Rachon McAndcheesems

Main, Pasta, That Is So Fetch Week

While I am heartbroken to confirm that yes, this year’s Mean Girls day celebration, That’s So Fetch, is almost over, rejoice, because the queen bee herself is finally here! That is right, my dear friend Rachel McAdams aka Regina George is finally making her debut on this patch of cyberspace.

Despite only meeting on the set of Mean Girls, we quickly became the best of friends after she survived my Mr G-esque strength training to see whether she had what it takes to play Regina aka the worst parts of my character.

I was blown away by how someone so nice could so brilliantly capture how fundamentally awful I am, and decided to get her to show me how to be nice. While she failed at first and I lashed out, we reunited on the set of my then-boyfriend’s movie The Notebook, and we remained the best of friends. To the point where I gave her my blessing to pursue him after our relationship ended.

Anyway, I haven’t seen Rach since her son’s christening – I am obvs, godfather – so it was such a joy to reconnect, laugh about our fun times on set with Linds, Teens, Ames, Mands, Dan Fran, Jono and Lizzy – and Lacey, but obvi I can’t say that yet – whilst smashing a Rachon McAndcheesems.

 

 

Now I know mac and cheeses are fast becoming an over-catered market on this patch of cyberspace, I dare you to explain how the addition of bacon doesn’t send this to the next level. I mean, name a more iconic duo than bacon and cheese. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachon McAndcheesems
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, sliced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour, plus extra for dredging
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
150g parmesan cheese
250g cheddar cheese, plus extra for crumblin’

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Get the pasta cooking as per the packet instructions and cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat for five minutes, or until nice and crisp. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for a further minute. Add the butter to melt, and once foamy, add the flour, chilli, paprika, mustard and a cook whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and stir through the milk until smooth and combined. Add the cheeses to the saucepan and return to the heat until melted and combined.

By this point the pasta should be done, so drain and add to the saucepan and stir until well combined. Pour into a baking dish, top with additional cheese – potentially more than included in the dish, but who am I to say – and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Serve fresh and molten hot, obvi being careful whilst devouring.

 

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Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

As you will soon start to notice is a pattern, like Amanda – though unlike Dan or Jon – I am the reason that Lizzy Caplan scored the role of Janis Ian and as such, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join me and help celebrate this year’s Mean Girls’ Day celebration, That’s So Fetch Week.

Not that it wasn’t optional though, of course. Honestly.

Anyway, I met Lizzy through Seth Rogen and current Survivor cast-member Mike White on the set of Freaks & Geeks. While it was only her acting debut, she completely blew me away and I deemed her worthy of my tutelage.

Given I am an excellent teacher – don’t you dare say anything about those unable to do, teach – I finesse her skills and within a couple of years, she was knocking on Teens’ door and making her way onto the A-list.

Lizzy’s career has absolutely blown up following her breakout performance in Masters of Sex, so we sadly haven’t been able to pal around as often as we’d like. Thankfully as soon as she heard Mean Girls celebration, she dropped everything, ran into my home and giddily reminisced over a big old Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a tajine, if only for the general festive look of a tajine. Add in succulent chicken and the tart kick of lemon and olives, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells ya!

Enjoy!

 

 

Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
¼ tsp saffron threads
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
8 chicken thighs, bones in
olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 cinnamon quill
⅓ cup green olives, pitted and halved
2 Preserved Lemonika Radulovic, flesh removed and cut into strips
2 cups chicken stock
½ lemon, juiced
parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Method
Combine the garlic, ginger, saffron, paprika, cumin, chilli, coriander and turmeric with a a good whack of salt and pepper and blitz with a stick blender to form a thick paste. Rub the chicken thighs with the fragrant glob, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in the base of our tajine and sweat the onions on low for about ten minutes. Add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides. Add the cinnamon, olives, preserved lemon and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for half an hour.

When the chicken is completely falling off the bone, remove from the heat, stir through the lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve immediately on a bed of couscous and devour.

