James Van Detray Bake

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Main, Poultry

After starting things off with the dreamy Josh Jackson, followed up with the liberated Katie Holmes and my dear old friend Mary Beth Peil, we’ve arrived at the owner of the Creek. Yep – today is all about Dawth-son, my boy JVDB.

As you know – since this isn’t his first time on my patch of cyber-space – JVDB and I were lovers and then the best of friends. And most importantly, he is the reason I am married. Well technically it is thanks to the words of Fauxy on the series finale of Dawson’s Creek … but he made me watch it and as such, gets the points.

Given we’ve only recently caught up on the record – we have a monthly date and it is seminal to my happiness … this time, my meaning of seminal flies – I was surprised that he was able to make the trip down under. But I guess, how could you say no to honouring the 20th anniversary of the greatest role of your career?

JVDB has been hella busy of late, so was thrilled to be able to take some time to honour his work, while enjoying some R&R. Plus – I promised to cook up his second favourite food, my James Van Detray Bake.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella’s tray bake in Nigellissima, this little number – and I hate to say it – is even better than the OG. I mean, how do you go wrong with the addition of chilli and garlic?

Enjoy!

 

 

James Van Detray Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 few sprigs of thyme
small handful of sage, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tbsp chilli flakes
10 chicken thighs, bone in
8 Italian sausages
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Chuck the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon juice and zest and chilli in a large baking dish and toss together. Add the thighs and sausages, pushing them into holes, burying some and leaving others all exposed.

Drizzle with a good lug of olive oil, season generously and transfer to the oven to bake for about an hour, checking after 45 minutes to avoid burning the meat.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about ten minutes before serving. And in turn, devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Katie Holmades

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

After kicking our celebration of Dawson’s Creek’s 20th anniversary with my dear friend Joshua Jackson, aka the erstwhile Pacey Witter, I knew I had to follow-up with a date with Pacey’s endgame *spoiler alert from fifteen years ago* Katie Holmes.

While Katie and I have had our ups and downs throughout the years, her finally emancipating herself – with Suri’s help, obviously – from Tom Cruise reaffirmed our bond. Fun fact: I was one of the few people to know about her relationship with Jamie Foxx.

Don’t get it twisted though, our relationship started out extremely strong on the set of the Creek. She was just starting out and my boy Ang called me after directing her in The Ice Storm to see if I would teach her the ways of TV and mentor her career.

Another fun fact: I taught her the importance of an asymmetrical smile.

Given how busy I am, Katie and I haven’t been able to hang out as often as we’d like so she was thrilled to accept my invitation. Plus it is a new year so both of us are feeling the crappy mantras about new us-es and decided it was time to deal with any and all of our leftover Cruise-related issues.

He most definitely wasn’t an ex of mine or anything and we didn’t have any Scientological related issues, obvi. Because neither of those things would ever happen. Ever. Right?

It was an emotional catch-up, honouring her greatest work, working through our feelings and devouring a big batch of Katie Holmades.

 

 

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of dolmades but Katie loves them AND these ones are good enough to win me over. Spicy and packed full of a herby, lemon punch, they are the perfect snack for working through trauma whilst celebrating milestones.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katie Holmades
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
½ cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp cumin
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
small handful mint, roughly chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
100g feta, mashed
40 vine leaves
½ cup olive oil

Method
Cook the rice in boiling salted water for about ten minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and leave to drain and cool for about ten minutes.

Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add the spices, herbs, tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and feta in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

To assemble, place 2 heaped teaspoons of rice mixture in centre of a leaf, fold in the sides and roll to close. Place upright in a saucepan and repeat the process until all done and the dolmades are tightly packed.

Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, pour over the dolmades and cook over low heat for an hour, or until leaves are tender. Cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge to chill completely overnight.

Devour cold, greedily. Preferably as part of a Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate, Nick Iadanzipasto Platter or a Charcucirie Fields Board.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas

After dabbling with television in the form of Rachel Bloom yesterday, I opted to swing on over to discuss cinema with my dearest school chum Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Despite taking out Best Supporting Actor at the Globes last year for his terrifying performance in Nocturnal Animals, he was egregiously snubbed of an Oscar nom. Said snub, dare I say it, was part of the inspiration behind holding a Golden Globe Gold celebration.

