You’re my guiding star

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Stone the flamin’ crows and get lil VJ on the blower, my dear friend Ada Nicodemou is dropping by!

With all of the Australiana action thanks to Australian Survivor – which thanks to the non-elimination episode gave me the night off from cooking – I’ve been feeling quite patriotic so wanted to get in touch with one of my closest friends, national treasure and Gold Logie winner in 2023.

We first met in the mid-90s while working on Heartbreak High – and by working, I was stalking Alex Dimitriades. Needing a way to get closer to the set without spooking him, I needed to befriend a cast member and Ada seemed as good as any. I mean, we’ve been friends ever since so I clearly made the right choice.

What says thanks for unwittingly helping me get closer to Al all those years ago, be he at home or away?

Picture source: Mamamia.com.

 

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Peter Friegands

Australian Survivor, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Previously on Survivor we welcomed Mr G to the loser lodge room after all tribe’s volunteers chose to deceive their tribes for a clue to the hidden immunity idol and Rohan – again, the swimsuit model – lost the clue amongst his own idol.

We once again opened on the ailing Aganoa where Kat – again, spokesmodel for Resort Report – was thankful to once again escape the boot. Thankfully she knew where to place the praise, on my new Kween Phoebe.

After a run down of the web Pheebs is spinning, we dropped by the OG Kween Kylie’s tribe where Peter was once again firmly on struggle street. We quickly checked in on Vavau where Craig was organising Yum Cha for lunch where Nick was trying to get himself back into Craig’s good graces. Hint Nick, give him a pork bun and a wonton and I think he’d forgive you.

Back on Aganoa, Rohan continued to wear more clothes than most underwear models while looking for the idol. Needless to say, this was making me very sad. Thankfully he found the idol and I can live in hope that we’re in for a tonne of bulge discussion like the US version.

Either way, Pheebs is also growing tired of Rohan. I assume for the same reasons, the thirst is real.

Meanwhile over at Saanapu, Peter’s Osten Taylor arc took a turn for the Janu where he committed to finding the idol for Kylie before falling on his sword before we were treated to my favourite editing move, highlighting how close the castaways are to the hidden immunity idol while desperately searching. It gives me life.

Back on Vavau we got a bit more context as to why Craig was ordering out as they haven’t had fire for three days, after destroying their flint. Knowing that I was close to turning on the tribe and laughing hysterically at their flailings, Kate opened up about her near death experience, emerging as my latest favourite. For those playing along, I really like a strong female castaway.

My previous new favourite castaway – Phoebe – was meanwhile struggling with Rohan’s potential betrayal after keeping the idol for himself, despite agreeing to give it to her.

After so much drama, my Jojo made his way back to the screen for the immunity challenge where Vavau experienced a massive come from behind to once again win immunity – well came in second – sending Aganoa back to their second home, tribal council.

Once back at camp Phoebe got to work playing the role of the godfather, filling me with both pride and giddiness as she threatened Rohan, threw him under the bus with Lee and lulled him into a false sense of security before…

Oh wait, now we’re at Saanapu begging the question – Miley, what’s good? As far as Peter was concerned, absolutely nothing and after being sick and not eating for two weeks, he quit the game leaving Kylie as an island sans idol.

We quickly bounced back to Aganoa at tribal council where after stirring the pot, Jonathan announced that with Petey’s quit they didn’t have to go through with the vote meaning we won’t know who’s throat Phoebe was going to cut next. I am not as confident as Kat that she would have gone – oh well, we’ll find out tomorrow when they lose the next immunity challenge, right?

I was very shocked to see Pete arrive at Loser Lodge while it was still daylight outside and I was well into my afternoon drinking session – where Jojo feeds me grapes before he has to dart off to tribal. I first met Pete in the 90s while working as an air traffic controller together, I was quickly fired when it was discovered that I neither had the required skills for the job nor the care for focussing on the public’s safety.

While I was cast out of the community, Pete took me under his wing and has tried to encourage me to live a better life. He may not have had much success with making me a better person but he clearly did enough for me to pick up on the fact he was desperate for my Peter Friegands after his quit.

