Pita Andre Bread

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack

With Halloween now a distant memory, I’m balls deep in preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which of course means I’m desperately trying to fit in as many catch-ups as possible. Thankfully, I was able to fit in some time with my dear friend, fellow Gold Coaster and ex-lover Peter Andre.

Pete and I have known each other since the late ‘80s, after I hitched my wagon to his after his appearance on New Faces. I enrolled myself at Benowa State High, became his dearest friend and set him up to become the pop star of the ‘90s that he was destined to be. We also fell into a passionate love affair.

Our relationship was so beautiful and pure – well as pure as it could be – that he wrote a love song for me.

The song? Mysterious Guy.

Our break-up when he succumbed to the record company’s pressure to change the gender of his protagonist? Swift, brutal … and as vitriolic as the vengeful rage of Taylor Swift. For years after I couldn’t go to Thailand – where the film clip was made and we planned to holiday after – or the Gold Coast, as they triggered the painful memory of my broken heart.

Cut to a few years later and Pete, desperate to return to my good graces – flew down under to see me on the Tweed and try and reconcile. While he got lost while we went hiking on Mount Warning, stumbled on the set of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and fell in love with Jordan, that few days we spent together before the show healed our wounds. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

Pete has been super busy with his young family the last year or so, so it was such a treat for him to take the time to catch-up before we got too busy with festive celebrations. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, devoured a shit tonne of Pita Andre Bread.

 

 

Light, soft and oh so good, these are the perfect thing for when you’re done with eating buns and what a carb alternative. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff a good Peter?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pita Andre Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
7g dry yeast
1 ½ tsp muscovado sugar
450g flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
⅔ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing if/as needed

Method
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and place in a warm spot for about ten minutes, or until foamy.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir with the dough hook until all the flour is wet. Turn the mixer on and knead on medium for about five minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling and leave to prove for half an hour.

When it’s nice and puffy, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Punch back the dough and divide it into 12 balls. Roll them out into flat thin discs – a few millimetres max. Place a disc on the frying pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until puffed. Flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done.

Then, devour.

 

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Natalie Crembruglia

13th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Well hot diggity damn – guess what today’s recipe marks? No Captain EyebrowsObvious, I’m not just drawing attention to day two of the Easter Meggstravaganza … it is our 350th recipe.

Can you believe it? More importantly, do you want to believe it?

Now while my dear friend Natalie Imbruglia wasn’t thrilled to be referred to as a struggling musician, she was honoured that it coincided with a milestone recipe.

Oh – and I totally lied and said it was an ironic title. And she bought it.

I first met Nat while working on Neighbours, she started in the mid-90s and I took her under wing after becoming top-dog on set as Madge’s cigarette lighter. As is often the case, I recognised pretty quickly that she was destined for greatness and made it my goal to make her the next Kylie Minogue.

Who I was feuding with at the time.

She left Neighbours and within a year or so released her debut single Torn. Despite completely ignoring my vocal coaching to sing with an aggressively ocker, Australian accent, it somehow became a hit and she went on to enjoy a successful career.

Flash forward 18 years and she released an album of covers I didn’t even know existed before perusing her Wikipedia entry pre-visit, thus cementing her status as a struggling musician … for the sake of this exercise.

(Don’t let the shade take away from her classic album White Lilies Islands, which I’d defend until the end of time).

After working through her discomfort with the struggling part of her label, she gladly sat down to dinner know that she was actively contributing to potentially returning Meg Ryan to fame/the status quo of the world by way of egg-based culinary sacrifices.

And a big old Natalie Crembruglia doesn’t hurt to sweeten the deal either!

 

 

Smooth and sweet, this is the perfect dish to woo the universe to give Meg Ryan a(nother) break. Plus – how can it (the universe) not appreciate cracking a hard exterior to get to the creamy liquid inside.

Enjoy!