I first met Az in 2010 on the set of Kick-Ass – he was fresh off the success of Nowhere Boy and I was looking to make the jump from Nicolas Cage’s entourage. You could say it was fate, however I would call it Serendipity … which led me to travel back in time to write the hit rom-com Serendipity.

We became the fastest of friends and I, of course, vowed to make him a star. Together we jumped from Kick-Ass to co-starring with Glenn Close, working with Oliver Stone and culminated by playing the Marvel-Marvel version of Quicksilver. He rightly views his success in the biz as my handiwork, so was thrilled to take the time out for my inaugural Golden Globe celebration and reconnect.

Given he won just last year, I was hoping Az would have some intel on which males were taking out the gongs this year. Either he does have intel and I am way off base, or more than likely he has no idea and my finger is still on the pulse. He believes that Chris Plummer will be an upset to take over his Supporting Actor crown, while I’m backing Willem. For comedy, I say James Franco and he says Daniel Kaluuya – because Get Out is somehow a Comedy or Musical – and for Drama – mawma – I say Timothée Chalamet for no other reason than wanting to spend the summer in Italy eating peaches, and Az is going with Gary Oldman. We did agree with Best Picture – Drama though, and by that, we agreed that it should come down to Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri … which means it will go to Dunkirk.

One thing we could emphatically decide AND agree on is that my Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson are completely off the hook. In a good way, obvi.

 

 

It is hard to pick my one true passion in life, but if I had to narrow it down, big balls and a cheesy meat are high on the list. Particularly when together. The creamy, delicate risotto works perfectly with the cheesy, meaty punch of the filling to create a ball that would make Jenna Maroney faint.

Enjoy!

 

 

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated over low heat while you work … or not, no judgement
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, 1 whisked for the risotto and the other two whisked together for coating
500g beef mince
400g can chopped italian tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
small handful of parsley, chopped
small handful of basil, chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
100g mozzarella, grated
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 – 1½ cup breadcrumbs
olive oil, to cook

Method
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan until foamy and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the rice. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, or until starting to become translucent. Add the stock half a cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding the next cup whenever the stock has just been absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through ⅓ cup parmesan and season to taste. Once cooled slightly, stir through the egg and transfer to a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

While the risotto is cooling, brown the meat in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. You could add a lug of oil, but I found the fat released in cooking was more than adequate. When the meat is almost completely browned, add the tomatoes, peas, parsley, basil and chilli, and simmer until most of the liquid has gone. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining parmesan and the mozzarella, season lightly, and remove from heat to cool slightly.

To assemble, divide the risotto into 8 equal parts – I like big balls, you know – and take ⅔ of that ⅛ – just reread that because it does make sense, despite not feeling like it – in wet hand and press the mixture together to remove any air-bubbles. Flatten to a pattie and press a hole in the middle. Fill said hole with the meat mixture and cover with the remaining ⅓ of the ⅛ of rice. Press tightly to push out any excess air, shape into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until your eight-balls are done and transfer said balls to the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the flour in a bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and whisk the milk with the remaining two eggs in a third. Roll the balls in the flour, shake off excess and coat in the egg wash before rolling in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet – or return to the one it just came off if you’re lazy – and repeat the process until all your balls are thoroughly coated. And that innuendo wasn’t even intentional.

Spray with some olive oil to coat and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, or until resembling golden globes. Then devour, being careful not to burn your mouth off.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger

Bread, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final three battled it out in front of the jury to explain why they outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest. While Ryan tried his darndest to explain how dominant his social game was, the jury didn’t buy it and he landed in third place with only Devon’s vote.

Chrissy, of course, dominated her speech about outlasting everyone else – seamlessly weaving from talking about being an underdog, kicking ass in challenges, making genuine connections and playing a solid game that was both heroic and didn’t leave a trail of destruction like Ben.

She then spoke about mother’s being the ultimate heroes, always putting people first and being the heroes, healers and hustlers of their families … and that she would be the ultimate ambassador for their season. Despite the fact she completely nailed the final tribal speech and played an extremely strong game, she only managed to secure Ashley and Mike’s votes and finished in second place.

