Lena Wafers

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Sweets

It is the second last day of this year’s Emmy Gold celebration The Gold Wing, can you believe? And something something segue Gaz, Marg, Ava, Rami and Rhea something, I am thrilled to catch-up with my dear friend and semi-freshly minted Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

Given she won her Emmy with my (problematic) friend Aziz for the beautiful Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, it should come as no surprise that he is the reason we became friends.

I was visiting the set during season 1 and Lena and I got to talking about our coming out experiences, and Aziz suggested that they write it into the second season. So you’re welcome, because that episode was perfection and he and Lena truly deserved that Emmy and I can’t even begrudge them for not including me in the writing process.

Since her victory, Len’s career has absolutely exploded and while it means we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, I’m so proud of her. And it makes our fleeting dates even more special. As a fellow writer, I knew that she would be best placed to go through the writing categories with me. Obviously she agreed that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s auteur Amy Sherman-Palladino would snag it for Comedy. Continuing our agreeance, we both backed Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Killing Eve, Steve Martin and Martin Short for their Netflix special and William Bridges and Charlie Brooker will snag it for USS Callister.

With the formalities out of the way, we toasted her success and got to work demolishing a big batch of Lena Wafers.

 

 

Not your childhood’s technicolour crosshatched biscuits, these wafers may not look as perfect but damn they are delicious. Light, sweet and delightfully crisp, they are the only thing worthy of honouring my girl Lena.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g raw caster sugar
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until it is light and fluffy. Still going, add the egg, vanilla and milk and continue beating until just combined.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl before folding through the wet ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, place teaspoon sized bowls on lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space for spread. Flatten each ball to form a thin disc and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once set, devour.

 

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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

 

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Jonathan LaPagliatelle

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Pasta, Vegetarian

He’s baaaaaa-aaaaack! This time next week we’ll have witnessed scruffy Oz-Probst – and my dear friend – Jonathan LaPaglia snuff his first torch of the season. And I will have screamed for smelling salts as the euphoria/orgasm rendered me unconscious.

Yes – that is the long winded way of saying Australian Survivor is back and I couldn’t be happier to announce that once again JoJo requested my presence in Samoa to act as his houseboy / culinary comfort chef for the castaways.

I’ve known Jo for years, after a chance meeting at the University of Adelaide where I was skulking about the med school trying to meet a future doctor to take as my husband. While he had zero interest in pursuing a relationship due to our similar appearance (read: killer guns), we became friends against all odds and I was quickly taken into the LaPaglia family.

While there was a period of ugliness after Anthony refused to get Josie Alibrandi gender-flipped – and that time I tried to torch his car when I was overlooked for the hosting role – we remain the closest of friends and I was thrilled to spend two months together in Samoa, catching-up, feasting in front of the contestants … and I assume doing weights.

To celebrate the impending return of Australian Survivor, I flew Jojo over to discuss how we felt the season went – really good … unless the editors really drop the ball / can’t be paid by Channel 10 – over a big fat bowl of my Jonathan LaPagliatelle.

 

 

I’ve long held the belief that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I actually coined the phrase, NBD – and this is the first dish I ever made him to win him over. Warm, fresh, creamy and tasty, it is the second most fun I’ve had getting sauce over a man’s face.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan LaPagliatelle
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
bunch of shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
5 sprigs of thyme leaves
250g chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
500g tagliatelle
250g mascarpone
200g baby spinach, washed and drained
100g parmesan, grated

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook off the shallots and garlic until the island love nest – or kitchen – is aromatic. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering for fifteen minutes. Season and keep warm while you cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

When the pasta is al dente, add the mascarpone and spinach to the the mushroom mix and stir until combined and the spinach wilted. Stir through the pasta and half the parmesan, before serving, generously drowned in the excess parmesan.

Devour immediately with your big strong, LaPagli-esque arms and think of how they’d hold you tight in winter. Or something.

 

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 and Tumblr.