Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1

With Ru and Michelle venturing across the pond for a UK version of Drag Race – no doubt to find out if anyone can lip sync better than Charlie Hides – they’re packing me up and taking me over to the mother country. And reuniting me with my dear friend Alan Carr, who has found his way onto the judging panel.

I’ve known Al for years, after meeting on the Chorlton-cum-Hardy comedy circuit. While I found the name of the suburb to be nothing more than false advertising – except for this one time down the frog and toad at the rub-a-dub-dub, getting a rub-a-tug-tug – I was grateful to find a kindred spirit in the form of Alan. High energy and a little too much, Alan and I became the fastest of friends despite being so similar.

When Ru and Mish were looking to transplant the series, they personally tasked me with finding the right people to join them on the judges panel – after I turned them down – I knew that Al would be absolutely perfect for the role.

He was thrilled to drop by and help me celebrate the imminent arrival of the Brits and agreed that this season is going to be fire. Particularly with an icon like Divina de Campo in the cast. But I’m saying too much, so instead get thee to a kitchen and whip yourself up some Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia.

 

 

This Jamie Oliver number is one of my favourite meals, despite Jamie’s blatant false advertising. I mean, when have you ever seen him naked? Thankfully this rich salty carb is packed full of so much sausage it makes me willing to forgive him.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alan Carrbonara alla Saliccia
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
320g dried linguine, cooked to packet instructions
olive oil
4 Italian sausages
200g pancetta, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 egg yolks
100ml double cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated … plus extra to serve. Emphasis on extra.
1 lemon,  zested
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Get a pot of water on the boil and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and squeeze small meatballs worth of sausage filling into the pan, and cook for five minutes or so. Add the pancetta and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until crisp.

Whisk the egg yolk, double cream, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley together in a jug.

When you’re ready to bring everything together, drain the pasta, reserving a cup’s worth of the glorious cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the eggy mixture. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir until well combined. Add the meatballs and pancetta and give another good stir.

Serve immediately with a generous mound of parmesan on top. And devour.

 

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Stuffed Shelly Long Bake

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Pasta

After spending the last few days catching up with the current shining stars of television – hey there current nominee Christina Applegate, and rising stars Riz and Tatiana! – I decided Emmy Gold: Golden Family needed some gravitas in the form of some TV royalty. So I picked up the phone and invited myself over to celebrate Shelley ma’ fuckin’ Long.

While yes, she is still working hard with killer runs on Modern Family and less recently – and my favourite – playing Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch movies, her Emmy winning turn as Diane in Cheers is truly the stuff of TV legend.

I mean, her and zaddy Ted Danson’s will-they-won’t-they romance is enough to flood my basement even now.

Obviously Shell was honoured to finally get the call up to appear on this patch of cyberspace and introduce herself to a new audience. While our relationship started out quite rocky thanks to the meddling ways of the morally corrupt Kelsey Grammer, Rhea Perlman – the saint that she is – was able to sit us down, make us see sense and finally end our feud in 1987 before Shelley departed Cheers.

Did I mention I was a featured barfly in Cheers? Because I was.

Anyway, given she starred in one of the most iconic comedies of all time, I got her to help me run the odds for Outstanding Comedy Series, hoping that this category provides a well-deserved surprise slash great return on gambling investment. While Veep, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag are generating the most chatter to take out the win, this is the category that I could honestly make a case for every nominee taking it out. Russian Doll was bold and moving, The Good Place is the greatest exploration of morality ever committed to screen and Schitt’s Creek is a remarkable show filled with hope and joy.

While my heart wants Schit’s Creek to take it out and Shelley thinks The Good Place deserves it, I think it will go to Fleabag. But given Schitt’s has the worst odds, am betting it all on them for a good return on investment. While Shelley tried to suggest I go for a safer bet, I didn’t listen and drowned out her wise words by smashing a big Stuffed Shelly Long Bake.

 

 

There is nothing better than pasta … except kitsch foods, so using that logic, this baby is the holy grail. Large shell pasta bake full of rich, creamy spinach and cheese floating through a sea of spicy tomato sauce like the SS Noms? Sign me up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stuffed Shelly Long Bake
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
300g jumbo pasta shells, cooked per packet instructions
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
250g spinach, roughly chopped
500g ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly whisked
a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach, remove from heat and cook, stirring for a minute or so, or until the residual heat has wilted the spinach. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Once the onion, garlic and spinach are pretty much tepid, add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil and a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

To assemble, pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and stir through the chilli flakes. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place randomly in the baking dish. Repeat the process until the pasta and/or cheese is all used up.

Dot with any remaining cheese mixture, sprinkle with a little extra parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Or until gloopy and glorious.

Leave to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring. Triumphantly like an icon.

 

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Veal Tatiana Marsala

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Pasta

After catching up with Chris and Riz to kick off this year’s Emmy Gold celebration Golden Family, I got to thinking about how sometimes the Academy just truly gets it right. When it isn’t given Modern Family Best Comedy for way too many years, for instance.

One of those right times is when my dear friend and mentee Tatiana Maslany finally snatched gold for Orphan Black. I mean, she straight up slayed multiple roles for five years on Orphan Black and honestly could have been nominated against herself for each damn performance.

As you can guess from the mentee comment I’ve known Tatiana for years, first meeting when I was a primary school teacher in Regina, Canada. I immediately saw a ferocious talent and encouraged her to give drama a try.

Given that advice gave her a lifetime of happiness, we stayed in touch – you could say I was a cool teacher – and I have been guiding her career ever since.

