Jeff Rib Probst and Elisabeth Hasselbeck Potatoes

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Main, Side

It’s been an exhausting 10 days, with many of our closest survivor pals dropping by for a Christmas catch-up. With every cookie, pie and fancy dessert, there was always one thing in the back of our minds – Probst.

Probst. Came. Today, dear reader, was finally the day.

As you would probably be aware, our relationship with Jeff Dreamy-McDreamy-Free-Pass-Eternal-Object-Of-Our-Affection Probst has been tumultuous, so he insisted on bringing a friend to dinner (likely to deter us from making him our prisoner/Misery-esque lover). Luckily, his guest of choice was the delightful Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant that has the dubious honor of being the first contestant to be worldwide spank bank material/the second America’s Sweetheart (we still love you too Col).

Lis has been keen to catch up ever since she hit it off with Ben on the set of The View. After Jazz in Your Face’s resounding success on the Ellen Show, Ben was looking for further opportunities for the troupe while Annelie continued with plans to thwart future Elijah Wood movies and subsequently save mankind from further suffering.

Long story short, Ben provided a short, naked dance intermission during a heated conversation between Rosie O’Donnell and Lis. Ben’s interpretative and confronting (literally) interlude got Lis’s attention and lifelong friendship and scared Rosie from ever returning…for a while (the whole Iraq issue was a farce).

How else to make the love of our lives and his equally amazing date feel welcome?

Indeed, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. However, the way to a man becoming your eternal (likely unwilling) love slave is through meat sweats and a food coma so terrible they lose the will to fight back. So, big meaty roast it was!

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The Jeff Rib Probst pulls out all the stops and is destined for special occasions only. Accompanied with crunchy, fluffy Lis Hasselbeck potatoes, this is a meal certain to impress.

Make sure you have plenty of cold ones on hand to wash down this deliciously meaty edible utopia!

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Jeff Rib Probst and Lis Hasselbeck Potatoes
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2kg approx. beef prime rib roast (allow one rib per two people)
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
12 medium size desiree potatoes
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Using a small paring knife, make small slits in the top of the prime rib (ribs facing down) and insert slices of garlic. Rub with four tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes in a cast iron roasting tray.
Meanwhile, wash and peel the potatoes. Using a sharp knife, halve potatoes and then cut fine slits, leaving 1cm at bottom of potato half to ensure potato stays together.
Once beef has cooked for 20 minutes, add potatoes to roasting tray and drizzle with extra 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast meat and potatoes for another hour for rare beef, or until cooked to your liking. Allow meat to stand for at least 20 minutes, while potatoes finish cooking through.
To serve, sprinkle potatoes with caraway seeds and arrange around the roast on a large platter. Serve with cherry gravy or other delicious seasonal sauces!

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Happy Christmas from the Fame Hungry team and all our celebrity besties!

Parvlova Shallow

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Dessert

It’s always a relief when our escapades don’t wind up with a period of incarceration/sectioning.

After a particularly unfortunate incident involving Bob Harper, several pints of Ben and Jerry’s and hundreds of cable-ties, Ben and I were ordered to deal with our court-determined ‘issues’ through a yoga retreat. Through serendipity we landed in the care of Survivor royalty and all-round legend, Parvati Shallow. Parvati allowed us to express ourselves through a combination of relaxing yoga and scrappy beat-downs (she is also a boxer).

As our kindred spirit, Parvs visits each year for an early Christmas ‘do, where we debrief the most recent season of survivor and inevitably reach consensus that nothing will ever beat her outstanding gameplay in Survivor: Micronesia.

This year we decided to greet Parvati with a distinctly Australian take on Christmas dessert – the Parvlova Shallow.

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Just like Parvati herself, the Parvlova shallow is sweet and enticing with it’s fresh summer berries and pillowy meringue. Also somewhat like Parvati, shortly after consumption you will find yourself rolling around with an intense, cream-induced stomach ache, wondering – how can something so sweet and delightful be such a source of buns-kicking badness?

Parvati, this is our tribute to you.

