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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Call Ne By Your Name

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I’m still in that awkward post-Grammy, pre-Oscar phase where only the Super Bowl and random Guild Awards can sustain the glitterati.

Tragically though, the Super Bowl means that we’re without our recommended weekly intake of peaches … so I picked up a phone and gave favourite Atlantan slash the second juiciest peach in the world, Nene Leakes, a call to reconnect.

What says, I love you, I miss you … and I desperately want to know this season’s tea? That Sheree spilt, obvi

Image source: Bravo.

 

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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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Whoopi Goldberg Pies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Snack, Sweets

Oy vey – it’s the end of the road. You ready to let go?

Given that we kicked off this year’s Emmy Gold with such an icon, in the form of Reets – followed by Jack, Chevs, Luce and Ty – I knew we could only wrap-up Game of Golds with another EGOT winner. And there is no EGOT winner more iconic than my dear, dear, DEAR friend Whoopi Goldberg.

I first met Whoops in the ‘80s while she was filming The Color Purple. While I was mentoring my girl Oprah at the time, I saw Whoopi as a bright talent and endeavoured to make her a star. She wasn’t convinced Ghost was a good idea, but thankfully I was able to talk her around and well … Oscar came knocking. So, well, you’re welcome Whoops.

But in all seriousness, she has been extremely grateful for the career success I bequeathed her and is eagerly awaiting my screenplay for Sister Act III: Saving Lauryn Hill. In the meantime, she was thrilled to drop by and run the odds for the final time this Emmy season.

For the final time, I’m going to run the odds. So starting with the obvious, Outstanding Limited Series is going to Big Little Lies and Drag Race is taking Reality Competition. I’m praying Black Mirror will take out Outstanding Movie, though Wizard of Lies wouldn’t shock me and Coat of Many Colours would give me life. Saturday Night Live will win Variety for Kate McKinnon’s Hillary, Variety Talk is anyone’s game though I root for Colbert, Atlanta will win Comedy and The Handmaid’s Tale will win Drama.

Or This Is Us. Or Stranger Things. We really couldn’t decide.

Busy work, calls for a bit of a sugar rush, so thankfully Whoops was hella keen for some of her favourite treats – my Whoopi Goldberg Pies!

 

 

The earthiness of the rich chocolate, with the sticky muscovado and the sweet marshmallow filling, work together to fill your heart with joy and stomach with goody, goody, Goody Procter goodness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Whoopi Goldberg Pies
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
½ cup valrhona cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
115g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 egg
200g white marshmallows
30g butter
60g white chocolate, chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl until combined, in another bowl slowly whisking in the buttermilk and vanilla. Then in a third bowl, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for five or so minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to until combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk-vanilla alternating between the two, in threes.

Spoon ¼ cup mounds of batter on a lined baking sheets and baking for ten-fifteen minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While the pies are chillin’, place the marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously, until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir until combined. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re good to go, spread half the biscuits with icing and sandwich with a bare half. Then, devour – oh happy day!

 

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Jonathagnolotti Groff

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Main, Pasta, Snack, Vegetarian

The Grammys are rapidly approaching which means that sadly our Grammy Gold celebrations are about to reach their crescendo but thankfully there are two final catch-ups slash prediction discussions to be had, the latest being my dear friend and part-time lover Jonathan Groff.

Fun fact: I invented the nickname Groffsauce – contrary to popular opinion. You can probably infer how I came up with such a loving name.

Anyway, I am getting way to flustered and a little short of breath.

I first met Jo-Groff while co-starring in Spring Awakening – I should probably mention that Lea Michele is my drag name and I am serving fish, henny girl – and our love blossomed instantly. While I was singing about my mama who bore me, he was boring into …

Again – nevermind. We fell in love, it was beautiful but sadly it wasn’t meant to last. Surprisingly I was mature about the whole thing and agreed that we would make the best of friends.

Given how busy my delicious little Groffsauce has been lately – what with wrapping up Looking, his Tony nominated and Grammy award winning (by way of musical theatre album) performance in Hamilton and the upcoming show Mindhunter – we haven’t been able to reconnect since we last worked together on The Normal Heart.