You could argue that without her so called advantage on day 38, Chrissy would have been crowned the sole survivor and be a million dollars richer. Whatever the case, that didn’t happen and she was stuck in the finals with Ben, who was able to convince them that being an underdog was enough to secure him the victory.

In any event, Chrissy played a killer game and truly did dominate the game from day one and was more than worthy of a delicious Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger.

 

 

A little bit sweet, a shit tonne of spice and the juiciest pork and crispiest skin work together to create a killer burg. And that is before you even add Slawren Rimmer to the mix, which truly elevates it to greatness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
750g pork belly, skin scored in a 1cm-wide crosshatch
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
125g palm sugar, shaved
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 red chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Kirsten Bunst
Coolaioli, to serve
Slawren Rimmer, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place pork belly on a rack over a roasting pan and pour 1L freshly boiled water over the skin to open up the hatch. Combine the pepper, chilli, salt and oil in a bowl and rub into the freshly opened skin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until tender. Once it is cooked through, crank the temp to 240°C and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the skin is very crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the pork is resting, chuck the palm sugar and ⅛ cup water in a medium heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rapidly boil and cook, with minimal stirring because I can’t judge, for about five-ten minutes, or until it just starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat and whisk, carefully because it is hot as balls and will splatter, in the juice and fish sauce, chillis, ginger, garlic and zest. Set aside to cool.

Cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices. Split and toast the buns, smear each half with aioli, place a small mound of slaw on top, add a couple of slices of pork, drizzle with some chilli caramel and devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Mikey Zahalsky Bread

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

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in the middle of Fiji and were arbitrarily split up into tribes of six – either heroes, healers or hustlers. That being said, Chrissy the heroic actuary is doing God’s work. Ryan kicked off his game with a secret advantage, which required him to pass it on to someone attending the first tribal. He gave the idol to Chrissy and set off an alliance that has carried them to the final five with their other ally Devon.

Speaking of Devon, he was gifted a disadvantage of not voting at the first post-swap tribal, Lauren had to hold onto a vote to play it at a later tribal and Mike, bless, burnt half of her idol in the tribal council fire, rendering it useless and Ben idolling her out of the game. He then played an idol at the next tribal council as well, sending Ashley out of the game as the sixth member of the jury.

The mood was somber back at camp after the latest #BenBomb with Mike grateful for being saved and Ben quickly disappearing to find another idol. Since the other four were confident he won’t be able to find another one and instead focussed on one of them winning immunity, you know that he will in fact find another idol. How they can stand around talking about where he went while concerned about him finding another idol, rather than trailing him like Andrea did with Malcolm is beyond me and completely absurd?

The next day Ben was feeling totes emosh about not finding an idol and given up on his sleep when out of nowhere and completely not rigged, he finally found another idol guaranteeing him a place in the final four.

The rest of the tribe awoke while Ben casually lazed about the shelter and Devon got a fire going, which feels like foreshadowing. Chrissy decided that it was time to bury the hatchet with Ben, though unbeknownst to him it was directly into his back. She then floated the idea of taking the best players to the end if he wins the next immunity challenge, while she gave him no assurance she would take him if the shoe were on the other foot.

Ben then guaranteed Chrissy would be the next one out … and you know what that means, Probst arrived for said reward/immunity challenge. The final five were required to swim out and climb up a crate step and jump off to release some keys, then cross a balance beam and collect some more keys and swim to a platform to unlock and complete a puzzle. Devon and Ryan – somehow – got out to an early lead before the balance beam made quick work of leveling the playing field. Mike and Devon arrived at the puzzle first, though Chrissy was first to release the puzzle. Challenge beast Chrissy continued her dominance – shock – taking out immunity and scoring herself comfort food and cheesecake, which she loves, because obviously. It is the food of mums and gays.

Wanting to stir shit up, Probst allowed her to pick to people to share in the feast with Chrissy taking Mike and Devon. The three of them had a quick look for a clue to the final idol before Chrissy made a toast to the three of them making the final four with Ryan. While it could have been a dangerous decision, Ryan had no interest in strategising while on babysitting. Back at reward, Mike decided they should hide Chrissy’s dead super idol and pretend that they found it on reward to get Ben to stop looking … for the idol he already found.