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Parvlova Shallow
Serves 8

Ingredients
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
500mL thickened cream
2 cups mixed berries

Method
Preheat oven to 120 degrees celsius.
In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until meringue is thick and glossy. Mix in sifted cornflour, vanilla and vinegar.
Using the base of a springform pan, trace around pan onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place baking paper, circle side down, on a large baking tray. Spoon meringue mixture within the lines of the baking paper circle, smoothing to make a large disk approximately 10cm high.
Bake for 2 hours, or until set. Leave to cool in oven with door ajar.
To serve: Whip cream until soft peaks form. Cover top of pavlova with cream and berries. Serve immediately.

J’Tiamisu

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Dessert

I’ve said it before (well, at the very least alluded to it), sometimes we are terrible people and that is how we first connected with Cagayan contestant, J’Tia Taylor.

Don’t get me wrong, while her moves with the rice were pretty cruel/amazing, J’Tia is a lovely friend…it is just that we befriended her to try to live out Annelie’s dream of going to space.

You see, while we could have used our friendship with Panama contestant Dan Barry to get on the space program, I incorrectly read her profession to be Rocket Scientist when she was on the Brains tribe (she is a Nuclear Engineer, a job I still wouldn’t understand).

You see, I convinced Annelie that J’Tia could build us a rocket and we could cut out the middleman that is NASA. After a year of awkward hints, blatant threats and blackmail, J’Tia kindly told us she couldn’t build us a spaceship, but offered her friendship as a consolation prize.

To celebrate our first Christmas as friends, we decided to catch up for a dessert of J’Tiamisu as a symbol of her sweet nature…and the fact that we all may need a boozy dish to get along/be tolerable humans.

 

J'Tiamisu 1

 

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Tiramisu layer cake, the dish is made of a chocolate cake base, with Tia Maria providing the coffee and the kick. We decided to serve them in individual martini glasses so that we wouldn’t have to worry about portion control (lest J’Tia thought we were going to vote her out) and as we love anything kitsch, and they looked kitsch.

Enjoy!

 

J'Tiamisu 2

 

J’Tiamisu
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
700-1000g chocolate loaf cakes (shop-bought variety is fine)
400ml (ish) Tia Maria
1 tsp cocoa and 1 tsp espresso powder combined, for dusting

Cream Filling
2 large organic eggs
75g caster sugar
500g mascarpone
250ml double cream
125ml Tia Maria

Method
Wash and dry 8 martini glasses and leave aside until assembly.

Slice the chocolate cakes thinly, and pour the Tia Maria into a shallow dish (keep the bottle handy as you may need more), ready for soaking the cake.

Whisk the eggs and sugar, mascarpone and double cream in an electric mixer (I am lazy, you can just use a whisk). Slowly add, the 125ml Tia Maria and continue whisking until light, fluffy and combined.

To assemble, dunk the slices of cake in Tia Maria and press into the base of each martini glass (it will probably be a slice per glass at the start), ensuring that the layer is firm but not too thick. Spoon a layer of cream filling over the cake (roughly 5mm thick). Continue layering, alternating between cake and cream until you have almost filled the glass.

Finish with a generous layer of the cream mixture and dust with cocoa/espresso powder mix.

I always want to add cinnamon, but I think I have an unhealthy obsession with adding cinnamon. Maybe don’t add cinnamon?

Eat straight out of the glass and pretend you’re at a festive swingers party in the eighties.

Festive Cirie Fields Mushrooms

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Side

It is a fact universally known that Cirie Fields is the greatest player to never win Survivor; in addition, she is also our personal saviour.

You see, before becoming a universal treasure on Exile Island, Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains she worked as a nurse in one of the many rehab facilities Annelie and I frequented in the mid-nineties and can be credited as being the person to get us clean (not sober, baby steps).

We have always kept in contact with Cirie (and almost relapsed following the shock final 2 on Micronesia) and see her as a member of the family, so it is only fitting that she dropped by for a Christmas dinner complete with her signature Festive Cirie Fields Mushrooms.

 

Festive Cirie Fields Mushrooms

 

While it is a very simple dish, the garlic, chilli and parsley mingle together to create a side packed with flavour that is still festively appropriate and would go perfectly with any roast. (Or you could have the leftovers with some scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day).

Enjoy!

 

Festive Cirie Fields Mushrooms 1

 

Festive Cirie Field Mushrooms
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 large mushrooms (they don’t necessarily need to be from a field)
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped
50g butter melted
salt and pepper, to season

Method
Pre-heat a griddle pan until very hot.

