Pierogene Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, Vegetarian

Given I am close with the entire cast of Schitt’s Creek, it was extremely difficult to decide who to bestow the honour of kicking off my celebration honouring their return to the screen. But like my girl Hizza Clinton before me, I am known for making hard choices when I need to, so picked up the phone to call the delightful Eugene Levy first.

I mean, it is only fitting that I kicked off the party with Eugene as he is the person I have known the longest. Eug and I first met whilst a part of Second City, Toronto and by a part of, I was his stand in when blocking performances given our eerily similar appearances.

While we drifted apart when I was deported from Canada – and therefore unable to appear on SCTV – we reconnected again in the ‘90s through my dear friend Tars. I was part of her entourage on the set of American Pie to get closer to Chris Klein – it was the ‘90s – but I was so thrilled to see Eug again that I abandoned my lust for Chris, and instead focused on making up for the lost years of our friendship.

Despite being extremely busy with other publicity commitments, he was so excited to come down under and mark season four in culinary form with his dearest friend.

“Ben, you really need to come visit when we’re filming next season. I could see Alexis having a long-lost twin and you have the perfect nature to pull off the role!”

“Eug, my love, I don’t know. I’m super busy at the moment, but it truly makes a lot of sense.”

Now I can’t tell you how that conversation ended for upcoming contractual reasons – hell, I shouldn’t have even mentioned how it began – I can tell you that my v. Canadian Pierogene Levy were the perfect snack to toast season four … and beyond.

 

 

Like Eugene, these babies are the perfect comforting slash celebratory snack. Warm and fluffy, and packed full of carb-y, cheesy goodness, you need to get these in your belly ASAP.

Warm apple pie my arse (… which is another embarrassing story of mine for another time).

Enjoy!

 

 

Pierogene Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg potato
6 shallots, roughly cut
200g ricotta cheese
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Peel and cut the potatoes quarters and place in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until just tender, about five-ten minutes depending on their size. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a lined baking tray with the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes.

When the aggressive heat from the potatoes has gone, mash them until their mostly smooth. Add the ricotta, cheddar, eggs and a good whack of salt and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined.

To make the pierogis, place the gow gee wrappers on a clean, dry bench and place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre. Brush the edges with water and press the edges together, pleating as you go … to make them look as flash as a rat with gold teeth. Because, obvi.

When they’re all done, bring a large pot with about 1-inch of water to the boil and steam the pierogis for about ten minutes, give or take, or until they’re cooked through.

Devour, greedily, with sour cream or some hot sauce.

 

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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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Jane Porrocks Pies

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack

I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d top the delight of catching up with my dear friend Jen, nor am I sure why it has taken us so long to celebrate Ab Fab. In any event, I am filled with joy knowing that my dear friends are finally getting their moment in the sun that is this anthropological endeavour. None more so than the divine, bubbly, little voice herself, Jane Horrocks.

Now Babs – as her closest friends slash anyone that has read her Wikipedia entry know is her real name – and I have been the dearest of friends for close to three decades, after meeting during casting of The Witches.

In his golden years, Roald had asked me to oversee the production of all adaptations of his work, starting with The Witches. As soon as Jane walked in to the audition, I know that she was the only person that could play Susan … and is oft the case, vowed to make her a star.

When Jen mentioned transitioning Ab Fab into a show, she asked me to help assemble a killer cast, the likes of which had never been seen. I knew that Jane would be absolutely perfect for the role of Bubble and immediately drafted a contract and offered the role without Jen ever seeing her.

While she was annoyed by my underhanded tactic, her rage quickly dissipated after laying witness to Babs’ talent. I mean, she was almost nommed for an Oscar, for christsakes!

Given how busy I’ve been, I regret to admit that we haven’t seen as much of each other as we’d usually like. That being said, our friendship is so dear that it is always as though no time as past between our dates.

After a long hug we got to work drinking, laughing and reconnecting … and toasting to Ab Fab’s success with a big batch of Jane Porrocks Pies.

 

 

As British as tea, scones or the Queen – not Sandra, soz – pork pies are not just delicious, they’re comforting … and, dare I say it, life affirming. They just aren’t particularly healthy.

