Michaela Bradshortcake

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously – slash a minute ago – on Survivor, it became exceedingly more obvious that Sarah was sliding her way to victory, despite Cirie’s killer display. While everyone was against Brad for the entire episode, Andrea stuck her neck out one time too many and found herself sent to the jury.

We arrived back at camp where Aubry apologised to Brad for being the only person remaining that voted for him last tribal. She then acknowledged the elephant in the room, that if you align with her you end up voted out … or near death. She then broke down about having had such a rollercoaster day what with winning immunity and being blindsided, before winning Tai’s affection back and making Cirie wary of Tai’s social game.

Probst quickly returned for the second immunity challenge of the episode, the Darrah Johnson-Shane Powers memorial pour-water-in-the-hole-to-float-a-key-high-enough-to-retrieve-it. Don’t blame me for the title, I was experiencing PTSD by proxy for Cirie.

Michaela got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Troyzan, Aubry and Brad, who made quick work using the key to unlock their puzzle pieces. Given how confusing the puzzle was, Sarah, Tai and Cirie all caught up before Brad found a hole that he couldn’t fill. Michaela thought she had it, which she didn’t before kicking the puzzle … giving enough time for Brad to fill that hole and snatch immunity.

Brad then celebrated and / or through a tantrum, almost channelling Mr. This-Is-My-Island, Troyzan.

Back at camp the Troyzan and Tai were feeling uncomfortable, since the target was immune … despite both of them being in possession of an idol, or two if you’re Tai. Tai approached Aubry about needing to make some moves if they are going to make it to the end, both agreeing that Sarah is currently the one to beat.

Aubry then told Cirie, who went straight back to Sarah who refused to believe that Aubry was telling the truth. Wanting to solidify her loyalty, Sarah decided to give up the extra vote advantage to Cirie. Cirie, being the crafty kween that she is, debating the merits on hanging on to it, or playing it despite the fact Sarah didn’t want to, to protect Sarah from herself and Tai.

Cirie then clued Michaela in on what was happening, with both of them agreeing that Cirie needed to use Sarah’s vote steal to steal Sarah’s own vote to take out Tai … by lulling him into a false sense of security to not play an idol by saying she is doing it to save him. This is some next level inception bullshit right here and if she pulls it off, she is the first in line to Sandra’s throne in the line of procession.

Giving future players a masterclass on how to manipulate people, Cirie pulled Tai aside and played him like a fiddle. I mean, the voice quivering, the panic, the concern?! I love Cirie.

We then arrived at tribal council where Sarah spoke about the mad scrambling that occurred post challenge. Cirie and Brad agreed that everyone was lying to someone and that they need to cut through that, to which Michaela disagreed. Tai then acknowledged that he always gives people the benefit of the doubt and that it could lead to his downfall.

Troyzan sounded like he’s been hurt one too many times in the game, which after being schooled by Kim I assume he has. Michaela then brought up the ‘we’ again before we headed off to vote … but wait, Cirie pulled out the vote steal! Sadly for her, she didn’t read the fine print saying that it could not be transferred.

She was then chastised by Probst and Sarah, for outing the fact she was going to make a huge move but actually couldn’t. And as has become the tradition of Game Changers, Sarah then whispered something in Tai’s ear, before Cirie pulled Sarah aside to tell her she was trying to use it to save her, which Michaela jumped up to agree with. Troyzan then tried to eavesdrop, earning the wrath of Michaela who did not have time for his shit.

Aubry then joined the fray and things started to calm down and everyone returned to their seats … until Sarah got back up to  talk to Tai, with Cirie whispering in the other ear. Cirie then went to Michaela, while Tai went back to talking to Sarah … before the latter decided to just use the advantage, take Tai’s vote and get this over with.

Despite snatching Tai’s vote, Sarah didn’t join Aubry and Michaela in voting out Tai, instead joining Brad and Troyzan to blindside Michaela. While it wasn’t as exciting as her previous exit, the tribal build up was even more exciting and she ended with you do you, boo … which is amazing.

