Cauliflower Medders Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Ryan witnessed an all in brawl for the idol that he already had nestled away next to his idol after he joined Mike in the season’s idol holder club. Not that Ryan was in major need for another idol as he was safely part of a 7 person mega alliance. And damn, skinny boy packing. Mike worked his way off the bottom, sneaking into the mega alliance as Lauren held onto her vote for a later round – oh yeah, Lauren got a vote advantage requiring her to abstain one week to use the vote another – sending Desi from the game … to Ponderosa as the first juror.

The next day Lauren, Mike and Ryan watched the sunrise with Ben, giving Mike another chance to find a crack in the alliance. And if that didn’t work, to throw Cole and Joe’s name out there as much as possible. Given they’re universally despised, it really isn’t a tough sell. Lauren and Ben pulled away from the others to talk about her successfully saving her vote the night before, vowing not to tell anyone else.

Meanwhile Ryan had hooked up with the neverending torso that is Devon – who has really grown on me – to discuss what happens when they arrive at 7, given they’re outnumbered by heroes. Ryan then shared his idol news – the other one – with Devon, making them giddy at the chance of taking control. Ryan then pat his butt and made me moister than a damn oyster … that Monica wouldn’t want Kimmi to overfish.

Sensing my arousal, Probst appeared to lord over the reward challenge where the tribe were split into two teams and required to swim out to a ladder, climb over and jump off to release a buoy with a key before using the three keys to release balls that they need to shoot into their targets. Aka saturday night, which coincidentally is also on a luxury yacht with a boozy feast. Ben got his team –  Devon, Ashley, Ryan and Lauren – out to an early lead on the swim until Chrissy overtook him at the buoy handing her JP, Cole, Mike, and Joe the lead. Despite Ashley’s killer performance swimming – given she is a freaking lifesaver – Chrissy’s Hunk maintained their lead. Ben’s team evened things up when unlocking the balls, however it wasn’t enough as Joe proved to be the more skilled shooter.

In the words of Andy Samberg – kinda – things were incredible on the boat, particularly for Chrissy who was surrounded by (mainly) hunky men. And it was also obviously incredible for Cole, who could feast again. Joe however tried to use the reward to make inroads with the majority. They then cruised past the camp and the captain – shady bitch – honked the horn leading to the losers mooning the victors. There was more pube blur than Amanda Kimmel. Ryan then used the empty camp to fill Ben in on his idol, which I feel is going to come back and bite one of them.

Back at camp Joe adopted the Russell mantra, trying to upset the camp enough to keep on the assumption they can get rid of him at any time. While it seems stupid, when you’re on the bottom anything that keeps you an extra day is a decent plan. He then returned from a stint digging on the beach to put the plan into action and instigate a fight with Ashley back at camp, pissing of her and Chrissy … actually putting the target on his back.

The next day Ben took Devon for a walk up the hill behind camp to get a better view and form another sub-alliance. To solidify said alliance, Ben told Devon about Ryan’s idol which he already knew about and either feigned surprise or told him that Ryan told him he was the only person that knew. In any event, this doesn’t bode well for Ryan in the long run.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the next immunity challenge where everyone will have to squat with two bars on their shoulders with an urn of water balanced on the end over a fire. Congratulations whoever does the most crossfit or has dabbled in power lifting! Ashley quickly dropped first followed by Mike …  holy shit, JP shook his arse and it is everything. Sadly it cost him immunity, followed by Devon and Joe who were focused on Chrissy’s form. Ben soon followed leaving Ryan, Cole, Lauren and Chrissy to battle it out … which is not the four I was expecting. After 20 minutes Chrissy couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping out followed by Ryan. Despite some precarious movement from Lauren, she managed to outlast Cole who got distracted, handing her immunity.

Back at camp Ben was thrilled that Cole didn’t take out immunity, while Cole brushed dust of his chest … drawing attention to it, again, making me moister than an oyster. Ben convened the alliance to talk about taking the opportunity to get rid of Cole when they can, upsetting Ashley who desperately wants to get rid of Joe. They argued back and forth with Ashley rationalising that if the other side has an idol, they’re likely to play it tonight meaning another one will be in play the next day … which means Joe is likely to find it if he survives.

