Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Like Art before her, I’m not going to dwell too much on Scarlet. I mean, damn Ru, why you gotta have four people left in contention for the crown? It really makes my life that much more difficult.

In any event, Scarlet well and truly stormed through the competition, served killer looks and well, that pole dancing was damn impressive.

That being said, it would be remiss to not say that her well-known past performances were horrible and as a white man, it is not my place to forgive her or accept her apologies. But I do hope that she is genuine about making amends and learning from the this because the world needs growth and healing with those she hurt so stupid, racist shit just stops happening.

Which is what I told her as I sat down and slammed a plate of Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups in front of her.

Like at the end of a good night, there is nothing I love more than sweetly, sticky balls. Combining san choy bow and ramen influences, these babies are earthy, spiced and most importantly, easy. Which is what I like to hear when I’ve got sticky balls.

Enjoy!

Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli paste
225g water chestnuts, finely chopped
⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
⅔ cup plum sauce
100g vermicelli noodles
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 baby cos lettuce, leaves broken off and rinsed.

Method
Combine the mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, water chestnuts, breadcrumbs and shallots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands and mix into golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat a lug of oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the balls for five minutes or so, tossing infrequently. Add the plum sauce with a cup of water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and sticky. My two favourite descriptors.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and drain well to avoid any drippiness.

To assemble, divide a couple of lettuce leaves on a plate, top with noodles and meatballs and garlic with a few slices of chilli. And then, obviously, devour.


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Sartay Simone Sausage Rolls

Baking, Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under ten queens from across Australia and the ditch – aka glorious New Zealand – entered a camp little Werk Room in Auckland to the sounds of kookaburras. Confusing? Yes. Quintessentially Down Under? You betcha. With that, the queens were immediately tasked with auditioning for the new Taika Waititi movie Thore. While she didn’t wow her fellow queens, Elektra dazzled and took out victory on the first mini challenge of the season. That success didn’t translate to the mainstage however, as she confused the judges with both looks of the Getting to Know You Ball. Jojo had a powerful message but her looks were read as unfinished, landing her in the bottom with Elektra. Meanwhile Trixie and Katya’s friend Karen from Finance was hilarious and polished, taking out the first victory. And then Elektra absolutely destroyed the lip sync and we tragically had to farewell the iconic Jojo, who thankfully will live on in the annals of history as the Down Under Pork Chop.

The queens returned to the Werk Room positively heartbroken to have lost Jojo, going through the all too familiar second episode realisation that this is a competition and all but one of them will go home without a crown. The queens admitted that they were all well and truly threatened by Elektra’s lip sync abilities and would stop underestimating her. On the flipside, Karen knew that she had made herself an instant frontrunner, but assured us she was ready to meet the high bar she set for herself. And as her biggest competition, hoped to get into Art’s head and bring her down.

The mood the next day was far more upbeat as the top nine joyously entered returned, thrilled to have lived to see another day. Except for Art, who already was getting in her head as she grew a little bit salty about being pipped at the post last episode. Talk turned to this week’s challenge with Etcetera suggesting that maybe they would be tasked with doing a shoey, leading to the poor Kiwi girls chugging back a beer from someone’s heels. And then Scarlet suggested the Kiwis could bring in a sheep for them to fuck next week and given her past mistakes, that just landed with an ‘ooof.’

They were interrupted by Kylie mother tucking Minogue in lieu of Ru – maybe she was still awaiting her make-up? – who served her best possible RuPaul to tease this week’s challenge. And damn, could it really be happening so soon? Well, yes. Yes it is, as real RuPaul arrived to confirm that this week the queens would be playing the Snatch Game. Or as I wish it was titled Down Under, Skankety Skanks. But alas, it was not meant to be.

The dolls quickly split up with Maxi giddily sharing that she would be playing Magda Szubanski. Art meanwhile was going to challenge herself by not doing Kath Day-Knight – wise move, because Tayce was iconic – and instead portray Bindi Irwin. This of course was made muy awkward when Scarlet announced that she would be doing Bindi too, though she did have Jennifer Coolidge prepped as a back-up. Kita pulled the Kiwi queens aside to help her pick between Carole Baskin and Dr Seuss himself. Karen checked in with Art, concerned about the choice of Bindi while shadily admitting she has prepared multiple great options but wouldn’t be sharing which one she would ultimately do.