While we haven’t caught up in a hot minute, Tatiana was honoured to join this patch of cyberspace and help me run a myriad of Emmy odds to help me get out of debt with my bookie. As Drag Race superfans, we both firmly believe Ru will take out victory for Best Competition Program again. She was too scared to disagree when I said that it was Amy Lou Sedaris’ DAMN TIME and she will win Outstanding Variety Sketch Series whether they like it or not. A game of eenie meenie saw her backing Colbert for Variety Talk, while I landed on Samantha Bee.

Then we got to the pointy end of the show with the female Drama categories. While I desperately tried to convince her that Lena Headey MUST win for literally drinking wine and gazing out a window for three episodes – “People need to know that is a real fucking career option, Tatiana!” – she believed that Gwendoline Christie will instead take Supporting for her heartbreaking portrayal of Brienne of Tarth. We both agreed once again, however, that Jodie Comer is likely to follow in her co-star Sandra Oh’s footsteps to claim lead Actress in a Drama.

It was an exhausting and at times fiery discussion, which desperately took it out of us and as such, we nearly screamed for joy as a popped some Veal Tatiana Marsala on the table in front of us.

 

 

The kick of marsala with the smooth, melt-in-your-mouth veal and the rich punch of cream are a trio that make me infinitely happy. Add in the perennially delightful nature of pasta and you’re on a winner with this.

Enjoy!

 

 

Veal Tatiana Marsala

Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g fettuccine, cooked per packet instructions
50g butter
500g veal, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, to taste
flour, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ cup marsala
¾ cup cream
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups baby spinach

Method
While you’ve got a pot of water rolicking for the pasta, place the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook until foamy. Add the veal, garlic and flour and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to brown. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper, and add the mushrooms and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour the marsala into the pan in one go and stir as it simmers and thickens. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring sporadically, for a further five minutes.

When the pasta is cooked, add the parmesan and spinach to the creamy veal pan and cook for a further minute, or until wilted.

Serve immediately on a bed of pasta and devour.

 

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Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David and Luke were riding high in control of the tribe, unaware that the Champion women were growing tired of their schtick. After Dave lost immunity, Pia led the crew to turn the tribe against David, with them approaching the former Contenders one by one until they were sure that everyone was keen to take him out. The poor boys thought the target was on Daisy’s back, with the only foil to the plan being their ability to hide the truth from the boys. Despite some near misses at tribal council, David held on to his idol one more time, which tragically was the wrong decision as everyone but Luke successful blindside him from the game. Though Luke to live for it and laughed with them as David found his way to the Jury Villa.

Back at camp everyone was in a celebratory mood after the epic blindside, with Pia admitting to being worried half-way through tribal since everyone was so good at lying to the boys. While Luke tried to keep his spirits up after being left out, he assured everyone that he is still happy to work with everyone and understands why he was left out of things. He then went wandering for an idol, though tragically was followed by Baden and Harry. Not one to waste an opportunity, he suggested they all steal the pot and rice and have themselves a killer little rice feast while everyone slept. Luke was feeling good about their bond after the shared theft, but I can’t help but feel like this will only come back to bite him.

The next day John returned for another glorious nude scene as everyone spoke about how beautiful the morning was – breach – before sitting down to a celebratory breakfast of rice, thrilled to take out their biggest competition. Daisy then roasted David’s looks before admitting to want to bone Simon – who? – or Shaun – duh – before Janine continued to relish in the Davidless world, feeling her power growing in the game. She caught up with Abbey and the two confirmed that playing Champions strong is their best idea for the next few votes. Pia joined her allies, to quietly celebrate before she started to worry about putting Luke offside. With that she approached Luke by the well to reassure him that while his ally was blindsided, she and him were still solid. Standing right next to an idol.

By the shore Daisy was still feeling her oats after the killer acting performance at tribal council, boldly approaching Janine and Abbey to find out who would be the next to go. While she didn’t appear to be too concerned about their deflections, Harry was nervous and decided to take matters into his own hands and commenced searching for an idol. Sadly for him, Daisy was one step ahead of him, reaching into a rock wall and grabbing her second idol of the game, which she intends to use to get out a massive threat. While she panicked about finding a place to hide it, Luke and Pia returned to the well with her nervously trying to pretend that she didn’t just find one. Luke being Luke, he straight up asked her whether she just found an idol with her giggled out her admission before he and Pia suggested they could work with her to find a way to play it successfully and make yet another big move.

Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would be paired up to balance an idol on the end of long sticks that they need to rub together. They were playing for a giant Chinese banquet so everyone was thrilled, as they paired up and Harry was forced to sit on the bench. Though he was given a reprieve, told that if he picked the winning pair he would join them, selecting Abbey and Janine for a throuple date. All the duos – Luke & Baden, John & Simon, and Pia & Daisy – were strong through the first two lengths of pole before Pia and Daisy dropped their idol adding the third segment. Everyone survived the next three extensions before Luke and Baden dropped sticking their last length of pole in. The were quickly followed by Simon and John, handing Janine and Abbey the win, and Harry for his killer betting abilities. Realising it was awkward to eat as a throuple, Jonathan allowed them one extra guest, with Harry selecting Simon to join them to hopefully find an in with the Champion crew.