Ashley ran to Chrissy and Devon to try and turn the vote to Joe, while Mike approached Ben to find out what was happening. Sadly Mike didn’t feel the love, sending him to Joe to discuss who they’d be splitting the vote on and how best to play the idol. Meanwhile Chrissy then approached Ben to try and convince him to get rid of Joe, given he is more of a threat than Cole. Unless it is a plate-nipple contest, in which case Cole wins. Every. Time. Chrissy tried to explain to Ben that people were feeling steamrolled by his behaviour, which he immediately shut down … proving her point in the process.

After barely arriving at tribal Mike whispered to Joe to trust him while Desi slowly – really fucking slowly – meandered into tribal. Joe spoke about feeling lost given that he was on the outs, while Mike was the jester and Cole was playing left-right-out. Chrissy then brought up the fight with Joe which he tried to defend himself before Mike stepped in and ran complete distraction talking about the round table vs. the statute of limitations. He then continued to argue literally everyone in the majority’s statements, before Ashley calmly explained that every conversation adds to their relationships which make the hard and fast numbers difficult to identify.

Despite trying to hide away while Mike tried to draw the focus on to him – and them incorrectly play the idol on himself – poor Cole found himself voted out of the game and into my arms in pounderosa as the second juror. Yes, pounderosa, because it wasn’t just Cauliflower Medders Soup on the menu. Well, in my fantasies at least.

 

 

Side note: what are they going to eat off now that his glorious plate-nips are now out of the game?

Warm, creamy and altogether salty and sweet, I could fill myself up drinking Cole’s glorious soup all day. And he mine.

Despite how it sounds, I do mean the soup. While cauliflower gets a lot of hate, this soup goes a long way in proving just how tasty it can be. Add bacon and parmesan, and well, you’ve got a party. Or pre-party, as it were.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cauliflower Medders Soup
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 celery stalk, sliced
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp roughly chopped sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1kg cauliflower florets
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup thickened cream
1 cup grated parmesan
4 streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and garlic, and cook stirring for 5 minutes or until softened and just starting to caramelise. Add the potato, nutmeg, sage, bay leaves and cauliflower and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to deglaze the pan. Once bubbling like a mofo, reduce heat to low and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly before blitzing with a stick blender until smooth. While the soup is cooling – in the last par yo’ – fry the bacon in a medium skillet until crisp.

When blitzing, beware of splatter … thus the cooling. Stir through the cream and three quarters of the parmesan, and season with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve the soup, topping with bacon and the extra parmesan before slurping down … like you would Cole.

 

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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Turkey Roulade McLanahan

Main, Poultry, Thankgiving for being a friend

After spending the last couple of days in ‘87 catching up with Bea and Estelle, I wasn’t sure if I should hang around for my date with Rue or go visit her in ‘05 when she was appearing in Wicked. Despite the fact it would likely have lead me to landing a part in the hit musical – and probs my first Tony – I decided to stick with the past.

Mainly to avoid a feud due to me exiting the time period without a word. Though it’s not like it would have lasted long, given how close we were.

I first met Rue on the set of Maude in the ‘70s. I, of course, was there as part of Bea’s entourage but I was fast taken by the delightful Eddi-Rue. We were both thrice divorced by the time we met and it was just such a comfort to have someone to talk to that had been through the same thing.

Rue always felt like the glue that held the girls together, given her warm, loving nature and I am so thankful to be able to experience it firsthand once more.

“My sweet darlin’ Ben, I do say, how I’ve missed you!”

I ran into her arms and held back my tears for her unexpected death in 2010.

“Now my sweet boy. Bea and Stell told me I’m in for a real treat for dinner … like how the men feel when going on a date with that Blanche!”

We laughed long and hard well into the night, talking about all the things we were thankful for – divorce being a big one for us three-timers – before sitting down to a big ol’ orgy of meat in the form of my Turkey Roulade McLanahan.

 

 

Given I was cooking in someone else’s kitchen … in the ‘80s, I couldn’t go around whipping up a big roast. That of course doesn’t take away from the fact this is a show stopper. The crispy pancetta crust keeps the turkey nice and moist. Particularly when you stuff it full of more meat and a good whack of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Roulade McLanahan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 small bunch of sage, roughly chopped
4 pork sausages, casings removed
1 carrot, grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup craisins
a small handful of spinach, roughly chopped
freshly grated pepper
800g turkey breast fillets, flatten to 2cm thick with a mallet or rolling pin
200g thinly sliced pancetta

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the sage, sausage, carrot, garlic, parmesan, craisins and spinach in a bowl with a good whack of pepper.

