Jenneer Saagustin

Main, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders luck started to wear thin and try as they might, they couldn’t pull together a win in either challenge. Maybe in part because Lydia almost pulled Jenna’s ankle straight off her leg, but I digress. Heading back to tribal, the Contenders seemed split down gender lines with Paige trying to join the boys to get rid of Shonee, though they intended to target her and the girls and parents alliances  – aka the girls minus Paige and plus Heath – joining together to target Steve K. In the end, the boys and Paige were shocked to see their two different plans blow up and poor lil’ Steve sent from the game.

We opened up at the Champions where Moana and Mat were bonding over their football careers, and while sport chat normally makes me feel anxious, it was hella sweet to see them talking about their dreams like that. Sharn and the one true Steve then joined the fray and damn, wouldn’t this be a sweet final four? I can’t believe I’m rooting for the Champions.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where everyone was quiet after Steve K’s blindside. The most shocked, however, was Paige who not only landed in the minority but she only received votes from the people that she thought trusted her. For some reason, she went back to the boys to see whether she could trust them again instead of going to the girls and parents alliance. Meanwhile Zach continued his descent into villaindom, bitching about Paige’s fears while Benji and his fluctuating accent continued to dwell in the background.

Meanwhile back at the Champions everyone was feeling the love for one another. Well, except for Lydia and Sharn who were sick of Brian never doing anything to help. Ever. Though they could see the silver lining, agreeing that it makes voting him out that much easier. Speaking of Brian, he defended his laziness saying that if everyone else wants to work they can and he doesn’t need to prove himself. While I agree with that, the fact he thinks ‘Brian Time’ is not painting a target on his back and killing his strategic game, shows he has no clue.

Oh and Jenna is still well injured and is really emotional, which is heartbreaking to watch.

Jonathan quickly made his return to the screen for the reward challenge though Paige quickly turned it into a tea spilling session, sharing that the vote was not unanimous, much to the disgust of her tribemates. Before she could lay all their secrets bare, Jonathan announced that the challenge would require the tribes to make their way down a course using three barrels and two planks without anyone touching the ground. Once at the end, two castaways would try and fish four balls to them and attaching them to a frame. Once he announced that it was for an Aussie pub lunch, everyone was overcome with joy and desperate to smash a pint. The Champions got out to an early lead thanks to the leadership and all around perfection of Steve, crossing the line before the Contenders were even half done. Brian and Jackie snagged their balls while the Contenders continued to flounder, crossing the line as the Champions attached their first ball. Jenna and Zach quickly secured their balls and closed the gap … before briefly overtaking, only to drop their balls and hand victory to the Champions once again. Much to Robbie’s chagrin.

The dejected Contenders tribe returned to camp with Anita trying to boost everyone’s morale. Meanwhile Zach, Benji and Robbie pulled Tegan aside to talk about how poorly Paige performed in the challenge. To prove their point, Zach went down on the beach and held Robbie and Benji on his shoulders – I squat double them *eyeroll* – in full view of Paige and the girls. While I would normally be all in for such messy, pettiness … he is just a dick now.

Washing the taste of jerk out of my mouth we headed over to the beach pub where Steve and the Champions were thrilled to be downing a pint and smashing a pie before Shane noticed a photo board celebrating why they are Champions. They then swapped stories about their achievements and it was all sweet as hell, I assume until it got to Jackie as she trolled them with a picture of her playing with her rubix cube. It was iconic, but then Shane spoke about her achievements at 15 and Mat about his autistic son and how he and his iconic wife Chloe started a charity to help other families get help. Once again, fuck me dead, I am crying.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Robbie was desperate to get another win on the board and looked willing to kill to get it. Before getting to the challenge, Jonathan announced that the doctors were still concerned about Jenna’s ankle and she would be choppered out to undergo scans to make sure it wasn’t fractured. Thankfully though, it seemed to only be for the challenge and if cleared she will be able to return to the game. With those tears out of the way, each tribe would start on a large platform and one-by-one slide down and swim to platform before paddling a canoe out to a tower, retrieving three rings, returning to the top of the tower and landing the rings on a pole.

The Contenders got out to a slight lead on the slide portion, which continued to grow as Brian steered the Champions well of course with Steve as their only hope. Benji snagged all the Contenders rings before the Champions made their way to the tower. Then Steve happened, catching up and pedaling the boat at full speed backwards. Sadly they had to turn the boat around, giving the Contenders their lead back. And then some. The Champions snatched back the lead whilst hoisting themselves up the wall, until Brian struggled and allowed the Contenders to pull back in front. That is until they missed landing all of their rings. Mat landed the first ring for the Champions, followed closely by Jackie getting their second and while Zach managed to snatch one, it was all for nothing as Moana secured another immunity for the Champions.

