Biscuits & Gravid Genat awaiting the model blindside victim David Genat after he was brutally cut from Australian Survivor.

Biscuits & Gravid Genat

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Bread, Breakfast, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the first post-merge tribal council gave Andy one more time to be wrong, thinking he was lying about David’s idol when dropping a bombway out. While David legit had one. Classic Andy. Thankfully that mistake only made Pia more resolute about taking him out ASAP. While JaQueen spent a couple of days rallying people to blindside an exceedingly cocky David, he won a hard fought immunity challenge over Shaun and saved. After being sent directly to tribal council, without even passing go and collecting $200, everyone scrambled outside with Shaun desperately trying to swing the vote on to Luke given he is a social threat that nobody can beat. Sadly for Shaun however that didn’t work with JaQueen and co’s plans, as they signalled their intentions and flipped the vote back on the sexy, strapping Shaun.

Back at camp the tribe were hunkering down as they were battered by torrential rain for over twelve hours, with Pia realising that the game is so much tougher than she was expecting. She was grateful however to have her dear friend JaQueen, trusting each other implicitly. As they sat around debating whether a palm has a frong – JaQueen, I’m disappointed – or a frond, they watched David flirting his way along the sure with Abbey and once again was focused on the need to get her former ally Dave out of the game.

Luke was once again feeling excited to have escaped certain doom, getting biblical and making jokes about blindsides and again, I hate that he annoyed me his last season. Given he has been through it before, he was acutely aware that they’re getting at the pointy end of the game and as such, alliances are going to break every tribal council. Meanwhile Daisy was still moping about tribal, given she had to get in line and vote out Shaun to try and save herself from JaQueen’s golden tongue. Speaking of golden, this time God, David was feeling super confident, having the numbers advantage, an idol and a team of allegedly loyal soldiers and he is looking forward to steamrolling his way to the end.

And to that I say, David, you in danger girl.

David was grateful for his tight alliance with Luke, who tells him everything that is going on, and as such, he knows it is safe to get rid of Daisy next. He then approached Pia, Abbey and JaQueen to fill them in on his plan to boot her and then told them not to tell anyone and keep everything quiet before tribal council. Which you know none of them are interested in. This led to even Abbey getting annoyed by his confidence, so the trio solidified their plan to blindside him as soon as possible. Knowing that getting David out will require them to keep it super quiet and play into his ego, inflating his confidence to unheard of levels. Pia then once again gave a masterclass in fake friend acting and again, David, you’re in danger as the Australian Black Widow alliance has finally arrived.

Jonathan and his guns arrived for the immunity challenge where they would race to dig a big sack of walls which they would then use to roll down a long, hard shaft and land them in waiting holes. Little Baden was the first to unleash his balls, rolling them down his shaft and trying to get a handle on the challenge before Luke joined him with his balls. Baden finally mastered the challenge, landing two balls with Luke nipping at his heels. Abbey finally joined the balls as Luke started to overtake Baden, landing his fourth and fifth balls while Baden started knocking his off. David joined them at the paddle but it was all for nought as Luke landed his sixth ball and secured individual immunity for the first time in his Survivor career.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Luke on a job well done at the immunity challenge before he dedicated victory to his kids and again, he has really won me over. As they started to pick at fruit, David quickly locked in the vote for Daisy, pulling everyone aside and feeling on top of the world. But we all know pride comes before a fall and he approached the Champion girls to talk about the plan to split the vote on Daisy and Harry, with JaQueen and Pia assuring him that they love the idea and have no reason to worry about big, bold moves as yet. Which he bought hook, line and sinker.

With that Pia, Abbey and JaQueen split up to bring in allies, with Pia quickly pulling in John before joining JaQueen to pull in Harry who knows that David is a threat and not Daisy. Despite not knowing whether the move will be enough to keep him, he felt like he had no other options. Meanwhile Abbey approached Daisy to get her up to speed on the new plan and told her that while it will sound like everyone is getting rid of her, it is only to keep Dave confident enough to not play his genuine hypothetical idol. While Daisy was nervous to be the decoy vote, she knows that that is her only hope to stay in the game. Pia was hopeful that the blindside will come together, carefully avoiding telling David’s nearest and dearest about the plan, with JaQueen wishing that the sun would hurry up and set so nobody can fuck it up. Right on cue Daisy pulled Luke aside to talk to him about the vote ahead, filling Pia and Abbey with a horrible feeling of dread as they were about to leave.

At tribal council Jonathan was joined by Zaddy Shaun who was looking stunning all scrubbed up before congratulating Luke on his first individual immunity. They then joked about Luke becoming the new challenge beast of the season and dominating the game. JaQueen deflected Jonathan’s suggestion that the focus would now be on a new challenge threat, assuring him that she will be sticking with her alliance this time. David jumped in to agree that allies are more important, particularly if the challenge threat is amongst them as they can keep the target off your back. Dave then went in on Daisy for flipping on him at Champions 2.0 – or 3.0 – with Daisy dutifully playing the hapless next boot, apologising for not talking to him prior to flipping on him pre-merge.