Arrange the pancetta on a sheet of baking paper, slightly overlapping. Line the flattened breasts along one of the long edges, pressing closely or overlapping to form a clean piece of meat. Form the stuffing into a long sausage and place it along the centre of the meat. Using the baking paper as a guide, tightly roll the turkey over to form a long roll, with the pancetta sealing the turkey meat. Tie with a couple of pieces of kitchen twine to secure, transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and beautifully cooked on the inside.

Allow to stand for five minutes or so before carving, serving and, most importantly, devouring.

 

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Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty

Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend, Vegetarian

I know it is hard to pinpoint a more tragic death, particularly when it comes to your friends, but my dear, beautiful Estelle Getty’s was truly heartbreaking. I mean, I miss Bea and Rue just as much, but knowing that she truly suffered in her final years and couldn’t remember how wonderful she and The Golden Girls were will always break my heart.

After Bea and I circled back to the lot after catching-up yesterday it took all my strength not to break down in tears knowing what would happen in a couple of decades. We ran into each other’s arms and held each other close, silently acknowledging the deep love of our friendship.

“Pussycat!” Oh FYI, she used her pet name for me – pussycat – as her term of endearment for Dorothy on the show.

“Pussycat, I’ve missed you! How have you been? Why don’t you come visit me more? Are you well? Can I get you a part on the show? Do you want a snack?”

I’d known Estelle for a couple of years by 1987, having met while she starred in the Torch Song Trilogy which was written about me by my ex-Harves. Our bond was instant and while we never got to spend as much time with each other as we’d like, it always felt like only days between visits.

We drove to her L.A. home, laughing and catching up, despite the fact I knew exactly what she had and would be up to next. It was heartbreaking yet at the same time so wonderful to be able to spend time with her while she was still at her best. The only that made the date every better was chowing down on some Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty.

 

 

Potato bake is the side dish of champions. Be it normal or sweet, there is nothing better than perfectly roasted potatoes covered in dickloads of cheese and a punch of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
a small stalk of rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan
200g goat’s cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the potato, shallots and a lug of olive oil in a bowl with the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg and chilli. Toast to coat.

Smear – yes, smear – a lug of olive oil on the base and edges of a small baking dish.

Layer the potato on the base of the dish, slightly overlapping, moving from the outside in, until covered. Sprinkle over a quarter of each of the cheeses, followed by another layer … and a quarter of the cheeses and more potato until it is all gone. Finishing, obvi, with the cheese on top.

Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, covering with foil after half an hour if the top is getting to crispy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then devour, ferociously.

 

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BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend

While The Golden Girls were one of the best sitcom ensembles ever assembled, the heart and soul of the show was my dear friend and comedy icon Bea Arthur. At the very least, she was the de facto lead given she was what brought Sophia into the mix.

Though speaking of Soph, she was the soul … and so were Rose and Blanche. Fuck.

In any event, my dear friend Bea is the first girl I’m checking in on … given the controversial meeting we had last time I ventured back in time. I mean, sure, she doesn’t know it since that date occurs in ‘89 and I’ve opted to visit during Thanksgiving ‘87. But I know, and guilt is a pretty big motivator.

Bea was thrilled to see me as I pulled up to the studio in the delorean.

“Quick Ben, quick. Fucking get out of here – we don’t need Betty to spot us and want to third wheel our friendship.”

“I’m fucking trying Bea, I’m  driving as fast as I fucking can,” I screamed, not wanting to hurt my friend Bet, or upset Bea by being sympathetic.

I sped through the Hills, down past Carney’s on sunset and eventually landed at her home in Brentwood – which will eventually become a Golden Girls museum, depending on how her will turns out following my next journey back in time – to reconnect, discuss a potential sequel to Mame – which you all know, does NOT eventuate – and devour a festively appropriate BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad.

 

 

Fresh and zingy are not words that are oft thrown around when it comes to discussing dinner on turkey day. Though I can promise, it is more than worth it. The fresh, charred corn works perfectly with the zing of the tomato and lime, and the sweet delight that is basil.

