Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1

With Ru and Michelle venturing across the pond for a UK version of Drag Race – no doubt to find out if anyone can lip sync better than Charlie Hides – they’re packing me up and taking me over to the mother country. And reuniting me with my dear friend Alan Carr, who has found his way onto the judging panel.

I’ve known Al for years, after meeting on the Chorlton-cum-Hardy comedy circuit. While I found the name of the suburb to be nothing more than false advertising – except for this one time down the frog and toad at the rub-a-dub-dub, getting a rub-a-tug-tug – I was grateful to find a kindred spirit in the form of Alan. High energy and a little too much, Alan and I became the fastest of friends despite being so similar.

When Ru and Mish were looking to transplant the series, they personally tasked me with finding the right people to join them on the judges panel – after I turned them down – I knew that Al would be absolutely perfect for the role.

He was thrilled to drop by and help me celebrate the imminent arrival of the Brits and agreed that this season is going to be fire. Particularly with an icon like Divina de Campo in the cast. But I’m saying too much, so instead get thee to a kitchen and whip yourself up some Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia.

 

 

This Jamie Oliver number is one of my favourite meals, despite Jamie’s blatant false advertising. I mean, when have you ever seen him naked? Thankfully this rich salty carb is packed full of so much sausage it makes me willing to forgive him.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
320g dried linguine, cooked to packet instructions
olive oil
4 Italian sausages
200g pancetta, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 egg yolks
100ml double cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated … plus extra to serve. Emphasis on extra.
1 lemon,  zested
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Get a pot of water on the boil and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and squeeze small meatballs worth of sausage filling into the pan, and cook for five minutes or so. Add the pancetta and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until crisp.

Whisk the egg yolk, double cream, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley together in a jug.

When you’re ready to bring everything together, drain the pasta, reserving a cup’s worth of the glorious cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the eggy mixture. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir until well combined. Add the meatballs and pancetta and give another good stir.

Serve immediately with a generous mound of parmesan on top. And devour.

 

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Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Side, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Simon were sent to exile beach before facing off to return to the game, with the queen of green grass and rain exiting the game for good. After Luke took out immunity, Simon once again found himself as the target with Abbey, Luke, Baden and Harry planning to send him out of the game again. JaQueen and Pia weren’t so keen on that idea however, trying to woo Simon and the Contenders to their side to take out Abbey instead. When it became obvious that their backs were against the wall and the plan was a bust, they joined the rest of the tribe to send Simon out of the game. Unanimously. Again.

The next day the tribe awoke to wish Pia a happy birthday before reminiscing about what she would normally do on her birthday. She then spoke about how hard the game has been and how much she has missed her family. She then wrestled with Harry to celebrate and vowed to overcome the overwhelming minority she has found herself in since Abbey flipped the script on her and JaQueen.

Abbey, Pia and Luke then went fishing together while the latter regaled us with tales of how far he has come in the game and most importantly, how proud of himself he is. He then welled up and honestly, swoon – he is too pure for this world. And that is before he even mentioned his daughter having cystic fibrosis. We then checked in with Harry who reiterated that he is a cockroach before he and Baden caught up to come up with their next plan, deciding to join with Pia and JaQueen at the next tribal council and take out Luke. Speaking of JaQueen she shared that she signed up for Survivor to challenge herself and honestly, she is just a bloody icon. She then reminded us that while she is now on the bottom of the tribe, she believes in herself and Pia to make it through. Speaking of Pia, she was still out fishing with Abbey and Luke, charming the shit out of them and looking for another in while JaQueen approached Baden who floated the idea of joining together to get rid of Luke.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where the castaways would need to untangle themselves from a rope that is looped over a log, crossing a balance beam, tossing sacks to release a key and unlocking themselves and, wait for it … solving a puzzle. Luke and Abbey got out to an early lead while Harry looked to be nearing a heartattack which honestly, is not something I want to witness on TV tonight. JaQueen started to chastise herself as Luke and Abbey started to navigate the balance beam, with the AFL champion snatching the lead. Well until Luke proved more adept at tossing sacks. Luke started solving his puzzle while Abbey tried to close the gap and the rest of the crew slowly made their way to the sack tossing portion of the game. Harry joined Abbey and Luke on the puzzle, with JaQueen and Baden soon following. While Harry desperately tried to close the gap, Luke started to panic before getting his eye in and snatching immunity for the third time.

And unwittingly blowing up everyone’s plans.

