Jeremy Croqefort & Onion Quiche

Main, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor the Goliath tribe struggled to deal with Queen Natalie’s attitude while Jeremy tried to play a sneaky game, going through people’s possessions, eventually finding Dan’s idol. Meanwhile the David’s once again lost the immunity challenge, while this time they made it to tribal things didn’t go as Jessica, Bi, Davie and Carl planned, blindsiding Jessica and sending her from the game.

Back at camp things were pretty tense, with Davie thankful that he had his idol as a back-up though felt betrayed by Christian and Nick who he was aligned with. As such, he went to chat the Christian and see what happened before he threw Gabby straight under the bus, and put the entire move on her while realistically Elizabeth kinda orchestrated to save her bestie Lyrsa. In any event, Nick was feeling powerful as his alliance – stop trying to make Mason Dixon happen – was brilliantly – on day 6 – playing the middle and ultimately controlling things on the tribe. Which feels like foreshadowing of a blow-up or a swap pretty soon. Meanwhile poor Carl was lamenting Jess’ loss and broke down about how difficult this game can be.. Though being a David, he knew that he could persevere and make it to the end.

The next day Carl approached Bi to find out what happened, with her saying that Davie flipped on them. Well until she caught up with Nick, who explained that it was actually Gabby who flipped things. She then complained about Gabby for being selfish and emotional, which is pretty unfair given when Gabby approached her last episode, she and Jess completely dismissed her which led to her flipping.

Meanwhile over at the Goliath tribe the George Bushy of Tushy caught a fish and filled everyone with joy, feeling confident about how he came across as John and felt that he was growing. Fucking swoon. Sadly Natalie doesn’t seem to be learning anything, continuing to sass and boss people which felt like a problem for John as he feels like he can trust her. Also emerging as a bossy boots, Jeremy and his beta Mike were bonding whilst fishing. Though Mike pretty much only likes him for bossing him around. Jeremy however was showing a softer side, sharing a story about everything his father gave him and how he wanted to make him proud. While Mike felt that connection, he is worried that Jeremy is quickly going to become a target and needs to keep himself safe by creating some distance.

Over at the David camp, Christian and Gabby started debating what it takes to be a citizen of Slamtown, where it is, the infrastructure and damn I love them. And thankfully, they are loving each other, nerding out and making each other life. Bi however is still not loving Gabby, going from person to person trying to organise a vote against her at the next tribal council, making me wonder, have we missed the immunity challenge?

We returned to the Goliath tribe where John and Kara were talking about the ratio of size to brain in the fish world. Jeremy however noticed it wasn’t just them pairing up for conversations, which made him super nervous. So nervous in fact, he started calling them out individually and then as an entire tribe, making everyone start to think, maybe Queen Natalie isn’t the worst person for morale. Right on cue, John and Angelina caught up to talk about how his little outburst made them realise that he is more of a threat than Natalie and as such, should go soon. Meanwhile Jeremy was having side conversations to get people to target Dan or Kara, hoping to break up the showmance and flush the idol. Sadly for him, the fact that he went through Dan’s bag only made them skeptical.

This next day Probst returned with a shit tonne of sideways rain for this week’s challenge – for soggy hammocks, chairs, pillows, blankets and immunity – where a person from each tribe was required to untangle themselves from an obstacle, while three were required to untie themselves from ropes before catching a sled, pull it back to them and then solve a puzzle with the pieces on board. Alec got the Goliaths out to an early lead, though Bi closed the gap leading to the next three from each tribe to start untangling together. While the Goliaths had a slight lead towards the end, both tribes kicked off the sled pull at the same time and essentially got the puzzle back at the same time, leaving Natalie and Alison to face off against Christian and Gabby. And as such, the Davids finally won a challenge since Christian and Gabby are both geniuses.

Despite their victory we followed the Davids back to camp and I started to panic that we were about to see another Pat situation with Bi. Thankfully it didn’t appear to take her out, getting it wrapped instead but begging the question, is she doomed?

