Turkey Tom Westyum

Main, Poultry, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Palau

So I’m going to start by going a little off topic, which is so on brand for me that I really shouldn’t have had to say anything. Anyway I was already hitting peak excitement for Survivor’s return in less than three weeks, particularly given I got to reconnect with my dear friend Tom Westman today … and then I started listening to Josh Wigler’s First One Out, and now I’m surprised I haven’t had an aneurysm in anticipation.

Anyway … if you love Survivor, listen to it. If not, ignore the above par and continue on.

I’ve known Tom for years, meeting not long after 9-11. I was starting to fetishise all first responders following their bravery during the attacks, and was working my way through the ladder companies to find me a mans. While Tom ultimately wasn’t won over by my charm and sexuality, he did grow to love me and guided me like a big brother.

As is oft the case, he failed at turning me into a decent person but for some reason, never gave up on me. I repaid the favour by getting him cast on Palau … which earned him a mill, so technically I was a good investment. Fun fact: if he had made it farther on Heroes vs. Villains, I would have been his loved one visit.

Like me, he is hella excited for the new season and hopes that the cursed Stephenie LaGrossa doesn’t have to spend the entire time on Ghost Island, and can at least enjoy some tropical delights while sucking the life – literally – out of one of the tribes.

Was it a kind of dark way for our conversation to go? Sure. But when it comes with a side of Turkey Tom Westyum, how can you be mad?

 

 

Spicy, fresh and healthy – for the sole reason that turkey is healthy, duh – this tom yum, is the tom yum to beat all tom yums. Sorry Tom Yum Everett Scott, this is a winner.

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
1 bunch of shallots, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp tom yum paste
1L chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 birdseye chillies, halved
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the turkey mince in a bowl with a clove of garlic, lime zest, ginger and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge to semi-set.

Heat a lug of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook the shallots and remaining garlic for a minute or so. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock, lime leaves and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, gently place the balls in and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Stir through the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining coriander leaves and a good whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and devour, piping hot.

 

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Curry Fall

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the girls were tasked with a horror themed shoot before Liz up and quit the competition due to all the drama mama, ignoring the fact she was kind of the instigator for 70% of it. The other 30% was being covered by Christina, who continued to rage against everyone for bullying her. In the end, poor Rhiyan followed Liz out the door while Coura was told to go beyond being pretty.

Don’t you love the inclusion of top model here, so we can talk about going beyond pretty and booty tooching?

Back at model manor, Khrystyana continued her reign of adorable giddy over her best photo at the last shoot. She was not alone with being giddy, as the girls rejoiced the silence now that Liz had exited stage left.

The next day Coura was worrying about Tyra’s words at the last panel. Thankfully Ashley interrupted the mope fest – much to Queen Khrystyana’s delight – to talk about the modelling industry opening up to all kinds of unconventional people. This struck a chord with Jeana who proud to rep bald people, Coura who felt masculine and Rio … who really should win the competition if my dear Khrystyana can’t.

Ashley then interrupted the proceedings – which is probs good since Sandra couldn’t relate as she is simply pretty – to introduce Patrick Starr and this week’s challenge. The models were paired up and given unconventional beauty products, and tasked with doing beauty hacks with them. Kyla and Jeana got chicken cutlets, Liberty and Erin got a hard boiled egg, Christina and Rio got tape, Khrystyana, Coura and Brendi K. got a razor and shaving cream, and Shanice and Sandra got condoms.

Rio and Christina taught everyone to contour with tape, Christina sounding like a bored robot in the process. Jeana and Kyla seemed great in the two seconds of their cutlet blender. Sandra and Shanice, sorry San-nasty, were glorious with their condom blender. Liberty and Erin were barely shown with their egg – wait for it – blender, and Coura bombed the shaving facial though Brendi K. and Khyrstyana’s personality probably saved them from being the worst. Coming as no surprise Sandra took out the win, much to Christina’s chagrin. Did you know people in the industry love her?

Surprisingly, this set Rio off who was furious that Sandra is pretty and doesn’t have to try as hard. Thankfully she is a delight, and did that in confessional and cooled down rather than attacking her for something she can’t contr … wait, sorry, shit started to go down at dinner. After toasting her sister’s graduation, she explained how she felt that she should have won the challenge … setting off an all in brawl. Sandra tried to explain that she has been bombing the photoshoots and this is her first time winning before everyone jumped in with their opinions. Thankfully Brendi K. allowed Sandra to eloquently explain her position … not that Rio gave any fucks about what she had to say.

