Beef Julia Sawallington

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any more celebratory – I mean, celebrating Jen and Jane is a pretty killer start, no? – today also marks our 500th celebrity catch-up. Yes … five freaking hundred. And my dear friend Julia Sawalha is more than worthy of helping my mark this milestone.

While I only met Jules when she came in to audition for Ab Fab, I knew that she was destined for great things. One day on set she casually mentioned that she was up for the role of Lydia Bennett – in the good not Knightley version of P&P – and as a fan of the work, and a famed period acting and dialect coach, I offered up my services to help her snag the role slash steal the show.

Which I think you could agree, I was more than successful at that.

As seems to be a running theme of growing older, Jules and I aren’t able to catch-up as often as we like so she was thrilled to not only take the time out to honour Ab Fab … but also become our 500th date in the process.

“Ben, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being a milestone date. I mean, I’m no Skarsy, Solange, Meg, Kanye, CeCe – no, I am better than a Survivor that didn’t make the jury – Mischa, Nat Imbrugs, Lin Manuel. Let’s not talk about Purple Ben from this season of Australian Survivor.

“In any event, I’m somewhat worthy of your honour but would like some reassurance,” she coyly admitted.

“You’re a talented actress, one of my dearest friends and owned two iconic series! In addition, you’re beautiful, you’re a model. You look like Linda Evangelista … “

Half way through quoting the now iconic Aja, she accepted the honour and we got to work reconnecting, celebrating and chowing down on a big fat piece of meat. In the form of my Beef Julia Sawallington.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a big piece of meat. Well, unless it is wrapped in a nice, puffy dough. That is something I’ll never be able to go past. Like Jules or the good version of P&P.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beef Julia Sawallington
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg fillet of beef , trimmed
olive oil
unsalted butter
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
100g pate
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Bring a frying pan to heat over a high … heat while you rub the beef fillet with salt, pepper and a good ol’ lug of olive oil. Add another lug to the pan with a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary, and sear the beef for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to rest while we get to work on the rest.

Add the onion and garlic to the still hot pan and sweat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms with another knob of butter, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes, or until they’re nice and soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the pate and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bench and the second next to it with a two centimetre overlap. Press them together, smear the pate/mushroom mixture over the middle, top with the fillet and roll and/or fold the pastry to enclose.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked and blushing like a whore in church. Aka Kiwi hero slash Australian drunk Barnaby Joyce.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving in with gravy and mash. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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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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Pake Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Ben and Henry were warmly welcomed after opting to swap to Samatau. Well Henry was liked, making him a threat while poor Ben continued to be a non-entity. At the reward challenge, Asaga came from behind to win a trip to the Survivor ice cream parlour where Anneliese found a clue for an idol. Sadly for her, it was hidden at the next immunity challenge. Luckily, kinda, Asaga completely bombed the challenge allowing her to snatch the idol while feigning heartache while Henry slipped Jericho an idol clue which I assumed is dead. After a heated tribal council between Michelle and Kent, my speedo loving god couldn’t sway anyone over to his side and found himself exiting the game.

Asaga returned from tribal council where Luke was feeling very confident about how things played out, while Odette was feeling mega-shitty … only exacerbated by their lack of fire at camp. While she put herself to bed, Michelle dropped by and saw Luke’s confidence and raised him with arrogance.

Things were looking up the next day when Luke tried to outdo Locky by catching not one, but two sharks. Speaking of Locky, he and his Samatau tribe mates were struggling without fire or a flint to make one. While he, Ben and Tessa tried to get a fire going, ol’ arrogant AK continued to lay back and do nothing to try and bait Locky into snapping at him to further isolate him from his tribe mates.

Back at Asaga, Luke noticed his mate Jericho running off down the beach to find the idol that Henry and Jacqui found episodes ago, thanks to the clue Henry handed him at the last immunity challenge. Please, please, PLEASE – tell me they hid a fucking stick in the tree. Meanwhile at Samatau, Henry was reclining – literally like a healthy, friendly AK – in the hammock where he filled us in that yes he gave Jericho a dead clue to try and woo him back to his side come the merge.