We returned to the Goliath tribe where the tribe started to scramble with Natalia desperate to vote out Natalie since she demanded to play in the challenge despite Angelina knowing how to solve it. Natalie approached Jeremy to share that she has never felt any support from him, though was hoping to change his mind. He had zero interest in that and as such they went their separate ways. Alison and Angelina were catching up, with Alison sure that Natalie’s challenge fail was the final nail in her coffin. Angelina however had other ideas, deciding that Jeremy is the bigger threat given Natalie is an easy second boot.

Sadly no one seemed to be buying it as Mike and Alison both countered that Natalie was a drain on morale and can’t do anything in challenges, so is the safest vote. Angelina then went to Alec, Dan, Natalia and Kara to float the idea, with them nervous about swapping soon and Natalie punishing everyone. Angelina however countered that Jeremy would also do that and given he is less abrasive, would do it better. Natalia obvi hates Natalie and just wants her gone no matter what. Speaking of Natalie, she approached John and Kara to discuss options before Jeremy refused to leave and give her privacy. Instead of scrambling, Jeremy and Natalie then commenced bickering in front of them, leading to Jeremy gloating about how overconfident Natalie is and how it is going to bite her at tribal.

On that note, the Goliath tribe arrived at the beautiful tribal council with John’s beautiful side-nip on full display. The tribe spoke about how difficult the conditions are this season, with Mike terrified about how low his standards have gotten. Jeremy quickly started throwing barbs, saying that nine of them have been getting along and Natalie is just the worst. Given she is queen, she didn’t really seem to care and stayed relatively quiet. Jeremy then continued to rant about Natalie, appearing wilder and wilder, which started to make him look bad, rather than her. Natalie though did start returning barbs, but given he started saying no one would attend her funeral which sounds pretty bad. Dan, Alec, Alison and Angelina did echo Jeremy’s sentiments, though explained it in a kinder manner that lead to Natalie agreeing to take on constructive criticism which is shade from a Queen, FYI.

She then hoped that a blindside may occur, pointing out she is not a threat at all while Jeremy is a threat. Jeremy told them that Natalie will flip, however she pledged to be Goliath strong and told them that she won’t flip on her tribe. With that the tribe voted – Natalie bringing a tonne of sass, obvi – and the Queen got her wish as Jeremy was blindsided from the game.

Despite the fact he was already feeling pretty terrible after being booted, I opted to go the Tyra route and scream at him about angry I was given how I was rooting for him. I mean, he was hot, went nude in an episode and is gay; he was my dream winner – outside of Gabby, Natalie and Elizabeth, obvi – and now my heart is broken. During a rare moment of humility, I explained that to him, stopped lashing out and apologised as we smashed a Jeremy Croqefort & Onion Quiche.

 

 

A little bit salty – like his post-game press, for instance – earthy, creamy and sweet all at once, this quiche is near perfection. Plus it is super simple yet super delicious, and as such you always look like a winner. Maybe don’t mention winner in front of Jeremy?

Enjoy!

 

 

Jeremy Croqefort & Onion Quiche
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, defrosted
4 eggs, whisked
300ml cream
a couple of sprigs fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup caramelised onions
½-1 cup roquefort, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and press the pastry into two quiche dishes. Line with baking paper, fill with baking weights and blind bake for fifteen minutes. Remove the weights and baking paper and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile whisk the eggs, cream, salt and pepper and thyme to combine in a large bowl. Scatter the caramelised onion and roquefort over the bases, pour over the egg mixture return to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until browned and just set.

Allow to rest for fifteen minutes before devouring.

 

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Eddie Calibrian Lasagne

Main, Pasta

Not only is Ed a stone cold fox but he also has the biggest heart of anyone I know, which I’m not even going to spin into a joke about Brandi/Leann/Scheana/Pipes (if Brandi is to be believed on Danny Pellegrino’s podcast … which is the most important podcast of our time) because we finally have made up!

He walked through customs, the crowd parted, a spotlight shone upon him and a choir of angels started making ethereal, jubilant sounds – THAT is how beautiful he looked. Or I was having a psychotic break. Or a stroke.