Ru dropped by to check in with the girls with Anita announcing that she would be playing ma girl Queen Lizzie. And given how she dragged Prince Andrew in the walkthrough, she is going to slay. Particularly given how ridiculous and hilarious Ru thought she was while they kiki-ed. Coco was up next to be read for last week’s shit outfit before sharing she would be playing Lizzo, with Ru cautioning her not to let her love of Lizzo get in the way of making jokes about her. Etcetera Etcetera was next to face Mama Ru and shared that she would be playing Lindy Chamberlain and oh fuck, God, this is going to be awful or amazing and no where in the middle.  Particularly since Art and Karen were gossiping in the corner about the choice being one step too far. Speaking of Art, she shared that she would be playing her own version of Bindi Irwin and while she had Ru in hysterics, it was all at Art’s charm rather than any teased Bindi-isms.

Just like that we opened up on Snatch Game with Michelle and Rhys as our contestants, with Karen unveiled as my queen, Dolly Parton, but with no accent or giggle at all. Art’s take on Bindi was all bogan trash which honestly is how I think she’d like to be if she were liberated off the Australia Zoo compound, Coco was high energy as Lizzo, Anita was ready to slay as Lizzie, Scarlet was solid as Jennifer Coolidge, Elektra was trying her luck with Catherina O’Hara, Maxi was Magda as the incomparable Lynne Postlethwaite, while Etcetera and Kita stuck with Lindy and Dr Seuss and well, the latter started slowly.

Etcetera on the other hand was hilarious in the way that made you so uncomfortable to be laughing so hard, thankfully sticking closer to lines from the famed Meryl movie rather than joking directly about the tragedy. Lucky for Kita, she really warmed up and went from strength to strength, while everyone else was just kind of there because this was well and truly Anita’s show. She was filthy, perfectly timed and just so funny. That being said, Karen and Art were the hardest to watch. Particularly since they came out of the gate so strongly and clearly were overwhelmed by the nerves. Oh and shout out to Elektra for not giving the most Moira Rose performance, but for at least committing to the absurdity of the character and Snatch Game in general.

At the end of the day, Ru declared Jojo the winner as she did not have to endure it. And while it was said in jest, are we in for another lip sync orgy?!

Elimination Day arrived with Scarlet confident it was one of the best Snatch Games of all time, which Art readily agreed with. On the flipside, Anita quietly pulled a face that said she definitely doesn’t agree with the assessment. Before we could dwell on these diametrically opposed views, Scarlet pointed out that she thinks Coco will be in the bottom with Kita sure that she would be the one to join her. Karen perked her up by (rightly) pointing out she only struggled at the start and quickly gained momentum. One thing they could all agree on was that Anita would definitely be taking out victory, while Karen quietly worried that Art didn’t do enough to avoid being in the bottom.

Talk turned to the queen’s families, with Kita happily sharing that her family is so lovely and supportive while Anita broke down sharing how difficult her relationship is with her father, despite having a gorgeously supportive mother and that she uses her upbeat persona to mask her insecurities and pain. And ugh, this has been a good episode if you love Anita like I do because now she must be protected at all costs.

On the Sea Sickening Runway, Art redeemed herself as a gorgeous green sea creature, Kita was slayed as the daughter of Ursula and Elsa. Etcetera Etcetera was once again a star dressed as a ye olde deep sea diver, while Coco gave us straight up sexy Ursula, though we are unsure if she mothered Kita’s look. Anita was a stunning siren on a diet of only seaman (same), Maxi served us glamorous old dame dripping in pearls while Elektra was gorgeous in a tight white gown, draped in a seafoam wig. Which was the only sea reference I could find. Karen rocked a camp shiny shark number, while Scarlet was all of the coral to draw attention to the dying natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

Ultimately Anita was called forward and immediately handed victory in the challenge because, and this is paraphrasing, there was no way anyone could beat her ever and why bother pretending. Kita and Etcetera were next up and were swiftly sent to safety, with the other six shocked to find themselves all up for elimination.

