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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Nico Tortellini

Main, Pasta

Sorry for the delay with this week’s recipe, I am only just coming down from my wonderful week at a private villa with Nico. While it was only meant to be a friendly catch-up between friends, Nico is truly intoxicating … and like Joni Mitchell, I couldn’t help but drink a case of him.

As you know, I first met Neeks through Mich and Corbs on the set of the egregiously shortlived TBL, and while I’d love to say it were his brains and many talents that drew me to him, our sexual chemistry is what brought us together.

Thankfully it didn’t take long for me to see him as the kind, wise and talented individual that he is, and we became friends after being lovers. Which kinda flips Bolton’s rule, no?

Anyway … let’s get to the good stuff. I picked Nico up from the airport, it was hot and humid and we drove to a private villa not far from the scene of the cage-fighting accident with Miley that rendered Annelie out of action on here.

We swam, we laughed and we literally ticked all the boxes. It was, as you would expect, glorious.

When it came to nightfall, we were absolutely ravenous for something carby and glorious, that could easily be eaten off a body Samantha-in-SATC-style. Which meant I obviously went for a Nico Tortellini.

 

 

“It is so thoughtful,” he said as I brought it to the table.

“Creamy, hot and spicy, and packed full of sausage – it is everything this week has been.”

Enjoy!

 

 

Nico Tortellini
Serves: 4-6 … or 2 starved lovers on Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients
1 cup ricotta
½ cup emmental
½ cup grana padano
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg, lightly whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
60 gow gee wrappers
olive oil
6 spicy Italian sausages, excluding your lover’s
3 garlic cloves, minced
small handful mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 cups baby spinach
300ml double cream
½ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Method
Combine the ricotta, emmental and grana padano cheeses in a bowl with the nutmeg, egg and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Grab your gow gee wrappers, a pastry brush and a half-filled mug of water. Spoon out a large teaspoon of mixture into the centre of each gow gee wrapper, lightly brush the edges with water and fold the pastry in half leaving you with a filled semicircle. Take the two edges and turn them into to each other and press together to form a large tortellini … because I love his large tortellini.

Once they’re all ready, get a big pot of salted water boiling over high heat. When bubbling as aggressively as your chemistry, add the pasta and cook for five minutes, or until they are all floating. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

While the pasta are cooking, heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and push meatball-sized pieces of meat out of the sausage and cook for a couple of minutes, or until they’re all cooked. Add the garlic and mushroom and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the mushies are softening and the kitchen fragrant. Add the chilli, sundried tomatoes, spinach and double cream and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and season well.

Return the tortellini to the pasta pan, pour over the sauce and toss until well covered. Serve immediately, in a bowl, on your sexy lover or both, the latter two after they’ve adequately cooled, ovbi.

Sprinkle with even more cheese – sausage’s best accompaniment – and devour.

 

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Neneeish Leakes Tart

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Someone call Olivia Pope y’all, because I’ve got a scandal on my hands! Now I don’t mean to take away from my friendship with NeNe – because let’s be honest, I was balls deep on a back catalogue of leeks recipe awaiting her arrival to this patch of cyberspace – but a damned celebrity has taken issue with how I documented our catch-up.

Disrespectful and offensive. Two words that I have never had thrown my way, callously thrown in a jealous rage for showing an untouched photo of post meal euphoria? Nope. No. Hells no, not today satan. I don’t want to name names because I am mature and kind, by Mannie Bonox can go eat a bag of rotten dicks.

Restraining order or not, I called my fave smear artists and decided to exact my ultimate revenge … by doing an even better version of her recipe with a far better celebrity who is way more fun, far more entertaining and actually delightful. Even better, she doesn’t count herself as an Oscar winner for simply riding the LOTR train when it swept the pool like a loser. Let’s be honest, it should have gone to Eug and Cath’s song from A Mighty Wind.

Anyway … this isn’t about the <redacted stupid bitch that didn’t like mock-cream on her face>, it is about the absolute divine friend of mine, with the juiciest peach known to man – my girl NeNe Leakes!

I first met Neens through my dear friend Bey whilst they were filming The Fighting Temptations. While her scenes were cut from the film, she was an absolute laugh riot … and I realised that I want to live a colourful life, rather than a beige one. Because Neens is probably the most exciting person I know.