But who really minds about that? Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Porrocks Pies
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g Cumberland sausages, skins removed
200g streaky bacon, diced
⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the sausage, bacon, breadcrumbs, sage, nutmeg and a good whack of pepper in a large bowl, scrunching until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 even squares and line 18 holes of (two) muffin pans with pastry. Divide the mixture evenly between the holes and tightly packing it in … you know I love that. Fold any extra pastry over the mound of meat, brush with some egg and top each with the remaining squares of pastry. Fold it in on itself – obvi in a decorative fashion – cut a small hole in the top of each, brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-40 mins, or until golden and brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately, hot, slathered in caramelised onions.

 

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Pico de Vincent Gallo

Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Side

The pain of losing Locky from Australian Survivor combined with a date with one of my more controversial friends got me feeling all misty for my wild, artsy and extremely controversial youth. With that, I picked up the phone and begged Vincent Gallo to end his self-imposed exile and reconnect.

Obviously, he said yes and hopped on the next plane for Brisbane.

While we haven’t seen much of each other in the last few years – Chris Rock and I had a huge fight on the set of 2 Days in Paris and Vin refused to leave with me – we’ve be the closest of friends for the past couple of decades after meeting on the set of Buffalo ‘66.

I was working as Angelica Houston’s stand-in, Mickey Rourke’s dialect coach and Christina Ricci’s personal assistant at the time, but found more than enough time to make things work with Vin. The affair was torrid and passionate, and shockingly somehow survived our break-up to become the best of friends.

Given our past, he reached out to me in the early noughties and asked me to complete the infamous scene in The Brown Bunny due to my insane abilitiessimilarities with Chloë Sevigny. I mean, talk about doppelgangers!

It was such a treat to get him out of his exile and to reconnect whilst discussing a crossover sequel to The Brown Bunny and Buffalo ‘66. I mean, sure, he had no interest in doing my project, but at least we got to yack it up like we did in the good old days with some Pico de Vincent Gallo.

 

 

Now I know that most people wouldn’t consider pico de gallo a meal but Vin and I are not like most people, so gladly down it at any and all opportunities. I mean, fresh, zingy and packing a punch – how can you go wrong?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pico de Vincent Gallo
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, diced
4 shallots, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 limes, juiced
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the tomatoes, onion, shallots, chilli, coriander and garlic in a large bowl.

Toss through the lime juice, a lug of olive oil and season to taste.

Devour … or you know, serve with a taco or something.

 

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Jack Lemmon Chicken Soup

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Main, Poultry, Side, Snack, Soup

I’m most oft described as being an old man trapped in a young(ish) man’s body. In turn, that old man that lives inside me is most oft described in more detail as (extremely) grumpy. Whenever I’m told this, or catch myself shaking my fist at youths in the street, I am reminded of my dear friend and co-star in the movie series based on my life, Grumpy Old Men, Jack Lemmon.

While Jacky boy, as I used to call him, is most famous for his success on the silver screen – two Oscars, what a card! – one of his final awards was his Emmy for his turn as Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie. As such, I decided to whip out the time machine and pay him one last visit.

I first met Jack on the set of Some Like It Hot in the ‘50s where I acted as a drag coach to Jack and Tones. Yes – I was a drag icon in the 50s and Ru is my drag daughter. Jacks was taken by my talent and we became extremely close during filming, being dear friends ever since. After finalising my first autobiographical script, I knew I needed to get Jack onboard and the hit franchise Grumpy Old Men was born.

Given the fact the catch-up was occurring via time-travel, I couldn’t run the odds with Jack so I utilised my time in the delorean – fun fact: time travel takes a lot longer than Back to the Future would have you believe – to run the odds of the male counterparts of yesterday’s discussion with Rita.

While I really want Milo to take out Best Actor in a Drama series and make Jess and Rory Emmy winners in the same year, I struggle to go past Sterling K Brown. In any event, This Is Us’ to lose. Riz Ahmed should take Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, Ron Cephas Jones will narrowly best Jeffrey Wright for Supporting Actor in a Drama and Skarsy will take out Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie.

All that talking to myself really took it out of me. That, coupled with the fact we’re both elderly, led to me whipping up a big ol’ delicious batch of my Jack Lemmon Chicken Soup.

