Hannah Gough Gee

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, a majority alliance developed over at Hermosa leaving the olds on the out. Luckily for them, their tribe were able to take out immunity thanks to the performance of Sala and Tony. Over at Mogotón, Shay continued to own the tribe throwing Tom and Tony under the bus before flipping on her alliance with the latter, sending him to join Hannah at redemption island after she destroyed Dee last week.

We opened up with Tony as he reconnected with Hannah and speculated, rightly, that Shay had turned on him. Playing into the producers’ hands, he then angrily vowed revenge on her and anyone else that booted him.

Back at Mogotón Shay rallied the troops with a prayer before Sala broke off to talk about his regret with the last vote, while on the flipside Tom was thrilled that he saved himself and made it his goal to form an alliance. You gotta start somewhere, I guess?

The next day Izzy briefly forgot the name of the show as she led the tribe in some cheeky yoga, much to the excitement of Tom who based on the music from his last confessional I was expecting to be a villain and not the zen yoga fan.

Meanwhile over at Hermosa, Georgia had a shit eating grin … which we found out is actually charcoal, which she was taught would clean her teeth. From the grandson of a dentist, thank you for your dedication to oral hygiene babes. Down by the ocean Barb and Nate were feeling uneasy about being on the literal outs with the tribe, before assuring us that this lioness is simply stalking her prey. Is that a new queen rising?

Georgia and Mike later prepped for an island adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, tying each other up, being flirty and making the rest of their tribe mates super wary of their behaviour. Nate saw this as an opportunity and approached Shannon about needing to break them, and their third wheel Lee – up. Oh and Jak, who may or not be their fourth, but not in a clingy way, I guess.

We then briefly saw Mogotón take a leaf out of my book – or stole my damn premise – and decided to do some comfort eating with their episode one haul/theft.

Back with Hermosa, Mike and Lee went for a walk to discuss how they out rank the other tribe, person for person. By the fire, Jak and Nate then speculated who was voted out from the other tribe and gave a thinly veiled rundown of how their games were going, Nate saying Tony shouldn’t be discounted and Jak saying they need to retain their young, strong competitors. Sure I’m paraphrasing, but that is totally what they were doing.

Being far more cas(ual) about needing my attention than Probst, Matt finally arrived for the reward challenge, a survivor classic where the tribes are tethered together, carrying weights and chasing each other in the shore. Mogotón got out an extremely early lead thanks to Barb’s repeated falls before the women of Mogotón all decided to bail on the challenge, leaving those still competing to carry 20kgs each. Jak then dropped out for Hermosa, which allowed them to catch-up and snatch victory.

Again … securing coffee, tea, sugar and a tarp.

Hermosa returned to camp and quickly got to work incorporating the tarp into their shelter / feeling sorry for their rivals (Lee) and/or wishing it would rain to rub salt in their wounds (Mike).

A pity party was getting underway over at Mogotón where Avi spoke about feeling disappointed in himself, while Sala felt like he let the team down. Tom and Izzy then went for a walk to discuss who they and Avi would work their way out of the minority and talk shit about Shay, who is clearly controlling the tribe. Tom then encouraged Izzy to try and connect with Lou, to flip her to their side … though he doesn’t appear to be very confident.

Back at Hermosa, Barb pulled Shannon aside to find out what was happening and where she should, in an attempt to win her to her side. After quickly realising that Mike was making deals with everyone, Shannon found herself in the strong position of the being the swing vote … despite being the only person Mike appears to not have a deal with.

But not to be outdone at Mogotón, emphasis on but, we got some nude action, as Sala opted to channel Max and Shirin channeling Richard Hatch by drip drying from his swim in the nude. They then went and whipped up some snails for lunch, which as an instant boner killer. As was the censor bar though, I guess.

We returned to a fully clothed Hermosa, where Mike complained about Barb not trying to scramble to Shannon … who was in fact the person Barb has been scrambling with. Despite the fact their rivals were then alerted to their strategy sesh, Barb and Nate continued to plot a way in, uninterrupted. Finally Mike joined them and asked Nate how he was feeling and who he wanted to align with, which Nate was not buying as genuine.

Later on Jak decided to steal from Shane Powers’ repertoire and fashion a rock phone, to lull everyone into a false sense of security and underestimate him. Having evidently worked, Barb and Nate approached Jak to see if he could figure out the game and point out who they all, but particularly Barb and Nate, should vote for. Proving that he isn’t actually a complete moron, Jak took the information straight back to Lee and Tom, solidifying their alliance in the process.

