Sylvia Jafflies

Main, Snack

Let me tell you, the phrase contractually obligated has never made me feel better! While my lunch date with Sylvia started off quite awkwardly – on account of my epic over-the-phone tantrum – she sat me down, and in her calmest newsreader voice, explained that she only hosted the greatest annual Christmas program on Australian television with my ex because it was contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated. Who would have thought that phrase could sound so good? Particularly after contractual obligations have forced me into appearing in questionable programs overseas and being the face of Spam for the entirety of the ‘90s.

Now I know that I would normally launch into an epic tirade and stir up a feud if they tried to use contracts to explain their actions, but Sylvia is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and as such, I didn’t question the pain it caused her to buddy up with Curt.

As I mentioned, Sylvs and I were thrust together in 2006 after missing the first day of Spanish class at UQ and were required to sit a make-up class. As is oft the case, I realised that her grasp of the language was far superior to mine, so hitched my wagon to hers and became study buddies slash friends. I mean, sure, most of our study dates at Wordies were spoken in English but that made for a fun ride in class and helped me receive so many disappointed sighs from our Colombian teacher.

When we weren’t downing arancini – not Arianna’s – while learning our pluscuamperfecto, I did my best to culturally appropriate – is that a way I can use it, probs not, but you get what I mean – Latin American cuisine to further our education. Which is how I invented the Sylvia Jafflies.

 

 

Jaffles are probably the greatest invention for uni students – cheap, quick and easy, and oh so comforting when you’re wanting to die at the end of semester. Add the additional comfort of chilli and guac, and you’ve got the ultimate study food. Scrap that, just food. It is the ultimate food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sylvia Jafflies
Serves: 2 distracted Spanish students.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup Chilli con Kim Carnes
100g sliced Mexican manchego
1 avocado, mashed
sour cream, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

Method
Now this is harder than an end of semester entrevista, so pay attention.

Start by turning on a jaffle iron and buttering the bread.

Divide the chilli across two slices, top each with manchego and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

Butter the top of the bread and place butter-side down on the jaffle iron.

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the cheese is gooey.

Slather in avo, sour cream and sriracha before devouring, carefully, on account of the piping hot cheese.

 

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JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini

Party Food, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the mega majority continued to dominate the game … until Ryan told random unnecessary lies about the idol to two of his closest allies, and Ben’s controlling nature started to irk Chrissy and Ashley. That left poor Mike to stir up some drama at tribal council to draw attention to himself before playing an idol. Sadly that was unnecessary as the mega-alliance piled all their votes on Cole and sent his glorious nips out of the game.

Back at camp Mike’s closest ally Joe started to chastised him for playing his idol unnecessarily. This made Chrissy super confident given the dead men walking have absolutely zero protections now. While Mike rationalised that by protecting Joe, he’d ultimately have two votes to help find a crack in the alliance rather than just one. Sadly, Joe remained pissed despite it being exactly what he did with Desi when Alan went home.

Not messing around Probsty arrived for the foot fetishist’s ultimate reward challenge. You know the one, they have to untie some wooden blocks and build a tower out of them with your feet. It is kinda creepy, but I’d do a lot more for some burgers and an island getaway. It is pretty hard to actually commentate on this challenge, given I haven’t obsessed over their feet but Mike and Lauren were out in front, with Ashley close on their tail. Tragically for Mike he couldn’t get it up – it being a flag – without knocking over a block, handing Lauren victory.

As with most rewards, Lauren was given the chance to bring some friends along, immediately picking Devon – who wouldn’t with that glistening torso – Ben and Ashley. While Probst tried to flag this as a concern for the rest of their alliance, Ryan was unconcerned. Though with the mute JP’s chest next to me, I’d feel safe too.

Back at camp Mike and Joe finally reconciled after their post-tribal feud before trying out some ameteur comedy to save themselves. How that is a logical plan, I would never know. I mean, what is worse than ameteur comedy? Not to be outdone, Ryan and Chrissy joined together to discuss their superior gameplay and spoke about how confident they are that they’ll get to the final seven before taking out Ben. Pride, fall, no?

Meanwhile Queen Lauren continued her ascension, downing some burgers before locking in a final four alliance with Ashley, Ben and Devon, vowing to turn against the rest of the alliance ASAP. Lauren then stepped it up another notch and got everyone to spill all of their secrets so they can pool their knowledge and take control. Idols and extra votes were spilled, Ashley realised she was the Jon Snow of the tribe and Lauren told Ben he needs to make peace with Joe to get enough votes. Devon was feeling super thankful to be her ally … before discovering letters from home, bringing everyone to tears. And further solidifying their alliance.