 

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Sour, sweet and a delicately robust, these babies are the perfect thing to bring you back to health after two weeks shuttling towards death on an island. So obviously, enjoy!

 

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Peter Friegands
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
160g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra to brush
100g plain flour, plus extra
200g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
125g almond meal
6 egg whites
1 lemon, zested finely
1 cup raspberries

Lemon icing
180g icing sugar, sifted
juice of the aforementioned lemon

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Prepare the friand pan by brushing it with a little melted butter, dust with a little flour and shake out the excess.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

Meanwhile place the egg whites in a small bowl and lightly whisk with a fork until frothy. Fold through the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter and lemon zest and then finally the raspberries.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the holes and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean – you know the drill! Allow them to cool in the pan for about five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

While they cool, mix together the icing sugar and the juice. When the friands are hella chill, drizzle generously with the icing and devour, happily.

 

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Huevans Rancheros Jones

Australian Survivor, Breakfast

Previously on Survivor, Des was grumpy and irritated his way out of hearts and the tribe, before Saanapu ended their reign and went to tribal where the intelligence officer lacked intel and became the first blindside/second boot of the season.

We opened up with the sad Saanapu’s and a burnt out fire, where Kween Kylie (trademark pending) was disappointed to be out of the loop after Pete – wanting to be the Osten Taylor of  – was kept in the game against his wishes.

Not to be outdone, Pete was also heartbroken to still be there but quoted Probst and said he would dig deep – queue Holly Hoffman redemption arc, hopefully, in two episodes time.

Aka Tuesday – talk about post-a-palooza this week.

Again, they opted to go with another of my Survivor wet dreams – the poisoned chalice idol clue which has led to the downfall of many – on the outs, Kylie and male-HH went with deceit, as did Aganoa, though they one-upped them by giving us the visual of a clue going into an underwear model’s jocks while Vavau also went with dishonesty but in a potentially intelligent manner, admitting there was a clue…but lying about it.

While nobody bought the poorly constructed rhyme that had Dr Seuss turning in his grave, I am sad I never came up with that option, to be honest. Well, if it had worked.

Let’s return to Rohan dropping the clue from his junk, which Mr G found without sniffing it for man musk, #epicfail. Despite the fizzle of the deceit, choices make drama so I’m still putting this down as a win.

Plus we found definitive proof that in the High School ecosystem that English teachers are better than drama teachers.

We returned to the Aganoa where Mr G ostracised El by showing her the junk clue, who they approached the mutineers straight away to discuss the issue. Being far more social, they easily won El back. At this point can we all just accept that drama teachers are really difficult people to deal with? Thanks.

At this point I also am concerned about the welfare of Kat and Kristie. Are they safe? Are they still in the game? Did I black out and miss a week in which they were booted back to back? BRING BACK MY GIRLS!

And just as it came to me, lil Jojo listened to my plea and gave a proof of life of Kat and Kristie at the reward challenge where Vavau dominated the competition and the missing girls returned to a camp without luxury. Will the Resort Report spokesmodel survive the indignity? Hopefully.

We quickly checked in with our victors where Craig sadly commenced his pride cometh before the fall edit. While I assume they are good tonight, I’d back them going to tribal tomorrow and that has nothing to do with the fact I was on location during filming so literally know the entire outcome.

Anywho, we returned to Saanapu where Kween Kylie felt she proved her worth before the most sickening – not in a good way – stretch of television focusing on a phallocentric object ever filled.

I mean, the pus in that sea cucumber? Foul.

Meanwhile in Aganoa – where Kat returned to the scene briefly to become this episode’s decoy boot before the immunity challenge where – despite a thrilling comeback – Aganoa were given their return papers to tribal council.

After a period of back and forth between Evan and Kat, Phoebe worked her way into my (now) dream final four by forming what I hope will become the Australian black widow brigade and sent Mr G to loser lodge.

I know I’ve been hard on Mr G but after meeting on opposing sides of the 2012 school spectacular challenge, friendship was never going to come easily for us. Thankfully I’m so kind and mature that I could still offer my frenemy a nice comforting Huevans Rancheros Jones to dull the pain of being the third boot.

