Apple Libertea Cake Netuschil

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the models made viral videos before turning all deli-like and serving up beauty sandwiches. Yes, beautiful sandwiches aka three heads smooshed together, where Rio shone as her attitude got dark about wicked Sandra being beautiful, Christina’s attitude stayed the same and Coura continued to coast … floating right out of the competition.

On the way home from panel, Shanice and Brendi K threw some shade at Christina, asking whether Coura should have stayed over her … and if being rude to the judges is what she is going for. Allegedly she isn’t rude and, I guess in her defense, she didn’t fight back when Brendi K continued to decimate her verbally, so she can hold it back occasionally.

Back at the house Rio continued to rub me the wrong way, using her best photo to slam the ‘pretty girl’ and vowed not to compare herself to others, while comparing herself to others.

That confusion was interrupted by Tyra-mail where she announced it was Pride Week, filling Kyla with joy at the prospect of doing drag. On the flipside, Liberty was scared since she hasn’t met any game people. Brendi K then came out as bi, yet Shanice still won the scene proclaiming her love of cock. I mean, we have so much in common, how can I not love her?

The models then rolled into WeHo where Erin taught the children some acronyms, Liberty was still not sure what to expect given her town views homosexuality as an ailment and my basement started flooding from some questionably pantied dancers. They rolled into Mickey’s to meet Drew, Law and Stacey for a pop-up runway, doing everything themselves – selecting outfits, hair, makeup … models better work. The winner automatically wins a place in Christian Cowan’s show at NYFW, so it was worth it.

After some more gratuitous nudity, the models took to the runway where Jeana killed and Liberty looked like she doesn’t understand what homosexuality is given how she tried to work the crowd. Brendi K bombed despite it being her community, Rio owned the stage, Khrystyana was serving Katya’s-mother-to-Katya-realness and will be robbed if she loses, Christina did ok, Shanice killed it giving pimp-realness and then Erin slayed while serving her cakes. After poor Brendi K broke down over letting the community down, Jeana, Erin and Khrystyana were praised as the best performers … before the latter rightfully won her place at NYFW.

Tyra-mail arrived announcing a royal photoshoot which got everyone pumped for drag queens, before Liberty fully lost me with her anti-feminist ways. I mean, seriously? Christina decided to try and work through some of her issues with the girls, joining the models in the spa to share some of herself and apologise to Brendi K. She then corrected Brendi K’s misuse of a word – which I was totally doing myself – before the conversation abruptly ended. That night, Erin went into full mum mode, going to Christina and given full-blown I’m not mad, I’m disappointed realness.

The next day, the girls were joined by Manila Luzon, Katya and Valentina, who would be the queens to their princesses. Can they join the competition permanently, please? Rio got paired with Valentina – who let’s be honest, was looking all Princess Disastah – and gave an ok performance … before the queens descended on Liberty. After being threatened to be burnt and rolled down a hill, she tried not to let Katya destroy her … but she was. Khrystyana slayed while working with Katya, who could be her sister. Kyla was way too excited to be paired with Manila, bumbling her way through the shoot. Shanice murdered Valentina, I wish Erin and Manila could adopt me, Jeana also killed Valentina, as did Sandra. Are you sensing a pattern? Manila then worked to stir the pot, with Christina still unable to see that she was the most consistent aspect of each feud. Tragically Christina got Katya, who would have chemistry with a steaming turd, while Brendi struggled to get a shot with Manila.

Brendi K and Kyla were questioning their performances as the models arrived at panel. Christina’s picture channeled her grumpiness in a good way, Shanice dominated Valentina, Khrystyana was gorgeous, Brendi was boring in beige, Jeana was brought down by Valentina, Erin slayed, Sandra was pretty, Liberty was awkward, Rio schooled Valentina in a Mills & Boon-esque shot and Kyla was a hot mess.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Khrystyana rightfully snatched the best-photo-crown, before Liberty landed herself in the bottom with Kyla before exiting the competition, I assume, to make America great again. While I appreciate the irony of her getting the boot during Pride Week, Liberty has been nailing the competition so it was a shock to see her going home. Thankfully Apple Libertea Cake Netuschil is hella delicious, so it dulled the pain of any feelings of wrongful bootage.

 

 

Like this quote-unquote all American girl, this tea cake feels as wholesome and delicious as apple pie. Through thankfully the verjuice and cinnamon provides a kick, like a fire crotch that runs into Libs in the street and takes issue to the term fire crotch.

Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Libertea Cake Netuschil
Serves: 6-8 people thinking they’re making America great again because they own a cap that says so.

Ingredients
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup Verjuice
¾ cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup milk
icing sugar, to serve
ice cream, to serve

Method
Grease a 20cm springform cake pan and preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the apples and verjuice in a medium saucepan and cook with a pinch of muscovado sugar and cinnamon for about half an hour, or until just soft and smelling deliciously caramelly and spiced. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium, or until so fluffy it looks to be pulsating. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour, cinnamon and milk until just combined. Cakes and pastry are all about the just, ok?

Spoon half the mix into the greased pan, top with flagrantly caramel apples, and spoon over the remaining batter to enclose. Transfer to the oven and bake for an hour or so, or until golden on top and cooked through. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar and a huge-ass dollop of ice cream. Because, obviously.

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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Jimmychangas Fallon

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

To be honest, this marathon month of celebration is really starting to exhaust me and I’m feeling desperate to just relax and have a laugh while celebrating this year’s Grammys. And no tea, no shade to Whits, Burt, Tom or Madge, but there is no friend funnier than my fave chum Jimmy Fallon.

Well no one funnier that had won a Grammy. And was available, at least.

I first met Jimmy whilst loitering around 30 Rock to try and get Lorne Michaels to forgive me and let me join the cast of SNL finally. Whilst that obviously did not occur, I did befriend Jim when he was walking in and out of the studio. Did he mistake me for a beggar for the first six months of our friendship? Yes … but it showed that we truly did have a lovely relationship.

As is oft the case, i made his career my top priority and vowed to make him a star. I started by getting him to dip his toe in the cinematic pond, before making him quit SNL to defend my honour … and ultimately, release a comedy album that would go on to bag him a Grammy.

Since that is his winning category, he was thrilled to sit down and run the odds with me. He agreed that it is Jerry Seinfeld’s Grammy to lose … though can’t bring himself to count out Dave Chappelle. When it came to spoken word, however, we knew that there was no one beating my girl Carrie Fisher. Fuck I miss Caz.

Talking about Carrie got me feeling hella emotional, so it was fortuitous timing that I was already balls deep on making some Jimmychangas Fallon.

 

 

Hot and spicy, fresh and comforting, this usually fried delight is just as perfect when oven baked. But I guess, can you go wrong with something slathered in cheese, sour cream, guac and chilli?

You can’t, so enjoy!

 

 

Jimmychangas Fallon
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 red chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 shallots, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1kg brisket
olive oil
1 tbsp ground chilli
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
pinch of cinnamon
1L beef stock
12 flour tortillas
grated cheese, to serve
sour cream, to serve
guacamole, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Method
Place the chilli, cumin, coriander seeds, pepper, oregano, shallots and garlic in a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste. Blitz in a good lug of olive oil and transfer to bowl. Add the brisket and rub to coat, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, heat a lug of oil in a large skillet seal the meat for a minute or two on each side. Add the chilli, smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute before adding the stock and bringing to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for three to four hours.

Remove beef from the pan and rest before bringing the heat back up to reduce the liquid. After about ten minutes of rest, shred the brisket with a couple of forks and return to the sauce. Continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to chill completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place a couple of tablespoons of the brisket along one edge of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll to form a small burrito and tie in the centre with kitchen string. Repeat the process until done. Brush with olive oil, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and remove the string from each. Top with some grated cheese and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Serve immediately, slathered with sour cream, guac and sriracha. Though be careful when devouring, since they’ll be bloody hot.

 

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Rice Kheer Smith

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I bet you thought, how do you top spending time with Dawson himselfJVDB, obvi – as part of the Dawson’s Creek 20th Anniversary celebration? And not just Dawson – yes, here it comes – but Josh, Katie and Mezzy-B too. The answer, obvi, is the man that first awakened my sexuality on screen Kerr Smith.

While obviously Josh Jacks had well and truly awakened my sexuality by the time Kerr arrived on the set, the character of Jack McPhee – and him posing naked for Joey’s painting – showed me that homosexuality was a thing. And daaaaaaamn boy, paint me like one of your French girls.

Fun fact: seeing that painting scene inspired me to travel back and journey on the Titantic, lure a pleb into a romance and get him to draw me wearing only a locket. Sure he could have fit on the door with me when I was clinging to life, but I wasn’t ready to make that sort of commitment just yet. Anyway, it inspired the movie Titanic and that is why Jack didn’t get on the door.