Ben excused himself to go read his letter – again sharing some personal information about his life *coughs winner’s edit* – before stumbling upon a map to another hidden immunity idol. He went straight into marine mode, searching him and low for the idol … eventually discovering it lodge in a pot in a tree. I mean, yay for him and all, but the way the camera was panning around, I was sure he was going to miss it. And it would have been hilarious.

Probst returned for the next immunity challenge where everyone would need to balance on small beams on an a-frame floating in the water. Given he seems hell bent on breaking up the alliance, he gave the castaways the opportunity to forgo the challenge and instead devour a shit tonne of peanut butter and chocolate. I mean, without even taking off their clothes for it. While Devon, Ben and Lauren got busy eatin’, the rest of the tribe got busy balancin’. After ten minutes JP fell off the platform before Chrissy and Joe quickly followed after transitioning to the top of the platform. Ryan soon followed, leaving Mike and Ashley to battle it out for immunity, which the latter won after Mike dropped out of nowhere.

Back at camp everyone told Mike how shocked they were by his killer challenge performance. While Ryan was pissed that three of his allies sat out of the challenge, he nor Chrissy seemed concerned that they could actually be blindsided. After the seven broke up their pow-wow, Lauren assembled her troops and debated who to take out, out of Ryan and Chrissy. Not to be outdone, Devon decided it was best to have Ben vote with Ryan and Chrissy to distance himself from their new alliance and allow him to get information after the blindside. Given the plan hinges on them, Lauren and Ashley pulled Joe and Mike aside to get them on board before they headed off.

Cole sadly chose to wear a shirt to tribal at the jury, which was hella distracting and, well, kinda rude. Mike started to promote he and Joe’s comedy show, which Chrissy was keen to tell them was completely terrible. She and Ryan then spoke about how confident they are in the seven, meaning this blindside it definitely going to be successful. While Devon and Lauren spoke in vague, non-committal statements which kind of signal change is afoot – am I Keith Nale? – both Chrissy and Ryan were completely shocked as the votes rolled out … and JP found himself exiting the game.

At least, I think that is his name, since he never speaks. In any event, he is the dude that stripped way back in episode one before Kat got voted out.

While I had no idea who he was when he rolled into Ponderosa, he quickly explained that he was JP … one of my dearest friends. I first met the fit fire-fighter when I was a firebug a few years back. I had decided that setting shit on fire was the best way to meet men, as they’d have to rescue me by carrying me out of a building. I mean, sure, questionable logic but it worked on JP and we were eating post-coital JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini in each others’ arms for six blissful months.

 

 

These perfect little delights remind me of everything I loved about our relationship. I mean, how can you go past such a creamy, salty delight … when it comes to meat?

Enjoy!

 

 

JP Hilsaspeck & Bocconcini
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g baby bocconcini
100g thinly sliced speck
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
crusty bread, for serving … if you feel carbs are necessary

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Wrap each bocconcini with a piece of speck and place on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil, season to taste and bake for about ten minutes, or until the meat is juicy and starting to firm up and the cheesy inside is starting to ooze.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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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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Turkey Roulade McLanahan

Main, Poultry, Thankgiving for being a friend

After spending the last couple of days in ‘87 catching up with Bea and Estelle, I wasn’t sure if I should hang around for my date with Rue or go visit her in ‘05 when she was appearing in Wicked. Despite the fact it would likely have lead me to landing a part in the hit musical – and probs my first Tony – I decided to stick with the past.

Mainly to avoid a feud due to me exiting the time period without a word. Though it’s not like it would have lasted long, given how close we were.

I first met Rue on the set of Maude in the ‘70s. I, of course, was there as part of Bea’s entourage but I was fast taken by the delightful Eddi-Rue. We were both thrice divorced by the time we met and it was just such a comfort to have someone to talk to that had been through the same thing.

Rue always felt like the glue that held the girls together, given her warm, loving nature and I am so thankful to be able to experience it firsthand once more.

“My sweet darlin’ Ben, I do say, how I’ve missed you!”

I ran into her arms and held back my tears for her unexpected death in 2010.