The victors arrived at the jungle Chinese banquet, relaxing as they sat down to share a meal. Janine joked about the four of them being plotted against by the five back at camp, before getting super bold and floating plans for the next tribal council, hopeful to work with Harry given he is more predictable to some of her other options. After finishing the meal, Simon started casing the joint and discovered the plates from everyone’s family before we got to know Simon a little better, learning that he has three kids and is kinda hot. He then praised how good his son’s handwriting has gotten and hot damn, I guess I’m in love. Abbey cried about her plate, Janine showed off her sexy family and Harry outed himself as a superfan as his girlfriend wrote about Survivor being his lifelong dream. Oh and the plate made him realising that aligning with Janine is in his worst interests, making him focused to reunite the Contenders and find a way to take back control.

Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to have another idol to her name, though was unsure just how she will make it work. Particularly since she was court in the act – not Courtney Act – by Luke and Pia, and kinda needing to play along with them to make it work out.

Jonathan made his triumphant return for the next immunity challenge where everyone was forced to balance themselves between two long poles while planking. Oh and to update, John’s buns look great in his speedo. Harry dropped mere minutes into the challenge, followed closely by Abbey who let rip some glorious old man noises. Luke fell after three minutes, followed closely by Pia and my love, John. At ten minutes Baden started listing sequences until someone guessed them, after Simon identified the Olympic hosts, Daisy correctly guessed Eurovision and dropping out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Janine dropped, leaving King Baden to face off against our mute love Simon. The boys continued to fight, both desperately wanting a win under their belt leading to John starting to coach Baden in the hope that the youngo could secure the win. Sadly it was all for nought, as he couldn’t hold out any longer and Simon snatched himself immunity.

The tribe returned to camp to kick off their scrambling. Abbey was thrilled that Simon won the immunity challenge, though was more thrilled about the fact it was a Champion. Speaking of the Champs, they pulled themselves aside while Daisy rallied the Contenders to share that she has the idol. She then suggested that they all stick together and load the votes on one person, and she will play the idol to even up the numbers. While it isn’t a full-proof plan, they all agreed that it was their only shot. The Champions meanwhile were keen to get rid of Daisy, which led Luke and Pia to spill the knowledge of her idol. With that, the vote flipped to Harry as the easy(ish) option.

Luke and Baden then caught up by the well, with the latter hopeful to use their bond to keep the Contenders safe. Baden told Luke that he knows about Daisy’s idol, while Luke lied and said that he hadn’t told any of the Champions which made sweet Baden over confident and hot damn, am I nervous. Luke returned to JaQueen and Pia to fill them in, leaving the three to bounce back and forth between who to vote for before Pia admitted their only hope is to make Daisy so nervous that she blows the idol on herself.

At tribal council Daisy immediately put her idol around her neck, hopeful her brazen display would be enough to bamboozle the Champions. JaQueen was surprised to see her wear the idol, though was fairly sure that she had it. She then questioned why she was wearing it, unsure whether it was a bluff, or she planned to play it on any former Contender. Abbey and JaQueen agreed that old tribal lines were hard to break, though Janine mentioned that no matter what the game resets after every tribal council. With that Harry interjected to ask how that is true, given she always has control before John interrupted them to say that no matter what they believe, a pecking order exists and that won’t change unless the people on the bottom join them and switch things up.

Harry played into everyone’s fear, reminding them that they need to start making moves before their options join the jury. John doubled down, telling them that playing for fourth and fifth is pretty weak and they need to finally have a crack. Abbey admitted that they were aware of the idol all day and had just tried to figure out a way to navigate it. Daisy joined the fray to admit that playing the idol is her only hope and she’d rather play it on the wrong person than not have a crack. JaQueen started to make Daisy nervous, hopeful that she could make her burn the idol on herself. Abbey spoke about the Champions having two recurring targets, which John identified as a way to spook the Contenders away from playing the idol on him and as such, maybe he is their one true target.

With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and while the Contenders piled their votes on Abbey, someone cast a random vote for Harry and the rest voted for John. The tribe then revoted between John and Abbey with them coming in three apiece before tragedy struck and Zaddy John was sent from the game. With his budgies back at camp to boot.

While I was heartbroken to think that John’s pert butt won’t be kicking off every episode anymore, I was thrilled to see him expanding my Jury Villa harem. I took him in my arms after tribal council, congratulated him on a game well played before leading him back to the aforementioned villa for what I coined ‘an explosive surprise.’

Full disclosure, John forced me to change my practices this season, partly because of his passion for nudity and the other part because I wanted to woo him. To pull back the curtain, I usually arrive in Fiji with a recipe list for all of my friends with a suitcase full of groceries – so really the winner loses as that food is rotten by Day 50 – but seeing John parade around in speedos, flooding my basement in the process, I knew I had to give the man what he wanted. In the hope that he realised that he wanted me to. While I don’t kiss and tell, I can confirm that he was thrilled I pulled a Cher Horowitz, hauled arse to the kitchen, rearranged things and served him up a Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe. Aka a meal worthy of my King.

 

 

And boy am I glad I did. While it isn’t exactly what he sultrily described to Daisy and Shaun, this baby still filled him with joy. Juicy chicken enveloped in a spicy corn-chip crumb, slathered with salsa, ham and a tonne of dripping cheese, finished off with a dollop of sour cream and guac? Let’s just say a way to this man is definitely through a Mexi-parm.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mexican Parmijohna Eastoe
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to form two fillets each
200g corn chips, blitzed to a crumb
1 cup flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg
2 tsp milk
1 cup salsa, store bought or Struthers, I don’t mind
100g ham, sliced
⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
100g vintage cheddar cheese, sliced
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the corn chips and flour in two bowls and mix each with half of each spice, and the corn chip mix with parmesan. Then whisk the egg and milk in a third.

