Bacon, Brocolli and Cauliflowerma Gerd Bake

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Side, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the dolls were tasked with designing some signature eye shadow palettes, before producing an entire beauty campaign to support them. Including not just a commercial, but a beauty shot like ANTM before it. After stomping – or swinging, in the iconic Fiercalicious’ case – the runway as works of art, everyone received glowing praise in at least one of the assignments. While Fiercalicious came out on top, Irma, Giselle and Bombae’s runways weren’t enough to save them from the bottom three. With the iconic Bombae felled by sweet, camp Irma.

Backstage Irma was equal parts shocked and thrilled to have taken out the lip sync, while everyone was sad to see the sweetheart home. Irma regaled the girls with tales about being focused on the performance, while the girls read her for being a little weird and wacky, which TBH is on brand. Talk turned to Fiercalicious’ first win, with everyone kinda sleeping on how well she did which mainly came down to the fact that Vivian felt like she has been doing so well in the competition and was just heartbroken it is yet to reward her. So either she wins this week or goes home. And since I love her, it needs to be the former.

The next day the dolls were thrilled to be the top six, none more so than Fiercalicious, after finally joining the winner’s circle. Promptly calling out Irma and Vivian for not being there, with the latter growing more stressed while Irma crunched the numbers and deduced that based on her track record, she will be winning this week. Before we could audit the maths, Brad dropped by and put the girls to the ultimate test, popping on actress quick drag to audition for his upcoming movie Super Queen. Vivian lived her Annie fantasy, Irma hoped to sleep her way to the top, Fiercalicious was confident and very good, Kimmy was killer and camp while Giselle and Jada leant into stupid and I love them. But obviously, Kimmy’s brand of stupid camp was deemed the best.

Brad then shared that this was just the start of their acting careers as for this week’s Maxi Challenge, they would be starring in Squirrels Trip: The Rusical. Starting with dropping the vocals and learning the choreo, after cage fighting for the roles, if Bosco v Camden is anything to go by. As they split up to go through the scripts, Giselle jumped at one of the smaller roles before everyone agreed that Fiercalicious should play the gaslighter. Kimmy jumped into a difficult role nobody wanted before Irma and Jada went in to fight for the same role, though sadly it was no Moulin Ru sitch as Irma just as happily stepped aside for her. While Vivian was happy to play a pent up mother, despite not feeling confident with the challenging choreography. As they split up to memorise their lines, Irma immediately lost her feelings of confidence given Giselle is far from being described as a confident singer. Vivian meanwhile worried about taking such a demanding role, while Fiercalicious admitted she pushed for her to take it to sabotage her. And well, this season is wild and I love it.

The dolls dropped by to work on their vocals with known chanteuse, Brad Goreski and well Jada sounded good. Kimmy gave all the confidence despite not knowing what some of her lyrics meant, while Fiercalicious was perfectly cast and oh so good. Poor Vivian appeared nervous behind the mic – though I’m hopeful this is our fakeout edit – and while Irma nailed it, Giselle bombed. And she knew it, thank you very much. Brad tapped out with Hollywood Jade who delighted Vivian with some sexy dance partners, and as soon as they held her tight, all her nerves just disappeared. Which is relatable AF. Kimmy knocked anything and everything out of the park, while Giselle and Irma traded places with the latter unable to get down the choreo, while Giselle hit every mark and hit it perfectly.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls running scales and beating their mugs, with Jada looking forward to hearing her dulcet tones on the track. Irma meanwhile opened up about her speech impediment growing up and how that has led to a lot of trauma and anxiety that still worries her to this day, though thankfully she was happy due to the fact it made her who she is. Giselle opened up about her own struggles growing up as queer and how it wasn’t until a teacher took him under his wing did he see that life is worth living. Jada meanwhile shared a spooky story about how her door kept opening throughout the night and how her bussy had been quivering, deducing that she fucked a ghost. Well, bottomed for one. And while it obviously adds nothing to the plot, I would argue it is just as important as the competition.

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Jeremy Dutcher as the dolls took the stage for the opening and closing performance of Squirrels Trip. Jada opening the show strong, bringing all the charm and energy while Kimmy was delightfully demented. Fiercalicious gave full Ramona Singer teas – as a compliment, oddly – while Irma and Giselle kinda blended into the pack, though arguably had the toughest gig playing the (alleged) straight guys. Most importantly, Vivian did receive the fakeout edit of the week as she stole the damn show, giving horned up mumma-vamp in all the right ways. And while I SAID Vivian stole the show, the back-up dancers had their bums out, so yeah, they won my heart and my loins.

On the Dystopian Drag Runway, Jada gave zombie hunting Harley Quinn does Mad Max realness and well, it worked. Fiercalicious was perfect as the sexy sister of the monster from the Shape of Water while Vivian was terrifying, artistic and stunning in a True Detective kinda way. Kimmy was stunning as a sexy, shiny, spike warrior, Irma gave gassed glamazon while Giselle was living mirrorball model from Dune.