“Now my sweet boy. Bea and Stell told me I’m in for a real treat for dinner … like how the men feel when going on a date with that Blanche!”

We laughed long and hard well into the night, talking about all the things we were thankful for – divorce being a big one for us three-timers – before sitting down to a big ol’ orgy of meat in the form of my Turkey Roulade McLanahan.

 

 

Given I was cooking in someone else’s kitchen … in the ‘80s, I couldn’t go around whipping up a big roast. That of course doesn’t take away from the fact this is a show stopper. The crispy pancetta crust keeps the turkey nice and moist. Particularly when you stuff it full of more meat and a good whack of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Roulade McLanahan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 small bunch of sage, roughly chopped
4 pork sausages, casings removed
1 carrot, grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup craisins
a small handful of spinach, roughly chopped
freshly grated pepper
800g turkey breast fillets, flatten to 2cm thick with a mallet or rolling pin
200g thinly sliced pancetta

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the sage, sausage, carrot, garlic, parmesan, craisins and spinach in a bowl with a good whack of pepper.

Arrange the pancetta on a sheet of baking paper, slightly overlapping. Line the flattened breasts along one of the long edges, pressing closely or overlapping to form a clean piece of meat. Form the stuffing into a long sausage and place it along the centre of the meat. Using the baking paper as a guide, tightly roll the turkey over to form a long roll, with the pancetta sealing the turkey meat. Tie with a couple of pieces of kitchen twine to secure, transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and beautifully cooked on the inside.

Allow to stand for five minutes or so before carving, serving and, most importantly, devouring.

 

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Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty

Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend, Vegetarian

I know it is hard to pinpoint a more tragic death, particularly when it comes to your friends, but my dear, beautiful Estelle Getty’s was truly heartbreaking. I mean, I miss Bea and Rue just as much, but knowing that she truly suffered in her final years and couldn’t remember how wonderful she and The Golden Girls were will always break my heart.

After Bea and I circled back to the lot after catching-up yesterday it took all my strength not to break down in tears knowing what would happen in a couple of decades. We ran into each other’s arms and held each other close, silently acknowledging the deep love of our friendship.

“Pussycat!” Oh FYI, she used her pet name for me – pussycat – as her term of endearment for Dorothy on the show.

“Pussycat, I’ve missed you! How have you been? Why don’t you come visit me more? Are you well? Can I get you a part on the show? Do you want a snack?”

I’d known Estelle for a couple of years by 1987, having met while she starred in the Torch Song Trilogy which was written about me by my ex-Harves. Our bond was instant and while we never got to spend as much time with each other as we’d like, it always felt like only days between visits.

We drove to her L.A. home, laughing and catching up, despite the fact I knew exactly what she had and would be up to next. It was heartbreaking yet at the same time so wonderful to be able to spend time with her while she was still at her best. The only that made the date every better was chowing down on some Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty.

 

 

Potato bake is the side dish of champions. Be it normal or sweet, there is nothing better than perfectly roasted potatoes covered in dickloads of cheese and a punch of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
a small stalk of rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan
200g goat’s cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the potato, shallots and a lug of olive oil in a bowl with the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg and chilli. Toast to coat.

Smear – yes, smear – a lug of olive oil on the base and edges of a small baking dish.

Layer the potato on the base of the dish, slightly overlapping, moving from the outside in, until covered. Sprinkle over a quarter of each of the cheeses, followed by another layer … and a quarter of the cheeses and more potato until it is all gone. Finishing, obvi, with the cheese on top.

Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, covering with foil after half an hour if the top is getting to crispy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then devour, ferociously.

 

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Destitsio Williams

Baking, Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the merge hit leaving Cole nice and paranoid … and, bless, unable to see the clue to an advantage in plain site. With him busy, the heroes and hustlers got together and plotted to take out the healers, one-by-one. Which commenced at tribal after Joe played him idol needlessly as Jessica became the final pre-Ponderosa boot.

Solewa returned to camp where things were awkward and everyone kind of stood around awkwardly while Cole spoke about being upset and Joe impressed by their move. We then found out that Ben and Lauren had in fact orchestrated the entire blindside, with my namesake hoping they can go all the way to the top seven … though was concerned something would screw it up. Which is totalling going to happen, no?

The next day Mike was still struggling with the loss of tribal before Lauren, out of nowhere, found the clue to the advantage Cole couldn’t see in front of him. The advantage is another variant of the extra vote gig, with Lauren allowed to forgo voting at the next tribal council and stockpile the vote for a later tribal council. Depending on our you feel about saving, it is the ultimate banking game … or way too hard.