Working one at a time, dip the breast in the spiced flour, followed by the egg wash and then into the corn chip crumb, pressing to make sure it is heavily coated. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat until the chicken is done.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, drizzle with salsa, top with sliced ham, drizzle with more salsa, dot with jalapenos, and cover with cheese. Return to oven and bake for a further ten minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Serve immediately and devour, seductively, wooing your man. Is anyone else feeling short of breath and sweaty?

 

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Chickeke Parma Burger moments before Keke Palmer got her hands on it.

Chickeke Parma Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food

I don’t even know how I am typing this during Ekka season, but I feel like a positive, renewed man that isn’t crippled by the conflict of his passion for a Snoop Daggywood Dog and fear of falling back in with the intoxicating world of carnies.

Which reminds me, me and my hands need to catch-up with Lee-Anne Locken ASAP. I mean, once a carnie always a carnie, I guess?

But anyway, I am positively loving life ATM and that is in no small part thanks to spending time with my dear, perky, hilarious friend, the iconic Keke Palmer herself. While I knew her way back when she was simply Lauren, I knew she was destined for greatness, quit my job as a High School drama teacher and became her manager slash coach.

Did I mention I was the inspiration for Mr. G? Well I was.

While I’m not at liberty to tell you whether she is legit joining morning television full-time, I can confirm that we had a delightful time catch-up, plotting a way to get a reboot of Scream Queens happening at Netflix – I need Stamos to show skin and I know they will help – and that she assured me that if she were going to morning television permanently, she would have me on as an entertainment reporter slash culinary wiz.

Say what you will about my culinary skills, a gorgeously gloopy Chickeke Parma Burger can prove very convincing to get what you need from your nearest and dearest.

 

Keke Palmer overjoyed about potentially smashing a Chickeke Parma Burger

 

Crisp, juicy chicken, sweet tomato sauce and a heaping pile of sharp parmesan cheese, if you didn’t think there was a way to improve upon a parma, you would sorely be mistaken. I mean, adding the bun and with it, the ability to eat with your hands without judgement? I’m a genius, I tell you. Even if I wasn’t really the first person to come up with idea.

Enjoy!

 

Keke Palmer overjoyed about smashing a Chickeke Parma Burger

 

Chickeke Parma Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 Chicken Parmigina Gershon
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tomato, sliced
1 lettuce, leaves removed, washed and drained.
Jud Beerza Battered Fries, to serve

Method
Cook the buns and parmies as per Kirsten and Gina’s recipes, and make the mayo.

To assemble the burgs’ toast the buns and smear the insides with a little bit of mayo. Add a layer of tomato, then the lettuce, then the parma. Close the burger and serve with fries, devouring immediately.

 

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Casey Hawkupine Meatballs waiting to be gobbled up by our disappointed tenth boot Casey Hawkins.

Casey Hawkupine Meatballs

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Harry’s lies were needlessly exposed at the non-tribal council, killing off his pretend kid and kicking up an epic fued between him and JaQueen after identifying her as the biggest threat. Shaun then added to the brawn of the Champions tribe in a steal vote, wooing all the former Contenders back together and making David and Luke very nervous. Despite the added brawn the Champions lost immunity and things only got worse for the OGers as Shaun convinced them that everyone would vote Hannah to ensure they don’t play there idols and successfully blindside David. Sadly for the Zaddy, Andy happened, going to the Champs to loop them in on the blindside, leading to them playing their idols and Hannah, somehow, leaving the game.

We followed the tribe back to camp where everyone was licking their wounds, with Baden hopeful that they can light the fire and start spilling their secrets. Daisy wasn’t feeling too bad though, laughing about Luke burning his idol. Shaun shared that he felt Luke had the idol, thus Hannah getting some votes. While Andy, thankfully, was the most frustrated about the situation, pissed that his plan for a flashy mood backfired and left him out of everything. Again. Luke was probably the most angry after needlessly playing the first idol of his Survivor career, leaving he and David with nothing to save themselves.

The next day we returned to the Contenders tribe where JaQueen was still enamoured with the beauty of Fiji and time spent with the iconic Ross. Who continues to be the absolute sweetest guy. On the flipside, Dirty Harry continued to wander around by himself, half-heartedly trying to get coconuts before Zaddy Matt straight up walks up the tree to prove how much more of an asset he is. Abbey too was having a good run, killing it with her tight alliance with Pia and JaQueen and doing exercise with the immunity idol. Then there was Casey, who was madly trying to do jobs around camp to prove her worth and find an in. After waking him from his slumber, Casey approached Ross to float the idea of working together to get a little bit further, though sadly it had the opposite effects as Ross felt overwhelmed. Oh and while this was going on Pia was being an icon, talking about how Casey tried to tell her how they will vote at the next tribal council and then made a joke about her growing a moustache. A bloody icon.

Back at Camp Champ David was still smarting over losing control of the tribe and how close Daisy and Shaun are. As the tribe sat around the fire, Shaun decided to rub salt in Dave’s wounds, pulling out his fake idol to show the tribe how distrustful he is. And while it really made David feel like shit, it also made him even more focused to find another idol.