The next day, Drew arrived at the mansion for this week’s photoshoot where they would be forming beauty sandwiches with two other girls. For winning the challenge, Sandra got to form a trio with Ashley Graham and selected Kyla to join her. This in turn pissed off her partner from the previous day, Shanice. Rio, Coura and Jeana were first up, where Coura continued her struggle streak. Khrystyana, Liberty and Brendi K. were next, which my queen once again owned. Christina, Erin and Shanice went next, with Christina spending the entire shoot putting all of her weight on poor Erin. Sandra and Kyla slayed it with Ashley, while Shanice heckled from the sidelines and Rio continued to stew in her rage.

At panel Rio was universally adored, stealing their image while Coura was read for absolute filth and Jeana was simply defeated by Rio. Shanice stood out in her image, while Erin was smooshed to death by Christina. Shanice then called Christina out for being lazy and ruining the picture, which she totally didn’t because she works out, ok? Khrystyana, Brendi K. and Liberty were the best overall picture, though Liberty was called out as boring. Sandra and Kyla were last to take the stage, receiving universal praise for their picture. Rightfully so.

Despite spending the week ranting, Rio managed to take out best photo over Khrystyana and Shanice, while Christina and Coura landed in the bottom two. Given the fact Christina is the only drama remaining, it should come as no surprise that the mellow Coura was cast out of the competition and into my loving arms.

Like Ty, I had such high hopes for Coura so was bitterly disappointed when she decided to follow the reality TV career of Pearl. There were many pleas for Coura to wake-up Pearl, Pearl, wake-up, but tragically it never did. Though I think it would have if someone offered her a Curry Fall.

 

 

Delightfully fragrant, hella spicy and packing a walloping punch, this curry is full of flavour and personality. Which … well, Coura is gone so I won’t say anything. She is sweet though!

Enjoy

 

 

Curry Fall
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
2 onions, finely diced
1kg sirloin steak, diced
5 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp hot paprika
2 tsp hot curry powder
¼ cup tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
1L beef stock
2 chillies, sliced
¼ cup natural yoghurt
coriander, to taste
rice

Method
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Once scorching hot, add the garlic, ginger and onions and sweat for five minutes or so. Add the beef and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, spices, tomato paste and a good whack of salt a pepper, and cook stirring for a minute.

Stir through the stock, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for half an hour, or until the liquid is starting to thicken. Remove from the heat, stir through the sliced chilli and yoghurt.

Serve immediately on a bed of rice, garnishing with the coriander before devouring, guilt and personality free.

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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Liz Bluedbury Peach Mojito

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Drink

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, following Maggie’s outster the top 14 were given Ty-overs to find their signature looks. Which in the case of Coura, was just her look, meaning she got bupkis. Liz continued to act crazy, Coura and Rhiyan were boring and poor Ivana was eliminated at panel by her inner sabotuer.

Back at the house Brendi K and Liberty debriefed about Liz’s offensive comments about Brendi K’s family backstage, while Liz tried to rationalise her behaviour to Christina. Christina, to her credit, told her it wasn’t appropriate, to put her in Brendi K’s shoes and to apologise. To Liz’s credit, she then went and apologised, and while Brendi said there was no ill will between them, there still totally was.

Their almost-apology was cut short by the arrival of the scripts for this week’s screen test challenge, which Tyra rudely announced off-screen after panel. The girls then split up into groups to rehearse, where Rhiyan was already on struggle street.

The next day, the girls arrived at the studio where MVP Stacey McKenzie was waiting to coach them through filming. After being introduced to their director Anthony Hemingway and co-star Kevin Phillips, the girls learnt that the winner would earn a role in their upcoming TV show. Liz and Rhiyan struggled big time, making Khrystyana even more of a breath of fresh air when she arrived and knocked it out of the park. Erin, Brendi K and Sandra highlighted just how thirsty someone can get after being locked away from people, before Coura arrived and made Liz look good. Jeana, Christina and Liberty also struggled, only for Shanice to wrap things up, change up the script and kill the challenge. Sadly for her though, Khrystyana took out the challenge … which thankfully, did not sit well with Shanice.

Back at the house, Liz was starting to breakdown after being called out for her overwhelming personality. Which is fast becoming a thing. Thankfully before it was escalated further, Tyra-mail arrived teasing the girls spooky photoshoot the next day. Thinking it was time for a nighttime montage, I was surprised to find Rhiyan also having a breakdown in the spa talking to Rio and Kyla about her need to lose weight. Rio then won my heart even more, giving her a pep talk and talking about her concern that she has body dysmorphia.