Not leaving me to sweat on it too long, my love Jeff returned for the reward challenge where the tribes would be split into two teams to run up a tower and shoot sacks at a target. Aka what the homophobe at my work said every gay person would be doing after Australia voted for marriage equality … which yes, was true for me, but also, have some fucking decorum. The team of Ben, Mike, Lauren, Ashley and Desi got out to a 3-0 lead before Ryan, Chrissy, JP, Cole and Devon’s strategy – to have the worst people go first and no longer have to participate – played of overtaking the others and snagging a spaghetti dinner, with Joe … who won the lottery and got reward without competing.

After the challenge Jeff explained that the spaghetti would be served ‘family style’ meaning there would be one single serve and each would go in to eat alone, not knowing how much the others had had. To further improve Joe’s day, he was given the opportunity to outline their eating order. Given he needs allies, Joe elected to go last sending Devon first – don’t tell Rodney, but it was for his birthday – followed by JP, who also didn’t notice a clue under the plate. Sweet Cole went next and surprisingly found the clue straight away … before using a tea towel to cover the clue. Smart move and also, so fucking dumb. Chrissy and Ryan also found the clue – outlining it was hidden under the tribe flag – before the latter hid the plate in the bushes.

Chrissy and Ryan spoke about the clue and Cole’s dim wit while Joe ate, before the latter proved he wasn’t as dumb as everyone thinks and questioned what they were talking about. This of course set up a three man race to collect the idol, which kind of fizzled out as Ryan snatched the idol while Cole went to pee. Thankfully he tasked Chrissy with covering the hole, leading to Cole diving under the flag with her to fight for the already gone idol. This then caught everyone’s attention, leading to an all in brawl before Ben decided Cole did have the idol. Oh … after the flag fell on top of everyone.

I mean, this was some Benny Hill shit. Praise Probst.

Given Cole was now in desperate need of some actual immunity, Probst returned for the challenge where the castaways were required to stand on a balance beam, while keeping an object up with a long hard pole. So again, pretty much my favourite pastime. Mike and Joe quickly dropped out followed by Devon, Lauren, Ryan – whose heart was literally beating through his chest – Ashley, Chrissy, Ben and Desi. This left Cole and JP to battle it out for immunity and my heart as their chests glistened in the sun. JP couldn’t keep it up long enough, handing Cole immunity … and well, my heart. I mean, he is proven to keep it up longer. How can I go past him?

Cole’s immunity win didn’t sit well with the hero-hustler mega alliance who half-heartedly congratulated him on his victory before quickly locking in a split vote for Joe and Desi. The split vote gave the healers hope, given they only needed to flip one person to their side to take control. Surprisingly this was Cole’s plan. Sadly for Joe he decided to approach Ryan and Devon while Ben lurked in the bushes ala Queen Sandra, leading to Ben blowing up at Joe at camp while Desi, Ryan and Chrissy lazed about in the shelter, nonchalantly wondering if something was happening.

After things cooled down, Lauren pulled Ben aside to share that they can not split the vote tonight otherwise she will lose her advantage. This made Ben nervous forcing him to approach Mike to flip to their side and save him. While Mike wasn’t sure keeping Ben was a good idea, he did think showing loyalty may carry him further.

At tribal Joe and Ben continued their feud with Joe identifying him as a threat, while Ben tried to point out he is a part of a bigger alliance and that he trusted them all. It went back and forth for a while before Chrissy and Ashley joined the fray to point out how annoying Joe is. Desi then gave a confusingly cryptic comment, Mike threw out the fact the Yawa five betrayed him as the last tribal and Ben spoke more about being a vet, which really isn’t making the target on his back any smaller. Desi continued to dig her own grave and Devon spoke about being a bright and beautiful light – seriously, swoon … and out of nowhere – before they headed off to vote.

Notably Lauren was successful in snagging her extra vote before the votes finished up tied with four each on Joe and Desi, with one each on Ben and Lauren for good measure … and no one the wiser that that didn’t add up to 11. More surprisingly the votes piled up on Desi in the revote, sending her out of the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa.

While she was absolutely heartbroken by the turn of events – and let’s be honest, so was I – I was glad to be able to hang with her, cheer her up and decide the tone for this season’s jury over a big ol’ bowl of my Destitsio Williams.

