Nico Tortellini

Main, Pasta

Sorry for the delay with this week’s recipe, I am only just coming down from my wonderful week at a private villa with Nico. While it was only meant to be a friendly catch-up between friends, Nico is truly intoxicating … and like Joni Mitchell, I couldn’t help but drink a case of him.

As you know, I first met Neeks through Mich and Corbs on the set of the egregiously shortlived TBL, and while I’d love to say it were his brains and many talents that drew me to him, our sexual chemistry is what brought us together.

Thankfully it didn’t take long for me to see him as the kind, wise and talented individual that he is, and we became friends after being lovers. Which kinda flips Bolton’s rule, no?

Anyway … let’s get to the good stuff. I picked Nico up from the airport, it was hot and humid and we drove to a private villa not far from the scene of the cage-fighting accident with Miley that rendered Annelie out of action on here.

We swam, we laughed and we literally ticked all the boxes. It was, as you would expect, glorious.

When it came to nightfall, we were absolutely ravenous for something carby and glorious, that could easily be eaten off a body Samantha-in-SATC-style. Which meant I obviously went for a Nico Tortellini.

 

 

“It is so thoughtful,” he said as I brought it to the table.

“Creamy, hot and spicy, and packed full of sausage – it is everything this week has been.”

Enjoy!

 

 

Nico Tortellini
Serves: 4-6 … or 2 starved lovers on Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients
1 cup ricotta
½ cup emmental
½ cup grana padano
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg, lightly whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
60 gow gee wrappers
olive oil
6 spicy Italian sausages, excluding your lover’s
3 garlic cloves, minced
small handful mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 cups baby spinach
300ml double cream
½ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Method
Combine the ricotta, emmental and grana padano cheeses in a bowl with the nutmeg, egg and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Grab your gow gee wrappers, a pastry brush and a half-filled mug of water. Spoon out a large teaspoon of mixture into the centre of each gow gee wrapper, lightly brush the edges with water and fold the pastry in half leaving you with a filled semicircle. Take the two edges and turn them into to each other and press together to form a large tortellini … because I love his large tortellini.

Once they’re all ready, get a big pot of salted water boiling over high heat. When bubbling as aggressively as your chemistry, add the pasta and cook for five minutes, or until they are all floating. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

While the pasta are cooking, heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and push meatball-sized pieces of meat out of the sausage and cook for a couple of minutes, or until they’re all cooked. Add the garlic and mushroom and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the mushies are softening and the kitchen fragrant. Add the chilli, sundried tomatoes, spinach and double cream and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and season well.

Return the tortellini to the pasta pan, pour over the sauce and toss until well covered. Serve immediately, in a bowl, on your sexy lover or both, the latter two after they’ve adequately cooled, ovbi.

Sprinkle with even more cheese – sausage’s best accompaniment – and devour.

 

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My love bomb, about to explode

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Ah, Nico. Nico. Nico, Nico, Nico. How I love thee, my dear Nico.

I’ve known Nico for close to ten years, after meeting on the set of The Beautiful Life through my friends Corbs and Mish. To say the deep sexual attraction was instant, is an understatement.

After the tragic felling of our mutual friend Milk on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I was feeling sooo emotional – am I right, Sash? – so called Nico to see if he wanted to reconnect.

“Oh Ben, I’d love to spend Valentine’s with you,” he giddily screamed into the phone.

“I’m on the next plane, I won’t need to pack much … I can’t wait.”

He then sent me this picture.

Well this should be a fun week, I guess …

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Pie Float Newton

Gravy, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food

Oh how bittersweet it was to reconnect with moonface, during the most rare lunar occurance – the super blue blood moon – in our lifetimes. Apparently, anyway. While I can confirm he is doing far better than the media cares to report – he is not on death’s door, nor does he have a gambling prob – he is getting on in age.

And the fact he kept patting me on the back saying, “Ben, my boy.”

You’d think he’d learn, no?

“This is a once in a lifetime event.”

Only served as a reminder that he won’t be around forever. It also further proved the fact eldery people love to bash the media for lies, but also take their word as truth if it suits. I mean, is this super bloody blue balls moon really that rare? Please answer in the comments below.

Anyway, I’ve gone well off topic so will start to work my way back. I first met Bertie in the early ‘60s through my ex-boyfriend Graeme Kennedy, and we became the fastest of friends. While Grae and I didn’t last, my friendship with Bert did and I helped guide his career, from late night, to game shows, to midday and most importantly, morning programming.

So as is oft the case, you’re welcome.