The judges lived for Jada’s energy and her hitting every note, despite wanting her to give them even more. And while her runway was good, it could have been better. Fiercalicious was praised for being a perfect bitch in the performance and for giving such an iconic look on the runway which will live on forever. Vivian meanwhile was universally beloved for everything she did this week, particularly for taking a risk in the challenge and for popping her baby teeth on her runway. Kimmy was read for giving another bra and panty combo on the runway, while everyone lived for how fun she was in the performance. Irma’s runway was beloved, despite the unnecessary reveal and while her vocals were great, they could see she was on the struggle bus when it came to the dancing. While Giselle received universal praise for the runway, she was read for blending into the background in the performance.

Backstage Kimmy was disappointed that her runway could cost her another win, while Fiercalicious was confident her runway may secure her second. Everyone read Jada for her basic outfit, which made her nervous she would be lip syncing yet again while Irma too was sure she would be in the bottom. Talk turned to Vivian’s breakout performance, with her delighting in everyone’s praise and support.

Ultimately Vivian finally jagged a very well-deserved victory as Fiercalicious and Kimmy were sent to safety before Jada narrowly avoided a third time in the bottom, with Giselle instead facing off against Irma. As soon as Alannah Myles’ Love Is kicked off both of the dolls kicked into fight mode, leaning into the camp, fun, nostalgic energy of the song and turning it. Though given Giselle is a straight up dancer, she really gave us everything and while Irma was giving the drama and silly, she was hurt by the fact she was wearing milky contact lenses and we couldn’t see all the emotion. Which is what I’m blaming her departure on, as she sashayed away while I dreamed of her and Vivian making their way to the top two together.

As soon as she stepped foot back into the Werk Room, I pulled her aside for a massive hug and shared how disappointed I was by her tragic elimination. Not only does she have one of the funnest, meme-iest names to grace Drag Race, but she was so sweet and kooky and talented, it is impossible not to stan. I mean, her Marilyn Snatch Game was bloody inspired! I reiterated that she is guaranteed to have a long, illustrious career – could her and Vivian become Trixie and Katya 2.0? I hope! – due to her talents, and in the meantime, she always has Bacon, Brocolli and Cauliflowerma Gerd Bake.

You know those moments when you’re trying to make a healthier version of a meal – in this case, Simon Potato Baker Denny – but end up just making another, delicious, creamy delight? Well, this is it. Gone are the potatoes of said bake, traded out with broccoli and cauliflower, elevating it to tasty heights.

Enjoy!

Bacon, Broccoli and Cauliflowerma Gerd Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
400g cauliflower, cut into small florets
400g broccoli, cut into small florets
200g streaky bacon rashers, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
200ml cream
200ml sour cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the cauliflower for five minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for a further few minutes before draining and setting aside.

Pop a large pan over medium heat and cook the bacon for a few minutes, or until crisp. Add the garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, cream, sour cream, parmesan, half the cheddar and a good whack of salt and pepper, stirring until well combined.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and the top is golden. Then devour, solo or with a freshly cooked roast.


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Pokato and Tatham Casserole

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Side, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Kate was heartbroken to see Andy was booted at the first tribal council of the season before Khanh wiped it from everyone’s mind as he beasted the Water tribe to victory at the reward challenge. The Blood tribe meanwhile were growing nervous about Kate given she is Andy’s sister and could play a similarly cutthroat game, though obviously Sandra was not phased because, well, she is the threat. Despite being way behind, Blood narrowly took out the second immunity challenge. Back at camp Briana started to spiral as she searched for an idol, which was found by her closest ally leading to Khanh pushing for her to hold onto it and ultimately sending Briana home.

The next day things were far more zen at the Water tribe without Briana’s paranoia, while Chrissy was just mainly shocked to still be in the game. They hung around laughing it up, joking about Briana trying to take Jordie’s bag on her way out the door as she was so shocked by her blindside. Which is a word Chrissy just learnt, despite Briana not actually being blindsided. Chrissy and Khanh meanwhile were growing close, despite not having ever spoken of an alliance between them, Chrissy felt she could rely on him. Khanh meanwhile shared he was pretending to not care about the game as he quietly built up his resume, while cooking up a storm to charm his way through the competition. We then learnt that Khanh was ready to make a move and firm up an alliance with someone strong and as such, approached Mark to lock something in. Which Mark readily accepted, seeing the immense value Khanh offers his game.

Which ugh, I love – they started out as lovers and now they are allies!

Meanwhile over at the Blood tribe they were singing filthy freestyle ditties, living their best lives and well, making Sandra nervous since she is used to playing down and dirty. That being said, she knows that she will have to gladly blend into the background until things start to get dirty enough to take control. David was talking to Sam about his nerves for Briana while Sandra shared with us that David only played the game for his daughter and as such, he doesn’t really know what is going on which is why she will push for the tribe to vote him out if and when they go to tribal council.

