Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto

Main, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water

I know I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to the twist of the upcoming season of Survivor but I am still excited because, well, it is Survivor. And for every One World or Redemption Island, there is a China or Heroes vs. Villians, which is something I am eternally grateful for. Plus – One World gave us Kim and Redemption Island gave us Russell’s pimpled, ingrown-haired armpits.

But I’ve been waylaid – I am here to celebrate one of my favourite Sole Survivors slash two-time The Amazing Race contestant and the cherry on top of San Juan Del Sur’s twinnie bookends, my girl Natalie Anderson.

Like Bob before her, I didn’t meet Nat until after her first reality TV stint – I am a close, personal friend of the Beekman’s – however the friendship quickly blossomed. And I played a critical role in getting her a spot on San Juan Del Sur and her well deserved win.

While people tire of the constant bartering and handing out rewards as treats, San Juan Del Sur is an unpredictable season and Natalie’s arc from wounded surviving Twinnie to vengeful powerplayer after Jeremy’s boot is one of the greats.

Add to that a beautiful idol play, a masterful ‘accidental’ blindside to save Keith and dragging him along as a meatshield to guarantee a path to the end puts her in my top ten favourite winners. And more than worthy of a hearty Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto whenever she damn wants!

 

 

There is nothing quite as comforting and glorious as a risotto. I don’t know if it is the creamy rice or the liquor, but it always fills me with joy when I’m feeling blue. Add in mushies and bacon, and I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat and heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Once nice and foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant and glorious.

Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get translucent around the edges. Working a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used up, add the mushrooms, spinach and thyme, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, slathered in more cheese and then devour.

 

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Bobcorn Chicken Crowley

Main, Poultry, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Gabon

We’re less than two weeks away from someone joining the Francesca Hogi Memorial First Boot Club – well technically, who knows with extinction in play – and as such it is high time to corral another Sole Survivor to drop by and celebrate.

Side note: can you believe I am one victor away from completing the winner’s circle? Well, two given Brian Heidik shoots puppies and will never appear here.

Anyway, given that our best shot is for this season to be an epic disaster that manages to be entertaining, I thought it was finally time to catch up with my dear friend Bob Crowley. Aka victor of one of the most chaotic and beautifully entertaining seasons of all time, Gabon.

While I didn’t know Bob until after his win, we became the best of friends as soon as Sugar introduced us. Some may say it was his out of the box buff wearing that saw him snatch my heart, and well, they are totally right. And that is why we’ve never fought a day after our beautiful friendship.

Despite being one vote away from being bested by Susie, Bob’s win is one of the greatest possible outcomes for a season as insane as Gabon. I mean, it would be like Angelina winning David vs. Goliath. Sure Matty dominated physically, the onions were nasty and Sugar controlled the game, Bob managed to find his footing against all odds, made a stunning fake idol and leveraged Sugar’s emotions to get to the end.

And if that isn’t worthy of a bowl of Bobcorn Chicken Crowley, I don’t know what is.

 

 

You know I love me some fried chicken slash take-away copycats, so this baby pretty much has it all. Spicy, crunchy itty-bitty pieces of chicken – the perfect way to feel like you’ve eaten less, while getting optimal batter to meat quantity. Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bobcorn Chicken Crowley
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
⅔ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil
⅓ tsp oregano
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp white pepper
500g chicken breast, cut into popcorn sized chunks
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour through white pepper in a large bowl and place the buttermilk in another. Toss the chicken through the buttermilk, then in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly.

Bring 1 inch deep oil to heat – around 180°C – in a large pot. Once shimmering with heat, add the chicken a handful of pieces at a time – size, not literally with your hands since the oil – and fry for about five minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain slightly and repeat the process until done.

Devour immediately. With or without your fave sauce.

 

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Tina Turnovers

Baking, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve crossed the halfway point of this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used to Gold – and no tea no shade to Gaga, ONJ or Trey Park, but I decided it was about time I enlisted one of my most iconic friends. And thankfully the one, the only Tina Turner was keen to roll down the river for a date.