Praise be … I mean, give thanks. Aka enjoy!

 

 

BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 corn cobs, de-husked and scorched over the flame of a stove
olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
a small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine everything in a bowl.

Toss.

Devour.

 

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The golden age of giving thanks

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Thankgiving for being a friend

While it feels like only a couple of days since we finished up celebrating Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday – because it was – we’re doubling down in honour of Thanksgiving.

Yep – we’re throwing a party and inviting everyone we (care to) know. And they will see, the biggest gift will be from me and the place-card attached will say … I give thanks for being a friend.

That’s right, I’m pulling the time machine out of storage – again in Bea’s case – packing up my resort wear and travelling down the road and back again to celebrate Thanksgiving on the lanai with The Golden Girls.

Controversially, cheesecake is not included. Though I promise, it is a Thanksgiving not to be missed.

I mean, it’s THE Golden Girls for f&^ksakes.

Image source: The Golden Girls / NBC.

 

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Destitsio Williams

Baking, Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the merge hit leaving Cole nice and paranoid … and, bless, unable to see the clue to an advantage in plain site. With him busy, the heroes and hustlers got together and plotted to take out the healers, one-by-one. Which commenced at tribal after Joe played him idol needlessly as Jessica became the final pre-Ponderosa boot.

Solewa returned to camp where things were awkward and everyone kind of stood around awkwardly while Cole spoke about being upset and Joe impressed by their move. We then found out that Ben and Lauren had in fact orchestrated the entire blindside, with my namesake hoping they can go all the way to the top seven … though was concerned something would screw it up. Which is totalling going to happen, no?

The next day Mike was still struggling with the loss of tribal before Lauren, out of nowhere, found the clue to the advantage Cole couldn’t see in front of him. The advantage is another variant of the extra vote gig, with Lauren allowed to forgo voting at the next tribal council and stockpile the vote for a later tribal council. Depending on our you feel about saving, it is the ultimate banking game … or way too hard.

Not leaving me to sweat on it too long, my love Jeff returned for the reward challenge where the tribes would be split into two teams to run up a tower and shoot sacks at a target. Aka what the homophobe at my work said every gay person would be doing after Australia voted for marriage equality … which yes, was true for me, but also, have some fucking decorum. The team of Ben, Mike, Lauren, Ashley and Desi got out to a 3-0 lead before Ryan, Chrissy, JP, Cole and Devon’s strategy – to have the worst people go first and no longer have to participate – played of overtaking the others and snagging a spaghetti dinner, with Joe … who won the lottery and got reward without competing.

After the challenge Jeff explained that the spaghetti would be served ‘family style’ meaning there would be one single serve and each would go in to eat alone, not knowing how much the others had had. To further improve Joe’s day, he was given the opportunity to outline their eating order. Given he needs allies, Joe elected to go last sending Devon first – don’t tell Rodney, but it was for his birthday – followed by JP, who also didn’t notice a clue under the plate. Sweet Cole went next and surprisingly found the clue straight away … before using a tea towel to cover the clue. Smart move and also, so fucking dumb. Chrissy and Ryan also found the clue – outlining it was hidden under the tribe flag – before the latter hid the plate in the bushes.

Chrissy and Ryan spoke about the clue and Cole’s dim wit while Joe ate, before the latter proved he wasn’t as dumb as everyone thinks and questioned what they were talking about. This of course set up a three man race to collect the idol, which kind of fizzled out as Ryan snatched the idol while Cole went to pee. Thankfully he tasked Chrissy with covering the hole, leading to Cole diving under the flag with her to fight for the already gone idol. This then caught everyone’s attention, leading to an all in brawl before Ben decided Cole did have the idol. Oh … after the flag fell on top of everyone.

I mean, this was some Benny Hill shit. Praise Probst.

Given Cole was now in desperate need of some actual immunity, Probst returned for the challenge where the castaways were required to stand on a balance beam, while keeping an object up with a long hard pole. So again, pretty much my favourite pastime. Mike and Joe quickly dropped out followed by Devon, Lauren, Ryan – whose heart was literally beating through his chest – Ashley, Chrissy, Ben and Desi. This left Cole and JP to battle it out for immunity and my heart as their chests glistened in the sun. JP couldn’t keep it up long enough, handing Cole immunity … and well, my heart. I mean, he is proven to keep it up longer. How can I go past him?