Sophie, Jesse, Sam, Amy and Dave caught up by the well with them trying to figure out who they should target when they go to tribal. With David saying that Sandra needs to go ASAP to eliminate their biggest threat. While Sophie cautioned that people either want her here long term or for her to go soon, David continued his push, particularly thinking she will flourish when cracks start to form which is a perfect read on her game. While Sandra promised us she will destroy anyone that throws her name out.

And this episode is going to get very interesting soon, isn’t it?

The tribes met Jonathan by the river where David’s fears were realised as he discovered Briana became the second boot. As he tried to hold back tears he explained to Jonathan that he was surprised his baby girl was voted out and vowed that things are well and truly personal now. Sandra jumped in and agreed that the protective love of being a parent is different to all these bonds and as such, understands how he must be feeling in this moment.

But more importantly, they had a challenge to get to where one person would swim out to two pontoons and attach them to a rope, one at a time, which the rest of the tribe would pull in and then unload sandbags. Which they will use to build a tower before releasing a flare. All for the chance to visit the Survivor shop where they can select a bunch of comfort items. Jesse darted through the water and quickly got the Blood tribe out to an early lead, while Khanh valiantly stayed close enough behind despite not being a triathlete. As Jesse attached the second pontoon, Jordie tagged out at Water and despite whipping out, realised he didn’t have the rope and had to go back. 

Despite their seemingly epic lead, the Water tribe quickly closed in on the Blood tribe. More importantly, Jesse looked like a dream in his speedos and well, I continue to stan him and his brother. Particularly their style choices. Both tribes slowed down as they continued through the challenge, with Water slowly starting to close the gap. Sadly though, it was too slow as Blood built their tower and ascended to the top to release the flare and snatch their first reward.

Given Jonathan is messy, he told them that only one person would be able to go and while the tribe wanted Sandra to go, Sam stepped in and told them Dave should go since he just lost his daughter. To make things messier, David was then given the chance to take someone from the Water tribe with him, ultimately settling on Khanh because he seemed trustworthy and Dave wants answers about his daughter’s boot.

As the duo arrived at the store, Khanh was trying to hide his awkwardness about leading the charge against his daughter. We learnt that Dave could select three items, or choose to take two and give one to the rival tribe, while any advantages wouldn’t count. Immediately they spotted a twin idol which are each complete on their own, but if they are combined later in the season, they will form a super idol which can be played after the votes are read. While Khanh felt bonded by the idol, Dave didn’t want to give him any items and even when Khanh offered him information, he still refused to give their tribe any comfort.

After selecting a net, jerky and some nuts, Dave asked why Briana was voted out with Khanh diplomatically explaining it was only because she immediately riffled through the tackle box after the last reward in the hunt for an idol in front of the tribe and spooked everyone. But he assured him that she went out gracefully with a smile. Before they parted ways, the duo decided that they would wear their hats to future challenges and should someone remove their hat before, that will signal that they played their idol. Oh and we learnt that Dave’s choice to not give Khanh any items was to sow paranoia on the other tribe and have them questioning his motives. Which is far smarter than I’ve been giving Dave credit for.

As Khanh arrived back at camp, he immediately admitted that he wasn’t given everything but did share that he and Dave both found idols.Though held back the fact it could become a super idol if it joins with Dave’s. And while the plan was to create chaos, the tribe trusted everything Khanh said and were happy with his honesty.

Back at camp Dave was welcomed back as a hero. As he showed off the loot, Sandra waited to see if he owned up to any personal gain from his little shopping trip. He regaled them with a tale about how he dominated Khanh and refused to give him anything before pretending he thought he found an idol but instead was disappointed to discover it was soap. Without producing any soap. As such, Sandra was well and truly sketched out by him and even more ready to send him packing, just like his daughter.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan where they would have to face off racing through a series of hurdles in a mud pit before chopping down two logs to climb over towers before unravelling enough chain to move a box to their mats before releasing blocks and using them to spell out a puzzle on a see-saw. Which is as big as it sounds.The Water tribe got out to the earliest of leads before Croc got a hold of the axe and quickly closed the gap and were neck and neck on the first one. Jonathan gave us the filthiest pun as the cousins ‘punished their logs’, before Water once again pulled away until Mark fell off the pole as he tried to climb over it. Despite the setback, Water continued to pull away while Blood madly tried to unravel their chest. Both tribes got to work on their puzzle with Sandra barking out the solution to her tribe while Chrissy screamed out the timings so her tribe would drop the letters at the same time and not tip the see-saw, which proved key as they took out their first immunity of the season.

Back at camp Sandra immediately got to work throwing people under the bus and enacting her ‘anyone but me’ strategy. Kate meanwhile was blown away that the game had finally begun, while Dave was thrilled given he has his super idol. Dave, Sam, Amy, Jordan, Jay, Sophie, Croc and Ben caught up at camp with Dave quickly pointing out they need to get rid of Sandra before she gets her foot in the game. While some of the others were nervous about an idol, Dave suggested they split the vote between Kate and Sandra given Kate has lost her pair. Which is a stupid move, given he also lost his pair.

