Sylvia Jafflies

Main, Snack

Let me tell you, the phrase contractually obligated has never made me feel better! While my lunch date with Sylvia started off quite awkwardly – on account of my epic over-the-phone tantrum – she sat me down, and in her calmest newsreader voice, explained that she only hosted the greatest annual Christmas program on Australian television with my ex because it was contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated. Who would have thought that phrase could sound so good? Particularly after contractual obligations have forced me into appearing in questionable programs overseas and being the face of Spam for the entirety of the ‘90s.

Now I know that I would normally launch into an epic tirade and stir up a feud if they tried to use contracts to explain their actions, but Sylvia is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and as such, I didn’t question the pain it caused her to buddy up with Curt.

As I mentioned, Sylvs and I were thrust together in 2006 after missing the first day of Spanish class at UQ and were required to sit a make-up class. As is oft the case, I realised that her grasp of the language was far superior to mine, so hitched my wagon to hers and became study buddies slash friends. I mean, sure, most of our study dates at Wordies were spoken in English but that made for a fun ride in class and helped me receive so many disappointed sighs from our Colombian teacher.

When we weren’t downing arancini – not Arianna’s – while learning our pluscuamperfecto, I did my best to culturally appropriate – is that a way I can use it, probs not, but you get what I mean – Latin American cuisine to further our education. Which is how I invented the Sylvia Jafflies.

 

 

Jaffles are probably the greatest invention for uni students – cheap, quick and easy, and oh so comforting when you’re wanting to die at the end of semester. Add the additional comfort of chilli and guac, and you’ve got the ultimate study food. Scrap that, just food. It is the ultimate food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sylvia Jafflies
Serves: 2 distracted Spanish students.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup Chilli con Kim Carnes
100g sliced Mexican manchego
1 avocado, mashed
sour cream, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

Method
Now this is harder than an end of semester entrevista, so pay attention.

Start by turning on a jaffle iron and buttering the bread.

Divide the chilli across two slices, top each with manchego and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

Butter the top of the bread and place butter-side down on the jaffle iron.

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the cheese is gooey.

Slather in avo, sour cream and sriracha before devouring, carefully, on account of the piping hot cheese.

 

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Splendour en espanol

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I know that Christmas is the time of comfort and joy, or the tidings thereof at the very least, but I have to admit my dear friend Sylvia Jeffrey’s behaviour had me feeling neither over the last week.

You see, while me and all of our Queensland mates were deep in election fever last weekend, I discovered that she was flaunting her friendship with my ex Curt – yes, Curtis ma’ fuckin’ Stone – on Christmas with the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Given that we met during a make-up class of UQ’s SPAN1020 after attending 2006’s Splendour in the Grass, I expected her loyalty would fall to me in the break-up. Emotionally broken, I picked up the phone and screamed down the line at my dear friend Syl that – in the words of the wise Sue Hawk – I felt violated, humiliated and totally spent Jeff … reys.

I cried, I sobbed and I successfully guilted her into a date to reconnect. What says, while I’m proud of everything you’ve achieved since uni, I can’t believe you’d work with Curt after the way he broke my heart?

Soy embarazado, entonces ¡ que divertido !

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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Karl Stroganovic

Main, Pasta

While he didn’t explicitly say it, my boy Karl desperately needed a cuddle and a catch-up to pick him up and get him through the final few weeks of the year. Given the stress he’s been under, he hasn’t been the breakfast mainstay that we’ve come to know and love this last year, and I am heartbroken to admit, that that has really gotten him down.

“Ben, my dearest best Ben-friend after Fordo. I just feel like I’ve let my Today family, and everyone, down.”

Gaaaahhhh, how heartbreaking is that?

I held him close and told him that everything would be ok and the public would soon be distracted by another shiny scandal … and that he is beautiful, looks like a model, like Linda Evangelista. Look at that smile etc. While he was confused about that little outburst before I explained that Stan, part of the Nine stable, is Australia’s RPDR champion, he held me for a few moments, soaking in the unconditional love of his dear friend. And surprisingly, that soaking is figuratively. For once.

