Vodcara Delevingatoni

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

While I haven’t known Cara Delevingne for as long as some of the friends I’ve featured here, she is probably one of my best friends. Scrap that, is.

Given we’ve both got such busy schedules, Car and I don’t always get to spend as much time together as we’d like but when we do it is damn near perfection. Like that time I partied with her, Paris Jackson and Macaulay … which I can’t talk about. I’ve said too much.

As you know, we met during the filming of Anna Karenina when I was visiting Kiz and Az but what I didn’t mention is that we bonded over our close relationship with the Collinses. You see, my dear(ly departed) friend Jacks’ big sister Joan is her godmother and when you’ve got the Collinses as mutual friends, you’re destined for a beautiful relationship.

I made quick work of convincing her she could do better than bit roles in Kizza star vehicles, watched her bounce from Paper Towns to Pan and into the acting A-list with Suicide Squad. To say I am filled with pride is an understatement.

After catching up on each others’ lives since we last hung – I can’t confirm whether she and Paris Jackson are dating … but I also can’t not confirm they’re dating – and reminiscing about the good old days, I delighted her by whipping out a majestic and decadent Vodcara Delevingatoni.

 

 

Does anyone need something this rich, carby and heavy after the insanity that is Easter eating? No. But does anyone actually need anything? Yeah, confusing, inception … I’m on a high from this Carbone copycat of perfection and I can’t think.

Don’t judge me, don’t look at me … just enjoy!

 

 

Vodcara Delevingatoni
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
3 onions, sliced
100ml water
150g butter
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus extra
1.6kg canned crushed tomatoes
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups thickened cream
3 tbsp chilli paste
¼ cup vodka
500g rigatoni

Method
Combine the onion and water with 100g butter and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over low heat and cook for half an hour or so, or until softened but not coloured.

Combine the two tablespoons of salt, crushed tomatoes, raw caster sugar and olive oil in a saucepan and simmer for ten minutes, or until combined and slightly thickened.

Cook the rigatoni as per packet instructions.

Combine the tomato and onion mixture in a large saucepan with the cream, chilli, vodka and remaining butter, and cook, stirring until the sauce comes together and is cooked through.

Drain the pasta, add to sauce and stir to combine, adjusting seasonings as required.

Devour.

 

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Michelle Douganzola Pizza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Pizza, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Locky were going through a tough break-up leading Locky to come up with a plot to use an old note to fake having an idol. He and the remaining castaways then discovered that in addition to immunity, they’d be playing for a car where Michelle – who Ziggy said was the worst physically – beat Locky and challenged the car curse to come down under. Then, tragedy struck, as Locky was unable to convince anyone but Michelle that he had an idol and was sent from the game completely clothed. How dare he not follow Jack from Survivor NZ’s suit, or lack thereof?

Asatoa returned to camp and celebrated making it to the final four, where Tara was feeling free after vanquishing her best friend. Celebrations continued the next day as the remaining castaways were proud to have made it to day 50, with Tara more shocked than anyone. Though not shocked enough to be in the middle pages of a dirty magazine, thankfully. She was proud that as a stay at home mum, she has been able to achieve so much as she has and to get out of her rut, which truly speaks to the crippling fear that controls me.

Jericho too is proud of himself, particularly given the fact no one has ever written his name down in 50 days. Despite this success, he decided that it was best to move on and become Jericho 2.0, which I can only imagine will be as successful as iSnack 2.0. Channelling Keith Nale, Michelle acknowledged that Survivor is not the holiday she was expecting. Obviously she is already spending the half a mil, also speaking directly to my soul. Rounding out the empowering journey section of this first finale week episode, Pete was missing his family and breaking down … which is exactly what I’d be doing on day 1, so I’m extremely proud he lasted 7 weeks before hitting this point.

With that out of the way Michelle turned things strategic, fostering her relationships to ensure everyone wants to take her to the finals. While Tara and Jericho were onboard, the former wasn’t sure how Michelle was feeling about her so whipped out her tub of lollies to sweeten the deal. Let’s not tell her how well knowing about the lolly jar went for Ziggy, right?

