Cauliflower Medders Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Ryan witnessed an all in brawl for the idol that he already had nestled away next to his idol after he joined Mike in the season’s idol holder club. Not that Ryan was in major need for another idol as he was safely part of a 7 person mega alliance. And damn, skinny boy packing. Mike worked his way off the bottom, sneaking into the mega alliance as Lauren held onto her vote for a later round – oh yeah, Lauren got a vote advantage requiring her to abstain one week to use the vote another – sending Desi from the game … to Ponderosa as the first juror.

The next day Lauren, Mike and Ryan watched the sunrise with Ben, giving Mike another chance to find a crack in the alliance. And if that didn’t work, to throw Cole and Joe’s name out there as much as possible. Given they’re universally despised, it really isn’t a tough sell. Lauren and Ben pulled away from the others to talk about her successfully saving her vote the night before, vowing not to tell anyone else.

Meanwhile Ryan had hooked up with the neverending torso that is Devon – who has really grown on me – to discuss what happens when they arrive at 7, given they’re outnumbered by heroes. Ryan then shared his idol news – the other one – with Devon, making them giddy at the chance of taking control. Ryan then pat his butt and made me moister than a damn oyster … that Monica wouldn’t want Kimmi to overfish.

Sensing my arousal, Probst appeared to lord over the reward challenge where the tribe were split into two teams and required to swim out to a ladder, climb over and jump off to release a buoy with a key before using the three keys to release balls that they need to shoot into their targets. Aka saturday night, which coincidentally is also on a luxury yacht with a boozy feast. Ben got his team –  Devon, Ashley, Ryan and Lauren – out to an early lead on the swim until Chrissy overtook him at the buoy handing her JP, Cole, Mike, and Joe the lead. Despite Ashley’s killer performance swimming – given she is a freaking lifesaver – Chrissy’s Hunk maintained their lead. Ben’s team evened things up when unlocking the balls, however it wasn’t enough as Joe proved to be the more skilled shooter.

In the words of Andy Samberg – kinda – things were incredible on the boat, particularly for Chrissy who was surrounded by (mainly) hunky men. And it was also obviously incredible for Cole, who could feast again. Joe however tried to use the reward to make inroads with the majority. They then cruised past the camp and the captain – shady bitch – honked the horn leading to the losers mooning the victors. There was more pube blur than Amanda Kimmel. Ryan then used the empty camp to fill Ben in on his idol, which I feel is going to come back and bite one of them.

Back at camp Joe adopted the Russell mantra, trying to upset the camp enough to keep on the assumption they can get rid of him at any time. While it seems stupid, when you’re on the bottom anything that keeps you an extra day is a decent plan. He then returned from a stint digging on the beach to put the plan into action and instigate a fight with Ashley back at camp, pissing of her and Chrissy … actually putting the target on his back.

The next day Ben took Devon for a walk up the hill behind camp to get a better view and form another sub-alliance. To solidify said alliance, Ben told Devon about Ryan’s idol which he already knew about and either feigned surprise or told him that Ryan told him he was the only person that knew. In any event, this doesn’t bode well for Ryan in the long run.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the next immunity challenge where everyone will have to squat with two bars on their shoulders with an urn of water balanced on the end over a fire. Congratulations whoever does the most crossfit or has dabbled in power lifting! Ashley quickly dropped first followed by Mike …  holy shit, JP shook his arse and it is everything. Sadly it cost him immunity, followed by Devon and Joe who were focused on Chrissy’s form. Ben soon followed leaving Ryan, Cole, Lauren and Chrissy to battle it out … which is not the four I was expecting. After 20 minutes Chrissy couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping out followed by Ryan. Despite some precarious movement from Lauren, she managed to outlast Cole who got distracted, handing her immunity.

Back at camp Ben was thrilled that Cole didn’t take out immunity, while Cole brushed dust of his chest … drawing attention to it, again, making me moister than an oyster. Ben convened the alliance to talk about taking the opportunity to get rid of Cole when they can, upsetting Ashley who desperately wants to get rid of Joe. They argued back and forth with Ashley rationalising that if the other side has an idol, they’re likely to play it tonight meaning another one will be in play the next day … which means Joe is likely to find it if he survives.