Back at camp Zach didn’t care which female goes home, as he deems them all useless. Heath tried to give everyone a pep talk, saying that if Jenna returns they need to vote her out as they need to maintain their strength. While they all agreed to have a nice afternoon, Anita spread that Paige was sharing intell with the Champions at the challenge like wildfire, much to the rage of Queen Tegan and they tried to secure enough votes to take her out. Sadly that was interrupted by the return of Jenna who arrived on crutches and tearfully announced that she had been cleared to stay however was unable to do anything really, except for throwing, boosting morale and doing puzzles. While Heath continued to push to get rid of Jenna for the sake of the tribe, Tegan couldn’t bring herself to take out their ally and begged him to join them in getting rid of Paige instead.

At tribal council Jonathan asked for an update on Jenna’s health, leading to a heartbreaking monologue about how much she contributes to the tribe and how desperately she wanted to stay. Fenella praised her leadership and positivity as everyone nodded their heads in agreeance. JoJo got shady and questioned the boys about throwing their votes on their ally Paige. Paige tried to pretend it was all good between them and that they all trust each other. Anita started shaking her head, completely disagreeing that Paige can be trusted. Zach joined the fray talking about how great Jenna is, however she is useless to them at the moment and they need to take her out. Shonee and Tegan spoke about how much Jenna means to them and that trust is important to them. Heath wrapped things up talking about the fact they need to keep the tribe strong before they become extinct.

Jenna then jumped in and told everyone to trust their gut and follow their heart when it comes to the vote. She then told the girls that they need to remember how strong they all are, and not to let anyone push them around. Meanwhile Robbie and Benji started whispered about who else, if anyone, they could possibly vote for. With that, the tribe voted and one be one, the votes rolled in for Jenna and the poor, motivational icon found herself booted from the game she so desperately wanted to play.

While she was pretty upset when she arrived at Loser Lodge, she agreed that her tribe made the only decision they could. As hard as it may be to accept. We then cried for a bit about how sad we were to see her before settling in to smash a Jenneer Saagustin to cheer her up. Until it hit me …

 

 

Curry is the new Pizza Curse?! The curse was waiting out their on Ghost Island and since I – *spoiler alert* – didn’t make pizzas for anyone in this cast, its powers grew and transferred to curries. I mean, how else can you explain the back-to-back curry losses? You can’t.

Though … when they taste this good, how can you complain. Fresh paneer, creamy spiced spinach – YAS YAS YAS.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jenneer Saagustin
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
peanut oil
200g paneer, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 tomatoes, diced
500g frozen spinach, defrosted
½ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a good lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the paneer on either side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and transfer to some paper towel to drain.

Add a little more oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for five minutes or so, or until softened. Stir in the garam masala, cumin, chilli and turmeric, and cook for a further minute or until your kitchen is so fragrant you can barely contain yourself. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for about ten minutes.

Once the fragrant tomatoey goodness is starting to reduce, bring the heat back to medium and stir through the spinach. Cook for five minutes further before stirring through the cream and paneer, and cooking for an additional five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour with a tonne of rice, chapati, naans and/or papadums. Preferably and, not or.

 

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Francauliflower Mash

Side, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Chani continued to live on struggle with a massive storm whacking any last shred of hope straight out of them and had Franky on the edge of quitting or life, depending who you ask. Despite winning literally everything Khangkhaw weren’t doing a whole lot better, with both Kaysha and Adam smashed by the reward challenge. Which reminds me, Matt channelled Locky, now he is my favourite and I’d like him to smas … nevermind. Once again Khangkhaw took out immunity – and Brad snatched a hidden immunity idol at the challenge to boot – and sent Chani back to tribal where poor Karla found herself becoming the second boot.

Back at camp Chani were lamenting their losses and vowed not to return to tribal. Well except for JT who was thrilled to be down in numbers so that when they swap, their alliance will be strong and able to bring down the other tribe. While that is the hope for when you’re down in numbers, it is also difficult to pull off when you’re obviously difficult to trust. And since Franky is already finding him trustworthy and he played Tess at the outpost last episode, I don’t see it happening. But surprise me JT, if only because your hat game is strong.

Things still weren’t looking great the next day as Chani struggled to muster any energy and instead waited for advice of a challenge, swap or merge. On the flipside, Zadam was leading Khangkhaw in a bit of a sing-a-long while cleaning up around camp and generally dominating at surviving. Tess tried to convince Dylan to flood out a tarantula nest before talking about how she was out to prove people wrong and show that you don’t need muscles to win. Though then she couldn’t decide if team pink was female or gay guys and I started to worry that she is going to make me sad soon. Though Zadam is still a fan and as such, I will continue to buy into her winner’s edit.