Cole’s immunity win didn’t sit well with the hero-hustler mega alliance who half-heartedly congratulated him on his victory before quickly locking in a split vote for Joe and Desi. The split vote gave the healers hope, given they only needed to flip one person to their side to take control. Surprisingly this was Cole’s plan. Sadly for Joe he decided to approach Ryan and Devon while Ben lurked in the bushes ala Queen Sandra, leading to Ben blowing up at Joe at camp while Desi, Ryan and Chrissy lazed about in the shelter, nonchalantly wondering if something was happening.

After things cooled down, Lauren pulled Ben aside to share that they can not split the vote tonight otherwise she will lose her advantage. This made Ben nervous forcing him to approach Mike to flip to their side and save him. While Mike wasn’t sure keeping Ben was a good idea, he did think showing loyalty may carry him further.

At tribal Joe and Ben continued their feud with Joe identifying him as a threat, while Ben tried to point out he is a part of a bigger alliance and that he trusted them all. It went back and forth for a while before Chrissy and Ashley joined the fray to point out how annoying Joe is. Desi then gave a confusingly cryptic comment, Mike threw out the fact the Yawa five betrayed him as the last tribal and Ben spoke more about being a vet, which really isn’t making the target on his back any smaller. Desi continued to dig her own grave and Devon spoke about being a bright and beautiful light – seriously, swoon … and out of nowhere – before they headed off to vote.

Notably Lauren was successful in snagging her extra vote before the votes finished up tied with four each on Joe and Desi, with one each on Ben and Lauren for good measure … and no one the wiser that that didn’t add up to 11. More surprisingly the votes piled up on Desi in the revote, sending her out of the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa.

While she was absolutely heartbroken by the turn of events – and let’s be honest, so was I – I was glad to be able to hang with her, cheer her up and decide the tone for this season’s jury over a big ol’ bowl of my Destitsio Williams.

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged – right Jules – that pasta will cure all ailments. Add a dickload of spices, a large hunk of meat and a creamy sauce? That is what dreams are made of, right Hiz?

Enjoy!

 

 

Destitsio Williams
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1kg beef mince
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried mint
2 cups passata
500g ziti pasta
¾ cup butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cup parmesan, grated
¼ cups plain flour
2 cups milk, heated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat before sweating the onion, garlic and carrot for five minutes … or so. Add the paste and mince and cook, breaking up the mince with the wooden spoon, for ten minutes or so, or until starting to brown. Add the allspice, mint and passata with a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

While your meat sauce is cooling, melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan until foamy. Add ¼ cup flour and cooking for a minute or two, or until the roux is coming together. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and whisk through the yolks of the eggs, with the nutmeg and ¼ cup parmesan.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta as per packet instruction before draining and returning to the pan with the remaining butter, egg whites and parmesan. Stir for a couple of minutes or until everything just comes together.

Press half the coated butter into the base of a large baking dish. Top with the meat sauce, following by the remaining pasta … and then finally, the béchamel. Sprinkle with some extra parmesan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for ten minutes … and then devour.

 

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Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new-Yawa remained undefeated after the swap while at Levu, Joe proved that finding idols truly is a bald man’s game. Things however weren’t so peachey at Soko with Chrissy and Ryan having to decide between keeping JP and Ali, sending the latter out of the game

Back at camp Chrissy was quick to make JP feel comfortable after tribal, and was thrilled to be closer with each of the boys than they are with each other. We checked in with Yawa the next day to learn that Cole was feeling confident that should they merge, they were five strong. That, of course, was quickly disputed by Ben who rightfully was concerned by the closeness of Cole and Jess. Rounding out the catch-ups, Ashley spoke about how broken, starved and divided Levu is. So … final three of Chrissy, Ashley and Ben/Ryan/Cole/Devon, yeah?

Probst quickly arrived for the reward challenge, much to the excitement of the hungry Levu tribe. Though it wasn’t actually a challenge, it’s the merge – what a surprise!? After dropping buffs – sadly, not JP’s trou again – and getting swanky new purple ones, Probsty informed the starved castaways that instead of the merge feast, they’d be going to Queen Sandra’s fave – Outback Steakhouse.