Ashley ran to Chrissy and Devon to try and turn the vote to Joe, while Mike approached Ben to find out what was happening. Sadly Mike didn’t feel the love, sending him to Joe to discuss who they’d be splitting the vote on and how best to play the idol. Meanwhile Chrissy then approached Ben to try and convince him to get rid of Joe, given he is more of a threat than Cole. Unless it is a plate-nipple contest, in which case Cole wins. Every. Time. Chrissy tried to explain to Ben that people were feeling steamrolled by his behaviour, which he immediately shut down … proving her point in the process.

After barely arriving at tribal Mike whispered to Joe to trust him while Desi slowly – really fucking slowly – meandered into tribal. Joe spoke about feeling lost given that he was on the outs, while Mike was the jester and Cole was playing left-right-out. Chrissy then brought up the fight with Joe which he tried to defend himself before Mike stepped in and ran complete distraction talking about the round table vs. the statute of limitations. He then continued to argue literally everyone in the majority’s statements, before Ashley calmly explained that every conversation adds to their relationships which make the hard and fast numbers difficult to identify.

Despite trying to hide away while Mike tried to draw the focus on to him – and them incorrectly play the idol on himself – poor Cole found himself voted out of the game and into my arms in pounderosa as the second juror. Yes, pounderosa, because it wasn’t just Cauliflower Medders Soup on the menu. Well, in my fantasies at least.

 

 

Side note: what are they going to eat off now that his glorious plate-nips are now out of the game?

Warm, creamy and altogether salty and sweet, I could fill myself up drinking Cole’s glorious soup all day. And he mine.

Despite how it sounds, I do mean the soup. While cauliflower gets a lot of hate, this soup goes a long way in proving just how tasty it can be. Add bacon and parmesan, and well, you’ve got a party. Or pre-party, as it were.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cauliflower Medders Soup
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 celery stalk, sliced
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp roughly chopped sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1kg cauliflower florets
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup thickened cream
1 cup grated parmesan
4 streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and garlic, and cook stirring for 5 minutes or until softened and just starting to caramelise. Add the potato, nutmeg, sage, bay leaves and cauliflower and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to deglaze the pan. Once bubbling like a mofo, reduce heat to low and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly before blitzing with a stick blender until smooth. While the soup is cooling – in the last par yo’ – fry the bacon in a medium skillet until crisp.

When blitzing, beware of splatter … thus the cooling. Stir through the cream and three quarters of the parmesan, and season with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve the soup, topping with bacon and the extra parmesan before slurping down … like you would Cole.

 

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Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad

Pasta, Salad, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

It is hard to remember a time when Amy Adams wasn’t a critically acclaimed darling with five Academy Award nominations under her belt. But there was, and that time was ‘98 … a year before her screen debut in Drop Dead Gorgeous.

While Leslie Miller wasn’t an Oscar bait role, Ames’ performance was pitch perfect and I knew from the start that she was destined for greatness. As is often the case when I get that feeling, I immediately hitched my wagon to her and vowed to make her a big big fucking star.

Thankfully Amy never held my advice that Cruel Intentions 2 was a good idea against me, and listened to me when I suggested she co-star with my dear friend Ben in Junebug. You may have heard of it? It is the one that put her on the map, snagged her first Oscar nom … and first Oscar robbery at the hands of Rachel Weisz.

Everybody knows that Michelle Williams and Ames’ should have tied for Supporting Actress that year, but I’ve digressed.

Ames’ is super busy filming Sharp Objects and doing reshoots on Justice League, so I was so touched that she wanted to make the time to catch up and celebrate the movie that launched her career … and her words, our best friendship. Isn’t she a doll?!

Given cook-outs are the best thing about Fourth of July for non-Americans, I decided to continue you rolling with the rapidly revealing theme and whip up another (not so healthy) salad, this time in the form of my Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad.