 

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I oft speak of my love for food so spicy that my innards liquify and more importantly, I like a bit of spice to work through the copious amounts of alcohol I’ve been consuming in the crew villas. So obviously this delight really fits the bill by packing a punch – hot, spicy and all together soothing, it helps Evan work through his pain and me my burgeoning drinking problem. Enjoy!

 

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Huevans Rancheros Jones
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g dried chorizo, diced
1 onion, diced
1 yellow capsicum, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
800g canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo
¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
8 large eggs
8 tortillas
refried beans, obviously from a can as I didn’t have time to make any in my luxury digs
2 avocados, mashed
1 green chilli, sliced to garnish

Method
Heat a large frying pan over high heat and fry the chorizo for a few minutes. When the pan is full of beautifully smoky oil, add the onion, capsicum and garlic and fry for a further few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and chipotles and bring to a simmer.

Crack the eggs into the tomato liquid, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are delicately poached.

While the eggs are cooking, heat the tortillas in the microwave, heat the refried beans in a small saucepan over low heat (or the microwave, whatever) and mash the avocados.

To serve, add a generous ladle of sauce with two eggs, top with beans, avocado, coriander and some chopped fresh chillis. To devour, scoop it all into a tortilla and revel in the spicy joy. You could add sour cream, which I always usually love, but wouldn’t you rather experience the full force of the heat?

 

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Potato Jems

Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Oh my goodness it is so great to finally be out of my Olympics trance. I know I am crazy sporty and won countless Olympic gold medals (which were all stripped away after Lance and I were found to be drug cheats) but damn, thank god they only happen every four years.

I mean, I can only handle so much thirst, you know?

Thankfully I have such sweet friends like Jem who drop everything – realistically I’m not sure how much she currently has going on, but anyway – when I call to come and help me through my dark hours and bring joy back to my life.

I first met Jem in the early 80s when we both attended the Stanwell School, where we bonded over a mutual love of music – she wanting to write and perform and me wanting to become the most prolific groupie of all time.

Needless to say, we both succeeded.

While life took us in different directions – and continents after I was deported for throwing too many of my knickers at Tom (his wife pressed charges, wench) – we always maintained a close bond and were really cute pen pals.

There aren’t many other communication options when you’re in prison, don’t hate me.

Anyway, after helping Jem break into the US market by suggesting her for The OC soundtrack we reconnected in person and started collaborating. The pinnacle of those collaborations being an appearance on the Sex and the City movie soundtrack. Girl loves a soundtrack.

Oh and her new album.

There was only one thing I could serve as we gabbed about life and celebrated the release of our/her new album and that is a big ole batch of my Potato Jems.

 

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Let’s be honest, potato is probably the greatest food known to man.

Seriously pause and think about it for five minutes – potato.

Welcome back! How great is potato? Exactly.

Now picture it, grated and bound together with a kick of spice and fried to perfection. Crispy and fluffy, these babies are delicious.

Enjoy!

 

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Potato Jems
Serves: I say one, you say 4.

Ingredients
1 kg potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ smoked paprika
¼ tsp dried oregano
pinch ground chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil

Method
Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and parboil for about 5-10 minutes, size dependent. Drain and allow to cool.

Once they have cooled enough to avoid third degree burns, grate the potatoes into a paper towel (or something clean and absorbent) and drain the potato, removing as much of the liquid as possible.

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, combine with the herbs and spices, season generously and form into gem/tot shapes. Obviously I am not committed on the shaping part of this exercise.

Heat a very generous lug of oil over high heat in a large frying pan and fry the tots 4-5 at a time  and cook until golden and crisp all over – a couple of minutes should be sweet. Remove to paper towel to drain and repeat until they are done.

Then devour.

 

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Just a ride

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

What a ride the last few weeks have been!?

The Australian Olympic team have spent a large portion of the competition choking, I spent a large portion of my viewing pleasure choking the chicken and then dove straight into the launch of Australian Survivor.