In any event, it was then that I realised why I was so cruel to him on the set of Third Watch. I was passionately, deeply, ardently, basement-floodingly in lust with him, and once rebuffed I couldn’t bare to be around the sweet man since the sweet man couldn’t be bare with me.

I fell into his strong, muscular arms and sobbed, begging for forgiveness for my years of cruelty, fueling the flames of his and Brandi’s divorce and trying to end him in the tabloids. Because he didn’t want to end me.

He knew. Of course he had known why I had been so cruel, and he told me that all was forgiven. Particularly since Rachel had been encouraging him to reach out to me – knowing of my lust-related rage blackouts – on the set of Take Two.

While we will never get the last decade back, last night filled me with hope that we’ve got enough friendship ahead of us that the bad times won’t even matter. Particularly if I make him a delicious Eddie Calibrian Lasagne next time I inevitably screw up!

 

 

A minimally edited version of Nigella’s recipe adapted from the Grillo sisters – why mess with perfection, you know? – this lasagne is so simple, yet so delicious. Ham, eggs and mozzarella are traded in for bechamel, giving it a rich, decadent flavour that is too hard to go past.

Enjoy!

 

 

Eddie Calibrian Lasagne
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
500g minced beef
½ cup red vermouth
1L tomato passata
1L water
salt and pepper, to taste
300g sliced ham
4 eggs, just hard boiled and peeled
300g mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
500g dried lasagne sheets

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onions for about five minutes, or until translucent and soft. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned. Add the vermouth and cook for a further minute, before stirring in the passata and water. Season and bring to a simmer for about ten minutes.

To assemble, place a couple of ladles of the meat sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and cover with a quarter of lasagne sheets. Top with a further couple of ladles of meat sauce before layering a third of the ham, sprinkle with a third of egg and then a third of the mozzarella. Top with another quarter of lasagne sheets and repeat the process until you’ve topped with the remaining lasagne. Top with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with parmesan.

Tightly cover with foil, place on a baking sheet – if the dish is too full – and transfer to the over to bake for an hour. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further ten minutes, or until golden and the pasta is cooked through.

Leave to rest for twenty minutes before devouring, happily.

 

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Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor my boy Probst met 20 new castaways in the middle of the Fijian for a biblical battle, with the underdog David tribe taking out the first reward of the season. Meanwhile over on the overachieving Goliath tribe hot cop Dan and Kara met each other and instantly fell in love because they are beautiful. Their luck continued, with Dan then finding the first idol of the season. Meanwhile over at the David tribe things were looking bad for Nick, who was left right out and set to be the first boot after they lost immunity. Thankfully for him – and horrifically for everyone – there was a freak accident in the boat after the challenge, doing such a number on Pat that he was evacuated as the first boot.

That night back at camp things continued to be miserable as the weather took its toll on everyone, unable to start a fire or stay dry and TBH. Things were just as bad, if not worse, at the Goliath tribe they too were pelted with rain and their tribe flag was lucky not to blow away. Things were no better the next day as everyone shivered and started to break down as they desperately tried for a fire. Thankfully there were glimmers of hope as Christian and Nick went out in the wet to try and find something to find something to start fire with and/or eat. That obviously led to them talking strategy and lamenting being out of the loop on the potential last vote, and as such quickly aligned. And while I’m already loving this underdog story, Nick then spoke about the fact he was probably meant to be voted out last night and as such he is going to fight to win or die trying and damn there is something likeable about him. Probably his eyes. They then geeked out finding bamboo to reinforce the shelter and naming their alliance, unaware this isn’t Survivor. They arrived back at camp to discover that Bi had dropped by treemail where they discovered a fire making kit and tarp to ensure nobody dies.