 

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Jonathan Dan Bennoodles

Main, That Is So Fetch Week

Hey, do you know what day it is? Of course you do! It’s October 3rd aka Mean Girls Day aka the entire reason for this year’s That’s So Fetch Week going public. I know you were probably hoping that Tina or Linds would be dropping by, but they have both already gone here … and Linds is still busy stopping that child trafficking ring. So following in Mands and Dan’s footsteps is none other than Aaron Samuels himself, Jonathan Bennett.

Aka the entire reason we have Mean Girls day.

As I alluded to yesterday, Dan Fran and I had a tragic break-up on the set of Mean Girls due by my infatuation for Jonathan which culminated in our torrid affair. Tragically it ended too – maybe because I am too much like Regina George – but Jono and I have been the best of friends ever since.

Hell, I even forgave him for writing the Mean Girls Cookbook without me, that is how close we are. Though considering he chose to go with an actual chef over someone that tries things he finds only and quadruples the garlic content and adds chilli, I really had no right being offended in the first place.

Giving how busy he has been successfully writing a cookbook and hosting a baking show, Jon and I haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like lately. I mean, as besties we Skype each day, particularly since I introduced him to his Amazing Race-r boyfie Jaymes, but there is nothing like the real thing of hanging out with your friends in the same room. Smashing some Jonathan Dan Bennoodles.

 

 

Once again proving my non-chef credentials, this dan dan was inspired by a couple of recipes I found online though hella simplified. And probably nothing like how it should taste. Rich, nutty, spicy and fresh, this baby will fill you with joy and put a fire in your belly. Given the heaping of chilli, obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan Dan Bennoodles
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g pork mince
3 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp raw caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
400g udon noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 cup baby spinach
1 bok choy, quartered
1 shallot, sliced

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the garlic and ginger for a minute. Add the mince and cook for a further couple of minutes before reducing the heat to medium and adding the chilli oil, spices, sauces, sugar, stock and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces.

Cook the udon as per packet instructions and add a tablespoon of cooking water to the pan if it starts to get too thick. Add the baby spinach and bok choy to the pan, and cook until heated through before tossing through the noodles.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with shallots and devour. Because it’s October 3rd.

 

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Preserved Lemonika Radulovic

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Preserve, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Brian was the last man standing, leaving Shane and Sharn to nervously try and find a way to stay alive. After approaching Shonella and realising there was no hope, they gallantly tried to snag immunity however tragically were beaten by Brian. With no other hope, Sharn went hunting for an idol which this time proved successful and remained hidden. And with that, a plan was floated to try and attract all the votes to Sharn instead of the alliance splitting the votes to keep both of them safe. Somehow their planned worked with Sharn negating three votes against her, Shane getting one and poor Queen Fenella becoming the Queen of the Jury.

Back at camp Shonee was absolutely shocked to still have Shane in the game and Fenella hanging with the boys in jury villa. Looking for answers she asked they get ready for bed before Sharn explained what the hell happened. Thankfully Shonee isn’t an idiot and was concerned that the failed vote split may have actually been deliberate, and if so, she needed to get to the bottom of it. Just as quickly as she said it, Brian admitted to us that it was definitely deliberate as he wants to go to the end with Fenella and Monika. And hot damn do I want Shonee to get her revenge!

The next day Monika marvelled that she was still in the game at final five, with only five days remaining. And given she got a confessional, me thinks she isn’t long for the game. Despite knowing that Sharn is a total threat and was concerned about her moving forward. Speaking of Sharn, she was hanging with her girl Shane as they celebrated their victory over Shonella.

Not one to rest on her yannys – sorry, laurels – Shane decided that now was the time to strike to form a new alliance so approached Shonee to see if she’d be interested to jump ship after losing his bestie. Their target obviously being King Grub as Shane is sick of him being disgusting, lazy and playing a villainous game. Sharn too was quick to befriend Shonee and see where they stood moving forward. She then straight up told Shonee that the bungled vote split wasn’t actually a mistake, and it was a move to save Shane. Shonee went to have a chat with Brian about Fenella’s boot and while he pretended to be sad about the situation, she did the better job hiding her rage. She then vowed to get her revenge and be sassy as fuck, and as heartbroken as I am about Fenella’s boot, I am LIVING for Shonee’s rage.