We finally checked in again with Hannah and Tony on redemption island, where Tony had evidently changed his cranky pants and was feeling focused. Hannah then ate an ant and was feeling confident. Seriously, she is a mad dog.

The tribes then had to select two people to go watch the duel, with Tony’s friends Sala and Lou selected for Mogotón and Shannon and Georgia in attendance from Hermosa. The prank monkeys slash stars of the duel were brought in where Tony proved that he was still in fact wearing his cranky pants before asking Sala and Lou if they had voted for him. Given that neither of them did, it kinda fell flat, but bless him, did he continue to rant.

Eventually Lou started to cry about Tony being voted out and thankfully helped calm his farm, which makes sense given she is a farmer. Hannah spoke about her shock at seeing Tony before continuing to feed copious amounts of information to Shannon and Georgia.

Finally we got to the money shot, where Hannah and Tony had to throw large heavy balls at suspended tiles. Clearly bored by the action, Georgia worked over time to get the tea of who the mysterious flipper on Mogotón was … which Lou readily gave up without a fight.

Despite barely chipping his first tile – which counted – Tony got out to a lead that my sweet angel Hannah was never able to come back from, exiting the game as the second boot.

While she was gutted to be out of the game without even having the chance to prove herself, my dear friend Hannah – we both met on the plus-sized model circuit – was thrilled to see me and reconnect over some comforting Hannah Gough Gee.

 

 

Hot and spicy, these babies are the perfect excuse to get some pork on your fork. Fuck, that is an Australian reference. What do kiwis say about pork? Somebody help me!

Or just whip some up. They good, they real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hannah Gough Gee
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g pork mince
6 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp honey
30 round wonton wrappers

Method
Combine everything but the wrappers – which is obvious, I know … but JIC – in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Place the wonton wrappers on a clean surface, keeping covered with a just damp cloth to avoid them drying out. Working one at a time, place about a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each wrapper.

Brush the edges with a bit of water and close the dough to form a half moon shape, crinkling the edge together for dramatic effect. Place on a lined tray and repeat the process until done.

When you’re ready to cook, place a large pan/pot filled without about an inch of water over high heat and bring to the boil. While heating, line a steamer (bamboo or metal) with baking paper. When the water is ready, place the steamer in the pot and fill with about 8-10 dumplings, depending on the size of the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 8 minutes or until cooked through. Again, repeat the process until done.

Serve with sriracha, soy, hoisin or sweet chilli and eat through the pain of losing our queen so early.

 

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Chris Jamon and Pear Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Probsty reminded us about all of the idols – ominous, no? – the olds started to talk smack about each other and Taylor tried to take Adam with him as he found his way out the door for stealing food.

Back at camp Adam got to work winning everyone back while Jay continued to throw him under the Kelley Wentworth memorial Dietz bus, before Jay – the hero who ate some of the stolen food – found and dug up the remaining loot. Giving zero fucks about the stolen food like the viewers at home, Chris and Bret went for a walk to reconfirm the fact they need to focus on getting rid of Jessica ASAP.

The next day Hannah and Ken sat together watching the sunrise which was strangely sweet, despite the fact the harpy was trying to steal my damn man. But honestly, so adorable and I’d ship that if Kengel and I weren’t dating.

Back at camp, Will and Zeke had a quick chat about the previous tribal council proving that James Earl Jones Jr. has some game. To further build trust between the two, Will told Zeke about Jay’s idol which set off what is arguably the greatest piece of editing in Survivor history as the information spread through the tribe one-by-one.

Seriously, fucking glorious.

Despite all the idol talk, Zeke and Chris are still planning to boot Jess … and are hoping to go one further and flush the idol in the process. Given that all happened in the first ten minutes, I don’t have much hope in that happening.

Wanting to challenge my inner pessimist, J-Pro arrived for the reward challenge – get it, challenge … the challenge. So many lols. After walking us through the challenge, David interrupted Probst to offer sitting out to avoid bringing the teams down. When everyone refused and encouraged him to have ago, he broke down to explain how nice it was to be accepted and supported.

All the damn feels. You’re crying, I’m not crying.

Despite the fact David’s swimming didn’t let the team down like he thought, his puzzle ability did as the purple team had a massive come from behind – sadly not a reference to Kengel and I – victory.