Sandra meanwhile was busy charming Michelle, Jesse, Kate, Amy and Jay in the water, with Sandra admitting her game is always simple – she builds an alliance and works best with the alpha males and as such, she just needs to wait for one of them to approach her. Right on cue, Ben arrived in his speedo and quickly told her that Dave is throwing her name out and well, now Ben is my favourite player and I would die for him. With that Sandra fired right up and immediately decided to turn things on Dave, suggesting they divide and conquer to get enough numbers to quietly pile the votes on Dave and send him home. Ideally with his idol in his pocket.

Ben approached Michelle, Kate, Sophie, Jesse and Croc in the water, suggesting they all flip the vote on Dave given he is quite abrupt and without his daughter, and has become a loose canon. Ben shared that his strategy was to stick close to Sandra and learn from her so he can ride all the way to the end.

Jesse and Sam meanwhile caught up with Sam sharing that she does not want to see Dave go, given she feels she can trust him and he is more of a physical threat. While Jesse tried to explain to Jay that it would be better to keep the visible threat in, Sam wandered around camp telling everyone how stupid it would be to leave Sandra in, given her surviving just shows how good she is. Kate and Dave meanwhile were catching up with Kate suggesting that if you aren’t part of the plan, you are the plan. And that sadly made Dave realise that a lot of little conversations are going on around camp and as such, his name may now be on the block.

And shit, fuck – his idol is coming out, isn’t it?

At tribal council Sam spoke about how friendly and calm the tribe have been thus far, but admitted things quickly changed after the immunity challenge. Sandra agreed that things are far calmer in Australian Survivor, with everyone preferring to play it safe until they needed to worry, though cautioned Australians do love a blindwide. Jay spoke about needing to keep the tribe strong, which made Kate very nervous as she is one of the weaker people on the tribe and she wasn’t involved in any plans today.

Sam tried to downplay her paranoia, admitted there were so many plans and she ultimately heard a tonne of names which ended up making everyone nervous. Sandra admitted she only knew about two plans and as such, she is now worried given you’re only safe if you win immunity. David agreed that he was nervous, given he is only aware of one before thinking it was a good idea to say it made sense Sam heard so many names, given she flits from person to person strategising. Literally throwing the only person defending him under the bus.

This made Sandra smirk as Dave continued to dig a deeper and deeper hole before Sam stepped in and questioned why he was talking shit about her and asked everyone to confirm whether she had ever mentioned his name at camp. An irate Sam spoke about how the plan she had locked in back at camp had nothing to do with Dave but if he didn’t offer her something compelling, her plan may change. Dave continued to dig his hole saying that when trust is broken, he will turn on them, otherwise he is loyal.

As everyone stepped in to explain it didn’t make sense as she never flipped on him, he continued to pout as Sam straight up said she had only worked to get Dave’s name thrown out, while Sandra and Kate looked on with glee. Sam then got up and went person to person to whisper a new plan to get rid of Dave, while Jay shared his disappointment about Dave’s outburst given Sam truly did nothing wrong while Sandra jumped on the chaos and reminded everyone to make the decision that keeps the tribe united. Aka boot flame-out Dave.

With that the tribe voted, Dave rightly played his idol to save himself (from himself), which tragically sent poor Kate home with only a few votes to her name. Though thankfully, Sandra lived to fight another day. As soon as Kate arrived at Loser Lodge I started to quietly weep and pulled her in for a hug, heartbroken to see her go so soon. Without the idol, I feel like Kate would have been able to find her footing in the game and go far given she is such a kind, friendly person, but alas, David David-ed and now we’re down our first complete pair. 

Eventually I was able to dry the tears from my eyes and was able to get to work in the kitchen, toasting what could have been with a piping hot Pokato and Tatham Casserole.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that potatoes are the ultimate form of comfort. Add in some leftover Christmas ham – side note, why are parents obsessed with buying triple the amount required – cream and cheese, and well, you have culinary happiness.

Enjoy!

Pokato and Tatham Casserole
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated, plus extra for topping
¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain
6 potatoes, par-cooked and diced
2 cups ham, diced

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and capsicum together until soft and sweet. Add the flour and a good whack of salt and pepper and cook off for an extra minute or two.

Remove from the heat and stir in the milk before returning to the heat and bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and fold through the cheese and mayo and cook for a couple of minutes. Fold through the potato and ham.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with some extra cheese and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until bubbling and golden.

Serve immediately, piping hot, and then devour.


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Breked McKenziti

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Pasta

After spending the start of Oscar Gold hang with current nominee Quentin Tarantino, icon Nat Port, the inspiration for this year’s name – Gold Basketball – Kobe Bryant and the stunning screenwriter Di, I thought I should celebrate some of my favourite Anzac victors. And there is no victorious Kiwi that I love more than Bret McKenzie.

I first met Bret on the set – am I Dr freaking Zeuss? – of The Lord of the Rings, and we quickly bonded over our passion, and talent, for songwriting.

While our partnership fell through and he found success with Jemaine Clement instead, after a few years of mediation and a brief stint in prison for me, we put aside our differences and once again became friends.