Given that the trio is tight, Pete was feeling completely on the outs and in need of immunity which he clearly said in front of a mirror three times because JLP appeared. Though not for immunity, instead the opportunity to eliminate a member of the jury. The challenge involved the final four holding on to numbered pegs on a wall, which Jonathan would tell them to remove one-by-one, until the drop one-by-one until we have a victor. Before even taking a peg out, Tara dropped. After losing a few more pegs, Michelle dropped out leaving the boys to battle it out before Pete dropped off trying to remove his fifth-last peg, giving Jericho the advantage and I assume, a pegging fantasy. Lol, he already had that.

Back at camp everyone was quick to congratulate Jericho before immediately getting to work convincing him to get rid of the juror they assume won’t vote for them. Michelle and Tara had a gentle conversation about who would vote for him in the end, with Tessa seemingly the only one identified as voting for someone else … in the form of Peter. Once again proving himself smarter than I’ve given his credit for, he convened a tribe meeting to see what everyone else was thinking to identify the potential threats they aren’t speaking about, and then getting rid of them.

Peter played – and I hate myself for saying this – right in to Jericho’s hand, trying to convince him that Locky was the best person to get rid of to keep Tessa and Jarrad on the jury, which you just knowing is going to backfire on Peter and a still-underdog-after-being-booted Tessa.

At the special Neal Gottlieb memorial tribal council, where the jury was shocked to discover that one of them would once again be voted out, this time from their luxury booze pad where I act as their personal chef’s. Jericho stupidly acknowledged he was smarter than the other players give him credit for, making his road more difficult moving forward. Jericho then had the opportunity to ask three jurors questions and while Jarrad danced around his answer, Tessa went in and said Tara didn’t deserve to be in the final four and Anneliese spoke about wanting a good person to win, as well as a good game player, proving her gameplay is still underrated, given Jericho’s pious spirit.

Calling his intelligence back into question, Jericho decided to vote out Tessa who just mentioned she would not vote for Tara. That being said, she was a pretty clear Michelle or Pete vote so I guess it makes sense … but she just mentioned she wouldn’t vote for Tara identifying your best goat. But honestly, poor Tessa – this is probably the worst thing that could happen to you on Survivor.

The next day Jerkicho and the others met JLP at an abandoned beach, which puzzled them as there was no challenge set up. Given the set-up yesterday, it was crystal clear that we were in for a family reward leading. The castaways broke down as Jonathan brought out Peter’s parents, Michelle’s sister, Jerkicho’s brother and Tara’s entire freaking family. Despite the fact not everyone got an equal number of visitors, I can’t hold it against Tara seeing her kids. We then got a rundown from the family members as the castaways sobbed to varying degrees, Peter being Kim Kardashian and Jericho being Jeffrey Dahmer or any other emotionless psychopath. JLP then gave them all the afternoon off to enjoy their families company instead of making them earn it and potentially cause some drama, the levels we haven’t seen since Brenda and Dawn in Caramoan.

We then got to experience the remaining castaways showing their families around the island. Tara’s kids were shocked and disgusted by the squalor, Jericho and his brother were Jericho and his brother, and of course, Michelle and her sister immediately started strategising. Kweens. Peter’s parents, like Tara’s kids, were shocked by the primitive surroundings and moreso, their loved ones ability to survive.

Breaking up the love fest, Jonathan returned for the most epic individual challenge of the season requiring them to pull themselves in a canoe to a tower in the ocean. They were then required to drop a bucket into the water and fill a tank until they reach a key before swimming to shore, unlock a rope and traverse a balance beam while untangling said rope. Once at the end, they use the weighted rope to try and shoot it through a hoop and pull down a bridge leading to a final puzzle.

Jericho got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Peter, with Michelle and a distant Tara rounding out the field. That is until the shoot portion, where Jericho sucked allowing everyone else to catch him. He finally scored and made his way to the puzzle with Tara and Pete following closely behind before Michelle finally joined them about five minutes later. Being the kween that she is, Michelle closed the gap and the puzzle came down to her and Peter, with Pete ultimately taking out immunity despite a last minute fumble as he lost a piece.

Back at camp the tribe gave their obligatory congratulations to Peter before those that didn’t win started to talk smack about him. Channelling Drag Race All Stars, Peter then had one on ones with each of the remaining castaways. He and Michelle agreed that Jericho needs to go because he already has locked in votes sitting on the jury. Tara was also keen on the plan to get rid of Jericho, offering up her name as the decoy boot for Jerkicho’s go-see with Peter. While he did buy it for a second, Peter and Michelle eventually made Jericho nervous, leading to an epic conversation between Michelle and Jericho where he tried to threaten her and she absolutely destroyed him. Then Tara happened. Despite siding with Pete and Michelle, she went for a walk with Jericho and spilled their entire plans before agreeing to force a tie with Jericho. Which would result in a fire making challenge between Michelle and Jericho.

