Jud Beerza Battered Fries

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Nicaragua

Finally! We have a cast – complete with icon Elizabeth ‘flip da ma’fuckin’ bird’ Olson – and we can truly get to countdown to Survivor: David vs. Goliath. And TBH, there is no better way to mark the occasion than by hanging out with my dear friend and ex-lover Fabio.

Cast your mind back to 2010, riding high on the post Heroes vs. Villains wave, Survivor was a hit again, Sandra became the Queen, Parvati was an icon, Russell was an iconic mess … and Nicaragua landed with a thud.

Yes, we can all agree that the Medallion of Power was a joke and the double quit episode a week out from the end destroyed the pace … but I actually kinda loved the season. I mean, it was a trainwreck but that is part of the charm. Holly breaking down, burying shoes and rising from the ashes of her own creation to almost make it to the end was a thing of beauty. As was Jane’s tantrum upon finding out she was about to be booted and a loveable, ditzy underdog being verbally abused by an eventual quitter, only to outlast the rest and secure her vote for the victory.

And I am lucky enough to call said victor my dear friend Fabio aka Jud Birza.

I first met Jud in 2009 when I was searching for someone with the last name Benjamin or the first name Judd, so that we could marry and become either Benjamin Benjamin or Judd Judd like Brady Brady of SATC fame. While he was missing a D, he more than made up for it with another one and we fell into a quick love affair.

While we eventually broke up due to one of my deportations, I suggested Probst give him a chance to carry on Sandy’s legacy. And carry it he did. In my opinion.

Obviously all we could talk about was the iconic Elizabeth Olson and how if there is any justice in the world, she will be out victor. I mean, the cowboy hat, the shit eating grin and the knowledge that if anyone sees it, a team of interns of Sonia Morgan quantities will lose their jobs – this woman needs to win AND be the breakout character of the season.

Well, as far as we were concerned whilst smashing a tonne of Jud Beerza Battered Fries.

 

 

Super crispy on the outside, light and crispy on the inside, these are the most fun you can have with beer while cooking off the alcohol. Well, as well as Lucy’s balls obvi. Which reminds me, I need to watch Jud’s post-Survivor film …

Enjoy!

 

 

Jud Beerza Battered Fries
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg russet potatoes, cut into fries
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
375ml beer
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Place the cut potatoes into cold water and leave to sit for ten minutes or so. Drain and dry completely.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer until you’ve got a smooth, thickish batter.

Place the oil into a dutch oven until it is about 10 centimetres deep and and bring to 160C on a fry thermometer. Once at temperature, place a handful of potatoes in the oil at a time and cook until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to dry on kitchen towels.

Raise the temperature to 180C, dip the par-cooked fries into the batter and cook a few at a time for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to kitchen towel and repeat until done.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and devour, immediately.

 

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Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce

Main, Pasta, Snack

I was balls deep in this year’s Emmy Gold celebrations – after successful dates with Reets, Jackie-Boy and Chevs – when I was struck with a horrid feeling while driving away from Chevs’ … I’ve never documented a time-travel enabled date with the undisputed queen of television, Ms Lucille ma’ fuckin’ Ball.

Yes guys – how this kind of thing still comes as a shock to you, I will never know – I was a dear friend of Lucille Ball. I mean, probably even her best friend. The bestest.

I first met Lucille in the 30s while co-starring in the play Hey Diddle Diddle – where I was fired for diddling the director. While I was surrounded by scandal, Luce stood by my side and when the play was shut down after a week in DC, I escorted her to film the Too Many Girls which co-starred a friend of mine, Des.

Again, yes – of course it was me that introduced Lucy and Desi.

Anyway, given I wanted to see Luce at her best, I set the delorean for the ‘50s so we could catch up while they filmed a ep of I Love Lucy. It was such a joy to see them in a happy, successful time and it filled me with unending joy.

As this is the second date where I can’t reference the year, on account of the butterfly effect, I was left to run the odds all on my lonesome in the DeLorean. As she is the queen of comedy, I got to thinking about the female comedy awards. While I feel Pamela Adlon would prove an amazing person to end Jules’ streak, I can’t see anyone pipping her this year. Obviously Kate McKinnon is taking out supporting again, if only for her rendition of Hallelujah which made me cry for an hour.

Given that Luce was also the head of a production company – hallelu, desilu – I figured she’d be cool with me exploring the behind the cam odds. Donald Glover will win directing for a comedy, Jonathan Nolan (or the Duffer to hedge my bets) for drama, Don Roy King for SNL for Variety and Jean-Marc Vallée for Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.

Seriously – it was an action packed date, which called for an extremely special Judd family favourite – after Luce cooked it for us in the ‘70s – my Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce.