Make no mistake, Michaela is a total sass queen … but she was feeling a little bit salty, having been booted from Survivor twice in the space of a few months. That being said, it is hard to stay salty when you fill up on my Michaela Bradshortcake!

 

 

I know that the doll/TV show firmly pushes for the strawberry version of these delights, I have a strong aversion to the feel of them on my tongue and therefore avoid them at most costs. I mean, I’ll eat them but they are not my first through fifth choice.

Plus, how do you go wrong with apple, walnut and cinnamon? Exactly, you can’t – enjoy!

 

 

Michaela Bradshortcake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3-4 apples, cored and finely diced
juice of a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
kosher salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 ½ cup double cream
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 egg

Method
Combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¼ cup raw caster sugar to combine. Cover and allow to steep for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add 1 cup cream and walnuts, and stir with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Form the dough into large lime-sized balls and press to flatten on a lined baking tray, repeating the process until done.

Whisk the egg, brush each biscuit/scone and bake until golden brown, or about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for half an hour.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Half the biscuit and top with some apple and cream. Close the biscuit … and because I really like to load up on the toppings, add some more apple, cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Then devour, obviously.

 

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Alan Thicke Cut Marmalade

Condiment, Snack

It has been a very long week and as is often the case, that meant I had a few wines … which in turn meant I got feeling wistful for the days of old. And when I think about the good old days, I remember my dearly departed friends like Alan.

As you know, the documentation of my celebrity catch-ups potentially killed off some of Hollywood’s biggest heavyweights in the last year, though thankfully Alan was not my fault.

Despite not killing Al, we didn’t get to catch-up before he died last year and I wasn’t able to go to the funeral due to my feud with Robin … and the whole banned from the U.S. by Trump thing. Given that, my wistful feelings lead to getting out the time machine and having some closure with my boy.

I first met Alan on the set of Growing Pains – I’m actually the one that got Leo the job – when I was working as a bodyguard for Tracey Gold who I met on the set of CHiPs. Given my penchant for fine older gents, Al and became fast friends and he grew to become a Hollywood father figure to me.

Given that his death was quite surprising, I only went back six months because there wasn’t much risk of spoiling anything. While he was a bit confused by my sporadic tears, he completely bought my excuse of feeling hurt by Kirk Cameron being a complete dick.

I didn’t want to run the risk of letting any information slip, so when he called our catch-up to a close and asked me to play hockey with him and his son in a few weeks, I wiped a solitary tear and made him promise to finish off his Alan Thicke Cut Marmalade as quickly as possible.

 

 

Full disclosure, I absolutely hate, hate, HATE marmalade, but it is Alan’s favourite … and it goes well in things (like glazing a ham or something). Plus, this one is so fresh and delicious that it is hard to hate, even when it isn’t your jam.

Because it is marmalade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alan Thicke-Cut Marmalade
Makes: 2-3 cups.

Ingredients
1kg oranges
1 lemon
cinnamon quill
1kg muscovado sugar
1kg raw caster sugar

Method
Juice the oranges and lemon, and pour through a sieve into a large pot.

Cut the peel into chunks and add to the pot with the cinnamon – despite this being thick-cut marmalade, I erred on the side of caution and went thinner. Add two litres of water and bring to the boil over high heat, before reducing to a simmer for a couple of hours.

Add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring back up to a rapid boil and cook until thickened and set (this is when it is around 100°C), though I don’t mind it a bit thinner.

Once done, allow to rest for twenty minutes or so before removing the cinnamon quill and transferring to sterilised jars.

Or devouring.

 

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Will Horcharnetta

Cinco de Cuatro Celebration, Drink

While Lucille isn’t fond of Gob in the slightest, Will Arnett is one of my closest friends and I’m so glad that he could take the time out of his busy Lego Batman-ing schedule to reconnect.

As you know, his ex-Amy Poehler is one of my best friends and while their divorce was tough on their children and I, they both put in a concerted effort to ensure that we all knew that they both still loved us and nothing will ever change the way they feel about us.

I feel like it may appear like I sided with Amy in the divorce – given the fact I passionately ride her (and Teen’s) coattails – but I will always hold my boy Wills dear to my heart. We first met on the set of SATC and were bonded by a mutual disappointment in how dated the show would be in but a few years.