 

 

Like Kirstie before her, I prefer my salads to be as un-salad-like as possible. Don’t be fooled by the capsicum, tomato and carrot, this pasta salad isn’t very healthy … but damn is it delicious!

Enjoy!

 

 

Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combined everything in a bowl.

Stir.

Devour.

 

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Andrea Gumboehlke

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Officer Sarah shared information of her vote steal advantage with kween Cirie, winning her and I over. Wanting in on the action Sierra then shared information about the legacy advantage with Sarah, which backfired as Sarah targeted her to get a hold of the advantage – successfully blindsiding Sierra and securing the advantage for herself over Sierra’s closest ally Brad.

Maku Maku returned to camp where Aubry, Andrea, Cirie and Michaela were shocked about why Sarah pretended to be shocked about Sierra getting the boot. This made Andrea nervous and immediately want to target her, on the flipside Cirie was keen to keep her on side and take her to the end as a goat.

The next day Sarah then explained how the legacy advantage worked, none the wiser that we already know about said advantage from Jessica and my wet-dream Kengel last season. Her reenactment of her shocked face was on point though, before gloating about her total of two advantages. Which she plans to use to get rid of Andrea ASAP.

Given that it is a double boot, Probst jumped straight into the action for the first immunity challenge of the episode – the classic house of cards challenge … though this time it was on a balancing table.

Aubry got out to an early lead after finally joining the season, casually chatting about her boyfriend (the insufferable) Cochran. Michaela and Andrea caught up, before quickly dropping out. Brad dropped his stack, as did Cirie and Sarah, while Aubry continued to dominate with a slow and steady wins the race mentality. Michaela and Troyzan caught up, then dropped … seriously this is boring commentary, no? Despite needing to take cards off to get enough height, Aubry took out the challenge – and almost Probst with that hug – breaking the time record by over ten minutes.

The tribe returned to camp, mystified by Aubry’s mad skillz and probably wondering why she was allowed to enter the game on day 33. Cirie and her mob got together to lock in the vote against Brad. Proving to still be as tone deaf as always, Michaela went to find Brad and direct him to stop looking for an idol and to instead go fishing.

Yeah he took it as a threat and it was, but Monica would totally go fish for everyone as she is such a nice, neat lady.

Andrea tried to get Aubry and Cirie to turn on Sarah as the biggest threat over the boys, which backfired as Cirie went to Sarah and floated the idea of getting rid of Andrea instead of Brad.

With that little bit of confusion, we arrived at tribal where Aubry spoke about the ‘we’ being a bit more solid these days, to which Sarah agreed that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. On the flipside, Troyzan argued that given he has zero options (or chance at winning) – sorry Kass, he took your Spencer-appointed title – if anyone flipped to him, they’d have the most loyal ally ever. Forever, BFFs.

While Aubry agreed, she noted that with eight people left there is still a lot that could happen. Cirie and Andrea spoke about the lack of pre-tribal scrambling … which I assumed was just cut because of the double boot. Brad agreed that he didn’t scramble with Andrea, figuring that since he’s voted against her twice now, she wouldn’t be interested. Sarah then started her jury speech a few tribals too early and reiterated that when she was a juror, she rewarded gameplay and would like the jury to reward her for voting all of them out. Which Aubry countered with the fact you need to make an emotional connection, which is what she lacked in Kaoh Rong and lost her the game.

As they went to vote, Brad gave a last ditch plea for the majority to think about the fact that one of them will go out fifth, inevitably regretting not taking out their alliance earlier. Whether it was Brad’s work or not, Cirie, Sarah and Michaela all flipped to the minority to take out Andrea … blindsiding Aubry and earning Cirie and playful tickle on the way out the door.

Say what you will, girl sure can handle a blindside with grace and a smile.

Given that both Dre Dre and i are beloved members of the media, it is obvious that we’d be the dearest of friends. And so I knew that despite loving the chance to be slaughtered by kween Cirie, she would be sad and in desperate need of a Andrea Gumboehlke.

 

 

Hot and spicy, yet creamy and smooth – this baby has everything you need to be a successful Survivor contestant slash friend.

Enjoy!

While it is obvious … who will join me next?