 

 

Moist, zingy and entirely sweet, these babies are the perfect thing to pop in your mouth while filling a hole … or catching up with a departed friend and running the odds in a defunct car.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 onion, grated
⅓ cup quick-cook oats
1 egg, lightly whisked
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tbs each of olive oil and butter
40g French onion soup mix
1 ½ cup beer
1 tbs brown sugar
1 pinch ground nutmeg
¼ cup sour cream
500g spiral pasta

Method
Combine the mince, onion, oats, egg and allspice in a bowl and scrunch to combine. Shape into walnut sized balls and allow to chill in the fridge for half an hour.

When raring to go, get a large pot of salted water on to boil and heat the oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Lightly fry the chilled balls in the hot, frothy liquid for a couple of minutes on each side, or until browned and glossy. Sprinkle with the soup mix and pour over the beer, stirring once the froth has subsided. Add the brown sugar, nutmeg and cook, stirring, for a further half an hour.

In that time, cook the pasta to packet instructions, drain and return to the pan with a small knob of butter. When the pasta is done and the balls cooked through, add the sour cream to the balls and stir to combine.

Serve the saucy, wet balls on a bed of buttered pasta … and devour.

 

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Alan Dale Sprouts

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Side, Snack

While Caleb Nichol is arguably the worst person to ever walk Orange County – barring all of the housewives, obviously – my dear friend Alan is as sweet as they could possibly come.

As you could probably guess from our down under connection – in both ways – I first connected with Alan in the mid-80s while working on the hit Australian soap Neighbours. Al was starring as Jim Robinson – stud of Ramsey Street – while I was working originally as the inspiration behind Mrs Mangel and eventually the character’s specific acting coach to ensure she was as awful as possible.

Despite the fact we were polar opposites – aka likeable and insufferable – Al and I quickly connected and became the best of friends, with me introducing him to his eventual wife Tracey (she was an ex-girlfriend of mine) and acting as Best Man Of Honour at their wedding.

With roles drying up for him in Australia – damn you type casting – I encouraged Al to take the leap and move to Hollywood. Thankfully it wasn’t long before I introduced him to Sorkin and his career took off.

I’d recently caught up with Al while he was back home filming Secret City (which FYI is actually pretty good) but sadly we were both to busy to take time out to reconnect over our favourite friendship feast of my Alan Dale Sprouts.

 

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So it may not be obvious given ale perfectly slots into dale … but these are beer and bacon fried brussels sprouts and they are freaking delicious. I promise.

Enjoy!

 

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Alan Dale Sprouts
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
200g pancetta, roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
375ml pale ale
pinch of dried chilli flakes
pinch of muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the pancetta and shallots for a couple of minutes.

Add the brussels sprouts and fry for about five minutes. Pour in the beer and add the chilli flakes and sugar and reduce for about ten minutes, or until it is a sticky glaze.

Season to taste, serve and devour.

 

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Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie

Main, Party Food, Pie, Snack, Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance

I was very sad to see Keith fall short of victory on Second Chances. As the affable, capable bloke that he is, he deserved to go far.

Ben and I first met Keith when we were scouting for the 1997 Shreveport Fireman’s Calendar. Obviously by scouting, I mean sneaking into the screening room and yelling smutty comments at some of the nation’s finest. I was mid disgusting sexual innuendo when in strolled a bastion of manliness and might – the glorious Keith Nale. I was so desperate to get Keith’s attention I made sure I wasn’t just looking hot that day, I was literally smokin’.

While setting myself on fire to get Keith’s attention was not my finest idea in hindsight, noble Keith rushed to the rescue and quickly put me out. A beautiful friendship, sadly non-sexual, has endured since that fateful day.

Now that Keith is back at Ponderosa, we are going to turn the heat up in the kitchen and cook something worthy of our old friend.

 

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The Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie literally has a heart of sweet, sweet bacon – dreamy and delicious, just like this fine man.

 

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Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
700g diced topside steak
4 tbsp plain flour
250ml dark ale
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small chillies, finely chopped
1.5 cups beef stock
1 brown onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 beaten egg for pastry wash
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and bacon. In a large saute pan, heat some oil and cook the chopped ingredients until starting to soften. Remove from heat.

Coat diced beef in flour and then brown in oiled saute pan in batches. Return all beef and vegetable/bacon mix to pan. Add garlic, chillies, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, stock and beer and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a pie dish and cover tightly with foil.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Bake for 90 minutes or until beef is tender and sauce is significantly reduced. Cover with thawed pastry and brush with beaten egg. Bake for additional 30 minutes until golden and puffed.

 

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+.