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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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Margarita Moreno

Drink, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds

As you know my life’s dream – which I fulfill in 2032 – is to achieve the pinnacle of global success, the EGOT. Some may covet a Nobel prize, or a Presidency – but not me, the EGOT is where it’s at / is the most worthy of respect.

Despite this, winning the EGOT hasn’t always my dream, it wasn’t until my dear friend, icon of stage and screen, Rita Moreno, took at the quinella that I was inspired to achieve true greatness. I’d been friends with Reets for close to 30 years by the time she secured her first Emmy and completed the square, and seeing the joy it brought to her made me so happy … and insanely jealous, which eventually turned to inspired.

I first met Reets in the ‘40s – Stockard Channing? She was well into her 50s – while appearing on Broadway. I knew I had a star on my hands and vowed to take her to Hollywood and make her universally beloved. Which I did, yay me.

Anyway, West Side Story Came and went and I disappeared in and out of rehab, with Rita’s support and love becoming my only constant.

Given the fact she is experiencing quite the career resurgence, we haven’t been able to catch-up as often as we’d like, so she jumped at the opportunity to join me to kick off our Emmy Gold party. While her victorious categories have already been held at the Creative Arts Emmys, I opted to run the Drama and Limited Series Actress odds with her instead. Like me, she has recently reconciled with Nicky Kids and as such, is proud to back her for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for her harrowing turn in Big Little Lies. Elisabeth Moss is taking out Best Actress in a Drama, despite the fact we find out it is a documentary from the future. My girl Millie Bobby Brown is going win Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her breakout turn as Eleven and Queen Laura Dern is going to snatch Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for playing me in Big Little Lies.

While we eventually agreed on the victors, it did take some hearty discussion to reach consensus over some delicious booze. And there is no booze more delicious than my Margarita Moreno.

 

 

A little bit tart, entirely refreshing and oft a bad choice, tequila and margaritas are kind of the personification of dating me. Though instead of being refreshing, people tell me to stop getting fresh … with them. In any event, a marg is something you definitely want to take down your throat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Margarita Moreno
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
ice
2 parts tequila, only Patron for us obvi
1 part triple sec
1 part lime juice
2 lime wedges
salt for your rim

Method
Chill your glass with ice for a minute or so.

Transfer it to a cocktail shaker and add more until it is full. Pour over the tequila, triple sec and lime juice and shake, hard, until it is well combined and chilled.

Run the lime around the edges of your glasses, dip them in some salt and strain the marg into the glass.

Then, obvi, down.

 

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Puff Daddy Pizza

Main, Pizza, Side, Snack

Sometimes you just need to party and get wild with your gang, to feel like yourself again. You know?

While we’ve been feuding since my egregious snubbing from the Bad Boy Records 20th Anniversary Tour, we both realised that life is more enjoyable with the other in it and he kindly agreed to reconnect.

As you can imagine, as co-founders of Bad Boy Entertainment, Puff and I have been involved in our fair share of scandals – the nightclub shooting probs being our most famous … despite the fact you legally cannot prove I was there or involved – but we truly never meant no harm, just partying hard like young guys a wont to do.

Despite announcing that he was planning to quit the music biz to focus on his acting career and the fact that was my idea for him, I was hoping that our reconnection would be enough to force him out of retirement to remake I’ll Be Missing You with me.

Which he obviously was hella keen for.

That being said, I did have to work overtime to convince him to change his mind with me, so I had to whip up one of my favourite shortcut meals. Enter my Puff Daddy Pizza.

 

 

I first flirted with puff pastry pizzas – and calzones – while a poor uni student slash up-and-coming-rapper, and to be honest, they are oft better than their pillowy or crip doughed equivalents. Flakey, light and most importantly simple, these babies are the perfect mid week meal or work lunch … for the working rapper.

Enjoy!

