Gnocchalie Boscaiola

Main, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribes joined Jeff on a beach where they were told to drop there buffs – after Bi’s medequit, not that they seem to care – with the OG Davids at a disadvantage on each of the tribes. Carl was left tribeless and sent to exile island, which did come with an advantage in being immune from the upcoming tribal – and joining the losing tribe – and snatching an idol nullifier from the clutches of the ocean. But back to joining a tribe, he would be joining the tribe formerly known as David – Vuku – after they lost the immunity challenge. Despite having a Goliath advantage, Alec grew tired of his allies and joined the Davids to get rid of Natalia and keep my pizza curse going.

Back at camp Kara and Alec quickly introduced themselves to Carl before going aside to discuss what the hell happened at tribal. Kara thankfully played the situation perfectly, congratulating him on his move but questioning where that leaves her now that he is their hero. While he assured her that they are simply numbers for them to use, I don’t think he realises he is now in the minority.

The next day we checked in with the newly formed Tiva tribe where Gabby was encouraging the tribe to enjoy the positive vibes from the sun … as a massive storm rolled in and started to pummel all of the tribes. Not that it seemed to bother Natalie on Jabeni, who was just living her life as rain and wind lashed her face. She then told the producers it is probably time for them all to go. Tivas sign blew over, the camps flooded and they all became Davids as mother nature dominated them – thanks Christian – and they were evacuated from their beaches.

A couple of days later they returned to discover their camps destroyed, learning that in addition to playing the game they would be rebuilding their two week old camps. At Tiva Alison was overwhelmed by the pace of the game, which wasn’t slowly down as Jeff returned for the reward challenge. The tribes were required to retrieve sandbags from a net, being shooting them at two targets with slingshots. The prize was four chickens for first and eggs for second, begging the question, will the chickens be evacuated during the next cyclone? Anywho John looked like a total bae – are you a bae, or just bae? – while getting Tiva out to an early lead, while Nick and Alec appeared to be slowed down by Mike and Davie respectively. Dan seemed to struggle with the targets however, allowing Alec and Elizabeth to snatch victory for Vuku while Jabeni snatched second place just after Dan scored his first point.

Vuku were delighted to return to their destroyed camp to discover their new chickens, while Kara started working on the Davids to get them to turn on Alec. She went to her semi best friend Elizabeth to check her chances of staying over Alec and while Elizabeth likes her, she knows Kara is more loyal to the Goliaths and as such, Alec is the one she needs to keep. Meanwhile over at Jabeni, Angelina was delighted to finally have some protein in the form of eggs. As was Natalie, who wanted them to cook all the eggs instead of letting them go off, despite culinary school grad Lyrsa trying to explain that won’t happen. Natalie wandered off after napalming her way to victory, leaving Lyrsa to lament to Mike that she just wants to make it to the merge and not play with Natalie anymore. Mike obviously then jumped in to explain that he has had nine more days of it and he too, is sick of it,

The next day Christian was still bonding with John and Dan, christening themselves the brochachos. This made Dan nervous however, as their bond makes Gabby more of an outsider and that could trigger her to find an idol and get rid of one of them. As such he went hunting for the Tiva idol and while he failed, he did find a clue to the idol which would be hidden at the upcoming immunity challenge and give him his second of the game. And made the former fat kid feel like a Goliath. Swoon.

Jeffrey returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to run over an obstacle, lift and climb a ladder, raise and cross a bridge, retrieve a ball and guide it through an upright maze. Oh and Dan chose to only wear jocks and a tee, so hopefully him trying to hide the idol turns out like Sharn’s fail. Vuku and Tiva were neck and neck while Jabeni desperately tried to close the gap. Dan casually tried to make his way back to collect the idol – which based on the side-package he is rocking, should remain hidden – which he did, as Alec and John made a play for my heart working on the maze with their buns on display. While Nick managed to close the gap and take the lead, Christian tapped out with John and he and Alec quickly re-closed the gap, snatching immunity for themselves and sending Jabeni to their first tribal council.

Back at camp Lyrsa confirmed that she is definitely planning to get rid of Natalie, while Natalie led the charge to vote out Lyrsa, since Nick is stronger in challenges. Despite Nick losing the challenge. Angelina brought up the side-benefit of getting rid of Lyrsa, since she has a jacket that Angelina wants since it is super cold and she doesn’t have one. She then asked Natalie to find a way to get the jacket, leading to her approaching Nick and telling him to give up his jacket, steal Lyrsa’s or risk being voted out. Obviously he didn’t stand for this bullying, told Lyrsa and approached Mike to turn the tables on Natalie without activating the napalm. Nick and Mike decided that they needed to get Angelina on board and while she assured them she was all in, she was scared about the repercussions with the OG Goliaths.

At tribal council Angelina was still worried about the OG tribal numbers and staying Goliath strong, while Lyrsa quickly pointed out that clearly wasn’t the case since Natalia is gone. Natalie defended their Goliath strong mentality – Kellyn flashbacks – and assured them she is never the centre of drama and is quite laid back. She then brought up boiling the eggs and Lyrsa explained that she understands how to cook since she went to culinary school, before Natalie said that it should have been two people making the decision rather than the pack talking about it, Angelina tried to explain it away as liking to be efficient but sometimes not taking people on the journey with her, Mike explained she has strong opinions about a lot of things and poor Queen Natalie was shocked to learn she had issues with people.