While I couldn’t convince him to make yet another comeback, TV or otherwise, I could convince him to split an iconic Pie Float Newton to toast his contribution to Australian, nay, global culture.

 

 

Now I know these don’t look overly appetising, nor do they look moderately healthy, but daaaaamn are they good. I mean, pie and mash is perfect, pie and gravy is glorious, and pie with peas sings. How can you go wrong by combining them all … with sauce?

Not possible, so enjoy!

 

 

Pie Float Newton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 individual beef pies – you could make a bigger version of Mini Beaf Arthur & Mushroom Pies or Pie-an Ziering without the blue cheese, or you know, go with Four’n’Twenty. I ain’t judging … much
olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
5 washed potatoes, diced
2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
tomato – aka tommie – sauce

Method
Cook the pies as per their recipe, or the packet instructions you bloody bludger, strewth cobber.

While that is happening, heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the shallots for a couple of minutes or so. Add the peas and stock, bring to the boil, reducing to low once rollicking and simmering for half an hour, or until the liquid is reduced. When there is about 1cm of stock left, mash the peas until semi-smooth.

Meanwhile place the potato in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain and return to the pot with half the butter, milk, a whack of salt and pepper, and the parmesan. Mash until smooth.

And just to add to your cleaning, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once frothing, add the flour, whisk to combine and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and whisk in the stock before returning to the heat and bringing to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes or until it is your desired consistency. Season and remove from the heat.

To serve, layer a bed of mash on your plate, top with some peas, then the pie … then drown in gravy and squirt with some tommie sauce. Because apparently, that was critical to the floater.

Then devour … or shame eat. Though you shouldn’t feel shame for loving something so damn good.

 

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Once in a blue moon

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Good news – this week is reverting back to our regularly scheduled programming (aka, no more celebratory weeks until the Oscars).

That being said, programming may be back to normal however the lunar cycles are not, with a super rare, super blue blood moon arriving this Wednesday. Between that and the fact we just marked Australia Day – which should definitely be changed, FYI – I realised there was only one friend I could call to drop by.

Moon face himself, my dear friend Bert Newton.

What says I love you, you’re an icon (you look like Linda Evangelista, did you stone those tights yourself) and I’d love to celebrate you … still being alive?

Image source: Unknown, but highly likely TV Week.

 

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Jimmychangas Fallon

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

To be honest, this marathon month of celebration is really starting to exhaust me and I’m feeling desperate to just relax and have a laugh while celebrating this year’s Grammys. And no tea, no shade to Whits, Burt, Tom or Madge, but there is no friend funnier than my fave chum Jimmy Fallon.

Well no one funnier that had won a Grammy. And was available, at least.

I first met Jimmy whilst loitering around 30 Rock to try and get Lorne Michaels to forgive me and let me join the cast of SNL finally. Whilst that obviously did not occur, I did befriend Jim when he was walking in and out of the studio. Did he mistake me for a beggar for the first six months of our friendship? Yes … but it showed that we truly did have a lovely relationship.

As is oft the case, i made his career my top priority and vowed to make him a star. I started by getting him to dip his toe in the cinematic pond, before making him quit SNL to defend my honour … and ultimately, release a comedy album that would go on to bag him a Grammy.

Since that is his winning category, he was thrilled to sit down and run the odds with me. He agreed that it is Jerry Seinfeld’s Grammy to lose … though can’t bring himself to count out Dave Chappelle. When it came to spoken word, however, we knew that there was no one beating my girl Carrie Fisher. Fuck I miss Caz.

Talking about Carrie got me feeling hella emotional, so it was fortuitous timing that I was already balls deep on making some Jimmychangas Fallon.

 

 

Hot and spicy, fresh and comforting, this usually fried delight is just as perfect when oven baked. But I guess, can you go wrong with something slathered in cheese, sour cream, guac and chilli?

You can’t, so enjoy!

 

 

Jimmychangas Fallon
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 red chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 shallots, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1kg brisket
olive oil
1 tbsp ground chilli
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
pinch of cinnamon
1L beef stock
12 flour tortillas
grated cheese, to serve
sour cream, to serve
guacamole, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Method
Place the chilli, cumin, coriander seeds, pepper, oregano, shallots and garlic in a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste. Blitz in a good lug of olive oil and transfer to bowl. Add the brisket and rub to coat, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, heat a lug of oil in a large skillet seal the meat for a minute or two on each side. Add the chilli, smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute before adding the stock and bringing to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for three to four hours.