Aaaaaaaaannnnyyyway, Neens was thrilled to drop by a catch-up, make-up for my turd ex-friends slight and celebrate the fact that for a decade, she has been one of the four queens of the Real Housewives … with Lisa, and two v. obvs others. To her, having a Neneenish Leakes Tart wasn’t a second place, it was a chance to reclaim the recipe from a buzzkillington for a friend that she loves. And that is why NeNe Leakes is the greatest person to ever grace the planet ever.

 

 

As I tried to mention the first damn time I tried this recipe, I have a passionate aversion to mock cream – which is weird, given my love of butter – so this isn’t the most traditional of neenish tarts. But I would argue, that is what makes it so damn good. Sweet and tangy, with a pastry that melts in your mouth. Sign me up to this goodness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Neneeish Leakes Tart
Makes: 12-16 individual tarts.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus more for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
raspberry jam, to taste
2 cups icing sugar
½ cup condensed milk
⅓ cup butter, at room temperature
lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp water
a few drops of pink food colouring

Method
Chuck the flour and icing sugar in a food processor and quickly blitz to remove any lumps. Add the butter and blitz until it just starts to come together. Add the egg and blitz again. If it isn’t coming together, add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time, blitzing after each addition. Once formed, shape into a disc, cover in cling and place in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Dust a clean bench and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 4mm thick. Cut into 12-16 rounds with a cookie cutter, and place into mini-tart pans. Trim off any excess dough and prick the base with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake for ten-fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Spread about a teaspoon of jam into the base of each tart and place in the fridge while you work on the filling. On that, combine half a cup of icing sugar with the condensed milk, butter and juice and zest of the lemon, mixing until smooth. You could use a stand mixer if you want, but aggressive utilisation of a wooden spoon – which should be an award show category, TBH – will work just as well.

Divide the filling between the tart cases, smooth the surface and return to the fridge for half an hour, to set.

Combine the remaining icing sugar with the water and stir until smooth. Split it between two bowls, adding the cocoa to one and the food colouring to another. If either is too runny, add some more icing sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Spread half of each tart with chocolate icing, and return to the fridge to set for fifteen minutes. Spread the other side with the pink icing, return to the fridge and set … before devouring the lot.

 

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%^neenish Tart #$!(*&

Baking, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Party Food, Snack, Sweets

After a long, busy week celebrating the Grammys with this year’s Grammy Gold, Goldenade, and spending time with my dear friends Whits, Burt, Tom, Madge and Jim, we’ve finally reached the end of the road. And there is no one I’d rather mark the grand finale with, than the divine [redacted].

I was meant to have [redacted] over for last year’s Grammy Gold celebrations but ran out of time, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to make it up to her this year.

I’ve known [redacted] since the late ‘70s, when she and [redacted] were part of [redacted]. After breaking backstage at a concert, I convinced them that they were carrying the others and to leave the band if they wanted to achieve greatness. Cut to a few years later and the [redacted] were a success and they released the hit song [redacted] … which was coincidentally written about me.

As always, you’re welcome. For that, and encouraging her to release a [redacted].

Anyway, we’ve got a lot to cover today so I’m going to jump straight into the odds, lest you miss your bookies. I think Best New Artist will go to Khalid – [redacted], obvs thinks it will go to Alessia Cara. We agree that song of the year will go to Despacito, despite the fact it should have been released the way I wrote it … as a celebration of the great Jennifer Esposito. Album of the Year we’re tipping for Lorde and Record of the Year will go to Childish Gambino, even though it is likely Jay-Z or Kendrick Lamar Odom’s to lose. Donald Glover is just my zaddy.

With all that out of the way, and us well and truly caught up on each other’s lives there was only one thing left to do. And that, obvi, was to smash some [redacted]nenish Tart [redacted].

Now I have a passionate aversion to mock cream – which is weird, given my love of butter – so this isn’t the most traditional of neenish tarts. But I would argue, that is what makes it so damn good. Sweet and tangy, with a pastry that melts in your mouth. Sign me up to this goodness.

Enjoy!