At tribal council, Peter was extremely thankful to be wearing immunity before Jericho went all in campaigning for someone forcing a tie and going to a fire challenge. Michelle being Michelle defended herself, and gave another stellar tribal council performance and proved how much of a threat she is if she makes it to the end. While Michelle was secure in her scrambling, her trust was misplaced as Tara did in fact force a tie, twice, resulting in a fire making challenge – which is a term we’ve heard 6543 times tonight – between Jericho and Queen Michelle.

Despite a valiant effort from our Queen Michelle, Tara’s questionable decision allowed Jericho to win his way through to the final three and Michelle from the game as the ninth juror. Yes ninth, Tessa’s life still matters. As gut wrenching as it was to see her go, Michelle handled her exit gracefully, with a smile on her face like the killer person she is. We’ve long been friends, both meeting on the nannying circuit, before I was blacklisted for having one too many Irish coffees whilst in charge.

As is oft the case, Michelle stood by me and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. It was hard to see her arrive at the jury villa on the back of Tara’s stupid move, though she was in such good spirits she wouldn’t let me go into camp and burn it down, saying that my Michelle Douganzola Pizza was all she needed.

 

 

There is no better combination that sweetly caramelised onions and the earthy, sharp tang of blue cheese and this pizza is where is truly shines. Throw in some fluffy dough and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Like Michelle should be. Long live the Queen.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Douganzola Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
small knob of butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g gorgonzola, crumbled

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

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When as frothy as my shorts during one of Locky’s nude scenes, reduce heat to low, add the onions and cook until soft and sweet, about ten minutes. Crank up the heat to medium and add the sugar and vinegar and cook until caramelised, aka a further ten minutes or so.

Smear the dough with the passata and italian herbs and dollop out the caramelised onions. Sprinkle over the garlic and gorgonzola and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Lamb & Date Davis Tajine

Main, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously – aka a few seconds ago – on Survivor New Zealand, Mike tried to scramble after Tom took out a record equalling fifth immunity challenge. Showing how little he knew about the current situation in the tried, he came for Barbs which backfired gloriously as she berated him in front of the jury before joining the rest of the tribe to send him to the jury.

AFTER HE VOTED FOR RV.

Back at camp, Tom filled everyone in on the fact that Mike threatened him on the way into tribal before Avi told us that he was planning to ask Barb to get voted out next to give him another vote on the jury. Avi girl, bye.

The next day they were speculating about the duration of the season before Avi collected treemail announcing the final immunity challenge before making some hilariously obvious statements that made me angry. Anywho, the challenge – aka the Andrea Boehlke memorial redemption victory challenge – required them to balance a jug on the end of a hard rod, aka a tit-fuck … I assume.

In any event, Nate dropped out within seconds, followed closely by Barb. Three hours later Matt got sick of waiting for a victor and decided the boys had to put their arms behind their head which was the beginning of the end as both boys started to wobble, while obvi, still digging deep. Then out of nowhere Tomgel fainted, fell off the box and, most tragically of all, handed Avi immunity by default.

Back at camp Barb congratulated her boy Avi on winning immunity on a technicality before Nate started in on trying to get out of his mess and throw the target on Tom, the biggest threat to threat to both of their games. Nate tried to convince Barb to force a tie between he and Tom, which she took to Avi who tried to get her to fall on her sword. He then struggled with the thought of voting out Tom due to his loyalty, which TBH is super boring.

Meanwhile Barb extricated herself from the situation and hung out with Tom by the shore and had a good old cry, where she admitted that if she were on the jury she would vote for Tom over Avi because the latter has done nothing but be nice.

Putting us out of our misery, we arrived at tribal with the final four 1 and 2 point 0, now with Avi immune! Tom tried to convince everyone of his loyalty, Nate hoped that surviving without winning a challenge … despite winning a challenge being the only reason he returned to the game, was good enough for everyone. Barb was sassy and Avi spoke about working hard to win immunity, despite the fact he only one because of a medical episode. And I work in healthcare, so you know it is true.

Like the first final four tribal, Nate was voted out in the exact same three to one decision. Though this time he got to join me for a Lamb & Date Davis Tajine, so don’t feel too bad for him.