Back at camp Abbey was the only person that wasn’t completely bummed that Luke had won yet another immunity challenge. JaQueen quickly pulled Baden and Harry aside to flip the vote on Abbey instead, given she is the next biggest challenge threat. Sadly for her Harry was more interested in targeting her instead, so pulled Abbey aside with Baden to float booting JaQueen instead. The boys then mentioned that Janine and Pia had suggesting voting her out to try and seal the deal, however, that only seemed to make her less likely to join them. Abbey then took the intel back to Luke and mentioned that she caught the girls getting frustrated after he won immunity, and while they agreed they need to stick together, they weren’t sure which duo to side with. We then returned to JaQueen who told us that her and Pia have no intention of siding with Harry and that their plan is actually to reconnect with Luke and Abbey to get rid of Baden. Which everyone agreed on as he stumbled upon the scene.

At tribal council Harry spoke about the likelihood that a Champion will take out the game, though did vow to fight until the very end. Baden praised them for staying tight and holding firm on their Champion strong mantra. JaQueen spoke about how tight their group remains and how she wants one of them to take out the game. Preferably her. Harry tried to pitch that the Champions who feel most likely to be blindsided should join him and Baden to make a move first. Abbey spoke about the generic confusion of the game, unsure which side was telling her the truth and she should trust moving forward. Baden continued to point out that it is always better to make a move sooner rather than later, rather than regretting their choices from the jury. Luke and Abbey spoke about the safe option sometimes being the smartest.

Harry was disheartened, Pia mentioned that making a move at the wrong time was just as bad as not making one while Luke mentioned that the vote ahead will be straightforward and simple. With that the tribe voted and it turns out that the vote was straightforward for Luke and Abbey, as they flipped on Janine and Pia and sent the godmother from the game. While the tragedy of JaQueen exiting the game is something that I will carry with me for the next few months, I am grateful that we could honour her spirit with some Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries.

 

 

 

Now I know we’ve already experienced the majesty of haloumi fries in the Australian Survivor context – oh, hi Mark! – the addition of lemon and garlic is enough to give them a boost. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth in the centre and packing a major punch of garlic, these are proof that you can always do better. Which I imagine is what Janine would remind us in a killer inspirational speech.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries
Serves: 1 powerful CEO and her dear pal.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced plus 2 extra finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into long chip shapes and patted dry
vegetable oil, for fryin’
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine flour, garlic, dried oregano and chilli in a bowl.

Pour 2cm worthy of oil into a large pan and place over medium heat.

Once nice and hot, coat the haloumi in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and transfer to the oil to cook for a couple of minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until the haloumi is done.

To serve, combine fresh oregano, lemon zest and a good whack of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the hot chips. Squeeze some lemon juice and devour, hoping to work through the confusing trauma of losing one of our Queens at the hand of another.

 

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Florgeres Welch

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I know it is stupid and I sound so whiny – I am a diva, so like Britney, leave me alone – but damn did I need this time with Florence to perk myself back up – sorry, raise – and focus on what is important in life.

I mean, as soon as Florence got off the plane and held me in her arms it was like happiness hit me like a train on the track.

It should really come as no surprise to me, given we’ve known each other since attending Thomas’s London Day School as young kids. Fun fact: I was the one that suggested Kathy and Will send my godson George there.

While it has been a few years since we’ve had the time to catch-up, it felt like not a day had gone by since our last date. We laughed – even about the fact I was outside her door for Grammy Gold before realising she is just a nominee – we cried and she cheered me the fuck up over a big plate of my Florgeres Welch.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, delicate and creamy on the inside, these sweet cigars are the perfect treat to bring people together and turn around your mood. Am I putting too much power into food? Sure. But what else am I meant to do?

Enjoy!

 

 

Florgeres Welch
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
125g cream cheese, softened
250g ricotta
250g cottage cheese
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinklin’
24 sheets filo pastry
unsalted butter, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Blitz the cheeses, caster sugar and cinnamon in a blender or stand mixer until well combined.

Place a sheet of filo on the bench, brush with some butter and top with a second slice of filo. More butter, more filo, more butter and a fourth and final piece of filo.

Cut the filo tower into quarters and spoon 1 tbsp of filling along the short edge. Roll over to just cover the filling, fold in the edges and then continue rolling to form a small cigar, brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until the four are done. Then repeat the process with the remaining filo.

Transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until golden and crispy. Devour immediately, sprinkled with some cinnamon.

 

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Dog days aren’t over

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I’ve had a stressful few months since becoming a puppy parent – or pawrent, if you’d like to make me cringe. My sweet little puppy has hydrocephalus, which has stunted her growth and now every member of the public feels they can approach me in the street for a free meet and greet and to comment on her size.

It is exhausting and oft infuriating, and when I was last telling my girl Florence Welch about it she could tell that I am close to breaking point. Barely five minutes after hanging up, I got a message that simply read, “I’ll be over tomorrow.”

I burst into tears and thanked her – of course it is Florence who will raise me up, raise me up.