While I haven’t know Tina as long as most of my celebrity friends, the moment we met in the late ‘80s forged an instant bond and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Though there really is no bond stronger than one built on thirsting over footy players while filming an ad.

I know I haven’t told you about said bond before, but she means so much to me that I wanted to wait sharing our love on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace until there was a special occasion. And there is no occasion specialer than an EGOT contributing award show.

After holding each other close and catching up on what we’ve been up to, Tina being Tina
interrupted our gabfest by saying, “hit me with the odds Ben. And put some stank on it.”

I mean, if that is not the mark of an icon, I don’t know what is. With that we agreed that Arctic Monkeys will take Best Rock Performance, that we’ve never heard of any of the metal performances, Greta Van Fleet feel like the best shot for Best Rock Song and Weezer should take Best Rock Album.

Did I half-arse the running of odds? Sure. But I really wanted to focus my attention on making my Tina Turnovers perfect for my dear friend.

 

 

Creamy, sweet and full of juicy, tart blueberries, these are the perfect snack for any occasion. And are super easy, so you’d be mad not to have a crack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tina Turnovers
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese, softened
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and quartered
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 egg, whisked
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Divide amongst the squares of pastry, dot with the blueberries and seal to form triangles.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately.

 

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Tray Baker

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main

Like Gaga and ONJ before him today’s Somebody That I Used to Gold visitor, my dear friend Trey Parker dabbles in all corners of the entertainment industry. And if it weren’t for my frenemy Phil Collins, who be a proud EGOT recipient.

#JusticeforBlameCanada.

I’ve known Trey for years when I got hired to model a character on South Park. Sure Big Gay Al was controversial – you don’t need me to tell you that my primary school principal felt compelled to write a four page essay about the horror character in place of a newsletter – but he brought so much joy to my life, and gave me the most beautiful friend in Trey.

While I haven’t seen Trey in years, he was thrilled to catch-up and strategise a way to finally snag himself an Oscar – obviously a Big Gay Al spin-off movie, starring me – and help me run the odds on my favourite Grammy categories – musical theatre, comedy and the big one, SPOKEN WORD!!!!!

Sorry – too many exclamation points. I’m like a chain email from your mother!

Obviously we agree that the erstwhile singing voice behind Jasmine and Mulan, Lea Salonga, will take The Book of Mormon’s Best Musical Theatre Crown for Once on This Island. Comedy I’ve gone with Dave Chappelle while Trey thinks Fred Armisen is the hot money. Obviously my boy David Sedaris is going to take out my fave category Spoken Word and I refused to hear any argument to the contrary. Like how Tiffany Haddish is the darling of the entertainment industry and Jimmy Carter is old, which is why Chad Michaels and Raja won their seasons of Drag Race.

JK Kimora, they both slayed and deserved their victories.

Anyway, it was exciting to think that our Big Gay Al movie may sweep the Awards Pool. So much so that we didn’t realise how famished we were until my Tray Barker had filled the house with glorious, happy smells.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but you know I have a passionate love for sausage. You may be surprised to learn, however, that I am just as passionate about apple and sweet potato. Chuck em in a tray, add some booze and you’re in for a glorious meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tray Baker
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1kg pork sausages
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
250g sweet potato, cut into chunks
2 red apples, sliced thickly into rounds
300ml apple cider
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
½ parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a decent lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking dish. Add a lug of oil to the frying pan and cook the leek and fennel for five minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Transfer to the aforementioned baking dish.

Add the sweet potato and apple to the baking dish and pour over the stock and cider. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour, or until the potato is tender and the liquid reduced.

Sprinkle with sage and parmesan and return to the oven, uncovered, to cook for ten minutes or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main, Poultry, Snack

It was such a treat to see this year’s GO recipient Lady Gaga to kick off this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used To Gold – that I couldn’t quit the film world completely. As such I grabbed the phone and as a twist of fate, my dear friend Olivia Newton John was free to catch up.

Despite being on death’s door according to the tabloids.