Odette returned to our screen to finally let us know who she is. Given the fact Henry’s plan to switch has left her without any allies, she was feeling extremely sorry for herself and missing her son back at home. Right on queue, she and Luke arrived at treemail to discover that they all got gifts from home to celebrate making it to day 25. Luke was likeable, Odette’s story broke my heart, Ben got a Thomas the tank engine, Locky got me hot by getting a jersey that inspired some NFL fantasies before Henry brought the house down by getting a necklace from his mum who died six weeks before the game began. I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

Also … I know I talk about Locky a lot, but Henry is hella bangin’.

Wanting to quell my thirst, JLP finally made an appearance for the next immunity challenge where Henry discovered he lost another ally. Not wanting to dwell on his loss, Samatau arrived with every reward they had won thus far to barter for a flint. The challenge required three people to jump off a platform to collect keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces. Two people then had to build the puzzle before the remaining two knock it down with some bag. But turns out, it isn’t for immunity but for the winning tribe to attend tribal council where they will vote for someone to get the chance to snag a massive reward. Aka the super idol – thanks ads!

Samatau got out to a huge lead thanks to Ziggy’s experience in the olympic pool and Michelle’s general ineptitude. Despite that, AK completely choked the puzzle portion, allowing Asaga to take the lead … then Jericho and Tara struggled to knock pieces off allowing Samatau to close the gap and Ben – BEN – to secure victory for the tribe. That my friends, was a nail biting challenge.

Back at camp Samatau were feeling good about their win and to find a flint attached to a pot. Despite it feeling like they wouldn’t actually snag fire, Locky eventually got the fire going allowing them to eat some rice and switch their brains back on as they commenced scrambling to figure out a) how tribal council can be a win, b) what said win could mean and c) how they convince people to vote for them to get the reward.

AK, obviously, was annoyed when people tried to suggest themselves for the prize, despite also trying to convince people to give him the reward. I mean, it may be my boner talking, but Locky’s logic that if it is a tribal reward, they’re better off voting for the strongest guy there to snatch it for them.  I mean, at least he’s trying to appear altruistic?

Putting us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal where JoJo continued to be very vague about the details of the reward. The tribe tried to get information as to what the “ultimate reward” could be, and how it would benefit them and/or the tribe. All they did get is that the person would not be returning to camp with them that night, though they would still be a member of the tribe.

After a lot of passive aggressive back-and-forth with AK and his alliance trying to put Locky down, while Locky tried to fight for himself as the best person to secure victory for the tribe – and I truly believe that is what he thinks it will be – they deemed Ziggy to be the best all-rounder / trustworthy enough to send. The tribe then filed out of tribal council, leaving Ziggy to be handed a map to the mangroves where she learnt that a super idol – as predicted by Ben – was hidden amongst the trees and she had until sunrise to find it. Despite what Ben thought that meant, the idol split in two allowing one half to cancel out a hidden immunity idol at tribal, while the second half could be played as normal. She meandered all over the swamp for close to five hours before finally laying eyes on the super idol, leaving her with the dilemma of what to do next.

Zigs awoke on a pedestal near the swamp to find a bountiful breakfast while she pawed the super idol. With that, came a great deal of confidence bordering on arrogance begging the question, is it actually the start of a winner’s edit or the beginning of her downfall. She then returned to Samatau with the dilemma of trying to decide what to share with her tribe mates. She then told everyone a very confusing story to cover up what her advantage was, which became so convoluted I almost started to believe it. As did Jarrad and Tessa. Locky then threw some hella shade, which was glorious, while AK was not buying anything she was selling.