With that, the judges shared that they didn’t think Art’s Bindi Irwin went anywhere – and missed playing off Etcetera’s Lindy asking for help – and she appeared to rely on her funny rather than the character. That being said, they rightfully loved her outfit. Like Coco, they knew that her Lizzo didn’t hit the mark and sadly confirmed that she ended up missing her opportunity. Maxi meanwhile was read for being so into character that she didn’t interact with anyone. Elektra had the opposite problem, with them feeling she gave no Catherine O’Hara but lived for her interaction with them. Karen’s looks were praised while rightly was read for not giving any Dolly (despite it admittedly being super hard). Scarlet was praised for her Coolidge voice, but read for giving nothing more than her Coolidge voice. That being said, they lived for her look.

Backstage Art announced that they couldn’t clock who was the best in the Werk Room because straight up Ru hated all of them other than the safe three. Before you could even bat an eyelash, the queens all got to work learning the lip sync. Well, until Dannii ‘Foster Grants’ Minogue called in for quick kiki with the queens. Art used the opportunity to ask for advice on getting over their stumbles, with Dannii sadly not once mentioning getting behind your Foster’s for a quick cry before pulling yourself together. Etcetera continued to be the most damn charming person to ever grace Drag Race chatting to Dannii and all around being a delight. That being said, she was shady enough to gossip with Karen about how sure they were that Art and Coco would be lip syncing, despite neither living for zaddy Elektra’s look.

Ultimately Scarlet’s look saved her, as did Karen’s, while Elektra was saved despite her basic look, leaving poor Maxi – who did serve us an on point character – gagged to narrowly avoid the lip sync. With the shocked survivors looking on, Art and Coco got prepared to lip sync to Ru’s I’m That Bitch, and girl, did they both serve. Coco gave us all the charm and sex of Lizzo that was missing for her Snatch Game, while Art left literally everything on the floor as she desperately tried to avoid going home. Sadly, Coco truly was that bitch though and felt every lyric, leaving us and the rest of the queens gagged as the iconic Art Simone found herself eliminated from the competition.

With only a soz bitch from Coco.

Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty backstage as poor Art immediately felt the pressure on the nation crashing down upon her. I pulled her into my arms as she quietly sobbed, feeling embarrassed when she should only be feeling disappointment that she got unlucky in the challenge.

“Art, you’re so damn talented and the world is going to love you. You’re a star and honestly, it is sometimes better to be robbed than go far.”

“That means nothing.”

“At least you made it here?”

“How much wood would a wood chuck chuck?”

“That means, NOTHING.” Note: this is the grab they used in the final edit. Did I not tell you I’m a producer like Alexis Michelle?

“Art, I love you. It doesn’t matter where you placed, what matters is you now get to fill your mouth with some Sartay Simone Sausage Rolls.”

“Ok, that means something.”

Nothing turns a mood around – at least not in my household – like a delightful sausage roll. And given I have to mix them up so Alyssa, Fenella and Ross feel special, these little satay numbers are the perfect addition to our flaky fold. Nutty, crisp and with a little zing, they’re the perfect way to cheer yourself up.

Enjoy!

Sartay Simone Sausage Rolls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chilli paste
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 eggs, whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
3 sheets puff pastry, halved
sesame seeds
satay sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine mince, onion, garlic, peanut butter, breadcrumbs, fish sauce, chilli paste, lime juice and zest and an egg in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and scrunch together with your hands until well combined. The mixture will run on the moist side, so don’t worry though if you like, add another ¼ cup of breadcrumbs.

Line up the pastry sheets on your bench and divide the mixture among them, form six even sausages down the centre of each rectangle. Brush a little bit of egg on one side of each and roll each one up towards their eggier side.

Cut each length into 2-4 pieces depending on how you’re planning to eat them – lunch, snack etc etc as Lindy Chamberlain – and place them seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Once complete brush with more egg and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.

Transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour or so, or until golden and puffed.

Serve immediately with some satay sauce in honour of our iconic ninth place finisher.


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Chickenico Panangio Curry

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Main, Poultry, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets

Well, well, well, look what we have here! Another international version of Survivor with a hot host – hi Jeff, Jono and Matt! – is begging for me to head to the filming location to provide culinary comfort for their crushed castaways.

Yes, Nico Panagio has finally reached out to me to see if he could leverage our close personal relationship to get me out to Samoa for the latest season of Survivor SA.

While I played hard to get for a couple of minutes, I knew there was no way I could say no to such a dear friend. Particularly when they are as hot as Nico and the tropical location is always conducive to some shirtless action.

