While Caleb Nichol is arguably the worst person to ever walk Orange County – barring all of the housewives, obviously – my dear friend Alan is as sweet as they could possibly come.
As you could probably guess from our down under connection – in both ways – I first connected with Alan in the mid-80s while working on the hit Australian soap Neighbours. Al was starring as Jim Robinson – stud of Ramsey Street – while I was working originally as the inspiration behind Mrs Mangel and eventually the character’s specific acting coach to ensure she was as awful as possible.
Despite the fact we were polar opposites – aka likeable and insufferable – Al and I quickly connected and became the best of friends, with me introducing him to his eventual wife Tracey (she was an ex-girlfriend of mine) and acting as Best Man Of Honour at their wedding.
With roles drying up for him in Australia – damn you type casting – I encouraged Al to take the leap and move to Hollywood. Thankfully it wasn’t long before I introduced him to Sorkin and his career took off.
I’d recently caught up with Al while he was back home filming Secret City (which FYI is actually pretty good) but sadly we were both to busy to take time out to reconnect over our favourite friendship feast of my Alan Dale Sprouts.
So it may not be obvious given ale perfectly slots into dale … but these are beer and bacon fried brussels sprouts and they are freaking delicious. I promise.
Alan Dale Sprouts
1kg brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
200g pancetta, roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
375ml pale ale
pinch of dried chilli flakes
pinch of muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the pancetta and shallots for a couple of minutes.
Add the brussels sprouts and fry for about five minutes. Pour in the beer and add the chilli flakes and sugar and reduce for about ten minutes, or until it is a sticky glaze.
Season to taste, serve and devour.