Harry joined the fray to talk about his nerves about old tribal lines dictating the vote ahead and that all he cares about is self-preservation. Zaddy John agreed that all he cares about is making it another day, with Baden agreeing that he wished another Contender wasn’t about to go home however he doesn’t have any say. Simon finally spoke however it clearly wasn’t too memorable as I honestly just know that he said something. Though maybe that was because Jonathan pivoted back to Zaddy John who spoke about cracks showing in the Champion alliance, which immediately made the Champion ladies shit their pants as David appeared to grow more and more nervous. Before heading off to vote Daisy wished that she had scrambled harder before tribal, while Dave asked everyone to stick to the plan, unaware that those magic words are what killed the man, the myth, the legend Keith Nale. And killed him, as Pia’s plan played out perfectly and he was blindsided from the game with an idol in his pocket.

While I do love a Survivor downfall, I also love everything that David has brought to the game this season, from his spunky attitude to his aggressive gameplay and his glistening torso, I would watch him on repeat. He was bummed to be voted out, sure, but was thrilled to see his old runway coach – I go by Miss Benny-J – on hand to comfort him. After I worked through the excitement of having Shaun and David to myself in the jury villa, all I could think about was getting him alone in a room to gorge on some Biscuits & Gravid Genat.

 

David Genat waiting to smash Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Is it lazy to throw together two recipes that I’ve previously done? Sure. but when you’re faced with staring at a cooktop and staring at David’s beautiful face, I think you would err on the side of simple. Plus, this creamy sausagey gloop, slathered over buns is a delicious way to celebrate our model contestant. Or him to celebrate with me, I don’t mind.

Enjoy!

 

David Genat smashing Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Biscuits & Gravid Genat
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch Jenna Lewiscuits
1 batch Sam Schoesage Gravy

Method
Cook the biscuits as per Jenna’s recipe.

Cook the gravy as per Sam’s recipe.

Split the biscuits, top with gravy and devour.

 

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Jenna Lewiscuits waiting for our fellow fame hungry Survivor All Star Jenna Lewis.

Jenna Lewiscuits

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: Island of the Idols

Well lookie here, can you believe we’re almost back for another season to see whether we can do a more elaborate shark jumping than last season? I mean, sure, Chris broke the pizza curse by returning to the game and securing victory, but can we be sure if pizza won’t be a curse when you don’t have a safety net? Who knows.

In any event, I stick by the old adage that bad Survivor is still better than no Survivor and last season did give us the majesty of Chris’ package and flashy – not in an Australian Survivor way, sadly – end game if something I will defend until my last breath.

Given last season’s countdown finally caught me up on having the suite of victors dropping by on record, I decided that it was time to celebrate some of the non-winning icons of the game. And while Jenna may not be remembered fondly for turning on the winners in All Stars, I will always hold a special place for her in my heart.

I mean, she was one of the few people to try and break apart the tagi alliance in Borneo, famously missed out on a video from home as her family forgot and then returned to All Stars and famously set the tone, cutting Tina first and making all winners targets.

She was thrilled and honestly, kinda shocked, to receive a call asking her to drop by and help me countdown to Island of the Idols since as she put it “I’m not what most people would consider a legend of the game.” Which truly kinda broke my heart.

I explained to her as one of the few people to vote for Rob to win All Stars, I considered her a rational gamer and felt wistful wondering what the timeline would look like had he won that game. I assume no Mariano duo in the potential and definitely not confirmed by spoilers season of winners at war … with each other, for instance.

With that, she giddily accepted the fact that being a returnee was enough to get and invite while we smashed some culinary sacrifices in the form of Jenna Lewiscuits, to guarantee Rob and Sandra don’t help the contestants on their island and instead troll them into making bad mistakes.

 

Jenna Lewis moments before smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Fluffy and melt in your mouth, biscuits truly are a thing of glory – just ask Latrice ‘Slop-It-Up-With-A-Biscuit’ Royale! Not quite bread, not quite a scone, these babies are the perfect accompaniment for sausage gravy. If only Sam knew!

Enjoy!

 

Jenna Lewis smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Jenna Lewiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
⅓ cup milk powder
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tsp kosher salt
125g butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for brushing
½ cup shortening, melted
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and press through the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until it resembles wet sand. Add the shortening and stir to combine before adding in the buttermilk and folding through.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until just combined. Flatten into a one inch thick slab of dough and cut into two inch wide circles. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with some melted butter and repeat the process until the dough is all used.

Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately – with or without sausage gravy – and devour.

 

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Mortadella Reese

Main

It is always with such mixed feelings that I venture back to see my dearly departed friends, like the divine Della Reese. I mean, it is such a joy to see them again but it is also a reminder that the world has lost them.

And a fear that it will lead to a butterfly effect that will see a sequel to The Butterfly Effect reignite Ashton Kutcher’s career. Which is risky AF.

Lucky I understand that with great power, comes great responsibility and I am adept at keeping things in check. Plus – how can you focus on anything but when spending time with a dear friend like Della.

I first met Della in the ‘60s when I got my start as a production intern on the set of her talk show Della. While some talk-show hosts are actually vicious – apparently – Della was nothing but kind and took me under her wing, and as such, I became her most loyal supporter.

Given my passion for Survivor, I decided to go back to the early ‘00s set of Touched By an Angel as I knew it was me running my mouth about the show, that led to Roma and Mark Burnett getting together. So I couldn’t do too much damage.

Plus – TBAA is such a joyous iconic program, that I wanted to see Della in action just one more time. And boy did she deliver! We laughed, we cried and in between takes, we smashed some glorious slices of Mortadella Reese like it was the good old days.

I guess because it was slash is.

 

 

This may come as a shock given my passion for sausage, however this is the first time I’ve attempted this recipe – thanks SBS – but damn am I glad I did. Salty, sweet and smooth, this has fast become my third favourite meat to have in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mortadella Reese
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1–2 full-length natural ox bung or other disgusting sausage casing which is far more terrifying in theory
1 cup sweet red wine
6g ground coriander
1g ground cinnamon
5g mace
10g standard kwikurit, not to be confused with kiwi fruit like when I went shopping
8g powdered gelatine
450ml chilled water
200g hard back pork fat
4.5kg pork shoulder meat
75g salt
125g skim milk powder
1 cup pitted green olives, sliced
25g dried pepperberries

Method
Soak the ox bung in cold water for 1 hour, then rinse well inside and out. Thread onto a sausage nozzle, put it onto a plate and keep in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile bring the wine to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan with the coriander, cinnamon and mace for 20 minutes, until well reduced. Set aside to cool completely.

While this is getting chill, combine the kwikurit and gelatine in a jug with the chilled water, stirring until dissolved. Set aside.

Now start working on the meat by cutting the fat into a 1cm dice, and putting the meat through a 1cm mincer plate into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and milk powder and scrunch to combine. Add the spicy wine and water mixtures, and stir to thoroughly combined. Return through the mincer using a 6mm plate.

Add the fat, olives and pepperberries to the freshly minced bowl and mix until combined. Place in an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill overnight.

Set up the sanitised sausage cannon and fill the bowl with the forcemeat, ensuring not to leave any air pockets, and attach the nozzle to the end of the sausage cannon. Remove the mixture from the fridge and pump the mixture out the end of the nozzle before you tie off the end.

Slowly start to crank the cannon and fill the sausage, guiding the casing out of the cannon as it fills, using your whole hand, onto a clear sterilised work surface. Once it has reached the desired length, stop and tie off the end. Repeat the process until you finish the mixture.

Place the sausage into a smoker after the temperature has reached about 49°C. Smoke heavily, raising the temperature gradually to about 80°C, and hold until the mortadella reaches about 65°C on a digital thermometer. This can take up to 3–4 hours.

Transfer mortadella to the fridge and chill overnight, before slicing and devouring.

 

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Jane Crackpieski

Baking, Dessert, Hashbrown: The End, Pie, Sweets

Like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt itself, we’ve reached the end of the road of our farewell celebration – Hashbrown: The End – and I am starting to get a bit misty, which is inappropriate when you’re meant to be honouring a hilarious show. But after catching up with Carol, Dylan, Ellie and Tituss I was too emotional, so I reached out to my dear friend and icon Jane Krakowski to see if she was free to drop by.

And she obviously was, since you’re ready this.

As you know I met future EGOT Jane in the 80s while co-starring in Starlight Express until my before I was callously cut. Thankfully it was Jane’s undying love and support that saw we through the tragic loss of my role of a lifetime.

Given Jane is a damn comedy icon, I try to see her as much as possible however it has tragically been well over two years since we last got together. As soon as she walked through customs I ran into her arms and started sobbing – some say it was because I missed her so, but we both knew that it was because at the close of today Jacqueline Voorhees will go the way of Jenna Maroney. And that is hard for me to deal with.

Unless Teens does reboot 30 Rock, I guess.

Somehow I managed to pull myself together long enough to drive home, go to the fridge and pull out the ultimate comfort food in the form of a Jane Crackpieski.