Nick finally joined the fray and brought up jacketgate, which Natalie explained was a negotiation not bullying. While Lyrsa and Nick continued to argue that it was unfair, Natalie continued to defend it as a negotiation and didn’t throw Angelina under the bus. Sick of waiting for Angelina to jump in, Queen Natalie prompted her to admit the jacket was for her which she eventually did. Though it definitely wasn’t enough to save our Queen, as Mike joined with the Davids to take out Natalie and her napalm, as poor Angelina was left to beg for her to leave her jacket behind. Which fell on deaf ears and while I like Angelina, it was glorious.

My dear friend and mentor ran into my arms at Loser Lodge and despite being fresh out of the doom and gloom of the game, took me in her arms, wrapped me up in her jacket and chastised me for looking so cold. Which TBH is v. on brand for this season’s queen, caring and bossy. Not that the castaways would let you believe she is caring.

Anyway as a fellow journo/writer/publisher, I’ve known Natalie for years and we’re the best of friends – obvi – so I knew the only thing she could stomach after a blindside would be a piping hot Gnocchalie Boscaiola.

 

 

Gloriously soft gnocchi – lest you want to piss of Nat – slathered in the perfection of a rich creamy, sweet, salty boscaiola sauce, may look suspiciously like what I served up for Kylie Evans but I can assure you they’re different. This has mushrooms, after all.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gnocchalie Boscaiola
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
200g mushrooms, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chilli flakes
300ml cream
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
500g packet potato gnocchi, I wasn’t risking pissing off Nat with a dud
2 cups baby spinach
½ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
small handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and cook the mushrooms, bacon, garlic and chilli for five minutes or until the kitchen is hella fragrant. Add the cream and peas, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes.

Cook the gnocchi as per packet instructions.

Once the sauce has slightly reduced, add the spinach, parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat, stir through the gnocchi and serve sprinkled with parsley.

Devour.

 

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Chicken Shomein Fairfax

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Sharn and Shane were well and truly on the bottom, desperate to find a way to save themselves. Thankfully for them Brian voted Fenella out and upset the other half of Shonella, so when he took Monika on reward and left Shonee back at camp, the three of them formed a new alliance. Despite winning a car – a curse as powerful as my pizza curse – and not winning immunity, Brian survived tribal council thanks to his idol, leaving poor Monika to be blindsided by the SH clique who had a feeling he was packing said idol.

The next day Brian was feeling a bit salty, while Shonee rejoiced in surviving this long and being the final Contender standing. The four congratulated themselves on a game well played and were giddy about their only being three days left. Grubby continued to sulk around the camp, while Shonee listed off her impressive resume from surviving the tribal swap, navigating the post-merge flip-flop and most impressively, Benji’s nachos eating. Hopefully this is start of the winner’s coronation and not a send-off, because I can’t handle a Michelle Dougan situation again.

Meanwhile Shane was dolphin-ing it up in the ocean, talking about the complexities of the mind games and her stellar, not to be fucked with social game. She then shared that her ideal final two would be opposite Sharn, despite the fact she is a killer lawyer and would have an easier time against the disliked blindside. She followed Shonee, listing her resume of blindsides and knowing that going up against Sharn would show that she can defeat the barrister at her own game. Oh and obviously pulling off the blindside of Brian, flushing his idol and his ally in one foul swoop. Given she thinks he is villainous and wants to take him down, however isn’t sure whether taking him out next is the best idea.

Sharn and Shane went for a walk, leaving Brian time to approach Shonee to find out why she flipped on him at the previous tribal. While he pretended to trust her and accept her rational, he vowed to take her down and do what it takes. With that, he followed in the girls footsteps and listed his villainous resume and hoped that his final tribal speech would be interesting and exciting enough to hand him the win. Trying to find new friends, he went for a walk to check treemail with Sharn where they discovered a moral dilemma where a meal was sitting in the jungle and they could either choose to share with Shane and Shonee, both split it or if they can’t decide, the person that wants it for themself gets it. While they debated back and forth for a while, Brian chose to keep the food for himself while Sharn opted to split and as such, Brian got it all for himself. Which he ate, giddily and without remorse.

My boy Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways were required to weave discs through a maze suspended on a spring and then stack 12 on top of said maze without knocking them off. Brian and Shonee got out to an early lead while Shane started to close the gap and Sharn took the slow and steady wins the race motto. As you can imagine, this isn’t really something exciting to type about, let alone read … so Brian placed his twelfth and then dropped the stack, as did Shane … and Shonee, leaving Sharn to Steven Bradbury. Wait, nope, she dropped too leaving Brian to snatch immunity on his second attempt. This time with far less arrogance.

Back at camp the ladies congratulated Brian on his immunity win, while Brian was proud of taking out another immunity challenge and quickly identified Sharn as the next boot. He approached Shonee to lock in the vote against Sharn since they were each other’s best hope. Shonee was fairly confident she would be able to turn Shane against Sharn, so approached her to explain how well Sharn has played and how strong she will perform at final tribal. While Shonee would prefer to be taking out Brian, she continued to work Shane hard and assured her that if they are in the final three, she will take her to the end over Brian. Shane and Sharn went for a walk and marvelled at Brian’s luck in the game, before Shane spilt all the goss to Sharn and told her that they were planning to take her out. This allowed Sharn to explain to Shane that if there is a tie between their votes and Brian and Shonee’s, Sharn and Shonee would make fire and as such, they would win out in the end.