The castaways toasted making the merge – YAS, they’re all dateable – downed steaks, and drank up which brought down Joe’s defenses and allowed Chrissy and Ben to quickly deduce that he has an idol, painting a larger target on his back. Jessica also emerged from her shell, hitting on the waiter’s thunder from downunder.

Back at camp, the new Solewa tribe got to work improving or building – who knows whether it is a new camp – their shelter, while Cole searched for a clue which was hidden in the wad of nails he was using. Bless him. Jessica and Desi got reacquainted, while Ryan and Devon caught up and floated the idea of a hustler-heroes alliance to take out the healers. The boys looped Lauren in on the plan, who wasn’t so keen on the plan giving she is aligned with Mike. She then told Mike and I was reminded of the epic ‘David as an idol’ scene from Millennials vs. Gen X.

Devon took the plan to Ben and Chrissy to get rid of Joe, that latter of whom was thrilled given she found him insufferable at lunch. Ben however was more keen to take out Cole, given he literally eats whatever he wants. Jessica and Lauren pulled Cole aside to warn him about his eating, Ben floated the idea of booting Joe or Cole with Mike, and I am reminded how freaking confusing merge episodes are.

Thankfully, Cole is pretty and Devon’s torso is longer than I am tall.

Pulling me out of the alliance whirlpool, Probst returned for the first immunity challenge where everyone stands on a narrow beam and keeps a ball spinning within a disc. As quickly as it started Ryan dropped out, followed by Mike whilst trying to be cute while taking a step – what did Alyssa Edwards say? Jessica was out after taking her second step forward, followed by Ben, JP, Devon and Lauren as they dropped to the final section. Joe soon dropped out, leaving Desi, Cole, Chrissy and Ashley to fight it out for immunity. Which Desi won, after Cole and Chrissy dropped their balls and Ashley dropped while trying to move her second foot onto the narrowest section of the beam.

Getting straight back into it, Cole pulled Ben aside back at camp to apologise for eating all the food and not thinking about others. Despite accepting his apology, Ben did not in fact accept said apology – preach – though wasn’t sure whether booting him was a good plan, or could blow up in his face.

Feeling unsafe, Cole approached Joe to fill him in on the new Yawa alliance immediately pissing off Joe, who knows Ben will flip at the first opportunity. Cole then joined Mike, Lauren and Desi to talk about getting rid of the heroes biggest threat Chrissy, leaving them to debate whether Ben was with them or about to go against the family. Obviously Lauren then approached Ben to talk about which side they would go with, before the hustlers and heroes – sans JP – got together to pick their target. Given they’re concerned about Joe and Cole having an idol, and the Cole and Jessica alliance, Jessica seemed to be their safest option.

At tribal, Probst quickly brought up the theme and put the target on the plentiful healers. Everyone danced around loyalty and truth, trying to keep their allies calm and not give anything away. Mike then offended Joe, who was talking about being extremely loyal, leading to him pulling out his idol and threatening to use them. Cole was unphased by the display –  given he helped Joe find his first idol – while Ben announced that the battle lines were drawn and they need to vote to see where the chips may fall. Joe played his idol just in case they fell for him, which they did not, instead coming down to Chrissy and Jessica, with the latter booted from the game … as the final pre-jury boot.

Poor, sweet Jessica was feeling quite down when she arrived at loser lodge – particularly after finding out it hadn’t ticked over to Ponderosa as yet – though quickly perked up when she saw me, her dear friend, waiting for her. Like the great, great Cirie Fields, I first met Nurse Practitioner Jessica while in rehab. She was completing a placement at the time and given how kind she was, she took a lost cause like me under her wing and helped me through (one of) my most recent stint(s) in rehab and got me sober. As such, we’ve been friends ever since.

After getting her out of her post-boot funk, we got to work catching up, talking about how dreamy Cole and his nips are … and then dreaming we were eating my Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza off dem plates.

 

 

If CalebAras and Joan – and Skarsy, obvs – have taught you anything, I love me some carbonara. I mean, warm, salty, creamy goodness going straight down my throat? Sign me up … and now, in PIZZA form.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
salt and pepper
200g pancetta, roughly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a handful mushrooms, thinly sliced
125g pecorino cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s method – sans tommie paste.

Whisk the parmesan, eggs and a good whack of salt and black pepper until thick and combined.