I’ve known Liv since the mid-70s while she and Pat Carroll where working the nightclub scene. Unbeknownst to them, they were once booked for a strip club and while it came as a shock, it led to us meeting. Which gave her “the most beautiful friendship of my life,” so she is pleased by how things turned out.

Given she is most well known for her star making turn in Grease, Liv was thrilled to help me run the Music for Visual Media odds. While she thinks our Hugh will snatch Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, my heart will always for for Call Me by Your Name though the clarinets of Lady Bird do fill my heart with joy. For Best Score Soundtrack I think Black Panther  has it in the bag, while Liv is rooting for The Shape of Water. And rounding things out, we agree that Gaga will continue her sting of wins for Shallow in Best Song, however a Mystery of Love win would make me sob happy tears by a fireplace.

With the most important job of all out of the way, we hung out in the kitchen, laughed, cried and smashed a huge batch of Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties.

 

 

If you haven’t realised by now, I have a passionate, unadulterated love for rissoles. And these babies are no exception, sweet, tarty and packing a punch, they’re the perfect nourishing mid-week meal that doesn’t make you want to cry. Doesn’t everyone cry during dinner on hump day? No, just me? Awks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine everything in a bowl, scrunching with your hands until well combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes and devour immediately with a salad. Despite not making friends with it.

 

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Lady Gaugamole

Condiment, Dip, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Vegetarian

Despite the fact that she is slaying the award season game with her film debut, my dear friend Lady Gaga will always be the scrappy little recording artist that could. While I irrationally hated Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta from the first moment I saw her, I am so grateful that Tony Bennett was able to talk sense into me and allow the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I mean, 100 of my fellow celebrities had told me that I would love Gaga’s sweet, creative soul but it took just one to get through to me and for that, I will always be grateful to Tone.

But enough about Tone, this is about thrice Academy and Emmy Award nominated, six time Grammy winning and my dear friend, Gaga. As I said, my own stupidity kept me from years of friendship with Ga – as only her best friends call her – and while that often wakes me in a cold sweat, I am glad at how quickly we developed the beautiful friendship we have.

Given she is busy residenc-ing and attendee literally every single award show on the planet, I decided to swing by for a post Oscar-nominees luncheon date and, you guessed it, run the odds for the Grammys.

Given she has made a splash in the film world I bequeathed her the honour of helping me pick who will take out Best Music Film and while I see merits in Whitney winning like Ga thinks, I can’t go past Quincy. While I am a dear friend of both Jay and Bey, neither of us can see them beating Childish Gambino’s This Is America.

Obviously I couldn’t bet against Gaga for Best Pop Solo Performance or Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, so we focused on me betting the house on Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s Love Is Here to Stay for BEst Traditional Pop Vocal Album – though Babs is my most likely spoiler – and my love for Kelly Clarkson isn’t enough to make me bet against Camila Cabello’s creatively titled Camila taking out Best Pop Vocal Album.

While running all those odds can be hungry work, I know that the Academy serves calorie rich food at the nominees luncheon – checky during awards season, no? – so I opted to keep it light with a delicious Lady Gaugamole.

 

 

Nobody loves avocados more than I – excluding Queer Eye’s Antony, obviously – however I had never tasted guac perfection until I encountered Chipotle. Oh Chipotle, how I love you so! The spicy, glorious guac bursting from a burrito and washed down with some Pibb Extreme is my idea of heaven. But this is not an add, focus on their guac – fresh and zingy, it is perfect all by itself.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lady Gaugamole
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp coriander
1 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
¼ tsp kosher salt
Tortea Leoni Chips, to serve

Method
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and mash the flesh.

Fold through the remaining ingredients.

Devour, with a big bowl of Tortea Leoni Chips.

 

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Somebody That I Used to Gold

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

While it probably seems like I am limping through this little marathon called life – I am sorry about the sporadic social media, I have a sick puppy and I am a dutiful parent – I am trying to slip on my lycra, go to Yogalates and get my tri-weekly blowouts – that’s three times a week, right? – whilst maintaining an aggressive regiment of Hollywood catch-ups.