After locking in a deal with Sharn, Shane approached Brian to see where his head was at and told him that she would be interested in flipping to them and taking out Sharn as it is their best chance. They roped in Shonee and the three agreed they would vote together, which made Shonee feel even more nervous about the vote ahead. As such, Shonee approached Sharn as she felt she was the most trustworthy person left in the game and floated the idea of joining together to take out Shane instead. Sharn acknowledged that Shane was her biggest competition left in the game and as such was conflicted about which way to go at tribal council.

At said tribal council Brian spoke about only being able to trust immunity at this point in the game, Shane agreed that she doesn’t really know who she can trust, however admitted that she planned to stick with her loyalty and hope for the best. Sharn spoke about being nervous about tribal, though planned to trust her gut, while poor Shonee spoke about not being able to trust anyone until after the votes are read. She hoped that the people she spoke with during the day and felt on the same page as were being honest and things would work out for her.

Sharn acknowledged people needing to play for the jury, trying to sway Shane into staying loyal by painting the jury as not interested in an easy – sorry Steve, giving – win. Shane said that some of the jury actual prefer the villainous gameplay, though admitted that past loyalties would come into play in the final vote. This led to Brian admitting that all the contenders would potentially vote for Shonee and as such, she is a threat. Though he backed the game he played. Sharn spoke about not knowing if she can beat everyone in the end, while Shonee tried to sway her by talking about sticking with her gut. Fellow gut-gal Sharn said that she too would be sticking to hers and with that, they headed off to vote and Sharn and Shane stuck together while Brian and Shonee didn’t, leaving Shonee to be tragically felled in fourth place.

While I desperately wanted to scream at her for essentially 2-1-1-ing herself out of the game and not even trying to go to fire, I couldn’t stay mad at her and instead broke down in tears over the fact that not only were we robbed of a Shonella final two, she follows in the footsteps of Michelle and Flick of being the fourth place robbed goddess. She held me close as I sobbed for all that we, Australia, lost until I was strong enough to serve her a comforting bowl of my Chicken Shomein Fairfax.

 

 

Sweet, spicy and packed full of comforting carbs, chow mein is one of those dishes which look complex but are super easy. So easy you can cook while blinded by the combination of tears and rage.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Shomein Fairfax
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g fresh hokkien noodles
peanut oil
500g chicken mince
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 chillies, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
¼ cup oyster sauce
3 tbsp tamari
½ cup cooking sake
⅔ cup peas
½ cup baby corn
100g oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 bunch choy sum, roughly chopped
½ wombok, shredded
4 shallots, sliced

Method
Seperate the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes or so. Drain.

Heat a good lug of oil in a wok and cook the mince over high heat for five minutes, or until browned, breakin up any lumps as you go. Add the garlic, chilli, carrot and capsicum, and fry for a further minute. Add the curry powder, oyster sauce, tamari and sake and cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the remaining vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat, toss through the noodles and devour, piping hot, with plenty for hot sauce in honour of her spicy confessionals.

 

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Samosa Hinton

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes merge and they celebrated with an auction where Shane was the true winner getting to beg people to split food with her. Which as a grandma, she excelled at … even before we learnt along with Lydia not to fuck with Shane Gould. With the beast out of the way, the Champions appeared to be splintering, so when given the opportunity to snatch an advantage, Sharn took it with both hands giving her an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. Which she parlayed into a second win. Despite trying to sway the bottom of the alliance over to their side, Robbie and Benji once again came up short and poor Robbie was sent from the game and to the Jury Villa to become King of the Jury.

We returned to camp the next morning where Sharn loitered in the water while Mat wrote a message to his son Max’s birthday and hot damn, my ovaries exploded. Not to be outdone, it is also Steve’s birthday and Mat and Sharn helped him celebrate. He was touched and started to tear up by the time everyone served him a cake of potato and carrot and hot damn, I love zaddy Steve and his buff people’s alliance. My ability to relate with them or not, be damned!

Jonathan didn’t leave us waiting long, arriving for this week’s reward which is essentially flags but with coloured bottles. Before the challenge started, however, Benji spoke about having the sads and Sam said that Robbie raised some valid points, though he made them too late for anyone to do anything. Which is kinda a dangerous thing to say, no. Anyway, back to the challenge which is for a trip to the Survivor spa with wine and cheese, and if Mat and Steve don’t have a zaddy date this episode is straight up homophobic. Monika was first out, fucked up by a shoulder charge from Shane Gould. She was followed by Steve who gave up because he wanted someone that wanted it more to win – swoon – much to the delight of Shonee who would love a good shampoo.

They were joined on the loser bench by Shane, Shonee – who smashed Sharn in the process – before Sam and Benji tried to come up with strategies to take out Brian and Mat, sadly failing and eliminating Sharn instead. Sam was taken out by Brian, who was the next eliminated leaving Mat and Benji to battle it out. The final round complicated matters with the person having to grab the idol, snatch the bottle and run over the start line. Despite getting out in front, Mat let Benji grab the bottle and proceeded to tackle him leading to some beautiful homoerotic wrestling before Mat eventually snatched victory. As is always the case, Mat was given the chance to select one person to join him and out of nowhere selected Fenella for having a killer sense of humour. To further complicate matters, he was given one more spot at the spa, selecting Sharn and angering Sam who felt even more on the outs of his alliance.