Wills has been hella busy lately promoting The Lego Batman Movie – which my nephew has given many rave reviews for FYI (don’t tell Will I haven’t seen it yet) – and so it was such a treat to hang out and celebrate Cinco de Cuatro / find ways to ensure the second season of Flaked is better received and less about a man child / get a role on BoJack Horseman.

Obviously that is so pretty rugged terrain to traverse – and since we’ve both had a past with alcohol – I thought I’d whip us up a fresh batch of Will Horcharnettta.

 

 

There is nothing better than rice pudding and cinnamon … but mix them together and turn them into a drink, and you’ve got a holy elixir. Spicy, refreshing and joyous, it is the perfect thing to help reconnect friends and celebrate a fake holiday.

Enjoy!

 

 

Will Horcharnetta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup rice, aggressively rinsed
1 ½L water
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup muscovado sugar

Method
Combine the thoroughly rinsed rice in a saucepan with the water and cinnamon and leave to rest overnight.

The next day, bring the rice to the boil over high heat. Reduce to low and allow to simmer for half an hour. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and sugar, and allow to cool.

Once cool, remove the cinnamon and blitz everything with a stick blender until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth and chill in the fridge for an hour or two.

Then down, over ice.

 

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Quesandillaz-Twine

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Tavua continued to dominate immunity challenges, which was very lucky for Troyzan. Unluckily for Mana, Debbie went from lovable-nuts to scary after missing out on sandwiches while over at Nuku J.T. and Aubry’s plot to boot Michaela backfired on the former, sending him out of the game with an idol in his pocket.

Oh and Sandra stole the sugar, blamed it on her closest ally and still came out clean.

Back at camp Aubry gave her best Adam Klein impression while congratulating the people that blindsided her. Despite it being fairly obvious why it was J.T. over her, Aubry asked them why she was saved before correctly identifying that Sandra was running things and is the best player out there, royally screwing her in the process.

Over at Mana, Tai decided to make the most of last episode’s hidden immunity idol clue and get his wood wet under the cover of darkness. Turns out, that little process gives you a happy ending. What a damn surprise.

Clearly getting hot and bothered, Jiffy Pop arrived for what the tribes assumed was an immunity challenge which was instead another swap were Sandra and Varner became the latest people to be completely screwed by the game, ending up on new-Nuku with Ozzy, Sarah, Andrea, Zeke and Tai.

Everyone else but Debbie ended up on new-Mana, while Deb found herself without a tribe and a pony, heading to exile island until one of the other tribes boots someone to make room for her.

New Mana arrived – or returned – to camp where Troyzan was thankful to have some allies, while Brad was feeling screwed though was hopeful to hook up with Troyzan – which is a weird porno I’d give a shot – given his One World connection to my girl Monnie Culpepper.

Over at new Nuku, Sandra and Varner did their best to ingratiate themselves to their new tribe members. Sandra being Sandra, remained calm and was sure that she would be able to find her feet.

And just like that, Zeke and Ozzy went for a walk to reaffirm the need to get rid of Sandra, before rallying their fellow ex-Tavuans and lining up a decoy boot in Tai. Which given his past will not go well if he finds out, despite knowing Sandra is the biggest threat.

Feeling uneasy, Tai approached the Nuku well hoping to find their hidden immunity idol … which he did, bringing his total for the episode to two and the season to three.

Why couldn’t it be Sandra?

We then caught up with Debbie who was approaching what she thought was Exile Island and instead landed on a luxury yacht complete with feast and – oh wait, here is the shitty part – cockstainCochran to provide advice … and thankfully something useful in an advantage.

Hatred aside, this is a crazy showmance I can get behind. And I assume, so can Debbie who is more excited to see him than the presidents and prime ministers she has, of course, also met.

Debbie then told her potential new boyfriend about how confident she was and ragged on Brad ‘fuck you’ Culpepper, before Cochran presented her with – what I assumed was an engagement ring – the options for her advantage. She of course elected the worst advantage, the extra vote – which has booted its holder every time it has been played before – rather than an advantage for her tribe at the next immunity challenge or my personal favourite, a kit to build a fake immunity idol.