The Goliaths too, recieved said kit and tarp and the mood appeared to champ instantly. Dan and Kara took a moment to discuss finding the idol and partake in some generic flirting. Which did not go unnoticed – much to Kara’s chagrin – with Jeremy and Alec plotting to split them up and Natalie warning her to tone it down for her safety. Wanting to work around the situation, Kara approached Angelina and Natalia to assure them that she is interested in forming a black-widow brigade, stringing their respective men along and taking them out one after the other. After taking out Queen Natalie and Mike, obvi. Speaking of Mike, he was keeping watch as Jeremy rifled through peoples drying clothes and found Dan’s idol, which Kara had warned him to be more careful with. As such, Natalia and Kara are not the only two other people that know and as such, Mike and Jeremy’s stock just went up.

Things were looking up at the David tribe too, where Davie had decided to continue providing for the tribe after his epic octopus catch.  Whilst hunting for more food, he inadvertently found a hidden immunity idol and bless him, he deserves it. Particularly for saying this smells like authentic idol leather, begging the question, is that what my couch smells like? Meanwhile Carl was lamenting the loss of Pat and decided that the no longer can afford to lose Nick, instead wanting to take out Lyrsa, who he decided was the weakest. While Nick loved that idea, Elizabeth was pissed that her best buddies name was being thrown about. As was Lyrsa who desperately wanted to scream them all down, explaining she is the reason they won the first challenge.

Over at the Goliaths Jeremy and Alec continued to look sexy in their underwear before Jeremy instantly became my favourite by stripping down. And hot damn, I need a minute. Back in the camp Natalia was getting a nose and teeth booger check from Angelina, under the watchful eye of Natalie who obviously thought it was fucking stupid. Boogers in your teeth? Childish. Queen Natalie continued to lay low, watching everyone work and sassing them as much as possible. Sadly for her, people did actually notice her and were growing tired of her bullshit. Except for King John, the George Bushy of Tushy, who thought she was a great person to work with. John pulled Natalie aside to warn her about her attitude, leading to her approaching people one at a time and questioning their decision to target her, given she is a non-threat. While everyone decided the drama was too much for them, Jeremy pulled her aside to tell her some hard truths about her lack of self-awareness. Which she refused to accept, driving Jeremy mad and locking in his resolve to get rid of her.

Dear Jeffrey finally returned to screen for the immunity challenge where he explained to the Goliath tribe that Pat was injured after the last challenge, and therefore, someone is still potentially going to be the first one out. Anyway, the challenge. One person from each tribe was required to climb up a ladder to release a key, which would be used to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle on a wobbly table. Given that in addition to immunity they would get a huge fishing kit, Davie the provider was totally pumped. Alec got the Goliaths out to a huge lead over Bi and the David tribe, allowing they to go out and grab the puzzle pieces and return to shore before Bi reached the top of the ladder. The Goliaths continued to work on the puzzle while Bi was abandoned at the dock collecting puzzle pieces while their boat drifted away. Given the puzzle seems insanely hard the Davids quickly caught up as everyone dropped their platforms and destroyed their work. Thankfully the Goliaths put everyone out of their misery after an hour, solving their puzzle and snatching immunity much to everyone’s exhausted relief.

Back at camp the Davids lamented their loss before Bi desperately gave them all a peptalk to get their head in the game. Bi and Jessica locked in their vote for Lyrsa, though given how cagey they were being when Gabby approached them to discuss tribal, she decided to go and find a plan she feels safer with. Speaking of feeling safe, besties Elizabeth and Lyrsa desperately tried to find some for the latter, identifying Jessica as the better target. They then approached Gabby who was concerned they wanted to target her, so was all in when they suggested getting rid of Jess instead and taking out Bi and Carl’s closest ally. Elizabeth pulled Christian in with a hug – literally – and locked him in for the vote against Jessica. Christian and Gabby discussed the plan and locked in their alliance together, before Christian approached Nick. Who tragically wasn’t interested and would prefer to take out Lyrsa.