Obviously I’m exhausted but like a Kardashian, I am committed to forcing myself upon any audience I can get and can finally talk about this week’s guest. You didn’t think I’d forgotten about our regularly scheduled programming, right?

Given my fatigued state, I was in desperate need of someone kind and relaxing with a good singing voice to pander to my every demand for the measly payment of one meal. As such, I got Jem straight on the blower.

I first met Jem in the mid-00s while filming the second greatest TV wedding of all time The OC’s Cooper-Nichol extravaganza – Scott and Charlene’s is obvs number one. I worked as a writer, showrunner, body and stunt double for Seth and Marissa, Kirstin’s drinking coach, musical producer and Sandy’s brow stand in at the time. I had been listening to a shit tonne of Jem, which was the style at the time and we connected after an extensive period of stalking to woo her on to the show.

It has been a while since we’ve seen each other but Jem couldn’t refuse the man who was the self-proclaimed reason she hit fame. Maybe I’m more like Kanye than I thought.

What do I make to say your welcome, now help me re-Cooper-ate?

Get it. Classic! Julie would have hated that joke.

Picture source: Daily Post Wales.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Pizza Bianca Anderson

Australian Survivor, Main, Party Food, Snack, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, we were introduced to the 24 castaways including Kat brand rep for Trent Resort, while Conner mistook The Hunger Games for a period piece rather than a film set in the dystopian future and Des offended everyone on his tribe on his way out the door for a cafe latte.

We opened back up after Aganoa’s first tribal council where Kristie decided to channel Abi-Maria and accuse the entire tribe of theft. As yet though, no one is dead to her.

Over on Saanapu aka Kylie and the lessor people, Bianca used her intelligence experience to break down the relationships on the tribe and I think alluded to throwing the challenge. So using Survivor logic, see you later Bianca?

Off topic though, wouldn’t Kylie and Sue be the best possible final two? The answer is yes, even though the question is rhetorical. Back at Aganoa, Kristie continued her play for Australia’s Abi-Maria before El stepped in, comforted her and took her under her wing and worked her way into my heart/dream final three with Sue and Kylie.

When we finally checked in with Vavau where Craig introduced us to Barry – who may or may not have been present in the premiere – and we learnt that like Des they aren’t fans on lattes, preferring flat whites instead.

Also they are still struggling to get fire with flint. Somewhere Becky and Sundra were crying into a pile of used matches.

Back with Kylie’s Krew we discovered that Peter was on struggle street and making a play to be the Osten Taylor of Australian Survivor, before zigging when I thought he would zag and slipping on the rocks like Day 39 Aras.

Seriously, Ten … unpredictable.

We then checked in with Jon Jon at the immunity challenge where sadly there was still a decided lack of sexual innuendo. I mean, bring us some balls and Probst-esque smut if you want a hit Ten!

It was a tight fought race but after a major comeback from Lee channeling Boston Rob in Heroes vs Villains and the girls on Vavau channeling Lee playing cricket, Saanapu lost the challenge and wound up at tribal council.

While there was a bit of a misdirect with Petey trying to fall on his sword, we were thankfully treated to our first blindside of the season with Bianca making her way off the island as the second boot.

Poor Bianca was victim of trying to make a move too soon, sadly not utilising the tactical training we both completed while working as intelligence operatives. Did you really think i’d know her any other way?

Binks was crazy upset to be the first one out of her tribe but having a dear old friend like me there to comfort her dulled the pain. Admittedly my Pizza Bianca Anderson probably had a whole lot to do with that.

 

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Despite being the perfect definition of biege, this pizza is anything but – the woodiness of the rosemary and sweetness of the onion meld perfectly with the sharp cheeses. So simple, yet so perfect – enjoy!

 

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Pizza Bianca Anderson
Serves: 1 despondent second boot.

Ingredients
1 pizza base, use Zsa Zsa’s recipe darling
125g ricotta cheese, crumbled
75g mozzarella cheese, cubed
75g provolone cheese, cubed
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Prepare the base as per the recipe and then smear it with the ricotta and top with the mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, garlic and rosemary.

Whack it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is golden and molten. Devour quickly to eat your feelings.