Over at Asaga Tara was feeling proud to have made it beyond the halfway point of the game. She then reminded everyone that she harbours will will towards Samatau, none more so than AK. Luke then spoke about being the king of the jungle and made me wish for his downfall as quickly as possible.

Hopefully in a prophetic manner, JLP arrived to lord over the next reward challenge … but wait a minute, everyone is dropping their buffs and switching up the tribes. JoJo meandered around the tribes offering up platters of concealed buffs for them to select their news tribes. AK and Peter ended up switching to new Asaga, with the former’s nemesis Tara while new-Samatau welcomed Anneliese back, this time with Michelle. AK tried to downplay the magnitude of shit he just walked into, before Jonathan introduced the actually reward challenge, where each tribe would select one person at a time to battle balancing an idol on a paddle … for a taste of home and everything Samatau gave up for flint.

Ziggy and Tara were first to face off, with Ziggy grabbing Tara’s tit on the way to victory. Sarah easily defeated Anneliese, a sadly clothed Locky was bested by AK, Henry took out Odette, Luke took out Jarrad, Pete destroyed Ben and Michelle, obviously, was bested by Jericho. Once again, Ziggy beat Tara, Anneliese even things up with Sarah, Locky got one up on AK, , Henry – again – took out Odette before Luke tied things up over Jarrad. Match point came down to Pete and Ben, with Pete, obviously, taking out victory for new Asaga.

Despite being gutted by the loss, Locky – being the babe that he is – was seeing the bright side with AK now screwed on the new tribe and hopefully about to be kicked to the kerb by Ta-tas. On that note, AK and Pete arrived at their new tribe where AK was shitting himself … though hoping to turn things around on Tara. While they devoured their favourite treats AK was trying to work overtime making friends … and then tried to show he had a heart by talking about his girlfriend, proving to Tara that her feelings towards him were more than founded.

Over at new Samatau, Locky was feeling great to no longer have to deal with AK. On the flipside, Anneliese was feeling uneasy to be back with the jerks that voted her off a few days ago. Michelle was also hating life, given the fact she went from top to bottom – it’s called vers, babes – though she quickly got to work connecting with people and gossiping, knowing Ziggy’s friend Jono outside of the game. That obviously annoyed Locky, who missed the sound of silence, who tried to pull numbers to take her out ASAP.

Back at Asaga 3.0 AK continued his faux-charm offensive, emphasis on offensive, playing hard to try and save himself. He and Pete then went for a walk to discuss how best to save themselves, agreeing that Sarah and Odette were their best chances for survival. Thankfully Odette emerged as a queen, dismissing his attempted sweet-talking before Sarah too, didn’t see through his bullshit. That being said, Tara was watching it like a hawk leading her to approach Luke and Jericho to assure their allegiance slash get her revenge. Luke however had very little sympathy, thinking the entire thing is hilarious … leading him to approach AK to form an all boys alliance to take out Tara. Which he was obviously faking about, making him fractionally more likeable.

That obviously lead into the immunity challenge which Samatau are obviously winning given all the focus has been on Asaga. AK continued to sound confident ahead of the challenge, which involved one man and woman to hold a barrel, while the other tribe tried to fill it with water to make them drop it. Locky and Ziggy were in charge of the barrels at Samatau, while nemeses Tara and AK had to carry Asaga. Asaga focussed on taking out Locky, making him glisten in the sea water before AK became the first to drop out of the challenge, leaving a half-full barrel for Tara to hold while Ziggy was still empty. Out of nowhere, Henry threw a huge bucket of water into Tara’s barrel, handing Samatau immunity – shock – and sending AK and Tara to tribal for their latest showdown.

Back at camp Tara confirmed that once again, she would be voting for AK, which annoyed the shit of AK who feels he is entitled to outlast her. He and Luke went for a walk, with Luke lying that Tara was annoying him and she wanted her out next. Luke then approached Sarah to tell her that the plan is still to get rid of AK. Everyone started to get quite confident about the plan to blindside AK, making me anxious given that there is half an hour left in the episode.