The tribes ventured to meet Jonathan in the mangroves along the shore for the reward challenge where they would race down monkey bars, one at a time, to retrieve a flag, with the first tribe to three taking out the win. It was for a private Survivor cinema experience of popcorn, bevvies and home movies. As is oft the case, Matt and Luke were first to face off, with Luke quickly falling in the water, allowing Matt to snatch the flag. Ross was tragically beaten by Andy, though was adorably hilarious in defeat. Out of nowhere Baden whipped the Champions into the lead against Abbey, leaving Simon to desperately try to tie things up, falling at the last minute allowing David to snatch victory. As they hugged post-challenge, David told Simon that he and Luke will be voted out should they lose the next challenge, hopeful that they will throw the next challenge.

Despite wanting to trade out of the reward so Pia could get some love, David knew he had to attend the reward to try and find an idol. As the tribe arrived at the reward, they opened a note from Jonathan which explained that the screening is indeed private, with everyone going one at a time, meaning we could have another Benji nachos situation on our hand. Out of nowhere Zaddy John suggested that David should go first as he has kids, which he giddily accepted as he desperately wanted the chance to search for and idol. Or at the very least, a clue. Daisy jumped in to lock in the order, with David and Luke going first. This pissed off Andy, given David is the biggest threat … that he saved last tribal. Again proving he has no idea what he is doing.

As David walked up to watch his moving, Daisy realised her mistake. Sadly for her, it was too little too late, as he searched high and low for the idol as his family talked on the screen. He then opened up the popcorn machine and as it fell everyone, he reached in and discovered his idol. He then went back to his tribe and gave an Oscar worthy performance, pretending to breakdown over seeing his family and not finding an idol. Of course this warmed Zaddy John’s heart, so of course I love him. Megan Gale made an appearance in Shaun’s message, Luke sobbed as he searched for an idol, Andy was jerky to his neices and nephews, Baden gorged while seeing a message from his cat and Daisy marvelled at how green her farm is.

Meanwhile back at the Contenders camp, JaQueen and Abbey were discussing David and Luke’s newfound minority position, leading to them joining Pia, Ross and Simon to float throwing the challenge to save them. While Abbey didn’t like the idea of throwing a challenge, she knew that sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war and as such, had to put her competitive nature aside and do it for the greater good.

Jonathan returned for the aforementioned immunity challenge where the tribe was split into pairs and forced to balance a ball on a narrow gutter between them while balancing on a teeny ledge. Abbey assured David that they would throw the challenge, before trying to force Harry out of the challenge. Janine and Abbey were the first duo to drop, with JaQueen giving an Oscar worthy performance pretending to be disappointed to drop. After thirty minutes the remaining pairs transitioned to the smallest beam, with Pia the icon pretending to fall off eliminating themselves followed by Simon faking a fall, handing the Champions immunity. And TBH, the fake disappointment was really, well, fake.

Back at camp Harry was suspicious of the former Champions throwing the challenge, given they were the only ones to drop out of the challenge. Obviously this made him nervous, particularly since Casey heard them talking about throwing a challenge. Harry, Matt and Casey got together to discuss whether they believed they threw the challenge, unaware that they really need to focus on strategising instead. Finally Harry got to the point, suggesting that they vote together and he will play his idol negating all of their votes and they get rid of Abbey instead. He then mentioned their predicament being a David vs. Goliath battle. Couple that with the fact his favourite player is Nick Wilson, which lead to his douchey toothpick bit at their last tribal council despite Tyson rocking that move seasons earlier, me thinks the superfan only started watching last year.

Feeling nervous Casey decided that it is easier to save herself, approaching JaQueen and Abbey to tell them about the plan and reiterate that Harry is playing his idol. While it is 100% the truth, they weren’t sure whether to trust her and doubled down on voting Harry. Thankfully Abbey grew nervous, making the former Champions come up with a vote split to guarantee at least a Contender goes, even if it isn’t Harry. They then tasked Ross with getting Matt on board with the vote, and while he assured them he would, he had no intention of following through. Harry witnessed all of the conversations, growing more and more nervous, leading to him approaching Ross to find out if they are splitting the vote or going five strong on him. And since Ross requested his socks, he was very confident that his plan was going to come together and he will get rid of Abbey and weaken the godmother that is actually JaQueen.

At tribal council Harry doubled down on JaQueen being in charge, leading to her pointing out that he is a known liar and as such, he is trying to deflect the target on to her. He tried to work the stick game again, pointing out how much he loves their relationship. Which JaQueen was less than receptive off. Casey denied that JaQueen was in charge, feeling like everyone in the majority has a voice from what she had seen.

Feeling like his ship was sinking, Harry pointed out that he thought the Champions threw the challenge and while JaQueen denied it, Matt agreed that he had heard about their willingness to throw a challenge back at camp. Abbey tried to avoid the conversation, reminding them that they are Champions rather than denying it. Casey said that she didn’t believe they would throw the challenge, though agreed it would be a good idea for them. Matt then threw her under the bus and said that she is the one that told them about the Champions throwing the challenge and while she tried to blame Harry, he admitted that that is one thing he isn’t lying about. Matt then went in on Casey for trying to play both sides, leading Simon to agree that Matt is an honest guy and as such, he believes what he is saying.

With that the tribe voted and a nervous, dirty Harry played his idol and while the Champions all looked panic stricken, it was all a ploy as after four votes piled up on Harry the remainder landed on Casey, blindsiding her from the game. And wiping the smug look off Harry’s face. While she was disappointed to find herself out of the game, she was thrilled to find me waiting in the wings to provide a little bit of comfort. Slash more than she is used to after living in a van. I first met Casey when she wanted me to mentor her as an upcoming storytelling, and though I quickly realised she was far more talented than I, I didn’t try and bring her down. Instead, I vowed to support her until she got famous and make her all the Casey Hawkupine Meatballs she could eat.

