Malcolm Freburger

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

Previously on Survivor, Queen Sandra got to experience her first ever tribe swap where J.T. and Troyzan were royally screwed … but were saved by their new tribes winning immunity. While poor Hail and Caleb had to battle in their not-as-screwed-but-still-screwed state at tribal council, where Caleb found himself out of the game after the undisputed king of upcycling Brad Culpepper convinced Tai it was for the best.

We opened up back at Mana after tribal where Sierra and Brad apologised to Tai for having to boot his part-time lover and dear friend Caleb, over Hali. Sierra then kissed him, either deluded into thinking that would somehow make it better or trying to be his Fijian Aubry.

Who knows.

The next day Hali and Debbie bonded, with Hali hoping that by showing Debbie she is the best asset for Debbie to use going forward / to help get rid of Tai … who is still feeling salty about from their time in Kaoh Rong. On the flipside, Debbie added double agent to her resume as she confirmed that old tribal lines would hold out and Hali is the next to go.

Period.

Jeff arrived for the reward challenge for coffee … without me even mentioning how b-b-bangin’ Malcolm is looking. The man is clearly working overtime to be my number one and I both love and hate it.

Wanting to bring the excitement, Jeff announced it was a hero challenge with only two people competing for each tribe – gleefully one involving balls, poles and bags – leading to Troyzan blowing Ozzy’s huge … early lead and my love Malcs and the artist formerly known as fuck you Brad Culpepper securing victory for their tribes.

Back at Tavua, Troyzan was even more screwed than he was after last episode and Ozzy got back to his cocky Micronesia/South Pacific roots, talking about how he is carrying the tribe and providing for them. To his credit though, the man then caught a stingray and as Steve Irwin would tell you if he wasn’t murdered by one, those fuckers are dangerous.

Over at Nuku Sandra was feeling nice and confident in her position – though far more charming about it than a lucky to be alive Ozzy – while J.T. and Malcolm got together to discuss taking out Sandra due to her complete control and the fact that she truly is the most threatening player out there.

Lucky Malcs is a babe, or I’d be angry.

Seriously … I call Malc a babe and like that, immunity is back up for grabs and Probst is on my screen! Clearly salty about the situation, he then announced that only one tribe would be winning immunity and the remaining tribes would both be attending tribal council.

Finally – a double tribal episode that makes sense. Three tribes, one winner, double tribal … this is the only fair format, Probst!

Earning even more points the challenge involved blindfolds, yanking on chains until you got drenched and a whole lot of ball play. Kinky af, and I like it. Despite an early lead for Nuku poor Varner dropped his load – and broke down, breaking my heart – while Andrea’s advanced ball skills saved Tavua from tribal council … where the two tribes would join together to vote out one.

Like a fucked up version of the spiceys. I take back my praise from two pars ago. I mean, good twist … but you’ve got 20 castaways and will need a double boot and this actually makes sense.

Back at camp, Nuku were feeling calm given their numbers advantage over Mana. But as Malcolm said, it is only simple on paper. Everyone started throwing out names with Sandra Diaz-Twine targeting her initials twin Sierra Dawn-Thomas as the least likely to have an idol, J.T. suggesting Tai … and then having a side conversation with Malcolm about how Brad would hopefully vote Sandra and they could flip to get her out.

Over at Mana, Brad was concerned about Hali’s loyalty to new-Mana, while they debated the merits of booting either Sandra or Malcolm. Knowing they’d be screwed otherwise, Tai got busy destroying foliage in search of another idol … which he successfully found.

He returned to camp to tell his tribemates – minus Hali – where Sierra felt it appropriate to cut Caleb’s grass AGAIN (seriously, he was booted just an episode ago) and kiss Tai.

With the underdogs having a fighting chance we arrived at tribal council where Brad got his Charlton Heston on and started talking guns, before Sandra joined the party and said all their guns were on one person. Debbie mentioned then joined the fray and mentioned that they used to be close with J.T. to which Sandy mentioned used to as the key part of that sentence.

There was talk about threats on each tribe, Sandra was trying to bluff about an idol, Brad mentioned Hali flipping was suicide to which Hali got annoyed and felt like they weren’t really trying to make her feel safe.

And I feel like this is where it started to get insane with the side whispering which lead to J.T. getting out of his seat, walking over to Brad and whispering that Brad was safe and Sierra was getting the votes. Royally pissed, Hali marched over to old-Mana-now-Nuku and gave them her intel, trying to flip their vote to Brad.

