Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor my boy Probst met 20 new castaways in the middle of the Fijian for a biblical battle, with the underdog David tribe taking out the first reward of the season. Meanwhile over on the overachieving Goliath tribe hot cop Dan and Kara met each other and instantly fell in love because they are beautiful. Their luck continued, with Dan then finding the first idol of the season. Meanwhile over at the David tribe things were looking bad for Nick, who was left right out and set to be the first boot after they lost immunity. Thankfully for him – and horrifically for everyone – there was a freak accident in the boat after the challenge, doing such a number on Pat that he was evacuated as the first boot.

That night back at camp things continued to be miserable as the weather took its toll on everyone, unable to start a fire or stay dry and TBH. Things were just as bad, if not worse, at the Goliath tribe they too were pelted with rain and their tribe flag was lucky not to blow away. Things were no better the next day as everyone shivered and started to break down as they desperately tried for a fire. Thankfully there were glimmers of hope as Christian and Nick went out in the wet to try and find something to find something to start fire with and/or eat. That obviously led to them talking strategy and lamenting being out of the loop on the potential last vote, and as such quickly aligned. And while I’m already loving this underdog story, Nick then spoke about the fact he was probably meant to be voted out last night and as such he is going to fight to win or die trying and damn there is something likeable about him. Probably his eyes. They then geeked out finding bamboo to reinforce the shelter and naming their alliance, unaware this isn’t Survivor. They arrived back at camp to discover that Bi had dropped by treemail where they discovered a fire making kit and tarp to ensure nobody dies.

The Goliaths too, recieved said kit and tarp and the mood appeared to champ instantly. Dan and Kara took a moment to discuss finding the idol and partake in some generic flirting. Which did not go unnoticed – much to Kara’s chagrin – with Jeremy and Alec plotting to split them up and Natalie warning her to tone it down for her safety. Wanting to work around the situation, Kara approached Angelina and Natalia to assure them that she is interested in forming a black-widow brigade, stringing their respective men along and taking them out one after the other. After taking out Queen Natalie and Mike, obvi. Speaking of Mike, he was keeping watch as Jeremy rifled through peoples drying clothes and found Dan’s idol, which Kara had warned him to be more careful with. As such, Natalia and Kara are not the only two other people that know and as such, Mike and Jeremy’s stock just went up.

Things were looking up at the David tribe too, where Davie had decided to continue providing for the tribe after his epic octopus catch.  Whilst hunting for more food, he inadvertently found a hidden immunity idol and bless him, he deserves it. Particularly for saying this smells like authentic idol leather, begging the question, is that what my couch smells like? Meanwhile Carl was lamenting the loss of Pat and decided that the no longer can afford to lose Nick, instead wanting to take out Lyrsa, who he decided was the weakest. While Nick loved that idea, Elizabeth was pissed that her best buddies name was being thrown about. As was Lyrsa who desperately wanted to scream them all down, explaining she is the reason they won the first challenge.

Over at the Goliaths Jeremy and Alec continued to look sexy in their underwear before Jeremy instantly became my favourite by stripping down. And hot damn, I need a minute. Back in the camp Natalia was getting a nose and teeth booger check from Angelina, under the watchful eye of Natalie who obviously thought it was fucking stupid. Boogers in your teeth? Childish. Queen Natalie continued to lay low, watching everyone work and sassing them as much as possible. Sadly for her, people did actually notice her and were growing tired of her bullshit. Except for King John, the George Bushy of Tushy, who thought she was a great person to work with. John pulled Natalie aside to warn her about her attitude, leading to her approaching people one at a time and questioning their decision to target her, given she is a non-threat. While everyone decided the drama was too much for them, Jeremy pulled her aside to tell her some hard truths about her lack of self-awareness. Which she refused to accept, driving Jeremy mad and locking in his resolve to get rid of her.