Chrissy then told Ben about her idol and told him to stop wasting his energy searching, filling she and Ryan with confidence and Ben with joy that he longer needs to pretend to look for the idol. He then got to work identifying who to take out with the real idol, deeming Ryan to be zero threat and debating who was best to take out out of Devon and Mike. Ben made one flaw however and didn’t strategise which made Devon nervous that against all odds, Ben had an advantage up his sleeve, and debated the merits of putting a vote on Mike just in case.

At tribal council, everyone but Ben spoke about how he was public enemy number one. Chrissy then spoke about how it was too hard to babysit Ben at all times, before Mike briefly spoke about their collective complacency before Chrissy brought out her fake idol as a show of power. Ben continued his defeatist attitude before trying to smear Chrissy’s game for gloating and tugging on the juror’s heartstrings as he spoke about how much he wanted to win.

As the votes were about to be tallied, Chrissy decided against playing her fake idol before Ben pulled out his real idol, much to the delight of the jury and the terror of the final five. Devon looked like he was about to throw up, making it extremely lucky that he put a vote on Mike leading to a 1-1 tie between him and Mike. The remaining three then revoted with Ben gloating to Devon that his fate was in Chrissy and Ryan’s hand, though thankfully for the walking torso his trust was well placed and Mike became the seventh juror.

While Mike was super disappointed in himself for not throwing a vote on Devon to save himself, he was proud of the way he played the game and was thrilled to see me waiting for him in Ponderosa with a big ol’ Mikey Zahalsky Bread.

 

 

I am only new to the monkey bread kind of scene but I’d argue that this is already one of the best. I mean, take all the gloriously comforting things you’d put on a pizza, and making it into a cheesy mess of dough? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikey Zahalsky Bread
Serves: 1-8.

Ingredients
1 cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
50g cold unsalted butter, grated
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
non-stick  oil spray
Pizsa Zsa Gabor dough
1 cup passata
200g sliced pepperoni

Method
Combine the cheeses, butter, shallot, garlic, parsley, oregano and chilli flakes in a medium bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Spray a bundt tin with non-stick oil and roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls. Line the base with a couple of pieces, dot with passata, pepperoni and some of the cheese mixture. Continue the process, adding more balls and topping until they’re all gone, topping with any leftover cheese. Transfer to a warm place and allow to prove for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Transfer the bundt into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before turning out of the pan and devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Main

I know it is only day 9 and I know Julia Louis-Dreyfus is neither the inventor of Festivus nor Jerry ma’fucking Seinfeld – but after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barns, Liz, Way-Way, Mick, Pat and John – but today is the jewel in the crown … that is the savoury portion of our 12 days of Festivus celebrations.

Off topic, but did reading that sentence make you picture a big green underline telling me to consider a fragment. Because it felt like it did but I can’t really be bothered dealing with it. So soz.

Despite the ban from Lorne Michaels, I was lucky enough to meet Jules on the set of Saturday Night Live and well, we just clicked. I don’t know it was our foul mouths, our shared sense of humour or the fact we didn’t click with similar people with few exceptions *coughs* Heidi *coughs*, but we quickly became the best of friends and I’ve guided her career from the start all the way through to her record breaking Emmy success on Veep.

Given poor Jules is still undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I made an exception to the ‘everyone comes to me unless it requires time-travel’ rule, and headed over to whip her up a warming festivus dinner in the comfort of her own home. FYI she is doing really well and is a testament to a good attitude making a world of difference.

Now I know I said Jules was the jewel in our festivus crown … but I never actually said the meal was classy. In any way, shape or form. But let’s be honest, how do you have festivus without a traditional Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus.

 

 

Warmly ensconced in a hug from some fresh iceberg lettuce, this meatloaf is actually hella tasty. And dare I say it, a classy version of the Costanza classic. If meatloaf can ever be considered classy. Which I think it can be.

Enjoy!