It was madness and I still don’t know exactly what happened but their were huddles and side huddles, Jeff trying to get the tribes to vote to which Hali refused to try and help her old tribe stay together, before then changing her mind when they wouldn’t listen and walking off to vote without Probst’s intro.

It. Was. Insane.

Then tragedy struck. Brad told Tai to use his idol on Sierra, who all of new-Nuku had voted for, resulting in Malcolm being axed by the new-Mana … and J.T.’s second worst move of his Survivor career. While Malc was disappointed as he arrived at loser lodge, I was absolutely livid, flying around the room like Blanche, mid-breakdown in Streetcar.

Now I don’t want to shade my love Jiffy-Pop Probst or throw about claims of jealousy of my throbbing crush on Malcolm … but how could they line up this twist and think it wasn’t going to end this way? Poor Malcolm was not felled by Sierra and Tai’s idol at a jaw-dropping tribal, but rigga morris by Jeff concerned about my weekly Malc-erotica fan-fiction.

Thankfully we had each other – and oh (in maybe just my mind) did we have each other – and a shit tonne of hella comforting Malcolm Freburgers.

 

 

Full disclosure, these babies are a hybrid of the many different In’n’Out Animal Style Double Double copycat recipes available online … because like Malcolm, In’n’Out are the absolute best and you want them to fill you up on the daily. Multiple times.

Simple, fresh and an absolute classic … these will become a staple of comfort eating menu. And are perfect for the man who was absolutely screwed by a shitty twist as hard poor Michelle Yi … back in OG Fiji.

Enjoy!

 

 

Malcolm Freburger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp sweet pickle/gherkin relish
½ tsp champagne vinegar
4 hamburger buns
American mustard
pickles
iceberg lettuce, shredded
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
8 slices American (or any high-melt) cheese

Method
Squeeze as much liquid out of the mince as possible and place in a large bowl. Add a generous whack of salt and pepper and combine with your hands. Divide into 8 patties, place on a plate lined with cling, cover and place in the fridge for about an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a small pan and cook onions over low heat for half an hour, or until golden and caramelised. Add water as you need to avoid them catching on the bottom and burning.

Set aside.

Combine the mayo, ketchup, relish and vinegar in a jug. Cover and place in the fridge.

Heat a large pan or griddle and brush with vegetable oil. Half the buns and light toast, split side down (obviously). Transfer to a plate and spread the base with some special sauce. The actual special sauce and not Malcolm’s, though …

Lay a couple of slices of tomato on the sauced up bun and top with some lettuce.

Brush the pan with some more oil, if needed, and when searingly hot place the patties on the pan, pushing down with a spatula until they are roughly 1cm thick. Squeeze some mustard on the top and cook for a few minutes. Flip the patties, top with a slice of cheese and cook for a further minute.

Place two patties on each bun, top with some caramelised onion, drizzle seductively with more special sauce and top with the other side of the bun.

Serve with fries, animal style … aka covered with any excess onion, sauce and some American cheese.

Devour.

 

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Tony Nachos

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

Previously – aka minutes ago in viewing time – on Survivor, Sandra continued to be charming, Michaela continued to have killer facial expressions and poor Ciera found herself becoming the first boot of Survivor: Game Changers without having her mum around to vote out in her place.

We opened up at Mana the next day, where Tony announced how bored he was waiting for everyone to start playing the game. Aubry and Tony then convened at the well to put into place arguably the greatest alliance of all time, consisting of them, Malcolm and Sandra aka all the threats. Tony then approached Sandra who confirmed that winners going to the end together was the only way to win twice … which she would know, given she is the only one with a double crown.

Meanwhile over at Nuku, knowing his chances of ever winning are quite slim Tai continued his scam to swindle money from Sia while Debbie – adding pragmatist to her list of titles (I’m counting it as a job) – confirmed that Tai be damned, those chickens will eventually become her dinner. To which country boy JT obviously agreed.

Back at Mana, Tony continued to overplay and returned to digging his spy bunker under the cover of darkness. Sandra and Troyzan then went for a walk to discuss strategy – or tides and their crates’ proximity to the water – sending Tony into hyperdrive and setting off the beginning of the great Sandra vs. Tony feud.

I mean, it wouldn’t be a Sandra season without her feuding with a loud male.

