A Sterling K. Hot Brown waiting to be demolished by Sterling K. Brown himself

Sterling K. Hot Brown

Main, Snack, Street Food

You know how when Randall Pearson is being all dreamy, kind and loving, rather than dismissing Beth and her feelings? Well that is what my dear friend Sterling is like, only better.

I greeted him at the airport, and TBH, it was like a moment out of a rom com. He dropped his bags, ran towards me and lifted me up into the biggest, warmest hug known to man. While I weightlessly spun around the room, I wondered if this was the moment we would fall in love.

He then let me go, patted me on the back and I remembered that we were both happily married, and agreed many years ago, never to let our palpable chemistry get in the way of our beautiful friendship.

We got back to my house where I immediately pummeled him … with questions about This Is Us’ upcoming season, including but not limited to, am I the other parent of Kevin’s child once he comes out and I become his love interest, will Milo show skin like in the pilot and will the Pearsons become less self-absorbed?

He was more non-committal than I liked on the first two, I offended him on the last one, so we agreed to disagree and focus on our beautiful friendship. And smashing a pair of rich, tasty Sterling K. Hot Browns.

 

Sterling K. Brown pensively eating a Sterling K. Hot Brown, pondering our beautiful friendship.

 

While I only recently learned of the majestic hot brown, as soon as it was in my mouth, I knew it had to be dedicated to my lovely Sterl. Warm and comforting, with a big meaty punch (of heart, in his case), there is nothing I want in my mouth more than this. At a meal time.

Enjoy!

 

Sterling K. Brown pensively eating a Sterling K. Hot Brown, pondering our beautiful friendship.

 

Sterling K. Hot Brown
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, fried until crispy
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices sourdough, toasted
8 thin slices turkey
chives, sliced, to garnish

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, Once foamy, add the flour and cook for a minute or so, or until a glorious roux has formed. Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking, before returning to the heat to bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, still stirring, for five minutes, or until thickened. Add half of each cheese, the nutmeg, hot sauce and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

To assemble, place the bread on a lined baking sheet and arrange the turkey and tomato on top. Spread sauce on top of each and finish with the remaining cheeses. Transfer to a grill and cook on medium for a couple of minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Transfer the sandwiches to a plate, top with bacon and chives and then, finally, devour.

 

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Sterling K. Brown looking beautiful in This Is Us.

I wish this was just us

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Do I have good news for you? Not only have I managed to stick around for a second consecutive week, my dear friend Sterling K. Brown is also making himself available for a quick pre-This Is Us season 4 commencement date.

While most people met and instantly fell in love with Sterl in American Crime Story, I’ve known and loved him since his appearance in the little watched Tarzan series in the early noughts.

I was dating Travis Fimmel at the time – and also part of Lucy Lawless’ entourage – but I was completely blown away by Sterl’s talent. And as is oft the case, I vowed to make him a star.

Given he ending up starring as the son of my dear friends Milo and Mandy, I think you can tell that I was successful. What do I make for my hot, hot friend?

Image source: This Is Us / NBC.

 

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Lamby Slidaris

Lamby Slidaris

Burgers, Main, Tapas

What a way to kick off my triumphant return to this anthropological study slash international fashion lifestyle brand!

Ames arrived in full Ronnie Vino look and attitude, dancing her way through my door and into my arms, before launching into a rapid fire greeting as she poured us glasses of wine I swiped from a hotel minibar and left at her house.

“Ben! Thank god you agreed to come back, I was worried about you after your tragic loss but always knew that coming back to you fans would help you heal.

“And to return with a date with me? What an honour!”

But truly the honour is all mine. As you know, I first met Amy through her brother Dave – Annelie and I were department store elves with him. It was this point I invented twerking, which I taught to Miley. Eventually he took us back to Raleigh where we immediately fell in love with the broader Sedari clan, none more than dear Amy.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

Amy’s career has deservedly gone from strength to strength over the years, and while she didn’t hook me and Justin Theroux up after his split from Jen-An and is yet to cast me on At Home, nothing will ever come between us. I mean, at the very least, we will always have Lamby Slidaris.

 

Amy Sedaris preparing to devour a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Inspired by her Greek heritage, though not necessarily Lou Sedaris – or Loudaris, as I’ve tried to turn into his nickname – approved, these little babies are melt in your mouth perfection. The earthy lamb, salt haloumi and the sweet, sweet hit of beetroot work together for a tops tapas treat.

Enjoy!