Potentially feeling threatened by my love for Adam, Matty arrived for this week’s reward challenge were each tribe would send two people into battle balancing statues, with the first person to knock their opponents off winning a point for their tribe. First tribe to ten points win a dickload of fishing gear, so Chani desperately need it to stay alive. Thankfully Dave and Eve dominated Zadam and Tara respectively, giving them a 2-0 advantage. Liam continued the winning streak over Josh before Renee just straight up pushed Tess out of the way to score another point. JT’s 80s school teacher look was no match for Brad before Franky beat Lisa, Arun smashed Dylan, Liam beat Josh and destroyed the set, Tara took one back from Tara, as did Brad from Dave before Eve and Arun beat Tess and Adam, leaving Franky to snatch the first victory for Chani over Lisa.

Chani returned to camp elated and got to work fishing to try and give them some energy. Well, except for JT who desperately just wanted to fulfill his life’s dream of possessing a hidden immunity idol. Sadly for him, it was Eve that found the clue tucked away in the fishing net and while she stupidly announced it and shared the clue with everyone else, she technically grabbed the idol and became its owner despite vowing to use it for the best of the tribe. When she eventually found it after a treasure hunt with Renee and Franky, neither of whom trusted her to use it for their advantage. She and JT then caught up about her snatching his dream away before he tried it on and vowed to us that one way or another, it would become his.

Meanwhile Khangkhaw was feeling the burn of their first loss and Kaysha started to bitch and moan about Dylan not listening to the rules. But wait, psych! It was all part of her plan to put some distance between them so people no longer see them as a pair. Which is genius for her except the fact it paints an even biggest target on her closest ally’s back. Distracting themselves from the drama, the tribe – minus Zadam who couldn’t give a fuck – decided to go for a coconut hunt before Dylan disappeared to hunt for an idol and skulk about like Sandra Diaz-Twine to eavesdrop on his tribe. Thankfully it seemed he was only hearing Kaysha bitch about him, which he had approved. Sadly for them though, Matt was starting to think that Kaysha’s rapid 180 was disingenuous and that maybe it was all a ploy.

With the idol firmly in Eve’s pocket – well actually I can only assume that. It could still be around JT’s neck – Franky decided it was high time she started thinking about breaking her alliance with Arun, JT, Dave and Eve and take out the latter, SInce Renee and Liam both work hard and are good in challenges. While Arun seemed receptive to the idea, she was unaware that he was more closely aligned with JT and Eve and ya’ll know this ain’t ending well for the ZM Wildcard. Meanwhile JT and Eve went for a wander to the well, with JT using the time to continue the push to snatch the idol. Though that was quickly replaced by Eve deciding she needs to target Franky should they return to tribal.

Both tribes drew straws to see who should go to The Outpost, with Eve continuing her hot streak and representing Chani – and taking her idol JIC it is a random tribe swap – and Kaysha going for Khangkhaw much to Dylan and Tess’ chagrin, the latter who was concerned about her lying about her adventures at The Outpost … which she did last week. Anyway, Eve and Kaysha met Matt to discover they’d be competing in the Malcolm Freberg memorial challenge from Philippines, where they needed to balance a ball on an ever expanding stick. It was for the contents of a child’s birthday party – I assume cheezels and BBQ thins included – so the girls were V keen to snatch the win / crack-out on the sugar. Also – calling soft drink fizzy? Amazing. Oh FYI, the challenge was extremely boring from the play-by-play perspective, so Kaysha defeated Eve just after the third round kicked off leading to Kaysha breaking into tears before Matt even told her the reward was for her and her alone and gave her the chance to have a chat with Eve to try and get a handle on the tribal dynamics. While they both tried to get some information out of each other, they gave tribal council responses and it was kinda dull. I mean, where are the damn trainwrecks?!

While Kaysha was away from camp Dylan continued to be public enemy number one, with Zadam and Brad annoyed by his sulking. Though given everyone is hating on him, I kind of feel like it is the only thing he can do. Thankfully Kaysha returned before any drama exploded and quickly told the tribe the truth about her experience on the outpost and how she smashed a shit tonne of food. Which neither Adam or Tess believed, turning it into an inquisition.

The next day the tribe reconvened for this week’s immunity challenge where they would be required to release puzzle wheels tethered underwater one at a time – from the deepest to the shallowest – before solving said puzzle. Matt rubbed a bit of salt in Chani’s wounds talking about their passion for tribal while Dylan tried to pretend he wasn’t on the bottom of Khangkhaw, saying they all just wanted another couple of days together. Matt and Franky were neck and neck, however Franky bombed getting out of the water meaning Josh had already secured the second piece for Khangkhaw before Renee had even gotten in the drink for Chani. She then swallowed water and made a quick escape before Matt and Josh dominated for Khangkhaw and Chani couldn’t even get the second. While Renee eventually got a second wheel, it was all for nought as Khangkhaw got all the puzzle pieces, solved the puzzle and snagged themselves immunity. Again.