 

Casey Hawkins ready to claim her only Australian Survivor prize, in the form of my Casey Hawkupine Meatballs

 

As kitsch as living out of a van, these delightful balls invoke memories of ‘80s slash ’90s Australiana and TBH, I am living for it. The balls melt away in your mouth – the only way to take them – thanks to being lightly poached in tomato soup. Add in the creamy Gabriel Macht and you honestly can’t go better.

Enjoy!

 

Casey Hawkins claiming her only Australian Survivor prize, in the form of my Casey Hawkupine Meatballs

 

Casey Hawkupine Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L Tomato Soup Clarke or 420g can concentrated tomato soup mixed with 1 ¾ cup water
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
½  cup long-grain rice, rinsed
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chilli flakes
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Gabriel Macht, to serve

Method
Place soup – or soup and water – in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile combine the mince, onion, rice, garlic, chilli, parsley, oregano and parmesan in and bowl and scrunch until well combined. Form into golf-ball sized … balls.

Once the soup is well and truly rollicking, add the balls, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until cooked through and tender.

Serve piping hot on a bed of mash and eat your feelings, whether you were the tenth boot or not.

 

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A Sterling K. Hot Brown waiting to be demolished by Sterling K. Brown himself

Sterling K. Hot Brown

Main, Snack, Street Food

You know how when Randall Pearson is being all dreamy, kind and loving, rather than dismissing Beth and her feelings? Well that is what my dear friend Sterling is like, only better.

I greeted him at the airport, and TBH, it was like a moment out of a rom com. He dropped his bags, ran towards me and lifted me up into the biggest, warmest hug known to man. While I weightlessly spun around the room, I wondered if this was the moment we would fall in love.

He then let me go, patted me on the back and I remembered that we were both happily married, and agreed many years ago, never to let our palpable chemistry get in the way of our beautiful friendship.

We got back to my house where I immediately pummeled him … with questions about This Is Us’ upcoming season, including but not limited to, am I the other parent of Kevin’s child once he comes out and I become his love interest, will Milo show skin like in the pilot and will the Pearsons become less self-absorbed?

He was more non-committal than I liked on the first two, I offended him on the last one, so we agreed to disagree and focus on our beautiful friendship. And smashing a pair of rich, tasty Sterling K. Hot Browns.

 

Sterling K. Brown pensively eating a Sterling K. Hot Brown, pondering our beautiful friendship.

 

While I only recently learned of the majestic hot brown, as soon as it was in my mouth, I knew it had to be dedicated to my lovely Sterl. Warm and comforting, with a big meaty punch (of heart, in his case), there is nothing I want in my mouth more than this. At a meal time.

Enjoy!

 

Sterling K. Brown pensively eating a Sterling K. Hot Brown, pondering our beautiful friendship.

 

Sterling K. Hot Brown
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, fried until crispy
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices sourdough, toasted
8 thin slices turkey
chives, sliced, to garnish

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, Once foamy, add the flour and cook for a minute or so, or until a glorious roux has formed. Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking, before returning to the heat to bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, still stirring, for five minutes, or until thickened. Add half of each cheese, the nutmeg, hot sauce and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

To assemble, place the bread on a lined baking sheet and arrange the turkey and tomato on top. Spread sauce on top of each and finish with the remaining cheeses. Transfer to a grill and cook on medium for a couple of minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Transfer the sandwiches to a plate, top with bacon and chives and then, finally, devour.

 

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A delightful third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the new Champs and Conts – errr, I mean Contenders – met in the Fijian jungle, with the Champs living up to their name by taking out two of the first three challenges, sadly for them, however that one loss was the first immunity. This led to the athletes banding together due to their auto majority, opting to get rid of iconic Roxette impersonator Anastasia. Well and truly on the outs, Luke found his first ever idol clue, which he, David, Pia and Janine plan to use to woo Ross and Abbey to their side and take control. Before we could find out whether they were successful, they snapped up the second immunity sending the Contenders to tribal council where sweet Baden survived against all odds and the sweet, spunky Laura heading home.

Things were looking up the next morning at the Contenders tribe where sexy, sexy John decided to do a nudie run and hot damn, I am moister than an oyster. Or sea cucumber, which he picked up on his travels, much to the disgust of his fellow tribemates. Speaking of those tribemates, I think Hannah is still yet to utter a word and I worry about her and want her in our lives ASAP.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Susie was having a bit of a wake-up call, shocked by how dirty they all are, the lack of food and the misery that comes from sleeping in the rain. While E.T.  continued to push for an Escape With reboot, catching minnows for the tribes. The tribe sat around eating fruit, talking about their lives at home with Queen Janine completely loving the fact that she hasn’t had to make massive decisions for the thousands of people that rely on her to live for a week. And she is zen, her hair is wavy and natural and this icon makes me so damn happy. Oh and she is totally ready to make some deals to break up the athletes alliance and take control. See? She is iconic.

Not to be outdone, Nova continued her push for next year’s Masterchef handing out bananas – fresh from Nova’s Kitchen – to her tribemates. Though the way she was barking out that they aren’t allowed any more, or else, due to rations was grating on Ross. Which, of course, Luke planned to use to his advantage. That night, Ross took time away from his busy snoring schedule to hang out with Luke before stealing an extra banana with which they solidified their loyalty.