 

Amy Sedaris smashing a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Lamby Slidaris
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano, roughly chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
100-200g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into
10 Briocher Bünsberg in slider form
¼ – ½ cup Beetrootina Wesley Tzatziki

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine the mince, garlic, oregano, chilli, mint, cumin and coriander in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch until well combined, divide into 10 little patties and flatten on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spread the halloumi slices on a second lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes, or until starting to crisp on the outside.

To assemble your sliders, split the buns – my favourite pastime – lather with beetroot tzatziki, top with the pattie and cheese, and close before smashing. Greedily. Immediately.

 

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So I’m a little bit late this Mon-dee

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

So remember that other time (or two) I said I wouldn’t disappear without a trace for months ever again? Well it happened. But bear with me, ok?

It was all an elaborate plan to fool you into thinking I was on Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders II as a Champion blogger/chef/internet celebrity/philanthripist/ventriloquist/triple threat/model/international lifestyle brand. But alas, nobody even speculated about my inclusion.

Conveniently that long con also coincided with a time in my life where I was struggling and needed to take a step back. My beloved, adorably sassy puppy passed away after an all too brief life and I didn’t want to run the risk of dealing with hate – looking at you, Tyra Sanchez and she who shall not be named – when I lost the unconditional love and high-fives of a 2kg puppy.

Anyway, last week I reached out to global icon Amy Sedaris to congratulate her on her latest Emmy nomination which quickly turned into a pep talk.

“Ben. BEN,” she screeched in her best Mimi Kanasis. “Sweetheart, you need to get back on the internet thing you say isn’t a blog but is clearly just a blog.”

“The anthropological study?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. I love you, illiteracy is hilarious – you know I said that to RuPaul and Michelle that one time – and you need to bring joy to the people by showing them that celebrities make a mess of themselves while eating. We’re like real people.

“I’m on the next plane out, so you better cook up something better than you served David, ok?”

Sooooo, what do I make for my semi-triumphant return?

Image source: TruTV.

 

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Hannimal Style Furess

Four and Three and Two and Done: A Farewell to Broad City, Side, Snack, Street Food, Vegetarian

I thought I was feeling strong, but the close it gets to finale day – three days, ya’ll – it is getting harder and harder to keep an upbeat tone while I prepared to say farewell to the majestic Broad City. (Just ask Abbi and Art)! Which makes it super convenient that Hannibal Buress dropped by, as the man is hilarious.

I mean, he hired a lookalike to attend a film premiere in his place because he couldn’t be bothered going himself. That is a baller, iconic move and I love it.

I’ve known Hannibal for years and years, after meeting in the writers room of another tragically finished show 30 Rock. While his tenure there wasn’t long, his exit coincided with one of my bannings from NBC and he kindly took me under his wing and let me be his hype guy.

Tragically I failed at that job too – apparently hyping oneself isn’t what the job entails – so I was allowed to just hang in his entourage and live my best life.

Maybe I inspire him to send a stand-in to the premiere?

It was so much fun to have a little bit of time with Hannibal and to honour Lincoln and his passion for better dental care. Fun fact: it was actually my suggestion he be a dentist, as a tribute to my grandfather.

Something that isn’t so great on teeth, however, are my copycat Hannimal Style Furess. But we won’t tell Lincoln, ok?

 

 

You know I have a passion for In’N’Out and given their Australian pop-ups never seem to come Brisbane, I have to DIY. Which TBH is both a blessing and a curse because now I can inhale animal style fries as often as I like, in bulk like quantities without judgement. And now you can too.

So enjoy!

 

 

Hannimal Style Furess
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
olive oil
2 onions, diced
¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp sweet pickle/gherkin relish
½ tsp champagne vinegar
4 slices American Cheese

Method
Cook the fries as per Jud’s recipe.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onions for five minutes before reducing to low and caramelising for half an hour or so, adding a small amount of water if needed to deglaze the pan.

Finally mix the mayo, ketchup, pickle and champagne vinegar in a jug and whisk to combine.

To assemble, place the fries in a bowl, sprinkle with caramelised onion, followed by slices of American cheese and finally topping with copious amounts of sauce.

Devour immediately, with a bestie … or without.

 

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Mortadella Reese

Main

It is always with such mixed feelings that I venture back to see my dearly departed friends, like the divine Della Reese. I mean, it is such a joy to see them again but it is also a reminder that the world has lost them.

And a fear that it will lead to a butterfly effect that will see a sequel to The Butterfly Effect reignite Ashton Kutcher’s career. Which is risky AF.

Lucky I understand that with great power, comes great responsibility and I am adept at keeping things in check. Plus – how can you focus on anything but when spending time with a dear friend like Della.