I’ve known Nico for a couple of years after fleeing to South Africa and trying to break into the entertainment industry over there. While all my scenes were cut from our co starring vehicle Semi-Soet, I couldn’t be too mad given it brought us together.

I invited him over to Australia on his way to Samoa to formally give him my answer, bringing him to tears of joy that I would be joining him on set of Survivor SA over a big vat bowl of delicious Chickenico Panangio Curry.

 

 

Given how delicious this sweet, spicy curry tastes, maybe the tears of joy were related to such a glorious meal? I mean, delicately cooked juicy chicken with the earthy peanuts, a kick of chilli and the zing of lime? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickenico Panangio Curry
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
coconut oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
½ cup panang curry paste
2 tsp chilli paste
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
12 kaffir lime leaves
400ml coconut cream
1 cup chicken stock
750g chicken thighs, roughly diced
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir in the curry paste, chilli, peanut butter and kaffir lime leaves and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the coconut cream and stock, bring to the boil and add the chicken. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened up.

Add the fish sauce and cook for a further minute before adding the Thai basil leaves. Remove from heat and serve immediately on a bed of fluffy rice. Then devour, with your favourite, sexiest friend.

 

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Vodcara Delevingatoni

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

While I haven’t known Cara Delevingne for as long as some of the friends I’ve featured here, she is probably one of my best friends. Scrap that, is.

Given we’ve both got such busy schedules, Car and I don’t always get to spend as much time together as we’d like but when we do it is damn near perfection. Like that time I partied with her, Paris Jackson and Macaulay … which I can’t talk about. I’ve said too much.

As you know, we met during the filming of Anna Karenina when I was visiting Kiz and Az but what I didn’t mention is that we bonded over our close relationship with the Collinses. You see, my dear(ly departed) friend Jacks’ big sister Joan is her godmother and when you’ve got the Collinses as mutual friends, you’re destined for a beautiful relationship.

I made quick work of convincing her she could do better than bit roles in Kizza star vehicles, watched her bounce from Paper Towns to Pan and into the acting A-list with Suicide Squad. To say I am filled with pride is an understatement.

After catching up on each others’ lives since we last hung – I can’t confirm whether she and Paris Jackson are dating … but I also can’t not confirm they’re dating – and reminiscing about the good old days, I delighted her by whipping out a majestic and decadent Vodcara Delevingatoni.

 

 

Does anyone need something this rich, carby and heavy after the insanity that is Easter eating? No. But does anyone actually need anything? Yeah, confusing, inception … I’m on a high from this Carbone copycat of perfection and I can’t think.

Don’t judge me, don’t look at me … just enjoy!

 

 

Vodcara Delevingatoni
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
3 onions, sliced
100ml water
150g butter
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus extra
1.6kg canned crushed tomatoes
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups thickened cream
3 tbsp chilli paste
¼ cup vodka
500g rigatoni

Method
Combine the onion and water with 100g butter and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over low heat and cook for half an hour or so, or until softened but not coloured.

Combine the two tablespoons of salt, crushed tomatoes, raw caster sugar and olive oil in a saucepan and simmer for ten minutes, or until combined and slightly thickened.

Cook the rigatoni as per packet instructions.

Combine the tomato and onion mixture in a large saucepan with the cream, chilli, vodka and remaining butter, and cook, stirring until the sauce comes together and is cooked through.

Drain the pasta, add to sauce and stir to combine, adjusting seasonings as required.

Devour.

 

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Bahn Michaela Bradshaw

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

In the words of the great, wise Brandi Glanville – fuck you, fuck this, fuck that, fuck him, fuck you, fuck off.

I know, I should be telling you about what happened previously on Survivor, like how five of the first six women were minority women, Hannah had a panic attack, Taylor lost his in-game snuggle bunny, Ken was absolutely banging and Michaela was absolutely beasting the competition … but fuck this.

Seriously.

Not only did we suffer the pain of losing the final minority female cast member, said female was Michaela who was and forever will be my Queen … second only to Sandra Diaz-Twine.

Sure Taylor handled Adam screwing he and Figgy over with a lot more maturity and game awareness than I was expecting.

And yes David and Zeke confirmed their scrappy, underdog alliance.