Back at camp the mood was decidedly somber with everyone feeling shitty about bombing the challenge and having to get rid of yet another person. Renee decided Eve needed to go to flush out the idol before Eve and JT tried to convince Dave to join them in taking out Franky, which he didn’t want. While Franky assumed she had JT and Arun’s loyalty, she still got to work scrambling with Renee to get rid of Eve. Dave was feeling completely lost, given he trusts Franky more and the fact she is stronger in challenges. Which they desperately need right now. Dave tried to help Franky get herself out of her predicament, with her approaching everyone to try and find an out before pulling Liam and Arun aside on the walk to tribal to try and bamboozle her way to safety.

By the time they arrived at tribal council I was hella confused, particularly after they all admitted to being shocked to have lost the challenge. Which was a complete blowout. Arun shared that the last challenge wouldn’t impact his vote tonight before Franky admitted to being extremely nervous. JT interjected to share his vote was decided by who he likes and trusts, before Dave tried and failed to deny the existence of an alliance. The boys then got sidelined by receiving – swoon – before Matt addressed the hidden immunity idol, which they quickly told him was not actually a secret. Matt continued to needle away at them to try and find out who was in danger though failed, before sending them off to vote. Once again for the strongest remaining female, Franky, and sending her out of the game as the third boot.

While Franky was feeling down when she arrived at Loser Lodge, her mood quickly improved upon discovering her favourite journo school – seriously, what is with all the journo connections this year? – lecturer was waiting in the wings. Despite overplaying and trusting the wrong people – looking at you Arun – the last episode, she had been playing a good, scrappy game that can only be played by someone on a flailing tribe. I then listed all the iconic victims of a terrible tribe – Gina from Marquesas, Angie from Palau, Liz from Samoa, Zane from Philippines etc. – and she quickly perked up. Which coincidentally is when I pulled out my Francauliflower Mash.

 

 

I was scared that this healthier version of mash wouldn’t go down well with our third boot, but damn was I wrong. Though given how amazing this tastes, I shouldn’t have doubted it. Light, creamy and velvety smooth, this is the tastiest winter warmer that won’t make you feel guilty.

Something something summer bodies … is this what I’ve become?

Enjoy!

 

 

Francauliflower Mash
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp unsalted butter
a dash of milk
¼ cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Cook the cauliflower in a steamer for five-ten minutes, or until tender and cooked through.

Transfer to a bowl with the butter, milk and salt and pepper, and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir through the parmesan cheese and serve immediately before, you guessed it, you devour.

 

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Libbean Vincek Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the three tribes became one and the war between Dom and Chris reignited. While the Naviti women wanted to stick Naviti strong and take out the more threatening Libby first, they couldn’t put an end to the pissing match to sway the numbers. Instead Dom threatened to play his fake idol, denied having an actual idol then played Sierra Dawn-Thomas’ legacy advantage – despite not getting any votes – as poor, bad rapping Chris found himself booted to become the King of the Jury.

Back at camp the tribe processed the first merge tribal, with Libby confused about why people keep targeting her and how she should work to change their perceptions of her. Or find an advantage, obvi. Meanwhile Dom was feeling relieved, thankful to no longer have Chris on his back and able to distract people from his threat status. Maybe.

The next day Wendell continued to be a God, quickly pulling together an island kitchen  – off topic, could you imagine he, Brad and Monica on a season together, him building a killer home, them decorating with found objects? It would be iconic, make it happen – while confirming with us that he is still firmly aligned with Laurel, Dom and Donathan, though wasn’t sure how things will play out with Chris around. He checked in with Laurel to make sure them were feeling ok and to reassure her, confirming Dom has an idol and hoping to win back her trust … before locking in a top four deal. To solidify that, he shared that he too had an idol which seems to have had the opposite effect, with her no longer sure she can trust him and debating whether she should pounce.

My boy Probst arrived on the scene for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split into teams of six, and then run across a floating bridge to the shore before shooting bags at tiles. It was for a Survivor Taco bar, but let’s ignore the fact that Jeff got creative with his pronunciation like Matty Chisholm, ok? Team Angela, Laurel, Wendell, Chelsea, Libby and Donathan got out to a quick lead and damn he looks good in his jocks. While Domenick evened things up, Laurel extended their lead while Sebastian, Donathan, Angela and Chelsea struggling to connect. The orange team evened things up before Libby had a turn and Wendell and his cakes heading back in to snatch the lead. Laurel went out for another turn, followed by Wendell before Laurel just missed the target, leaving Wendell to snatch victory for the purple team.