The next day Liz was still in tears after Shanice refused to let her push in front in the showers, which thankfully was cut off again. This time with the girls leaving for their hellish photoshoot at a haunted house. Sandra bumbled her was through the shoot, Khrystyana slayed again, Rhiyan was a bit too dead, Christina brought it like she was Kirsten Dunst, Rio, as always, killed it, and Brendi K and Jeana did well but that is based of five seconds a piece. Shanice tried to bring more of herself to the shoot, Liberty looked well and Erin survived an outfit designed to kill her.

Liz spent her time backstage complaining about being bullied by the girls, before ultimately pulling out a strong performance in front of the camera. On the flipside, Coura struggled. Badly. And she knew it, fearing she would be the next to go.

That night the drama continued after Liz was awoken by the other girls just after midnight. And while she didn’t really ask them in the best way, this is the first time her rage truly was justified. Despite Khrystyana trying to comfort her after Shanice yelled at her, she packed up her things and left for the night.

She reappeared the next day for panel before the other girls, where she was met with Tyra. They then spoke about Liz’s love for the competition however she said that the house wasn’t good for her mental health … and she was quitting the competition.

It was heartbreaking to see her so emotional when my girl Liz found me even further backstage, but after a Liz Bluedbury Peach Mojito or ten, everything started to feel better.

 

 

Sweet, spicy and bitter all at once, this mojito can cure everything that ails you. I mean, blueberry, rum and the peach from Call Me By Your Name – which is eaten in canon, FYI – this drink is damned near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Liz Bluedbury Peach Mojito
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
2 tbsp blueberries
a couple of mint leaves
1 tbsp lime juice
60ml spiced rum
½ a peach, sliced
ice
tonic, to taste
dash of bitters
1 lime, quartered, to garnish

Method
Place blueberries and mint in a cocktail shaker, and muddle with the lime juice.

Add the rum, peach and ice, and shake with vigour.

Pour into a glass, top with tonic, a dash of quitter’s bitters and a wedge of lime … then guzzle down.

 

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Jimmychangas Fallon

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

To be honest, this marathon month of celebration is really starting to exhaust me and I’m feeling desperate to just relax and have a laugh while celebrating this year’s Grammys. And no tea, no shade to Whits, Burt, Tom or Madge, but there is no friend funnier than my fave chum Jimmy Fallon.

Well no one funnier that had won a Grammy. And was available, at least.

I first met Jimmy whilst loitering around 30 Rock to try and get Lorne Michaels to forgive me and let me join the cast of SNL finally. Whilst that obviously did not occur, I did befriend Jim when he was walking in and out of the studio. Did he mistake me for a beggar for the first six months of our friendship? Yes … but it showed that we truly did have a lovely relationship.

As is oft the case, i made his career my top priority and vowed to make him a star. I started by getting him to dip his toe in the cinematic pond, before making him quit SNL to defend my honour … and ultimately, release a comedy album that would go on to bag him a Grammy.

Since that is his winning category, he was thrilled to sit down and run the odds with me. He agreed that it is Jerry Seinfeld’s Grammy to lose … though can’t bring himself to count out Dave Chappelle. When it came to spoken word, however, we knew that there was no one beating my girl Carrie Fisher. Fuck I miss Caz.

Talking about Carrie got me feeling hella emotional, so it was fortuitous timing that I was already balls deep on making some Jimmychangas Fallon.

 

 

Hot and spicy, fresh and comforting, this usually fried delight is just as perfect when oven baked. But I guess, can you go wrong with something slathered in cheese, sour cream, guac and chilli?

You can’t, so enjoy!

 

 

Jimmychangas Fallon
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 red chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 shallots, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1kg brisket
olive oil
1 tbsp ground chilli
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
pinch of cinnamon
1L beef stock
12 flour tortillas
grated cheese, to serve
sour cream, to serve
guacamole, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Method
Place the chilli, cumin, coriander seeds, pepper, oregano, shallots and garlic in a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste. Blitz in a good lug of olive oil and transfer to bowl. Add the brisket and rub to coat, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, heat a lug of oil in a large skillet seal the meat for a minute or two on each side. Add the chilli, smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute before adding the stock and bringing to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for three to four hours.