 

 

Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus
Serves: 8 angry family members airing their grievances.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, whisked
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 zucchini, grated
2 carrots, peeled, grated
handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp, wait for it, chilli flakes
small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup smokey barbecue sauce, for glazing
4 leaves iceberg lettuce, washed and dried, for wrapping the slab of meat

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine everything but the sauce and lettuce in a large bowl, scrunching with your hands until well combined. Form into a large loaf-ish shape, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for an hour or so, or until firmed. Brush with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for fifteen minutes, or until caramelised and delightful.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes before slicing and serving on a bed of lettuce. Why? Because that is what Estelle Costanza would do … before devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Smashley Avolan

Bread, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the alliance that Ben spent two weeks pretending not to be a part of contemplated getting rid of him for realsies. Thankfully for him though he had an idol in his pocket, some chaos at tribal council and Mike around to throw half of Lauren’s idol in the fire. Ben played his idol while Lauren could not, sending her out of the game with Ben’s sole vote.

Things were rather solemn as Solewa returned to tribal, shocked by the fact that Ben pulled off the ultimate idol play, topping even Wentworth’s brutal slayage of Savage back in Cambodia. Ben then meandered off to get some water – I assume to toast his success – before Chrissy, Ryan and Mike confirmed with Devon that he and Ashley had no idea what was happening. They then locked him in as the next to go, which you know, means that he is safe this episode.

Ben returned from his drink to Devon heckling him about voting out the wrong person as he was going to make sure he doesn’t win immunity, despite the fact Lauren has won more challenges than him.

Early the next morning, Ben woke up to make a fire slash use the alone time to search high and low for his rehidden idol. Sadly for him, Chrissy and Mike woke up while he was gone and realised what he was up to. Though, they didn’t act on it, so who knows? I guess not everyone can be Caramoan Andrea to Malcolm and babysit them until they give up?

My lover Probsty arrived for the reward challenge, where the final six were separated into pairs and required to walk through an obstacle course to untether themselves from a rope before tossing three rings onto big, hard sticks. Given it was for an overnight getaway to a private resort it was, as Jiffy says, worth playing for. Coming as no surprise, Ben and Ashley got out to an early lead, followed closely by Devon and Chrissy while Mike and Ryan languished behind. Chrissy and Devon found a good rhythm, overtaking Ben and Ashley and securing reward. Obviously Jeff gave them the opportunity to pick one person to take on reward with them. They picked their mutual friend Ryan much to the chagrin of Ashley who was ropeable to be left out … and was conveniently left back at camp with the other half of the tribe.

She continued to seethe back at camp where Mike suggested they all take five minutes to rant before moving on. He then used his allotted rant time to paint a target on Ryan and Devon, saying he was concerned that the latter is trying to woo the former back to his side. Ben interrupted his rant to find out who he was targeting at the next tribal, with the silence letting him know that he was his target. Mike then went for a walk, allowing Ben the opportunity to talk to Ashley, clear the air and find an in. That being said, she shut him down pretty firmly and he resigned himself to finding the idol, which Mike assured us wouldn’t happen. So …

Over at the reward, Chrissy, Devon and Ryan got to work feasting before Devon kicked off the scheming, reaffirming that Ben needs to go first while Mike is also too much of a loose cannon to leave around. Chrissy then floated themselves as a potential final three, which the other two jumped at. After locking in their new alliance, Chrissy continued her favourite pastime and painted a target on the last remaining female, Ashley, deeming her to be more of a threat than Ben. Though I’m not sure why, other than the fact that she called her out at tribal. While that makes sense for Chrissy’s game, how is she going to sell that to Devon and Ryan?

Probst returned to the scene for an epic immunity challenge where the castaways were required to run a huge-ass obstacle course before untying sandbags before using said sandbag to toss into their basket and release a ladder. They then had to get another wall, toss it into a forked gap … and release another ladder. It obviously finished off with a big ol’ puzzle. Everyone was kind of neck and neck the entire way, which is kind of surprising given it looked insanely tiring. Given the puzzle was too hard to tell where people were placing, the long story short is that Chrissy took out victory and secured her place in the final five.


Back at camp Ben was feeling sore about losing the immunity challenge, disappearing to search for an idol while the remaining five hung out to re-confirm that they were going to take out Ben. They then moved the conversation to the water, worrying about him finding an idol WHILE HE WAS OPENLY SEARCHING FOR THE IDOL. Ashley then disappeared, allowing Chrissy to throw out the idea of getting rid of Ashley instead of Ben, to flush out Ben’s potential that nobody was guarding against and eliminating her final challenge threat. As expected Ben then found a clue to the idol while all alone, telling him it was hidden on the underside of the shelter. Everyone was casually chatting by the fire while Ben lounged around under the shelter, laying in wait for an opportunity to snatch the idol.