Sadly a devious revenge plot where she gives a legit looking fake idol to Brad to boot him will not come to fruition.

The next day Zeke and Varner connected by the beach where Varner shared how desperately he wanted to make the jury on his third game. Zeke, knowing he should start making Sandra and Varner relax, told Varner how much they wanted Tai out of the game. The entire conversation made Sandra anxious … but Sandra is smarter than mostall players, and knew something wasn’t adding up.

Not wanting to leave us hanging too long, Jiffy Pop returned for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where they were required to get wet, pull themselves off … a platform and over monkey bars before running to shore and placing their piece(s) in a cart and pulling them into shore.

Obviously it ended with a puzzle.

Mana got out to any early lead, which despite Varner’s best efforts to pull up a load, never went away, sending Mana to tribal council.

Back at camp, Zeke reconfirmed the need to get rid of Sandra, while Varner was feeling confident it was Tai. Again, Sandra’s superior intuition shone as she felt nervous – for the first time in three seasons – and approached Ozzy, Sarah, Zeke and Andrea about booting Tai to avoid a Kaôh Rōng kaôh-lition.

While Sarah and Ozzy weren’t wanting to budge on the Sandra vote, they acknowledged how persuasive and right she is, and that they do need to break up the trio of Tai-Aubry-Debbie.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tai then approached Varner to tell him that Sandra was indeed the target … allowing Sandra time to come up with a plan, which is never a good thing.

With that, they arrived at tribal where Andrea announced that they would continue in the tradition of the season – like All Stars before it – to boot the biggest threat, while Ozzy spoke to the back of Sandra’s head about the positives of keeping a bigger threat as a shield before Sandra announced that she was confident it was her as no one was talking to her.

This spooked Tai … who then commenced talking in circles, confusing himself and making the rest of his original, original Nuku tribemates. Sarah then mentioned being open to a couple of options, spooking Tai even more before Sandra said that she’d vote for whoever he wanted her to. Before he whispered a name to her.

He then gave Varner the same name, to which Varner mentioned they still needed another person. The rest of the tribe wanted the goss … so Tai then announced that he was now considering Ozzy, spooking Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah and Andrea, who then commenced their own whispering.

After some back and forth and everyone being confused, they threw their hands in the air and decided to just vote … which sadly – and I hate that I’m even typing it and never assumed I would have to – resulted in my dear friend, sass-monster and greatest player of all time Sandra Diaz-Twine being voted out for the first time.

Thank fuck those fuckers fucking applauded her on her way out the door. The stupid fucks. The Queen is dead, long live … the D-list returnees rounding out the cast?

While I was fuming by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge, Sandra took her first ever boot in her stride … until I convinced her to break into both camps while they were at the next challenge and burn their camps to the ground. FYI, that is why they were crying in the next episode preview.

As you know, I met Sandra when I was her server at Outback Steakhouse and we quickly bonded over being fiery, sassy and persuasive. While she has never been able to get me out there as a contestant – she tried for Blood vs. Water but Aras got jealous – I was scheduled to appear as her loved one, which is probably more of a tragedy than seeing the Queen and Malcolm felled within a fortnight.

Obviously that meant I was in desperate need of some comfort food, meaning I had to whip out my famous Quesandillaz-Twine.

 

 

An ode to my girl’s winning ways, these quesadillas are the absolute best – spicy, cheesy and with a good whack of chilli, the crunch in your mouth and go a long way to help even the sharpest of pain.

Enjoy … if you can!

 

 

Quesandillaz-Twine
Serves: 1 first-time boot and her irate firebug of a bestie.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
400g canned diced tomatoes
400g canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 avocados, pitted and diced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
canola or vegetable oil, for frying
8 tortillas
250g sharp cheddar, grated
1 lime, cut into wedges
sour cream

Method
Brown the mince in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking-up with the wooden spoon as you go. Add the garlic, onions and a good whack of salt and pepper and  cook for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is just translucent. Add the spices and cook for a minute, before adding the tomatoes, black beans and paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is pretty much gone.  Remove from the heat and stir through the avocado and coriander.