Things were moderately less stressful over at Nuku where Ozzy and JT were getting friendly, terrifying poor sweet Cirie. She then went for a walk to the well with Sarah where they confirmed their allegiance to each other and set off Sarah’s – could it be – winner edit as she confirmed she will be changing her game this time.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Cirie then pulled Zeke and Debbie aside to try and make even more friends that could one day become lovers, or allies. Debbie then reminded us she is a Captain in the civil Air Force – maybe, I’m honestly starting to lose track of her resume and it is only episode 2 – and that she wasn’t falling for Cirie’s charm.

Debbie then added Veterinarian to her list of professions, I assume, given her ability to detect bull shit. *Boom tish*, thank you!

Over at Mana, Sandra continued to dismantle her alliance with Tony and proceeded to pull together a majority alliance in the space of five minutes. The Queen is a Queen for a reason.

The next day Tony then Aubry aside to build a counter-alliance with Malcolm and Caleb. Tony then approached Malcolm to discuss getting rid of Sandra, as she lurked in the background, before Caleb gave us his surprisingly – sorry Caleb – insightful view on the fact you can’t really trust either Sandra or Tony but that Tony was strong and strength was still important on day five.

Wanting to give us a break from the politicking, Jiffy Pop returned for the second immunity challenge where the tribes had to man-handle a big, long, thick snake through an obstacle course. I got distracted around the time Caleb cried out how tight it was …

Once again, despite Malcolm’s best efforts to catch up – and much to Michaela’s chagrin – Nuku won immunity setting off Malcolm’s Matsing PTSD and sending Mana back to tribal council.

Back at camp Sandra and Tony got to work rallying their troops – after a brief frustrated outburst from Michaela, which isn’t as charming as it was last season.

Sandra went with the fact that once Tony is gone, people will calm down … while Tony scurried around for an idol. Hali then made a play for Courtney Yates 2.0 – aka Sandy’s ride or die bestie – and started to work on Caleb and Malcolm. This spooked Tony who then took time away from his busy idol shopping schedule to pull Caleb aside and start working on Michaela to boot Sandra instead.

Not wanting to let Tony down, Caleb approached Michaela and Varner to talk about getting rid of challenge liabilities like Sandra, neglecting to realise that Varner was the sole reason they lost the last challenge.

Queen Sandra then gave us a final pre-tribal speech to confirm that Tony has only won once and that her legacy will speak for itself tonight. Yas Queen … or horrific foreshadowing of her downfall.

At tribal they got to work debating the merits of keeping the strong players, spooking Sandra for the first time in her Survivor career … before she correctly pointed out the fact that the strong people are the reason they lost the first two challenges and fell behind, not her.

Tony then got annoyed at Troyzan for correctly pointing out that Tony was erratic and paranoid. Sandra was then viciously attacked by a bug, terrifying Michaela. Tony then said that he respects the players as they were all game changers before Varner announced that they would be getting rid of the square peg that didn’t fit into their round hole. Which appeared to terrify Sandra and excite – obviously – me.

Thankfully her fears were unfounded as Tony was revealed as the square peg and found himself out of the game as the second boot. Wanting to one up Michaela’s exit last year, Tony proceeded to warn people about blindly following Sandra.

“That’s what you get for plotting against me. That’s what you get, and the Queen stays Queen. That’s what you get and take yo’ ass home. Bye Tony, say hi to Ciera for me” Sandra Diaz-Twine, iconic.

As glad as I was to see my girl win the war, I’m sad it was at the expense of my dear friend Tony who I met whilst training to be a cop in NJ at the turn of the millennium … before milk was flown in by drones.

Despite being expelled from the force for my illegal dealing, Tony and I stayed in touch and he endeavoured to help me see the light and live an honest life. As such, Tone was delighted to see me doing something decent with my life in Ponderosa and gladly accepted a big old bowl of my Tony Nachos.

 

 

I know what you’re thinking – maybe, sometimes – how does this differ to your Keanachu Reeves jerk? For one, no chipotle and two … this is a more relaxed nachos. Single – well probably double given the size of my bowls – serve, comforting, warm and everything you need to help work through the pain of going from Sole Survivor to slayed by the Queen.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tony Nachos
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ batch Chilli Con Kim Carnes
2 avocados
½ lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
bag of corn chips
handful of grated cheese … are you getting the impression this is a lazy
version of nachos?
sour cream, for slatherin’
Sriracha, for drizzlin’

Method
Cook the chilli as per Kimmy’s instructions. While that is simmerin’, mash the avocados and stir through the lemon juice and a whack of salt and pepper. Cover and chill in the fridge until serving.