With that we obviously arrived at the insanely beautiful, grand tribal council where Jeff questioned how they could handle the cyclonic weather, which they all said brought them together. Elizabeth admitted that those bonds would make the upcoming votes more difficult, though Lyrsa admitted that you can cut the tension with a knife back at camp. She then spoke about having heard her name for being a weak link, which made Jessica sass her for not playing the game hard enough if that is the case. Gabby suggested people shouldn’t underestimate anyone, Bi said she was voting on performance despite bombing the immunity challenge, Christian spoke about the votes all being organised and Nick admitted that the game was built on deceit so that they need to build trust where they can. After a discussion of the battle between playing a tribal vs individual game, everyone shared our nervous they were though Jessica did admit that it was exhilarating. With that, they voted and it turns out tribal wasn’t as exhilarating as she would have hoped, becoming the second – slash technically first – boot.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be shocked by the turn of events that led to her demise. Despite such a strong start last episode, I had menu-planned for her to be devouring pizza in Ponderosa and as such, she would be doomed to be a pre-juror because of my curse. I held her in my arms while I cried uncontrollably while repeating sorry, which let’s be honest would have been a terrifying experience for our child contestant. Thankfully she took her boot in her stride – no doubt thanks to the extreme pity she felt for me post meltdown – and said that while the curse definitely doomed her, she couldn’t be grumpy when it is delicious as my Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza.

 

 

Just like the majestic Scot Pollartichoke Dip before her, there is no greater culinary pairing that spinach and artichoke. Particularly when in the company of cheese. Add in the glory of fresh, pillowy pizza dough, and it is hard not to be in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza
Serves: a sad second boot and her best-o.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of a lemon
1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
200g marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup parmesan
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, garlic and lemon in a bowl and generously smear over the pizza bases. Top with spinach, artichokes and parmesan before adding some mozzarella for good measure.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese. Because that would just add too much unwanted salt in your wounds.

 

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Rachon McAndcheesems

Main, Pasta, That Is So Fetch Week

While I am heartbroken to confirm that yes, this year’s Mean Girls day celebration, That’s So Fetch, is almost over, rejoice, because the queen bee herself is finally here! That is right, my dear friend Rachel McAdams aka Regina George is finally making her debut on this patch of cyberspace.

Despite only meeting on the set of Mean Girls, we quickly became the best of friends after she survived my Mr G-esque strength training to see whether she had what it takes to play Regina aka the worst parts of my character.

I was blown away by how someone so nice could so brilliantly capture how fundamentally awful I am, and decided to get her to show me how to be nice. While she failed at first and I lashed out, we reunited on the set of my then-boyfriend’s movie The Notebook, and we remained the best of friends. To the point where I gave her my blessing to pursue him after our relationship ended.

Anyway, I haven’t seen Rach since her son’s christening – I am obvs, godfather – so it was such a joy to reconnect, laugh about our fun times on set with Linds, Teens, Ames, Mands, Dan Fran, Jono and Lizzy – and Lacey, but obvi I can’t say that yet – whilst smashing a Rachon McAndcheesems.

 

 

Now I know mac and cheeses are fast becoming an over-catered market on this patch of cyberspace, I dare you to explain how the addition of bacon doesn’t send this to the next level. I mean, name a more iconic duo than bacon and cheese. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachon McAndcheesems
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, sliced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour, plus extra for dredging
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
150g parmesan cheese
250g cheddar cheese, plus extra for crumblin’

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Get the pasta cooking as per the packet instructions and cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat for five minutes, or until nice and crisp. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for a further minute. Add the butter to melt, and once foamy, add the flour, chilli, paprika, mustard and a cook whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and stir through the milk until smooth and combined. Add the cheeses to the saucepan and return to the heat until melted and combined.

By this point the pasta should be done, so drain and add to the saucepan and stir until well combined. Pour into a baking dish, top with additional cheese – potentially more than included in the dish, but who am I to say – and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Serve fresh and molten hot, obvi being careful whilst devouring.

 

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Amanda Seyfried Brie

Party Food, Side, Snack, That Is So Fetch Week

I had had a dream that Lindsay Lohan would be able to drop by as a surprise first That Is So Fetch Week, Mean Girls Day celebration but then she started attacking Syrian woman in Moscow – on transit here, no less – and I thought mamma mia, I can’t have her here right now so quickly booked a private jet for Amanda Seyfried and brought her visit up a day.