 

 

Andrea Gumboehlke
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1kg boneless chicken thighs
vegetable oil
500g smoked chorizo, cut into thick coins
⅓ cup plain flour
2 onions, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 green capsicum, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4-6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup okra, thickly sliced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp filé powder

Method
Combine 1 tablespoon of salt with the pepper, paprika and cayenne and toss through the thighs, until coated.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large dutch oven and add the chicken and chorizo, stirring to brown the edges but don’t worry about being too pedantic. Transfer the browned meat to a plate to rest and bring the liquid to the boil.

Add the flour and whisk until it is chocolate coloured, 15 minutes should do. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions, before cooking for ten minutes. Add the shallots, celery, capsicum and garlic, and cook for a further ten minutes.

Whisk in the broth, add the bay leaves, thyme and reserved meat and bring to the boil. When going nuts, reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour.

Stir in the okra, Worcestershire, hot sauce and filé powder, and cook for a further hour. Remove from the heat, season to taste … and then devour with steamed rice and plenty more hot sauce.

 

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Ozzy Bucco Lusth

Main, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor – or a minute ago on screen – the tribes merged resulting in Cirie stealthily saving her friend Michaela and the tribe booting the sweetest free-agent, non-consenting angel Hali to become the Queen of Ponderosa … for the second time in her two season career.

The next morning Maku Maku reconvened to discuss the last tribal, where Michaela tried to hide her emotions. Cirie then pulled her aside to reiterate the fact that she saved her and Michaela reiterated that she would always have her back. Seriously, these two are the latest Game Changers couple goals. Could you imagine if Sandra was still here to form the holy trinity of sass?! Consider my shorts completely creamed.

Zeke, Aubry and Cirie then went for a walk to further discuss tribal and talking about how best to take out the opposing alliance, lead by the mob-boss that is Sierra and her puppet Brad. Aubry, bless, then explained that she felt like she was in the middle of said mob-war … but was gladly willing to be the niece to her black, Italian aunt Cirie.

Continuing in the post-merger madness, Zeke and Andrea connected to discuss the best move for them to make next, which somehow lead to Zeke deciding it was in his best interests to get rid of his closest allies Cirie and Andrea, rather than his rivals Sierra and Brad. Sadly this proves why back-to-back seasons can be a curse, considering how doing that exact thing last season with Chris, lead to his downfall. Ugh, anyway …

Concerned about my reaffirmed love affair with Cirie, Probst arrived for the first post-merge reward challenge where they were split into teams to win an extremely erotic spa day, if Probst’s breathy descriptions are anything to go by.

Given that the challenge involved a large swimming portion, victory was a foregone conclusion for Ozzy – despite the best attempts at failure from Tai and Andrea – who got to enjoy the sensual stay with the failures, Debbie, Troyzan and Zeke.

Back at camp, Cirie took me the closest I’ve been to despair since her final words in Micronesia, talking about how she felt like a failure losing the challenge and likened it to not being able to provide for her family. This set off Sierra … and almost allowed her to win me over. Close but no cigar, yet.

Meanwhile on reward, Tai continued in the tradition of Kaôh Rōng contingent, got naked and streaked around his eating tribemates … repeatedly. Dead set, mad dog – just pause to imagine the Kaôh Rōng wrap party with he and Debbie. Glorious.

Zeke, not wanting to just allow Jeff to make it nice for them, pulled Debbie and Tai aside to talk about booting Brad and Sierra … or Cirie. Proving that she actually is pretty good at the game – despite the multiple careers, twerking and mooning – Debbie didn’t buy anything he was selling and vowed to do what was best for her, not him.

Clearly worried about my reaction to Tai’s nude scene, Probst returned for the second individual immunity challenge – a Survivor classic / one of Ozzy’s best – where they all have to hold on tight to a big, thick pole. Aka er’ry weekend, amirite.

Cirie, Brad, Aubry, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Troyzan and Sarah quickly slid all the way down the hard pole, leaving the rest of the tribe to battle it out to snatch Ozzy’s crown. Despite looking as relaxed as Parvati in Heroes vs. Villains, Michaela opted out of the challenge before Andrea threw herself from the top of the pole leaving us with a challenge between the kings of pole, Tai and Ozzy.