What do I make to thank her for making me feel like I’ve got the love?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Capreese Dip Witherspoon

Dip, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCI: Call Me By Your Gold, Snack, Vegetarian

I don’t want to make this year’s Oscar Gold celebration – Call Me By Your Gold – about A Star is Born but to be honest, it and Bohemian Rhapsody did inspire me to reach out to today’s guest. Eternally delightful, America’s Sweetheart and Oscar winning musical performer Reese Witherspoon.

I’ve known Reese since the mid-90s after meeting on the set of Fear – I was dating Markie Mark at the time – but it wasn’t until a few years later that our friendship blossomed. I went from introducing her to my fluffee Ryan Phillippe on the Cruel Intentions set before helping her to play a character based off my high school years in a little known movie called Election.

Given one gave her her two eldest children and the other launched her into serious actress category, it goes without saying she is grateful for my love and support.

While we’ve tragically been separated by our busy schedules, it was such a treat to be able to get together and honour the Oscars and catch-up. Given her star turn in Monsters vs. Aliens, I kicked off running the odds with Best Animated Feature which Reese thinks will surprise for Incredibles 2 while I can’t go past Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse as much as my puppy thinks Isle of Dogs has it in the bag. When it comes to lead performances we agree that my dearest Rami Malek needs to win Best Actor if there’s any justice in the world, while we’re both backing Glenn Close for being an icon, I believe that Melissa McCarthy is the truly deserving person in the category. Sorry Gaga.

We may not have agreed much on victors this date, but there was no denying how glorious the piping hot Capreese Dip Witherspoon was.

 

 

Gooey and sweet, this is quite possibly one of my favourite warm dips. I mean take a salad that proves you can make friends with salad, then chuck it in the oven and spread it on crackers? Iconic.

Enjoy!

 

 

Capreese Dip Witherspoon
Serves: 2 chatty friends. Or 6 reg peeps, I guess?

Ingredients
200g bocconcini, drained
200g roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup grated mozzarella
⅓ cup basil, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
Preheat an oven to 180C.

Combine everything in a large bowl and transfer into a baking dish. Place in the oven and cook for twenty minutes, or until bubbly and hot.

Devour, with plenty of crackers.

 

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Emma Thompsold Fashion

Drink, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCI: Call Me By Your Gold

In honour of my multi-hyphenate friend Brad’s A Star is Born’s success this last year, I knew that there was only one person I could entrust to kick off this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, Call Me By Your Gold – the delightful Emma Thompson.

While most people these days love Em for her work in Harry Potter or for making you sob listening to Joni Mitchell in Love Actually, I love her for being a total baller slash he only person to win a writing and acting Oscar.

Which B-Coops – who I really need to catch one day soon – is aiming to do this year.

I’ve known Em since the late ‘80s when she made her film debut in The Tall Guy opposite my then boyfriend and oft lover Jeff Goldblum. I was instantly won over by her wit and charm, vowed to make her a star and then, mere years later, she had an Oscar under he belt and was working towards her second.

To say she is one of my greatest success stories, really is an understatement.

Given how in demand she is, we don’t get to enjoy each other’s company as much as we’d like, so she jumped at the chance to hang-out and set the tone for this year’s Oscar Gold celebrations.

While we’re no experts on the technical or short film categories, we agreed that Avengers: Infinity War should snag Marvel their first win in Visual Effects given First Man has been pretty much left out of discussions at the Oscars. For Live Action Short we think Skin will snatch the crown – which Jonathan Penner was nominated for in the ‘90s – and nothing is beating Bao for Animated Short.

For her Original Screenplay, I see The Favourite bringing it home for Australia while Emma thinks Adam McKay will snag his second win for Vice. In her home category of Adapted Screenplay we agree that Bradley is a shut out and it is a three horse race between BlackkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk and Can You Ever Forgive Me? While I am firmly behind Spike Lee finally getting some – well deserved – competitive wins under his belt, Emma thinks Can You Ever Forgive Me? will surprise again after snatching the Guild.

At least I think that is what she predicted. My mind is fuzzy after partaking in one too many Emma Thompsold Fashion.

 

 

There is no better way to kick off a party than by downing a cheeky old fashioned. Strong and sweet, it is the perfect thing to get you just relaxed enough to get into the party season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Emma Thompsold Fashion
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
ice
¼ cup bourbon
½ tsp sugar syrup
2 dashes bitters
1 orange twist, to garnish

Method
Fill and old fashioned glass with ice.

Top with bourbon, sugar syrup and bitters.

Stir, garnish with a twist of orange.

Down.

 

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Tina Turnovers

Baking, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve crossed the halfway point of this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used to Gold – and no tea no shade to Gaga, ONJ or Trey Park, but I decided it was about time I enlisted one of my most iconic friends. And thankfully the one, the only Tina Turner was keen to roll down the river for a date.