Once ready, layer for pasta bowls with some corn chips. Top with some chilli and some cheese.

Place the bowls on a baking sheet and place under a medium grill/broiler for five minutes, or until the cheese is melty and delicious.

Remove, top with sour cream, guacamole and sriracha and devour.

 

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Ciera Eastindoori

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

To quote my ex-lover Phil, can you hear it, coming in the air tonight? Oh lord, the sound of conch shells and potential tribal genocide can mean only one thing – SURVIVOR is back top five baby!

My part-time lover then joined the fray and quickly caught us up – 17 years, 33 seasons, all stars, fans, favourites, heroes, villains, blood, water, brains, beauty, brawn, millennials, gen x, yet there is still only one Queen and her name is Sandra.

Jiffy Pop quickly got to work catching us up with the legends – and other people available during filming – returning for another shot at the title. We zeroed in on our brash, llama advocate Tony who claimed to have created the spy shack, a move Sandra successfully utilised in two winning seasons before his one … without the gimmicky name.

My basement flooded to realise that Malcolm was indeed back and he wasn’t just a figment of my sex dreams. I mean, seriously, I was bouncing with anticipation too …

I’ll let Sandra reintroduce herself in her own words – “the Queen stays Queen, adios.”

Cirie got off the couch for the fourth time and reaffirmed her passion for being the smiling assassin and her hope to finally convert her killer gameplay into a victory.  Our tiger swimsuit wearing, ex-model, water technician, farmer, stockbroker, football coach and explorer Debbie then reminded us that she is built for this game – despite looking susceptible to blowing over in the breeze – due to her tenacity of a giant squid.

Oh and my frenemy Culpepper said something? FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER, Probst is on a shipwreck. Can you beat Probst on a shipwreck?! No. No you can’t.

We joined the castaways on a ship where Probst fulfilled his obligation to sell the theme, no matter how much of a stretch it was – remember the milk drones of Millennials vs. Gen X? – saying that everyone was selected because of their willingness to make game changing moves. Though when he mentioned “some of you made subtle moves,” he looked like he died a little inside.

Continuing to get reacquainted, Ozzy shared that he still has nightmares about losing money – make another Playboy Channel movie, surely that pays – JT proclaimed Sandra won’t be the only two time winner, Cirie gave her first chuckle of the season saying he was wrong and Zeke geeked out.

My boy then split them into their two tribes, where he screwed Cirie hard by sticking her with two well known nemeses. Let’s hope this is a beginning of a supreme underdog edit?

Wanting to change the game, Jiffy Pop offered the tribes an opportunity to win a massive toolkit for the first person to swim out to a bouy and untie knots. Echoing the audience, Malcolm saw zero point in going for this given the fact that Ozzy is part dolphin and would definitely win. That being said, bless Caleb for trying. Bless.

And with that, they were off with Debbie added wrestler to her resume and body-slammed Malcolm into the deck of the boat. Tai stole chickens from Ciera and Sandra before said chickens attempted to drown him as they dived off the ship together. Clearly none of them were fans of becoming Mark 2.0.

We arrived at Mana, where Tony immediately ran off looking for the idol speaking llama, while Sandra proved why she is the OG spy who actually invented the spy shack and followed him into the woods with dear Caleb to ensure he didn’t find said idol while Hali appeared to assure us that she is a game changer and is the cobra nobody is thinking about.

Meanwhile Nuku arrived at their camp where Zeke fanboyed at his fellow castaways before they noticed three goats on the hill, hopefully not an omen for things to come at final tribal council. Sarah then congratulated herself for her killer social game, ten minutes into the show and Sierra walked us through the secret advantage Andrea repeatedly walked over during the entire marooning.

(FYI, it is a legacy advantage eligible at final 13 or 6).

Sierra then continued her play as Wentworth 2.0 and approached Brad and Ozzy about forming an alliance to target Cirie. Though let’s be honest here, Sierra’s real game changing move is that make-up that just won’t come off.

Cirie then approached Ozzy about their past – where she brutally blindsided him while he was at his peak cockiness – to ensure he wasn’t entering the game with any baggage. Despite claiming they were cool, he then wandered off with Tai to tell him he wasn’t sure about Cirie. Tai being Tai then went and told Cirie she should try and clear the air. Obviously Cirie questioned this, terrifying and confusing Tai who just stood paralysed by shock.