End. Of. Story.

Anyway, we became the best of friends on set and while it never became romantic between us, his responsibility as a straight white man playing an LGBT character made him feel like he needed to support me out of the closest. He truly is, a sweetheart.

I haven’t seen Kerr in a couple of years so was pleasantly surprised when he sauntered through the arrivals AND COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED INTO A ZADDY. After fainting in his arms, I pulled myself together and got to work celebrating his masterful work as Jack and slurping up a big bowl of Rice Kheer Smith.

 

 

Is this just a gussied up rice pudding? Sure. Is it also just fucking delicious? Of course. Lightly spiced, delicately sweet and now requirement for teeth. It is, truly, perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rice Kheer Smith
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 cups milk
½ cup rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup muscovado sugar
4 cardamom pods
¼ cup raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
slivered almonds, to garnish

Method
Place the milk and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the cardamom pods and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the milk is starting to thicken.

Add the sugar, raisins and cinnamon, and cook until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well incorporated.

Remove the cardamom pods and serve, or refrigerate until cold. I, personally, prefer it cold … but you can devour straight away if you prefer. With almonds scattered atop, obvi.

 

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Joshua Flapjackson

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Kicking off my Capeside celebrations is a huge honour that required a big name, and while Mich is arguably the biggest star of the bunch and the show was literally named after JVDB’s character, I couldn’t go past bequeathing said honour to my oldest friend Josh Jackson.

As you should probably guess, I first met Josh in the early ‘90s while working together on The Mighty Ducks. As a champion figure skater slash coach – I trained Tonya Harding, have I mentioned that – and ameteur street fighter, Disney hired me to train the cast to skate and effectively smoosh people into the glass during hockey.

While Josh wasn’t violent enough for my tastes, he was an expert skater and had the acting chops of a young Daniel Day Lewis. So you know what that means … I took him firmly under my duck wing and vowed to make him a star.

Between headlining a franchise, starring opposite soon-to-be Oscar nominee Laurie Metcalf in Scream 2 and playing me in Cruel Intentions, I think I succeeded. And that is without even bringing Dawson’s into the equation.

Given how busy Josh has been with The Affair of late, we haven’t been able to see much of each other. Which is obviously equally heartbreaking for both of us. As such, it was such a delight to spend time with my bestest of best friends again and celebrate one of his sexiest characters – emphasis on one of – Pacey Witter. I mean, be still my throbbing …

We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and most importantly, devoured an entire batch of his favourite treat – my Joshua Flapjackson.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and a little bit earthy, this bars are the perfect pick-me-up snack when you’re struggling your way through life. I mean for you, obvi, I’m blessed with a wonderful life on the A-list.

Enjoy!

 

 

Joshua Flapjackson
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
150g butter
175g golden syrup
150g muscovado sugar
350g quick cooking oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch nutmeg

Method
Preheat oven to 150C.

Combine the butter, golden syrup and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well combined.

Place the oats in a large bowl with the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Fold through the buttery syrup until everything is sopping. Transfer to a lined square baking dish, packing it in nice and tightly – like Josh in my fantasies – and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Then you can devour.

 

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Pastéis de Natalie Wood

Baking, Dessert, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Snack, Sweets

It has been a busy start to the year catching up with some of my nearest and dearest Golden Globe winners slash friends, that I started to get all sentimental. While my dates with Rach, Az and Nay all carried a certain emotional gravitas, reconnecting with the man that saved my life in the form of Ids really started to make me feel misty. And made me think of one friend I always wish I had been able to save – the divine Natalie Wood.

As you know, Annelie and I were dear friends with the Wagner-Woods and their extended friend group. What you don’t know, is that I was meant to be on the boat with her, Bobby Wags and my ex-lover Christopher Walken that night until Chris and I had a fight when I tried to open up our relationship, and I refused to get on the boat.

“Please Ben! We’ll have such a wonderful time, my love,” Nat asked in her gentle way.

“If Chris doesn’t want me to see any more semen, I won’t be seeing anymore Sea Men,” I shrieked.

That was the last thing I ever said to Natalie Wood.

I whipped out the time machine and charted a course for the summer of ‘80 to spend time with my dearly departed friend, far enough away from her death to not try and interfere.