 

 

I feel like I am on a bit of a Milk Bar kick at the moment, but you know, when it’s right, it’s right. Any everything they do is right, even when it is a mistake. If you don’t know the story, Christina Tosi made the pie for staff dinner and while it was undercooked and she felt it was a dud, they couldn’t stop eating it and an sweet, addictive icon was born – the Crack Pie®.

And if that doesn’t offer you hope in a post-Kimmy Schmidt world, I don’t know what does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Crackpieski
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
Oat Cookie
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g muscovado sugar
40g raw caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ cup flour
120g rolled oats
⅛ tsp baking powder
pinch of baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt

Assembly and filling
180g muscovado sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the base
1 tsp kosher salt, plus ¼ tsp for the base
280g butter, melted – 55g for the base, the rest for the filling
300g raw caster sugar
20g milk powder
24g corn powder
¾ cup double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks, separated with military precision
icing sugar, for dusting

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Kick things off by working on the oat cookie. Cream the butter and sugars using the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer on medium-high for 3 minutes or so, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the egg, before increasing speed and beat for a further couple of minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and using the paddle, mix by hand until moist enough to return to the mixer to beat on low until just combined.

Dollop the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and flatten into a 1cm thick splat. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until caramelised, puffed and firmly set. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re ready to get to work on the final product, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the cookie in a food processor with a tablespoon of muscovado sugar and ¼ tsp of salt, and blitz until it is the consistency of wet sand. Add 55g of melted butter and blitz until it comes together as a ball. Transfer the ball into a pie dish and firmly pack to cover the edges in an even thickness.

To make the filling, combine the remaining sugars, with the milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended. Still going, add the remaining butter and mix for 3 minutes or until all the ingredients are moist. Add the double cream and vanilla and continuing mixing for 3 minutes, or until completely combined. Scrape down the side and add the egg yolks, mixing on low speed until it is glossy and combined.

Pour the filling into the pie dish and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown but still jiggly.

Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and close the door once it has cooled to that temperature. Cook for a further ten minutes, or until firming around the edge but jiggly in the centre.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before covering in cling and transferring to the freezer to set. Remove to defrost a couple of hours before you’re ready to serve.

When you’re ready for your mind to be blown, dust with icing sugar, grab a spoon and devour. Greedily. Thankful that we exist at the same time that Milk Bar does.

 

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Slash Browns

Breakfast, Side, Snack

Despite the doomsday and dramatic names of his albums, my dear friend Slash is the kind of person that fills me with an overwhelming sense of calm. Given everything I’ve done over the years, it is quite clear that is rare as well as a good thing.

While … except there was that one time Slash wasn’t able to keep my epic temper in check which ultimately led to him leaving Guns N’ Roses.

But I should probably take you back a bit further right?

I first met Slash many years ago in England when part of Bowie’s entourage. Slash’s mother used to design costumes for Dave and when we’d drop by I was always drawn to the beautiful sound of guitar in the other room.

From those very first days, I knew that he was destined for greatness and as such made my first attempt at momagering him.

(Oh FYI, I tried to adopt him … thus my plan failing, despite his success).

I then introduced him to Axl in the ‘80s and, as you know, designed what would become the majesty that in Guns N’ Roses. You’re welcome.

While I was a diligent Chief Groupie Advisor and muse – when not in prison – I did get angry with Ax when he opted not to sleep with me after a gig and swiftly went to Slash to quit the band. I was irate, he was loyal – and probably scared – and stepped away. All’s well that ends well though, as I was able to convince him to rejoin the band last year.

Given how busy the boys have been since reforming, I haven’t been able to see much of Slash so it was such a treat to spend a bit of time with him. While we sadly didn’t reconnect in the physical persuasion, I still made him our morning after Slash Browns and for that he is forever grateful.

 

 

Make no mistake, Slash is comforting and delightful … but that pales in comparison to how potato makes you feel. Particularly – and I feel like I say this for any potato recipe – when it comes in the form of a hash brown. Crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside … and complete perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Slash Browns
Makes: 8.

Ingredients
4 potatoes, peeled and parboiled
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tbsp milk powder
⅓ cup flour
¼ tsp smoked paprika
salt, pepper and caster sugar, to taste
butter or vegetable oil, for frying

Method
Grate the parboiled potatoes and press in a sieve to remove as much liquid as possible. Once dry(ish), place the potato in a bowl to cool.

Once cool, add the egg, milk powder, flour, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, and scrunch with your hands to combine.

Press a small handful of mixture into a hash brown shape, place on a lined baking sheet and continue until done. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour or so.

Once the hash browns have chilled, heat a good knob of butter or lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it is nice and hot, place a couple of hash browns in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes either side, or until golden and crisp.

Repeat until done, then devour. With or without eggs and/or Slash.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

bret-labao-buns-2

 

Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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