While heating, melt butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and mix in chilli, garlic parsley and salt and pepper.

When the griddle in hot reduce to medium heat, add mushrooms face down and cook for about three minutes. Flip mushrooms over and press down into pan to ensure even cooking. Fry for further three minutes. Flip again (I make sure the griddle lines form criss-crosses, but I am anal) and cook for a further three minutes or until they are how you like them.

Turn off heat and pour melted butter mixture over the top. Rest for a minute and serve.

Jonathan Penne Pasta Salad

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Side

Survivor three-peat, Jonathan Penner, is another person we knew before his appearances on Cook Islands, Micronesia and Philippines. (They should just cast us as opposed to our many friends).

Annelie and I were working in New York (before the ugliness in LA) and were cast as the stunt doubles for Gracie on the hit show The Nanny, where Jonathan played the role of Danny…you know, the boyfriend who kicked her out in that crushing scene.

We connected on set after Jonathan got caught in the middle of our long simmering feud with Charles Shaughnessy (it started when we were on Days, don’t ask) and we ended up as his dates when he was nominated for an Academy Award.

Nothing has changed between Jonathan and us, as you would expect of a relationship built on sarcasm and snark between three of the world’s greatest minds. We discussed future twists and themes we need Probst to bring to Survivor and a treatment for his next Academy Award nomination (a documentary on the lives and times of Annelie and Ben).

To celebrate the season and Jonathan’s visit we opted for the Jonathan Penne Pasta Salad, a dish we invented following his crushing loss at the Oscars.

 

Jonathan Penne Pasta Salad 1

 

The richness of our bond was highlighted by the creamy blue cheese, complimented by the bitterness of the rocket and his failure to win (on Survivor and at the Oscars) and the sweetness of the caramelised walnuts and knowing that he is one of the fan favourites to play.

Survivor, not with us. We wish. We would enjoy, as you should the salad!

 

Jonathan Penne Pasta Salad 2

 

Jonathan Penne Pasta Salad
Serves: 8

Ingredients
Approximately 2 cups Rocket
2 pears, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup walnuts
50g butter
1tbsp muscovado sugar, heaped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
150g blue cheese, crumbled
500g penne pasta
Olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat large pot of water over high heat until boiling, once boiling add penne and cook for 10-12 minutes (until al dente). Drain, rinse in cold water and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, melt butter and sugar together in small saucepan after low heat until combined. Add walnuts and cook for 5 minutes, or until coated and caramelised.

Pour the walnuts onto a flat, lined baking tray to cool. When cooled slightly, pour vinegar over them to create the dressing.

Combine cooled penne, rocket and pear and drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Layer on large dish or transfer to large bowl, depending on how you’d like to serve.

Crumble blue cheese and walnuts over the salad and pour over the caramel/vinegar dressing.

Season and dress further, to taste.

Rocky Reid Road

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Dessert

In a season that bought us Dreams, Yau-Man and the delightful Earl you may ask yourselves, why did Ben and I fall so hard for Survivor Fiji contestant Rocky Reid and his serious lack of charm?

Naturally, we have history.

Ben and Rocky were fierce competitors in the 1994 National Sylvester Stallone doppelganger competition in which I was Ben’s micromanaging, cruel and generally narcissistic coach/momager. While Rocky was crowned the winner, Ben went on to body-double for Sly for hit films including Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and the glorious Rhinestone (we can time travel, remember). Rocky couldn’t handle Ben’s success on the big screen and so naturally the two wound up in a relationship-destroying gutter brawl.

Despite the relationship breakdown, it was our love of (and regular participation in) scrag-fighting that brought the three of us back together. Rocky’s constant clashes with fellow Survivor contestant and expert witness locator Anthony Robinson endeared us to him yet again.

Given that Rocky hasn’t done anything particularly spectacular since his appearance on survivor, he had plenty of time to drop by to catch up on lost time. What else do you serve someone Rocky by name, rocky by relationship nature? Rocky Reid Road was the only possible way forward.

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Our rocky road flies in the face of tradition – white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberry in place of the traditional peanut and cherry combination. While unconventional, it is a truly delicious mix which is also rather festive thanks to the delightful flecks of green and red.