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged – right Jules – that pasta will cure all ailments. Add a dickload of spices, a large hunk of meat and a creamy sauce? That is what dreams are made of, right Hiz?

Enjoy!

 

 

Destitsio Williams
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1kg beef mince
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried mint
2 cups passata
500g ziti pasta
¾ cup butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cup parmesan, grated
¼ cups plain flour
2 cups milk, heated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat before sweating the onion, garlic and carrot for five minutes … or so. Add the paste and mince and cook, breaking up the mince with the wooden spoon, for ten minutes or so, or until starting to brown. Add the allspice, mint and passata with a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

While your meat sauce is cooling, melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan until foamy. Add ¼ cup flour and cooking for a minute or two, or until the roux is coming together. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and whisk through the yolks of the eggs, with the nutmeg and ¼ cup parmesan.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta as per packet instruction before draining and returning to the pan with the remaining butter, egg whites and parmesan. Stir for a couple of minutes or until everything just comes together.

Press half the coated butter into the base of a large baking dish. Top with the meat sauce, following by the remaining pasta … and then finally, the béchamel. Sprinkle with some extra parmesan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for ten minutes … and then devour.

 

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Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza

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

Previously on Survivor, new-Yawa remained undefeated after the swap while at Levu, Joe proved that finding idols truly is a bald man’s game. Things however weren’t so peachey at Soko with Chrissy and Ryan having to decide between keeping JP and Ali, sending the latter out of the game

Back at camp Chrissy was quick to make JP feel comfortable after tribal, and was thrilled to be closer with each of the boys than they are with each other. We checked in with Yawa the next day to learn that Cole was feeling confident that should they merge, they were five strong. That, of course, was quickly disputed by Ben who rightfully was concerned by the closeness of Cole and Jess. Rounding out the catch-ups, Ashley spoke about how broken, starved and divided Levu is. So … final three of Chrissy, Ashley and Ben/Ryan/Cole/Devon, yeah?

Probst quickly arrived for the reward challenge, much to the excitement of the hungry Levu tribe. Though it wasn’t actually a challenge, it’s the merge – what a surprise!? After dropping buffs – sadly, not JP’s trou again – and getting swanky new purple ones, Probsty informed the starved castaways that instead of the merge feast, they’d be going to Queen Sandra’s fave – Outback Steakhouse.

The castaways toasted making the merge – YAS, they’re all dateable – downed steaks, and drank up which brought down Joe’s defenses and allowed Chrissy and Ben to quickly deduce that he has an idol, painting a larger target on his back. Jessica also emerged from her shell, hitting on the waiter’s thunder from downunder.

Back at camp, the new Solewa tribe got to work improving or building – who knows whether it is a new camp – their shelter, while Cole searched for a clue which was hidden in the wad of nails he was using. Bless him. Jessica and Desi got reacquainted, while Ryan and Devon caught up and floated the idea of a hustler-heroes alliance to take out the healers. The boys looped Lauren in on the plan, who wasn’t so keen on the plan giving she is aligned with Mike. She then told Mike and I was reminded of the epic ‘David as an idol’ scene from Millennials vs. Gen X.

Devon took the plan to Ben and Chrissy to get rid of Joe, that latter of whom was thrilled given she found him insufferable at lunch. Ben however was more keen to take out Cole, given he literally eats whatever he wants. Jessica and Lauren pulled Cole aside to warn him about his eating, Ben floated the idea of booting Joe or Cole with Mike, and I am reminded how freaking confusing merge episodes are.

Thankfully, Cole is pretty and Devon’s torso is longer than I am tall.

Pulling me out of the alliance whirlpool, Probst returned for the first immunity challenge where everyone stands on a narrow beam and keeps a ball spinning within a disc. As quickly as it started Ryan dropped out, followed by Mike whilst trying to be cute while taking a step – what did Alyssa Edwards say? Jessica was out after taking her second step forward, followed by Ben, JP, Devon and Lauren as they dropped to the final section. Joe soon dropped out, leaving Desi, Cole, Chrissy and Ashley to fight it out for immunity. Which Desi won, after Cole and Chrissy dropped their balls and Ashley dropped while trying to move her second foot onto the narrowest section of the beam.

Getting straight back into it, Cole pulled Ben aside back at camp to apologise for eating all the food and not thinking about others. Despite accepting his apology, Ben did not in fact accept said apology – preach – though wasn’t sure whether booting him was a good plan, or could blow up in his face.

