up before she…wasn’t (although with our invention of time-travel, that probably wouldn’t matter).

We first connected with Gabor in a Beverly Hills jail; Zsas was accused of slapping a cop, I was charged with causing a scene and assaulting a mannequin that I thought was my nemesis Kim Cattrall in Badgley Mischka (it was a big mistake) and Annelie turned herself in for public indecency and lewd behaviour when the police failed to notice her flashing across the road from Zsa Zsa’s arrest.

What do you make for the elderly woman that noticed your cries for help, took you in and cared for you as her own when rehab failed (I was addicted to caffeine pills and shooting glucose syrup into my eyeballs, Annelie was addicted to Twinkies and snorting icing sugar) and Hollywood turned its back on you?

Reconnecting with Éclair Danes

Dessert

It is amazing what a good creme pâtissière will do for a bad relationship.

As I mentioned earlier, we have known Claire for some time after we were cast to play her BFFs in Romeo + Juliet. Life started to imitate art and Baz got jealous that his leading lady/young ingénue was spending all of her time with the bit players, rather than sipping tea in the trailers with the stars.

We have had our issues with Claire over the years (I don’t want to bring it up again, but ask Mary-Louise Parker), but I will always say how humble she is with those she connects with in such a deep way.

We decided that following the aforementioned ugliness of the last decade, we should make something sweet and inviting (like Billy Crudup wa…sorry, we’ve moved on) to put Claire at ease in the Bitchin’ Kitchen.

We also thought a coffee date was most appropriate to commence rebuilding our friendship, as she could bail quickly if it turned to crap.

Thankfully one batch of Éclair Danes were enough to get us back on track and at the end of our date our hearts were as light and fluffy as the pastry and the love between us restored.

 

Claire Danes

 
Our dear friend Martha Stewart gave us a great tip when baking éclairs (we joke it is one of her prison rules), run a fork down the top to help them raise evenly and look perfect.

We obviously listened (not just because we are scared to disobey Marth) because you can’t use misshapen pastries to mend fences.

 

Claire Danes 2

 

Éclair Danes
Ingredients
Choux Pastry
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup (180ml) water
¾ cup (110g) plain flour
pinch salt
4 eggs

Crème Pâtissière
750g milk
Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean (you can make vanilla sugar with the other half)
190g egg yolks
190g caster sugar
75g cornflour
75g unsalted butter, chopped and softened slightly

Chocolate Glaze
125g dark chocolate, chopped
40g butter, chopped, extra

Method
Choux Pastry
Preheat the oven to very hot (240°C). Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer mixture to small bowl of an electric mixer. Add three of the eggs, one at a time, beating on low-speed until combined. Lightly beat remaining egg and add enough to form a thick, glossy dough.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe 11cm lengths of pastry, 3cm apart, on greased oven trays; cut ends neatly with wet knife. Bake in very hot oven for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to moderate (180°C), bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Cut the éclairs in half, remove any soft centre, then return to the oven for about 5 minutes to dry out. Cool the éclairs on a wire rack.

Crème Pâtissière
Heat the milk and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour until thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the hot milk.

Return the mixture to the pan and whisk continuously over medium heat until the custard comes to the boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface to prevent a skin forming and cool until 50°C, then whisk in butter until smooth

Cover with plastic wrap as before and refrigerate to cool completely. Whisk prior to use.

Chocolate Glaze (and assembly)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl over a pan of just simmering water.

Spread the top half of each éclair with chocolate mixture, allow to set. Just before serving, spoon custard cream filling into bases and replace chocolate tops.

Kissing and making up

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I think we have created a monster!

Claire got wind of the dinner parties we hosted for Kim, Sean and Luke and begged us to forget our feud and have her over like we did during the good times we shared during our friendship.

We agreed but were left not just wondering what to make for our celebrity friend, but what to make for the celebrity friend that we lost contact/fought with after the Billy Crudup/Mary-Louise Parker pregnancy/break-up fiasco of 2003.

What says, we have moved on from your role in that cad abandoning our dear friend MLP while she was pregnant and are ready to move forward and remember the good times when we worked on Romeo + Juliet (our scenes, though masterfully acted, were cut. A plague on your house Baz)?

 

Luke Perry Peri Chicken

Main

Ben would have you believe that Luke has still got it.

Thankfully Luke didn’t need to use the shower and is still on my side in the Shannen Doherty feud, otherwise the awkwardness would have continued for another decade.

Luke pulled into the driveway last night as the sun started to set, with Ben watching from my front window (“To make sure he doesn’t get lost”), still full of his Dylan McKay swagger.

He casually joined us in the kitchen (or as casually as you can when Ben pretends there are no more stools and demands to sit in Luke’s lap), as we put the finishing touches on the Luke Perry Peri Chicken and chatted about our time in Beverly Hills and Torz and Jen’s conveniently timed, ill-fated return to the spotlight (trying to piggyback on us, obviously).

 

IMG_3121

 

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but by the time dinner was ready there were conveniently only two chairs, so again, Ben offered to sit on Luke’s lap (honestly I don’t know how I got a photo of him without Ben). Luckily for Luke, all the spice and heat was in the chicken (he needs something hot and ambiguously exotic, Ben demanded) as he was able to delicately turn down Ben’s advances without the help of a restraining order.

