Speidy Nuts Swedberg

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Snack, Tapas

Let’s be honest, there are only four stars of Seinfeld so not every day of our Festivus celebrations can be filled with the iconic portrayers of TV’s erstwhile George, Kramer, Elaine and Jerry. That being said, the character of Susan and her death by out-of-date envelopes is truly iconic and more than earns Heidi Swedberg a trip to Brisbane to help my par-tay.

Plus, as is always the case, she is one of my dearest friends.

I first met Heid in the late ‘80s when she guested on an episode of Matlock. I was Andy Griffith’s stand-in – as we were both older gentleman, at heart – so spent a lot of time with the bit-players. The bond with Heidi was semi-instant and we kept in contact in the years that followed.

When Jase reached out about finding someone to play his love interest on the show, I thought she would be perfect for the role and would fit in well with the cast. While I was completely wrong about the last part, her death storyline was both hilarious and a cautionary tale for those, like me, that hoard Christmas cards year-on-year for later use.

While Heidi up on a life in Hollywood, she was thrilled to come out of hiding to celebrate Susan and Festivus. On the strict proviso that it was a date with only me, and that I’d be serving up my delightful Speidi Swedberg nuts.

 

 

Sweet, festively spiced and packing a little heat, these little babies are the perfect accompaniment for a festive date. Or for getting rid of the taste of rotten envelope glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

Speidi Swedberg Nuts
Serves: 1. 6-8 in a pinch.

Ingredients
500g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias and almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
salt, to taste
1 cup craisins

Method
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and line a large baking sheet.

Chuck the nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pan and toss with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Add the spices and toss to coat. Then add the oil, sugar and rosemary, toss to coat and cook until golden and fragrant.

Transfer them to the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and leave to to cool completely. Toss through the craisins and decant into bowls to serve immediately or a sterilised jar.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Angela Lambsbury Wraps

Main, Snack, Tony Gold, Tony Gold: Hamilgold

I know it is neither December or July – in which you can honour Christmas at a pinch – but I say haul out that damn holly and get festive as fuck for our first Tony Gold guest, the iconic, classic, global treasure that is … Jessica Fletcher and Mrs Potts herself, Angela Lansbury.

Ang, ANG – where the hell do I start with my dear, exquisite friend slash five time Tony Award winner Angela ma’fuckin’ Lansbury!

While obviously, she earned her global adoration from her non-peak/Golden Age of TV, TV stint on Murder, She Wrote, Ang has long been an icon on whose coattails I’ve been honoured to ride.

I first met Angie in the 40s while working together on The Picture of Dorian Gray – I was consulting to ensure my ex-Oscar’s work wasn’t tarnished. As is oft the case, I was taken by her talent and vowed to make her a star … and oh boy did I ever succeed!

Given the fact that this blog has sometimes been known to foreshadow deaths, I’ve tried to keep my dates with Ang over the years a secret. When she found out about our Tony Gold celebrations, however, she was desperate to drop by, celebrate … and of course, run the odds on the female performance Tonys.

She agreed that Cate Blanchett would take out Best Lead Actress in a Play but wasn’t so easily convinced that Midler would be able to take out the Musical category. We then drew names out of a hat for the Featured Actress awards, on account of not actually seeing any of them, settling on Cynthia Nixon for the plays and Mary Beth Peil for musicals – don’t blame us if the last two are wrong though, we got distracted by the big fat Angela Lambsbury Wraps we devoured.

 

 

While they are spicy and fresh, these babies can more than fill the hungriest of holes … which reminds me, I must prepare for tomorrow’s guest.

Enjoy!

 

 

Angela Lambsury
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
3 cloves of garlic, minced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot paprika
pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup Greek yoghurt
juice of one lemon
small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
4 pita breads
lettuce, roughly chopped
1 tomato, sliced

Method
Combine the mince, 2 cloves of garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Scrunch together and form into 12 sausage shaped patties. Arrange on a plate, cover and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Meanwhile combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, mint and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jug. Stir well, cover and place in the fridge until serving.

Once you’re ready, heat a griddle over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to low, oil the pan and fry for a few minutes either side, or until just cooked through.

To serve, lightly toast a pita on either side in a dry pan, transfer to a plate, smear with some yoghurt sauce, add some lettuce and tomato, top with the patties … and drizzle with some more yoghurt sauce, once more, with feeling!

Wrap and devour.

 

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Alan Thicke Cut Marmalade

Condiment, Snack

It has been a very long week and as is often the case, that meant I had a few wines … which in turn meant I got feeling wistful for the days of old. And when I think about the good old days, I remember my dearly departed friends like Alan.

As you know, the documentation of my celebrity catch-ups potentially killed off some of Hollywood’s biggest heavyweights in the last year, though thankfully Alan was not my fault.

Despite not killing Al, we didn’t get to catch-up before he died last year and I wasn’t able to go to the funeral due to my feud with Robin … and the whole banned from the U.S. by Trump thing. Given that, my wistful feelings lead to getting out the time machine and having some closure with my boy.