Spoon the egg mixture onto the rolled out dough and spread across the bases. Sprinkle over the pancetta, shallots and mushrooms, and top with pecorino.

Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until the bases are crispy and the cheese golden. Devour.

 

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Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new Levu was divided two-two after Alan was idoled from the game, while dinner-plate nips Cole replaces Patrick’s place in Lauren’s heart, driving her mental with his poor manners. Meanwhile over at new Soko, Ryan was caught between his OG ally Ali and her newer ally Chrissy, siding with the latter to send Roark from the game.

Back at camp Ali confronted Ryan about what happened and asked why he never told her about the vote, upset as she would have been willing to take out Roark. While he admitted that he was concerned about how close she and Roark had become, she got emotional and couldn’t see any logic. This also upset Ryan who had hoped that he’d be able to work with Ali into the future, though that was clearly out of the picture.

The next day, Mike the dick doctor became the provider at Yawa … and boy was he proud of himself. Tragically he then dropped his entire haul in the fire – like a combination of Sandra’s first two sabotage attempts – though was kind enough to give everyone some of his charred fish. Ben was then compared this to Cole, who had cooked a couple of his larger fish and not shared them. This coupled with the fact Lauren tried – and failed – to explain why they needed to share to better the team, started putting more nails in his rapidly growing coffin. Cole then went for a walk to calm down with Jessica, leaving Mike, Ben and Lauren to strategise, talk smack and align to take them out.

My main man Jiffy Pop returned for a pizza reward – which is hopefully for Snickers, for grumpy Cole – where the tribes were required to balance their ball with a big, hard rod and release a boat before rowing out and shooting their loadballs at a target. Soko got out to an early lead, thanks to JP and Ali’s ball-handling skills, quickly getting out to their boat before the others complete the course. That is until Chrissy forgot to undo the second knot, resulting in Yawa catching up. Ben and JP both struggled to aim their balls, allowing Levu to catch-up just as they each hit their first. Mother nature then decided to make it a little tougher, whipping the waves up and making the targets even harder to hit … though JP and Ben prevailed, securing reward for Yawa and Soko.

We then got a killer crotch shot as JP exited, though sadly he was still wearing pants. Sigh.

Soko were thrilled to return to camp with their pizzas thanks to JP’s physical prowess. That, obviously, made Ryan nervous given the merge is imminent. Add to that the fact he is quiet and doesn’t really bother talking about strategy made things seem safer for Ali. Meanwhile over at the losing Levu, Ashley and Devon solidified their alliance and debated whether they felt Joe or Desi would be willing to go for rocks for the other. Devon then took Joe for a walk, allowing Ashley to get to work on Desi who in fact, was more than willing to get rid of Joe as she know his loyalty is all on his terms. He then found the idol despite being babysat, this time without anyone – with a huge fucking mouth (swoon) – knowing.

Meanwhile over at Yawa, Cole started to get the shakes before passing out while Mike was offering him worms. Doctor Mike and nurse Jessica went straight into action, with Jessica cooking up her portion of rice to give him sustenance. While it made her realise how much she wanted to keep him in the game, Mike and Ben saw it as a liability, vowing to take him out if they head to the next tribal.

With all targets identified, Jeff returned for immunity where the tribes would all have to suspend a disc using four ropes … and then spell immunity vertically on said disc using blocks, from the bottom – kween – to the top. RIP Joe Del Campo. Levu and Yawa both appeared extremely strong, while poor Soko struggled and restarted after only a couple of blocks. Then out of nowhere Levu dropped, followed again by Soko … and then Yawa as they were two steps from immunity. Levu and Soko then battled it out for immunity before Yawa came out from behind – my favourite – with a new strategy, overtaking the others and taking out immunity as Soko dropped again and Levu snatched second place.

Back at camp, JP was confident that Ali would be the next one out the door while Ryan was still questioning whether it was better to take out JP, the man that has literally carried him through a challenge. Knowing that Ali is key to his plan working, he went and apologised to her and to try convince her to take out JP. That was obviously an easy task, with Ali offering to talk to Chrissy about getting JP out … which is probably the worst plan for them, given she trusts Ryan and not Ali. Chrissy then pulled Ryan aside to discuss who was the better option, with them only vowing allegiance to each other before heading off to tribal.