But can we please get the screenshot of Tai’s confused face as a meme? Contact meme corp, I need this asap.

The next day Tony ran off again, this time looking to build a spy bunker, which I assume will be as successful as the sunken shelter Rupert built in All Stars. Thankfully he was caught lying down in his half-dug grave by Troyzan, hopefully putting a kibosh on the bunker.

Ciera then quickly appeared, surprisingly not to talk BIG MOVEZ, but to give her extremely insightful analysis of what was happening and announced that everyone should target Tony and Caleb, to put an end to their burgeoning bromance and Tony’s always possible idol.

Sadly for Ciera, that isn’t what Malcolm wanted, knowing he needs a meat shield, putting her in danger.

But before anything further could happen, Jiffy Pop returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where seven members of each tribe had to paddle out to a platform in the ocean, someone had to swim for some keys, everyone on the platform then mounted a box before traversing an obstacle course back to the shore.

They then had to dig some holes – awkward for Caleb, given the history – before, obviously, complete a puzzle.

Given their was swimming involved and Ozzy is in the cast, Nuku took an early lead that despite the locks not laying down for Debbie like lovers, never really disappeared as Cirie and her biggest fan Zeke secured immunity.

Let’s run stats here – this is the first first immunity Sandra has ever lost and the third for both Varner and Malcolm. Conversely this is the first first challenge Cirie has won in her four seasons. So yay for Cirie?

Back at camp Varner lamented his shocking track record before deciding they need to target the weakest off the threats, which Aubry and Tony decided was Ciera. Sandra, continuing her Queendom was asked to put a name out there, to which she affirmed her winning strategy and told them to tell her the names and she’ll tell them how she feels.

Slay, queen.

Of course, Ciera “she voted out her mom” Eastin then arrived at the pre-tribal pow-wow, causing everyone to splinter and discuss the vote in smaller groups. Not having the luxury of viewing her first season before playing a second, Michaela discovered that Ciera thought everyone was targeting her instead resulting in her epic sass, which may not fly on an All Stars season.

Almost like the sass manifested her, Queen Sandra then dropped by to tell us that Ciera was always an easy target and that maybe booting Michaela and her less charming attitude was the better idea.

It was then – obviously – that we arrived at tribal where Tony’s craziness was addressed, Malcolm continued to be dreamy, Caleb and Michaela addressed their unknown entity status before Sandra continued to display why she is the only two time winner … before Hali then quoted Sandra and terrified Ciera as they went to vote.

Sadly for Ciera, her trend to double her previous placement continued and she found herself exiting the game as the first boot. (For those playing at home, that means Ciera will only play again if there is a season of 40 people. She would again be the first boot).

As you know, we’ve long been friends with the badass Eastin-Moretts and you just know that there was no one Ciera would rather see, after suffering the indignity of becoming a first boot.

While we usually go for something sweet, I thought Ciera needed something with a bit of a kick to cheer her up so went with her Ciera Eastindoori Chicken. And hey, she may have been the first boot … but she was also the first castaway to have two recipes, so you win some I guess?

 

 

Spicy, soothing and with a little bit of fire, this perfectly reflects the beat qualities of my dear, dear friend. Plus, there is raita involved so you can’t lose.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ciera Eastindoori
Serves: 4-6 … or, you know the drill, a disappointed first boot and her dear friend.

Ingredients
1kg chicken thigh fillets
½ cup tandoori paste
¼ cup natural yoghurt
2 cups long grain rice
1 tsp ground turmeric
raita and coriander leaves, to serve

Method
Combine the tandoori paste and yoghurt in a bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight … or as long as possible, if you were unaware your friend would get the boot.

The next day, preheat oven to 180°C.

Once the oven is nice and hot, place the chicken on a lined baking sheet and cook for about twenty minutes or until cooked through and browned on top.

Rinse the rice until water runs clean, place it in a large saucepan with the turmeric and 3 cups of water, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about ten minutes or until the water is just absorbed.

Serve the chicken on a bed of rice with an extremely generous dollop of raita. I mean, this was for a first boot ok? Then devour.

 

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Carbonaras Bascakas

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys can you believe there is just under a week until Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands premieres?!