For the first time in the history of the challenge, Ozzy fell off giving Tai the victory … and proved once and for all that nobody handles themselves around a pole better than a gay man.

Back at camp, Ozzy was showing off his war wounds before Zeke got to work dismantling his own game and approached Sierra to get rid of Andrea, which she did not trust … at all. Sierra then pulled Cirie aside to drop the Zeke intel, which Cirie took back to Ozzy, Andrea and Sarah.

Debbie and Sierra then relaxed in the hammocks to talk getting rid of Zeke – with a cheeky decoy of Aubry – before Debbie crushed my second Game Changers couple-spiration and suggested booting Ozzy instead, due to his challenge ability.

She then went person-to-person to tell everyone that they were blindsiding Ozzy that night …  surprisingly though, she didn’t tell Ozzy.

After talking about being the post-merge swing vote on again, Sarah arrived at tribal to liken the situation to them all being single people who were just waiting to hook up, arousing the hell out of Tai and Debbie.

Ozzy then low-key threatened the tribe that booting him would mean that they would starve without him, Aubry outlined how much harder this season is … despite the fact no one has almost died this season, compared to the three that almost died in Kaôh Rōng.

Zeke then spoke in a confusing circle about how he needed to convince people that they would beat him at the end, to convince them to keep him in the game, which Tai obviously found to make sense.

Debs reiterated her work in the Air Force auxiliary and how she was confused, before Cirie cryptically spoke about sticking with who she trusts … which obviously lead to voting. Andrea was well pissed at Zeke, Cirie continued Sandra’s tradition from earlier this season and threw a random vote … before Debs flopped out her extra vote AND became the first person in Survivor history to correctly play it, cementing Ozzy’s boot.

Crushing his ex-nemesis kween Cirie in the process.

Now I am about to let you in on a massive, massive secret – that is also a little bit confusing –  so buckle up. I’ve known Ozzy for my entire life … because he is my father and I was actually conceived on a beach that was home to kween Cirie. Yep, my birth name was actually Benjamin Kimmel Lusth – I changed my last name to Judd when marrying Ashley – and I am one of the Ozlets from Micronesia.

That, or I met him during the filming of the Playboy TV’s Foursome (you can Google them yourself because they are way NSFW, even for me) … I genuinely don’t know what timeline is what anymore, thanks to my sloppy adherence to the laws of time travel. Either way, I’ve always called Ozzy daddy.

While he was bummed to once again miss out on the title of Sole Survivor, he completely understood that it was in everyone’s best interests given his reputation. Like me though, he was most heartbroken to see how his boot broke poor Cirie’s heart.

While Hali and Ozzy were busy having a Ponderosa hair off, I headed to the kitchen and got my naked chef on – he explained that Ashley Judd is my cousin and we met on the set of Foursome – to whip him up a Ozzy Bucco Lusth.

 

 

Given that he is my daddy and not my father, I was eager to show Ozzy all of my meat, dripping in sauce and wine and being oh-so appetising.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ozzy Bucco Lusth
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 veal osso bucco, obvi with bone
good lug of olive oil
2 carrots, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
2 onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup plain flour
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 ½ cups white wine
1 cups beef stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven medium heat and brown each side for a minute or two. Reduce heat to low and add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan with a good whack of salt and pepper, tomato paste and bay leaves, stir to coat and cook for a minute or two.

Slowly pour in the wine, stock and tomatoes, stir to combine and cover and cook for three-four hours, or until the meat is falling away from the bone.

Once it is done, serve immediately as a stew or with some mashed potato.

 

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Chicken Philo Seymour Hoffman

Main, Poultry

Now that I’m 30, I feel that I have unlocked a new depth to my emotional intelligence that allows me to share my rawest of emotions. As such I feel completely comfortable (and brave) to share, oy how my heart breaks from losing Phil so soon.

While it was such a treat to go back, catch-up and share a meaningful – albeit extremely puzzling for him – goodbye on the set of the Hunger Games, it was painful knowing that I couldn’t help him or change his fate.