Remove beef from the pan and rest before bringing the heat back up to reduce the liquid. After about ten minutes of rest, shred the brisket with a couple of forks and return to the sauce. Continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to chill completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place a couple of tablespoons of the brisket along one edge of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll to form a small burrito and tie in the centre with kitchen string. Repeat the process until done. Brush with olive oil, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and remove the string from each. Top with some grated cheese and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Serve immediately, slathered with sour cream, guac and sriracha. Though be careful when devouring, since they’ll be bloody hot.

 

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Madonna Kebab

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

After tipping over the halfway point of my Grammy Gold celebration, Goldenade … and just getting back from visiting another deceased friend in the form of Tom – after Whits and the thankfully still alive Burt – I knew I needed to see someone that made me feel all shiny and new. And no one makes me feel like that, quite like my girl Madonna.

Yes ladies and gentleman – I am friends with the icon that is Madonna. Dare I say it, I am actually the person that made her who she is today. And that is not an overstatement in the slightest.

I first met Madge when she was a bit player in bands in the late ‘70s before inspiring her to drop her last name and head off on a solo career. Badda bing, badda boom, ‘83 rolled around and her debut album was released … thanks to me.

I then co-wrote all the songs on Like a Virgin, inspired her to parlay her music career into an acting one and most importantly, gave her the idea for – not to mention 90% of the poses – her hit book Sex. Fun fact: I have the only copy of outtakes which even I deemed too explicit for publication. But damn, Vanilla sure could ice me, baby …

Anyway, Madge was thrilled to drop by and celebrate the Grammys – on the proviso that her superfan and my fellow friend Michelle Visage came nowhere near her – and run the odds on this year’s pop performances.

She agreed – albeit begrudgingly – that Ed Sheeran will win Best Solo Pop Performance (because everyone loves white bread), Despacito will take out Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Seth MacFarlane will snag Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album over Bob Dylan and Ke$ha will snag her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Such exhausting and necessary work required something that packed enough energy, comfort and booze-sopping ability, so I quickly hauled-arse to the kitchen and whipped up a delightful Madonna Kebab.

 

 

Rich, spicy and fresh, there is nothing better than a kebab to fill your heart with joy. Or song even, I guess. Add in some fresh salad and a slather of natural yoghurt and I feel like life is no longer a mystery, as like a prayer, this kebab can take you there.

Enjoy!

 

 

Madonna Kebab
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
sea salt and pepper, to taste
8 Pita Andre Bread
iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
Greek yoghurt, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince in a large bowl with the garlic, spices, and salt and pepper, and scrunch together in your hands until smooth. Shape into 24 meatballs and place on a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Toast pitas, split in half – and those halves open – and fill with lettuce, onion and capsicum, top with a couple of meatballs, slather in Greek yoghurt before devouring, greedily.

 

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Baked Camemburt Bacharach

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

I can’t believe that we’re already up to the second day of this year’s famed Grammy Gold celebration, Goldenade. No sooner had I returned the delorean to the garage after visiting Whits did my boy Burt Bacharach start knocking on my door. And after the pain of seeing my dearly departed Whit, what my world needed now (aka then) was love, sweet love.

Burt and I known each other for years and years after meeting in – and I think this is a record for this patch of cyberspace –  the nursery of the hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Not to be confused with the hospital in Ebbing, Missouri. It’s near these billboards that inspired a movie … but anyway.

We’ve known each other from birth and after legal emancipating myself from my parents – they didn’t let me have ice cream one night – I moved to New York with the Bacharachs and as repayment, became Burt’s manager.

As I’m sure you would agree, he got quite a good deal.

Since I really like to put my guests through their paces AND the fact I stopped caring about Jazz again as soon as La La Land finished, I decided to run the odds for R&B with Burty. Cause when you think Burt, you think R&B. Anyway, we think this category will fall to a combination of Childish Gambino, Kehlani and Bruno Mars. Kehlani will take Best R&B Performance, Childish Gambino will take Best Traditional R&B Performance, R&B Song and Urban Contemporary Album, while Bruno Mars will take out Best R&B Album.

While there wasn’t much discussion or arguing about who the winners would be, we both felt extremely smug and like we worked hard … so I headed off to whip us up a Baked Camemburt Bacharach.

 

 

Deliciously goopy and with a punch of garlic and a whack of herbs, this little number is the perfect snack when you want to impress your guests whilst putting in the least amount of effort possible. I mean, stab, stuff, bake … and that is it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Camemburt Bacharach
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
200g camembert in a wooden box
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
a sprig of rosemary
1 tbsp honey
1 ciabatta, thinly sliced and toasted

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the camembert from the box and packaging. Line the box with some foil and a small piece of baking paper before returning it to the wooden box.