JoJo was just as beautiful – and dare I say it, saucy – as the last time we hung out and we quickly caught up on each others lives, lamented the loss of Looking, gossiped about the plot of our upcoming film Frozen 2 and ran the odds on who would take over the crown Best Musical Theatre Album crown.

FYI – we are backing Waitress. Or Bright Star. Probably Bright Star.

Despite our indecision about the future winner, we both agreed that my Jonathagnolotti Groff is delicious, even if not served on a named body.

 

jonathagnolotti-groff-1

 

While it has more of an X rated history, the delicate cheesy, mushroom stuffed pockets have a simplistic elegance when slathered in burnt butter and crispy sage.

So yeah, delicious even without the dessert – enjoy!

 

jonathagnolotti-groff-2

 

Jonathagnolotti Groff
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g mixed fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup ricotta cheese
40 gow gee wrappers
75g butter
20 fresh sage leaves

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat and fry the mushrooms for about five minutes, or until all of the liquid is goneski. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat to cool and season.

Once the mushroom mixture is all chill – like I was hoping Jon and I would be, in the Netflix sense obvs – whisk the egg, ricotta and mushroom mixture in a medium bowl, until well combined.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil while you work on the agnolotti.

Lay your gow gee wrappers on a dry work surface and place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water and fold into half moon pockets, ensuring to work out all the air before crimping them shut. Leave to rest until ready to cook.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Remove to drain on a paper towel and continue cooking the butter until it is beautifully browned.

Once the water is boiling feverishly, place the past in the water and cook for about five minutes or so, or until it rises to the surface. Drain and serve immediately, slathered in the burnt butter and topped with the crisp sage.

Devour.

 

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Shirliders MacLaine

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVI: Gold Interrupted, Party Food, Snack

To finish off my pre-Oscar celebrations – aka Oscar Gold week – I’ve got to go with one of my oldest, figuratively and literally, and zaniest fellow Academy Award winning friends – Shirls.

And hurly burly what a girly my dear Shirley MacLaine is!

I’ve long been a family friend of the MacLaine-Beatty’s after meeting Shirl in NY in the 50s where I was turning tricks and being a stand-over man around the time Babs made it big. Shirl needed a favour bumping off the actress she was understudying, so I assisted in taking her out by breaking her ankle which went on to inspire both Tonya Harding’s attack on Nancy Kerrigan and the movie Showgirls.

That also contributed to my time in the clink in the 60s.

As I had learnt not to rat out my friends long ago, I kept her involvement quiet and was thrilled to watch her success from the sidelines before reconnecting in the 70s and subsequently became her go-to Oscars date due to my dashing looks and raging homosexuality.

As both Shirls and I are 30-40% psychic, it was less of a discussion about the winners (I spent a lot of time asking about her casting in the live action Little Mermaid film) and more about reading the lettuce leaves left on our plate from my Shirliders MacLaine.

 

shirliders-maclaine-1

 

Burgers are arguably my favourite food … but sliders are better. I mean, why have one large burger when you can have 47 mini burgers? As they are tiny, it means you’re not gluttonous!

Enjoy … particularly while you watch Spotlight, Inside Out, George, Leo, Brie, Alicia and my lover, man I’ve body-doubled for and dialect coach Syl take home their Oscars.

Oh – did I mention I am hosting seven separate red-carpet specials (take THAT Rancid), attending as Mark Ruffalo’s seat-double (I need to talk more about my extensive career as a double) and Cate’s date while also live blogging and tweeting (so fucking hip, is this 2008?) the entire thing on Sunday/Monday, timezone dependant?

You should bookmark the page or something and join me while I spill the inside goss and roast the jokers I call my filthy frenemies.

 

shirliders-maclaine-2

 

Shirliders MacLaine
Serves: 1 after the red carpet season ends, without judgement.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
salt
pepper
1 onion, finely diced
6-8 streaky bacon rashers, sliced to fit the rolls
150g sharp cheese or your choosing, sliced
iceberg lettuce (down with haters), finely diced
tomatoes, sliced
american mustard
ketchup
mayo
slider rolls (I went with the Briocher Bünsberg and just made them smaller, but not small enough)
olive oil

Method
Squeeze as much liquid (read: blood) from the mince as possible, aiming to avoid squirting it in your eye as that is foul and painful, and place it in a medium bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

With you hands, scrunch the mixture until it starts to come together. Break into 8-12 patties, depending on how big you like your sliders/made your buns. Place on a lined plate, cover and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and sweat the onions until soft, sweet and caramelised.