I’ve known Karl for years, after meeting in the Nine News Brisbane newsroom in the early ‘00s. While the fact we both had the generic appearance of a young Ray Martin pitted us as competition, our sense(s?) of humour brought us together. We’ve been friends ever since and I’ve proudly celebrated his achievements after all these years.

After working through the darker parts of our years – did I ever tell you about the time someone tried to act offended that I didn’t want to attend a work lunch when I hate crowds/people? – we got to work bringing joy back to our lives. And there is nothing more joyful than my Karl Stroganovic.

 

 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I used to have some serious hang-ups about strog due to my mother. While she always tries her best, particularly in the kitchen, ‘90s Tweed Heads was not good for beef strips, nor did she help the sitch with strog. My dear, sweet grandmother used to tell her that me regurgitating the meat was ok because I was masticating the goodness from it, but I wish she just suggested cooking the meat in a manner that made it tender. Like this.

After submerging the beef in the sweet, sweet stroganoff sauce, the meat starts to melt away and make me wish the culinary memories of the ‘90s ent with it. Delicate, tender and oh-so-comforting, this is the perfect dish to get you excited for 2017’s end.

Enjoy!

 

 

Karl Stroganovic
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
250g white mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ cup beef stock
⅔ cup brandy
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500g beef fillet, cut into strips
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
small handful parsley, finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until nice and foamy before adding the onion and garlic, and cooking for three minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of extra minutes. Add the paste, mustard and paprika and cook for a further minute, before stirring through the stock, brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for about five minutes.

Add the beef strips to the bubbling sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Season, add the sour cream and stir to combine.

Remove from the heat, stir through the parsley and serve on a bed of buttered pasta. Then devour, obvi.

 

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Tomorrow is a notter today

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

As you know, my boy Karl has had a hella rough slash oft controversial last year. His marriage dissolved in an extremely public way, and his falling to second most popular Today personality – after Sylvia, obvi – lead to the unnecessarily scandalous exit for his co-worker Lis.

The year is coming to a close, we’re all fucking tired and Karl, more than anyone, could use a cuddle from his dearest friend. So I picked up the phone and asked him to drop by and reconnect.

For one of my famously comforting cuddles.

What says, I love you, I miss you and I’m more than willing to throwing 2017 in the trash and help you reclaim your breakfast TV throne?

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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Alexquiche Bledel

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

In the words of my ex-lovers’ hit song, we’ve come … to the end of the road. And while I usually can’t let go when in these situations – which inspired both Misery and Fatal Attraction – I am coping ok knowing that it is Thanksgiving – happy Thanksgiving ya’ll – and, more importantly, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life drops in under 36 hours (at time of publishing, obvs).

It has been such a wonderful week and a bit celebrating with Loz, Ed (RIP), Yanic, Scott, Kelly, Keiko, Liza and Melissa, but at the end of the day nothing beats spending time with my (probably favourite) girl Alexis Bledel.

Obviously that has nothing to do with my wonderful friendships with the others, it is just that Alexis and I have such a special bond that not even her marrying Pete Campbell could break us apart.

You see, while I inspired aspects of most of the characters on Gilmore Girls, ASP created  Rory as beacon of hope to inspire me to greatness. While you could argue whether I’ve actually ever achieved greatness, let’s lay out the facts: I studied journalism at one of my country’s prestigious universities – again, we can argue the merits of the statement … but it is fact – I have attended Yale, I enjoy a close relationship with Barack Obama and have a passionate addiction to coffee.

I claim it as a win for life … and ASP.

It was such a treat to reconnect with Lex and chat about our similarities, my ideas for rebooting the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants franchise and to talk smack about our mutual nemesis Katherine Heigl. And the only thing we could possibly reconnect / talk smack over was my famous Alexquiche Bledel.

 

alexquiche-bledel-1

 

I know what you’re thinking – we just had thanksgiving dessert man, what is your problem?! Well … you probs should have your thanksgiving meal sorted by now and this is perfect for all of your leftovers. So yep – game, set and match to me.

Plus this is delicious and light, like all good quiches are, in addition to being gluten free which lessens the guilt over going overboard on festive goodness. So enjoy, ok?

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

alexquiche-bledel-2

 

Alexquiche Bledel
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1kg (roughly) sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chilli flakes
7 eggs
knob of butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
200g prosciutto, thinly sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup double cream
150g danish feta

Method
Preheat oven to 225C.