My love Jonathan returned for the reward which looked suspiciously like a car under a tarp. But who knows, maybe I am wrong? They would each use blocks to solve a word puzzle then shimmy along a beam to undo two bags of sticks which will then be used to build a long hard pole to reach a key through a gate. Oh and yeah, obvi, it was for a car. Brian got out to an early lead with Monika almost close behind, had she not screwed up the puzzle, leaving Shonee and Shane to chase him down. Brian started making his long, hard pole while Shonee and Shane worked on the second bag, and Sharn and Monika made their way to the beam. Brian’s first two attempts failed leaving Shonee and Shane to join him at the gate while Sharn and Monika desperately tried to cross the beam. Shonee tried and failed, as did Sharn who finally made it to the gate. Brian proved successful on his third attempt, begging the question, will the car curse remain?

Particularly since he promised it to Monika should he win. Jonathan further complicated things, telling him that he had also won a night away from camp with a real bed and a shit tonne of pizza. Which he would be able to share with one other person, stupidly picking Monika and leaving Shonee back at camp to be wooed by the rival alliance. And while they know it could come back to bite them, I don’t think they are worried enough. As Shonee will defend Fenella’s honour.

Brian and Monika pulled up at the site of the reward where they delighted in the comfort, chocolates, champagne and pizzas. Brian’s confidence continued to grow, given he has won countless immunity challenges and has an idol in his back pocket. He then admitted that he only selected Monika to share the reward because he doesn’t trust her to stay loyal if she spends too much time with Shane and Sharn. He then admitted to her that he also didn’t want to fuel their competitors, which reading between the lines says Shonee is competitive in challenges while you are not.

Meanwhile back at camp Shane and Sharn quickly got to work on Shonee, lamenting Brian’s challenge streak. Not an idiot, Shonee admitted that he sees her and Sharn as threats and as such, she is willing to flip sides and take him out. YAS YAS YAS, KWEEN. The trio agreed that the Sh- alliance is now formed and they will take out Brian and Monika, get to the end and defend Fenella’s honour. I mean, how fucking poetic?

The next day Brian and Monika awoke at the reward beach to find a bountiful breakfast, and Monika finally admitted that she is riding Brian to the end as nobody will vote for him at the end. Meanwhile at camp, the Sh’s all agreed that they will fight like hell to snatch immunity to finally take out Brian. Aka the newest king, if Benji is still narrating somewhere around the world?

Obviously this led to the immunity challenge where the castaways would be required to build a fire in a drum attached to the end of a seesaw. Once rollicking, they would then need to run to the ocean and fill the other end of the seesaw with water to raise the fire and burn through a rope. Given the challenge involved making fire it didn’t look too exciting as they all worked away and Brian panicked. Shane was obviously the first to get a flame, which she quickly parlayed into a full blown fire. Sharn too snagged a flame, which started to catch on to her epic wooden teepee, leaving her to go get water and start working to lift her flame. As Sharn and Shane pulled away, Brian grew more and more concerned, begging Shonee to tell him how they built their fires before telling her not to panic. Eventually Sharn sent her fire soaring, leaving the flames to lick at the rope while desperately trying to keep it up long enough to secure immunity. Which she managed to do, bursting into to tears as she realised she made it into the final four.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Sharn on her immunity win, while Brian seethed about it being his worst case scenario as he will have to take out his goat Shane. Sadly for him, Shonee was no longer interested in their alliance and was totally going to flip on them. Brian decided he needed to appear nervous, so went out idol hunting despite it not being required. The SH trio planned to take out Brian and then Shonee went for a walk to get water, hoping to entice Monika and Brian to the well to lock in their plans. Brian soon followed and was assured by Shonee that they hadn’t been able to convince her to flip, however he was concerned that Shane wasn’t feeling nervous.

Shonee took this intel back to Sharn and Shane, leading to Shane giving a performance of nervousness that truly is not to be fucked with. Shane then headed off to Monika to highlight how nervous she is, and poor Monika bought it all and felt sorry for the beast. She then took the performance to Brian, who admitted that he was also feeling nervous. In the next scene he was asleep on the beach, so I’m not sure how nervous he was really feeling. So much so that Sharn and Shonee deduced that he had an idol, and as such, Shonee suggested that they change the vote to Monika just to be safe.