Before heading off for tacos, they opted not to select someone to attend Ghost Island, with the Survivor Gods instead channeling the white rock to send Jenna. She arrived hopeful for an opportunity to play for an advantage before quickly being disappointed to discover she was one of the unlucky visitors. While she was feeling dejected, her fellow outside Libby was feeling herself at the taco bar. They loaded up their plates, grabbed some fresh margs and toasted to their success. Wendell was thankful to find himself on reward with Laurel and Donathan, wanting to reconfirm their bond. Libby quickly asked them when she was targeted at the last tribal, with Angela and Chelsea assuring her it was simply an easy option and they wanted to break up her and Michael.

The next day Angela and Michael, who is young enough to be her son, joined together to float the idea about breaking up actual power couple Wendell and Dom. Angela was feeling her freedom from Chris and his inability to follow anyone else’s idea, she then took Michael’s concerns to Kellyn and Chelsea before stirring things up with Wendell, Dom and Des. While I love Michael, come through queen Angela and welcome to the game!

The tribe reconvened by the beach to discover an ominous table – yas yas yas, it is the gross food challenge! The first round required three people to scoff down two fish eyes, with Michael, Des and Laurel progressing and Libby, Donathan and Jenna eliminated from the competition. Probst lined up the rest of the castaways for their eyes, with Angela, Sebastian and Domenick moving on and Wendell, Kellyn and Chelsea eliminated. The next course saw the remaining castaways downing three live grubs, with Sebastian, Michael and Angela dominating the rest. For their third course, they had to down two massive sea slugs with Angela shoving them down her throat like a damn boss while Michael’s slow and steady approached kept him alive. The final round saw Michael and Angela downing some mother of pearl with Angela completely dominant with poor Michael struggling with each bite, ultimately securing herself immunity and showing the most personality she has all season.

Back at camp the tribe congratulated Angela on slaying dem slugs before quickly getting to work scrambling for the tribal ahead. Laurel and Donathan got to work finding an in with Des, Chelsea and Kellyn to figure out what they’re planning to do and try and come up with a counter plan. They took the plan to target Michael back to Michael and Jenna, with Michael wanting Malolo to stick together while Naviti splits the votes allowing them to take out the bigger threat of Wendell. Laurel and Donathan got together to weigh up their options, with Donathan feeling it is time to take out Wendell to even up the numbers a bit though scared it would make him a target. Dom then told Libby she was safe tonight before being contradicted by Donathan who fleshed out that the plan involved splitting the votes between her and Michael. Kellyn then joined Wendell and Domenick, with Kellyn lamenting she can’t get a read on Laurel and Donathan which made her feel insecure.

At tribal council Chris scrubbed up extremely well before Probst praised Angela for stepping things up and coming out of her shell, with Sebastian congratulating her ability to swallow a sea slug whole. While it was impressive, who can’t? Anyway Des said that big moves where critical to everyone’s game allowing Probst to remind them of the new round-table final tribal format, with Dom and Wendell praising it for favouring the big players. Once again, Michael got to work blowing things up at tribal reminding everyone that they can’t rely on safe – which Milk obvi agrees with. Laurel wants the Naviti tribe to use her while they have a chance, the Navitis acknowledge sticking together required some cult-level convincing. Again, Kellyn continued to harp on about Naviti strong while Michael continued to push to be used, to which I say, yas gawd.

The votes rolled in and Michael’s fear got the best of him, opting to play Ozzy’s fucking stick – not this one (NSFW, obvi) – which glowed the fuck up and saved him from the boot, negating the seven votes against him. Instead poor Libby found herself off to the jury, while Michael congratulated Wendell on a move well played to lowkey paint a bigger target on his back rather than his own.

Poor Libs was feeling quite down to be out of the game so soon, but was thankful to be one of the few Malolos to make the jury and therefore still a viable option in the love stakes. After perking her back up, I managed to get her to cloud nine as soon as she saw I was packing a piping hot Libbean Vincek Soup.

 

 

Packed full of hearty bean goodness, fresh creamy pesto and the warmth of a soothing, carby broth. How could you stay sad?

Enjoy!

 

 

Libbean Vincek Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery, thinly sliced
1 potato, finely diced
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
2L chicken stock
400g canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g crushed tomatoes
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup orzo
bunch of baby spinach
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and potato for a couple of minutes. Stir through pesto for a minute before adding the stock, beans, tomatoes and parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and add the orzo, and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Once the orzo is cooked through, stir through the spinach and parmesan and serve, devouring immediately … covering in extra parm-parm. Though obvi being careful because soup is hot as balls.