As excited as I am to see Sandra’s likely triumphant return, I am getting concerned that the blogs apparent hex – see: all the deaths I caused last year and Bob Harper’s heart attack as proof – may cause her to finally have her torch snuffed.

I don’t know if I want to live in that world, you know?

Anyway, my fears really started to get to me so I reached out to my calmest bestie / Survivor victor / total babe Aras Baskauskas.

As you know, Annelie and I met Aras through his (also babin’) big brother Vytas. Depsite them not agreeing to a double wedding, we helped Aras get on Survivor: Panama and helped him navigate the insanity of Casaya by spilling incorrect information to Shane on his island Blackberry … and calling the whambulance for Terry.

After his win, I helped Aras write his debut – and surprisingly beautiful, FYI – album before encouraging him to fulfill Annelie and my wish to see those beautiful boys together on Survivor for the OG / Game Changing, Blood vs. Water.

Sadly they didn’t completely fulfill our wish by competing completely nude in an homage to Dickie Hatch.

Aras and I haven’t been able to catch up much lately, what with me busy galavanting around the globe with Probsty, Jo-Jo LaPags and being sickening with RuPaul and co, so it was such a treat to continue to lay low (post #Envelopegate, obvi) with my beautiful friend.

Knowing the target that comes with being a returning winner, Aras knows Sandy has an uphill battle but agrees that her open, loyal reputation should keep her safe for the first few rounds.

Plus – she is sassy as fuck AND entertaining, so it should keep people on side for a while.

We also agree that Tony is toast and JT’s Heroes vs.Villains blunder should protect him for a few rounds.

With that our countdown discussions concluded, we went for a quick skinny dip at Santa Monica and returned home to split a delightful Carbonaras Bascakas.

 

carbonaras-bascakas-1

 

Yes – this is based off the glorious cake in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas cookbook. Sadly I didn’t have any leftovers when I dropped by Aras’ crib, so I fancied up the recipe and – dare I say it – made it even better.

Aras’ beauty deserves no less – enjoy!

 

carbonaras-bascakas-2

 

Carbonaras Bascakas
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g dried spaghetti
olive oil
250g pancetta, thinly sliced.
4 eggs
300ml double cream
1 tbsp chilli flakes
zest of a lemon
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
200g parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease the base of a springform cake tin with oil.

Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions, drain and leave to cool slightly in a colander while you fry the pancetta until lightly crisped.

Combine the eggs, cream, chilli and zest in a large bowl with a good whack of pepper and whisk together. Add the spaghetti, pancetta, rosemary leaves and most of the cheese to the bowl and toss to coat.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the base of the pan, pour in the pasta – at this point I sprinkle with further cheese – place the tin on a baking tray and bake for about half an hour, or until golden and delicious.

Allow to rest for five minutes before detinning, carving and devouring.

 

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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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Gabriel Mash

A decade of saying so, Side, Vegetarian

So you know how everyone loves Suits / Harvey Specter and (apparently) hates Because I Said So? Well in your face, I don’t (well, haven’t gotten around to) watch Suits … and would argue that the latter is my dear friend Gabriel Macht’s best work.

Ever. And forever. I mean, it will go down as the pinnacle of his acting skill.

Despite having known of Gabriel since his guest appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City, we really connected after he married my dear friend and Brisbane local Jacinda Barrett.

Given how busy he is with Suits, I haven’t been able to see much of Gabe lately so it was such a treat that he could take the time to drop by and catch up. (Particularly given I needed a fifth and couldn’t ask Stephen Collins, obviously).

“Ben – I know you think Because I Said So was my best work (and I fear that it is just when you thought I was looking my prettiest), but you need to try Suits. It is great … “

“You just aren’t selling me Gabe. Carrie couldn’t convince me to try Star Wars before her death and you wo … “

“I look really good in a suit.”

“Ok, I’m listening … “

After we got that wee negotiation out of the way, Gabe and I were able to get to the real work of celebrating the cinematic masterpiece that is Because I Said So while downing – sadly from a bowl, rather than off our bodies – a big serve of my Gabriel Mash.

 

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Now I know, I know – we had a mash for last year’s Gilmore Girls celebration! But mash is the co-best form that potato can come in and therefore we can have multiple flavour combinations … like fries, ok?

Oh and buckle up – because this creamy, spiced parmesan version will knock your socks off. I mean, I was going for pants … but socks will do (if you have a foot fetish).

Enjoy!