We followed Mat and the girls to the spa where they were delighted to find hammocks, champagne, chocolate, cheese and a shower, while Fenella tried to figure out why Mat selected her. After scrubbing up, Mat admitted that he didn’t invite her for her sparkling personality and instead was hoping to pull her in to become the new majority alliance. Despite not wanting to pull in Shonee, Fenella kept bringing up her ride or die and agreed that the six of them should take control.

The victors returned to camp where they lined up the losers and handed out gifts of razors, tweezers, soaps and while it is obvious as hell, he got Steve some jocks and I will never bitch about that. Unlike Benji, who decided that he needs to go ASAP. Brian however wandered into the ocean to wash himself off with the soap and I really question myself sometimes, because even that was pretty hot. Even as they joked about him being grotty.

To make it even worse, we opened the next day with the tribe were ogling Brian’s weight loss and talking about him being a babe. While I wanted to explore my psyche and why I found the bathing scene hot, I was distracted as Benji got to work ingratiating himself with Mat to try and get close enough to take him out. He charmed him, Sharn and Steve, talking about having no allies left in the game before turning around and approaching Sam about potentially taking Mat out. Sam was obviously keen since he has been feeling on the bottom of his alliance, however he knew that a flip required Shonella’s support so approached them about joining him and Benji. The girls were keen, so he moved on to Monika about aligning with them … however she could see how panicked and stressed he was, and I’m not sure whether she is actually interested in joining with the paranoia.

JoJo returned for the latest immunity challenge, the Survivor classic – Last Gasp – where everyone would have to hang on to a grate on the surface of the water as the tide rolled in around them. The last person remaining calm enough to stay under water, wins. Given they were dangerously in the shallows – making escape more difficult – they started to get eaten by little fish, which TBH would be enough to do me in. Everyone was still in the challenge after 50 minutes as the water lapped at their mouths and panicked set in. Well, for everyone but Shane was zen as hell. Sam became the first person out of the challenge, followed by Shonee, Steve, Monika – despite taking on a tonne of water for ages – Sharn, Fenella and Benji, after an extreme battle with himself. After an hour and fifteen Brian opted out, leaving Shane and Mat to fight for immunity with their faces completely submerged before Shane surfaced out of nowhere and handed Mat immunity.

While everyone else was congratulating Mat, Benji and Sam were devastated as they returned to camp, since their dream target was now immune and they needed to find a different target. Sam threw out Steve’s name instead, given he is Mat’s – and mine – number one. Sam approached Mat to throw him off the scent and assure him that he is talking to the others to try and distract them, however Mat was hurt and felt that Sam betrayed their alliance and decided that he now needs to go as his conversations only benefitted himself. Mat rallied Sharn, Shane and Steve who were all in for taking out Sam due to his betrayal, before Mat pulled in Benji who was just happy that someone else’s name is being thrown around. This made Sam even more paranoid, as he returned to Mat to try and win his way back into the alliance. Sam told him that Benji told him – this sounds like a school fight – that Mat was targeting him, infuriating Mat and motivating the Champions mega alliance to reconsider taking out Benji.

At tribal council we saw a scrubbed up Robbie was babin’ albeit tragically clothed. Sam spoke about the fact it wasn’t really the right time to move last night and then admitted he is well and truly on the block tonight, and therefore he regretted it. Sam spoke about Mat targeting Lydia – despite it being Shane’s plan – and admitted he warned Lydia to try and keep things together, which Mat felt was a betrayal. The two went back and forth talking about loyalty and the power of words, and to be honest it seemed pretty painful. Sharn got in on the mum and dad talk action, asking how he could say he was sticking with his alliance when he just said it was fractured. While he defended it as a slip of the tongue, I just don’t know if anyone truly believes him anymore. Benji jumped in on the action, pointing out that the Contenders were still easy allies. Steve said he had heard his name thrown out this afternoon, as had Sam and Benji, before Benji continued to work this tribal council and say it was important that they trust in who they plan to vote with and regroup if and when needed.

Brian was confused, though looking for ways to build his resume, Shane was just being her usual baller self and Mat wasn’t sure whether he would stick with the devil he knows, or the one whispering new plans in his ear. With that, the tribe went off to vote and Benji felt safe enough not to play his idol, quite rightly, as Sam found himself joining Robbie on the jury. Given Sam is an absolute delight, he took his boot in his stride and was even cool that I used our entire catch-up flirting with Robbie. As a still-clinging-to-young alumni of UQ, I’ve known Sam forever and we’ve been besties for years, so I’m not really surprised he took his boot so well. Or me dumping him to pursue a classically hot guy I’m going to regret. Though since I kept him well fed with a big ol’ batch of Samosa Hintons, why would he even care about me?

 

 

Packing a lot of spice and a good whack of chilli, these babies are the ultimate comfort snack. I mean, spiced meat and crispy pastry – name a more iconic duo.

I’ll wait. And in the meantime, you can enjoy!

 

 

Samosa Hinton
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
1 potato, washed and diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp garam masala
3  cups flour
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup melted ghee
¾ cup warm water
vegetable oil, for brushin’

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions and garlic for five minutes or so. Add the mince, and cook for a further couple of minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Add the potato, carrot, turmeric, coriander, chilli, ginger and garam masala, with a big whack of salt and pepper, and cook until the mince is done. Add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all of the liquid has absorbed. Remove from the heat and  allow to cool.