 

 

Natalie Crembruglia
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp caster sugar
demerara sugar, to top

Method
Combine the cream and vanilla in a saucepan and almost bring to the boil, ensuring not to actually let it boil.

Beat the yolks and caster sugar together in a bowl and very slowly, still stirring, pour in the cream. Once combined, transfer it back to the pan and cook over low heat until it thickens. This shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes.

Divide the custard amongst 4-6 ramekins – depending on their size and your greed – and place in a fridge to completely chill.

When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle the tops with sugar and scorch with a blowtorch or under the grill to give a hard, sweet top. Return to the fridge for five minutes (I like to make sure the toffee firms up) … and then devour.

 

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Jon English Muffins

Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Side, Snack

The number one perk of time travel – outside of fraudulently getting lotto numbers – is being able to catch-up with your deceased friends … at optimal points in their life / career.

Obviously since I was travelling back to see Jon-Jon but didn’t want to let on that everything was not alright, I went back to ‘74 while he was starring in Jesus Christ Superstar with my dear gal-pal Marcia Hines.

You see Marce introduced us when she joined the show in ‘73, so it was the perfect way to slot back into my life without alerting him of any issue. Plus, he was hella banging in the 70s.

Anyway, our friendship was instantaneous and after excusing myself from life in Marce’s entourage, I commenced touring with Jon and quickly became his muse / career adviser. As seems to be the way it goes, I had hits and many misses throughout those times – there are only so many hippie, drug-lord murders one can play before it gets old. It wasn’t until the 90s and the classic All Together Now that we really hit our stride professionally.

It truly was such a treat to see Jon-Jon truly in his element like he was while playing Judas, laughing with the band and firing off banter with Marce and I. And then future me after I chloroformed past me.

After a night of hard performing on stage and hard drinking with Marce at her blackmarket, backstage casino, I used to wake up early day in, day out, and whip up fresh Jon English Muffins that we’d have toasted, slathered with butter and vegemite.

 

jon-english-muffins-1

 

Just getting to experience our old tradition once final time was enough to fill my heart with joy, but the taste of a fresh, freshly toasted English Muffin made me feel euphoric.

Fresh, doughy … do you really need me to describe bread? It is bread. Bread is good. Just enjoy, ok?

 

jon-english-muffins-2

 

Jon English Muffins
Makes: 8-12.

Ingredients
300g bread flour, plus extra for flouring
7g dried yeast (that should be one sachet. Should be)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
⅔ milk
1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
oil, for greasing
polenta, for dusting

Method
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

Melt the butter into the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until it reaches 40-45C. Remove from heat.

Pour the butter and milk into the flour mix and knead with a dough hook in an electric mixer for a minute or two. Add the egg and knead for a further five minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and prove for two hours.

Dust the bench with polenta and roll the dough out until it is 2cm thick and cut into mug sized rounds. I say mug sized as I can’t be bothered buying 70s cookie cutters, so reached for a mug. Jon-Jon’s kitchen wasn’t well stocked, ok?

Anyway, sprinkle more polenta on the base of a large baking sheet and place the discs of dough on them. Top with another dusting of polenta and leave to prove – again – or half an hour.

Heat a large frying over the lowest possible heat and fry each muffin for about five minutes either side, or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked.

Serve however you like, but slathered in Vegemite would make you a happy little Vegemite. So … yep.

 

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All together now

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

The festive season has taken a firm hold of me – which let’s be honest isn’t hard considering Mariah Carey’s Christmas albums are year-round listening in my house – and as such, it gets me feeling all nostalgic for the friends I have lost in the past year.

My dear friend Jo-Jo English sadly passed away in the weeks before our birthdays and we never got to have our final joint birthday extravaganza. As such, I’ve decided to dust off the old time machine and celebrate his life / our friendship.

Hopefully without causing a Flashpoint timeline.

Well, unless it causes Skarsy to join me in a throuple … that would be more than ok!

Anyway, what says I miss you without letting on that he died?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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, Tumblr and Google+.