Dear Jeffrey finally returned to screen for the immunity challenge where he explained to the Goliath tribe that Pat was injured after the last challenge, and therefore, someone is still potentially going to be the first one out. Anyway, the challenge. One person from each tribe was required to climb up a ladder to release a key, which would be used to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle on a wobbly table. Given that in addition to immunity they would get a huge fishing kit, Davie the provider was totally pumped. Alec got the Goliaths out to a huge lead over Bi and the David tribe, allowing they to go out and grab the puzzle pieces and return to shore before Bi reached the top of the ladder. The Goliaths continued to work on the puzzle while Bi was abandoned at the dock collecting puzzle pieces while their boat drifted away. Given the puzzle seems insanely hard the Davids quickly caught up as everyone dropped their platforms and destroyed their work. Thankfully the Goliaths put everyone out of their misery after an hour, solving their puzzle and snatching immunity much to everyone’s exhausted relief.

Back at camp the Davids lamented their loss before Bi desperately gave them all a peptalk to get their head in the game. Bi and Jessica locked in their vote for Lyrsa, though given how cagey they were being when Gabby approached them to discuss tribal, she decided to go and find a plan she feels safer with. Speaking of feeling safe, besties Elizabeth and Lyrsa desperately tried to find some for the latter, identifying Jessica as the better target. They then approached Gabby who was concerned they wanted to target her, so was all in when they suggested getting rid of Jess instead and taking out Bi and Carl’s closest ally. Elizabeth pulled Christian in with a hug – literally – and locked him in for the vote against Jessica. Christian and Gabby discussed the plan and locked in their alliance together, before Christian approached Nick. Who tragically wasn’t interested and would prefer to take out Lyrsa.

With that we obviously arrived at the insanely beautiful, grand tribal council where Jeff questioned how they could handle the cyclonic weather, which they all said brought them together. Elizabeth admitted that those bonds would make the upcoming votes more difficult, though Lyrsa admitted that you can cut the tension with a knife back at camp. She then spoke about having heard her name for being a weak link, which made Jessica sass her for not playing the game hard enough if that is the case. Gabby suggested people shouldn’t underestimate anyone, Bi said she was voting on performance despite bombing the immunity challenge, Christian spoke about the votes all being organised and Nick admitted that the game was built on deceit so that they need to build trust where they can. After a discussion of the battle between playing a tribal vs individual game, everyone shared our nervous they were though Jessica did admit that it was exhilarating. With that, they voted and it turns out tribal wasn’t as exhilarating as she would have hoped, becoming the second – slash technically first – boot.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be shocked by the turn of events that led to her demise. Despite such a strong start last episode, I had menu-planned for her to be devouring pizza in Ponderosa and as such, she would be doomed to be a pre-juror because of my curse. I held her in my arms while I cried uncontrollably while repeating sorry, which let’s be honest would have been a terrifying experience for our child contestant. Thankfully she took her boot in her stride – no doubt thanks to the extreme pity she felt for me post meltdown – and said that while the curse definitely doomed her, she couldn’t be grumpy when it is delicious as my Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza.

 

 

Just like the majestic Scot Pollartichoke Dip before her, there is no greater culinary pairing that spinach and artichoke. Particularly when in the company of cheese. Add in the glory of fresh, pillowy pizza dough, and it is hard not to be in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza
Serves: a sad second boot and her best-o.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of a lemon
1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
200g marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup parmesan
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, garlic and lemon in a bowl and generously smear over the pizza bases. Top with spinach, artichokes and parmesan before adding some mozzarella for good measure.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese. Because that would just add too much unwanted salt in your wounds.

 

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Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

As you will soon start to notice is a pattern, like Amanda – though unlike Dan or Jon – I am the reason that Lizzy Caplan scored the role of Janis Ian and as such, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join me and help celebrate this year’s Mean Girls’ Day celebration, That’s So Fetch Week.

Not that it wasn’t optional though, of course. Honestly.

Anyway, I met Lizzy through Seth Rogen and current Survivor cast-member Mike White on the set of Freaks & Geeks. While it was only her acting debut, she completely blew me away and I deemed her worthy of my tutelage.

Given I am an excellent teacher – don’t you dare say anything about those unable to do, teach – I finesse her skills and within a couple of years, she was knocking on Teens’ door and making her way onto the A-list.