While the fillin’ is chillin’, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and the cumin. Slowly add the ghee and water, kneading as you go to create a smooth, firmish-not-sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200C.

To assemble, split the dough into ten pieces and roll into discs. Cut each disc in half and shape into a cone. Pack with the filling and seal the ends with a dab of water to form a triangle. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the filling and dough are all gone.

Brush the samosas with vegetable oil and place in the oven to bake – because I’m scared of fryin’ – for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some Raita Mitchell or Joe Manngo Chutney.

 

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Pie Float Newton

Gravy, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food

Oh how bittersweet it was to reconnect with moonface, during the most rare lunar occurance – the super blue blood moon – in our lifetimes. Apparently, anyway. While I can confirm he is doing far better than the media cares to report – he is not on death’s door, nor does he have a gambling prob – he is getting on in age.

And the fact he kept patting me on the back saying, “Ben, my boy.”

You’d think he’d learn, no?

“This is a once in a lifetime event.”

Only served as a reminder that he won’t be around forever. It also further proved the fact eldery people love to bash the media for lies, but also take their word as truth if it suits. I mean, is this super bloody blue balls moon really that rare? Please answer in the comments below.

Anyway, I’ve gone well off topic so will start to work my way back. I first met Bertie in the early ‘60s through my ex-boyfriend Graeme Kennedy, and we became the fastest of friends. While Grae and I didn’t last, my friendship with Bert did and I helped guide his career, from late night, to game shows, to midday and most importantly, morning programming.

So as is oft the case, you’re welcome.

While I couldn’t convince him to make yet another comeback, TV or otherwise, I could convince him to split an iconic Pie Float Newton to toast his contribution to Australian, nay, global culture.

 

 

Now I know these don’t look overly appetising, nor do they look moderately healthy, but daaaaamn are they good. I mean, pie and mash is perfect, pie and gravy is glorious, and pie with peas sings. How can you go wrong by combining them all … with sauce?

Not possible, so enjoy!

 

 

Pie Float Newton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 individual beef pies – you could make a bigger version of Mini Beaf Arthur & Mushroom Pies or Pie-an Ziering without the blue cheese, or you know, go with Four’n’Twenty. I ain’t judging … much
olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
5 washed potatoes, diced
2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
tomato – aka tommie – sauce

Method
Cook the pies as per their recipe, or the packet instructions you bloody bludger, strewth cobber.

While that is happening, heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the shallots for a couple of minutes or so. Add the peas and stock, bring to the boil, reducing to low once rollicking and simmering for half an hour, or until the liquid is reduced. When there is about 1cm of stock left, mash the peas until semi-smooth.

Meanwhile place the potato in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain and return to the pot with half the butter, milk, a whack of salt and pepper, and the parmesan. Mash until smooth.

And just to add to your cleaning, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once frothing, add the flour, whisk to combine and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and whisk in the stock before returning to the heat and bringing to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes or until it is your desired consistency. Season and remove from the heat.

To serve, layer a bed of mash on your plate, top with some peas, then the pie … then drown in gravy and squirt with some tommie sauce. Because apparently, that was critical to the floater.

Then devour … or shame eat. Though you shouldn’t feel shame for loving something so damn good.

 

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Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas

After dabbling with television in the form of Rachel Bloom yesterday, I opted to swing on over to discuss cinema with my dearest school chum Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Despite taking out Best Supporting Actor at the Globes last year for his terrifying performance in Nocturnal Animals, he was egregiously snubbed of an Oscar nom. Said snub, dare I say it, was part of the inspiration behind holding a Golden Globe Gold celebration.

I first met Az in 2010 on the set of Kick-Ass – he was fresh off the success of Nowhere Boy and I was looking to make the jump from Nicolas Cage’s entourage. You could say it was fate, however I would call it Serendipity … which led me to travel back in time to write the hit rom-com Serendipity.

We became the fastest of friends and I, of course, vowed to make him a star. Together we jumped from Kick-Ass to co-starring with Glenn Close, working with Oliver Stone and culminated by playing the Marvel-Marvel version of Quicksilver. He rightly views his success in the biz as my handiwork, so was thrilled to take the time out for my inaugural Golden Globe celebration and reconnect.

Given he won just last year, I was hoping Az would have some intel on which males were taking out the gongs this year. Either he does have intel and I am way off base, or more than likely he has no idea and my finger is still on the pulse. He believes that Chris Plummer will be an upset to take over his Supporting Actor crown, while I’m backing Willem. For comedy, I say James Franco and he says Daniel Kaluuya – because Get Out is somehow a Comedy or Musical – and for Drama – mawma – I say Timothée Chalamet for no other reason than wanting to spend the summer in Italy eating peaches, and Az is going with Gary Oldman. We did agree with Best Picture – Drama though, and by that, we agreed that it should come down to Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri … which means it will go to Dunkirk.

One thing we could emphatically decide AND agree on is that my Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson are completely off the hook. In a good way, obvi.

 

 

It is hard to pick my one true passion in life, but if I had to narrow it down, big balls and a cheesy meat are high on the list. Particularly when together. The creamy, delicate risotto works perfectly with the cheesy, meaty punch of the filling to create a ball that would make Jenna Maroney faint.

Enjoy!