Lest I risk setting off a chain reaction worse where Ashton Kutcher becomes a celebrated actor and Donald Trump becomes … actually, it probably couldn’t get worse.

I first met Phil whilst Annelie and I were working as Jami Gertz’s assistants on the set of Twister. While Hellraiser Hunt was the only person that could keep us from ruining production – it is rumoured our feud was being eyed as the first season of Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology – it was sweet, kind Phil that truly took us under his wing and attempted to help us find a sense of calm belonging and help us process life in an appropriate manner.

I didn’t even realise how fitting it was that I visited him to aid my transition to adulthood.

Given that I didn’t want to let me grief spook him, I stuck with whipping up our celebratory Chicken Filo Seymour Hoffman.

 

 

While it was our traditional celebratory dish, I love it so much that it was the perfect cover for my tears – “they’re happy Philly!”

As it should be clear by now, I love anything hot enough to liquify my organs and I love buffalo chicken. This little parcel is a bit of a posh update of the spicy wings, all the better from the lack of bones and the addition of pastry.

Who ever would have thought I’d prefer something without the bone? Old age, I guess.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Philo Seymour Hoffman
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
8 sheets filo pastry
100g blue cheese, crumbled
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Using the back of a heavy based frying pan, bash each of the chicken breasts until an even 1cm-ish thick.

Combine the blue cheese, carrots, celery, shallots, garlic and hot sauce in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Divide the mixture into four and line across the centre of the chicken breasts and wrap/roll to enclose.

Place two sheets of filo on a bench and place a rolled breast at the centre at one end. Gently roll the breast and pastry to just enclose. Fold both sides in and then continue rolling to enclose. Place on a lined baking sheet, repeat until done and top with a little bit of extra blue cheese.

Place the chicken in the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until golden and cooked through. Remove and allow to rest for five minutes … before devouring with mash and/or veggies.

 

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Pumpkim Basinger Soup

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Side, Snack, Soup, Vegetarian

While I like to let the lesser celebrity categories shine, I know why you drop by for Oscar Gold and that is my extreme proximity to the A-list.

And there is no one more A-list than my dear gal-pal and past Best Supporting Actress Winner, Kim Basinger.

I first met Kim through her ex-husband – and my ex/oft-lover Alec – but her kind heart and sassy nature won me over and I actually grew closer to her during their split. Thus leaking the pig-daughter tapes.

Kim and I haven’t been able to catch-up lately what with her doing the publicity rounds for Fifty Shades of I-Won’t-Show-My-Peen-and-This-Is-A-Waste-of-Your-Time, so it was such a treat to sit down and chat about the most important categories – Best Supporting and Best Actress.

Given the fact that I have a temper similar to Al’s, Kim was a bit scared to engage in any major disputes so we both landed on Viola for Supporting, despite the fact that she agreed that the previously insufferable Nicky Kid turned in such a beautiful performance that echoed her life and made you love her that it should be her taking out the crown over V’s always consistent scenery chewing.

Also … surely Mish Wills needs an overdue win sometime soon. And the post first scene was damn perfection.

She also agreed that Emma Stone was a lock because she is my friend and was cast in the musical whilst starring in Cabaret – which I saw and critiqued her in – bringing her luck. Though that being said, Isabelle Huppert is the most likely to upset any of the favourites on the night.

So yeah, discussions were robust meaning we needed something hearty that also hugged your soul like my Pumpkim Basinger Soup.

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-1

 

Earthy, spiced and warm, this is pumpkin soup isn’t what you’d get in a can. In a good way, obvi.

All the veggies are baked first giving a depth of flavour and sweetness that is perfectly cut through by a whack of herbs and a smack of chilli. Dis good, dis real good, ok?

Enjoy!

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-2

 

Pumpkim Basinger Soup
Serves: 100 people aka all the Baldwins … or maybe just 12 people?