Since I obviously couldn’t let slip any future details, lest I set off a butterfly effect, I ran the remaining film odds while in the delorean. Obviously I am rooting for Allison Janney and Margot Robbie to take out a one-two punch for I, Tonya, though I firmly think they will split Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress in a Comedy with the Lady Bird crew of Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan. Which way that splits I’m not sure, but I have a good feeling about my fellow Gold Coaster’s chances. For Drama Frances McDormand or Sally Hawkins will win, though I’d far prefer a tie while Best Comedy or Musical will go to Get Out, unless Greta Gerwig doesn’t win Best Screenplay, in which case it will be Lady Bird.

With no distractions remaining – outside of her impending death – we were free to have a positively delightful date, toasting her then recent Globes win. It was also such a treat to have a less explicit final interaction while devouring my Pastéis de Natalie Wood.

 

 

Creamy, rich and wholly delicious, these little babies are the perfect treat for catching-up with friends, gambling and gives you enough energy for the rigors of time travel.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pastéis de Natalie Wood
Makes: 24.

Ingredients
500ml milk
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbsp vanilla extract
70g plain flour
485g raw caster sugar
6 egg yolks
3 sheets puff pastry, for no other reason than being lazy and time travel already taking up enough time as it is

Method
Combine the milk and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a simmer before removing from the heat and allowing the quill to steep for a few minutes. Discard the quill and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk in about a quarter of the liquid to form a thin roux. Return to the pan with the remaining milk and bring to a simmer once again and whisk the roux back in for a couple of minutes, or until thickening. Turn off the burner, but leave the pan over the heat.

Meanwhile combine the sugar in a pan with 200ml of water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly whisk the syrup into the milk mixture until you’ve got a thick white liquid. Giggity.

Place the yolks in a large bowl and then slowly add the thick white liquid while constantly stirring until it is well combined. Cover with cling touching the surface and set aside while you work on the pastry.

Heat the oven to 230°C.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press into the holes of 2, 12-hole muffin pans, trimming the edges to form neat little cases. Pour the custard into each shell, stopping about 1cm from the top and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden and scorched in places.

Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can stop yourself from devouring them instantly, that is.

 

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Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After what feels like a marathon finish to an epic year – kicking off with the supreme Diana Ross, experiencing the highest of highs honouring the 10th anniversary of Because I Said So, and the lowest of lows witnessing queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s torch being snuffed for the first time, learning that Nicaragua can be pronounced Knee-Coo-Arrr-Ohhh-Goo-A, seeing the glorious buns of Locky Gilbert on the killer second/fourth season of Australian Survivor, the glorious crowning of Sasha Velour, catching Milk post-All Stars 3 filming and a breathtaking end to the oddly titled Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers – we’ve finally hit day 12 of the 12 Days of Festivus.

You know, after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barn, Liz, Wayne, Mike, Pat, John, J-Lou, Stel and Jez.

It should come as absolutely zero surprise what with the process of elimination and the fact the show is named after him, that we’re rounding out our Fete de Festivus with a date with my dear friend slash protege, Jerry Seinfeld. What – you didn’t know I taught him everything he knows?

He first caught my eye during his appearances on Benson and I took him under my wing, guiding his career from Johnny Carson, to Letterman and eventually introduced him to Larry David. The rest, as they say, is history.

Given how busy Seiny has been with his Netflix deal, we haven’t seen much of each other lately so it was such a treat to pop on our puffy shirts and ring in Christmas – by way of Festivus, of course – with a big fat Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake.

 

 

Tart and sweet, creamy, rich and packed full of spice, this cheesecake is festive perfection. And super simple, which is perfect if you want to focus on your drinking. And who doesn’t?

Enjoy!

Oh, and from our crazy family to yours, Merry Christmas! We’re taking a short break and will be back in the new year … or maybe a bit before. Dun dun DUUUUNNNN!

 

 

Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 cup frozen pitted cherries
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
200g butternut snap biscuits, crushed
100g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
½ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
3 tsp gelatine powder, dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water

Method
Place the cherries, muscovado sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until it beautifully scented and reduced. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

Combine the biscuit crumbs and melted butter, and press into the base of a 20cm springform pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add in the sugar, cream and gelatine until smooth and combined.

Fold through the chilled cherries, and pour the mixture into the chilling pan and return to the fridge for a few hours to set.

Remove from the fridge half an hour before serving and devour.

 

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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.

 

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Brandy Jason Alexander

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Drink

While Seinfeld, as the name clearly suggests, is all about my friend Jerry Seinfeld, the great, wondrous holiday that is Festivus is all about the Costanzas. While yes, Frank was the creator of the blessed holiday – how many ways will I describe the holiday in the next 12 days? – I feel it is most appropriate to kick this celebration of with the delightful holiday Jason Alexander.

