John Coq Au Ransling

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favourites, Survivor: South Pacific

While I kind of dropped off the radar – which as you know, I will strike from memory in the coming weeks – as soon as Wendell defeated Domenick thanks to Laurel breaking the tie on Ghost Island, I am super pumped by the fact that in sub five weeks Survivor: David vs. Goliath will be back and all will be right in the world.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how terrible a season can be any survivor is better than no Survivor because there will also be a Michael or Brendan to thirst over.

As has become the tradition, I decided to reach out to some of my dearest Sole Survivor friends to countdown to the latest season … and since they were all unavailable, I decided to invite John Cochran.

I joke, I joke! I love Cochran and he is my dearest friend … now. But damn did I hate him during the horror that was South Pacific. The self-deprecating humour, the inability to fit in with the jocks and not wanting to get naked in the water – it was like watching myself on screen and I just couldn’t handle it.

Thankfully his flip to Coach and Co’s side led to a glorious Sophie victory, so I apologised to him for my heavy use of voodoo during the season and we slowly, tentatively became the best of friends. A friendship so strong, I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him when he voted against my lover Malcolm in his winning season.

Say what you will about the season being terrible and made for him, Caramoan had some killer moments – the TEETH, Malcolm losing his pants, Dawn seething about missing out on the family reward – and Cochran ran the game, well and truly deserving his victory.

While we couldn’t run the odds since the cast is yet to be released, we do agree that Probst’s friend, creator of Enlightened and The Amazing Race contestant Mike White – who was clearly visible in the preview at the end of Ghost Island – should become an icon of the game … and the hot cop will most likely be my number one thirst trap. Though maybe those opinions were just the John Coq Au Ransling talking.

 

 

Like his oft joked about daughter – with Sophie, obvi – Aubry Bracco, I can’t bring myself to see him without the sweet flavour or bacon, mushrooms, chicken and sweet, sweet wine. This time, however, the wine is white and hot damn does it still taste amazing. Rich and creamy, Coq au Riesling is all the fun of Coq Au Vin but with a lightness … that is removed by addition of cream. But it’s cream, so you know what, so what, who cares.

Enjoy!

 

 

John Coq Au Ransling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
6 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
750ml Riesling
1 cup cream
salt & pepper, to taste
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute or so.

Reduce heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until browned and glorious. Add the chicken and cook for a minute to brown the sides before drowning, giddily, in wine. Crank up the heat and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered for half an hour.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream and cook for a further five minutes, or until slightly reduced. Season, sprinkle with parsley and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, and devour with a generous hunk of French Sourdough. Like a Paige de Keragne, for instance.

 

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Mint Julie Delpy

Drink

I was sitting on my balcony, melancholic after Caz’s departure and knowing that the swim events are nearly over and my basement will be dried up.

As the tears streamed down my face, the afternoon sun caught my eye as the cold August – remember, I live in Australia, mate etc. – winds hit my face and brought me back to reality. I need a drink and I need to share it with my second favourite Jujubee.

I reached for my phone as the sun continued to set and conveniently saw a message from the divine Julie Delpy.

Turn around, it read.

Like Liza in SaTC 2, had I manifested her?

“Darling,” (because all European people say darling, right Zsa Zsa / Arianna) “I know how depressed you get with the end of the swim events at the Olympics, so I knew that you needed me.”

Despite being extremely concerned about the fact she so easily broke into my house with me sitting five meters from the door without noticing AND the fact she broke in by using an axe to break down the door, she is an Academy Award nominee, French and I love her, so I ran into her arms and cried about the less skin I will be seeing in week two of the games.

I first met Delps in the 1990s while filming Before Sunrise. I was dating Ethan Hawke at the time, hoping that having a relation of Tennessee Williams inside me would make me great. While it made me feel great, our relationship wouldn’t last as I was too busy running scams / being deported.

Unable to return to the US with Ethan, Delps took me in and cured my heartache as we bonded over a mutual love for day drinking.

While it took Delps a while to pull me out of my latest funk, she reminded me that the 100m sprint was still coming up, Bloom and Bieber may continue their peen off and there were drinks to be made. With a sense of duty, I made my way to the bar to whip us up a Mint Julie Delpy while she ran me through the remaining events with scantily clad men.

 

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Like Delps, these delights are sweet and all at once delicate and strong … but maybe that is my heavy handedness with the shots?

Either way – enjoy!

 

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Mint Julie Delpy
Makes: 1.

Ingredients
8 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 ½ teaspoons superfine sugar
2 shots bourbon
soda water
ice

Method
Another one of those tough recipes to master today guys!

Place the mint and sugar in the bottom of the glass and muddle together until the leaves are breaking up and releasing their flavour. Add a bit of soda water, add the ice and top with bourbon and soda water to taste. Give it a stir, garnish with a sprig of mint and down.