Cut a few slits over the top of the camembert and stuff with sliced garlic, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle with honey, scrunch the foil to close and place in the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until it is puffed and gooey.

Remove from the oven, open the foil and serve immediately … to devour with the toasted ciabatta.

 

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Maccie Cheesing

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Pasta

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra returned to her kingdom, now with new underlings. Did we mentioned Tyra returned, Tyra Banks, the boss, the boss Tyra Banks, is back. Well she is, and then she put the semi-finalists through their paces in interview/runway/photo shoot challenge before being whittled down to a top 14. Before that though we met Liberty the Trump supporter, old-Erin and poor Khrystyana who was yelled at by Liz for some reason. Ty-Ty then dropped the bomb that instead of a top fourteen, fifteen girls would be moving forward giving old-Erin the chance to prove herself.

(Then Tyra yelled at me and I agreed to time travel back to filming and whip up model meals for the booted girls. And now we are here, so yeah …).

We opened up looking over the majesty that is L.A. before zeroing in on the model mansion where Maggie was lamenting the fact that nobody was given best photo on the way to becoming a finalist. She reminded us she is really into cultural appropriation, which didn’t go down well with Coura and Sandra who felt she was trying to be something she felt they wanted her to be. As an aside, Sandra is by far my fave right about now.

Brendi K then opened up about her tough upbringing … leading Sandra to give her a pep talk. She is my queen.

Tyra-mail arrived – she turns up like Probst aka whenever I start to fall for a contestant – alerting the models that they would need to both chill and glide. Given she knows I’m ice skating royalty, I knew it wasn’t that since I wasn’t approached to guest. Instead, they met Stacey McKenzie at Venice Skatepark for a walking tute before being thrown straight into a runway show through the skatepark as skaters shredded around them. Is shredding a thing?

Law Roach manifested to introduce the models to the Baja East designers who flooded the shit out of my basement. They got to work dressing the models while Stacey found Ivana to give her a confidence boost, sensing she wasn’t feeling herself and her walk. As the show commenced, Stacey and Law announced that the winner of the challenge would win a spot walking for Baja East at NYFW. All the models were doing well before Brendi K went off course, Coura and Jeana dominated, and Ivana also went bush before Khrystyana took out the win … and my heart.

The models returned home where Brendi K discovered a half-eaten apple in the fridge, setting off an epic tirade at the other models given she grew up poor and doesn’t feel like people are appreciating the opportunity they’ve been given.

Tyra-mail returned with a simple, you’re glowing which it turns out translated into a pregnancy shoot. Either being knocked up was a requirement of entering the competition, or there was going to be some prosthetics before they boho-ed it up. This triggered Rhiyan who was told she may not be able to have children and Erin who felt guilty for never doing a pregnancy shoot with her children. Thankfully, they both overcame the emotions. On the flipside, Maggie struggled to get out of her head and get a good shot, and Brendi K couldn’t connect with the shoot after having a miscarriage due to an abusive ex.

At panel, Khrystyana received universal praise – aside from her kitten heels – Rhiyan shared her fertility issues before getting some middling reviews. Rio slayed, Liz was beige, Kyla struggled, Jeana served MILF-realness, Erin killed it, Liberty – despite her political views – gave great toe, Sandra failed to impress, Shanice was boring, Brendi was torn to shreds, Christina got mixed reviews, Coura was perfection albeit boring in person, Maggie was torn to shreds for having conflicting personalities and looking confusing and Ivana’s confidence was once again called into question.

As expected, the dominant Coura was given best photo with Rio nipping at her heels, leaving Brendi K and Maggie as the bottom two. Ultimately Brendi K was saved, sending my girl the white-homegirl Maggie home.

Poor Maggie was shocked and heartbroken to find herself out of the competition first, though bless her cotton socks, tried her darndest to convince everyone she was simply grateful to see them succeed. Though, maybe that could be my Maccie Cheesing talking.

 

 

Inspired by the great Goop Queen Gwyneth’s Mac and Cheese recipe, this mildly healthier version of the mac family is pure perfection. I mean, how do you go past bacon … even as a model? You can’t, now eat yo’ mac.

Enjoy!

 

 

Maccie Cheesing
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
½ onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 rashers bacon, diced (optional, but like … are you mad? Everything’s better with bacon)
2 cups passata
small handful basil, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
250g mascarpone
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
½ cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium heat, cooking the macaroni a couple of minutes less than the packet instructions.