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Rocky Reid Road
Serves: 24 small pieces

Ingredients
250g white chocolate
100g mini marshmallows
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped roughly
Method
Line and grease a brownie tray.
Gently melt the white chocolate in a double boiler until just melted.
In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Pour over melted chocolate and stir until just combined.
Spread mixture into brownie tray and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours). Cut into squares and dig in.

Mulled Sandra Diaz-Twine

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Drink

Say what you will about her game play, but Sandra Diaz-Twine is hands down the greatest person to ever play the game of Survivor. Even without her perfect record, her ability to eavedrop on conversations in bushes, buddy up with other snarky/sassy contestants and her glee at burning her nemesis hat in the fire, make her the kind of TV gold that is under appreciated.

We first met Sandra while working at Outback Steakhouse between our time in New York and LA. Sandra was a regular customer with her family and overtime we developed a bond over our abilities to stalk and our general dislike for the population.

After a suspicious absence of two months, Sandra returned to our restaurant gaunt and riddled in bug bites and we knew she was about to be the greatest thing to happen to broadcast television.

Then she had to get a restraining order against us after we became obsessed with her.

We reconnected following her return from Heroes vs Villains, where a reward of Outback Steakhouse reminded her of the good times we had shared.

She dropped by last night for a bottle (or two) of Mulled Sandra Diaz-Twine, a drink Annelie and I had whilst standing in the snow looking through her windows watching her sleep.

 

Mulled Sandra Diaz-TWine 1

 

The warming spices are like one of Russell Hantz’s hats going up in flames, with the orange providing the Sandy zing. Needless to say, it is festive as fuck.

Enjoy!

 

Mulled Sandra Diaz-TWine2

 

Mulled Sandra Diaz-Twine
Serves: Well this makes 1 pitcher worth, no judgement on how many join in.

Ingredients
1 bottle of red wine
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamon pods, cracked open
1 orange, sliced
A pinch of grated nutmeg
1/4 cup muscovado sugar
1/4 cup brandy

Method
Put all ingredients in a large pot over low heat and steep (mull, even) for thirty minutes.

That is it.

You could mix up the combination of spices in your wine however my advice would be to start basic and experiment with the flavours once you have figured out your taste. I always think cranberry, ginger and vanilla would be good additions….but trying that as your start may turn you off this glorious, festive nectar for good. You know?

Phillip Sheppard’s Pie

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Main

In the spirit of giving and in a desperate attempt to use leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving, Ben and I decided to catch up with our ex Writing And Looking-into-things-covertly R Us (WALRUS) colleague and only known frenemy with a stomach of steel, Phillip Sheppard.

Now Sheps (yes, we are that close) and Ben worked on some pretty significant WALRUS operations in their day but ultimately were brought together through a common commitment to ending up in the bed of the Great and Holy Probst. This led to Sheps’ successful inclusion in the cast of Survivor: Redemption Island (if you’re curious why we weren’t cast, read more here).

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While Phillip won over the hearts and minds of many (?), sadly he failed to go where only one Survivor contestant has gone before (curse you Julie Berry)

Luckily for him, we were on hand to soothe his heartbreak trample all over his broken heart while scrambling to Jeff’s side.

Regardless, Sheps was keen for a catch-up and we decided that, in the spirit of Christmas, it was time.

This pie is a revamped take on a classic, warming winter dish. Mashed pumpkin and sweet potato provide a sweet and light alternative to traditional white mash. Inside the pie awaits a rich, delicious beefy serenity full of tomatoey, peppery goodness sure to win over even the most steadfast of frenemies.

So in the spirit of Christmas AND Sheps – whip up a pie, bust out those faded red budgie smugglers/manties and have yourselves a cracking festive season in the land down under.

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Phillip Sheppard’s Pie
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
1kg lean minced beef
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 red chillies, finely chopped (seeds out if you don’t want too much kick)
3 carrots, diced
1/2 bunch celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
500mL beef stock
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Handful fresh bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
Cracked pepper, to taste

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Mash
600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
600g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
50g butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method
In a large ovenproof pan, heat 1-2 tbs rice bran oil and cook the onion, celery and carrot until beginning to soften. Add minced beef and cook until browned. Mix through garlic, chilli and bay leaves.