 

 

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated over low heat while you work … or not, no judgement
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, 1 whisked for the risotto and the other two whisked together for coating
500g beef mince
400g can chopped italian tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
small handful of parsley, chopped
small handful of basil, chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
100g mozzarella, grated
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 – 1½ cup breadcrumbs
olive oil, to cook

Method
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan until foamy and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the rice. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, or until starting to become translucent. Add the stock half a cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding the next cup whenever the stock has just been absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through ⅓ cup parmesan and season to taste. Once cooled slightly, stir through the egg and transfer to a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

While the risotto is cooling, brown the meat in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. You could add a lug of oil, but I found the fat released in cooking was more than adequate. When the meat is almost completely browned, add the tomatoes, peas, parsley, basil and chilli, and simmer until most of the liquid has gone. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining parmesan and the mozzarella, season lightly, and remove from heat to cool slightly.

To assemble, divide the risotto into 8 equal parts – I like big balls, you know – and take ⅔ of that ⅛ – just reread that because it does make sense, despite not feeling like it – in wet hand and press the mixture together to remove any air-bubbles. Flatten to a pattie and press a hole in the middle. Fill said hole with the meat mixture and cover with the remaining ⅓ of the ⅛ of rice. Press tightly to push out any excess air, shape into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until your eight-balls are done and transfer said balls to the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the flour in a bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and whisk the milk with the remaining two eggs in a third. Roll the balls in the flour, shake off excess and coat in the egg wash before rolling in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet – or return to the one it just came off if you’re lazy – and repeat the process until all your balls are thoroughly coated. And that innuendo wasn’t even intentional.

Spray with some olive oil to coat and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, or until resembling golden globes. Then devour, being careful not to burn your mouth off.

 

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Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

Yesterday marked the halfway point of our Stranger Things slash Halloween celebration Stranger Feasts – after my previous dates with Shan, Mil, Gats and Cal – and I realised it was high time we caught up with Will Byers himself, Noah Schnapp.

Similar to Shan, I first met Noah when he came in to audition for Stranger and despite getting him and Finn confused literally every time I see them – I mean, come on, they look like brothers – I knew that he was the only one for the part.

Or Mike. No Will, definitely Will.

As a dear friend of Winona’s, I took him under my wing and gave him tips on how best to win her over to foster that mother-son bond that is integral to the show. I would argue it was my tutelage of how Wins ticks that led to them forming the glorious relationship they have now.

Like all the kids before him, Noah was really excited to come and visit in Brisbane and to spruik the latest season. And to thank me for getting him a job opposite Petey Dink on Angry Birds, obvi.

After catching up and giving him a stern talking to about eating right, studying hard and being good, I realised that I may actually pass as a functioning adult. While that hit my extremely hard and filled me with rage, I took a deep breath and whipped him up a delicious (and nutritious) Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp.

 

 

Without giving anything away about season two, I decided Noah needed a spooky meal that was far less murdery than the monsters attacking Hawkins. While these are essentially just patties covered in pastry, I would argue that is all you need. Delicately flavoured, moist meat(loaves), wrapped in flakey pastry? Tell me what more you could ever need.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 egg, lightly whisked, separately
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup peas
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 sheets puff pastry, cut into 1cm strips.
4 black olives, pitted and sliced

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, one of the eggs, garlic, carrot, peas, Worcestershire, tomato paste, oregano and basil in a large bowl and scrunch to combine. Divide into 8, roll into a ball and flatten into patties.

One at a time, mummify the patties leaving space for eyes. Place on a lined tray, add two olive eyes and repeat until done. Brush each with the remaining egg and bake for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until cooked through and the pastry is crispy.

Serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, splattered with bloody ketchup as required.

 

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Stephanie Fried Rice

Main, Side, Snack

It felt like such a relief to be able to just jump in the car and drive a couple of suburbs this week, rather than having to get my people to organise the logistics of transferring major A-list celebrities to-and-from Brisbane Airport without anyone realising they are in town. I don’t want to complain about my blessed life, but sometimes it does get exhausting.

As I mentioned, I was once a swimming trainer – mainly to fulfill my passion for men in speedos and/or super tight pants – here in Brisvegas, as we oft loathsomely say. While my students feature the who’s who of Australia’s swimming elite – obviously though Grant Hackett and I used to booze together and Kowalski and I … well – my personal fave was little Stephy Rice.

I mean, sure, she felt it appropriate to tweet a homophobic sledge at a rugby team in 2010 but she did actually seem remorseful – plus, it’s not like I haven’t forgiven someone for making stupid statements – and apologised profusely. Shockingly I made the mature choice and accepted her apology and moved on … on the express condition that she appear on The Celebrity Apprentice.

While I stacked the cast with an actual businesswoman to shame her out of the competition and my nemesis Dawn Fraser – who hates that we’re close – she somehow won the game. Sure it further inflamed my rage for a couple of hours, but then I had to admire her moxie and we’ve been the dearest of friends ever since.

Sadly for the ailing Australian swim team, I couldn’t convince her to join me in staging a comeback but it was such a treat to catch-up and reconnect. We laughed, I briefly made her cry like she was apologising for a homophobic slur – despite her aggressive suggestions to the contrary, she is obviously voting ‘yes’ in the offensive same-sex marriage postal survey – and we ultimately became closer than ever before.

Though maybe that is just the Stephanie Fried Rice talking?