Hannah, Zeke, Adam and Sunday joined Bret the party guy at the floating pizza restaurant where Bret was just yolo-ing like he does on reward before the waiter surprised them with letters from home. Obviously poor Adam broke down speaking about his sick mother – again, I’m not crying, we’re all crying – finally winning him back after his irritating couple of episodes.

Back at camp Kengel and David continued their bromance with Ken checking in on David’s mental health, making sure that he was ok and proud of everything he had achieved in the game.

Swoon, Kengel. Swoon. Love heart eyes emoji.

After a quick strategy chat with Jess – where Kengel’s angels decided to target Chris – Probest reappeared for immunity which involved a lot of pole and keeping your idol up, with a pole? I’m not sure, but it was homoerotic.

Then ants started to walk on Ken, allowing the camera to pan over his beautiful torso – YAS YAS YAS. Thank you ants.

He quickly dropped out … then everyone else did until it was only Zeke and – wait for it … wait – David, the latter of who snatched immunity and completed a glorious half-episode redemption arc. And hopefully started a Colby Donaldson memorial immunity run.

Back at camp the tribe – excluding Jay – got to work splitting into either the boot Jess or boot Chris camps, whilst hoping Jay assumes he is the target to force him to play his idol. Jess, Chris, Jess, Chris – that was pretty much it, ok?

We arrived at tribal council where Taylor was sporting a delightful haircut – I assume given by Michelle … or himself whilst extremely drunk – where Jay mentioned his back was against the wall, Hannah then coined a new term for alliance, a trust cluster – which is only fractionally less annoying than voting blocks.

Chris sounded confident, Sunday was passive aggressive, Adam alluded to the civil war, Jess was anxious and Jay was nervous, though not enough to play his idol. Thankfully for him however, he didn’t need to as my dear ex-lawyer and current friend Chris found his way out of the game as the tenth boot / third juror.

As you’ve probably guessed – I mean, why wouldn’t you have – Chris was my lawyer after I was involved in slapping a cop with Zsa Zsa Gabor in the 80s. We quickly bonded – due to my love of redheads – and the rest is history. With the exception of my Chris Jamon and Pear Salad … which we share on the reg.

 

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I know Marge Simpson taught us all that you don’t make friends with salad, but this baby is the exception. Salty, sweet and packed full of meat … it reads like a night well spent.

Enjoy!

 

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Chris Jamon & Pear Salad
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
lug of olive oil
lug of balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups rocket leaves, washed
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
12 thin slices jamon iberico
100g feta, crumbled
½ red onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Whisk the honey, mustard, balsamic and olive in a small jug, and leave to rest.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Toss through the dressing.

Season.

Devour.

 

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Lauren Graham Crackers

Baking, Oy with the turkeys already!, Side, Snack, Sweets

I honestly cannot believe I am sitting down to write about catching up with Lauren Graham in this context. I mean, a Gilmore Girls reunion has long been my dream but after the short lived wonder that was Bunheads, I feared that ASP wouldn’t be able to bequeath the only TV revival I ever wanted.

Outside of Golden Girls, obviously.

Don’t get me wrong, such a positive and hopeful person like me always dreamed that it would one day happen … I just thought Lauren and I would be catching up to celebrate the seminal movie Because I Said So’s tenth anniversary, before experiencing this wonder.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that 2016 has been absolute balls, but not in a good way, but (the horrifically named) Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is something we can all take some time to be thankful for, which really makes it’s release so convenient for me and my Thanksgiving plans.

As you know, Annelie and I used to work as gophers on the set of the OG series until we were blacklisted for not letting go off our adopted triplets amnesia storyline – which *spoiler alert* was left unused in the revival.

While you may have assumed that is how we met and fell in love with Loz, we actually connected on the set of Caroline in the City whilst part of Lea Thompson’s entourage – our story inspired the teen movie, Heathers. Seeing a star on the rise, we jumped to join Loz’s far less angry clique and guided her to greatness.

Loz has been so busy in recent years, what with keeping Kleenex afloat via Parenthood – which to confess, I couldn’t watch as it just felt like she was cheating on Rory, Richard and Emily – so it has been a while since we’ve been able to take the time to get together and celebrate everything that makes our friendship as beautiful as it is.

Thankfully not a thing has changed in our time apart, Loz is still such a beautiful soul and she is still more than willing to spill some secrets to her best friend – I know the final four words guys! – over a batch of her favourites, my Lauren Graham Crackers.