Feeling unsafe, Cole approached Joe to fill him in on the new Yawa alliance immediately pissing off Joe, who knows Ben will flip at the first opportunity. Cole then joined Mike, Lauren and Desi to talk about getting rid of the heroes biggest threat Chrissy, leaving them to debate whether Ben was with them or about to go against the family. Obviously Lauren then approached Ben to talk about which side they would go with, before the hustlers and heroes – sans JP – got together to pick their target. Given they’re concerned about Joe and Cole having an idol, and the Cole and Jessica alliance, Jessica seemed to be their safest option.

At tribal, Probst quickly brought up the theme and put the target on the plentiful healers. Everyone danced around loyalty and truth, trying to keep their allies calm and not give anything away. Mike then offended Joe, who was talking about being extremely loyal, leading to him pulling out his idol and threatening to use them. Cole was unphased by the display –  given he helped Joe find his first idol – while Ben announced that the battle lines were drawn and they need to vote to see where the chips may fall. Joe played his idol just in case they fell for him, which they did not, instead coming down to Chrissy and Jessica, with the latter booted from the game … as the final pre-jury boot.

Poor, sweet Jessica was feeling quite down when she arrived at loser lodge – particularly after finding out it hadn’t ticked over to Ponderosa as yet – though quickly perked up when she saw me, her dear friend, waiting for her. Like the great, great Cirie Fields, I first met Nurse Practitioner Jessica while in rehab. She was completing a placement at the time and given how kind she was, she took a lost cause like me under her wing and helped me through (one of) my most recent stint(s) in rehab and got me sober. As such, we’ve been friends ever since.

After getting her out of her post-boot funk, we got to work catching up, talking about how dreamy Cole and his nips are … and then dreaming we were eating my Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza off dem plates.

 

 

If CalebAras and Joan – and Skarsy, obvs – have taught you anything, I love me some carbonara. I mean, warm, salty, creamy goodness going straight down my throat? Sign me up … and now, in PIZZA form.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
salt and pepper
200g pancetta, roughly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a handful mushrooms, thinly sliced
125g pecorino cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s method – sans tommie paste.

Whisk the parmesan, eggs and a good whack of salt and black pepper until thick and combined.

Spoon the egg mixture onto the rolled out dough and spread across the bases. Sprinkle over the pancetta, shallots and mushrooms, and top with pecorino.

Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until the bases are crispy and the cheese golden. Devour.

 

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Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new Levu was divided two-two after Alan was idoled from the game, while dinner-plate nips Cole replaces Patrick’s place in Lauren’s heart, driving her mental with his poor manners. Meanwhile over at new Soko, Ryan was caught between his OG ally Ali and her newer ally Chrissy, siding with the latter to send Roark from the game.

Back at camp Ali confronted Ryan about what happened and asked why he never told her about the vote, upset as she would have been willing to take out Roark. While he admitted that he was concerned about how close she and Roark had become, she got emotional and couldn’t see any logic. This also upset Ryan who had hoped that he’d be able to work with Ali into the future, though that was clearly out of the picture.

The next day, Mike the dick doctor became the provider at Yawa … and boy was he proud of himself. Tragically he then dropped his entire haul in the fire – like a combination of Sandra’s first two sabotage attempts – though was kind enough to give everyone some of his charred fish. Ben was then compared this to Cole, who had cooked a couple of his larger fish and not shared them. This coupled with the fact Lauren tried – and failed – to explain why they needed to share to better the team, started putting more nails in his rapidly growing coffin. Cole then went for a walk to calm down with Jessica, leaving Mike, Ben and Lauren to strategise, talk smack and align to take them out.

My main man Jiffy Pop returned for a pizza reward – which is hopefully for Snickers, for grumpy Cole – where the tribes were required to balance their ball with a big, hard rod and release a boat before rowing out and shooting their loadballs at a target. Soko got out to an early lead, thanks to JP and Ali’s ball-handling skills, quickly getting out to their boat before the others complete the course. That is until Chrissy forgot to undo the second knot, resulting in Yawa catching up. Ben and JP both struggled to aim their balls, allowing Levu to catch-up just as they each hit their first. Mother nature then decided to make it a little tougher, whipping the waves up and making the targets even harder to hit … though JP and Ben prevailed, securing reward for Yawa and Soko.