Almost like I manifested it, AK started to feel concerned about Luke and Tara tending the fire together leading to AK and Pete meeting up by the well to try and come up with a safety plan, which lead them to Sarah. While Sarah knows that he is a snake, she rightly pointed out that she needs to stick with bottom-feeders and humour AK that she was willing to flip to the old Samatauns to take out Tara. He then approached Odette to firm up numbers, with her simply gloating about being the swing vote. While it seemed like she was kicking him while he was down, I do have a sinking feeling that AK and Luke are both about to survive tribal.

JoJo quickly got to work zeroing in on the ‘AK is fucked and is feuding with Tara narrative,’ with the feuders walking us through the brief history of their drama. Luke then brought up the fact that they are low on strength and need to focus on keeping people that can win challenges, spooking Tara that she may actually lose the battle. Odette then mentioned that she was starting to question what she was doing tonight, making AK equally as nervous. After everyone mentioned that they were now quite confused about how the votes would go down, said votes went down and AK became the tenth person voted out of the game.

As much as I’ve verbalised my rage for AK, we used to be dear friends … until he refused to fly himself to New York to DJ my wedding at his own expense. Despite the fact that that is clearly disgusting behaviour on his part, I decided to take the high road and whip him up a comforting Pake Bowl.

 

 

Spicy and fresh, this is the perfect dish to work through the pain of a brutal, swap-fucked blindside. And, obviously, rub in the pain a little … we all know I’m not nice enough to just kindly whip up a comfort meal for a frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pake Bowl
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
300g firm tofu, cut into 2cm dice
1 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp gochujang
200g udon noodles
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
2 bok choy, halved
250g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine the tofu, sesame oil and gochujang in a bowl and toss to cover. Spread the tofu over a lined baking sheet – leaving the sauce in the bowl – and place in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp.

While the tofu is in the oven, cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

Get three skillets on the flame over medium heat with a lug of sesame oil. Place the bok choy, cut side down, in one pan, and cook for a couple of minutes each side. In pan two, add the capsicum and toss them for a couple of minutes, or until bright, fragrant and cooked. Then, in pan three, add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the white of the shallots, tamari and honey and cook for a further minute. Add the sesame seeds and then cook for a further, further minute.

Drain the noodles and toss them through the saucy bowl.

To serve, place some noodles in a bowl and add each element on top, finishing with the fresh greens of the shallots and let it get fresh with you. Ak … a devour it.

 

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Aimiso Stanton Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Jericho gave into temptation and took a jar of cookies to build his own army, which I still feel is not going to end well for him. On the other hand Tarzan couldn’t bring himself to deceive the tribe. After Asaga took out yet another immunity challenge, Tarzan continued his streak of selflessness by finding and gifting an idol to Tessa, who used it at tribal council, sending Tarzan out of the game as the fourth boot instead of their planned target Locky, who AK told to split the vote.

Back at camp, Tessa was feeling sad about Tarzan going out in the process of saving her, though things quickly turned smug when she realised that she survived the second tribal she shouldn’t have. While everyone tried to stay warm by the fire, AK confirmed that he was planning to flip on the mega-alliance as soon as he could, and intended to use the one person tribe that is Tessa.

Meanwhile at Asaga, Jericho continued to gorge on cookies while everyone slept, like a slightly more likeable version of Taylor Stocker. He then decided that he needed to expand his cookie army beyond Luke and Henry, pulling Sarah into the fold under the guise that she is the only one he could tell. Again, this will come back and bite him in the arse – mark my words!

The next day Samatau struggled to catch fish, while Tessa struggled to make friends. Given the fact that Locky is universally beloved, both AK and Tessa spoke about needing to take him out as quickly as possible. As the weather started to deteriorate, AK approached Ziggy and Jarrad to confirm that they are still tight, and vowed to pull Tessa in to make a move. Tessa, obvi was thrilled to get a second (third, or fourth) chance in the game.