 

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I know what you’re thinking – oy, with the grahams? / they shoot bloggers, don’t they? – but bare with me, graham crackers are insanely delicious … and festively appropriate given they are the basis of all the best cheesecake / pie crusts.

Thankfully Loz and I don’t need to be too fancy to celebrate Thanksgiving, our friendship and the GG reunion is more than enough.

But to reiterate, these are delicious as is – enjoy!

 

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Lauren Graham Crackers
Makes: 30-40.

Ingredients
60g unsalted butter
115g muscovado sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250g wholemeal flour

Method
Beat the butter and sugar using a stand mixer for about five minutes, or until pale and creamy. Still beating, slowly add in the egg, honey and milk, allowing the mix to come together before adding the next. Remove from the stand and fold through the baking powder, salt and flour, until it comes together as a smooth dough. Form into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the dough from the fridge and split it in two, returning one to the fridge while you work on the other. Between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is super thin – 2-3mm max – cut it into graham shaped rectangles, dot with the thick end of a skewer and transfer to a baking tray.

Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.

Transfer both trays to the oven and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, split the biscuits into pieces and transfer to a cooling rack.

Then devour.

 

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Colin Kung Powell Chicken

Amer-she-can Week, Main, Poultry

I know what you’ve been thinking, my relationships with all of my recent guests have been strangely harmonious for someone as terrible as me! Don’t worry, I was an absolute jerk to poor Colin Powell when we first met.

You see I was working closely protesting with Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War and Colin invited me for a sit down so that we could discuss his experience. Being young, strung out and generally dislikable, I spent the time abusing Colin.

About a decade later, during a stint in NA, I reached out to Colin in an effort to make amends and given his kind heart, he agreed and we were able to work through all of the problems and trauma I caused for him.

It has been a couple of years since I was last able to catch up with Colin, given how busy and important we both are, so it was great to be able to take some time out, reconnect and discuss the current political landscape and how best to tackle the campaign.

Shit, I might be saying too much – bait your breath, ok?

Anyway in continuing with HRC’s request for a multicultural theme Independence Week celebration, we opted for a big serving of my Colin Kung Powell Chicken.

 

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So you know how I love chilli? This dish makes me pretty damn happy.

While I don’t feel like my insides are liquefying from the heat – which I admit, does disappoint me a bit – it has the perfect balance of sweet and sour rumbling under the strong heat. And that sweet/sour combo makes up for me retaining my organs.

Enjoy!

 

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Colin Kung Powell Chicken
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
¼ cup flour
500g chicken thighs fillets, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4 shallots, cleaned and finely sliced on an angle
6 dried red chillies
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
50g unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
coriander leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat a large frying pan over high heat and toast the Szechuan peppercorns until golden and fragrant. Pour the peppercorns – can you just call them corns? – into a mortar and pestle and grind until you get a rough powder. Mainly cause they are tough and I’m weak though?

Anyway, pour the ground corns – I’m going with corns – into a large bowl and mix with the flour. Toss through the chicken until it is coated.

Pour a good lug of vegetable oil into the frying pan and return it to a hot hot heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes, or until crisp, browned and cooked through.

Add the garlic and ginger, the shallots and the dry chillies and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the tamari, vinegar and honey, and cook until reduced and sticky.

Remove from the heat, stir through peanuts, garnish with coriander and devour with a shit tonne of rice.

 

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Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad

Main, Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor, Tai escaped from the hold of the dark ones … who technically would be the Dark Two, but whatever, semantics. Tai went back to the heroes and gave us a classic Tribal Council moment when he nah bro’d Scot to the jury.

Everyone but Jason/Kyle/Sarge and the beauty girls seemed happy about the switch, particularly Tai and Aubry who spent, what I assume was the entire night making out.

Poor Caleb, first being brutally medevaced, now cheated on by Tai? Tragic.

We then heard Jason/Kyle/Sarge repeat the same confessional sixteen times before we headed to reward where luck was not on what’s-his-face’s side again, missing the opportunity to compete for fried chicken and wine, aka my foreplay. While the castaways were happy, I’m pretty sure that production stole a romantic date Probst had planned for us, so I’m obviously suing CBS.

While the third/second coming of the Black Widow Brigade and The Witches Coven respectively were away on reward with a random dog, no joke, Sargsonle once again spoke about how screwed he was while Julia salivated at the thought of booting Tai and murdering fan-favourite Mark the Chicken – who has had more screentime than Rudy 2.0 all season.