We then got a killer crotch shot as JP exited, though sadly he was still wearing pants. Sigh.

Soko were thrilled to return to camp with their pizzas thanks to JP’s physical prowess. That, obviously, made Ryan nervous given the merge is imminent. Add to that the fact he is quiet and doesn’t really bother talking about strategy made things seem safer for Ali. Meanwhile over at the losing Levu, Ashley and Devon solidified their alliance and debated whether they felt Joe or Desi would be willing to go for rocks for the other. Devon then took Joe for a walk, allowing Ashley to get to work on Desi who in fact, was more than willing to get rid of Joe as she know his loyalty is all on his terms. He then found the idol despite being babysat, this time without anyone – with a huge fucking mouth (swoon) – knowing.

Meanwhile over at Yawa, Cole started to get the shakes before passing out while Mike was offering him worms. Doctor Mike and nurse Jessica went straight into action, with Jessica cooking up her portion of rice to give him sustenance. While it made her realise how much she wanted to keep him in the game, Mike and Ben saw it as a liability, vowing to take him out if they head to the next tribal.

With all targets identified, Jeff returned for immunity where the tribes would all have to suspend a disc using four ropes … and then spell immunity vertically on said disc using blocks, from the bottom – kween – to the top. RIP Joe Del Campo. Levu and Yawa both appeared extremely strong, while poor Soko struggled and restarted after only a couple of blocks. Then out of nowhere Levu dropped, followed again by Soko … and then Yawa as they were two steps from immunity. Levu and Soko then battled it out for immunity before Yawa came out from behind – my favourite – with a new strategy, overtaking the others and taking out immunity as Soko dropped again and Levu snatched second place.

Back at camp, JP was confident that Ali would be the next one out the door while Ryan was still questioning whether it was better to take out JP, the man that has literally carried him through a challenge. Knowing that Ali is key to his plan working, he went and apologised to her and to try convince her to take out JP. That was obviously an easy task, with Ali offering to talk to Chrissy about getting JP out … which is probably the worst plan for them, given she trusts Ryan and not Ali. Chrissy then pulled Ryan aside to discuss who was the better option, with them only vowing allegiance to each other before heading off to tribal.

They arrived to some light shade from Jeff before Ryan and Ali spoke about getting past their post-last tribal drama. JP then gave a smug look, either meaning he knows something we don’t or is heading for a downfall. Jeff then called him out for being hella laid back, and acknowledging why he could be voted out rather than why he shouldn’t. Jeff gave him a backhanded compliment – dude and dem nips, I clearly like nips, really is made from granite – before he acknowledged that this was a wake-up call and he needs to be more social. While I’d argue her needs to be more naked, potato, po-tar-toe. They then went to vote where once again, Ryan flipped on Ali … and sent her from the game and one of the biggest physical threats to the merge.

Given Al’s career as a celebrity assistant, it should come as no shock that we’ve known each other for years. On account of my many, legitimate celebrity friendships, remember? While I won’t spill on her employer – they’re one of my best friends, obvi – I will say that Ali is the sweetest and like Roark, will dominate the next Second Chances. Particularly if she lives on a diet of only my Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos until then.

 

 

Spicy and sweet, these babies go a long way in proving the importance of pineapple in cooking. I mean, why they get so much hate? Like iceberg lettuce, they aren’t classy, but in the right place are true perfection. And the right place is here with the smoky chicken tacos.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 orange, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
200g pineapple chunks
2 chipotle chillies in adobo, roughly chopped
12 corn tortillas
iceberg lettuce, shredded
shredded cheese, ladies choice … you being the lady, obvi
2 avocados, mashed
coriander, to taste
sour cream, to taste

Method

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft, fragrant and sweet. Add the chicken, paprikas, cumin, coriander and oregano and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until cooked through. Add the juice, stock, pineapple and chillies, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook until reduced.

 

When you’re ready to devour, heat the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan, thirty seconds per side, top with lettuce, chicken mixture, cheese, avocado, a sprinkle of coriander and dollop with sour cream. Devour.

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Gaten Ratarisoni

Main, Pasta, Stranger Feasts

You want to know the scariest thing about our Halloween spooktacular, Stranger Feasts? The joy and kindness of the Stranger crew – like Shan and Mil before them – makes me want to be a happier, kinder person.

I mean, it make me feel so violently sick I want to vomit up slugs like Will in the season 1 cliffhanger!