When ready to devour, over high heat, heat a large frying pan, griddle or barbecue, whichever you prefer. When hot, reduce to low, halve the buns and fry the open sides until toasty and golden.

Wipe out any crumbs and fry bacon until crisp and remove to some papertowel. Place patties on the hot pan/griddle/barbecue, flatten with a spatula and drizzle each with about ½ tsp of mustard. After a minute or so, flip the patties, watching for spitting mustard (which hurts like hell), and place a slice of cheese on top to melt. Cook for a further minute or so, depending on your tastes, and remove from the heat.

To assemble the sliders, butter the bottom of the buns with a generous smear of mayo, top with bacon, some caramelised onions, a slice of tomato, some iceberg lettuce and the molten hot cheesy, mustard patties, a squirt of ketchup if you want, and who doesn’t, before topping with the rest of the bun.

Serve with sweet potato fries on a large platter and gorge, with or without friends.

 

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, Tumblr and Google+.

Chicken ParmiGina Gershon

Main

Annelie and I pride ourselves on having our fingers on the pulse of everything celebrity, fame, entertainment and style, so you can imagine the shame we feel for not realising that a) Lifetime, the greatest film producer on the planet, made a movie about our dear friend Donatells and b) that our other dear friend Gina Gershon played her in said movie.

How on earth did we miss it?

Obviously Gina was hurt that we missed her Emmy-snubbed performance of a life…time and that we didn’t get her in touch with Telly for research, but thankfully our beautiful past and promise of some great collaborations quickly turned the visit around.

(We had to lie through our teeth about her appearance on Glee being good for her image, but you do what you’ve got to do to maintain a friendship).

Gina was very thankful she missed our Carnival Week celebrations (for peasants and hicks, she said). Being a Cali girl, she was loving the mild Brisbane winter and I must say, it really brought the best out of us creatively, both in dance (gotta be warm enough for midriffs and nipple tassels) and scripting (Magic Showgirls XXX is going to win Oscars, guaranteed – obviously if Elizabeth Berkley agrees to reprise Nomi and Annelie and I co-star as rival divas).

With such laborious and meaningful work being undertaken, a big, sentimental meal was required, so we opted for the Chicken ParmiGina Gershon. Funny story, we first made Giny the ParmiGina after getting into a brutal altercation with Jan Draboltchka on the set of Face/Off resulting in him literally losing his face, leading to a re-write of the script and a bump down to co-star for poor Gins.

She is pretty forgiving, but I guess that goes with the territory of being friends with us.

 

Chicken ParmiGina Gershon_1

 

Like Gina, we like our parmies to be smokin’, saucy and to leave you wanting more. We also like them to be liberal with the breast.

Enjoy!

 

Chicken ParmiGina Gershon_2

 

Chicken ParmiGina Gershon
Serves: 2-4, breast dependent.

Ingredients
2 large, skinless chicken breasts, halved through the middle
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup polenta
2 tbsp parmesan, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups passata
2 tsp dried oregano
8-12 slices smoked ham
small bunch fresh basil
125g ball mozzarella, sliced

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Beat eggs in a large(ish) bowl. In a second bowl, combine breadcrumbs, polenta and parmesan. Chuck the flour, or you know place it gently, in a third bowl.

Place the halved chicken breasts between cling film sheets and bash out with a rolling pin until they are about 1cm thick (don’t worry too much about this…mine generally end up looking pretty ugly anyway). Dip the fillet in flour, followed by the egg, then the breadcrumb/polenta/parmesan mix. Place in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Heat oil and cook garlic for 1 min, then tip in passata and oregano. Season, generously (even add a pinch of raw sugar if you want) and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove chicken from the oven. Drizzle a thin layer of tomato sauce over the chicken, cover with a few slices of the ham, pour some more tomato sauce over the chicken, place a few basil leaves on top and covered with the sliced mozzarella. I then scatter some extra Parmesan for good measure but that is only because I love me some cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and golden.

Serve with fries. Copious amounts of fries.

 

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, Tumblr and Google+.