I first met Alan on the set of Growing Pains – I’m actually the one that got Leo the job – when I was working as a bodyguard for Tracey Gold who I met on the set of CHiPs. Given my penchant for fine older gents, Al and became fast friends and he grew to become a Hollywood father figure to me.

Given that his death was quite surprising, I only went back six months because there wasn’t much risk of spoiling anything. While he was a bit confused by my sporadic tears, he completely bought my excuse of feeling hurt by Kirk Cameron being a complete dick.

I didn’t want to run the risk of letting any information slip, so when he called our catch-up to a close and asked me to play hockey with him and his son in a few weeks, I wiped a solitary tear and made him promise to finish off his Alan Thicke Cut Marmalade as quickly as possible.

 

 

Full disclosure, I absolutely hate, hate, HATE marmalade, but it is Alan’s favourite … and it goes well in things (like glazing a ham or something). Plus, this one is so fresh and delicious that it is hard to hate, even when it isn’t your jam.

Because it is marmalade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alan Thicke-Cut Marmalade
Makes: 2-3 cups.

Ingredients
1kg oranges
1 lemon
cinnamon quill
1kg muscovado sugar
1kg raw caster sugar

Method
Juice the oranges and lemon, and pour through a sieve into a large pot.

Cut the peel into chunks and add to the pot with the cinnamon – despite this being thick-cut marmalade, I erred on the side of caution and went thinner. Add two litres of water and bring to the boil over high heat, before reducing to a simmer for a couple of hours.

Add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring back up to a rapid boil and cook until thickened and set (this is when it is around 100°C), though I don’t mind it a bit thinner.

Once done, allow to rest for twenty minutes or so before removing the cinnamon quill and transferring to sterilised jars.

Or devouring.

 

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Megan Marshmallys

Dessert, Emmy Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve made it – day five of my Emmy Week celebrations is finally here and there is no one I’d rather catch-up with than the dear Megan Mullally.

As you know, Megsy and I have been close friends for close to 30 years since my fluffer days in the 80s, through my role as her Maid of Dishonour and even survived my feud with Debra Messing during Will & Grace, which shut down the set more than 200 times and advising her to be in You, Me and the Apocalypse.

The only thing Megsy loves more than partying with Nick and I, is black market gambling so was hella keen to run the  odds for the remaining categories – we felt that we had well and truly covered off on the Comedy odds.

Oh Master of None will win Best Comedy and Actor, FYI.

In addition, Sarah Poulson will pip K Dunst, Game of Thrones will win drama, Rami Malek will win my heart / Best Actor, Viola will rob Tatiana and My Girl Chlumsky will finally bag herself an Emmy and that is as far as I can remember on account of our boozy ways.

I do remember, however, that my Megan Marshmallys were the perfect sweetener to the sting that she wasn’t attending – thank god I’ve got Kit!

 

megan-marshmallys-1

 

Marshmallows – dry, powdery and sickeningly sweet? Yes. But freshly made, these babies truly sing – delicately melting in your mouth and filling your heart with joy.

Who will take home the gongs? Join me Sunday/Monday – timezone dependent – as I live blog the event while hosting the E! Red carpet, finalise the script for Jim, attend with Kit, Idris and Tom and act as the results auditor.

Enjoy!

 

megan-marshmallys-2

 

Megan Marshmallys
Makes: 48.

Ingredients
⅔ cup icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1kg caster sugar
2 tbsp liquid glucose
¼ cup gelatine powder
4 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
⅔ cup cornflour

Method
Full disclosure, these make an absolute shit-tonne … but they are good (and Megsy and I use them, well, let’s just say there is a fetish) and will get eaten. Quickly.

Line a couple of lamington pans/baking trays with baking paper and generously dust each with icing sugar.

Meanwhile combine the caster sugar and glucose with 400ml of water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Crank up the heat to medium and bring to the boil, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until a sugar thermometer reaches 110-120°C.

While that is cooking, combine the gelatine with 400ml of freshly boiled water and allow to stand for five minutes, or until glossy and clear. Once ready, whisk through the sugar syrup and remove from the heat.

Now get to work on the meringue and beat the eggwhites until stiff peaks. And I mean stiff peaks. I once peaked too soon, in that I didn’t have stiff peaks, resulting in a marshmallow that has meringue on top and a layer of what looked like aspic or lard below.

Anyway, with the mixer still on, gradually – and again, gradual is the key part of this step – add the sugar syrup until all combined. Beat for a further 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from the mixer, fold through the vanilla, spread amongst the pans and chill until firm, an hour or two.

Combine the cornflour and icing sugar in a shallow dish.

Remove the marshmallow from the fridge, cut into squares and roll in the powdery mixture. Stand to dry on a metal rack for an hour or so before devouring.

Store any extra in an airtight container, though storing them scares me. Mainly because I don’t understand not gorging.

 

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