For a more intense flavour, the chicken can be marinated for up to two hours prior to roasting. While we just had the Chicken with some salad, it would go beautifully with some crispy potatoes, green beans or even some Sean Black Bean Salad.

Enjoy! Ben sure did.

 

IMG_3148

 
Luke Perry Peri Chicken
Ingredients
1 whole (1.5-2kg) chicken, spatchcocked
6 small bird’s-eye chillies (seeds in for additional heat, if you wish)
½  teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
4 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 220. Combine chillies, garlic, lime juice and zest, paprika, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Process to a thick paste.

Brush chicken with mixture and roast for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Da na na na, da na na na

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

We used to run in the same circles as the cast of the original 90210. They were looking at doing a Gold Coast spin-off starring us but the backdoor pilot fell through after I had a run in with Shannen Doherty and Ben had some awkwardness with Luke Perry.

Full disclosure, Ben had/has a massive crush on Luke Perry and the back-door pilot was meant to be filmed after the episode with Dylan in the shower. Ben became overwhelmed on set and it was never filmed or mentioned ever again.

It is funny what our resurgent fame has done for some relationships with our old friends. No longer is Luke trying to whack Ben, for trying to whack him o…never mind.

What says cool, sexy…and lets see where this goes?

Sean Black Bean Salad

Side

Bless his heart, Sean actually has never held Ben’s showy behaviour on Lord of the Ring’s against us (unlike Peter Jackson, who really should have cast me in the Naomi Watts role in King Kong).

He dropped over the other day and we were almost shocked to find him in normal clothes and well, alive.

I mean, name one thing he wasn’t killed in?

You’ve got nothing, Jon Snow. (Sean loved that joke).

He regaled us with tales of his time on the set of National Treasure (Harvey Keitel was a hoot, apparently) and Game of Thrones (we know who wins the throne but as two of his closest confidantes, will never tell), while we quickly threw together our old favourite dish, the famous Sean Black Bean Salad, which we ate while hiding in his trailer avoiding Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, our nemeses on set.

 

A sword and a salad

 

The salad is fresh and full of flavour, with the citrus cutting through like Joffrey’s blade on Sean’s neck.

RIP Ned. Good to catch up Sean.

Enjoy!

 

IMG_3100

 

Sean Black Bean Salad
Ingredients
1 cup mixed quinoa
400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small green capsicum, chopped
1 medium hass avocado, cubed
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
100g queso fresco, or mild cheese of your choice
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 lime
3 tbs olive oil, divided

Method
Wash quinoa thoroughly.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil a medium saucepan over high heat and add quinoa, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add 2 cups water and cook, covered for 15 minutes or until done. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Mix quinoa, black beans, capsicum, avocado, tomato, onion, queso fresco and coriander in a large bowl. Dress with remaining 2tbs olive oil and juice of 1 lime.

Starkers at lunch

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

It is funny, you catch up with one celebrity friend and all of your old friends start coming out of the woodwork.

Barely five minutes after we posted about our catch-up with Kim Carnes last week, Sean Bean emailed us asking if we could fit him in for a light lunch too.

We lost contact with Sean after our work on the Lord of the Rings; Ben was fired for trying to bump his role of ‘Shortest Hobbit #3’ up to a speaking part (don’t get him started) and I left the production in a move of naive solidarity.

We didn’t stop talking because we blamed Sean for not coming to our defence or anything like that! He is just a busy man that has many a death scene to film all over the globe.

What lunch option would make him lose his head?

 

Chilli Con Kim Carnes, con Kim Carnes

Main

Kim came over for lunch today, it was so great to catch up on the good old days when we were just starting out as singer-songwriter sensations.

Annelie and I decided that her more expansive kitchen, the Bitchin’ Kitchen, was the most appropriate place to prepare a meal for, and host, a dear friend who is also such a star.

We all huddled around the stove, cervezas in hand, as we gossiped about our other friends in the biz and cooked our lunch. Don’t ever let it be said that Kim is afraid of hard work!

With Kimmy being Kimmy (FYI, we call her Kimmy as we are so close), we thought she needed something with a bit of spice and a kick to match her spitfire personality and acerbic wit (don’t get her started about Gwyneth!) and as such decided to make Chilli con Kim Carnes, con the help of Kim Carnes herself.

 

Kim loving it

 

Like Kim, the chilli could be underestimated by its apparent simplicity but after one mouthful, or in Kimmy’s case one note, you know they are winners.

Full of the kind of heat (I would advise taking out the jalapeño and halving the cayenne pepper if you want a tamer chilli) and flavour you won’t find in a meal-kit. For a Rob Lowe fat option, switch out the sour cream for greek yoghurt and add a can of chickpeas or lentils (you could even replace the meat with a can of each).

Enjoy! It really sucks you couldn’t share with us and Kim. She loved it!

 

Kim eating

 

Chilli con Kim Carnes
Ingredients
2 rashers diced bacon
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
salt
pepper
900g beef mince
1x400g can tomatoes
1x400g can kidney beans
2 cups water
2 tablespoons fine cornmeal or polenta
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Chopped jalapeño
Grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges, chopped coriander, sour cream and rice to serve

Method
In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add spices and ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until the beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Stir in water, cornmeal, and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes. It may be necessary to add a little water to thin the chilli. Season to taste.

Serve hot, garnished with desired toppings.