Jase is one of my oldest friends after meeting in ‘81 on the set of the hit TV movie Senior Trip. Annelie and I were part of Mickey Rooney’s entourage at the time but were both so moved by Jase’s performance in the bit-part – no small parts, just small actors etc. – that we vowed to make him an absolute star.

I think we can all agree that despite our questionable pasts, rehab and priz stints and aggressive feuds, the way we moulded Jason’s career truly is our opus.

Given how busy I’ve been since starting this anthropological study, I’ve barely had time to catch-up with my celebrity friends unless they’re keen to document it. And while Jason was always down for the career boost I offer, I wanted our date to be truly special.

And there is nothing more special than Festivus.

As soon as Jase arrived we were laughing like he’d snapped my fingers in a jewellery box – which coincidentally was inspired by us mucking around when he gave me some thank you jewels for the one-two punch of Seinfeld and Pretty Woman – catching-up on what he’s been up to lately and making a toast to our friendship slash the season, in the form of my Brandy Jason Alexander.

 

 

Now I know the great Ron Burgundy says milk is a bad choice in the heat and Brisbane is balls hot, but add some festive spice and a nip of brandy and you really can’t go past it. Trust me.

And that’s not a threat … but it’s also not not a threat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brandy Jason Alexander
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
30ml brandy
30ml crème de cacao
30ml heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon

Method
Shake the liquid in a cocktail shaker with ice, and pour into a chilled glass.

Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Down.

 

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Tyson Apostollen

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Sweets

While Yul most definitely has the most festive name in Survivor history, my dear friend slash Survivor three-peat Tyson is the most festive person to play the game.

I mean, sure, he had an epic three season arc going from cocky douche, to bumbling babe to dominant champion, but he also had a three season ascension in zaddiness which was decidedly festive.

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

From his nude Tocantins tribal twink look, to his animalistic Samoan swimmers to his lovely bunch of Caramoan coconuts, Tyson made me feel things that lay dormant inside for year.

Oh what a lovely ma’ fuckin’ bunch of coconuts.

I first met Tys back in the mid-00s while researching Utah as part of my work writing the little known musical The Book Of Mormon, the hit TV show Big Love AND getting into the cycling world as part of an elaborate scheme to bring down Lance Armstrong. My third least favourite Lance.

While I’m not normally keen on the site of male cyclists in lycra – mainly because they only sit around cafes leaving their ball-sweat on the chairs … which in retrospect, should be my jam – I had a soft spot for Tyson and we fell into a passionate love affair.

Like most of my passionate love affairs, ours fizzled out quite quickly – maybe it would have been different if he listed me as his loved one in Tocantins – we remained close friends. Mainly because he was such a babe and it is super hard for me to find friends that have as much sass as I do, so I have to hold on to them when I find them.

But anyway, we celebrated a Christmas together in Utah during our brief romance and he fell in love with my sweet dough. I mean, all freaking Christmas, his face was buried in it, ravenous. But I guess, who can pass up a Tyson Apostollen.

 

 

Inspired by culinary queen Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar stollen, this baby is delicious enough to convert even the most staunchest of anti-marzipan-ers. Fruity and dense with pockets of gooey sweetness, did I just describe myself. Who knows!? Eat up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7g active dry yeast
5 ½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cup warm water
145g butter, cubed, plus extra 115g melted for coating
1 cup raisins
¾ cup craisins
½ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon
3 tbsp bourbon
250g marzipan, broken into chunks
oil, for brushing
icing sugar, to coat

Method
Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, glucose, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl until fluffy and thick, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the warm water and stir by hand with the dough hook for a minute or so. And by that, holding the dough hook like a wooden spoon. You get it? Anyway, add the yolk mixer, pop the hook in the mixer and knead on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and lump free. Add the cubed butter, piece by piece, allowing the dough to come together after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add in the mixed fruit, kneading for an additional minute or until combined. Brush a clean large bowl with a flavourless oil, transfer the dough to said bowl, cover with some cling and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Punch back the dough and dot with the marzipan before lightly knead throughout. You could also split the dough in two, roll them out, smear with marzipan and roll up, but I find dotting it throughout haphazardly makes it more cray, like Tys. If you do dot, then split it into two and transfer to a lined baking sheet, shaping like a turkish-bread-esque loaf.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Once cool, brush with the melted butter and press into the icing sugar to seal. Dis is both good – dis real good – and fresh.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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