At tribal council Queen Fenella slayed in a jumpsuit with the boys, while Sharn rejoiced in having immunity. On the flipside, Brian admitted to feeling nervous about the upcoming vote though said that he hoped to survive the upcoming vote and get the immunity necklace back ASAP. Brian tried to downplay his challenge wins, while Shane decided to go all in, calling out why he picked Monika and questioned why he wouldn’t want to share a bed with her. Brian continued to make blunders, saying that Monika was only selected because he couldn’t trust her not to flip while he was confident in Shonee to stand firm.

Changing tact, Jonathan pointed out that Sharn too is a challenge threat and as such, is she looking to take out Brian when she has the chance. Shonee continued to pretend to be the loyal ally, calling out Sharn and Shane as they all smirked at each other. Shane too jumped in on the performance, playing the defeated next boot and guilting the hell out of Monika. Talk soon turned to idols, with Monika admitting to being nervous about them while Brian spoke about not being worried about them, signalling that he clearly has an idol. Jonathan grew weary of Brian’s sinking performance, asking why he isn’t fighting harder. In comparison, Shane told everyone how much she loves the game and she would love people to help her out and keep her around.

With that the tribe voted, followed by Brian playing his hidden immunity idol much to the shock of his tribemates. Or faux shock at least, as the Sh alliance joined together to send Monika from the game in fifth place while flushing Brian’s idol.

Given Mon is an absolute delight however, she walked into the Jury Villa and TBH made my job super easy. Some light compliments here, some questions about why she looks better after 46 days on an island than I do twenty minutes after getting out of the shower there, and I barely even needed to crack the Preserved Lemonika Radulovic.

 

 

While they aren’t the best thing to eat straight out of the jar – hey, don’t tell Mon that! – these babies are the perfect thing to elevate any Moroccan dish. Or to whip up as a cute Christmas gift. Because it is October – third to be in fact, happy Mean Girls day! – and that means Halloween is rolling into Thanksgiving and Christmas and you need to prepare.

So no pressure. Oh, and enjoy!

 

 

Preserved Lemonika Radulovic
Makes: 1L.

Ingredients
8-12 lemons, quartered
150g salt
1 cinnamon quill
2 cloves
2 allspice berries
4 black peppercorns

Method
Sterilise a large mason jar.

Place a heaped tablespoon of salt on the bottom of the jar and top with a couple of layers of lemons, smooshing down as you go to release the juices. Place the cinnamon quill and half the remaining spices on top, top with a layer of salt and another couple layers of lemon.

Add the remaining spice and repeat the process of salting and smooshing the lemons until the jar is almost full. If the fruit hasn’t released enough fruit, top with additional juice until the lemons are all covered.

Seal the jars and leave them in a cool dark place for six weeks – kinda like how the editors left us in the dark about Mon until belly-flopgate – or until the lemons are preserved and the salt has completely dissolved and the juice is consistency of hand sanitiser. Refrigerate once they’re ready … for devouring over time.

 

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Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor zaddy Steve was titled Dead Man Walking and sent to exile beach to continue to look like a babe. Strong, silent, solo and sexy. Despite dominating the immunity challenge from the start, he was tragically pipped at the post by Brian allowing him to use his bond with Shonella to try and take him out. Sadly for them, Monika was being wooed by Sharn and Shane though despite things looking hopeful, poor Steve was sent to the Jury Villa and we missed out on the chance of having Michelle Bridges appear at the family visit.

Side note: could you imagine if it were a family visit where the family compete. Swoon. Swoon. We fucking missed out. Swoon.

The next day Brian was feeling proud to be the last man standing, and celebrated by smashing a secret pawpaw. He was also feeling super confident thanks to his strong four person alliance, which feels like it is going to come back and bite him in the butt, right? Shonella too decided to go have some secret pawpaws, thrilled that people continue to underestimate them despite the fact they’re a power couple who are the last remaining people from their tribe and continue to slip through unnoticed. Well, until Brian wanders through and finds them smashing said pawpaw, despite their best attempts to chuck it out and run away. Which is what I would do slash why I love them. Oh … and they’re either the final two or are about to get screwed.