Mand and I first met through the divine Susan Lucci. Suze was completely in awe of her talent, gave me a call and said, “Ben my dear. I’ve found another ingenue that you just have to meet and shape her career so that she can become a star.”

Obviously I take Susan’s opinion very seriously, so I jumped on the very next plane to the All My Children set to see for myself.

Immediately, I was taken by her talent and I grabbed my rolodex of hate because I hate the phone, not my friends obvi. Oh and yeah, I coined the term, but whatevs – to see if there was anything my friends were doing that would be suitable.

Tina doll, aren’t you writing that movie about bullying?” I naively said, implying that Mean Girls would just be a story of my life, rather than an iconic film.

“I’ve met this girl and I feel she could add some depth to the bimbo girl I told you about from school.”

With that, Mands snatched the role of Karen and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I don’t even mind that she has co-starred with Meryl twice while I am yet to make it into one of her movies.

Given how busy she has been with Mamma Mia 2 and raising her young girl, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like. But thankfully our friendship is one that you can slip straight back into like no time has passed at all. Though how could things be awkward when you’ve got a plate of Amanda Seyfried Brie sitting in front of you.

 

 

Hot and gooey on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, these fried portions of cheese prove that sometimes, somehow, you can improve on perfection. So like hang in there, you know? Maybe I should be a motivational speaker too …

Enjoy!

 

 

Amanda Seyfried Brie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
250g brie
1 egg, whisked
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Cut the brie into wedges. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs in a second and a heap of flour in the third with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Coat the brie in flour, dip it in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined plate and leave to set for fifteen minutes or so … before re-dipping in the egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour.

When you’re ready to go, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and when nice and hot, cook a few pieces at a time for a minute or so, flipping once, or until golden brown.

Devour immediately with Chillijamin McKenzie, being careful of the molten cheese.

 

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Blu Cancheese Dressing

Condiment, Dip

Today marks our fourth anniversary on the interwebs and I feel like I’ve taken to quoting Jonathan Van Ness more and more frequently but … can you believe? Anyway, given it is a birthday that means I needed to organise a little party, so I decided to reach out to my girl Blu Cantrell and asked her to hit me up style and help celebrate.

Which she obviously said yes to, otherwise this would be a total waste of a post, no?

I’ve known Blu for years after meeting while auditioning Puff’s back-up singers for him in the mid ‘90s. I was completely blown away by her talent and told Diddy that he’d be mad not to take her on, whilst secretly working to make her a star.

Fast forward a few years, Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) became a hit, earned her two Grammy noms and once again, I succeeded. Maybe my lot in life is to elevate people to fame rather than snag an EGOT of my own while winning America’s Next Top Model after losing weight on Survivor in full Drag?

JK, I deserve an EGOT.

As you can imagine, Blu was honoured to be selected to drop by for our anniversary celebrations. And while some people would argue that she is a left-field choice, she has had a rough couple of years and as a dear, sweet friend, I wanted her to feel special.

We laughed, we cried, we reconnected, and most importantly, came up with a way to thrust us both firmly into the spotlight. Though that, my non-famous friends, is a story for another time. While you wait, why not whip up some Blu Cancheese Dressing and see if you come up with the same idea we did whilst gulping it down?

 

 

Smooth, creamy and packing a hell of a punch of pungent blue cheese, this dressing is truly the best. Well, to accompany Buffalec Baldwin Chicken Meatball Poppers or any form of buffalo flavoured things.

Buffalo as in chilli wings, not the animal. We’re not Jessica Simpson, though she is a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blu Cancheese Dressing
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the blue cheese, garlic, sour cream, mayo and buttermilk in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Decant and down.

 

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Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara

Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: One World

Given we’ve had a string of alpha-male dominated seasons, I decided that Liz Olson and Natalie need to dominate this season. And as such, I needed to pull out (one of) the most dominant winners Kim Spradlin to bring some good juju as we continued our countdown.