Remove beef from the pan and rest before bringing the heat back up to reduce the liquid. After about ten minutes of rest, shred the brisket with a couple of forks and return to the sauce. Continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to chill completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place a couple of tablespoons of the brisket along one edge of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll to form a small burrito and tie in the centre with kitchen string. Repeat the process until done. Brush with olive oil, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and remove the string from each. Top with some grated cheese and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Serve immediately, slathered with sour cream, guac and sriracha. Though be careful when devouring, since they’ll be bloody hot.

 

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Tom Crumpetty

Breakfast, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Snack, Vegetarian

After kicking this year’s Grammy Gold – Goldenade for those playing at home – off on an emotionally draining note with Whits, followed by a soul affirming date with my boy Burt, I was starting to feel disoriented. Almost like I was in an emotional free fall, which led to me calling my dear friend Tom Petty and begging him to come over to celebrate the Grammys.

Then I remembered that he tragically passed away but a few months ago and I truly felt like I was freeeeeeeeeeee. Free fallin’. I reversed the delorean out of the garage and this time set a course for earlier last year, to see him one last time and honour his legacy in the way that he deserves.

Since I obviously couldn’t take to him about this year’s nominees, lest I spoil his death, I ran the odds for the Rock/Alternative categories alone. I was obviously feeling misty while heading back because I opted to mark Best Rock Performance down for Leonard Cohen over the Foo Fighters. Metal Performance I closed my eyes and pointed at Code Orange, Best Rock Song I think will go to Metallica while Best Rock Album will go to Queens of the Stone Age … and Alternative Album should obviously go to Arcade Fire.

With that out of the way I charted my course back to last year to hang with Tom, and by George was it not the most delightful thing I’ve experienced in years. Tom and I have known each other for years, meeting when he was putting together the first line-up of the Heartbreakers. While he egregiously snubbed my audition for the bassist, the decade of stalking and torment eventually led to friendship and we’ve been the best of since the mid-80s.

I may or may not have bequeathed him a little song I wrote called free fallin’.

Anyway, Tommy was thrilled to see me and we laughed, fondly reminisce about our friendship and I was finally able to get the closure I desperately wanted after his death. In turn, he got to smash a batch of my Tom Crumpetty, so he was hella chuffed.

 

 

Light, fluffy and springy, there is nothing better than a freshly cooked crumpet. Even the ones that don’t exactly look the part. I mean, I tried my best but I just couldn’t be bothered greasing the crumpet rings and therefore, we got some jagged little edges like it were last year’s celebration. In any event, however, they taste delicious.

So enjoy!

 

 

Tom Crumpetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups milk
¼ cup butter, plus extra for cooking
2 tsp raw caster sugar
7g dried yeast
3 cups plain flour
sea salt, to taste
1 tsp bicarb soda

Method
Combine the milk and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until butter melts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 40°C.

Meanwhile combine the sugar and yeast in a small jug and slowly whisk through a cup of  the cooling milk and butter mixture. Cover and allow to get foamy for 5 minutes or so.

Combine the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and slowly whisk through the yeast mixture, followed by the remaining warm milk until smooth and combined. Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for a couple of hours.

Once risen, whisk the bicarb with 50ml warm water and beat into the batter. Cover, return to its warm place and prove for a further half hour.

Heat a frying pan over low heat and melt a little bit of butter. Add crumpet rings and fill ⅔ way up with batter. Cook until the mixture is hella bubbly and a skin forms on top, about five minutes, before removing the rings, flipping and cooking for a further minute. Remove and keep warm, and repeat the process until all the batter is done.

Then, obvi, devour slathered in more butter and honey.

 

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Rice Kheer Smith

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I bet you thought, how do you top spending time with Dawson himselfJVDB, obvi – as part of the Dawson’s Creek 20th Anniversary celebration? And not just Dawson – yes, here it comes – but Josh, Katie and Mezzy-B too. The answer, obvi, is the man that first awakened my sexuality on screen Kerr Smith.

While obviously Josh Jacks had well and truly awakened my sexuality by the time Kerr arrived on the set, the character of Jack McPhee – and him posing naked for Joey’s painting – showed me that homosexuality was a thing. And daaaaaaamn boy, paint me like one of your French girls.

Fun fact: seeing that painting scene inspired me to travel back and journey on the Titantic, lure a pleb into a romance and get him to draw me wearing only a locket. Sure he could have fit on the door with me when I was clinging to life, but I wasn’t ready to make that sort of commitment just yet. Anyway, it inspired the movie Titanic and that is why Jack didn’t get on the door.

End. Of. Story.

Anyway, we became the best of friends on set and while it never became romantic between us, his responsibility as a straight white man playing an LGBT character made him feel like he needed to support me out of the closest. He truly is, a sweetheart.