Ingredients
1.5kg butternut pumpkin, cut into 3cm dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
4 pieces celery, roughly chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp dried chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
bunch of sage
1L chicken stock
1 cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place all the veggies – and realistically you could use anything you had in the fridge, capsicum is a great addition to be honest – on a lined baking sheet (or two), drizzle with olive oil and chilli, season and bake until golden and tender. About half an hour.

Once the veg are ready, transfer to a large pot, drizzle with maple syrup, add the sage leaves and fry over medium heat for a minute, reduce to low pour in the stock and simmer, stirring sporadically, for about fifteen minutes to half an hour, or until all the veggies are tender and your kitchen is smelling amazing.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for five-ten minutes and blitz thoroughly yet carefully with a stick blender until smooth and glorious. Return to low heat, stir through the cream and coook until heated through.

Serve – immediately if you like to risk burning all the skin in your mouth – and top with a drizzle of cream and some chopped sage, if you are patient enough, and devour.

 

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Roast Melinda Duck

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Main, Poultry

How do I top my 300th milestone recipe? With the true star of The O.C. – I feel like I’ve said that most days … but I mean it this time – my dear friend Melinda Clarke.

Yes, I love them all dearly – well, maybe not always Tate – but every great show needs a villain you love to hate and Julie Cooper-Nichol wouldn’t have been able to pack the same punch without the stunning performance of my bestie.

I first met Mindy through her dad John when I was working as a writer on Days of our Life – which I got through Vytas and Aras’ pops via time travel. Side note: I was the one that came up with such wonderful storylines as Eileen Davidson playing seventeen roles, the Salem Stalker and the classic Marlena is possessed by the devil.

Anywho – I quickly befriended the broader Clarke family and knew that Mindy was destined for big things, making it my life’s work to see her become the star I knew she could be.

I haven’t seen much of her this year, so it was so nice to be able to have her over for an extended visit as we whipped up a Roast Melinda Duck.

 

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I had never roasted a duck before and obviously was terrified by the entire process, so I stuck with a tried and true Jamie Oliver recipe with a few minor tweaks.

Thankfully Jamie knows his way around a bird, because this duck turned out festively fragrant, spicy and most importantly, wet & juicy.

Enjoy!

 

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Roast Melinda Duck
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 orange, zested and halved
1 tbsp maple syrup
a whole duck, necks and giblets reserved and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 red onions, peeled and quartered
a few stalks celery, trimmed and chopped into chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into chunks
½ stick cinnamon
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
freshly ground sea salt & black pepper

Method
Place the leaves from a couple of sprigs of rosemary in a mortar and pestle and mash together with the nutmeg, orange zest, a generous pinch of sea salt and some maple syrup. Rub mixture over the duck, cover and place in the fridge to baste for a few hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Stuff the duck’s cavity with the orange, some rosemary and the garlic. Line a baking tray with the onion, celery and carrot and toss with some olive oil, the ginger and cinnamon. Place the duck on top, drizzle with some oil and place in the oven for an hour.

Transfer the duck to a new pan – reserving the charred veggies and fat for tomorrow’s gravy – and return the duck to the oven for a further hour, or until golden and glorious.

Remove from the pan, transfer to a plate, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Devour … with some gravy and potatoes, so maybe hold off two days until you make it?

 

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Braised Briskarmack

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Main

At the risk of sounding like the whore of Chrismukkah, my dear friend Chris and I started off as lovers – he put the Chris in my mukkah, if you will – which makes me extremely thankful, a little surprised and at the same time disappointed, that none of the cast fought over me on set.

Our love quickly blossomed when he guested on my dear friend Amy Sedaris’ classic Stranger’s with Candy but after a few torrid months we realised we were better off as friends and parted ways.

A few years later and fresh out of rehab, I wanted to show him how much I had grown and how mature I now was and pushed for him to be welcomed to The O.C.

Bitch.

Despite being the first to leave the series, Chris’ career went from strength to strength co-starring in the hit Amanda Bynes film Love Wrecked, the TV movie Beauty & the Briefcase, an episode of Desperate Housewives and more recently, a starring role in Nashville.

Which is actually good.