 

 

Puff Daddy Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 italian sausages
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs, chef’s choice
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, shredded
¼ cup chargrilled capsicum, shredded
¼ cup black olives, sliced
¼ cup chargrilled artichokes
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
200g feta cheese
mozzarella cheese, just to add some stringiness … not so much necessary

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and remove the sausages from their casings, frying them into small meatballs for a couple of minutes.

Place each sheet of puff pastry on a lined baking sheet and smear each with tomato paste and dried herbs. Sprinkle over the cooked sausage, chargrilled vegetables, feta, chilli and a little mozzarella, to taste.

Place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the pastry is puffed and glorious. Devour.

 

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He be missing me

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After back-to-back catch-ups with absolute sweethearts – love you both Sade and Milk! – I decided I needed to get back on brand, and reconnect with my fave bad-boy Puff “Sean Combs, P Diddy, Puffy, Diddy” Daddy.

I first met Puff while he was interning at Uptown Records. I was a member of Mary J Blige’s entourage at the time, and we worked together to make her a star. Seeing that he too had talent, I convinced him to start rival label Bad Boy Entertainment … and the rest, as they say, is history.

What do I make that says I too, have been missing you and all the fun we used to have in the clubs with J-Lo (who I also must catch-up with soon)?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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.

Chicken Sades

Main, Poultry, Side, Snack

I feel like I say this often, but words honestly cannot do justice to how kind, sweet and divine my girl Sade is. It’s kind of weird that I appreciate kindness in others, when I value ruining the careers of any celebs that cross me. I truly should be studied.

But enough about me, Sade and I have been dear friends for decades and I am the reason the smooth operator made the switch from a fashion career to music.

Obviously it was me that suggested Sade, Stuart and the Pauls deflect from Pride and start up a rival band in the ‘80s. I was the inspiration behind the songs – including but not limited to, obvi – You’re Love is King, Smooth Operator (changed from masturbater for “mass” appeal, apparently), Sweetest Taboo and No Ordinary Love. It was also me that successfully campaigned for her to become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire earlier this year.

Given that last fact, Sade had come over to thank me for always championing her career and ensuring she gets the recognition she so greatly deserves. Can you believe it? A doll. The woman is an absolute doll.

It was such a treat to kick back and catch-up over expensive champagne, imported Iranian caviar and a big old batch of my Chicken Sades (… as a booze chaser).

 

 

A little bit spicy, a dash of sweetness and packed full of nuts, the satay works perfectly with the tender chicken leaving a party in your mouth, to which everyone is invited. That sounds wrong … or like the sweetest taboo TBH.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Sades
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken breasts, cut into strips or dice … I don’t mind. You do you, boo
peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk

Method
Thread the chicken onto metal skewers and allow to rest, covered in the fridge, for about half an hour.

While they are chilling, heat a small lug of peanut oil in a small frying pan and fry the garlic, shallots and chilli for a few minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant. Add the sugar, soy sauce, tamarind and peanut butter, and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk and cook until thickened.

Remove the skewers and cook the chicken your preferred method brushing with satay sauce as you go, I went baked because they were too long for my griddle and I’m morally against BBQs. I mean, sure, the satay sauce went a bit crunchy … but it tasted delicious.

Plus, you serve it with any leftover sauce … before devouring.

 

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.

The smoothest operator

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I don’t know whether it is the fact we’re both accomplished musicians, fashionistas and/or Officers of the Order of the British Empire, but the relationship Sade and I share could only be described as no ordinary love.

Sads and I have been the best of friends since the ‘70s, after studying fashion design together at Saint Martin’s School of Art. We both used to sing to ourselves while designing and I suggested that she take up the sweetest taboo professionally.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

She gave me a buzz over the weekend to see if we could catch up, to which I obviously said yes. What do I make that says thanks for going to coast to coast, LA to Brisbane-o, for your fave western male?

Image source: David Montgomery/Getty Images.

 

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.