Lizzy’s career has absolutely blown up following her breakout performance in Masters of Sex, so we sadly haven’t been able to pal around as often as we’d like. Thankfully as soon as she heard Mean Girls celebration, she dropped everything, ran into my home and giddily reminisced over a big old Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a tajine, if only for the general festive look of a tajine. Add in succulent chicken and the tart kick of lemon and olives, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells ya!

Enjoy!

 

 

Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
¼ tsp saffron threads
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
8 chicken thighs, bones in
olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 cinnamon quill
⅓ cup green olives, pitted and halved
2 Preserved Lemonika Radulovic, flesh removed and cut into strips
2 cups chicken stock
½ lemon, juiced
parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Method
Combine the garlic, ginger, saffron, paprika, cumin, chilli, coriander and turmeric with a a good whack of salt and pepper and blitz with a stick blender to form a thick paste. Rub the chicken thighs with the fragrant glob, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in the base of our tajine and sweat the onions on low for about ten minutes. Add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides. Add the cinnamon, olives, preserved lemon and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for half an hour.

When the chicken is completely falling off the bone, remove from the heat, stir through the lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve immediately on a bed of couscous and devour.

 

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Chicken Daniel Francese

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

Unlike Mands, I didn’t meet Dan Franzese – or Dan Fran, as I prefer to call him – until we were on the set of Mean Girls. Given it was based on my life story, I had offered Tina support in coaching the three actors whose characters which were based on me; Regina, her mum – when Ames plays your future self, you know you’ve made it – and too gay to function Damian.

After five minutes in the trailer, I noticed that Dan didn’t need any help with the character, instilling Damian with humanity that my teenself couldn’t even fathom having. So instead, we hung-out. And by hung-out, we commenced a torrid affair.

While you will soon find out that out all-too-brief affair ended in a total disaster, we remained friends against all odds and I am so proud of the career that Dan Fran has gone on to have. Despite me vowing to ruin his career, even though I was in the wrong when our relationship ended. Hell, I even suggested him to Jonathan for a role in looking!

Damn – why am I admitting fault?

Given he is busy being a successful boss, we haven’t had the joy of spending as much time together as we would like. As soon as Dan Fran walked into my room, he lit the place up with his beautiful soul. Which off topic reminds me that I need to see Jesse McCartney ASAP.

Anyway … he lit up the room and TBH, that is to be expected when a big plate of Chicken Daniel Francese is awaiting you.

 

 

Lightly coated chicken for optimal crunch, combined with a punch of garlic and lemon works to create a mouthwatering delight. Add in the fresh hit of parsley – which I never thought I would say but it really makes it sing – and I just can’t stop.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Daniel Francese
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
2 eggs, whisked
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lemon, half sliced and the other half juiced
½ cup dry vermouth
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Combine a cup or two of flour in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. In a second bowl whisk the eggs with a couple of tablespoons of water.Flatten the chicken breasts with the back of a frying pan until they’re about 2cm thick.

Heat a good lug of oil in the base of a pan over medium heat. When scorching, dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg and transfer to the skillet to cook for about five minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Add a knob of butter to the pan and cook the lemon slices and garlic for a minute or so. Add the vermouth, stock and lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to simmer for five minutes, stirring through the parsley towards the end. Return the chicken to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Serve chicken topped with a slice of lemon and drowned in sauce, for optimal devouring.

 

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John Coq Au Ransling

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favourites, Survivor: South Pacific

While I kind of dropped off the radar – which as you know, I will strike from memory in the coming weeks – as soon as Wendell defeated Domenick thanks to Laurel breaking the tie on Ghost Island, I am super pumped by the fact that in sub five weeks Survivor: David vs. Goliath will be back and all will be right in the world.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how terrible a season can be any survivor is better than no Survivor because there will also be a Michael or Brendan to thirst over.

As has become the tradition, I decided to reach out to some of my dearest Sole Survivor friends to countdown to the latest season … and since they were all unavailable, I decided to invite John Cochran.

I joke, I joke! I love Cochran and he is my dearest friend … now. But damn did I hate him during the horror that was South Pacific. The self-deprecating humour, the inability to fit in with the jocks and not wanting to get naked in the water – it was like watching myself on screen and I just couldn’t handle it.