In no small part to my dear Amy Adams, who wanted us to be friends again.

After blowing straight across the ditch into his arms in Wellington, I quickly begged him to use whatever sway he has to convince Jacinda to adopt our entire country and call us West Zealand. While he responded with a wry chuckle, I held his head like Gordon Ramsey calling someone an idiot sandwich, looked him dead in the eye and begged him to save us.

He calmly walked me over to his couch, sat me down and talked me through the shame I was experiencing not having Jacinda as Prime Minister before gently reminding me that we have a job to do. And that job is to run the damn odds.

So run the damn odds we did!

For Sound Mixing and Editing we both agree that 1917 is most likely to take it, since they both seem to favour war movies. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford v Ferrari snatch one or both away from the teams.

For Original Score Hildur Guðnadóttir should pretty much clear a space for her little man because she is a lock for Joker. And lastly, in Bret’s former category, Elts and Bernie have it in the bag for Rocketman and I am so happy that I can actually be happy for him.

With that out of the way we caught each other up on our lives and spitballed ideas for the next Muppets reboot before sitting down to a big, warm Breked McKenziti.

 

 

Cheesy and gloopy, yet all together comforting and spicy. A baked ziti is one of the most glorious things. Add in some buffalo chicken, and you’ve got perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Breked McKenziti
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g ziti, cooked to packet instructions
3 tbsp butter
500g chicken mince
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
250g cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
2 tbsp Michelle Branch Dressing
¼ cups chives, roughly chopped
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160° and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile place a dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the chicken mince and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes, breaking up the back of the wooden spoon as you go. Add the flour and cook for a further minute, still stirring, until it is a sticky, gloopy mess.

Remove from the heat and stir in the milk until the sauce comes together. Return to the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing and stir until coming together. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes, or until thick.

Add the chives, cooked ziti and cheddar. Stir and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and goopy.

Serve immediately and devour. Victoriously.

 

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Spicy Macharroni Chills

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 Australians were dumped in the Fijian jungle, once again split up into tribes of Champions and Contenders with the latter desperate hoping to get revenge on Shane Gould. Who last year taught us that she is not to be fucked with. One by one they were sent from the game with Anastasia, Laura – yep, happening – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, booted before the merge, Ross was tragically medevaced, ultrafan Andy was felled before the jury, while Shaun, David, John, Daisy, Simon, Janine and Abbey were sent to the jury back-to-back. After losing the final four immunity challenge, all hope looked lost for Luke who tried to convince Pia to vote with him and force Baden into a fire making challenge against the returning Champion. Ultimately Pia knew her best shot was to trust in herself to get to the end and joined the Contenders to send Luke to the jury, breaking Australia’s hearts in the process.

The next morning the final three stood by the shore taking in the view, with Harry thrilled to finally be the odds on favourite to win the game. Clearly unaware that pride generally comes before the fall. Pia was lacking Harry’s bravado, struggling with the fact she had to vote out a dear friend to make it to the final three. She listed her impressive resume and hot damn, I need her to win. Baden was sick of being underestimated and honestly, I am just feeling guilty for essentially writing him off as a non-entity in the episode.

Finally they arrived at a clearing where Jonathan’s killer guns welcomed the trio to their final immunity challenge where they were required to stand on two narrow pegs while holding on to two ropes keeping heavy idols aloft, with the last one standing snatching immunity. Before the challenge got underway, Jonathan gave them all a little extra inspiration for the challenge and called out their family. Harry sobbed as his girlfriend and mother were wheeled out, Baden broke down as his parents and brother arrived on the scene, but Pia’s emotional reunion with her husband and kids was the true star of the moment. Pia was crying, her husband was crying, the kids were cute bewildered and desperate for a nap and honestly, my goofy grin couldn’t be wiped off my face. Then I cried happy tears.

After Pia gave an inspiring speech about appreciating her family even more, the families were sent to sit out bench and the final three stood atop their perches. Baden, giddy for the fun ahead. Both Baden and Harry looked wobbly early on the challenge but the trio managed to power on for an hour, which was just long enough for the sun to set and the set to light up in fire in an epic manner. After two hours Baden started talking about stargazing, which his mum pretending to be interested though clearly not giving a fuck. Baden then started running his mouth like Christian Hubicki and honestly, I stan. After 4.5 hours the pain started to get to PIa, before Harry nearly tumbled off the pegs only to be saved by the love of his girlfriend. At five hours Pia buckled in pain, moaning through while her husband covered his eyes from the sidelines and tried to remind her that she could do it. While Pia fought back tears, her husband reminded her that she can drop if she wants however she reiterated that she isn’t ready to go home.

He then went full lamaze class, helping her stay focused, getting her to breathe through the pain and miraculously, she found the strength to pull her idols back to the top. The challenge then ticked over to 6.5 hours, earning the record for the longest challenge in Australian Survivor history. But at what cost, honestly. Harry was shaking and grunting in pain, Pia looked like someone was cursing her with an avada kedavra. Then, out of nowhere, Harry asked Jonathan to come over and help him out of the challenge and honestly, my heart broke for him in that moment and I’m back to loving everyone. Pia then asked for help getting out of the challenge, breaking down in tears and handing Baden final immunity.