 

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Vodcara Delevingatoni

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

While I haven’t known Cara Delevingne for as long as some of the friends I’ve featured here, she is probably one of my best friends. Scrap that, is.

Given we’ve both got such busy schedules, Car and I don’t always get to spend as much time together as we’d like but when we do it is damn near perfection. Like that time I partied with her, Paris Jackson and Macaulay … which I can’t talk about. I’ve said too much.

As you know, we met during the filming of Anna Karenina when I was visiting Kiz and Az but what I didn’t mention is that we bonded over our close relationship with the Collinses. You see, my dear(ly departed) friend Jacks’ big sister Joan is her godmother and when you’ve got the Collinses as mutual friends, you’re destined for a beautiful relationship.

I made quick work of convincing her she could do better than bit roles in Kizza star vehicles, watched her bounce from Paper Towns to Pan and into the acting A-list with Suicide Squad. To say I am filled with pride is an understatement.

After catching up on each others’ lives since we last hung – I can’t confirm whether she and Paris Jackson are dating … but I also can’t not confirm they’re dating – and reminiscing about the good old days, I delighted her by whipping out a majestic and decadent Vodcara Delevingatoni.

 

 

Does anyone need something this rich, carby and heavy after the insanity that is Easter eating? No. But does anyone actually need anything? Yeah, confusing, inception … I’m on a high from this Carbone copycat of perfection and I can’t think.

Don’t judge me, don’t look at me … just enjoy!

 

 

Vodcara Delevingatoni
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
3 onions, sliced
100ml water
150g butter
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus extra
1.6kg canned crushed tomatoes
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups thickened cream
3 tbsp chilli paste
¼ cup vodka
500g rigatoni

Method
Combine the onion and water with 100g butter and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over low heat and cook for half an hour or so, or until softened but not coloured.

Combine the two tablespoons of salt, crushed tomatoes, raw caster sugar and olive oil in a saucepan and simmer for ten minutes, or until combined and slightly thickened.

Cook the rigatoni as per packet instructions.

Combine the tomato and onion mixture in a large saucepan with the cream, chilli, vodka and remaining butter, and cook, stirring until the sauce comes together and is cooked through.

Drain the pasta, add to sauce and stir to combine, adjusting seasonings as required.

Devour.

 

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Rio Summers Fruit Tart

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Baking, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the girls created avatars in the ANTM mobile game leading to Jeana being pissed about her lack of personality. Feeling the pressure, she then dived into Shanice and Khrystyana’s shoot, or so they thought, leading to some drama before Director X cleared things up at panel. Sadly it wasn’t enough to save her, with Khrystyana taking out best photo again and Jeana booted from the competition.

The top four returned to the house to celebrate Khrystyana’s 600th first call out, and for Kyla and Shanice, the demise of Jeana. Rio then shared a beautiful note that Jeana left her following her departure, though was thankful she was gone as her odds just got better. Khrystyana offered to have her join them in the other bedroom, though she didn’t want to give up her big bed and while I get it, ugh Rio. Tyra Mail arrived and warned the girls that it was throwback week and they’d have to recreate a past challenge, leading to a shit tonne of speculation and Rio and Shanice sharing their pride about how far they’ve come.

The next day the girls joined Ashley, Drew and Law to learn that they would be recreating the cycle 16 bubble runway of death. Stacey McKenzie returned to help the girls through the challenge before they dropped the bombshell that the eliminated queens – no quitters – would be returning to compete for a place in the new top four. The girls all reconnected, well except for Jeana and Rio as the latter was feeling frosty about her potential return, particularly if it is at the cost of her place. Law then told the girls that only the four best eliminated queens would temporarily move back into the house and compete to return after the shoot.

Rio struggled in the ball according to Jeana, though she did kill it so maybe she is an authority. All of the other girls seemed to struggle, even Queen Khrystyana, except for Christina, Kyla, Erin and Liberty. Erin took out victory in the challenge and was given a ticket back into the house, along with Liberty, Christina and Jeana much to the chagrin of Rio. Lol.

The potential returnees were feeling unloved back at the house, with Jeana really hurt by Rio icing her out as it triggered her memories of being bullied and isolated in school. Christina joined the OG top four from Rio mid-rant, before she vowed to raise hell if she is the one to be eliminated. Rio then took her rage next level, moving out of her beloved big bed and into the room with her fellow never-eliminees behind Jeana’s back. Seriously, Rio is losing it and it is scary but also glorious.