 

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Gabriel Mash
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ – ½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Rinse the potato in a pot of cold water until the water runs clear. Fill the pot with cold water and a generous pinch of salt, cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for about five-ten minutes, or until just soft all the way through.

Drain the potato and place in a large bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and nutmeg, and beat on medium with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes. Once combined, reduce speed to low and slowly pour in the milk until it is at your desired consistency. Finally add the parmesan, season to taste and give one final stir.

Serve with Steak Diane Keaton or direct from the bowl.

 

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Baked Zeki Smith

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the Gen X war came to a head with Jess and Chris battling to stay, with Jess’ side winning the battle as Chris found his way out of the game. Sadly for Jess though, it was a double episode and despite the battle lines being redrawn between Zeke and David, with the votes deadlocked between Zeke and Hannah and Jess being rock-of-doomed out of the game.

It was brutal and sad and I’m still struggling to process it. Thankfully, however, it means that Ken is now the proud owner of the unknown Legacy Advantage.

We arrived back at camp where Hannah seemed to be experiencing the same levels of post-rock PTSD that I am. Although I guess she has the addition of guilt, and was there, so hers is probably more justifiable.

After Hannah calmed herself, David lamented his bad luck while Zeke rallied his troops for a very, very cocky display. But surely this episode won’t follow the saying win the battle, lose the war – right?

Probst opted to appear quickly – I assume concerned by my thirst as Kengel and his torso wandered around post Legacy Advantage – to announce it was time for the loved ones visit. So yep, now my face is as flooded as my basement.

I mean, seriously, how do you not cry hearing Adam ask about his sick mother … and then announce, through tears, that he couldn’t bare to use his advantage. Then Ken started talking about how he idolised his brother. And then Zeke’s dad saying he looked up to Zeke and that he was his hero – fuck.

FUCK – why am I showing human emotion?

Oh … and then they had a challenge where they were tethered to a rope and had to flip through an obstacle course. I couldn’t see through my damn tears but Jay took it out and moved by Adam’s promise not to steal the reward, opted to share it with him, Will and Sunday. Breaking my damn heart, again.

In return Adam gave him the reward steal advantage which is a great move considering the advantage is actually a huge disadvantage. And he still got to go on reward and get an update on his mother.

Again … my damn fucking heart. Honestly there is nothing to be said, seeing Adam breakdown was horrible particularly knowing that she sadly passed away after filming.

The next day David, Will and Adam quickly got our heads back in the game as Will decided he was sick of being treated like a kid – which technically, he is – and told them he wanted to make a move and flip to their side to send Zeke home.

Wanting to keep our spirits on the up and up, Probst quickly returned for the immunity challenge where they had to keep a tight grip on a firm rod to stop it penetrating a surface. While the fact that it sounds amazingly smutty would normally be enough, it forced Ken to tense his bare chest and torso – yes, it was a home fucking run. Despite the fact Adam took out immunity instead of my Kengel.

Back at camp Adam was feeling confident with immunity, his idol and the fact Will was looking to flip. Sensing David and Co’s serenity, Zeke started to get paranoid and decided to flip their vote from David to Ken.

Kengel and Will then sent for a pow-wow, much to Will’s annoyance – meaning Will, a child, is dead to me. Will then told Ken that Zeke’s group were now planning to vote him out, Ken then pulled Jay aside to confirm it was the case.

Then Will followed … and then Zeke … and then Sunday, before Will laid out all of his plans to build his resume.

Obviously that pissed off everyone – and firmed up Ken as an unlikely goat for the final three – leading to Hannah and David’s vote returning to the table with Ken and Zeke as we headed to tribal council.

Once there, James Earl Jones Jnr. called everyone out for their agism as the sides went back and forth appealing to him, to pick their side.

Thankfully – for Hannah, David, Ken and Adam at least – Will did decide to flip, rendering Adam’s (kinda)successfully played crotch idol (on the four Hannah votes, FYI) pointless – but hey, at least it drove home, really hard and deep, the phallocentric innuendo for the episode – sending my dear friend Zeke to Ponderosa.

I first met Zeke in 2014 after joining his gay, all-male improv group ‘Judith’ – given our passion for Survivor, friendship was inevitable and our best-friendship quickly blossomed. While he was super bummed to get the boot, he was thankful to see me there to cheer him up and run through the ways he could have changed his game up over a hearty Baked Zeki Smith.

 

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There is nothing more comforting than a baked ziti – particularly in the tropical heat – rich, spicy and slathered in cheese, it is the perfect way to pull you out of a post-boot depression.