The next day the Contenders awoke to take in the sunrise together – John, sadly in pants – before gathering around to share in some breakfast. Daisy and Sam went for a wander through the jungle before realising that Shaun is Megan Gale’s partner, before we learnt more about the zaddy who tragically never reached the pinnacle of his AFL career and how he desperately wants to prove himself. He then did a slow-mo walk down the beach dressed in a speedo, so you know he proved himself to me. Swoon.

My boy Jonathan – and obvi, his guns – arrived for the reward challenge where someone from each tribe would face off in an alley, running at each other to ring their bell at the opposite end. The first to ring their bell snatching a point with the first tribe to five winning a box of mystery comfort items. As is oft the case, Luke and Matt were first to face off with Luke finally getting a win, despite losing his shirt in the process. Daisy and Susie were next to battle it out, with Daisy taking it out despite Susie’s aggressive defense. David and Shaun faced off and while Shaun got the point, we are the true winners because them snuggling is the hottest thing I’ve seen today. Minus John’s butt, obvi. Simon evened things up against Harry, before zaddy John destroyed Bradbury despite taking a fall. Abbey evened things up again, running right past Casey on the way to her point before Baden proved himself a hero, destroying Ross and earning the adoration of his tribe. I love him and I’m crying. Oh and then Shaun returned to the alley to face off against Luke, secured reward for the Contenders and I am still crying. Now because Shaun is so damn beautiful.

Back at camp the Contenders were riding high on their win before even discovering they won a crate of 11 comfort items, with John tasked with handing out an item to each person. Baden got a choccie croissant, Casey got a toothbrush, soap went to Harry, Shaun got tweezers, Andy got moisturiser, the others got rando items and John gave himself a coconut. Andy returned to rant about the breakdown of alliances on their tribe, with Shaun, Daisy, John and Matt in control, Baden, Sarah and Hannah on the bottom and he and the rest stuck in the middle. Though looking to change that.

Meanwhile the Champions were decidedly less chipper after their loss, which David decided was the perfect time to win over Abbey. While he flirted with her and she looked thrilled, it was Simon rubbing sunscreen into his back and TBH, it is my new ship. Luke took a break from trying to find a crack in the athletes alliance to find his idol, pulling in David to help search without being noticed by anyone else. They searched far and wide, walking past a stump that David believed was home to Luke’s idol four times before he finally convinced Luke to have a second look at before they ultimately found it. And hopefully a way to keep themselves, Janine and Pie alive.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, carry a plank through a series of obstacles, using the plank to see-saw someone to retrieve sandbags before two tribe members throw said bags onto five of their tribemates’ poles. The Contenders went hard at the gate with zaddy John barrelling through before the Champions had even attempted to get anyone under the log. The Contenders moved onto the second obstacle while only Pia and Janine had gotten through the log for the Champions. By the time the Contenders made it to a tower, the Champions had finally gotten their shit together and commenced closing the gap. Well until the got stuck and the Contenders pulled away again and Hannah and Andy landed two bags before the Champions even started throwing them. E.T. and Nova started to close the gap but Andy once again proved too strong at throwing shit, snatching victory for the Contenders almost single handedly.

While I’m impressed by his challenge strength, he is still kinda annoying. I mean, John knows he is amazing and doesn’t need you to get in his face about it.

Back at Camp Champ, Nova was quick to point out that it was Janine’s idea to dig a trench, rather than a hole under the log and as such, she needs to be the next to go. The athletes all got together to discuss how stupid her idea was and how she shouldn’t advise them on athletic pursuits, deeming that enough of a reason to get rid of her. Susie and Steven went for a wander through the jungle, happy with their place in the alliance. Abbey then approached Ross to find out what their plans were, concerned that nobody had bothered to talk to her and ask her opinion.

Meanwhile Luke, Janine and Pia got together to find a way out of their predicament, deciding that Abbey is still the key. With that, Janine and David approached her by the well and Janine spoke about how inclusive and supportive their alliance is and you could see the point that Abbey’s eyes lit up at the prospect of somebody listening to her before suggesting they get rid of Susie instead, since Abbey sees her as weaker than Janine. With that Luke floated Susie’s name with the men, which Steven was quick to dismiss though Ross kinda, sorta did appear conflicted. Luke then decided to return to Abbey who was worried about upsetting the tribe harmony, while David approached Susie to let her know that he would be voting for her in an attempt to rattle her enough to throw a tantrum at tribal.

Speaking of tribal council, Jonathan was quick to throw some shade at their losing ways before I got distracted by David looking hot in his leather jacket, sans shirt. Susie then spoke about how tough the survival aspect is before denying the extremely obvious athlete alliance, that everyone is aware of. Steven dug a hole for himself, admitting to not speaking to Abbey until the day before. E.T. reiterated the importance of keeping the tribe strong before Jonathan asked Janine whether that made her concerned. She said it did, but not as much as the fact that her name was thrown out. She then went in, pointing out that she isn’t the actual weakest link, pushing hard that everyone should vote the weakest, not the weakest that isn’t in their alliance. Abbey loved the team-strong mentality, proving Janine is a damn icon.

Steven spoke about loyalty before Susie spoke about her name being thrown out and David having the hide to tell her that he was voting her out. She then kinda danced around whether she is or isn’t strong, before mentioning Janine’s digging faux pas. Janine pointed out that it was a suggestion that everyone agreed to, which annoyed Nova as she wanted Janine to just admit that she screwed up. Abbey was confused about the vote ahead, Steven said it would be an easy one and Ross shared that he didn’t have a plan, though knew he was voting for. Janine doubled down on her strength and loyalty just before the tribe headed off to vote, which clearly proved very convincing as both Abbey and Ross flipped on the athletes, and Susie was sent from the game.