Thankfully his flip to Coach and Co’s side led to a glorious Sophie victory, so I apologised to him for my heavy use of voodoo during the season and we slowly, tentatively became the best of friends. A friendship so strong, I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him when he voted against my lover Malcolm in his winning season.

Say what you will about the season being terrible and made for him, Caramoan had some killer moments – the TEETH, Malcolm losing his pants, Dawn seething about missing out on the family reward – and Cochran ran the game, well and truly deserving his victory.

While we couldn’t run the odds since the cast is yet to be released, we do agree that Probst’s friend, creator of Enlightened and The Amazing Race contestant Mike White – who was clearly visible in the preview at the end of Ghost Island – should become an icon of the game … and the hot cop will most likely be my number one thirst trap. Though maybe those opinions were just the John Coq Au Ransling talking.

 

 

Like his oft joked about daughter – with Sophie, obvi – Aubry Bracco, I can’t bring myself to see him without the sweet flavour or bacon, mushrooms, chicken and sweet, sweet wine. This time, however, the wine is white and hot damn does it still taste amazing. Rich and creamy, Coq au Riesling is all the fun of Coq Au Vin but with a lightness … that is removed by addition of cream. But it’s cream, so you know what, so what, who cares.

Enjoy!

 

 

John Coq Au Ransling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
6 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
750ml Riesling
1 cup cream
salt & pepper, to taste
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute or so.

Reduce heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until browned and glorious. Add the chicken and cook for a minute to brown the sides before drowning, giddily, in wine. Crank up the heat and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered for half an hour.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream and cook for a further five minutes, or until slightly reduced. Season, sprinkle with parsley and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, and devour with a generous hunk of French Sourdough. Like a Paige de Keragne, for instance.

 

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Duck Risottozryski

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Tabboulea Michele

Salad, Side, Snack

I’ve finally caught up on listening to all of Danny Pellegrino’s podcast in the last couple of weeks – not a paid endorsement, but it is perfection – and he has mentioned the importance of the Wicked movie moving into production ASAP with Lea Michele starring as Elphaba. It reminded me how desperately I needed this to happen, so I reached out and decided to push the point as hard as I could.

I’ve known Lea for years after meeting while sharing the starring role in Spring Awakening, opposite my ex-lover Jonathan Groff. You see, she and i were extremely busy chasing down roles and men respectively, so the producers allowed us to share the role if I became a Lea Michele drag impersonator and never spoke about.

NDA, shmemDA.

Anyway, given I had to develop a deep understanding of her psyche and perfect her mannerisms and vocal style, we became the best of friends. Even after I was kicked out of the cast in a blaze of scandal.

“You do a perfect Lea Michele impersonation, can’t you just play Elphaba and share your beautiful talents with the world?” she said as I sat her down to talk about the movie.

“Yes, obviously! But I feel it is the role you were born to play. I mean, my dear friend and OG Elphaba played your mum on Glee. And it would make Danny Pellegrino so happy,’ I pleaded.

I don’t know which part softened her but by the time I was serving up my Taboullea Michele, she vowed to Elphaba hers. Thank goodness!

 

 

While most people would argue that tabbouleh isn’t a meal, we aren’t most people. Plus – it is green people! How else do I convince her other than a big bowl of fresh, tasty salad that packs a delicious punch?

Enjoy!

 

 

Tabboulea Michele
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup fine burghul
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the burghul in a bowl with the zest and juice and leave to soften for about ten minutes.

While it is softening, combine everything in another bowl, then add the softened burghul and stir to combine.

Devour.

 

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Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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Libbean Vincek Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the three tribes became one and the war between Dom and Chris reignited. While the Naviti women wanted to stick Naviti strong and take out the more threatening Libby first, they couldn’t put an end to the pissing match to sway the numbers. Instead Dom threatened to play his fake idol, denied having an actual idol then played Sierra Dawn-Thomas’ legacy advantage – despite not getting any votes – as poor, bad rapping Chris found himself booted to become the King of the Jury.