[redacted]neenish Tart [redacted]
Makes: 12-16 individual tarts.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups plus 50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed plus cup at room temperature
1 egg, beaten
raspberry jam, to taste
½ cup condensed milk
lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp water
a few drops of pink food colouring

Method
Chuck the flour and 50g icing sugar in a food processor and quickly blitz to remove any lumps. Add the cubed butter and blitz until it just starts to come together. Add the egg and blitz again. If it isn’t coming together, add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time, blitzing after each addition. Once formed, shape into a disc, cover in cling and place in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Dust a clean bench and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 4mm thick. Cut into 12-16 rounds with a cookie cutter, and place into mini-tart pans. Trim off any excess dough and prick the base with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake for ten-fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Spread about a teaspoon of jam into the base of each tart and place in the fridge while you work on the filling. On that, combine half a cup of icing sugar with the condensed milk, butter and juice and zest of the lemon, mixing until smooth. You could use a stand mixer if you want, but aggressive utilisation of a wooden spoon – which should be an award show category, TBH – will work just as well.

Divide the filling between the tart cases, smooth the surface and return to the fridge for half an hour, to set.

Combine the remaining icing sugar with the water and stir until smooth. Split it between two bowls, adding the cocoa to one and the food colouring to another. If either is too runny, add some more icing sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Spread half of each tart with chocolate icing, and return to the fridge to set for fifteen minutes. Spread the other side with the pink icing, return to the fridge and set … before devouring the lot.

 

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Tyramen Banks

America's Next Top Model, Main, Poultry, Soup

Oh my GOD – you would not believe the week I have had! I was quietly resting off a post-boozing-with-Cath hangover on Thursday morning, minding my own business, when I received a call from my dear friend Tyra Banks.

“Ben, just wanted to check when your recap of our premiere would go live?”

I stayed quiet, hoping she would think I wasn’t there.

“Ben … Ben … BEN?”

“Um, you see, I wasn’t actu … ”

“I was rooting for you. We were ALL rooting for you.

“Tyra, you never invited me out to set so I couldn’t …

“Stop talking. Ben, stop talking. Be quiet, be quiet … STOP. I have never yelled at a friend like this before. I know you have a time machine, I
know zthat isn’t an excuse. I want us to work together to become next level fierce.

“When I yell at a friend like this it is because I care … “

“Sorry Tyra, I’ve got another call coming through. It is Naomi, she wants to … “

“Ben,” she said as sweetly as possible. “I love you, you’re fierce, you make me smize, you pop. Maybe I should pop … on the next plane and we should reconnect and discuss making this all work.”

True to her word, my girl Tyra arrived on my doorstep the next day, held me in her arms, apologised for yelling at me. Given we’re such old dear friends – we met whilst supermodelling, obvi – and the fact I was pretty cold bringing up Naomi Campbell, I forgave her. And yeah, I guess you could say this is happening. ANTM is joining the ranks of Survivor, Australian Survivor, Drag Race and Survivor New Zealand, and getting the whole culinary condolence treatment … and our friendship is renewed.

That, I guess, is the soothing power of my Tyramen Banks.

 

 

Crazy hot with a little bit of sweetness, this baby is everything you want from a ramen. And is super easy to whip up, making it look like you’ve been planning it for ages. Because I was, Ty, I was.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyramen Banks

Serves: 2.
Ingredients

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp tamari
400g egg noodle
500g chicken breasts
1L chicken stock
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
½ cup bean sprouts
½ red capsicum, finely sliced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the soy, tamari, minder ginger and chilli in a large bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and leave to marinate for about eight hours or so. Or while you’re at work, for example.

Preheat the oven to 180C and prep all the ingredients.

When you’re ready to go, place the chicken on a lined baking tray and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile bring two saucepans of water to the boil and cook the eggs until soft in one, and the ramen noodles per packet instructions in another.

And in a third saucepan, cook the chicken stock and sriracha over medium heat until piping hot.

To serve, place the noodles on the bottom of your bowl, pour over the chilli stock and top with bean sprouts, capsicum, spring onion and chilli. Slice the chicken on an angle and place over the top before breaking the eggs in half and adding them to the bowl.

Garnish with coriander and a wedge of lime. Squeeze said lime in the broth before devouring, and curing all that ails ya.

 

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Halifax Danair Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Side, Snack

While my boy Eug plays a wonderful straight man, Cath is the Queen and Ems plays the voice of the audience to absolute perfection, my boy Dan is the true heart and soul of Schitt’s Creek. Though maybe I am biased as he based the character on his oldest friend – me!

As you know – though may struggle to comprehend because of the multiple timelines inplace – I have been friends with his dad and the wider Levy family for decades. Dan, Sarah – who I tragically couldn’t fit in due to another celebration happening next week (you won’t want to wait, promise) – and I grew up together like three peas in a pod. On the assumption that three peas can fit in one pod, obvi.