I first met Della in the ‘60s when I got my start as a production intern on the set of her talk show Della. While some talk-show hosts are actually vicious – apparently – Della was nothing but kind and took me under her wing, and as such, I became her most loyal supporter.

Given my passion for Survivor, I decided to go back to the early ‘00s set of Touched By an Angel as I knew it was me running my mouth about the show, that led to Roma and Mark Burnett getting together. So I couldn’t do too much damage.

Plus – TBAA is such a joyous iconic program, that I wanted to see Della in action just one more time. And boy did she deliver! We laughed, we cried and in between takes, we smashed some glorious slices of Mortadella Reese like it was the good old days.

I guess because it was slash is.

 

 

This may come as a shock given my passion for sausage, however this is the first time I’ve attempted this recipe – thanks SBS – but damn am I glad I did. Salty, sweet and smooth, this has fast become my third favourite meat to have in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mortadella Reese
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1–2 full-length natural ox bung or other disgusting sausage casing which is far more terrifying in theory
1 cup sweet red wine
6g ground coriander
1g ground cinnamon
5g mace
10g standard kwikurit, not to be confused with kiwi fruit like when I went shopping
8g powdered gelatine
450ml chilled water
200g hard back pork fat
4.5kg pork shoulder meat
75g salt
125g skim milk powder
1 cup pitted green olives, sliced
25g dried pepperberries

Method
Soak the ox bung in cold water for 1 hour, then rinse well inside and out. Thread onto a sausage nozzle, put it onto a plate and keep in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile bring the wine to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan with the coriander, cinnamon and mace for 20 minutes, until well reduced. Set aside to cool completely.

While this is getting chill, combine the kwikurit and gelatine in a jug with the chilled water, stirring until dissolved. Set aside.

Now start working on the meat by cutting the fat into a 1cm dice, and putting the meat through a 1cm mincer plate into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and milk powder and scrunch to combine. Add the spicy wine and water mixtures, and stir to thoroughly combined. Return through the mincer using a 6mm plate.

Add the fat, olives and pepperberries to the freshly minced bowl and mix until combined. Place in an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill overnight.

Set up the sanitised sausage cannon and fill the bowl with the forcemeat, ensuring not to leave any air pockets, and attach the nozzle to the end of the sausage cannon. Remove the mixture from the fridge and pump the mixture out the end of the nozzle before you tie off the end.

Slowly start to crank the cannon and fill the sausage, guiding the casing out of the cannon as it fills, using your whole hand, onto a clear sterilised work surface. Once it has reached the desired length, stop and tie off the end. Repeat the process until you finish the mixture.

Place the sausage into a smoker after the temperature has reached about 49°C. Smoke heavily, raising the temperature gradually to about 80°C, and hold until the mortadella reaches about 65°C on a digital thermometer. This can take up to 3–4 hours.

Transfer mortadella to the fridge and chill overnight, before slicing and devouring.

 

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Walk With You

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I’ve been quite emotional with the tragic passing of my dear Luke, which got me thinking about all the other angels that have touched my life.

Which in turn reminded me that my dear Della Reese left the world just over a year ago, and I really could have used her support right about now.

As such, I’m backing the delorean out of the garage and heading back to the TBAA days to get some spiritual guidance.

What says I need you to walk with me while I work through this tragic loss, without mentioning said tragic loss and causing a butterfly effect?

Image source: Touched by an Angel.

 

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Lady Gaugamole

Condiment, Dip, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Vegetarian

Despite the fact that she is slaying the award season game with her film debut, my dear friend Lady Gaga will always be the scrappy little recording artist that could. While I irrationally hated Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta from the first moment I saw her, I am so grateful that Tony Bennett was able to talk sense into me and allow the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I mean, 100 of my fellow celebrities had told me that I would love Gaga’s sweet, creative soul but it took just one to get through to me and for that, I will always be grateful to Tone.

But enough about Tone, this is about thrice Academy and Emmy Award nominated, six time Grammy winning and my dear friend, Gaga. As I said, my own stupidity kept me from years of friendship with Ga – as only her best friends call her – and while that often wakes me in a cold sweat, I am glad at how quickly we developed the beautiful friendship we have.

Given she is busy residenc-ing and attendee literally every single award show on the planet, I decided to swing by for a post Oscar-nominees luncheon date and, you guessed it, run the odds for the Grammys.