I haven’t seen Kerr in a couple of years so was pleasantly surprised when he sauntered through the arrivals AND COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED INTO A ZADDY. After fainting in his arms, I pulled myself together and got to work celebrating his masterful work as Jack and slurping up a big bowl of Rice Kheer Smith.

 

 

Is this just a gussied up rice pudding? Sure. Is it also just fucking delicious? Of course. Lightly spiced, delicately sweet and now requirement for teeth. It is, truly, perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rice Kheer Smith
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 cups milk
½ cup rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup muscovado sugar
4 cardamom pods
¼ cup raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
slivered almonds, to garnish

Method
Place the milk and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the cardamom pods and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the milk is starting to thicken.

Add the sugar, raisins and cinnamon, and cook until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well incorporated.

Remove the cardamom pods and serve, or refrigerate until cold. I, personally, prefer it cold … but you can devour straight away if you prefer. With almonds scattered atop, obvi.

 

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James Van Detray Bake

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Main, Poultry

After starting things off with the dreamy Josh Jackson, followed up with the liberated Katie Holmes and my dear old friend Mary Beth Peil, we’ve arrived at the owner of the Creek. Yep – today is all about Dawth-son, my boy JVDB.

As you know – since this isn’t his first time on my patch of cyber-space – JVDB and I were lovers and then the best of friends. And most importantly, he is the reason I am married. Well technically it is thanks to the words of Fauxy on the series finale of Dawson’s Creek … but he made me watch it and as such, gets the points.

Given we’ve only recently caught up on the record – we have a monthly date and it is seminal to my happiness … this time, my meaning of seminal flies – I was surprised that he was able to make the trip down under. But I guess, how could you say no to honouring the 20th anniversary of the greatest role of your career?

JVDB has been hella busy of late, so was thrilled to be able to take some time to honour his work, while enjoying some R&R. Plus – I promised to cook up his second favourite food, my James Van Detray Bake.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella’s tray bake in Nigellissima, this little number – and I hate to say it – is even better than the OG. I mean, how do you go wrong with the addition of chilli and garlic?

Enjoy!

 

 

James Van Detray Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 few sprigs of thyme
small handful of sage, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tbsp chilli flakes
10 chicken thighs, bone in
8 Italian sausages
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Chuck the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon juice and zest and chilli in a large baking dish and toss together. Add the thighs and sausages, pushing them into holes, burying some and leaving others all exposed.

Drizzle with a good lug of olive oil, season generously and transfer to the oven to bake for about an hour, checking after 45 minutes to avoid burning the meat.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about ten minutes before serving. And in turn, devouring.

 

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Joshua Flapjackson

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Kicking off my Capeside celebrations is a huge honour that required a big name, and while Mich is arguably the biggest star of the bunch and the show was literally named after JVDB’s character, I couldn’t go past bequeathing said honour to my oldest friend Josh Jackson.

As you should probably guess, I first met Josh in the early ‘90s while working together on The Mighty Ducks. As a champion figure skater slash coach – I trained Tonya Harding, have I mentioned that – and ameteur street fighter, Disney hired me to train the cast to skate and effectively smoosh people into the glass during hockey.

While Josh wasn’t violent enough for my tastes, he was an expert skater and had the acting chops of a young Daniel Day Lewis. So you know what that means … I took him firmly under my duck wing and vowed to make him a star.

Between headlining a franchise, starring opposite soon-to-be Oscar nominee Laurie Metcalf in Scream 2 and playing me in Cruel Intentions, I think I succeeded. And that is without even bringing Dawson’s into the equation.

Given how busy Josh has been with The Affair of late, we haven’t been able to see much of each other. Which is obviously equally heartbreaking for both of us. As such, it was such a delight to spend time with my bestest of best friends again and celebrate one of his sexiest characters – emphasis on one of – Pacey Witter. I mean, be still my throbbing …

We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and most importantly, devoured an entire batch of his favourite treat – my Joshua Flapjackson.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and a little bit earthy, this bars are the perfect pick-me-up snack when you’re struggling your way through life. I mean for you, obvi, I’m blessed with a wonderful life on the A-list.

Enjoy!

 

 

Joshua Flapjackson
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
150g butter
175g golden syrup
150g muscovado sugar
350g quick cooking oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch nutmeg

Method
Preheat oven to 150C.

Combine the butter, golden syrup and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well combined.

Place the oats in a large bowl with the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Fold through the buttery syrup until everything is sopping. Transfer to a lined square baking dish, packing it in nice and tightly – like Josh in my fantasies – and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Then you can devour.

 

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.