When you’re ready to devour, heat a large clean skillet over medium heat and add a lug of oil. Place a tortilla in the pan, sprinkle half with cheese, top with the mixture and more cheese, because this is comfort food. Fold the tortilla over to form a semicircle, pressing down on the quesadilla to set. Flip once, cooking a couple of minutes each side. Repeat the process until the mixture or tortillas run out, I don’t mind which.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges – because you don’t need to feel guilty if the food is hand-sized – and serve with a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream and, of course, hot sauce.

Devour, in honour of Sandra.

 

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Jenna Moussaka

Main, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys – it is less than two weeks until my girl Sandra returns for her third crown … or to at least block Tony and JT from equaling her record.

Not that I don’t have faith in her ability to snatch the crown again. Can you tell I’m excited for Survivor and Sandy’s return?

Given that my girl is an underrated goddess, despite her perfect game record, I felt it best to honour her third attempt by holding court with another underrated victor, my dear friend Jenna Morasca.

Like Sandy, I would defend Jen and her gameplay to the ends of the earth. Sure she ended Rob C’s hope of ever winning the game and feuded with a deaf person but she also stripped for peanut butter – who wouldn’t TBH – went on an immunity run and even gave away immunity without it sending her home.

Plus, she was sassy as fuck, gives a good sound bite and was probably the best appointed winner to make it far in All Stars hadn’t had to quit to be with her mother.

I first met Jen way back when we were both attending University of Pittsburgh studying zoology – I was going through a weird Brendan Fraser/George of the Jungle phase and thought that a knowledge of animals could help.

Given our sassy attitude and good looks we were immediately drawn to one another and became the best of friends. I was her Heidi before Heidi existed, basically. After my many run-ins with Burnett, I kept our friendship quiet as she auditioned which I would argue got her cast meaning I played an integral part in her victory.

We are such busy little bees that we haven’t been able to see as much of each other as we like, so it was such a treat to sit down, gab about the upcoming season and dreams for her eventual return.

Speaking of dreams, my Jenna Moussaka is most definitely one.

 

jenna-moussaka-1

 

Spicy, rich and creamy – this little baby is the ultimate comfort food. Plus, eggplant makes it healthy, so you barely have to feel guilty about the cheesy goodness clogging up your arteries.

Enjoy!

 

jenna-moussaka-2

 

Jenna Moussaka
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
a generous lug of olive oil
3 eggplants, cut into half centimetre discs
2 red capsicums, cored and halved
500g beef mince
500g lamb mince
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g tinned tomatoes
100g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
3 cups milk
120g parmesan, roughly grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Place the eggplant discs on a wire rack, over a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until crisp, charred and drying out. Add the capsicum for the last ten minutes to blister their skins.

Reduce oven to 160°C.

While they are cooking, heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the mince over medium heat, or until browned. Add the spices, oregano, onion and garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Meanwhile diced up the charred capsicum and add to the pan with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes. Season and allow to rest.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once foaming, add in the flour and cook until lightly browned and not resembling either butter or flour. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk until all combined. Return to the heat and cook for a minute or two, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, season and leave to rest.

To assemble, place a third of the meat mixture on the base of a large baking dish. Top with a third of the dried, charred eggplant and repeat the process until both are all gone. Pour over the bechamel, top with the cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly on top. Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before devouring.

 

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Beygel Knowles

Baking, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

We’ve made it to the end of the Grammy Gold road and it has been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Between Elts and I ending a decades long feud, Salt-n-Peps shooping over to down some squid, Braff and I also working to rekindle a friendship, Nells dropping by to convince me she was still making music and well, barely surviving the sexual tension between groffsauce and I, I am absolutely spent.

But hold up, that doesn’t mean our final visit was going to be cancelled so get in formation – my favourite Knowles-Z, Beyoncé, is finally dropping by for a visit!

As you know, I’ve been a close member of the Knowles clan since starting a fight club in (Whitney) Houston and Bey and I have been best friends ever since.