Little did she know how soon she’d be getting to eat as, once again, the castaways went a bit crazy and turned on my dear friend and protege, Julia Sokolowski after Tai dotted his T and crossed his I to save himself. Well technically, Aubs has kind of had it out for her for a few weeks now. But she was legitimately #Blindsided, so I still chalk it up to a bit of Kaoh Rong cuckoo.

Oh and Michelle won immunity spelling blindside before blindsided her closest ally and the second place finisher of the challenge, so that is pretty ironic. Maybe. More than Alanis’ examples were.

Probably.

I first met Jules last year and despite not knowing her for long, she has quickly become one of my closest friends and I am endeavouring to mould her into being a kind, rational and completed grounded person, just like me!

You see, JuJuSki is lucky enough to not only attend my Alma Mater, Boston University, but also to have pledged my sorority Alpha Phi.

As a former president of Alpha Phi in the mid-90s (there was a campus serial killer at the time which inspired both Scream 2 and Scream Queens … but I’ll tell you about it later), I like to provide support and guidance to my new sisters and help shape the minds of the future. JuJu is a shining star and as soon as I saw her, I knew that she had to be my latest mentee.

Ju was sad to make her way to Ponderosa, but as a super fan, was able to respect the gameplay. Plus I had a big bowl of my Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad on hand to distract her from her boot slash not eating Mark the Chicken.

 

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Full disclosure, I spilt some wine and Julia shed some tears into the pot while cooking the quinoa so it is a bit soggier than normal. Obviously, we expect no judgement. Plus, even if you tried, Julia would just straight up turn around and walk out mid-way through your sentence like she did to Jeff mid-snuff. Girl is tough.

Despite the hiccup, this salad is seriously good! The sweetness of the pumpkin works perfectly with the nuttiness of the goat’s cheese and the tang on the orange. Plus, quinoa is healthy so you can feel totally smug after eating it.

Enjoy!

 

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Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
450g can whole baby beetroot, rinsed and drained (You could use fresh, trimmed, scrubbed, wrapped in foil and baked for 30mins. But who can be bothered in the middle of the Cambodian jungle?)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
800g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh thyme
400g white quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 oranges
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
120g goat’s cheese, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 180C. Spread pumpkin out on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with extra oil, the cumin, a good whack of salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes, or golden and cooked through.

Cook quinoa following packet directions, avoiding to overcook or drown in booze/tears like we did – maybe you like mushy, soggy food? Either way, when it is cooked to your liking, set it aside to cool.

Peel and segment the oranges over a large bowl to catch all of the juice and combine with the honey, mustard and oil. Stirring to combine.

Cut beetroot into wedges and add to the orange and dressing with the pumpkin, quinoa, parsley, walnuts and cheese.

Devour and let your post blindside rage disappear.

 

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Peter Baklavenstos

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Running into an ex is always awkward, but when it is seeing the person that broke your heart after getting them on the show … after they were just voted out is kinda satisfying.

Scrap that, it is fucking glorious.

This week we started with Petey trying to woo Tai into his third showmance in six episodes while over on Chanloh, part-time model Debbie and her adonis Nick engaged in, what on the island was, the filthiest and most explicit romance since Ozzy and Amanda in Micronesia.

Love, however, isn’t what we watch for … it is all about Probst making a series of ball puns while people were bobbing for them during the reward challenge. Once again, Aubrey continued to be the challenge beast of the season.

Peter spent most of the episode putting a target on his back and being paranoid, before a block almost took out Biden at the challenge. Thankfully he wasn’t evacuated, giving Aubrey another chance to shine when she literally crossed out Julia’s name and changed her vote to Peter.

I don’t know if it was due to budget cuts or they are trying to be green, but I’m thankfully there are limited pieces of parchment for drama’s sake.

I first met Petey on the impersonating circuit where he, obviously, was a Time Square Obama and I was any misc-dark haired celebrity with curls, but was most often recognised as Fred Savage, Ray Martin or aggressive Andy Samberg.

Pete and I, again obviously, fell into a torrid love affair bathed amongst the lights of Bro-ad-way (right near where, I assume, Reed cheated on Josh). Our loving relationship was so strong, he convinced me to don blackface (to upset my nemesis Harry Connick Jr. – he always refused my advances/to whisper my name) and play the Michelle to his Barack.

Mich (who I am also friends with) loved the idea and thankfully deemed my arms perfect enough to play her … lucky I invented that workout system with her in 2014. I must look at releasing it soon, if only I paid Todd Tucker for his work filming it.