While I love Susie dearly and dearly, I did tell her how thrilled I was that it Ross and Abbey flipped as I pulled her in for a hug. In retrospect, that was a highly insensitive, cruel thing to do, but the athletes alliance didn’t contain Queen Janine, Pia, David and his beauty or Luke, and as such, I needed something to give. Plus Susie has achieved so damn much in her life, that I knew she wouldn’t let it get her down. Particularly when she has a Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic to give her a culinary hug.

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

You know, or at the very least should be well aware, that I firmly believe that every dish can be improved with the addition of lemon and chilli. I mean, picture it, your belly tonight, risoni bathed in cream with a touch of garlic and spinach. Bit of a womp-womp, right? Now add in the tang of some lemon and a kick of chilli. It’s good right? Real good.

Enjoy!

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g risoni
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup cream
200g baby spinach
½ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra, obvi

Method
Get a pot of salt water on the boil and cook the orzo per the packet instructions. Drain and set aside, hopefully not for too long.

While you’re prepping the pasta, heat a good lug of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic with a good whack of salt and pepper for a minute. Add the flour and chilli, and cook for a further minute. Quickly add the zest and juice and give a good whisk before removing from the heat and slowly whisking in the cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Add the spinach and cook until perfectly wilted before stirring through the parmesan. Remove from the heat, fold through the risoni and serve immediately, covered in more parmesan and a good whack of pepper.

Then devour, obvi.

 

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Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto

Main, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water

I know I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to the twist of the upcoming season of Survivor but I am still excited because, well, it is Survivor. And for every One World or Redemption Island, there is a China or Heroes vs. Villians, which is something I am eternally grateful for. Plus – One World gave us Kim and Redemption Island gave us Russell’s pimpled, ingrown-haired armpits.

But I’ve been waylaid – I am here to celebrate one of my favourite Sole Survivors slash two-time The Amazing Race contestant and the cherry on top of San Juan Del Sur’s twinnie bookends, my girl Natalie Anderson.

Like Bob before her, I didn’t meet Nat until after her first reality TV stint – I am a close, personal friend of the Beekman’s – however the friendship quickly blossomed. And I played a critical role in getting her a spot on San Juan Del Sur and her well deserved win.

While people tire of the constant bartering and handing out rewards as treats, San Juan Del Sur is an unpredictable season and Natalie’s arc from wounded surviving Twinnie to vengeful powerplayer after Jeremy’s boot is one of the greats.

Add to that a beautiful idol play, a masterful ‘accidental’ blindside to save Keith and dragging him along as a meatshield to guarantee a path to the end puts her in my top ten favourite winners. And more than worthy of a hearty Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto whenever she damn wants!

 

 

There is nothing quite as comforting and glorious as a risotto. I don’t know if it is the creamy rice or the liquor, but it always fills me with joy when I’m feeling blue. Add in mushies and bacon, and I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat and heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Once nice and foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant and glorious.

Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get translucent around the edges. Working a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used up, add the mushrooms, spinach and thyme, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, slathered in more cheese and then devour.

 

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Tray Baker

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main

Like Gaga and ONJ before him today’s Somebody That I Used to Gold visitor, my dear friend Trey Parker dabbles in all corners of the entertainment industry. And if it weren’t for my frenemy Phil Collins, who be a proud EGOT recipient.

#JusticeforBlameCanada.

I’ve known Trey for years when I got hired to model a character on South Park. Sure Big Gay Al was controversial – you don’t need me to tell you that my primary school principal felt compelled to write a four page essay about the horror character in place of a newsletter – but he brought so much joy to my life, and gave me the most beautiful friend in Trey.

While I haven’t seen Trey in years, he was thrilled to catch-up and strategise a way to finally snag himself an Oscar – obviously a Big Gay Al spin-off movie, starring me – and help me run the odds on my favourite Grammy categories – musical theatre, comedy and the big one, SPOKEN WORD!!!!!

Sorry – too many exclamation points. I’m like a chain email from your mother!

Obviously we agree that the erstwhile singing voice behind Jasmine and Mulan, Lea Salonga, will take The Book of Mormon’s Best Musical Theatre Crown for Once on This Island. Comedy I’ve gone with Dave Chappelle while Trey thinks Fred Armisen is the hot money. Obviously my boy David Sedaris is going to take out my fave category Spoken Word and I refused to hear any argument to the contrary. Like how Tiffany Haddish is the darling of the entertainment industry and Jimmy Carter is old, which is why Chad Michaels and Raja won their seasons of Drag Race.

JK Kimora, they both slayed and deserved their victories.

Anyway, it was exciting to think that our Big Gay Al movie may sweep the Awards Pool. So much so that we didn’t realise how famished we were until my Tray Barker had filled the house with glorious, happy smells.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but you know I have a passionate love for sausage. You may be surprised to learn, however, that I am just as passionate about apple and sweet potato. Chuck em in a tray, add some booze and you’re in for a glorious meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tray Baker
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1kg pork sausages
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
250g sweet potato, cut into chunks
2 red apples, sliced thickly into rounds
300ml apple cider
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
½ parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a decent lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking dish. Add a lug of oil to the frying pan and cook the leek and fennel for five minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Transfer to the aforementioned baking dish.

Add the sweet potato and apple to the baking dish and pour over the stock and cider. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour, or until the potato is tender and the liquid reduced.

Sprinkle with sage and parmesan and return to the oven, uncovered, to cook for ten minutes or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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