 

 

Oldies like Jack and I – I should mention, I travelled back to the late ‘80s when he was yet to become an Emmy winner – love a good soup, and there is no better than a Lemon Chicken one. The sour lemons, creamy eggs, sweet mint and delicate chicken come together to make you forget the fact you’re eating a mother and her children and feel content.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jack Lemmon Chicken Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 lemons, zested and juiced
2L low-salt chicken stock
a good whack of salt and pepper
1 cup white rice
500g chicken breast, diced
3 eggs
a small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the juice, zest and stock in a large pot with salt and pepper over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the rice and chicken, reduce heat to low and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until the rice is tender and the chicken cooked through.

Beat the eggs in a small jug and slowly, still whisking, add about a cup of stock until a white, creamy mixture forms. Transfer said white, creamy mixture back into the pot, while stirring, until well combined.

Remove from the heat and stir through the mint leaves before serving. And then devouring.

 

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Margherita Ora Pizza

Main, Pizza, Snack

I don’t know if Rita was hardened by some whips, chains and lite BDSM action on the set of the Fifty Shades franchise, or if she was just trying to put on a brave face for me – but damn that girl was, and always is, a bloody ray of absolute sunshine.

Full disclosure: I believe Tyra fired Rita because she was jealous of our friendship and wanted me back – how do you think her feud with Naomi Campbell started?

Rita and I have been as thick as thieves since we met a decade ago – I was a Cheers-esque regular at her dad’s pub, where she also performed. Having the eye for talent that I do, I immediately knew that I had to help her become the star that we know and love today.

While Rita laughed off the suggestion and said that she was ok with how everything washed out, I could tell (as only a dear, dear friend could) that there was sadness behind her eyes as she wondered if her greatest friendship, led to her ANTM demise. In any event, I apologised profusely for getting her involved with TyTy and we moved on to all the positives in her life.

I’m obvi referring to seeing Jamie Dornan naked on set and working with my boy Nick Carter on Boy Band, which I created as an apology.

Given talking about Jamie makes me moister than an oyster – between he and Locky on Australian Survivor, I am parched from liquid depletion – I decided to whip us up something hearty slash carby, which could also comfort her pain. That obviously meant I whipped up her fave, my Margherita Ora Pizza.

 

 

I truly hated margherita pizza as a child because it was so boring and then as an early-20-something because I felt like it was false advertising – where’s the tequila, bitch? – but as a wise man of 30, I finally appreciate this little beauty. Rich tomato sauce, delicate mozzarella and fresh basil? Yes pwease!

Enjoy!

 

 

Margherita Ora Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g buffalo mozzarella
small handful of basil leaves

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Slather bases with the passata and misc Italian herbs. Sprinkle over the garlic. Scatter the tomatoes on top. And – fuck, I can’t think of an s word for tear … – tear the buffalo mozzarella on top.

Bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven, top with some torn basil leaves … and devour.

 

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How We Do

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Yes guys, Rita Ora is dropping by later this week and is bringing the party.

Well at least I hope so.

I reached out to my gal-pal in March after hearing she was fired from ANTM by my frenemy Tyra, but she was too sad to fly over and catch-up.

What do I make that says chin-up, at least you’ve got Fifty Shades Freed coming up?

Actually, that will probably make her feel worse …

Image source: Darren Gerrish/WireImage for Tommy Hilfiger.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Meatzza Doherty

Main, Pizza, Snack

Where do I start with my dear friend Pete Doherty. I mean, despite all the ups and downs – the latter of which there were many during the noughties – we’ve always had a solid friendship and he was been the greatest support a guy could hope for.

I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact that we met whilst working as grave fillers at Willesden Cemetery in the late ‘90s – let’s be honest, it may have been the ‘00s, I wasn’t the most reliable narrator at the time – or not, but we’ve always tried not to sweat the small stuff with each other and have made the most out of every day.

Sadly though making the most out of every day back then involved a lot of coke, in addition to his blossoming music career.

Since we both recently got clean, I don’t want to dwell on coke years – plus, it will make the musical of our lives more exciting for you – but it goes without saying that I was his muse and was instrumental in the success of Babyshambles and the Libertines.

After leaving rehab in 2015, we made the difficult decision to keep our distance from one another to avoid falling into the temptations of our old habits. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t wanted to hang out with Pete every day of the past 18 months, so I’m glad that we both feel well enough to catch-up and prepare to tell our story, one step at a time like we are Sharon Needles as Caitlyn Jenner.