 

 

Rich yet delicate lamb, plump, sweet dates and a spicy tomato sauce? Sign me up to become the final boot anyday … though don’t, I’d rather win. I’m simply highlighting this is delicious, ok?

Enjoy, dammit!

 

 

Lamb & Date Davis Tajine
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp freshly mince ginger
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
2 tsp each ground cumin, paprika, coriander seed and chilli
1 cinnamon quill
800g canned crushed tomatoes
800ml chicken or beef stock
2 sweet potato, cut into 2cm dice
350g pitted dates
cous cous and fresh coriander, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan and sweat the onions, ginger and garlic until so fragrant, you can’t take it anymore. Add the lamb and cook, stirring, for five minutes, or until completely browned. Add the spices and cinnamon quill and cook for a minute.

Add the tin tomatoes, equal parts chicken (or beef, depending on how you like to mix your meat) stock and sweet potatoes, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the sweet potato is tender.

Add the dates and cook for a further five minutes, before serving on a bed of fresh cous cous … and devouring.

 

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Aubry Bracco Vin

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, advantagemageddon occurred meaning five of the six people were immune, eliminating kween Cirie by default.

She better be the first – and only – five time player.

Not wanting to remind us of another painful Cirie exit, Probst returned for the second immunity of the night – the classic dropping balls, balancing them on your hard rods and guiding them through tight holes. Aubry and Troyzan struggled dearly while Brad and Sarah took an early lead. Sarah choked at the last minute of the first run, giving Brad a clear outright lead … from which no one else could catch-up, giving him his fourth individual immunity of the season.

With Brad immune, Aubry was particularly scared given he has zero interest in ever working with her. Confirming her fears, Brad felt victory was in sight and quickly locked in the Aubry vote with Troyzan and Brad.

Aubry tried to work over Tai and Sarah, knowing that Brad was dragging Troyzan to the end as a goat no matter what. Sarah pulled Tai aside to see whether she could trust him again, trepidatiously asking what they should do … with even Tai locking in the vote against Aubry.

Tai then joined Brad in the hammock, where Brad continued to bully him saying that he had no choice and had to vote with him no matter what for the rest of the game. This spooked Tai, who returned to Sarah and confirmed that they should get of Brad’s right hand Troyzan.

We returned to tribal to be reminded that Cirie was eliminated by default, breaking hearts globally.

Probst got his man-boner out to gush over Brad’s immunity run, with Troyzan hopefully he could snag a win the next time. As expected, Aubry wasn’t feeling confident … but boy did she try to convince Sarah and Tai to boot Troyzan and free up another seat at the final tribal. Sarah tellingly said that Aubry’s pitch was great, if that is what is best for all of them. Everyone but Troyzan was feeling concerned about who they could beat in the final, which is crazy since he is the least likely to win. Sadly Aubry’s pitch fell on deaf ears – or at least ones that didn’t have interests that align with hers – as she found herself booted from the game in fifth place.

Hey – at least she actually got votes before getting her torch snuffed, I guess?

As you know, Aubs and I attended Brown with Summer Roberts, and the three off us have been the best of friends ever since. Thankfully this post-boot catch-up was less heartbreaking than our last, given that she was robbed the last time and this one I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did with as large (and as recent) a target as she did.

I’m even more thankful that Aubs is so easily pleased by any food on offer – coleslaw, anyone – because it means that she completely goes nuts on our dates, particularly if it means she gets Aubry Braccos Vin.

 

 

Straight up, there is bacon, chicken, mushroom and red wine – do you need me to say anything more?

Yes? Go fuck yourself. Sorry, that’s aggressive. But kinda deserved.

No? Exactly – enjoy.

 

 

Aubry Bracco Vin
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g smoked streaky bacon, roughly diced
olive oil
2kg chicken breasts, cut into a large dice
¼ cup Cognac
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
6 onions, sliced
3 tbsp flour
2 cups Côtes du Rhône ( … or any red wine, though how good are all those accents?)
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g mushrooms, quartered

Method
Start by heating a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further ten minutes, or until sealed on the outside. Add the Cognac, let it bubble up and stir for a few minutes. You could light the cognac and let it burn off the alcohol, but I’m scared of fire and would totally lose the final four tie-breaker.