Pia, why couldn’t you wait long enough to make a deal with Baden?!

We immediately arrived at tribal council where the jury were shocked to see Baden wearing immunity. He admitted that the power of being the only person voting tonight is really weighing on him, aware that both have played strong games and not sure who the jury will respect more. Pia jumped in to fight for her life, not willing to say Harry doesn’t deserve it and instead reminding Baden that he and Harry have played the entire game together and as such, Harry, the flashier player, already owns them and he won’t be able to claim them. Harry argued that his game is already transparent, while Pia has been stealth and letting her get to the end to argue her case is the bigger risk. Harry then pointed out the majority of the jury are also Champions, so already the odds would be stacked against him.

Pia jumped in to point out that she voted out every Champion but Janine and as such, she has made a lot of enemies and as such, he has the better shot against her. Harry pointed out that Pia makes very convincing arguments and as an actress, knows how to perform for an audience. He then pointed out that he wanted to take Baden before the final immunity challenge and honestly that just proves that he thinks he can beat him. Which Pia rightly pointed out before reminding Baden that everyone has tried desperately to get rid of Harry throughout the game and his final big move, would be taking him out in front of the jury.

With that Baden went off to vote and hot damn, Pia the icon somehow won the battle and Harry was sent from the game with the single vote.

Was Harry as likeable a villain as David? No. Was he as nude as my favourite Contender John? Of course not. Does his half-closed eye fill me with concern about what happened? Undoubtedly. But none of that takes away from his ridiculous staying power in the game. While cockroach sounds like a mean title, I explained that it was true and he should wear the title proudly because there were a lot of other people that didn’t survive their shitty hands – and then I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride – which only prove how strong a player he is. So despite myself and the fact Nick Wilson is his favourite player (a sign of a new fan), I whipped him up a Spicy Macharroni Chills.

 

 

Just when you thought chilli and macaroni cheese couldn’t get any more delicious, I go and mix them up in a vat and bake it with even more cheese. It may not be pretty or elegant, but like Harry’s game, it is effective in filling you with all the happy feels.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Macharroni Chills
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
olive oil
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, pricked
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh chorizo, casings removed
2 onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Heat oven to 150C and put a large pot of salted water over high heat, and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or so.

Heat a small lug of oil in a dutch oven and cook the chorizo, breaking up with the back of the wooden spoon, until browned and the fat has started to leak out. Add the onions and cook for a further five minutes, or until softened and sweet. Add the butter and cook until melted before dumping in the flour, mustard powder, sriracha and Worcestershire and stirring into a glorious gloop. Cook for a minute or so before bringing off the heat and stirring through the milk. Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes, or until the milk has started to thicken.

Once the pasta is ready, add it to the dutch oven with the blistered tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of each cheese and stirring until well combined. Decant into a large baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly.

Devour immediately, trying hard to avoid the ropes of molten cheese. Like Harry avoided the boot for longer than anticipated.

 

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Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland

Main, Pasta

I can not tell you how much it has meant to me having Kelly over to help celebrate our momentous milestone. While we haven’t caught up in the last few years – despite her working in Australia – having a special friend over to mark the occasion meant the world to me.

As you know, I’ve been a dear friend of the Children of Destiny all my life. First connecting with Bey through fight club and then mentoring her, Michelle and Kelly to greatness. After voting the rest of the children off the island that it Destiny’s Child, in a move that inspired The Lord of the Flies.

While Bey is the biggest star of the trio, I’ve always had a soft spot for dear Kelly and when she called begging me to help her make the transition to film like Bey almost two decades ago, I jumped at the chance.

My time as a teen manager wasn’t very successful however, and despite owning Freddy vs. Jason, I couldn’t guide her career how it needed and we parted ways creatively. Which is the one time it didn’t lead to a personal break-up as well.

I assume because we always loved to spend time together and heal over a hearty, glorious Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland.

 

 

This may not be the most dignified or classy dish, but I am genuine when I say that it is one of my favourites. I don’t know why baked beans, sausages, capsicum, bacon, onion and pasta go so well together, but they do. And as such, this is the best way I know to celebrate a milestone as big as 1000 celebrity visitors.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland
Serves: 8-10.

Ingredients
1kg thin sausages
500g spiral pasta
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
800g canned baked beans
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sausages in batches for about ten minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low and in the same skillet cook the onion, garlic and bacon for about five minutes or so, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

To assemble, cut the sausages into 1cm lengths and place in a large, deep baking dish with the drain pasta, bacon mixture, capsicums, baked beans, tomato paste and half the parsley. Stir until well combined, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and all of the cheese, and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Devour immediately, grateful that you’re now in on the secret of the greatest dish of all time.