On the other end of the spectrum, poor Shane was feeling all the feels now that she has lost her bestie, my zaddy Steve. Add in the fact she and Sharn are a duo up against four people, and everything is hopeless for the woman not to be fucked with. Knowing they were screwed Sharn tried to go idol hunting to find a way out of said mess, though as a backup hoped that they could try and get Shonella to join them to take out Brian instead. Sharn checked in with Shonella, who weren’t really open to her suggestions given that her attempts to sow seeds of distrust actually reinforced what Brian had previously told them. Shonella then started to feel confident about their position and damn, now I am really nervous about our Queens.

Shonee took the intel back to Brian, which pissed him off and made him decide that Sharn needs to go next. Despite that already being his plan, since that is what she told the girls to try and get them to flip. Anyway, as such Brian went to Sharn to see what went down slash show her that he is the one in control. She admitted to trying to get him out, he identified her as the biggest threat and Sharn knew that she couldn’t ever trust Shonella. Sharn then went idol hunting in the hopes of a miracle and lo and behold, she found one and essentially channeled Shane by saying that she is now the one not to be fucked with.

Not wanting to leave us in suspense for too much longer Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways would have to a long, hard horizontal pole for as long as possible. Last person hanging wins immunity. Which is where I assume I would shine on the show, since that is where my limited skills lie. That being said, it isn’t really riveting viewing and after ten minutes downwind from Brian ‘Grubby Bum’ Lake, Fenella dropped followed closely by Sharn and Shane. Brian tried to convince Shonee to drop reassuring her that she is safe, though the icon had no intention of dropping. After twenty-five minutes Monika did a rare back-flop off the pole, leaving Brian and Shonee to battle it out for immunity. After half an hour Brian continued to beg Shonee to trust him, making her laugh as she thought he should be able to trust her. Ultimately though Shonee dropped, handing Brian his third immunity and guaranteeing a woman would finally call the jury home. Which just made me realise how much I would love being juror number six. Swoon.

Back at camp Brian was feeling super confident now that he is safe. Shane went for a water run, with Sharn stalking closely behind leaving the power alliance time to confirm how to split the votes. With that out of the way, Brian and the girls lay back to enjoy the sun leaving Sharn and Shane the opportunity to scramble for a solution. Sharn filled Shane in on her idol, which she was happy about however realised that that left her screwed, inspiring Shane to find a way to convince everyone to throw their votes on Sharn in order to get rid of Fenella with the idol.

Shane decided her best chance would be to play into Brian’s ego, praising him in the hopes of getting him to vote for Sharn. She then went to Monika to play up Sharn’s threat level, juicing the hell of her as she loved playing the sneaky game. Monika pulled Sharn aside to tell her about Shane’s betrayal, unaware that they were working together to put the target solely on her back to execute their idol play. Monika returned to camp, assuring everyone that Sharn is behaving exactly how they should expect and clearly doesn’t have an idol. Confident, Brian then took Shonella aside and suggested that they should just throw a vote behind Shane and the rest on Sharn. Which Shonella were very against … as they headed out to tribal.

At tribal council Steve continued to be bae – albeit a salty one – while Brian revelled in his winning form leaving Shane to dominate him and calling him a sloth based off the immunity challenge. Once more proving not to fuck with Shane Gould. Fenella and Monika praised him on laying low and making a move when needed, while Shane pretty much said it was unlikely that he will actually make it to the end. Brian however said he had faith in his allies, much to Steve’s chagrin. Shane spoke about being left right out with Sharn and that one of them would be going home tonight, with Brian defending his alliance as the OG underdogs and that Shane and Sharn shouldn’t get sympathy. They then spoke about the alliance eventually needing to turn on each other and as such, it isn’t very safe. JoJo asked Fenella whether she and Shonee were dangerous as a pair, with Fenella pointing out that there are three pairs left and they are all just as dangerous. Sharn countered that their is still a hierarchy and as such her pair is powerless and that being trustworthy should count for something.