Given she has made a splash in the film world I bequeathed her the honour of helping me pick who will take out Best Music Film and while I see merits in Whitney winning like Ga thinks, I can’t go past Quincy. While I am a dear friend of both Jay and Bey, neither of us can see them beating Childish Gambino’s This Is America.

Obviously I couldn’t bet against Gaga for Best Pop Solo Performance or Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, so we focused on me betting the house on Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s Love Is Here to Stay for BEst Traditional Pop Vocal Album – though Babs is my most likely spoiler – and my love for Kelly Clarkson isn’t enough to make me bet against Camila Cabello’s creatively titled Camila taking out Best Pop Vocal Album.

While running all those odds can be hungry work, I know that the Academy serves calorie rich food at the nominees luncheon – checky during awards season, no? – so I opted to keep it light with a delicious Lady Gaugamole.

 

 

Nobody loves avocados more than I – excluding Queer Eye’s Antony, obviously – however I had never tasted guac perfection until I encountered Chipotle. Oh Chipotle, how I love you so! The spicy, glorious guac bursting from a burrito and washed down with some Pibb Extreme is my idea of heaven. But this is not an add, focus on their guac – fresh and zingy, it is perfect all by itself.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lady Gaugamole
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp coriander
1 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
¼ tsp kosher salt
Tortea Leoni Chips, to serve

Method
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and mash the flesh.

Fold through the remaining ingredients.

Devour, with a big bowl of Tortea Leoni Chips.

 

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Juicy Lucy Liu

Burgers, Main, Street Food

It is not often I will cop to being wrong, but I am so glad that I’ve finally been able to swallow my pride and admit that despite not being my genre, Elementary appears to be a decent show and didn’t die within episodes of airing. And I shouldn’t have scoffed at my dear Lucy for taking the role.

Oh and I am sorry for refusing to talk to her until the show is axed and she admits I was right. Because I wasn’t.

Thankfully Lucy has always known that I can be a volatile person – she did meet me when guesting on Bev Hills, after all – so she took my apology at face value and we quickly caught up on everything we’ve been doing the last almost-decade.

While she isn’t as hopeful that I’ll be able to coax our girl Drew, Cameron D and Destiny to reform for a third Charlie’s Angels movie – I did get a third Sister Act to happen though, even if it won’t be a damn sequel – it was nice to spitball ideas and be in each other’s company.

Given outlining the entire plot of a sure-to-be-Oscar-winning film is tiring and time consuming, I knew that we would need a special combination of comfort and heartiness. As such, we gladly tucked in to a good, ol’ fashioned Jucy Lucy Liu to toast our hopeful success.

 

 

While there is a battle between where the Juicy – or jucy – Lucy originated, I like to think it was invented by whichever Tom served it up on Vanderpump Rules a few weeks back. Whoever did create this beauty however, I salute you. Meat injected with hot, hot cheese in the middle of a dripping bun? Sign. Me. UP.

Enjoy!

 

 

Juicy Lucy Liu
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper, to taste
2 slices American cheese, cut into quarters
vegetable oil
2 pickles, sliced
2 Kirsten Bunst
Ketchup, mustard and Shayonnaise Swain, to serve

Method
Combine the mince, Worcestershire and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and a great whack of pepper. Once it is well a truly and cohesive mound, divide into four and press into patties.

Take two of said patties and stack a slice’s worth of cheese quarters in the centre and top with the remaining patties. Press the edges to firmly enclose and leave to rest at room temperature for ten minutes.

Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, add the patties and cook for five minutes. Flip and cook for a further five, before removing from the heat.

To serve, split and toast the buns. Slather one side with mayo and mustard, and the other with ketchup. Place gherkins on the base,  top with the filled patty and close.

Devour, weary of the molten cheese that could burst out and destroy your face, lips or mouth at any moment.

 

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Good morning, Charlie!

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

It is probably hard for you to pinpoint the exact moment that you fell in love with Lucy Liu. I know, I’ve been there, I get it.

Was it her small roles in Beverly Hills, 90210 and Jerry Maguire? Perchance her blistering portrayal of Ling Woo in Ally McBeal? Or her murderous turns as Kitty Baxter in Chicago and O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill? While all may seem like the right answer, the correct answer is actually seeing her slay Charlie’s Angels.

The more you know.

Anyway, we’re the dearest friends and tragically haven’t seen much of each other this decade since I refused to watch Elementary as I assumed it would be quickly axed. In any event, I swallowed my pride, apologised and she is keen to finally drop by on the record and catch up.

What do I make that says I love you, I need you to continue to succeed … but I still don’t want to watch a police procedural?

Image source: Screenshot from Charlie’s Angels.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.