Zeke thinks it is a culinary game changer – enjoy!

 

baked-zeki-smith-2

 

Baked Zeki Smith
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
500g Italian sausage, removed from casings
500g beef mince
4 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground sage
1 tbsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
500g dried ziti (or penne if you’re stuck in Australia)
500g ricotta
500g mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
1 egg
handful fresh parsley and basil, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sweat for a couple of minutes, or until soft. Add the sausage and mince, and cook until browned. Drain of any excess fat – don’t be too particular about it as the glorious fat as the glorious flavour, said the future Biggest Loser contestant.

Add the tomatoes, herbs and a good whack of salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour. Remove from the heat and ladle out a few cups of sauce to a large bowl to cool separately.

Preheat oven to 180°C and cook the pasta as per packet instructions, minus a minute or two – you want the pasta to be just al dente. Run it under cold water and allow to drain completely.

In a new bowl, mix the ricotta, most of the mozzarella, parmesan, egg and a whack of salt and pepper until just combined.

Add the pasta and removed tomato sauce  to the cheese mixture and stir thoroughly.

Add half the pasta to the bottom of a large baking dish, top with half the meat sauce, top with the remaining pasta … and then, you guessed it, top with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Chuck it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and molten. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes. Top with remaining herbs and devour.

 

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Scott Batsit Bake

Halloween, Main, Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Where do I begin with my dear friend Scott Adsit? After meeting at Second City in the late 80s, we quickly became friends … until his superior talent led to him landing a role in the permanent cast over me in the 90s leading to an epic feud, second only to Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

While I quickly moved on from missing out on the role, it took me a far longer time to end our one-sided feud – it snowballed beyond what even I would consider rational. Eventually we landed in the same room in the early 00s when he guested on Friends – I was part of Jen An’s entourage at the time (I really must catch her soon), leading to my time with Judah.

My dear friend Denise Richards – whom I also need to catch-up with – was guesting in the same episode, heard of our beef and worked overtime to clear the air between us and help us heal. The woman is an absolute miracle worker – I mean between this and Charlie Sheen, she should be sainted – and we were able to mend the rift and have been friends ever since.

When Teens and I sat down to start working on 30 Rock – did I mentioned I ghost-co-created the show? – we knew there was only one person who could play the role of Pete. He was also up for a part in Sorkie’s West Wing follow up, so I did a bit of covert sabotage to ensure Teens’ show would get its man.

Obviously don’t ever tell Teens or Scott, ok?

Our time spent together on the 30 Rock set after my life ban from actual 30 Rock was lifted would have to go down as the greatest period of my life, as we fully reconnected and got back to the friendship we had when we were both starting out, all that time ago in the 80s.

I haven’t had the chance to see much of Scott lately, with him busy recurring in the Deadpool comics and becoming the modern Disney icon that is Baymax, so it was wonderful to be able to take some time out to reconnect and scare the absolute shit out of one another. FYI, that is kind of our thing.

Want to play into our scaring contest in a low key way, I obviously set about whipping up a deceptively wicked Scott Batsit Bake.

 

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What appears to be a sweet, delicate pasta bake made to resemble the corpses of albino bats, is actually a fiery death-trap, hotter than molten lava.

Let me tell you, it scared him going in … and sure as hell gave him a fright when it came out.

Enjoy – it may be hot, but it is also freaking delicious … promise!

 

scott-batsit-bake-2

 

Scott Batsit Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g bow-tie pasta
2 extra hot chorizos, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
400g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ tsp dried oregano
pinch of raw caster sugar
¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chilli paste or hot sauce … or more, if trying to scare your friend (or less if you hate chilli)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and cook pasta as per packet instructions, drain and set aside.

While they are getting freaky, add the chopped chorizo to a large pan over medium heat and fry until cooked through and the smoky oil is released. Add the garlic and onion and cook for a further minute or two. Stir through the tomatoes, paste, oregano, sugar, olives, mushroom and chilli, and cook for a further five minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, season generously and stir through the pasta. When you’re just about to transfer to a baking dish, also stir through half of the mozzarella to ensure you have plenty of spooky cobwebs throughout, while eating. Then, obviously, transfer to a baking dish.

Top with the remaining cheeses and bake for half an hour, or until bubbling – like a cauldron – and crisp.

Devour … with more hot sauce, if you dare.

 

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