The models then arrived to recreate tarantula shoot from Cycle 3, posing with Eva who won that cycle and shot by former judge, all around babe and noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. The final four were paired with one of the potential returnees, Erin with Khrystyana, Liberty and Kyla, and obviously the drama pairs of Christina and Shanice – who felt safer with the tarantula – and Rio and Jeana. Liberty didn’t love the spider, though loved the experience with Nige. Erin was terrified and Khrystyana was annoyed that that made her have to suffer through more time with the spider. Erin then pulled out all stops and posed with the spider on her face. Eva pulled Jeana aside to talk her through the shoot, pissing off Rio who felt the entire thing was fake. Jeana then went on to dominate the shoot while Rio couldn’t get out of her head and looked weak as hell. Shanice then struggled the entire shoot while Christina completely dominated.

The girls arrived at panel where Tyra warned them all that Eva looked fierce in all the photos and they had better hope they brought it. Christina and Shanice were up first with Christina’s photo receiving universal praise and Shanice getting read for filth, though she admitted she hated the entire thing and wasn’t surprised. Rio and Jeana were up next with Jeana praised for owning the shoot and coming back to slay, while they felt Rio was lost and just floating through the competition. Liberty was praised for looking rich, while was no competition for Kyla whose photo was gorgeous. Khrystyana had a rare stumble and while Erin’s photo looked terrible, she was praised for owning the runway.

Kyla received best photo – though it kind of felt like it was by default – followed by Khrystyana, leaving Shanice, who has grown throughout the competition, and Rio, who has plateaued. As such Shanice was given a reprieve, despite the weaker photo and poor Rio was eliminated from the competition. With that Tyra turned her attention to the eliminated girls, with Jeana earning her place back in the competition much to rage of Shanice, Kyla and Khrystyana.

Now like Jeana last week, I know I’ve been harsh on Rio and while I did scream at her and let her know just how disappointed I was by her attitude, this week kind of showed just how much the competition had gotten to them both. While Jeana had the chance to reflect after her brief elimination, Rio couldn’t process losing and highlighted how desperate she was for the title. She cried, I held her tight – did I mention I was conducting clinical trials in the hospital she received treatment at and motivated her to take up modelling? Because I did – and sweetened the deal of her loss with a big fat slice of Rio Summers Fruit Tart.

 

 

Sweet, fresh and a little bit tart, this is the perfect reflection of her narrative arc on the show. From beloved to reviled, she brought it every week and TBH, this is the kind of tart you’ll want to devour every damn week.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rio Summers Fruit Tart
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
150g cold unsalted butter, plus 115g at room temperature
250g flour
50g icing sugar
salt, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
milk, optional (dependent on size of the egg, really)
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp spiced rum
¼ tsp almond extract
1 cup almond meal
3 peaches, sliced
1 cup blueberries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

To make the pastry, cut the cold butter into cubes and blitz in a food processor with the flour, icing sugar, a pinch of salt and vanilla. When resembling wet sand, add the egg and blitz until it just comes together to form a dough. You may need to add some milk if the egg is small, but you should be ok. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling and rest in the fridge for an hour.

Sprinkle some flour in a bench and roll the dough until it is roughly 3mm thick and press it into a 25cm loose bottom – yum – tart case. Trim off an any excess dough and return to the fridge for half an hour or so. When you’re ready, line with baking paper and fill with baking weights. Transfer to the oven and blind bake for ten minutes. Remove the baking weights and cook  for a further ten minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Leave the oven on while you beat the remaining butter and sugar in a stand mixer until it is so light it looks to be pulsating. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, followed by the rum and almond extract before removing from the stand mixer and folding through the almond meal. Smear into the tart case and smooth the top.

Press the peaches into the frangipane in any fashion you find aesthetically on point for you – dick and balls would look hella artistic, for instance – before pressing the blueberries around the gaps. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, our until the tart is golden and puffed and the blueberries are blistering.

Devour immediately with some ice cream. Sad model friend optional.

 

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Jack Falafelee

Main, Snack, Street Food, Vegetarian

While I haven’t known Jack for very long, as soon as I met him on the set of How to Get Away with Murder, I knew I had made a friend for life. You see, I was visiting my holy trinity of friends – not to be confused with Trinity Taylor nor BenDeLaChristViola, Alfie and Liza, but saw what Jack brought to the role of Connor and let’s just say, I was hooked.

And not just because he is beautiful.

Though obviously I was all over him like white on rice – “Jack, you’re so talented. We should rehearse that season 1 printer room sex scene, to make sure you fully get the nuances” – our relationship has remained mostly platonic. Despite my best efforts.

That being said, it is probably for the best because what has developed is a lovely bromance and – I hate myself for even typing this – I’m glad we haven’t marred that with a brief fling.

Jack was so excited to arrive down-under and kick-off his hiatus with me, his dearest friend.