But Michaela singlehandedly one her seventeenth challenge – behind Vanua, thanks to Chris’ beast 2.0 performance – after throwing out a bye Felecia about Figgy’s departure. Hell, I am so upset I can’t even bring myself to comment on how beautiful Ken looked glistening from the water, shooting hoops during the challenge.

The Vanua tribe may have enjoyed one of my favourite kind of rewards, where locals come to cook for tribe and they in turn repulse everyone by farting and burping. I guess it was an attempt at humour, knowing that Jay was about to crush our souls.

Either way, I’ll stop my sob story to say pray for Michelle as she suffers through bodily Chernobyl.

Over at Takali, Taylor continued to play beyond what I assumed was his capacity and worked over Jessica and Kengel. Or maybe he was looking to start a relationship with Kengel and his open shirt.

We then checked in with Ikabula, reminding me of the agony coming at the end of the episode. Thankfully Hannah started to win me back after her post-Mari faux-pas, trying to turn the tribe on Bret after she interrogated him on his career and immediately picked up on the fact that he is a cop.

It what feels like only moments after reward, Jiffy Pop arrived for to lord over the fateful immunity challenge involving a whole bunch of ball play, weighing down heavy sacks and shooting your load – of sacks – at a target. Normally this would be my favourite thing to write about … but I’m different now, knowing what Ikabula’s loss means.

I mean, even Kengel almost knocking out Adam while avoiding him to hug Taylor couldn’t make me smile.

Back at camp Ikabula had a moment of silence for my loss, before Sunday finally broke rank to start scrambling with Bret while Michaela rallied the kids to lay out their path to the final four. Sadly Queen Michaela’s strategic leadership spooked – rightfully – Jay, who pulled the young James Earl Jones impersonator aside and commenced the march to her doom and my pain.

For Jay it was a great move … for now at least – he got rid of arguably the biggest physical threat just before the merge, he made a huge play he can reference if he makes it to the end – particularly given he boldly told Michaela he had flipped while Jeff tallied the votes – and he saved Sunday and Bret which could become loyal numbers to repay the debt.

And he didn’t get killed by Michaela after her very dramatic blindside … although it would have been better if she had attempted to light his low-rent Joe Anglim locks on fire.

But, you know, choices.

None of that however changes the fact that Survivor lost an angel last night, in the form of sweet, feisty, Michaela – who I met at college and quickly befriended as I needed someone to keep me in line – and life will forevermore be broken down by the time before Michaela was voted out and after. The latter being a bleak time where nothing matters anymore. If only there was a way she could change her game fate …

On another season perhaps …

She was obviously not very happy to be blindsided from the game just before the merge but took comfort in a hearty Bahn Michaela Bradshaw, and the knowledge that she is the star of Millennials vs. Gen X.

 

bahn-michaela-bradshaw-1

 

Like our fallen angel, these sandy-j’s – maybe I shouldn’t bring up Jay right now – are full of flavour and plenty of heat. I mean, if a sandwich was ever going to dominate you in a winning fashion, this is it! Hot, sour, sweet and fresh – it is everything Michaela used to change the game.

Enjoy!

 

bahn-michaela-bradshaw-2

 

Bahn Michaela Bradshaw
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 Vietnamese baguettes or crusty white bread rolls
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup raw caster sugar
sea salt
3 large carrots, peeled and grated shredded
500g minced pork
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp chilli paste
pork liver pâté, to taste
mayonnaise, to taste
1 large Lebanese cucumber, quartered lengthwise and deseeded
handful coriander
2 shallots, finely sliced
sliced bird’s eye chilli, to serve

Method
Start with picklin’ your carrots by combining the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a small bowl, grate in the carrots, add two teaspoons of salt and stir to combine. Leave to steep for an hour or two, drain and refrigerate.

Preheat to the oven to 180°C.

While the carrots are chilling like Michaela wasn’t on her way out, combine the pork in a bowl with a teaspoon of salt, muscovado sugar, fish and soy sauces, lemongrass, garlic and chilli paste and mix well to combine.

Form the meat into 6 sausage shaped pieces of meat, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes, or until browned and just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble, split the baguettes in half and slather one side with mayo and the other with pâté – and by slather, to your taste. Top with some pickled carrot, cucumber, pork and some coriander, shallot and chilli to taste.

Devour … being careful to avoid the fiery rather of the bird’s eyes / Michaela.

 

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