Place the grated sweet potato in a sieve and press out as much liquid as possible. When you think you’ve got it all out, agitate, and press for another five minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix thoroughly with a pinch of salt and pepper, chilli and an egg to combine.

Press the mixture into a quiche or pie pan to form the shape of a quiche case. Place in the oven and bake for half an hour or so, or until crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Reduce heat to 160C.

While the potato crust is baking, heat a small knob of butter in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the leek for a couple of minutes, or until soft. Add in the prosciutto and cook for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir through tomatoes and allow to cool slightly.

While they are both getting all Netflix – for tomorrow’s revival! – and chill, whisk the remaining eggs in a bowl with the double cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Head back to the quiche/pie and spread the leek, prosciutto and tomato across the base, crumble feta over the top. Pour over the egg mixture and bake in the oven for half an hour, or until just set.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for about ten minutes … and then devour.

 

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Melissa McPumpkin-Pecanthy Pie

Baking, Dessert, Oy with the turkeys already!

It is without a doubt that my dear friend Mel has had the most stratospheric rise since Gilmore Girls tragically came to an end.

I mean yes Loz had Parenthood, Ed now lives on in our heart, Yanic opened a spin studio, Scott appeared on 90210 (he is definitely her closest competition), Kelly had Bunheads, Keiko guested on Shameless and Liza is getting away with murder, but Mel was nominated for a damn Oscar so it is no competition.

As you can probably guess, I played a huge role in Mel landing the role after Alex had to vacate after the pilot. We had met at one of her cousin Jen’s parties and quickly became friends because we are hilarious, charming and are both future Oscar winners. Obviously only I knew that at the time.

Given Mel has been super busy – so busy she almost missed out on filming the revival … although I’m gutted the scandal wasn’t all an elaborate lie to hide her involvement – we haven’t been able to see each other as often as we would like.

Oh and there was that little fight we had when she wouldn’t let me on the set of Ghostbusters due to “making Chris uncomfortable.”

Thankfully, the holidays cure all and allowed us to heal the wounds, celebrate the revival and more importantly take some time to remember why we are such damn good friends. Obviously all of those things require splitting a delightful Melissa McPecanthy-Pumpkin Pie.

 

melissa-mcpumpkin-pecanthy-pie-1

 

So you know that awkward moment when you buy all the ingredients to make a Pecan Pie only to remember that AJ McLean vowed to disown you if you ever made one for someone more famous than he? Well this little festive gang-bang is sure to act as a perfect loophole.

Plus … the only thing better than a pumpkin or pecan pie, is a pecan-pumpkin pie. Just don’t tell Vandy.

Enjoy!

 

melissa-mcpumpkin-pecanthy-pie-2

 

Melissa McPecanthy-Pumpkin Pie
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
Pastry
125g unsalted butter, cold and diced
225g flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml cold water
Filling
250g pecans
1 cup pumpkin puree
340g muscovado sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
70g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
115ml cream
6 eggs

Method
Combine the flour, cocoa, salt and icing sugar in a bowl before adding the butter and pressing with your fingers until the dough resembles wet dirt – not sand due to the cocoa, obvs. Mix in the vanilla extract and water, bit by bit, until the smooth dough just comes together.

Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C, spread the pecans over a lined baking sheet and cook for ten minutes while the oven is coming to temperature. Remove and allow to cool.

Combine the puree, sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter and vanilla in a large saucepan over low heat and whisk until combined, butter melted and sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat, whisk in the cream and allow to cool for about ten minutes. Once cool, whisk the eggs through, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

Get the dough out of the fridge and roll-out between two pieces of baking paper until it is 3-5mm. Press the dough into a 26cm pie dish, trim the edges, line with baking paper, fill with baking weights  and blind bake for about fifteen minutes. Remove the weights/paper and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for about ten minutes.

While the crust is settling, add the pecans to the filling, stir thoroughly and add to the crust. Smooth out the top and bake for about 45 minutes, or until set and browned.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for about half an hour and devour with ice cream.