 

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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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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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Richard Hash

Breakfast

While I feel like we’re balls deep with Survivor, following the surprisingly choice Survivor NZ: Nicaragua – pronouncing every damn syllable, obvi – and being half-way through Australian Survivor 3.2, the granddaddy of reality TV – Probst’s Survivor is returning in just under four weeks with the premiere of Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.

Not to be confused with RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, which I can exclusively confirm will be subtitled Hennies v. Hunties v. Hallelus.

As with last season, I wanted to spend the lead-up reconnecting with my dear friends slash past Survivor victors. And as such, I knew I had to kick this season’s celebrations off with a date with my ex-lover, dear friend and all around OG Richard Hatch.

In what is almost reality TV history now, Richard Hatch is attributed with being the person to establish the strategic (slash invent the) game of Survivor. Despite people thinking otherwise, there were others tinkering with strategy in Borneo, though Rich was the most successful and charismatic, so is remembered solo. Plus, he won over a delightfully homophobic Rudy with his nudity to boot, making him a true icon.

Just a less bone-inducing one than Locky #neverforget

After dominating Borneo, Rich returned for only his tragic second appearance, surviving far longer than Jenna Lewis wanted winners to, before being bamboozled and blindsided.

While Rich has had a colourful history with the law, taxes and appropriateness, he has always been a loyal friend … despite being an ex-lover, and for that I’ll always be eternally grateful. So much so, when he drops buy to lust over the new cast slash lock in our winner tips, he will always have a fresh Richard Hash waiting for him.

 

 

Spicy, fresh and hearty, a hash is a perfect winter breakfast to celebrate being the first Sole Survivor, clear the blues of being bamboozled and or a prison-hooch induced hangover.

Enjoy!

 

 

Richard Hash
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chorizos, sliced into discs
3 cooked potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp chilli flakes
150g feta, crumbled
4 eggs
small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. When nice and soft, add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and chilli flakes and cook for a further five minutes, or until the chorizo oil has been absorbed by the potatoes.

Crumble feta over the top, crack the eggs over and transfer to the oven to bake for five-ten minutes, or until the white has just set.

Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little oil in an ovenproof pan until the onion is soft. Add the chorizo and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper, before devouring.

 

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Phoebe Gratimmins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2016), Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, Phoebe and Kristie pulled off a killer blindside on Craig – for which Kristie was robbed of an Emmy – before Phoebe attempted to throw her only ally under the bus after Vavau lost immunity. Again. Thankfully for our budding actress instead of voting out a tribe member in front of a Saanapuan, their rival was able to kidnap a tribe member, making the battle now four to ten after Brooke took Sue.

We opened up back at Saanapu where Brooke filled the tribe in on all the Phoebe intel – which JoJo kindly threw out there at tribal – while Sue tried to find her footing despite knowing she was the taken to be an easy boot if they lost.

Remember the good old days of triumphant, happy Vavau? The feels. Current flailing, sad Vavau arrived back from tribal where Kristie was relieved to still be in the game thanks to the twist, though lacked the awareness to know that Phoebe well and truly does not have her back.

The next day Phoebe checked in with Kristie to make sure she was buying her loyalty before the camp literally caught on fire. Kristie – this is a sign from the island. Surprisingly it was Kristie that put it out, despite the fact she is oft edited to appear like a serial killer.

Over on Saanapu poor Sue woke up to her new reality, hanging clothes and clearing the air with her fellow ex-Vavauns. Well, Nick – she and Jennah-Louise didn’t have beef. Nick had his cranky pants on and Sue tried to calm him but didn’t seem to really give a shit about his tude. She may not be very visible but I love her.

The tribes then reconvened with JoJo for the immunity challenge where Vavau were emulating the great Aitu Four, mainly due to the fact that they are grossly outnumbered and soon to become Twolong.

In addition to immunity, the tribes were competing for the Hungry Jack’s breakfast menu by a waterfall.

After a tight battle – where the tribes had to rub (around) a pole, navigate a beam, tease another pole and work some hard stumps – Sam hurt his pole but not his pride with Saanapu pulling out a come from behind victory.

While at this point we are normally treated to a dejected Vavau, we trundled off to reward with Saanapu to ensure that we all knew that the burgers truly are better at Hungry Jack’s. Now with real coffee. Corporate sponsorship aside, Sue was happy, so I’m happy. Of course Nick continued to play the loudest, tiny violin and promised her downfall. Which obviously ain’t happening.

Finally we get to see Vavau return to camp for their annual scramble where Conner and Kate mixed things up and exchanged trust. Despite the scene being extremely corny, it warmed my cold heart and makes me want them to become the Australian Romber.

With the pleasantries out of the way, they connected with Phoebe and reconfirmed last night’s plan to boot Kristie. Obviously that gave Phoebe the opportunity to once again attempt to keep Kristie from getting paranoid, except this time it made her paranoid. She then approached Kate who threw Phoebe under the bus, igniting a fire in Kristie like the one she and Phoebe lit at camp earlier.

After working Kate and Conner to her side and giving another award winning performance with Phoebe, Kristie cryptically danced around JoJo’s questions at tribal before taking out – finally – Phoebe.