Back at camp the tribe processed the first merge tribal, with Libby confused about why people keep targeting her and how she should work to change their perceptions of her. Or find an advantage, obvi. Meanwhile Dom was feeling relieved, thankful to no longer have Chris on his back and able to distract people from his threat status. Maybe.

The next day Wendell continued to be a God, quickly pulling together an island kitchen  – off topic, could you imagine he, Brad and Monica on a season together, him building a killer home, them decorating with found objects? It would be iconic, make it happen – while confirming with us that he is still firmly aligned with Laurel, Dom and Donathan, though wasn’t sure how things will play out with Chris around. He checked in with Laurel to make sure them were feeling ok and to reassure her, confirming Dom has an idol and hoping to win back her trust … before locking in a top four deal. To solidify that, he shared that he too had an idol which seems to have had the opposite effect, with her no longer sure she can trust him and debating whether she should pounce.

My boy Probst arrived on the scene for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split into teams of six, and then run across a floating bridge to the shore before shooting bags at tiles. It was for a Survivor Taco bar, but let’s ignore the fact that Jeff got creative with his pronunciation like Matty Chisholm, ok? Team Angela, Laurel, Wendell, Chelsea, Libby and Donathan got out to a quick lead and damn he looks good in his jocks. While Domenick evened things up, Laurel extended their lead while Sebastian, Donathan, Angela and Chelsea struggling to connect. The orange team evened things up before Libby had a turn and Wendell and his cakes heading back in to snatch the lead. Laurel went out for another turn, followed by Wendell before Laurel just missed the target, leaving Wendell to snatch victory for the purple team.

Before heading off for tacos, they opted not to select someone to attend Ghost Island, with the Survivor Gods instead channeling the white rock to send Jenna. She arrived hopeful for an opportunity to play for an advantage before quickly being disappointed to discover she was one of the unlucky visitors. While she was feeling dejected, her fellow outside Libby was feeling herself at the taco bar. They loaded up their plates, grabbed some fresh margs and toasted to their success. Wendell was thankful to find himself on reward with Laurel and Donathan, wanting to reconfirm their bond. Libby quickly asked them when she was targeted at the last tribal, with Angela and Chelsea assuring her it was simply an easy option and they wanted to break up her and Michael.

The next day Angela and Michael, who is young enough to be her son, joined together to float the idea about breaking up actual power couple Wendell and Dom. Angela was feeling her freedom from Chris and his inability to follow anyone else’s idea, she then took Michael’s concerns to Kellyn and Chelsea before stirring things up with Wendell, Dom and Des. While I love Michael, come through queen Angela and welcome to the game!

The tribe reconvened by the beach to discover an ominous table – yas yas yas, it is the gross food challenge! The first round required three people to scoff down two fish eyes, with Michael, Des and Laurel progressing and Libby, Donathan and Jenna eliminated from the competition. Probst lined up the rest of the castaways for their eyes, with Angela, Sebastian and Domenick moving on and Wendell, Kellyn and Chelsea eliminated. The next course saw the remaining castaways downing three live grubs, with Sebastian, Michael and Angela dominating the rest. For their third course, they had to down two massive sea slugs with Angela shoving them down her throat like a damn boss while Michael’s slow and steady approached kept him alive. The final round saw Michael and Angela downing some mother of pearl with Angela completely dominant with poor Michael struggling with each bite, ultimately securing herself immunity and showing the most personality she has all season.

Back at camp the tribe congratulated Angela on slaying dem slugs before quickly getting to work scrambling for the tribal ahead. Laurel and Donathan got to work finding an in with Des, Chelsea and Kellyn to figure out what they’re planning to do and try and come up with a counter plan. They took the plan to target Michael back to Michael and Jenna, with Michael wanting Malolo to stick together while Naviti splits the votes allowing them to take out the bigger threat of Wendell. Laurel and Donathan got together to weigh up their options, with Donathan feeling it is time to take out Wendell to even up the numbers a bit though scared it would make him a target. Dom then told Libby she was safe tonight before being contradicted by Donathan who fleshed out that the plan involved splitting the votes between her and Michael. Kellyn then joined Wendell and Domenick, with Kellyn lamenting she can’t get a read on Laurel and Donathan which made her feel insecure.