They arrived to some light shade from Jeff before Ryan and Ali spoke about getting past their post-last tribal drama. JP then gave a smug look, either meaning he knows something we don’t or is heading for a downfall. Jeff then called him out for being hella laid back, and acknowledging why he could be voted out rather than why he shouldn’t. Jeff gave him a backhanded compliment – dude and dem nips, I clearly like nips, really is made from granite – before he acknowledged that this was a wake-up call and he needs to be more social. While I’d argue her needs to be more naked, potato, po-tar-toe. They then went to vote where once again, Ryan flipped on Ali … and sent her from the game and one of the biggest physical threats to the merge.

Given Al’s career as a celebrity assistant, it should come as no shock that we’ve known each other for years. On account of my many, legitimate celebrity friendships, remember? While I won’t spill on her employer – they’re one of my best friends, obvi – I will say that Ali is the sweetest and like Roark, will dominate the next Second Chances. Particularly if she lives on a diet of only my Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos until then.

 

 

Spicy and sweet, these babies go a long way in proving the importance of pineapple in cooking. I mean, why they get so much hate? Like iceberg lettuce, they aren’t classy, but in the right place are true perfection. And the right place is here with the smoky chicken tacos.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 orange, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
200g pineapple chunks
2 chipotle chillies in adobo, roughly chopped
12 corn tortillas
iceberg lettuce, shredded
shredded cheese, ladies choice … you being the lady, obvi
2 avocados, mashed
coriander, to taste
sour cream, to taste

Method

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft, fragrant and sweet. Add the chicken, paprikas, cumin, coriander and oregano and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until cooked through. Add the juice, stock, pineapple and chillies, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook until reduced.

 

When you’re ready to devour, heat the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan, thirty seconds per side, top with lettuce, chicken mixture, cheese, avocado, a sprinkle of coriander and dollop with sour cream. Devour.

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Winona Spyders

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

Given the fact she is the reason we’re holding this entire Stranger Things slash Halloween celebration, Stranger Feasts, it should come as no surprise that I’m wrapping things up with a date with my dear, dear friend Winona Ryder. Nevermind the fact that Joyce’s love for her son is the heart and soul for the entire show.

It feels like only yesterday that I caught up with Shan, Mil, Gats, Cal, Noah and Finn. Well, it was yesterday for Finn, but you get what I meant!

And by that, I meant to shamelessly cross promote.

I’ve known Winona forever, after we met on the set of Beetlejuice with my other dear friends Alec and Geens. As I was her stunt double slash stand-in we were inseparable on set and thankfully that developed into the closest, dearest friendship of our lives.

Given how long we’ve both been in Hollywood, we have a shit tonne of mutual friends – Leo, Kirsten, Claire, Pete, Al, Brit, Whoopi, Jeff, Simon and Retta, but to shamelessly name drop a few – so it was great to catch-up on all the gossip and throw some shade at their lesser career trajectories.

I mean, not even our biggest scandal could hold us down.

As you would all know, Winona was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. What you may not know but surely would have guessed by now, I too was caught up in the arrest … and may have been the cause of the entire thing (I wanted a new wardrobe, sue me). And our flimsy ‘method acting’ excuse.

In any event my nemesis Mark Geragos – aka half of the inspiration behind Piper Perabo’s horrid Notorious – did not help the case and Wins completed her community service with me by her side. Despite the fact I wasn’t even convicted thanks to my lawyer John someone? He said something about being shocked that referencing a glove not fitting getting his two worst clients off, but I digress.

I haven’t seen Wins in the last few months, so I am thrilled that she picked up the phone and asked for my promotional skill. Slash to help her celebrate Halloween slash her birthday. Given how many slashes were involved, I knew there was only one thing I could whip up – a big batch of (Chang’s) Winona Spyders.

 

 

While these are quite possibly the most basic thing you could ever make, they are also one of the most delicious. I mean, peanut butter and chocolate. Does it get any better? Yes, yes it does – crunchy noodles.

Enjoy!

 

 

Winona Spyders
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
400g milk chocolate
200g Chang’s Fried Noodles

Method
Place the peanut butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave until combined.

Fold through the noodles.

Spoon a tablespoon (or two) of the mixture into muffin cases and place on a baking sheet. Once done, place in the fridge and chill until set.

Then devour, greedily.

Happy Halloween!

 

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