In another pan, fry the onion, garlic and bacon for a couple of minutes. Add the passata and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir through the basil and oregano, remove from the heat and leave to rest.

In yet another pan, combine the mascarpone, nutmeg and ¾ of the parmesan over medium heat until everything just comes together, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Drain the swap pasta and return to the pan. Add the cheese mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour the bacon-passata goodness into a baking dish, and then spread the mac and cheese over the top. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan over the top, and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and glorious.

Allow to rest for about five minutes before serving and devouring, like a pregnant model.

 

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James Van Detray Bake

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Main, Poultry

After starting things off with the dreamy Josh Jackson, followed up with the liberated Katie Holmes and my dear old friend Mary Beth Peil, we’ve arrived at the owner of the Creek. Yep – today is all about Dawth-son, my boy JVDB.

As you know – since this isn’t his first time on my patch of cyber-space – JVDB and I were lovers and then the best of friends. And most importantly, he is the reason I am married. Well technically it is thanks to the words of Fauxy on the series finale of Dawson’s Creek … but he made me watch it and as such, gets the points.

Given we’ve only recently caught up on the record – we have a monthly date and it is seminal to my happiness … this time, my meaning of seminal flies – I was surprised that he was able to make the trip down under. But I guess, how could you say no to honouring the 20th anniversary of the greatest role of your career?

JVDB has been hella busy of late, so was thrilled to be able to take some time to honour his work, while enjoying some R&R. Plus – I promised to cook up his second favourite food, my James Van Detray Bake.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella’s tray bake in Nigellissima, this little number – and I hate to say it – is even better than the OG. I mean, how do you go wrong with the addition of chilli and garlic?

Enjoy!

 

 

James Van Detray Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 few sprigs of thyme
small handful of sage, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tbsp chilli flakes
10 chicken thighs, bone in
8 Italian sausages
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Chuck the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon juice and zest and chilli in a large baking dish and toss together. Add the thighs and sausages, pushing them into holes, burying some and leaving others all exposed.

Drizzle with a good lug of olive oil, season generously and transfer to the oven to bake for about an hour, checking after 45 minutes to avoid burning the meat.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about ten minutes before serving. And in turn, devouring.

 

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Katie Holmades

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

After kicking our celebration of Dawson’s Creek’s 20th anniversary with my dear friend Joshua Jackson, aka the erstwhile Pacey Witter, I knew I had to follow-up with a date with Pacey’s endgame *spoiler alert from fifteen years ago* Katie Holmes.

While Katie and I have had our ups and downs throughout the years, her finally emancipating herself – with Suri’s help, obviously – from Tom Cruise reaffirmed our bond. Fun fact: I was one of the few people to know about her relationship with Jamie Foxx.

Don’t get it twisted though, our relationship started out extremely strong on the set of the Creek. She was just starting out and my boy Ang called me after directing her in The Ice Storm to see if I would teach her the ways of TV and mentor her career.

Another fun fact: I taught her the importance of an asymmetrical smile.

Given how busy I am, Katie and I haven’t been able to hang out as often as we’d like so she was thrilled to accept my invitation. Plus it is a new year so both of us are feeling the crappy mantras about new us-es and decided it was time to deal with any and all of our leftover Cruise-related issues.

He most definitely wasn’t an ex of mine or anything and we didn’t have any Scientological related issues, obvi. Because neither of those things would ever happen. Ever. Right?

It was an emotional catch-up, honouring her greatest work, working through our feelings and devouring a big batch of Katie Holmades.

 

 

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of dolmades but Katie loves them AND these ones are good enough to win me over. Spicy and packed full of a herby, lemon punch, they are the perfect snack for working through trauma whilst celebrating milestones.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katie Holmades
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
½ cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp cumin
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
small handful mint, roughly chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
100g feta, mashed
40 vine leaves
½ cup olive oil

Method
Cook the rice in boiling salted water for about ten minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and leave to drain and cool for about ten minutes.

Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add the spices, herbs, tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and feta in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

To assemble, place 2 heaped teaspoons of rice mixture in centre of a leaf, fold in the sides and roll to close. Place upright in a saucepan and repeat the process until all done and the dolmades are tightly packed.

Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, pour over the dolmades and cook over low heat for an hour, or until leaves are tender. Cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge to chill completely overnight.

Devour cold, greedily. Preferably as part of a Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate, Nick Iadanzipasto Platter or a Charcucirie Fields Board.

 

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