That night Luke and Jericho returned to eating cookies in front of camp while everyone slept, finishing them off and sadly proving my prediction that he’s get screwed wrong. I mean, fuck, even when he went and threw crumbs on his sleeping tribe mates, it didn’t bloody backfire. I was wrong … and I will never say that ever again.

Back at Samatau, AK reminded us that he wants Locky gone at the next possible opportunity. Though Locky wasn’t 100% falling for the stories AK was telling him, he knew it was important to agree with AK before running straight over to Tara to fill her in on AK’s supposed plans. Tara then pulled Aimee aside before AK seemingly got anxious, and joined the girls to confirm he still wants Tessa gone which made Tara start to think that AK needed to go.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise when Samatau lose the next immunity, given the fact Asaga has had two scenes of cookie eating and Samatau has been complete and utter bedlam.

Wanting to see if my predictions have gotten any better, JoJo returned for the next immunity challenge where Asaga were shocked to see Tarzan booted at the last tribal council. The challenge required each tribe to form a chain while holding up discs between the hands of each tribe member, the last tribe with a single disc standing being the winner.

Once again, Henry played his fauxgi role well, coaching his tribe to breathe before Sarah and Kent became the first disc to drop. Peter and Anneliese dropped Samatau’s first disc, followed by Sam and Mark, and Jarrad and Locky, before a rapid chain of drop-outs led to a showdown between Ziggy and AK, and Henry and Mark. After more than an hour and a half of absolute struggle from AK, he and Ziggy finally dropped their disc, handing Asaga immunity and Samatau to their fourth tribal council in a row.

Before even leaving the cliff, Jarrad whispered to Tessa that they had to make a move tonight, making me extremely nervous for my thirst trap Locky. Arriving back at camp did nothing to lessen my fear, as the tribe all locked in their vote for Tessa before AK approached Tessa to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee, with Jarrad and Ziggy.

Thinking that Pete would be the best possible option to get rid of Aimee, Jarrad pulled him aside to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee. Going one further he floated the possibility of getting rid of his friend Tara, who he could see was getting very close with Locky and Aimee. Not to be outdone, Tara then pulled Tessa aside while eating to dinner to float the idea of getting rid of AK at tribal. Seeing AK’s scheming coming together, Tara, Aimee and Locky started to get more and more anxious about the numbers and approached Anneliese to lock her in to help them get rid of him.

At tribal council AK continued to feel bad about losing yet another immunity challenge before Locky pointed out that he was proud of both he and Ziggy for fighting so hard for their tribe. Putting an end to the lovefest, Tessa was asked if she still felt on the outs which she confirmed, she did … though this time, she was strangely quiet about it. The rest of the tribe all danced around how tight the alliance was before Aimee had it with the bullshit and said that the eight wasn’t as tight as they thought.

The reactions ranged from shock, delight and anxiety as the truth floated around tribal before AK tried to get the performance back on track, saying that their are eight people in the alliance and one person to vote for. Tara then decided to join in the truth bomb action, saying that they do need to start thinking of what comes next. Everyone threw out some suitable vague comments before they headed off to vote, while I popped an aspirin to get rid of my confusion induced headache.

The votes quickly started to pile up on AK, before Locky, Tara and Aimee were shocked to see them roll in for the latter, sending her out of the game as the fifth boot. Given the fact she was spewin’ and I had a headache from all the confusion, I thought I’d whip up something soothing for me and my dear friend – and personal plumber – to help us recuperate. Something like my Aimiso Stanton Soup, for instance.

 

 

I mean, sure, it isn’t a pot and a parmie at the local pub like se wanted, but I took her spewin’ comment literally, and felt it my duty to make something nourishing and spicy to help perk her up. Plus – how can you go past miso soup? It is super fresh and tasty. I’ll make you a parmie for All Stars, ok Ames?

Enjoy!