Add red wine and cook until wine has reduced by approximately half. Stir in tomato paste, brown sugar and beef stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally on low heat until the liquid is reduced and thickened, approximately 1 hour. Add pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, place chopped pumpkin and sweet potato in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil until tender – approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and mash with butter and parmesan until smooth and creamy.

Assemble the pie by arranging the mash over the mince mixture and scallop the top lightly with the back of a spoon.

Bake in 180 degree oven for 30 minutes or until set and golden.

 

 

 

Monica Culpepper Cookies

12 Days of Survivor Christmas

Monnie is another castaway we knew before her appearances on One World and Blood vs. Water. You see, Brad used to play football with Annelie and as we were running a scam that required her to have a WAG, I became her wife Lara Vandenboobin.

While Brad and Annelie came firm friends on the field, Monnie and I became firm friends and then staunch enemies…and then friends again on the sideline.

Due to our oft-tumultuous relationship (we last fell out after I sold stories about her to People magazine during One World. We are friends now though), we mutually decided afternoon tea with spiced Monica Culpepper Cookies was the perfect way to celebrate Christmas together.

 

Monica Culpepper Cookies 1

 

The cookies (another Nigella variation) turned out perfectly, with a hint of heat and spices without being overpowering like a Gingerbread. I sometimes find that the dough can be a bit wet, so just add a bit more flour until it is at your desired consistency.

Enjoy, we did! Better yet, we didn’t even get into a fight or end up covered in third-degree burns from thrown coffee.

 

Monica Culpepper Cookies 2

 

Monica Culpepper Cookies
Makes roughly 24

Ingredients
300g plain flour (plus more for dusting)
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp freshly ground  black pepper
100g soft  butter
100g muscovado sugar
2 large eggs (beaten)
4 tbsp maple syrup
Royal Icing, lollies, edible glitter and anything else you would want to make them festive as fuck

Method
Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and preheat the oven to 170C.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and pepper in a large bowl.

Cream the the butter and sugar in an electric mixer with paddle attachment, then slowly add the beaten eggs and maple syrup in three parts alternating with the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.

Form 2 fat discs and put one wrapped in cling-wrap in the fridge while you get started on the other.

Dust a work surface with flour, roll out the disc (also floured), to about 5mm and cut out cookies with the cutters of your choice.

Re-roll and cut out some more, setting aside the residue from this first disc and cover, while you get on with rolling out the second. When you’ve got both sets of leftover clumps of dough, roll out and cut out again, and keep doing so till all the dough’s used up.

When you can no longer be bothered, roll the dough into a ball and flatten on the tray.

Arrange the pastry shapes on the lined baking sheets and cook for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Ice the cold decorations with reckless abandon until they are jacked-up on sugar and festive.

Laura Amaretti Cookies

12 Days of Survivor Christmas

Ok, I have a confession to make. Ben and I only reconnected with Laura Morett to try and draw Ciera Eastin into our inner circle. Unfortunately Ciera was too busy trying to distance herself  from Blood vs Water 2’s seemingly villainous heathen Baylor Wilson, to whom she had been  compared.

While we would have been great PR for you Ciera, we understand. And Baylor – call us. We’re here for you.

Amaretti 1

Despite this cunning plot, Laura and I go way back. She was recruited to whip Ben and I back into shape after our failed attempt to join the cast of the Biggest Loser (*almost* making it onto a show for which you prepared by eating a minimum of five parmigianas per day is devastating, trust me).

We whiled away the day chatting about Sarah Palin, Shambo and other topics of significant mutual interest which enjoying a delicious amaretti biscuit or two. Laura was stern with the upper limit of two cookies per person, which was harsh but necessary – with Jill gone again  and Bob banished to crappy loser canyon, what incentive is there to power-eat our way back into Biggest Loser contention?

Despite Laura’s portion control, these biscuits are extremely easy to eat – particularly when warm. The dense, chewy almond filling heartily flips the bird to it’s somewhat posher cousin, the macaron. Plus, they are a breeze to whip up!

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Laura Amaretti Cookies
Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients
180g almond meal
50g plain flour, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 egg whites
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
20 almonds

Directions
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. In large bowl, mix together all ingredients except whole almonds gently until a uniform dough comes together.

Line a large baking tray with non-stick paper. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and space evenly on the tray. Press down gently on each dough ball with an almond.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden and set.