As soon as I heard footsteps in the hall, I ran to the door, flung it open and threw myself into his arms, saying everything I couldn’t during the course of our absence. Despite having our break, it felt like only yesterday that we’d last caught up, laughing and joking, and sharing what we’ve been up to.

While he was a little bit reticent about the musical at first, my Meatzza Doherty made quick work of winning him over.

 

 

No I don’t make it a habit of talking smack about my dear friend Saint Nigella Lawson, but I felt just one meatzza was nowhere near enough. While I couldn’t convince him that a Meatlovers Meatzza is a good idea, he was definitely sold on my chargrilled veggie version. But really, how couldn’t you be – artichoke, olives, capsicum, (non-grilled) mushrooms and feta … on a big-arse patty of meat. Could you ask for anything more?

The answer is no, FYI. I know you’ll enjoy it!

 

 

Meatzza Doherty
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp basil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
4-6 chargrilled artichokes, quartered
⅓ cup olives, pitted and halved
⅓ cup chargrilled capsicum, sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
150g feta, crushed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Combine the mince, parmesan, breadcrumbs, basil, garlic, egg and salt and pepper in a bowl, and scrunch to combine. Press the mix into a lined pizza tray.

Next, combine the tin tomatoes and oregano and smear over the bloody patty. After that, throw all the veggies over the top, followed by the feta and throw into the oven for half an hour, or until cooked and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes, before serving / devouring.

 

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Bloginshambles

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

All this celebrating theatre and the musical arts have made me feel misty for my dear, musically inclined friend Pete Doherty.

I’m sure it is quite obvious already but Pete, cocaine Kate and I were dear friends in the noughties, before he and I formed a true, coherent connection whilst completing rehab together.

He was super inspired by all the Broadway babies I caught up with recently and called to see if I’d be interested in turning our relationship into a musical. While asking made me question whether he knew me at all – of course, I’d sell anything to further myself – I giddily said yes.

What says I’m glad we’re sober enough to exploit our scandalous relationship?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Breakfast Burtito Jackson

13th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Breakfast, Main

As you would probably expect, finding a shockingly still living legend to complete the Meggstravaganza is quite difficult … given that I generally assume they are dead.

While literally any of the Jackson 5 could take the role – given that I kinda assumed they died before Michael – Tito has always been my favourite and as such, I knew he’d be game to help bring Meg’s career back from the clutches of death.

As you know, Annelie and I got (one of) our start(s) working as choreographers for the Jackson 5 – despite what MJ’s estate sued me to deny, I maintain that I invented the moonwalk – where we bonded with the boys over being young talented ingenues with a mild-to-major fear of Joe.

Tito may not have had the star power of the Michaels or the Janets but what he lacked there, he made up for with a kind heart and he always pushed us to be better, kinder people.

Lost causes, I know … but it just goes to show how sweet and loving he is.

Given that he has been hella busy with the release of Tito Time, I haven’t been able to hang out with Daddy Teets – as I affectionately and surprisingly non-sexually call him – as often as I’d like, so it was such a blessing that he could make the time to come an help.

(Plus – I do live in fear that he could die at any given moment, so it is best to cherish the time we have left).

Since we’re both big on the early to bed, early to rise rule, I knew there was only one egg-based sacrifice/meal that we could share – our favourite tour meal, my Breakfast Burtito Jackson.

 

 

I’m going to be completely blunt here – there is bacon, a shit tonne of cheese and good whack of chilli. Need I say more to entice you into giving it a try?

FYI – the answer is no. To the kitchen, YA!

Oh, and enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast Burtito Jackson
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4-6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes, depending on taste
6 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup (minimum) grated cheese
4 small (or 2 large) tortillas

Method
Fry the bacon in a medium frying pan for about five minutes, or until just starting to go crisp.

Add in the shallots, tomato and chilli flakes and cook for a further couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Whisk the eggs in a small jug, season generously and add to the pan, stirring constantly. When almost cooked, add the cheese and stir through until melted. Remove from the heat immediately.

Heat a second, clean, dry frying pan over medium heat and cook each tortilla for thirty seconds or so each side.

Transfer the warmed tortillas to plates, divide the eggy goodness amongst the four and roll into a burrito … before, obvi, devouring.

 

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