 

 

Aimiso Stanton Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
1L vegetable stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
100g mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sriracha
300g silken tofu, cut into 2cm dice
¼ cup white miso
1 shallot, very thinly sliced

Method
Heat the sesame oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the wakame and fry for a minute, or until fragrant. Add the stock, fish and oyster sauces, mushrooms and sriracha, reduce heat to low and cook for twenty minutes.

Add the tofu and miso and cook until miso dissolves.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with shallots and down, down, ay.

 

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Jonathan LaPagliatelle

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Pasta, Vegetarian

He’s baaaaaa-aaaaack! This time next week we’ll have witnessed scruffy Oz-Probst – and my dear friend – Jonathan LaPaglia snuff his first torch of the season. And I will have screamed for smelling salts as the euphoria/orgasm rendered me unconscious.

Yes – that is the long winded way of saying Australian Survivor is back and I couldn’t be happier to announce that once again JoJo requested my presence in Samoa to act as his houseboy / culinary comfort chef for the castaways.

I’ve known Jo for years, after a chance meeting at the University of Adelaide where I was skulking about the med school trying to meet a future doctor to take as my husband. While he had zero interest in pursuing a relationship due to our similar appearance (read: killer guns), we became friends against all odds and I was quickly taken into the LaPaglia family.

While there was a period of ugliness after Anthony refused to get Josie Alibrandi gender-flipped – and that time I tried to torch his car when I was overlooked for the hosting role – we remain the closest of friends and I was thrilled to spend two months together in Samoa, catching-up, feasting in front of the contestants … and I assume doing weights.

To celebrate the impending return of Australian Survivor, I flew Jojo over to discuss how we felt the season went – really good … unless the editors really drop the ball / can’t be paid by Channel 10 – over a big fat bowl of my Jonathan LaPagliatelle.

 

 

I’ve long held the belief that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I actually coined the phrase, NBD – and this is the first dish I ever made him to win him over. Warm, fresh, creamy and tasty, it is the second most fun I’ve had getting sauce over a man’s face.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan LaPagliatelle
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
bunch of shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
5 sprigs of thyme leaves
250g chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
500g tagliatelle
250g mascarpone
200g baby spinach, washed and drained
100g parmesan, grated

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook off the shallots and garlic until the island love nest – or kitchen – is aromatic. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering for fifteen minutes. Season and keep warm while you cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

When the pasta is al dente, add the mascarpone and spinach to the the mushroom mix and stir until combined and the spinach wilted. Stir through the pasta and half the parmesan, before serving, generously drowned in the excess parmesan.

Devour immediately with your big strong, LaPagli-esque arms and think of how they’d hold you tight in winter. Or something.

 

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Meat Louvers McClintock Pizza

Baking, Main, Pizza, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand – which was a mere minute ago – Mogoton finally ended their losing streak, snatching a critical victory

Hermosa returned to camp and quickly spilled all the beans on Tony’s outburst at Shay, making the tribe question her trustworthiness which could prove her undoing come a merge. Shannon continued to prove that she is the smartest person in the game, thankful that Tony was gone as it is one less potential ally for Nate and Barb.

Back at Mogoton, Shay, Tom and Avi returned from the duel to discover that Lou was feeling sick and could barely stay conscious or move. By the time we find out she is having cold sweats, it became pretty obvious why the episode didn’t end with Izzy’s victory in the duel.

After a brief interlude with Shannon and Georgia sunbaking and discussing their dwindling supply of food and their potential hunger-induced losing streak, we returned to Mogoton where Matt and the medics finally arrived to confirm that the treatment for Lou’s septic foot wasn’t working.

Given that the doctor had zero idea about what was wrong with her, she was evacuated from the game leaving Mogoton to feel like they will never catch a break in the game … oh, and uncertain whether she would return.