Add a good whack of salt and pepper, the bay leaf, thyme and onions, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring and cook for a minute or so before adding the wine, stock, garlic and tomato paste to the pan. Bring pot to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about half an hour, stirring as you see fit.

Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes, or until soft and glorious.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, or with thick chunks of crusty bread.

 

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Jenna Moussaka

Main, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys – it is less than two weeks until my girl Sandra returns for her third crown … or to at least block Tony and JT from equaling her record.

Not that I don’t have faith in her ability to snatch the crown again. Can you tell I’m excited for Survivor and Sandy’s return?

Given that my girl is an underrated goddess, despite her perfect game record, I felt it best to honour her third attempt by holding court with another underrated victor, my dear friend Jenna Morasca.

Like Sandy, I would defend Jen and her gameplay to the ends of the earth. Sure she ended Rob C’s hope of ever winning the game and feuded with a deaf person but she also stripped for peanut butter – who wouldn’t TBH – went on an immunity run and even gave away immunity without it sending her home.

Plus, she was sassy as fuck, gives a good sound bite and was probably the best appointed winner to make it far in All Stars hadn’t had to quit to be with her mother.

I first met Jen way back when we were both attending University of Pittsburgh studying zoology – I was going through a weird Brendan Fraser/George of the Jungle phase and thought that a knowledge of animals could help.

Given our sassy attitude and good looks we were immediately drawn to one another and became the best of friends. I was her Heidi before Heidi existed, basically. After my many run-ins with Burnett, I kept our friendship quiet as she auditioned which I would argue got her cast meaning I played an integral part in her victory.

We are such busy little bees that we haven’t been able to see as much of each other as we like, so it was such a treat to sit down, gab about the upcoming season and dreams for her eventual return.

Speaking of dreams, my Jenna Moussaka is most definitely one.

 

jenna-moussaka-1

 

Spicy, rich and creamy – this little baby is the ultimate comfort food. Plus, eggplant makes it healthy, so you barely have to feel guilty about the cheesy goodness clogging up your arteries.

Enjoy!

 

jenna-moussaka-2

 

Jenna Moussaka
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
a generous lug of olive oil
3 eggplants, cut into half centimetre discs
2 red capsicums, cored and halved
500g beef mince
500g lamb mince
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g tinned tomatoes
100g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
3 cups milk
120g parmesan, roughly grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Place the eggplant discs on a wire rack, over a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until crisp, charred and drying out. Add the capsicum for the last ten minutes to blister their skins.

Reduce oven to 160°C.

While they are cooking, heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the mince over medium heat, or until browned. Add the spices, oregano, onion and garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Meanwhile diced up the charred capsicum and add to the pan with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes. Season and allow to rest.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once foaming, add in the flour and cook until lightly browned and not resembling either butter or flour. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk until all combined. Return to the heat and cook for a minute or two, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, season and leave to rest.

To assemble, place a third of the meat mixture on the base of a large baking dish. Top with a third of the dried, charred eggplant and repeat the process until both are all gone. Pour over the bechamel, top with the cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly on top. Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before devouring.

 

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Pumpkim Basinger Soup

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Side, Snack, Soup, Vegetarian

While I like to let the lesser celebrity categories shine, I know why you drop by for Oscar Gold and that is my extreme proximity to the A-list.

And there is no one more A-list than my dear gal-pal and past Best Supporting Actress Winner, Kim Basinger.

I first met Kim through her ex-husband – and my ex/oft-lover Alec – but her kind heart and sassy nature won me over and I actually grew closer to her during their split. Thus leaking the pig-daughter tapes.

Kim and I haven’t been able to catch-up lately what with her doing the publicity rounds for Fifty Shades of I-Won’t-Show-My-Peen-and-This-Is-A-Waste-of-Your-Time, so it was such a treat to sit down and chat about the most important categories – Best Supporting and Best Actress.

Given the fact that I have a temper similar to Al’s, Kim was a bit scared to engage in any major disputes so we both landed on Viola for Supporting, despite the fact that she agreed that the previously insufferable Nicky Kid turned in such a beautiful performance that echoed her life and made you love her that it should be her taking out the crown over V’s always consistent scenery chewing.

Also … surely Mish Wills needs an overdue win sometime soon. And the post first scene was damn perfection.

She also agreed that Emma Stone was a lock because she is my friend and was cast in the musical whilst starring in Cabaret – which I saw and critiqued her in – bringing her luck. Though that being said, Isabelle Huppert is the most likely to upset any of the favourites on the night.