It was difficult to stay in contact with my constant disappearance to rehab, other countries or being on the lam, but Dan – bless his cotton socks – always tracked me down and we enjoyed a wonderful friendship as pen pals when we couldn’t be together.

Was there an undeniable sexual chemistry? Sure. Did we act on it? Shockingly no … at least on my part. Is that because we look like we could pass as brothers with our stubble, thick brows and militant feyness? Potentially, though that is another drawcard

That being said, I am glad we’re yet to complicate our relationship by going down that route as he truly is one of my dearest friends. He is sweet, smart as a whip, funny as hell and created one of the best sitcoms on TV. And that has nothing to do with me wanting a part on the series. Not even when I got him cast opposite my girl Teens.

Anyway, Dan was thrilled to be able to make the trip down under – not to my down under – and toast to another fantastic season. And that was before he saw me whipping out my version of the Nova Scotian classic, Halifax Danair Levy.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that fills me with more joy that seeing a big piece of meat slide into a warm, fresh bun, covered heartily with a tonne of special sauce … and filled with tomato, onion and lettuce. Where did you think I was going with that?

Anyway, enjoy sickos!

 

 

Halifax Danair Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
5 garlic cloves, minced, four for the meat, one for the sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
370ml evaporated milk
2-3 tbsp raw caster sugar, to taste
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 onion, diced, plunged in iced water and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
8 Pita Andre Breads

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.


Place the mince, four cloves of garlic, herbs, spices and egg in a large bowl, and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape like a large meatloaf, place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

While your meat is doing its thang, combine the evaporated milk, remaining garlic and sugar in a small bowl. Gradual whisk in the vinegar until combined and just starting to thicken.

Slice the meat into thin – 3mm-ish – slices. Toast the pita on either side of a warmed skillet and fill with meat, donair sauce, onions and tomatoes … and then devour, messily.

 

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Pierogene Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, Vegetarian

Given I am close with the entire cast of Schitt’s Creek, it was extremely difficult to decide who to bestow the honour of kicking off my celebration honouring their return to the screen. But like my girl Hizza Clinton before me, I am known for making hard choices when I need to, so picked up the phone to call the delightful Eugene Levy first.

I mean, it is only fitting that I kicked off the party with Eugene as he is the person I have known the longest. Eug and I first met whilst a part of Second City, Toronto and by a part of, I was his stand in when blocking performances given our eerily similar appearances.

While we drifted apart when I was deported from Canada – and therefore unable to appear on SCTV – we reconnected again in the ‘90s through my dear friend Tars. I was part of her entourage on the set of American Pie to get closer to Chris Klein – it was the ‘90s – but I was so thrilled to see Eug again that I abandoned my lust for Chris, and instead focused on making up for the lost years of our friendship.

Despite being extremely busy with other publicity commitments, he was so excited to come down under and mark season four in culinary form with his dearest friend.

“Ben, you really need to come visit when we’re filming next season. I could see Alexis having a long-lost twin and you have the perfect nature to pull off the role!”

“Eug, my love, I don’t know. I’m super busy at the moment, but it truly makes a lot of sense.”

Now I can’t tell you how that conversation ended for upcoming contractual reasons – hell, I shouldn’t have even mentioned how it began – I can tell you that my v. Canadian Pierogene Levy were the perfect snack to toast season four … and beyond.

 

 

Like Eugene, these babies are the perfect comforting slash celebratory snack. Warm and fluffy, and packed full of carb-y, cheesy goodness, you need to get these in your belly ASAP.

Warm apple pie my arse (… which is another embarrassing story of mine for another time).

Enjoy!

 

 

Pierogene Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg potato
6 shallots, roughly cut
200g ricotta cheese
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Peel and cut the potatoes quarters and place in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until just tender, about five-ten minutes depending on their size. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a lined baking tray with the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes.

When the aggressive heat from the potatoes has gone, mash them until their mostly smooth. Add the ricotta, cheddar, eggs and a good whack of salt and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined.

To make the pierogis, place the gow gee wrappers on a clean, dry bench and place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre. Brush the edges with water and press the edges together, pleating as you go … to make them look as flash as a rat with gold teeth. Because, obvi.

When they’re all done, bring a large pot with about 1-inch of water to the boil and steam the pierogis for about ten minutes, give or take, or until they’re cooked through.

Devour, greedily, with sour cream or some hot sauce.

 

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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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Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 180C.

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

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

 

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