At tribal council Chris scrubbed up extremely well before Probst praised Angela for stepping things up and coming out of her shell, with Sebastian congratulating her ability to swallow a sea slug whole. While it was impressive, who can’t? Anyway Des said that big moves where critical to everyone’s game allowing Probst to remind them of the new round-table final tribal format, with Dom and Wendell praising it for favouring the big players. Once again, Michael got to work blowing things up at tribal reminding everyone that they can’t rely on safe – which Milk obvi agrees with. Laurel wants the Naviti tribe to use her while they have a chance, the Navitis acknowledge sticking together required some cult-level convincing. Again, Kellyn continued to harp on about Naviti strong while Michael continued to push to be used, to which I say, yas gawd.

The votes rolled in and Michael’s fear got the best of him, opting to play Ozzy’s fucking stick – not this one (NSFW, obvi) – which glowed the fuck up and saved him from the boot, negating the seven votes against him. Instead poor Libby found herself off to the jury, while Michael congratulated Wendell on a move well played to lowkey paint a bigger target on his back rather than his own.

Poor Libs was feeling quite down to be out of the game so soon, but was thankful to be one of the few Malolos to make the jury and therefore still a viable option in the love stakes. After perking her back up, I managed to get her to cloud nine as soon as she saw I was packing a piping hot Libbean Vincek Soup.

 

 

Packed full of hearty bean goodness, fresh creamy pesto and the warmth of a soothing, carby broth. How could you stay sad?

Enjoy!

 

 

Libbean Vincek Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery, thinly sliced
1 potato, finely diced
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
2L chicken stock
400g canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g crushed tomatoes
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup orzo
bunch of baby spinach
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and potato for a couple of minutes. Stir through pesto for a minute before adding the stock, beans, tomatoes and parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and add the orzo, and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Once the orzo is cooked through, stir through the spinach and parmesan and serve, devouring immediately … covering in extra parm-parm. Though obvi being careful because soup is hot as balls.

 

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Matt Cheeseballm

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

Good news everyone! Survivor NZ returns in less than a week, and while Thailand is far less likely to result some butchered pronunciations – remember Knee-Coo-Argh-Goo-Ah? – my dear, dear, dearest friend Matty Chisholm is back on the case to carry the show to greatness once again.

While sure, it felt very old school compared to what we’re used to these days … and both Tom and Barb were egregiously robbed of a deserved win, Survivor NZ had its moments of greatness. And had the ability to fix some of its mistakes heading into the second season.

Or so Matty assured me before I was whisked away to share a villa with him in the Thai jungle for 40 days whilst cooking for the latest cast-offs.

(“I’d be too nervous unless we share Matt!” I lied through my teeth).

Anyway, as a fellow, classically trained journalist, Matt and I have been close friends for years. I was working on the 20/20 crew that was interviewing his family about his inspirational brother’s story, and took Matt under my wing after spotting a fellow storyteller.

While Matt is hella busy with press and the impending arrival of his second child, he was thrilled to be able to follow in Probst and Jonathan LaPaglia’s footsteps and countdown to the latest season / celebrate all things Survivor.

Obviously we can’t spoil too much other other than to say that this season is nik livil – dare I say it, school yard pick tribes are on the horizon to start – though after a belly full of my Matt Cheeseballm, why wouldn’t you be happy?

 

 

Now first things first, yes, this recipe sounds like jizz ball. But I will counter by saying, how doesn’t that sound appetising? Creamy, salty, meaty and packing a kick, what more do you want to smear on a cracker? I’m talking about the dip FYI. And a cracker, not a SAO.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matt Cheeseballm
Serves: I say one, you say 6-8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
1 ½ cup vintage cheese
1 red capsicum, diced
4 shallots, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and drained
a handful of chives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Blitz the cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

Remove to a bowl, fold through the capsicum, shallots, bacon, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge, shape into a ball and roll through the roughly chopped parsley to coat. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge to fully set for an hour or so.

After that, it is open slather so demolish with you fave crackers.

 

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