I don’t want to say I’m father of the year, but I’m totally father of the year.

Anyway, this isn’t about me … because once again the suits at the Recording Academy didn’t see fit to nominate my album of covers while impersonating either Celine or Kenny for record of the year – it’s all about the Grammys.

(Hey, I may be bitter but I still know the best way to get awards is to schmooze and mingle).

So dust off the ol’ gramophone, grab a Whitskey Houston Sour – because this is a dry year, FYI – and prepare to get acquainted with Somebody That I Used to Gold.

Who will be joining me to kick off this year’s celebrations?

Image source: The Recording Academy.

 

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Earl Colecano

Baking, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Fiji

Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, we have a cast! I know we’ve officially known that Aubry, David, Kelley and Joe were Shangela-ing their ways back to the Island known Extinction for a couple of months, but we know who will be joining them!

Can I tell the difference between Chris, Dan or Eric despite one of them being bald? Nope. Do I care and love them all based on nothing else? Sure. Do I want Victoria’s hair? Of course. Are Julie and Reem going to be my fave newbies? Duh. Do I hope that Aubry and Kelley pair up like Aubry, Sandra and Cirie should have in Game Changers? Unequivocally.

Anyway, I have a lot of strong opinions about everything, so it was convenient that I had my dearest friend Earl Cole – the undisputed King of Fiji – drop by to join me and listen. While he wasn’t as opinionated as I was, he did agree that the winner is likely going to be someone that gets voted out pre-merge and manages to woo everyone whilst struggling on the Island Of Extinction.

While I am blindly hoping Aubry finally snatches a win, unless Joe channels Pearl Islands-era Savage, Hatch, Tyson, Locky or the Contenders boys and goes nude. In which case I am all in on him winning.

Given I quickly got thirsty, I needed something bready to sop everything up and distract me with a different kinda of joy. As such I whipped out a Milk Bar – third time this year, I know – Volcano, convenient rebranded as an Earl Colecano.

 

PHOTO 1

 

Like Bagel Bombs and Crack Pie before them, Milk Bar’s volcanoes are insanely addictive and delicious and can warm your soul even through the most brutal of polar vortexes. Creamy, herbed potatoes, sweet onion and a punch of gruyere are all you need to wash your troubles away.

Enjoy!

 

PHOTO 2

 

Earl Colecano
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 recipe Mother Dough, from Katey Sagal Bombs
3 garlic cloves
½ cup double cream
⅓ cup milk
1 bay leaf
1 tsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
100g streaky bacon, diced and fried until crispy
2 potatoes
vegetable oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, whisked
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Method
Prepare the Mother Dough as per Katey’s recipe – which is totally Christina Tosi’s – and leave to prove.

Meanwhile crush the garlic with a knife and chuck into a saucepan with the cream, milk, bay leaf, rosemary, ½ tsp of salt and a good whack of pepper. Bring it to the boil over medium heat before turning off, covering and leaving to steep for half an hour.

Thinly slice the potatoes and cover with iced water.

Preheat oven to 160C.

Layer the potatoes in a small baking dish, sprinkling with bacon as you go, until you’re out of both. Strain the steeped cream, pour over the potato and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before covering with foil, topping with weights – aka cans – and transferring to the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

While the potatoes are setting heat a lug of vegetable oil in a small saucepan and add the onions and leave in the pan for a couple of minutes without stirring. After that, reduce heat to low, add the remaining salt and cook for about half an hour, or until soft and caramelly.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces and flatten to form 20cm discs. Split the onions amongst the discs and top with a square of the potatoes. Oh, cut the gratin into squares – there will be left overs and on behalf on Christina, you’re welcome. Fold up the edges and pinch to enclose before rolling into a ball and placing on a lined baking sheet.

Brush the dough with egg and cut a deep X in the top of each. Fill each with a quarter of the cheese, leaving excess to erupt out the top. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden, brown and the cheese is crispy.

Leave to rest for ten minutes before devouring. If you can.

 

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