 

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Riza Weil Pudding

Dessert, Oy with the turkeys already!, Snack, Sweets

If I ever got involved in hardcore, life-enveloping BDSM akin to 50 Shades of Beige it would come down to the beautiful aggression of Paris Geller and that all comes down to the wonderful performance of my dear friend Liza Weil in the role.

While ASP based Luke’s cantankerous spirit on me, she blessed Paris with most of my (at time terrifying) other qualities and when it came time to cast the role I knew that Liza was the only one we should cast.

I first met Liz when she guested on The Adventures of Pete and Pete where I was working to get both Pete’s recast to sexier gingers to help launch the Red Hot Project years earlier. While I was unsuccessful and sadly can’t lay claim to the thirst inducing calendars, I did gain a lifetime friend and punishing life coach in the form of Liza.

After all is said and one with the Thanksgiving mainstage, you need something a little sweet to fill that remaining gap in your stomach to ensure you’re adequately engorged … which again, is exactly how I would describe Paris.

You know she is too much, you know it will be punishing but you stick with her anyway as that is what makes life great. Coincidentally my Riza Weil Pudding also makes life great.

 

riza-weil-pudding-1

 

Creamy, sweet and spicy, it is everything you need to tide you over before dessert.

Oh … you thought this was dessert? No my dears, no.

No. This is dessert entree – enjoy!

 

riza-weil-pudding-2

 

Riza Weil Pudding
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
¾ cup uncooked white rice (for creamier pudding use short or medium grain rice)
2 cups milk, divided
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
⅔ cup raisins
2 apples, peeled cored and diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Bring 1 ½ cups water to boil in a large saucepan. When bubbling away, add in the rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain.

Place the drained rice into a fresh, large saucepan with 1 ½ cups of milk, the sugar, cinnamon, apple, raisin and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for fifteen minutes.

Whisk the remaining milk and egg together, stir into the mixture and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir through butter and vanilla, serve immediately and devour.

 

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Roast Porkeiko Agena

Main, Oy with the turkeys already!

Guys – not be confused with Gilmore Guys – I know you must be starting to get anxious, knowing that our Thanksgiving celebratory extravaganza will come to an end on Thursday AND having to wait to see how A Year in the Life turns out.

But don’t worry, this menu plan will live on forever in the ether for aliens to find and read in confusion after the sun explodes and engulfs our planet in flames … and the revival is bloody tops.

With that, we have arrived at the showstopper of our Thanksgiving table which comes in the form of our delightful chum, Keiko Agena.

We first connected with Keiks when she appeared in a late episode of Beverly Hills 90210. Knowing the show was rapidly approaching its end, we were looking for a new star to hitch our wagon too and saw a bright spark in dear Keiks.

When it came time to help ASP cast Gilmore Girls a year later, we knew she would be perfect for the role of Lane and the rest … wait for it, as they say, is history.

Now I know Lane would be considered a delicious Gilmore side, Keiks is definitely a pièce de résistance in my life and as such deserves her commemorative and grateful Roast Porkeiko Agena.

 

roast-porkeiko-agena-1

 

Robust, delicate and a little bit different for the Thanksgiving table – this pork melts in your mouth and reaffirms all of your life choices like a best friend should.

Enjoy!

 

roast-porkeiko-agena-2

 

Roast Porkeiko Agena
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
olive oil
300g hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, stems and inner ribs discarded
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan
zest and juice of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, beaten
800g pork belly, skin scored in 2cm squares
kitchen twine

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the sausage, breaking up as you go, for about five minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in the onion, leek and garlic and cook for a further five-ten minutes, or until the onion and friends are all soft.

Add the kale and sage … and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before adding in the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, seasoning and egg.

Place the pork belly on a chopping board, skin side down, and add about two cups of stuffing down one of the long sides. Grab the pork under the stuffing and tightly roll it round on itself to form a log. Tie as tightly and as neatly as possible – I’d tell you how, but this is not my strength and I feel it would be hypocritical. Just don’t use coloured twine like Bridget Jones, ok?

Once it is tied up, rub the skin with a lug of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt and add place in the oven for fifteen minutes before reducing the heat to 180°C and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked, the meat juicy and the skin crisp.

Oh and place any leftover stuffing into a baking dish and cook for half an hour of so, sprinkled with some extra parmesan. It is good.

 

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