While I haven’t know Tina as long as most of my celebrity friends, the moment we met in the late ‘80s forged an instant bond and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Though there really is no bond stronger than one built on thirsting over footy players while filming an ad.

I know I haven’t told you about said bond before, but she means so much to me that I wanted to wait sharing our love on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace until there was a special occasion. And there is no occasion specialer than an EGOT contributing award show.

After holding each other close and catching up on what we’ve been up to, Tina being Tina
interrupted our gabfest by saying, “hit me with the odds Ben. And put some stank on it.”

I mean, if that is not the mark of an icon, I don’t know what is. With that we agreed that Arctic Monkeys will take Best Rock Performance, that we’ve never heard of any of the metal performances, Greta Van Fleet feel like the best shot for Best Rock Song and Weezer should take Best Rock Album.

Did I half-arse the running of odds? Sure. But I really wanted to focus my attention on making my Tina Turnovers perfect for my dear friend.

 

 

Creamy, sweet and full of juicy, tart blueberries, these are the perfect snack for any occasion. And are super easy, so you’d be mad not to have a crack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tina Turnovers
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese, softened
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and quartered
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 egg, whisked
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Divide amongst the squares of pastry, dot with the blueberries and seal to form triangles.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately.

 

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Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles

Hashbrown: The End, Main

After kicking off my celebration of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Hashbrown: The End –  catching up with Carol and Dylan, I realised that I needed to circle back to the point and celebrate the titular Kimmy. Aka my dear friend Ellie Kemper.

While I haven’t known Ellie as long as some of the other cast members – I met her in 2011 while visiting Melissa on the set of Bridesmaids – we quickly bonded over our passion for writing and became the best of friends.

Despite being a close personal friend of Tina, I shockingly didn’t organise the casting. It was such a delight to pick up the phone from Tina who was giddy to have found her Kimmy, only to discover it was my dearest friend.

I haven’t seen Ellie since the last Emmys – where I refused to believe the news that Kimmy’s end was nigh – so it was wonderful to spend some time together and absorb the fact that this delightful, quirky show is ending and the world will never be the same.

And our hearts will become a blackened void.

Though I guess that’s where my Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles come into play.

 

 

Chargrilled eggplant topped with a juicy, braised rissole, covered in tomato sauce and cheese? You can’t go wrong, even for the staunchest of anti-eggplanters – the veggie only, obvs – like me.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles
Serves: 6-8, depending on the size of your eggplant.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1cm slices
1kg beef mince
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups passata
½ cup – or more, obvi – mozzarella cheese, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the slices of eggplant on a lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, flipping once. Remove and drain on some kitchen towel.

Reduce oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince, oregano, basil, garlic and parmesan in a bowl and shape into 16 rissoles.

Place the eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish and top each with a rissole. Pour over the passata and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cheese is golden and the rissoles cooked through.

Serve immediately with a big heaping of Gabriel Mash or on their own. Or with salad. I don’t mind, the most important thing is you devour.

 

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Carole Radtzikiwill

Condiment, Dip, Vegetarian

I’ve been feeling super rundown and sad after returning to work, so I reached out to my dear friend Carole Radziwill – or Radzi as Countess LuAnn and I call her – and thankfully she was free to drop by.

Obviously I met Carole and her late husband Anthony in the ‘90s when I interned at ABC to try and woo Anthony in the hope of marrying into the wider Kennedy family. While he only had eyes for Carole, I was immediately taken by her down to earth nature and the love they shared and bowed out with dignity for once.

Watching their love grow and becoming such dear friends was a true blessing, however the tragic way it came to a close was painful to watch and I am glad I was able to support Caz through the horrible period she lived through in ‘99.

Oh and fun fact: our closeness if what made Aviva accuse her of using a ghostwriter. Which she didn’t do as she is an award winning journalist, damnit.

Thankfully our life is a bit less traumatic now – Caz’s even more so after bowing out of RHONY and leaving Dorinda as my sole fave – so it was such a delight to just sit, gossip and on my part, try and convince her to return to The Housewives if I can convince Andy to get rid of The B.

While she didn’t appear open to it, she was thrilled to open her mouth and smash a vat of my Carole Radtzikiwill.

 

 

As a child, I hated the entire concept of tzatziki. I don’t know if it is the general vibe of dodgy 90s or my irrational rage against cucumber, but I couldn’t stomach it. Until I had a really good one and I fell in love. Fresh, zingy and packing a punch, it is beautiful on its own or perfect slathered on a yiro or souvlaki.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carole Radtzikiwill
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups greek yoghurt.
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Chuck everything in a bowl.

Stir, cover and chill for an hour.

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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