Over at Hermosa, Shannon and Jak were down by the water discussing the massive divide between the five young kids and the two olds. Oh and the fact that they are running out of rice and don’t have fishing gear means they’re pretty fucked. Digging her hole even further, Barb popped on a pot of rice and then proceeded to forget about it and burn the minimal rice they had left.

Self-proclaimed comedian Jak then tried to lighten the mood or genuinely attempt humour by pretending to catch a pelican. I assume you’d have to be there?

Back at Mogoton, the tribe were extremely worried about how Lou was going … and then Avi decided to join my spank bank, doing yoga on the beach IN BRIEFS.

Give me a couple of minutes, ok?

Barb and Nate discovered a cheeky treemail at Hermosa, pondering whether now was the time for their tribe mates to throw the challenge and send them home. Which wouldn’t bother Barb as she’d rather go home now than make the jury and have to give one of them the win.

Matt assembled the tribes for the immunity challenge where Hermosa discovered that Lou was removed to be assessed by medical last night before announcing that she was too sick to continue and is officially out of the game.

He then told everyone to drop their buffs – I was sure he was going to say pants – and get ready for a swap … but that is a story for next week’s elimination, ok?

Given that my dear friend Lou is a farmer slash country girl and I have a blatant disregard for the opinions of medical professionals, I removed Lou from the hospital and whipped her up a healing and hearty Meat Louvers McClintock Pizza.

 

 

While she was gutted to perk up within the hour of eating, just after the doctor officially pulled her from the game she was thrilled to reconnect and have me there to make everything ok.

Plus – how do you go wrong with a shit tonne of meat and cheese on dough? You just can’t!

Enjoy!

 

 

Meat Louvers McClintock Pizza
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
pizza dough (I used the one from Pizsa Zsa Gabor)
passata or tomato paste, with a combination of herbs
1 onion, finely sliced
150g mushrooms, sliced
½ cup barbecue sauce
4 Italian sausages, cooked and sliced
100g leg ham, sliced
100g pepperoni, sliced
100g chorizo, sliced
chilli flakes (shock horror), optional
mozzarella cheese, grated

Method
Follow the dough recipe on Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

When the dough is ready to go, roll out two bases and slather each with the herby passata. Top with onion and mushrooms, drizzle over the barbecue sauce and scatter over the meat before drowning in a thick layer of cheese. Chuck them in the oven – colloquially not literally – and bake for about fifteen minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

The devour … though making sure not to burn your mouth on the cheese, lest you too want to be medically evacuated.

 

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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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Jonathagnolotti Groff

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Main, Pasta, Snack, Vegetarian

The Grammys are rapidly approaching which means that sadly our Grammy Gold celebrations are about to reach their crescendo but thankfully there are two final catch-ups slash prediction discussions to be had, the latest being my dear friend and part-time lover Jonathan Groff.

Fun fact: I invented the nickname Groffsauce – contrary to popular opinion. You can probably infer how I came up with such a loving name.

Anyway, I am getting way to flustered and a little short of breath.

I first met Jo-Groff while co-starring in Spring Awakening – I should probably mention that Lea Michele is my drag name and I am serving fish, henny girl – and our love blossomed instantly. While I was singing about my mama who bore me, he was boring into …

Again – nevermind. We fell in love, it was beautiful but sadly it wasn’t meant to last. Surprisingly I was mature about the whole thing and agreed that we would make the best of friends.

Given how busy my delicious little Groffsauce has been lately – what with wrapping up Looking, his Tony nominated and Grammy award winning (by way of musical theatre album) performance in Hamilton and the upcoming show Mindhunter – we haven’t been able to reconnect since we last worked together on The Normal Heart.

JoJo was just as beautiful – and dare I say it, saucy – as the last time we hung out and we quickly caught up on each others lives, lamented the loss of Looking, gossiped about the plot of our upcoming film Frozen 2 and ran the odds on who would take over the crown Best Musical Theatre Album crown.

FYI – we are backing Waitress. Or Bright Star. Probably Bright Star.