At tribal Ben spoke about being the odd man out before Probsty cut him off to throw some shade at Ashley not being selected for the reward, stoking Chrissy and Ashley’s simmering rage. Ryan and Mike spoke about their final three plans before Chrissy pointed out that making such a deal sends the message to them, that you think they are beatable which is terrible jury management. Ben then spoke about being a lone wolf before Mike appears to have put his foot in it, pointing out that Ben is good at playing the game and he wouldn’t be surprised if he got his way at tribal, making Ashley paranoid as she hasn’t heard of any plan Ben has come up with.

After some back and forth Devon locked in the fact that Ben was going home tonight, leading to him pulling out the idol and saying that that isn’t actually happening. Chrissy didn’t appreciate his gloating, while everyone else was kind of just dumbfounded. Ben then asked Ashley and Devon if they wanted to go back to camp tonight, which Ashley agreed to and was instructed to take out Mike. Devon however wasn’t so sure Ben would play his idol, leading to Ben playing it early and everyone else to panic as they headed off to vote. Despite agreeing to take out Mike, Ben joined with the rest of the tribe to take out Ashley and send her to my loving arms in Ponderosa.

While Ash was weeeeellllll pissed after her blindside, the love of her dear friend slash ex-swim coach was able to bring her back to normal. As you know, I’m a big deal in the swim scene – hey Kat and Lisa! – and became a dear friend of Ash while coaching her and getting her into the lifeguard biz. She may have calmed down after I explained how well she had done, she wasn’t able to come back to normal until she attacked some Smashley Avolan.

 

 

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than a good smashed avo … and I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but this is pretty damn perfect. Though I am a millennial and value avo more than owning a home, so who knows if I’m actually correct. That being said, lemon, chilli and feta – need I say more?

Enjoy!

 

 

Smashley Avolan
Serves: 2 bitter Betty’s on the jury.

Ingredients
4 slices of fresh sourdough
1-2 avocados
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
100g feta (but realistically closer to 200g)

Method
Toast the bread to taste.

Smash the avo with a dash of lemon juice, chilli, and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Generously heap on the toast, crumble with feta and devour, with extra lemon juice as required.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Speidy Nuts Swedberg

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Snack, Tapas

Let’s be honest, there are only four stars of Seinfeld so not every day of our Festivus celebrations can be filled with the iconic portrayers of TV’s erstwhile George, Kramer, Elaine and Jerry. That being said, the character of Susan and her death by out-of-date envelopes is truly iconic and more than earns Heidi Swedberg a trip to Brisbane to help my par-tay.

Plus, as is always the case, she is one of my dearest friends.

I first met Heid in the late ‘80s when she guested on an episode of Matlock. I was Andy Griffith’s stand-in – as we were both older gentleman, at heart – so spent a lot of time with the bit-players. The bond with Heidi was semi-instant and we kept in contact in the years that followed.

When Jase reached out about finding someone to play his love interest on the show, I thought she would be perfect for the role and would fit in well with the cast. While I was completely wrong about the last part, her death storyline was both hilarious and a cautionary tale for those, like me, that hoard Christmas cards year-on-year for later use.

While Heidi up on a life in Hollywood, she was thrilled to come out of hiding to celebrate Susan and Festivus. On the strict proviso that it was a date with only me, and that I’d be serving up my delightful Speidi Swedberg nuts.

 

 

Sweet, festively spiced and packing a little heat, these little babies are the perfect accompaniment for a festive date. Or for getting rid of the taste of rotten envelope glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

Speidi Swedberg Nuts
Serves: 1. 6-8 in a pinch.

Ingredients
500g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias and almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
salt, to taste
1 cup craisins

Method
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and line a large baking sheet.

Chuck the nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pan and toss with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Add the spices and toss to coat. Then add the oil, sugar and rosemary, toss to coat and cook until golden and fragrant.

Transfer them to the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and leave to to cool completely. Toss through the craisins and decant into bowls to serve immediately or a sterilised jar.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.