Given his commitments to the latter, Chris and I haven’t been able to spend much time together lately. It was such a treat to reconnect and get the inside scoop on what will become of Rayna and her hair … and celebrate the more -mukkah side of Chrismukkah with my Braised Briskarmack.

 

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To be honest, I have no idea if this meal comes close to being kosher … but I assume if you’re celebrating a hybrid holiday, you probably aren’t too staunch on eating kosher. I did avoid cooking the delicate brisket and sweet, creamy mushrooms together though.

That counts for something, right? RIGHT?

Oy – enjoy!

 

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Braised Briskarmack
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
10 cloves garlic
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1.5kg beef brisket
a couple each of celery stalks, onions and carrots, roughly chopped\
2 cups red wine
800g canned chopped tomatoes
small handful of parsley
small bunch of thyme, a few sprigs reserved for the mushrooms
500g button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup beef stock
3 tbsp horseradish cream
½ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place half the garlic and all the rosemary in a mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and crush until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl, combine with a generous lug of oil and rub over both sides of the brisket.

Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and sear either side of the meat for a few minutes. Chuck in the veggies, wine, canned tomatoes and herbs and stir gently to combine.

Place the lid on firmly and transfer to the oven, baking for about 4 hours. Check every hour or so to ensure there is enough liquid and to keep the meat covered – which I rarely would support. Once the meat is tender, transfer it to a board and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

While it is resting, get to work on the mushrooms by heating a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Reduce to low and add the remaining garlic – which you will have minced but I forgot to tell you – mushrooms and the leaves from the extra thyme sprigs and cook for about five minutes, or until browned and soft. Add the stock, turn the heat up to medium-high and simmer for about ten minutes, or until reduced and slightly thickened. Add the horseradish, sour cream and cooking liquid and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

Slice the brisket into diagonal slices and serve with some latkes, topped with the mushrooms.

 

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Appelly Bishop Salad

Oy with the turkeys already!, Salad, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Make no mistake, Emily Gilmore – and well, Paris too – is the true heart and aggressive soul of Gilmore Girls, and that all comes down to the exquisite (too much? Never!) performance of my dear friend Kell.

As you could probably guess, I first met Kell in the mid-70s during my stint trolling Broadway for fame, stardom and studs. While I couldn’t lock down the latter – or either of the former, for that matter – I did connect with Kell, which is the ultimate win.

She was starring in her Tony Award winning role of Sheila in A Chorus Line at the time, and I was working as a fluffer / male’s costume cleaner. Obviously I was going through a man-musk fetish at the time but somehow Kell worked her way into my heart and we quickly formed a close bond.

While we didn’t speak for a decade after she didn’t thank my fluffing skills in the speech – “But you were only interested in positioning the men in their tights” – we were eventually brought back together on the set of Dirty Dancing.

Again obviously, I was involved in a torrid affair with Swayze at the time.

I don’t know if I was swayed by the love of Swayz or having a rare moment of rational thought but I apologised to Kell for my behaviour and we built the strong, beautiful friendship that we both hold so dear.

When ASP and I were trying to find a sparring partner for Lorelai, that could equal Ed’s majesty, while providing the emotional backbone of the show and instilling fear maids globally, I knew that Kell was the only person for the job … and the rest, as they say, is history.

I sadly haven’t been able to spend much time with Kell since Bunheads was axed – what with her being a reminder of two beautiful shows axed before their time – so I was elated to be able to finally see her again thanks to the revival.

Which obviously called for my famed Appelly Bishop Salad.

 

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I know I say it pretty much every damn time I post, but this recipe truly is the perfect representation of Kell … well, Emily Gilmore at least. Sweet, robust and complex, the flavours work together to provide a salad that works both as a support dish or a star.

Enjoy!

 

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Appelly Bishop Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 green apples, unpeeled and thinly sliced
2 red apples, unpeeled and thinly sliced
100g gruyere, peeled into thin slices
a sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
stalk of celery, finely sliced
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper

Method
Place cider vinegar, oil, yoghurt, maple syrup and garlic in a jug and stir to combine.

Combine everything else in a bowl, pour over the dressing and toss thoroughly.

Devour.

 

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