That being said, I sadly haven’t seen Bey in the flesh since the infamous Met Ball of 2014 … though I was the first to find out about her latest pregnancy. Also yes, the rumours are true – if they are both girls, she will be calling them Kelly and Michelle and if they are boys … Ben and Jamin.

Anywho, Bey appeared – nay, manifested – under the cover of darkness to avoid alerting the media to her pre-Grammy visit and ran straight into my arms.

“Ben, they don’t love you like I love you. You’re irreplaceable, I’ve missed you my little Sasha Fierce.”

“You liked it, well you should have put a ring on it my Dreamgirl!”

We held each other like best friends do and laughed – though I think a part of her was serious – in front of a large wall of imported flowers, covered in a veil, while discussing the upcoming awards.

I’d like to make one thing clear – yes, even Bey thinks she is going to sweep the pool. But who can really blame her? I mean, she has already won 20 Grammys and we both know that the academy is terrified of getting yelled out by our mutual friend Kanye.

Despite it being an evening catch-up, Bey had one pregnant craving she needed me to help with, so I gladly whipped up a big batch of my Beygel Knowles.

 

beygel-knowles-1

 

I love bagels. Love them. So much. I mean, if you could marry a food I would have put a ring on it already.

My favourite, like these babies, are cinnamon and raisin. I mean, they are a gift from the gods … like Queen Bey. So get boilin’ and bakin’ and get in formation to celebrate her upcoming nine new Grammys.

Enjoy!

 

beygel-knowles-2

 

Beygel Knowles
Serves: one pregnant angel and her babin’ chum. I am the babin’ chum, FYI. Also FYI, it makes 8.

Ingredients
500g 00 flour
¼ cup caster sugar
1½ tsp table salt
7g dried yeast
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
125g raisins (or sultanas but they are as juicy as I feel around Jon)
1 egg, beaten

Method
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cinnamon and raisins in a large bowl for the stand mixer. Using the dough hook by hand, slowly stir in 300ml of warm water until everything is wet. Transfer to the stand mixer and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If you need more water, add it a tablespoon at a time. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and allow to prove for an hour or so, or until doubled in size.

While it is proving itself preheat the oven to 180°C.

When the dough is as big for its britches as Tay Tay when she beat Bey – remember that controversy? – knock it back to size and break into 8 equal pieces. Roll them into balls and push a finger through the centre to form a ring. Place on a lined baking tray and allow to prove for half an hour.

While they are proving again, bring a pot of water to boil.

Once the bagels have double in size, drop them into the water one at a time, and cook for thirty seconds each side. Transfer to a wire rack and continue until done.

Transfer them to a lined baking sheet, brush with the egg and bake for about fifteen minutes, or until golden brown.

Devour, slathered in butter or cream cheese. Like a Queen.

 

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Roast Melinda Duck

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Main, Poultry

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

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

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

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

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

 

roast-melinda-duck-1

 

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

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

Enjoy!

 

roast-melinda-duck-2

 

Roast Melinda Duck
Serves: 4-6.

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

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

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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Kugelly Rowan

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Breakfast, Dessert, Main, Pasta, Side, Snack, Sweets, Vegetarian

From my favourite frenemy to my dearest, sweetest friend of the (adult) cast, Kelly Rowan.

And that doesn’t even take into account her portrayal of Kirsten’s relatable, educated, middle-class battle with the bottle.

I first met Kell on the set of Three to Tango in the late 90s. I was part of Neve Campbell’s entourage – it is beginning to seem like a trend that I met The O.C. stars via 90s scream queens, no? – at the time and we took Kelly under our wing – a hundred TV movies and four years later and our hard work paid off as Kell landed the career making role of Kirsten “Kiki” Cohen.

Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that Kirsten was the true star and glue of the show – I mean sure Ben was the protagonist, Mischa was the young ingenue, Rach was the spunky-upstart, Adam was the comedic support and Pete was the heart, but Kiki kept everything together and made the show all the better for it.

Particularly when she wasn’t keeping it together and hitting rock bottom.

Anyway, character ranking aside, I haven’t been able to catch Kell since Perception was axed, so it was wonderful to be able to reconnect, help plot her comeback – hopefully in the revival I’m plotting – and gab about the good old days with Neve … over a delicious Kugelly Rowan.