Linguine Truffle Miranda

Main, Pasta, Tony Gold, Tony Gold: Hamilgold, Vegetarian

Guys, the day you’ve been waiting for is finally here – happy Tony’s Eve. Sadly though, that means our Tony Gold coverage is about to come to a crushing end but I can assure you, I am not throwing away my shot.

In addition to it being the pinnacle of Tony Gold, today also marks our 400th – yes, four FUCKING hundredth – recipe. And when a milestone like that rolls around, I am not throwing away my shot. He yo, I don’t like the country, I’m young, scrappy and this is fame hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot celebrating this milestone, so invited my dear friend and true Broadway treasure Lin-Manuel Miranda.

But seriously can you take a brief pause here to think about the fact that I’ve had this many celebrity friendships survive my horrific behaviour? Say what you will about the entertainment biz, but those people truly have the patience of saints when it comes to my transgressions (I guess that comes with the territory when you’re a white male).

Anywho, I’ve known my boy Linny-Mans for years, having grown up together in the heights which inspired him to write his first hit musical In the Heights. It would come as no surprise that the character of Sonny was inspired by me and my sassy attitude.

Given the phenomenon of Hamilton and the fact that it inspired this year’s celebrations, I knew we had to finish the celebrations with my dear, sweet friend who I love is love is love so damn much.

Oh and I had to honour the fact he inadvertently inspire my high school drama teacher to write an original musical compiling the plots of Blood Brothers, Bootmen and Romeo & Juliet that I played as high comedy, to distract from the fact it was poorly written.

Sorry – I mean it was wonderful and Trapt is essentially the Tweed Heads/Banora Point version of Hamilton, Muriel’s Wedding be damned.

Since we’ve pretty much covered all the major categories, Lin-Man and I only had to look at the OG Score. While he is more forgiving and has chosen to back the men that robbed him of his EGOT for Dear Evan Hansen, he know how far I’ll go … and that is to undermine their chances and back Come from Away our my compatriot Tim-Min for Groundhog Day.

After getting the serious part of our date out of the way, I got to work whipping up a meal while he toasted the success of this patch of future-Peabody-winning cyberspace. He then said something about looking forward to the next 400, though he could have been saying something about looking forward to 400g  of my Linguine Truffle Miranda.

 

 

Full disclosure, this is a Nigella Lawson recipe with minimal – emphasis on minimal – tweaks, but even the domestic goddess herself has said that she enjoys seeing how people adapt the recipes to suit their tastes. And it isn’t like I’m slumming her as recipe 392 or something – this is a milestone, dammit!

While Nige’s is a little more delicate,  I go for an aged parmesan that smells like your feet and shoes died six months ago and have been rotting in tropical heat and an extremely generous lug of truffle oil, meaning the pasta punches you in the mouth in the best way possible.

Happy Tonys / thanks for reading / enjoy!

 

 

Linguine Truffle Miranda
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g linguine
4 eggs
¼ cup double cream
¼ cup grated aged parmesan, plus more to serve
2 tbsp white truffle oil, or to taste
60g unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place a big old pot of salted water over high heat and bring to the boil.  Once bubbling like a revolution, add the linguine and cook as per packet instructions.

While the paste is cooking, combine the eggs, double cream, parmesan and truffle oil in a jug, and whisk to combine.

When the pasta is good to go, drain it in a colander, reserving a cup of the boiling liquid. Place the butter in the pan with about a quarter of a cup of the aforementioned – or abovementioned if you’re a moron trying to sound smart while defending yourself in legal proceedings – cooking liquid. Add the pasta, stir and then add the creamy liquid, still stirring, to combine.

Place the pasta over low and heat and cook stirring for a minute or so. Remove, serve, cover in more old-foot-smelling parmesan and devour, ok?

 

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.

Whipped Fetta James

Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack

Last weekend’s public memorial for Caz and Debs – which I couldn’t attend because Trump has banned me from the U.S. for having a beard … or being gay, I don’t know – reminded me that despite having so many friends on the A-list, I have still experienced so much A-list loss.