Say what you will about how awful and insufferable Colton made One World – and Kourtney’s broken arm didn’t help either – Kim had an absolute stranglehold on that game and is one of the best winners we have seen. Actually, her dominance probably didn’t help the excitement levels of the game … but I thoroughly enjoyed watching her string everyone along and dominate the game.

Sadly we haven’t had a return from Kim on account of her having multiple children since her killer game, but I am hopeful we will see her again for a legends season where she, Cirie and Sandra run the game.

Could you imagine?

Anyway like me, Kim has high hopes for the success of icons like Natalie, Elizabeth and Mike White who we can stan for creating Enlightened. Bonus points for thinking Gabby could go well, if only for her being a superfan.

With our David vs. Goliath chat out of the way, we caught up on what we’d been up to in the last couple of years, and while she rebuffed my offer to help tee up the legends alliance – though to be fair, she probs don’t need my help – she more than earned a big bowl of Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara to celebrate the impending premiere.

 

 

Let’s quickly run through everything; pasta? Delicious. Pumpkin? Glorious. Cheese? YAS. Bacon? Hot damn. Put them together and I damn near cream my shorts. In layman’s terms, this dish is perfect.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
a good knob of unsalted butter
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry vermouth
600g butternut pumpkin, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
½ cup pecorino, grated
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
500g linguine

Method
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and once foaming, add the bacon and cook for five minutes or so. Once crisp, add the shallots and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes or until fragant and soft. Add the vermouth and cook, bubbling, for five minutes or so.

In another pan, bring the pumpkin and stock to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Blitz with a stick blender until smooth and add to the bacon and shallot mixture. Stir through the cream, pecorino and nutmeg and stir until combined.

Cook linguine as per packet instructions. Drain, reserving ½ a cup of cooking liquid. Stir the pasta through the sauce and loosen with some pasta water if needed.

Serve, slathered with additional pecorino and then devour.

 

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Marg Helgenberger Pizza

Burgers, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Main, Snack

While I ventured into the pass to explore the male comedy nominees, I returned to the present – or went Back to the Future, if you will – to celebrate the Emmys with the iconic Marg Helgenberger.

Funnily enough, I didn’t meet Marg until she already had an Emmy to her name … on the set of The Larry Sanders Show. Yep – I met Marg through Garry Shandling. Talk about a small world, no?

Anyway, we became the fastest of friends and I decided she needed to be a bigger star. While it took me a couple of years to get there, I snagged her CSI and Erin Brockovich in the space of a year and I don’t mean to gloat, but that is a pretty big deal.

Marg was thrilled to finally drop by for a visit – talk about making it! – and even more more excited when she learnt it was in honour of the Emmys.

We laughed, we caught up and most importantly, we got to discussing the female drama and limited series noms. We both agreed that Sandra Oh will likely take Best Actress in a Drama, despite it being Claire Foy’s last shot. Marg felt Regina King would take the Limited Series gong, while I of course was backed Laura Dern. In arguably one of the most competitive categories of the night, we agreed that Thandie Newton will snatch Best Supporting Actress just over Yvonne Strahovski. And last but certainly not least, Judith Light will take Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series.

I knew there was only one thing to serve that would sustain us for the long deliberations, and that was my delicious Marg Helgenberger Pizza.

 

 

While I assume you thought I was going to go with a burg, I like to zag instead of zig … and serve a good old culinary-gangbang. I mean, how do you go wrong by throwing all the gloriousness of a burger, on a pizza base. The answer is, you can’t.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marg Helgenberger Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 base using Zsa Zsa’s recipe
250g beef mince
tomato sauce or paste
Italian herbs, to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
American mustard, to taste
grated cheese, to top

Method
Prepare base as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

Preheat oven to 180°C and cook the mince in a frying pan over medium heat, forming into small meatballs as you go.

Spread the base with tomato paste and sprinkle over Italian herbs. Layer with onion, tomato, pickles and the mince. Drizzle with American mustard and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Serve and devour immediately.

 

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