 

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It makes me so sad to think about the fact that I went so long before trying a kugel with Kell on set. I mean, what is better than creamy, spiced pasta, with sweet plums?

Nothing. Exactly – enjoy!

 

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Kugelly Rowan
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, melted
pinch sea salt
500g broad egg noodles
6 large eggs
600ml sour cream, room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
375g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
200g pitted plums, halved (I used jarred plums as I couldn’t be bothered working too hard as it’s Christmas)

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta per packet instructions, minus two minutes, drain, return to the pot and set away from heat.

While the pasta is softening like Kirsten’s heart to Ryan, combine the eggs, sour cream, sugar, butter, cream cheese and spices in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until completely combined.

Fold the plums through the cheesy, egg mixture and pour over the noodles. Gently stir until it is all combined and pour into a large baking dish. Sprinkle with some extra sugar and bake in the oven for half an hour.

Once golden and glorious – maybe a little less so than my effort – remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 15 minutes. Then devour.

 

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Tate Doughnutvans

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Party Food, Snack, Sweets

So as I’ve kind of alluded to, Tate and I kind of have a frenemy-ish relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I love him to absolute pieces, however we are very similar, and at times dramatic, which means our relationship experiences the highest highs and most violently aggressive lows.

Actually, our relationship inspired Jimmy and Julie’s on The O.C.

We first met when Tate made his TV debut guesting on Family Ties – I was dating Michael J. Fox at the time and took pity on Tate for not being as talented as my man. Whilst having breakfast in bed with Michael the day of the taping, I turned to him and said “that young Tate character could really succeed with the right kind of tutelage.”

Mike agreed, I took Tate under my wing and become his acting and attitude coach, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After co-starring together in the hit movies All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and Hercules – I was all three of the fates – we had our first bitter feud, when his turn as Hercules went to his head … and surprisingly he didn’t enjoy my berating him to get him back under my control?

Thankfully when I suggested we put an end to the drama and work together on The O.C. he was kind enough to accept my olive branch and we’ve been snarkily (possibly insincerely) close ever since.

Surprisingly Tate has been enjoying quite a bit of success lately – what with him being a SAG Award winner for Argo, a role in the last reboot of 24 and a bit part in current awards season contender Manchester by the Sea – and we therefore haven’t been able to see much of each other.

But knowing Tate as well as I do, I was able to pull him away from his no-doubt fruitless Oscar campaigning with the allure of his favourite treat – Tate Doughnutvans.

 

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Now I know that I oft talk about my fear of and aversion to frying … but I make an exception for these babies to ensure they comply with their Jewish heritage.

Fluffy, spicy and sweet, these are so delicately delicious that you can’t help but put aside your differences to down a few with your favourite frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

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Tate Doughnutvans
Serves: 1. No judgement.

Ingredients
14g dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus more for rolling
3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon, plus more for rolling
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil
1 cup jam, I went raspberry but how good is blueberry, you know?

Method
Combine yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar – that is not listed in the above ingredients – in a jug. Stir and set aside to get all foamy for about ten minutes … you’ll know when they are ready.

Place the flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. By hand – with the dough hook of the mixer – mix in the eggs, yeast foam liquid, sugar, butter, spices and salt. Place the hook in the mixer, crank it to medium and knead for about ten minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer to a large oiled bowl, cover in cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled.

Once it has proven itself, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about half a centimetre thick. Cut into small round and place on a lined baking sheet. Once all the dough is used, cover in cling and leave to prove for another half an hour.

While proving – again – heat some vegetable oil in a wide shallow pot over medium heat until it reaches 190°C. Carefully add a few discs into the pot at a time – and you know I mean careful as I hate frying and this is only to continue in the hanukkah spirit – and fry for half a minute to a minute, each side, until golden and puffed.

Transfer to greaseproof paper, roll in cinnamon sugar – not necessary, but highly recommended – and leave to rest on a wire rack. Repeat until done.

Once cooled, place the jam in a piping bag fitted with a thin nozzle. Penetrate each puff and fill with your sweet nectar. Then 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, Tumblr and Google+.