I first connected with Phoebe while she was attending Law School where I was, obviously, in the midst of one of my institutional lecturing scams. Despite running the course like a young, less interesting – and surprisingly, less murdery – Annalise Keating, Phoebe and I grew close.

I assume she was fascinated by my complex mind and she is treating me like a study, but alas, that is a story for another time. Phebs was in good spirits upon arriving at loser lodge, despite just being the victim of a blindside AND just missing the actual merge and now risks losing her boyfriend.

I don’t want to oversell it now, but I completely put her positive mood down to my Phoebe Gratimmins.

 

phoebe-gratimmins-1

 

Creamy, warm and soothing, it is everything you need to lift your spirits after exiting the game you’ve dominated – completely – for a month.

Well played Phebs, you’ll be missed while on the loser vacay.

Enjoy!

 

phoebe-gratimmins-2

 

Phoebe Gratimmins
Serves: 4-6, as a side. 1 after finding out you just missed the merge.

Ingredients
1kg potatoes, washed
300ml milk
300ml double cream
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 onion, finely diced
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan, add the garlic, thyme and onion, and slowly cook over low heat. When it is about to reach boiling point, remove it from the heat, add the nutmeg and keep warm.

Thinly slice the potatoes and layer in a medium baking, slightly overlapping around the edges. Lightly season and repeat until half the potato is gone. Top with half the fragrant dairy mix, spreading out the chunks of garlic and herbs as you go.

Layer the rest of the potatoes, top with the rest of the cream/milk, scatter over the cheese and bake for an hour or so. Or until the potatoes are golden and tender.

Leave to stand for five/ten minutes before devouring.

 

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LasEnya

Baking, Main, Pasta

It has been a rough decade not having Enya in my life. Kind of like being on the trains, in the winter rains … but emotionally, not literally. You know?

Picture it, Middle Earth 2001. I had just gotten Enya the job writing a song for the first Lord of My Ring (that’s what I thought it was called when I, helped, Peter Jackson to secure her job).

I was working my way through the Elfen extras to try and claim the Holy Grail of Orlando, watering my bloom. Long story short, I mistook Ens for an elf, she was upset I stopped when I realised it was her and was distraught that once again, I missed Orlando. Mud was slinged, words were said and I had my name removed from the co-writing credit and was robbed of another Oscar nomination.

Angry and hurt, I toured the most reputable and rational Hollywood publications PerezHilton and TMZ spewing vitriol and campaigning heavily against her winning the Oscar. It worked and sadly cost me our friendship.

Until she called.

You see, like me, Ens had tried to stay up-to-date on how the other was doing and lament the state of our friendship. Seeing my current success (and likely sensing the future plaudits and film adaptation she could score), Ens reached out to bury the hatchet and thankfully she was serious when she assured me it wouldn’t be in my back.

Ens is such an absolute doll and it breaks my heart that we fought so viciously for such a long time. She dropped over at the top of the morning yesterday and despite some initial awkwardness as we apologised and each took the sole blame for our issues while secretly blaming the other for all of them, it was like nothing had changed for the relationship we had in the 70s while I mentored her to success.

We gabbed and gabbed for hours, discussing our mutual disgust for Bono and our hope to collaborate on the melancholic, Opera adaptation of my future hit musical Little Whorephan Andy. Thankfully I had a huge batch of my LasEnya as we were worn out from all the planning!

 

lasenya-1

 

Lasagne is the ultimate comfort food – gooey cheese, rich sauce and a whack of herbs, it is life affirming, truly – and thankfully it is almost cold enough in Brisbane for me to pretend it is weather appropriate.

I mean, pasta? Amazing. Cheese? Even more amazing. Add in some pesto and hot damn you have a holy trinity of ingredients that instantly ends all feuds AND is a lovely shade of green for some cultural celebration.

Enjoy!

 

lasenya-2

 

LasEnya
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
handful button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
700g bottle tomato passata
2 cups beef stock
250g dried instant lasagne sheets
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella
250g tub smooth ricotta
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Toni Basil pesto
fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, onion, zucchini, carrot, celery and garlic until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mince and break up with the back of a wooden spoon, as it browns. Stir in the stock, passata and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes and starting to thicken.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Spread 1 ½ cups of the mince mixture over the base of a deep 22x30cm baking dish. Top with ¼ of the lasagne sheets. Top with ⅓ of the remaining meat mixture and ⅓ mozzarella. Repeat layers twice more aka the remaining ⅔ of each, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets.

Whisk the ricotta, cream, eggs and pesto together in a bowl, season and pour mixture over the lasagne.

Now this is important and I would normally completely ignore this step, but don’t be like me, be a winner; cover the baking dish with tented foil. Tented? You want the foil to cover the dish, but not come into direct contact with it and leave you with a deliciously crisped piece of foil cheese and a mutilated lasagne … but anyway.

Bake for 40 minutes. Un-tent and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Stand for 10 minutes and then serve. Again, don’t be a Ben – allow it to stand. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

 

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