 

 

There is nothing better than fried rice, particular when it is sans prawns. Spicy, fresh and with a kick of heat, this is the perfect comfort meal to mend friendships and alleviate hunger.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephanie Fried Rice
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain rice, cooked as per packet instructions
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked and drained
1/2 cup peas, cooked and drained
1 capsicum, diced
2 tsp char sui sauce
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp rice wine
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat half the vegetable oil in a small frying pan, and lightly cook the eggs until they form a delicate omelette. Leave to rest.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon, frying until crisp. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrot, corn and capsicum and cook for a further five minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for ten minutes before adding the sauces and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Devour.

 

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Salmontha Hashcakes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Seafood, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Sam and Mark W tried to become the second coming of the most boring showmance – El and Lee – while Jacqui and Henry formed the second version of great survivor duo – Denise and Malcolm. But that’s all we know about Asaga – other than cookies – as Samatau lost four straight immunities, sending Adam, Kate and Tarzan out of the game, before Tessa and AK were finally able to make a move, blindsiding Locky’s alliance and sending Aimee out of the game. Ay …

Things were nice and awkward as Samatau returned to camp following Pete’s flip, with Locky and Tara well and truly on the outs after tribal. Locky tried to lay on the charm – and my pants spontaneously fell off – as a storm rolled in, while Tara went the opposite route and let her rage fly, yelling at Pete for flipping on her. This obviously made AK a very happy boy, which I still don’t know if I’m onboard with just yet. Are we meant to like AK?

The next day we checked in with Asaga where Kent was doing handstands in the water, making me question my dick-togs fetish. We were reacquainted with Sarah who spoke about the joy of not having to attend tribal … though she was starting to hope that the winning streak would end. Echoing the sentiment, Henry was going stir-crazy waiting to make some moves and play the actual game. Slash get rid of episode one villain Sam.

It was still bleak in the cold light of day over at Samatau where Tara was sulking in a hammock, trying to avoid Pete who she and Locky are not ready to forgive just yet. Pete however was feeling proud of making his move and signalling to the others that he is a player, not a number. Though given how Australian Survivor normally goes, I don’t actually see that as a good thing.

Wanting to keep things exciting, JoJo arrived for the reward challenge where Asaga were shocked to discover Aimee was eliminated at tribal. The challenge, another homoerotic favourite of mine – why couldn’t Henry and Locky be on the same tribe – requires the tribes to stand on a log and navigate around each tribemate and get to the other side. Given it is for a barbie and booze, the stakes – lol – were high. Odette and Ben struggled big time for Asaga which allowed Samatau to take the lead with Tessa, Ziggy and Anneliese finishing the course before Sam finally got a point on the board for Asaga. Sadly it was all for nought as Samatau continued to widen the gap, ultimately putting their issues behind them and  taking out a much needed victory.

Sam was well pissed to have missed out of the barbie and vowed that Ben is not an asset and would be the next person out when they lose immunity. Which given the fact we’ve seen something other than the Jericho/Luke cookie sitcom at Asaga, a trip to tribal council feels imminent.

Samatau returned to camp to discover a table completely laden with food, instantly dissipating the various feuds as Tara and Locky got to work whipping up their feast. While everything was going peachy, AK quickly turned it all to shit while pondering aloud where the idol clue could be hidden.

Meanwhile back at Asaga, Sam spoke about struggling with not winning any rewards so far, though quickly pointed how confident was being in the majority alliance. Mother nature then decided it was time to bring her down a peg, sweeping her out into the ocean while fishing with Luke and Mark before Luke swam to her rescue.

Anneliese and Tara got together by the beach to talk about the new alliances on Samatau, both agreeing that AK will self-destruct before getting the chance to make it to the end. Tara continued to wallow in her fall from grace, breaking down with Locky and crying about how awful AK is and how hard the game is. Making him less and less likeable, AK bitched about her tears to Tessa and saying that she should be fighting. While yes, it is true, maybe don’t say it while she is mid-breakdown.

Back at Asaga, Henry spoke about his life outside of the game and reminded us about his continuing fauxgi lie. Sam and Sarah however are not buying the fact he is a yogi with the former trying to out him in front of the tribe. While he danced his way out of the lie, Sam and Sarah were more sure than ever that it was a lie. Henry realised that Sam was starting to question his career and vowed to throw the next challenge and get rid of her. For realsies, this time.

Right on cue JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where Henry’s v-lines plant me firmly on his side in the looming Henry/Sam feud. Given the fact that Locky is sure that Asaga’s continued victories all come down to Henry, I am starting to think he make actually get his way with the challenge. Each tribe started on a platform in the ocean before one-by-one diving into the water, climbing up and over an obstacle, running over a net and back to the shore. Once the entire tribe was in, one person from each tribe was required to cut through a rope to release puzzle pieces. While Locky got Samatau out to a strong lead, Michelle overtook Anneliese before Tessa dominated Kent and reclaimed the lead. Luke then overtook AK handing-back Asaga’s lead. Henry and Sarah had a nice headstart on the puzzle however Henry finally succeeded in throwing the challenge, moving at a snail’s pace allowing Tessa and Anneliese to overtake Asaga and take out their second immunity challenge.