Anyway, when I found out Pete was officially going to be on Survivor I quickly tried to call Probst and try to help pre-game for my lover, but his attitude got in the way (I’m team Biden on the circuit, not on the island) and we sadly went our separate ways.

While you may assume that I would handle a break-up with expletives, lighter-fluid and booze, that wasn’t the case when I reconnected with Pete in loser lodge … probably as I was so smug to see him just before the merge, meaning my break-up, once again proves that Kat Mr. Edorsson is a genius – who wants to date someone that doesn’t make the merge?

Thankfully I am very mature and rational and was kind enough to whip it out him up a nice batch of my (usually post-coital) Peter Baklaventos.

 

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Baklava, while time consuming, is one of the easiest sweets you can make but still looks impressive. Obviously this is my favourite kind of recipe – one that gives you the most bang for your buck … particularly if it is for a post bang meal.

Between the pastry, rosewater and sticky nuts dripping in a sweet, moist glaze … this is something you need to have in and around your mouth. ASAP.

Enjoy!

 

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Peter Baklavenstos
Makes: About 24 pieces.

Ingredients
250 gm each pistachios and walnuts, finely chopped
100 gm caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
200 gm butter, coarsely chopped
500 gm filo pastry
Honey syrup
300 gm caster sugar
125 gm honey
1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
1 cinnamon quill
4 drops rosewater

Method
Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, set aside and keep warm. Brush a 24x34cm baking dish with butter. Cut filo sheets to fit tray snugly and cover with a damp tea towel.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Yes this can be annoying and I generally avoid this set when making filo pies … but this is the one dish you kind of can’t avoid this step, sorry.

Spread half the nut mixture on top, repeat the process with the next third of filo, top with the remaining nuts and do the filo again. Once more, with feeling and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and cut the dish into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife, making sure to get through all layers of filo and bake until golden and crisp, about 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly.

While in the oven, get onto the honey syrup by combining the sugar, honey, lemon rind, cinnamon and 300ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes and the flavours have gloriously steeped in the liquid. Remove from heat, strain and stir through the lemon juice and rosewater and set aside.

Cool baklava for about 5 minutes and pour the syrup evenly over the pastry. Set aside at room temperature to cool completely … if you can. Then go crazy and devour it.

 

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Tagene Hackman

12th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Easter Meggstravaganza, Main

You know that friend you have that every time another close friend dies you think, damn I miss Mr/Ms X so much, they went too soon … only to Google them to be reminded of their death information and discover they aren’t actually dead?

Yep, that is my dear friend and ex-lover Gene Hackman … making him the perfect candidate for phase four of the Meggstravaganza … and a welfare check.

I first connected with Gene Genie in the 40s through our (well his brother and mine) mutual friend, Dick Van Dyke. While I had a falling out with Dick after using his name during my brief stint in porn in the 60s, Gene and I have enjoyed a close, continuing friendship for the past 70-odd years.

Gene’s passion for my porn career probably helped.

Gene and I enjoyed a brief open relationship in the late 60s, probably due to the social climate at the time, and as such, he was lucky to avoid having me as a scorned ex. This helped in him securing his Oscars, as I am one of the top award season smear-campaigners working in Hollywood.

Gene was so thrilled to see me and I him – mainly out of relief that he isn’t dead. Gene was very excited to be able to share a meal and help his former co-star return to fame (he thinks French Kiss and The French Connection franchise are the same thing). I do get the feeling he was more excited to have a nice homecooked Tagene Hackman though?

 

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But who wouldn’t be?

I mean, a big kick of spice, the majesty of lamb, the trashiness addition of frozen peas and a rich, spicy tomato sauce to delicately cook eggs – what more could you want?

That’s right, nada – enjoy!

 

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Tagene Hackman
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 onions, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
5 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chilli flakes
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp honey
200g frozen peas
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a large bowl combine the lamb, half the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, coriander, parsley and an egg. Season and mix well, before rolling out into balls just smaller than golf balls. Cover with cling and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine over medium heat and sweat the onions with the chilli flakes until sweet and translucent.

Scrape the onion to one side of the tagine and add the meatballs, cooking until lightly browned. Add the can of tomatoes, paste and honey, stirring carefully to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for ten minutes.

Remove from the heat, uncover, sprinkle the peas over the top and stir. Crack the eggs onto the top of the stew. Return the lid and place into the oven for up to ten minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Remove from the lid, garnish with feta, parsley and serve, generously, with couscous.

 

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