 

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Madeleines Albright

Amer-she-can Week, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Sweets

If there is anyone that can follow up my date with POTUS, it is Mads All-right. She may be very small, but my girl Madeleine has the biggest heart and legacy I know.

As the first woman to become the Secretary of State – I pushed BC to give her the job on account of the fact that she is a damn saint – Maddy is a pioneer and has long been someone I’ve admired.

We first met on Ellis Island in the ‘40s when she emigrated to America. I had recently arrived from Australia and was trying to be adopted by a kind emigrant family who could fund my pursuit of stardom thinking I had no one. Despite seeing through my sham the Korbelovás were so kind that they took me in anyway and Mads and I quickly formed a close sibling-esque bond.

While I made my way from Long Island to Broadway, I always stayed in contact with Mads and she supported me despite the myriad of crimes and misdemeanours I racked up.

I haven’t seen Mads since the New Hampshire Primary, where I played an integral role in her inclusion of her quote that Taylor Swift likes to lift when feuding with the Poehler-Feys. As you know, it didn’t go down well so I’ve tried to lay low until things blew over.

Thankfully my dear, sweet Mads isn’t one to hold a grudge and we spent yesterday afternoon gabbing – in French, which is the only language we speak together – over a tray of my delightful Madeleines Albright.

 

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Like Mads, these delicate little cakes really pack a punch with the sweet vanilla hitting all the right notes. And then some.

Enjoy!

 

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Madeleines Albright
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
225g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tbsp vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting

Method
Whisk the flour, baking powder and a teaspoon salt together in a bowl.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and caster and muscovado sugars on high speed until they are pale and fluffy or about ten minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold through the flour in two additions, broken up by folding through half the butter and vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours while you preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the batter from the fridge and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.

Butter the madeleine pans with the extra butter and spoon the batter into the pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and flip them out onto a cooling rack.

Rebutter the moulds and repeat the process until the batter is done.

Dust with icing sugar and devour.

 

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Reconnecting with Éclair Danes

Dessert

It is amazing what a good creme pâtissière will do for a bad relationship.

As I mentioned earlier, we have known Claire for some time after we were cast to play her BFFs in Romeo + Juliet. Life started to imitate art and Baz got jealous that his leading lady/young ingénue was spending all of her time with the bit players, rather than sipping tea in the trailers with the stars.

We have had our issues with Claire over the years (I don’t want to bring it up again, but ask Mary-Louise Parker), but I will always say how humble she is with those she connects with in such a deep way.

We decided that following the aforementioned ugliness of the last decade, we should make something sweet and inviting (like Billy Crudup wa…sorry, we’ve moved on) to put Claire at ease in the Bitchin’ Kitchen.

We also thought a coffee date was most appropriate to commence rebuilding our friendship, as she could bail quickly if it turned to crap.

Thankfully one batch of Éclair Danes were enough to get us back on track and at the end of our date our hearts were as light and fluffy as the pastry and the love between us restored.

 

Claire Danes

 
Our dear friend Martha Stewart gave us a great tip when baking éclairs (we joke it is one of her prison rules), run a fork down the top to help them raise evenly and look perfect.

We obviously listened (not just because we are scared to disobey Marth) because you can’t use misshapen pastries to mend fences.

 

Claire Danes 2

 

Éclair Danes
Ingredients
Choux Pastry
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup (180ml) water
¾ cup (110g) plain flour
pinch salt
4 eggs

Crème Pâtissière
750g milk
Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean (you can make vanilla sugar with the other half)
190g egg yolks
190g caster sugar
75g cornflour
75g unsalted butter, chopped and softened slightly

Chocolate Glaze
125g dark chocolate, chopped
40g butter, chopped, extra

Method
Choux Pastry
Preheat the oven to very hot (240°C). Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer mixture to small bowl of an electric mixer. Add three of the eggs, one at a time, beating on low-speed until combined. Lightly beat remaining egg and add enough to form a thick, glossy dough.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe 11cm lengths of pastry, 3cm apart, on greased oven trays; cut ends neatly with wet knife. Bake in very hot oven for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to moderate (180°C), bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Cut the éclairs in half, remove any soft centre, then return to the oven for about 5 minutes to dry out. Cool the éclairs on a wire rack.

Crème Pâtissière
Heat the milk and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour until thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the hot milk.

Return the mixture to the pan and whisk continuously over medium heat until the custard comes to the boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface to prevent a skin forming and cool until 50°C, then whisk in butter until smooth

Cover with plastic wrap as before and refrigerate to cool completely. Whisk prior to use.

Chocolate Glaze (and assembly)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl over a pan of just simmering water.

Spread the top half of each éclair with chocolate mixture, allow to set. Just before serving, spoon custard cream filling into bases and replace chocolate tops.