So yeah, discussions were robust meaning we needed something hearty that also hugged your soul like my Pumpkim Basinger Soup.

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-1

 

Earthy, spiced and warm, this is pumpkin soup isn’t what you’d get in a can. In a good way, obvi.

All the veggies are baked first giving a depth of flavour and sweetness that is perfectly cut through by a whack of herbs and a smack of chilli. Dis good, dis real good, ok?

Enjoy!

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-2

 

Pumpkim Basinger Soup
Serves: 100 people aka all the Baldwins … or maybe just 12 people?

Ingredients
1.5kg butternut pumpkin, cut into 3cm dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
4 pieces celery, roughly chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp dried chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
bunch of sage
1L chicken stock
1 cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place all the veggies – and realistically you could use anything you had in the fridge, capsicum is a great addition to be honest – on a lined baking sheet (or two), drizzle with olive oil and chilli, season and bake until golden and tender. About half an hour.

Once the veg are ready, transfer to a large pot, drizzle with maple syrup, add the sage leaves and fry over medium heat for a minute, reduce to low pour in the stock and simmer, stirring sporadically, for about fifteen minutes to half an hour, or until all the veggies are tender and your kitchen is smelling amazing.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for five-ten minutes and blitz thoroughly yet carefully with a stick blender until smooth and glorious. Return to low heat, stir through the cream and coook until heated through.

Serve – immediately if you like to risk burning all the skin in your mouth – and top with a drizzle of cream and some chopped sage, if you are patient enough, and devour.

 

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Braised Briskarmack

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Main

At the risk of sounding like the whore of Chrismukkah, my dear friend Chris and I started off as lovers – he put the Chris in my mukkah, if you will – which makes me extremely thankful, a little surprised and at the same time disappointed, that none of the cast fought over me on set.

Our love quickly blossomed when he guested on my dear friend Amy Sedaris’ classic Stranger’s with Candy but after a few torrid months we realised we were better off as friends and parted ways.

A few years later and fresh out of rehab, I wanted to show him how much I had grown and how mature I now was and pushed for him to be welcomed to The O.C.

Bitch.

Despite being the first to leave the series, Chris’ career went from strength to strength co-starring in the hit Amanda Bynes film Love Wrecked, the TV movie Beauty & the Briefcase, an episode of Desperate Housewives and more recently, a starring role in Nashville.

Which is actually good.

Given his commitments to the latter, Chris and I haven’t been able to spend much time together lately. It was such a treat to reconnect and get the inside scoop on what will become of Rayna and her hair … and celebrate the more -mukkah side of Chrismukkah with my Braised Briskarmack.

 

braised-briskarmack-1

 

To be honest, I have no idea if this meal comes close to being kosher … but I assume if you’re celebrating a hybrid holiday, you probably aren’t too staunch on eating kosher. I did avoid cooking the delicate brisket and sweet, creamy mushrooms together though.

That counts for something, right? RIGHT?

Oy – enjoy!

 

braised-briskarmack-2

 

Braised Briskarmack
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
10 cloves garlic
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1.5kg beef brisket
a couple each of celery stalks, onions and carrots, roughly chopped\
2 cups red wine
800g canned chopped tomatoes
small handful of parsley
small bunch of thyme, a few sprigs reserved for the mushrooms
500g button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup beef stock
3 tbsp horseradish cream
½ cup sour cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place half the garlic and all the rosemary in a mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and crush until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl, combine with a generous lug of oil and rub over both sides of the brisket.

Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and sear either side of the meat for a few minutes. Chuck in the veggies, wine, canned tomatoes and herbs and stir gently to combine.

Place the lid on firmly and transfer to the oven, baking for about 4 hours. Check every hour or so to ensure there is enough liquid and to keep the meat covered – which I rarely would support. Once the meat is tender, transfer it to a board and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

While it is resting, get to work on the mushrooms by heating a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Reduce to low and add the remaining garlic – which you will have minced but I forgot to tell you – mushrooms and the leaves from the extra thyme sprigs and cook for about five minutes, or until browned and soft. Add the stock, turn the heat up to medium-high and simmer for about ten minutes, or until reduced and slightly thickened. Add the horseradish, sour cream and cooking liquid and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

Slice the brisket into diagonal slices and serve with some latkes, topped with the mushrooms.

 

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