So obvi, before the service had even concluded, I grabbed out my collection of celebrity funeral booklets and picked out my dear Etta James’ at random, locking in the date with Ets and my time machine.

I first met Ets in the early 50s – Stockard Channing would therefore have been in her 60s at the time – when she and her biological mother moved to the Fillmore District of San Francisco. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew she was destined for greatness and hitched myself to her wagon.

Hitched is probably an understatement, it was more like fused … but anyway.

While we were close her entire life, we spent most of our time together in the late 60s while preparing her debut album, so I knew that that was the best time to go back to visit for our date.

Fun fact: At Last was written about me.

As always, it was equal parts joy and pain to be back visiting my deceased friend. The release of At Last was such a wonderful time in our lives and it was so great to be able to experience it again over some Whipped Fetta James, our favourite dip of the time.

 

 

If you have never had whipped feta before, you haven’t lived. A little bit tart, a little bit sweet and completely fluffy, it is the easiest dip to whip up when you’re hungry / in desperate need of comfort.

Enjoy!

 

 

Whipped Fetta James
Serves: 1. No judgement.

Ingredients
300g feta cheese, at room temperature
100g cream cheese, at room temperature

Method
Place the feta and cream cheese in a food processor and blitz the shit out of it for about five minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for about half an hour. If you can. Otherwise, devour straight away.

 

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+.

Brandy Custard

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Sauce, Side, Snack, Sweets

Guys *spoiler alert* this is the last regular, non-Survivor, non-festive-spectacular recipe of the year. Can you believe it?

Now before you start applauding and rioting on the Facebook – which if you ask my mother-in-law’s man-friend is the internet – begging for us to be banned from the internet in 2017, just enjoy these last few moments for the year and I’ll let you have a few weeks off before I terrorise your eyes for another year.

Please – I’m just a poor, old, flailing millennial and I need this outlet. Where is Probst to comment on my generation, when I need him?

Anyway – I’ve gotten sufficiently off track … but I feel such a beautiful and talented soul like my dear friend Brandy Norwood is deserving of some long winded preamble, as terrible as said preamble is.

I first met Brandy in the early ‘90s when I hired her as a backing vocalist for my defunct girl group Gurlfriend. It is defunct because the hit Australian girl group Girlfriend sued me for being a blatant rip off.

Which it wasn’t.

I had promised Brands fame and fortune if she took up the role, so to make it up to her I secured her the lead role in Moesha.

Despite a brief falling out after she won a Grammy in ‘99 for That Boy is Mine, which i wrote but was sadly stricken from the credits, we reconnected on the set of Brie Larson’s defunct sitcom Raising Dad in 2002.

Fun fact: to punish her for making me miss out on a Grammy, I went back in time and forced her to star in I Still Know so that I could watch her be survived by JLH. How do you deal, Brands?

While yes, sending her back to star in that trainwreck was cruel, Brandy took it all in her stride and we’ve remained close ever since. She is, no lie, a damn saint.

So I had completely forgotten that you can’t have an Eve Plumb Pudding without a generous helping of Brandy Custard. Thankfully Brandy had a clear schedule – I mean empty, bupkis, zippo – and was able to jump straight on the plane to whip some up with me to help devour the leftovers.

 

brandy-custard-1

 

Full disclosure and likely not shocking anyone, I used to be the proud owner of an irrational fear of brandy custard. As far as I’m concerned though, anyone that has suffered through the cartoned crap should.

Brands finally wore me down and convinced me to whip her up a batch and now I have a passionate love for the boozy, velvety delight – enjoy!

 

brandy-custard-2

 

Brandy Custard
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
6 egg yolks
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
⅔ cup milk
3 cups double cream
¼ cup brandy
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method
Combine the yolks and sugar in  one bowl and the cornflour and milk in another.

Heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat and slowly whisk in the egg and cornflour mixtures, followed by the brandy and vanilla bean. Continue whisking for a couple of minutes, or until thick and glorious. Serve warm with Eve Plumb Pudding.

 

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+.