With that the tribe voted and Sharn, as expected, played her latest idol negating three votes against her and somehow, some way sending Fenella out of the game. Much to Shonee and my rage. I was screaming into the abyss off the edge of the jury villa, wondering why they wouldn’t stick to the vote split. Just to be safe. Since it was completely doable. Unless, that was Brian’s wicked plan all along, in which case, well played. But why did it have to be Fenella. I don’t know if it was because she was down a bestie or because I was clearly spiralling, but she walked into the villa, scooped me up in her arms and told me it was all going to be ok. While I didn’t believe her, it was at that moment I caught a waft of Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls and started to feel ok.

 

 

The sweetness of the apples and aniseed of the fennel work together to make these babies a next level sausage roll experience – no offence Alyssa, Keira or Kim, obvi. Throw in the flaky pastry and the view of zaddy Steve swimming laps in the pool and I was in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground, plus extra whole ones for sprinkling
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 granny smith apples, grated
1kg minced pork
½ cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
3 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrot, fennel, chilli and apple and cook for a further ten minutes or so, until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once hella chill like Shonella being baller, transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, breadcrumbs and a big whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the pastry on a clean surface and place a thin sausage shape of the meat mixture in the middle. Brush one of the long edges with egg and roll the pastry halves to form sausage rolls.

Cut into 2-3 inch rolls and place on lined baking sheets. Brush with egg, sprinkle with fennel seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Devour, in honour of one half of the greatest duo in Australian Survivor history babes.

 

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Chicken Daniel Francese

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

Unlike Mands, I didn’t meet Dan Franzese – or Dan Fran, as I prefer to call him – until we were on the set of Mean Girls. Given it was based on my life story, I had offered Tina support in coaching the three actors whose characters which were based on me; Regina, her mum – when Ames plays your future self, you know you’ve made it – and too gay to function Damian.

After five minutes in the trailer, I noticed that Dan didn’t need any help with the character, instilling Damian with humanity that my teenself couldn’t even fathom having. So instead, we hung-out. And by hung-out, we commenced a torrid affair.

While you will soon find out that out all-too-brief affair ended in a total disaster, we remained friends against all odds and I am so proud of the career that Dan Fran has gone on to have. Despite me vowing to ruin his career, even though I was in the wrong when our relationship ended. Hell, I even suggested him to Jonathan for a role in looking!

Damn – why am I admitting fault?

Given he is busy being a successful boss, we haven’t had the joy of spending as much time together as we would like. As soon as Dan Fran walked into my room, he lit the place up with his beautiful soul. Which off topic reminds me that I need to see Jesse McCartney ASAP.

Anyway … he lit up the room and TBH, that is to be expected when a big plate of Chicken Daniel Francese is awaiting you.

 

 

Lightly coated chicken for optimal crunch, combined with a punch of garlic and lemon works to create a mouthwatering delight. Add in the fresh hit of parsley – which I never thought I would say but it really makes it sing – and I just can’t stop.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Daniel Francese
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
2 eggs, whisked
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lemon, half sliced and the other half juiced
½ cup dry vermouth
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Combine a cup or two of flour in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. In a second bowl whisk the eggs with a couple of tablespoons of water.Flatten the chicken breasts with the back of a frying pan until they’re about 2cm thick.

Heat a good lug of oil in the base of a pan over medium heat. When scorching, dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg and transfer to the skillet to cook for about five minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Add a knob of butter to the pan and cook the lemon slices and garlic for a minute or so. Add the vermouth, stock and lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to simmer for five minutes, stirring through the parsley towards the end. Return the chicken to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Serve chicken topped with a slice of lemon and drowned in sauce, for optimal devouring.

 

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Amanda Seyfried Brie

Party Food, Side, Snack, That Is So Fetch Week

I had had a dream that Lindsay Lohan would be able to drop by as a surprise first That Is So Fetch Week, Mean Girls Day celebration but then she started attacking Syrian woman in Moscow – on transit here, no less – and I thought mamma mia, I can’t have her here right now so quickly booked a private jet for Amanda Seyfried and brought her visit up a day.

Mand and I first met through the divine Susan Lucci. Suze was completely in awe of her talent, gave me a call and said, “Ben my dear. I’ve found another ingenue that you just have to meet and shape her career so that she can become a star.”