Try as I might, he wasn’t able to share any intel on the potential fifth season, though was living for my idea about Coliver becoming Coliverjamin. I mean, swoon. Anyway, we lay out the potential plotline, laughed, cried etc. etc. the usual, which made us positively famished. Which made my Jack Falafelee a sight for the sorest of eyes.

 

 

Now I know you were probably expecting a big piece of meat, or at the very least some glorious cakes, but Jack is hella fit and focused on his triathloning – which I am sure is the correct term – so I went with a protein rich and healthy falafel. Plus – when they taste this good, even I can’t get enough. Like Jack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jack Falafelee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
800g canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli
¼ tsp cinnamon
small handful of parsley
½ cup flour
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil spray

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Chuck the chickpeas, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, parsley, flour, egg and a good whack of salt and pepper in a food processor. Blitz until smooth.

Using wet hands, shape the mixture into 8 patties and place on a lined baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray and cook for ten-fifteen minutes before flipping and cooking for another ten minutes, or until golden and brown.

Devour immediately with salad, Michael Flatley Bread, lemon and natural yoghurt.

 

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Grantbola

Baking, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hollywood. I mean, my relationships with the A-list of it inspired this patch of cyberspace … but sometimes it is nice just to hang out with a fellow Australian. And by that, Kiwi we adopted as our own after they became a success.

I first met Granty while working together on Blue Heelers in the ‘90s. You see, I created and wrote for the show, inspired by my experiences in the town of Mt Thomas in the ‘80s. Crime was so rife – 99% of them committed by me – that I knew it would make Aussie TV gold, and a legend was born.

But back to Grant. Grant walked in to audition and I instantly knew that he was the Wayne I had dreamed about and the rest, as I oft say, is history.

Grant was so grateful to me for giving him his big break that he pledged undying allegiance to me and begged me to guide his career. Given he worked on True Blood with Anna and Al, Ugly Betty with Alan Dale, I think you’d agree that my influence truly helped.

No shade to his talent though, obvi.

It was such a delight to hang out together, laugh about the good ol’ days with Sacky, McCune and Johnny Woods, reflect on the tragedy that was the latter seasons of True Blood – minus Skarsy’s peen shot – and devour some nourishing Grantbola for the day ahead.

 

 

Did I not mention we’re both morning people and work out together? We’re sickeningly cute bestos. Inspired by Sarah Wilson’s coconut-nut granola but made infinitely better thanks to the inclusion of fruits and other things you can’t eat after quitting sugar, this is the only granola you want in your life.

Enjoy!

 

 

Grantbola
Serves: 12-ish. Maybe? A soft maybe. I’m not sure, let’s call a shit-tonne and be done.

Ingredients
¼ cup coconut oil
3 cups coconut flakes
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
½ cup macadamias, roughly chopped
2 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
½ cup apple puree
½ cup craisins

Method
Preheat oven to 120°C.

Combine everything but the craisins in a large bowl until everything is coated and combined.

Spread across two lined baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes, toss, and cook for a further 10 or so, or until golden. Remove, toss through the craisins and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, devouring daily with yoghurt, fresh berries and, if you want to upset Sarah further, some Mahersharaspberry Coulis.

 

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Portia de Rosti

Breakfast, Side, Vegetarian

Oh my goodness, Portia is such a delight. I mean, if I could catch up with her every week I would. But tragically, that would make for a really boring slash even more niche patch of cyberspace, featuring only Porshie recipes.

But she is just so damn smart and kind, and I love her. Sue me.

As you know, I’ve known Porsh and Ells for years – fun fact, I was both of their Man of Honor at their wedding – but given their insanely busy careers, it is always hard to pin them both down at the same time.

“Ellen sends her love, obviously! She still wants to get you a cooking show. Why won’t you take her up on the offer?”

While the answer is obviously off the record, I am too much of a wallflower at this time … and am trying to play competing offers against each other.

Anyway empire building aside, it was such a joy to see Porshie again, catch-up and desperately try and get intel on the upcoming season of Santa Clarita Diet. While she didn’t open her mouth to spill the tea, she did open it to down some Portia de Rosti.

 

 

Velvety smooth and creamy on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, rosti are probs one of the top ten ways to enjoy the majesty that is potato.

Do you need me to say more? Just enjoy, damn it!

 

 

Portia de Rosti
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1kg potatoes, washed
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup parmesan, grated
salt & pepper, to taste

Method
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Once rollicking, reduce heat to medium and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through but still firm. Drain and allow to cool completely.

Once chill, grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl with the butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, add the potato mixture and press down to form a firm patty. Cook for ten minutes or so, or until golden and crisp. Flip the rosti and cook for a further 10 minutes until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from the pan, slice and devour immediately. Preferably with a kilo of bacon.

 

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