 

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Desmopolitan Quilty

Australian Survivor, Drink

After a decade long hiatus, Australian Survivor finally made a return to the our screens.

Channel 10 bravely took up the mantle hoping to make an improvement on the dismal seasons produced by 9 and 7 … which isn’t hard given that the first season’s first boot voted herself out in blatant disregard of the rules and the second robbed its rightful final two of a win.

Anyway, rant over … for now.

We started with my ex-lover’s little brother welcoming the contestants to the island with a rugged, island sex appeal second only to Jeff Probst – obviously Skarsy as Tarsy counts as jungle in this ranking. So at this point, the season is off to a good start.

Team that with the beautiful production value, interesting challenges – who could forget the first season’s nail biting guess the time challenge! – and the use of Ancient Voices and I am quietly confident in the season, even without my on location support.

My little Jon Jon didn’t waste time putting that sensuality to test, throwing the tribes straight into their first challenge harkening back to the days of snakes, rats, nudity and casual homophobia in Borneo with a quest for fire … which also included my challenge wet dream – a mid game choice for supplies before going for the fire.

We spent a lot of time bouncing around between the tribes getting to know the castaways starting with Aganoa where Kat, my favourite of the first twenty minutes, took her island wardrobe seriously in head-to-toe Resort Report much to the chagrin of my walking stereotype Des.

Over on Vavau they weren’t exactly sure what was happening, leaving the poor high school teacher to corral the tribe to keep them all alive. While on Saanapu they were concerned about making fire, despite having just won it. Thankfully we were introduced to Kylie who made the shame of their misguided concern disappear. (Kylie FTW).

We spent the remainder of the episode watching the many failings of Aganoa with Des refusing to help, their camp being washed out by a wave and then a disaster in the challenge – again involving Des – leading to their unsurprising trip to tribal council.

Once there Des and Kat’s feud intensified resulting in Des’ strategy to be useless for the first two days and to become helpful the morning of tribal council to backfire, resulting in him being the first person voted off the island.

I first met Des about five years ago when I ran a courier parcel theft scam in Brisbane, stealing items out of other courier’s trucks and holding them ransom. While I was quite successful, it was Des who ended up catching me and getting me sent to prison.

As you know, I am reticent to hold a grudge when someone dobs me in – it comes with the territory of a scam filled life – and Des was so sweet, visiting me in prison and working to help me get my life back on track.

Despite him really having no one else to blame after not letting his tribe see that softer side, I still felt the need to  – probably because I was being housed in luxury digs on Channel Ten’s purse – whip him up a Desmopolitan as he ran into my loving, drunken embrace.

 

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While he was a bit annoyed that his drink is better suited to Kat and the rest of the cafe latte set in Manly, he appreciated the joke … and the generous way I pour my booze.

Enjoy! Who will be joining me tonight?

 

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Desmopolitan Quilty
Makes: 1.

Ingredients
2 shots vodka
1 shot Cointreau
1 tsp lime juice
½ cup cranberry juice
crushed ice, to serve

Method
Shake vodka, Cointreau, lime and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into an iced glass. Garnish with a segment of lime. Devour and go again … responsibly, obvs.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Keep on survivin’

Australian Survivor, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

You sleep with one LaPaglia when trying to get a role in Looking for Alibrandi (why they didn’t agree to gender flip the lead and make it a teen version of Brokeback is beyond me) and it seems you’re constantly doing favours for the family.

I can finally announce that yes, I will be covering Australian Survivor!

Jon gave me a call a few months back after landing the plum gig, hoping that I’d hook him up with Probsty in preparation for the hosting role. While I was outraged that Channel 10 hadn’t given me the job, I graciously helped Jon as part of a plea deal I took after he caught me trying to torch his car.

Jon and the network are really hoping to make the show a hit, so of course asked me to head out on location and cook for the castaways. While I normally don’t like people using my fame to further themselves – that is my schtick – I agreed as I am a close personal friend of all of the contestants. Can you believe it?

Check back the day after each episode for my exclusive culinary, coverage!

Picture source: Publicity shot from Channel 10.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.