Despite our indecision about the future winner, we both agreed that my Jonathagnolotti Groff is delicious, even if not served on a named body.

 

jonathagnolotti-groff-1

 

While it has more of an X rated history, the delicate cheesy, mushroom stuffed pockets have a simplistic elegance when slathered in burnt butter and crispy sage.

So yeah, delicious even without the dessert – enjoy!

 

jonathagnolotti-groff-2

 

Jonathagnolotti Groff
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g mixed fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup ricotta cheese
40 gow gee wrappers
75g butter
20 fresh sage leaves

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat and fry the mushrooms for about five minutes, or until all of the liquid is goneski. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat to cool and season.

Once the mushroom mixture is all chill – like I was hoping Jon and I would be, in the Netflix sense obvs – whisk the egg, ricotta and mushroom mixture in a medium bowl, until well combined.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil while you work on the agnolotti.

Lay your gow gee wrappers on a dry work surface and place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water and fold into half moon pockets, ensuring to work out all the air before crimping them shut. Leave to rest until ready to cook.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Remove to drain on a paper towel and continue cooking the butter until it is beautifully browned.

Once the water is boiling feverishly, place the past in the water and cook for about five minutes or so, or until it rises to the surface. Drain and serve immediately, slathered in the burnt butter and topped with the crisp sage.

Devour.

 

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Steak Diane Keaton

A decade of saying so, Main

Some would say that Because I Said So is a tragic fall from grace for my dear Academy Award winning friend Diane Keaton. To them I say – and you should probably know where this is going as we’ve hit day three of our decade of saying so celebrations – fuck you.

Saying Because I Said So is a terrible movie or a fall from grace is nothing more than an alternate fact and frankly, fake news. To be honest, it should have won a million, million and a half Oscars.

Anyway, Di jumped at the chance to drop by and hang out – she was chomping at the bit to be included in my last two Oscar Gold celebrations – to celebrate her underrated gem.

I first met Di in the early ‘70s while working on The Godfather – as you know, I’m very close with the Coppola-Cage-Schwartzman Dynasty. I mistakenly thought that  it was a documentary – let’s put it down to the chilling performance rather than casual racism –  and was drawn to Di as she appeared to be the least likely to kill me.

What ensued is a beautiful friendship that has lasted ever since, with only one hiccup – she broke the girl code and played Keanu’s love interest. Thankfully she is so delightful and kind that  she grovelled adequately enough to nip our feud in the bud at seven days, four hours and thirteen minutes.

Like me, Di is a big fan of Because I Said So and her work in it. As such, we spoke at length discussing why the media was so against the clear classic and how to bring about its renaissance a decade on.

So yeah, deep conversation with a lot of work, meaning we earnt every piece of our Steak Diane Keaton.

 

steak-diane-keaton-1

 

Despite what you may think, I’m not a huge meat eater. I mean sure, I love me some meat, but I never really got into the culinary equivalent until I had my wisdom teeth removed. After ten days of not eating anything but yoghurt, any chicken loving, white-man-diet enjoying would turn to a steak.

Particularly if is drowned in some delicious diane sauce – enjoy!

 

steak-diane-keaton-2

 

Steak Diane Keaton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 shallots, trimmed and sliced
150g button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp salted butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
⅓ cup brandy
1 cup double cream
handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
4 sirloin steaks, excess fat removed, size depending on your appetite

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a medium skillet and cook the shallots for a minute before adding the mushrooms, butter and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir through the Worcestershire and mustard for a couple of minutes before adding the brandy. Turn up the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, stir through the cream and simmer for a couple of minutes, or until reduced. Remove from the heat and stir through the parsley.

Season the steaks on both sides and heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the steaks on both sides for about three minutes, more or less depending on how you like steak. Just make sure to only flip it once. Remove from the pan to rest for a minute or two before serving, drowned in sauce with some *spoiler alert*.

 

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