Anyway, my dear friend Gaten Matarazzo is arguably the most infectious happy person you could ever be around, so I knew he was the best person to help me honour premiere day. Plus, he is one of my oldest friends in the cast.

We first met in 2011 when he was starring in the Broadway production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I was working as a consultant on the show after lying about my involvement in the film – my mum went to school with Sarah Chadwick, so it wasn’t hard to fabricate the work history – and dare I say it, was integral in its success.

And its abrupt closure.

Given that, I felt bad and vowed to help further Gaten’s career. Not that he needed any help landing the role of Dustin, given his killer audition. But once again, I’d love to take full responsibility for his success.

Gats arrived almost bouncing, full of excitement and energy for the wider community – which he didn’t like me referring to as plebs – to see season 2. I’ve already binged the entire season, of course – which I can’t prove, lest I were to spoil things – and wholeheartedly share his excitement for the cracking to get the attention it deserves. Though maybe that was the big bowl of Gaten Ratarisoni talking … because again, that sounds nice.

 

 

Spicy, rich and dotted with ghastly (looking) halloween delights, this rat infested risoni is the perfect comfort food as you buckle in for the return of Stranger Things.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gaten Ratarisoni
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600g spicy Italian sausages, skins removed and shaped into baby rat-sized
balls (aka, pinch one end)
250g mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced into a bat shape
1 tbsp chilli flakes
⅓ cup pitted black olives, sliced into ghoulish eye balls
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, left whole to resemble bloody brains
500g risoni
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250ml cinzano rosso
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella

Method
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the sausage rats to brown for five minutes or so. Add the mushrooms and chilli, and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the olives, sundried tomatoes and risoni. Give a good stir to coat before adding the tin tomatoes, paste and cinzano, cooking for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken stock – yes it seems out of place, but beef is too rich for this – reduce heat to low, stir through the spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the the risoni cooked through.

Remove from the heat, stir through the mozzarella and serve immediately, with the stringy mozzarella creating a mess of cobwebs as you serve. Which I am aware, mine didn’t … I was waiting for a new couch for the show.

In any event, devour.

 

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Millie Bobby Upside Down Dip

Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack, Stranger Feasts

With Stranger Things returning tomorrow, there is one thing on everybody’s mind – other than how we can get justice for Barb, obvi – where the hell is Eleven? Well the answer, clearly, is sitting in my kitchen catching up with her dear friend and mentee.

Yes, you read that right – mentee.

After seeing that she was my role model whilst teasing her visit, Mil put together a comprehensive mentor-mentee plan so that she could show me how to become an it girl of the modern age. What a damn saint!

I’ve known Mil for a couple of years, after meeting her whilst a part of Whoopi Goldberg’s entourage on the set of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. While that show was a total flop, her talent was evident – girl didn’t get an Emmy nom for nothing – and when she came in to read for Stranger Things, I knew she was the only person that could possibly play El.

Given that I am solely responsible for her big break, Mil said she wanted to pay me back and knew that mentoring me was the only thing she could offer. While I’d normally scoff at seeing someone overtake me and try to tear them down, she is such a sweetie that I genuinely want her guidance. It is so out of character for me, but whatevs.

We quickly worked through her exceptional plan before watching the first couple of episodes – which are amazing – and devouring a big, fat, sickening bowl of my Millie Bobby Upside Down Dip.

 

 

The only thing better than tacos, nor is there anything better than dip. Add them together, put your thing down, flip it and reverse it … and you have a delightful snack. I mean, cheese, spice and all things nice? This is the culinary equivalent of the Powerpuff Girls.

Enjoy!

 

 

Millie Bobby Upside Down Dip
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
400g refried beans
250g cream cheese, softened
½ batch George Takeios meat
1 cup Salsa Struthers
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 tortillas, cut into the shape of headstones
olive oil
Tortea Leoni chips, to serve
shredded iceberg lettuce, to serve
tomato, diced, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the refried beans and cream cheese in a large bowl, stirring until thoroughly combined.

Spread the taco mince across the bottom of a medium baking dish, sprinkle over the salsa and half the cheddar, before spreading the cheesy beans over the top before sprinkling the remaining cheese – and then some – over the top.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Line the headstones on a lined baking, drizzle with olive oil and bake for the last five-ten minutes.

Serve immediately, with the graves eerily spiked throughout the yard and covered in the bloody grass of lettuce and tomato.

 

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