Obviously I take Susan’s opinion very seriously, so I jumped on the very next plane to the All My Children set to see for myself.

Immediately, I was taken by her talent and I grabbed my rolodex of hate because I hate the phone, not my friends obvi. Oh and yeah, I coined the term, but whatevs – to see if there was anything my friends were doing that would be suitable.

Tina doll, aren’t you writing that movie about bullying?” I naively said, implying that Mean Girls would just be a story of my life, rather than an iconic film.

“I’ve met this girl and I feel she could add some depth to the bimbo girl I told you about from school.”

With that, Mands snatched the role of Karen and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I don’t even mind that she has co-starred with Meryl twice while I am yet to make it into one of her movies.

Given how busy she has been with Mamma Mia 2 and raising her young girl, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like. But thankfully our friendship is one that you can slip straight back into like no time has passed at all. Though how could things be awkward when you’ve got a plate of Amanda Seyfried Brie sitting in front of you.

 

 

Hot and gooey on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, these fried portions of cheese prove that sometimes, somehow, you can improve on perfection. So like hang in there, you know? Maybe I should be a motivational speaker too …

Enjoy!

 

 

Amanda Seyfried Brie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
250g brie
1 egg, whisked
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Cut the brie into wedges. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs in a second and a heap of flour in the third with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Coat the brie in flour, dip it in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined plate and leave to set for fifteen minutes or so … before re-dipping in the egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour.

When you’re ready to go, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and when nice and hot, cook a few pieces at a time for a minute or so, flipping once, or until golden brown.

Devour immediately with Chillijamin McKenzie, being careful of the molten cheese.

 

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That Is So Fetch

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, That Is So Fetch Week

Good news everybody, as I’m not a regular mom – I’m a cool mom! – I’ve decided to relax some of my rules and invite you in to this year’s Mean Girls celebration.

Even if you don’t go here, you can sit with us.

Even if it isn’t Wednesday or you’re not wearing pink, you can go Glen Coco.

Even if you smell like a baby prostitute, I say boo you whore … get in, we’re going shopping!

For ingredients, obvi, as the gang’s (almost, Linds, Ames and Teens are busy, gave their blessing and have already been featured) all dropping by to honour Mean Girls day.

And that is SO fetch.

Image source: Screenshot of Mean Girls.

 

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Blu Cancheese Dressing

Condiment, Dip

Today marks our fourth anniversary on the interwebs and I feel like I’ve taken to quoting Jonathan Van Ness more and more frequently but … can you believe? Anyway, given it is a birthday that means I needed to organise a little party, so I decided to reach out to my girl Blu Cantrell and asked her to hit me up style and help celebrate.

Which she obviously said yes to, otherwise this would be a total waste of a post, no?

I’ve known Blu for years after meeting while auditioning Puff’s back-up singers for him in the mid ‘90s. I was completely blown away by her talent and told Diddy that he’d be mad not to take her on, whilst secretly working to make her a star.

Fast forward a few years, Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) became a hit, earned her two Grammy noms and once again, I succeeded. Maybe my lot in life is to elevate people to fame rather than snag an EGOT of my own while winning America’s Next Top Model after losing weight on Survivor in full Drag?

JK, I deserve an EGOT.

As you can imagine, Blu was honoured to be selected to drop by for our anniversary celebrations. And while some people would argue that she is a left-field choice, she has had a rough couple of years and as a dear, sweet friend, I wanted her to feel special.

We laughed, we cried, we reconnected, and most importantly, came up with a way to thrust us both firmly into the spotlight. Though that, my non-famous friends, is a story for another time. While you wait, why not whip up some Blu Cancheese Dressing and see if you come up with the same idea we did whilst gulping it down?

 

 

Smooth, creamy and packing a hell of a punch of pungent blue cheese, this dressing is truly the best. Well, to accompany Buffalec Baldwin Chicken Meatball Poppers or any form of buffalo flavoured things.

Buffalo as in chilli wings, not the animal. We’re not Jessica Simpson, though she is a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blu Cancheese Dressing
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the blue cheese, garlic, sour cream, mayo and buttermilk in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Decant and down.

 

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Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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