Back at camp Henry was quick to apologise for blowing the puzzle while quietly thrilled his plan worked, vowing to get rid of Sam. He then approached Sam to talk the plan for tribal, where they agreed to split the vote between Michelle and Ben. He then did the walk around, getting everyone to agree to get vote out Sam. Sarah however, was not so sure.

While Sam tried to confirm the split between Michelle and Ben, she and Mark were feeling nervous about tribal and felt that something was up. Mark then used his army training to try and get some information out of Sarah, which she skillfully danced around. She however wasn’t feeling great and now wanted Mark out. He then continued to alienate people, approaching Jacqui and Kent to confirm the Michelle/Ben vote with Kent also wanting to get rid of Mark. Not to be outdone, Sam then approached people in the shelter and was so intense that I have no idea who they’re actually going to boot.

We arrived at tribal council where JLP’s guns were on point, as usual, while welcoming Asaga back. Kent spoke about his joy at avoiding tribal for so long, though was glad to finally put his brain to use again. Mark tried to play the diplomat, talking about the challenge being close and everyone pulling their weight at camp. Henry continued to play defeated for blowing the challenge before Luke joked that Henry and Sarah were responsible for them losing. Sam through some shade on people not pulling their weight, before Michelle and Ben jumped in to defend themselves and say that while they have no idea how to camp – preach – they are trying, in their own way.

Talk quickly turned to people overplaying, with Sarah pointing out that someone going too hard too soon creates too much tension. This made Sam nervous, as she quickly tried to defend herself and get people to see the game her way. Michelle once again jumped in, knowing that Sam’s way involves her torch getting snuffed. Queen Jacqui then gave the perfect analogy for the game, saying that while you play Monopoly with your friends, you still buy Mayfair, build hotels and try to wipe them out. Sam spoke loyalty, before Michelle mentioned she was feeling confident that she would see day 17, earning a smirk from Sam.

Sadly that smirk was quickly wiped off her face as Henry’s plan came to fruition and she became the sixth boot. While she was super intense in the game – which is ultimately how I think I would play – Sam took her boot in her stride and showed a whole lot of class – which is not something people would ever say about me. I’ve known Sam for years, both being huge deals on the running circuit (actual footage of me running at the end of the pack). While I did consider Tonya Harding her to give myself a chance, I knew that ultimately I would be terrible in prison and vowed to support her career and ride her coattails. My way to her heart was via a batch of my Salmontha Hashcakes.

 

 

While I have a passionate hate for seafood, I knew that these semi-healthy – fish = healthy, ok – treats were the only way to win her over after my threats. I then tried them and was pleasantly surprised by how good they were – hot, zesty and light, they are the perfect thing to help you work through the pain of having your tribe flip on you. Or Mondayitis, which has similar symptoms.

Enjoy!

 

 

Salmontha Hashcakes
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potatoes, cut into a 1cm dice
½ frozen peas, defrosted
400g tinned (skinless and boneless) salmon
½ a bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly whisked
olive oil

Method
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil over high heat. Once rollicking like the Samoan surf, add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a further minute before draining in a colander. Mash the potatoes and peas, and leave to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once cooled, add the chunks of salmon, chives, zest of the lemon, chilli, flour, a good whack of salt and pepper and the egg. Combine with your hands and divide into 8 balls. Flatten into cakes, place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through.

Serve immediately with some lemon wedges and a salad, or just with the wedges if it’s a snack.

 

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Ben Whishawbi Peas

Party Food, Side, Snack

Let’s start with the best news – despite my mad science skillz, I did not accidentally engineer a way for two men to procreate meaning that Benny Whish wasn’t dropping by to spring a decade’s worth of child support payments on me.

The bad news is that he isn’t still curled up in a ball pining over me … which is just odd and kind of rude, TBH.

I first met the other Ben while he was starring in Hamlet in 2004. I played the roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and let’s just say I spied action on and off the stage. Oh the action off stage …

Our torrid dressing room affair quickly blossomed into love and I vowed to make him a star, and us a power couple … fulfilling my fantasy to date someone that looked similar and shared my name given it didn’t work out so well with Batfleck.

After I purchased the rights to Perfume to try and snag my first Oscar, he brutally stole the role out from under me. We went through an extremely messy break-up that even the divine Cate Blanchett could not fix, despite her best attempts on the set of I’m Not There.

I’ve utilised the following decade to tear him down at any opportunity, so was super surprised to hear that he wanted to reconnect. Needless to say, I was extremely wary when he arrived … but shock of all shocks, he wanted to apologise for the Perfume slight.

While it doesn’t bring me back the Oscar I was robbed of, the fact that he could admit that I would have done better with the part is enough for me to forgive him. Plus – it is pride month and since we’re both married gay men, I was softened by the idea to double date. I’m a sucker for the community.


He on the other hand is a
sucker for my Ben Whishawbi Peas.

 

 

While this used to be our go to post-coital snack, there was something oddly pleasant about sitting down with a beer and the spicy snacks, to work through our issues and celebrate actual happy relationships as adults.

Seriously, being this mature makes me sick … but these babies don’t – enjoy!

 

 

Ben Whishawbi Peas
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup wasabi
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method
Preheat oven to 100°C.

Place the peas on a lined baking sheet with the olive oil, toss to coat and bake for about three hours, or until they are well dried.

While they are baking, combine everything in a jug.

Remove the peas from the oven and transfer to a bowl and toss through the wasabi coating. Return to the baking tray and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until dry and crisp.

Devour.

 

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