Saramen Lacina

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

Previously on Survivor, Ciera exited first – not able to throw the target on to her mother, followed by Tony, Caleb, a screwed but-not-in-the-way-I-want-to-screw-him Malcolm, J.T., Queen Sandra, and a desperate Varner. Hali was once again Queen of the jury, quickly followed by Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Andrea, Michaela, an eliminated by default Cirie, Aubry and Tai, leaving Troyzan and Brad to round out the final three with my girl Sarah Lacina crowned our newest Survivor.

From the very beginning, Sarah knew that she needed to change up her game if she wanted to have a chance … giving us close to 6000 separate quotes about Officer Sarah playing like a criminal. But hey, when it works, you can’t really mock her!

While Sarah was also lucky to avoid most of the pre-merge tribal councils, if they did attend she was well enough positioned that she likely would have survived all the carnage.

When some members of the jury weren’t thrilled with the way she made personal connections only to turn on people, I started to fear she was about to get the Dawn Mehan treatment. Thankfully the new jury format allowed for people to jump in and defend her, and also allowed her more time to address these issues and help win people back to her side.

Despite the heartbreak of not being able to celebrate Sandra’s third win (yet), I was super excited that my dear friend Sarah had learnt from her mistakes was able to convert that into victory. While our friendship started in a questionable manner – she arrested me during one of my wild phases – she took me under her win and tried to do the opposite of her game changers game, turning me from criminal to cop.

Sadly for her, my prior arrests nipped that in the bud … but we always stayed friends and try and catch-up as often as we can for a Saramen Lacina.

 

 

Hot, spicy, sweet and fresh – ramen is always a delicious option. Throw in barbecue pork belly and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

 

 

Saramen Lacina
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g pork belly, skin removed (by that … 600g sans skin)
⅓ cup char siu sauce
peanut oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha
200g ramen noodles
4 eggs
2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthways
100g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 long red chilli, thinly sliced

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Brush the pork with half the char siu sauce and place in the oven for half an hour. Reduce heat to 120°C and bake for a further twenty minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest, brushing with the remaining char siu sauce.

While the pork is resting, heat a lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes, or until super, duper fragrant.

(It is now that you should also bring a small saucepan of water to the boil over high heat).

Back to the fragrant pan, slowly add the stock, tamari, fish sauce, Sriracha and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add the noodles, bok choy and mushrooms, and simmer for about five minutes.

With the ramen simmering, the saucepan should be boiling, at which point you should add the eggs and cook for four minutes, or until soft boiled. Peel the eggs.

Then, slice the pork into 1cm thick pieces.

Transfer the ramen to a bowl, top with pork and an egg sliced on top. Probs avoid drizzling Sriracha over the top if you’re wanting to photograph it … but otherwise, that’s the only addition I’d suggest … before devouring your victory meal!

 

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Hannah Gough Gee

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, a majority alliance developed over at Hermosa leaving the olds on the out. Luckily for them, their tribe were able to take out immunity thanks to the performance of Sala and Tony. Over at Mogotón, Shay continued to own the tribe throwing Tom and Tony under the bus before flipping on her alliance with the latter, sending him to join Hannah at redemption island after she destroyed Dee last week.

We opened up with Tony as he reconnected with Hannah and speculated, rightly, that Shay had turned on him. Playing into the producers’ hands, he then angrily vowed revenge on her and anyone else that booted him.

Back at Mogotón Shay rallied the troops with a prayer before Sala broke off to talk about his regret with the last vote, while on the flipside Tom was thrilled that he saved himself and made it his goal to form an alliance. You gotta start somewhere, I guess?

The next day Izzy briefly forgot the name of the show as she led the tribe in some cheeky yoga, much to the excitement of Tom who based on the music from his last confessional I was expecting to be a villain and not the zen yoga fan.

Meanwhile over at Hermosa, Georgia had a shit eating grin … which we found out is actually charcoal, which she was taught would clean her teeth. From the grandson of a dentist, thank you for your dedication to oral hygiene babes. Down by the ocean Barb and Nate were feeling uneasy about being on the literal outs with the tribe, before assuring us that this lioness is simply stalking her prey. Is that a new queen rising?

Georgia and Mike later prepped for an island adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, tying each other up, being flirty and making the rest of their tribe mates super wary of their behaviour. Nate saw this as an opportunity and approached Shannon about needing to break them, and their third wheel Lee – up. Oh and Jak, who may or not be their fourth, but not in a clingy way, I guess.

We then briefly saw Mogotón take a leaf out of my book – or stole my damn premise – and decided to do some comfort eating with their episode one haul/theft.

Back with Hermosa, Mike and Lee went for a walk to discuss how they out rank the other tribe, person for person. By the fire, Jak and Nate then speculated who was voted out from the other tribe and gave a thinly veiled rundown of how their games were going, Nate saying Tony shouldn’t be discounted and Jak saying they need to retain their young, strong competitors. Sure I’m paraphrasing, but that is totally what they were doing.

Being far more cas(ual) about needing my attention than Probst, Matt finally arrived for the reward challenge, a survivor classic where the tribes are tethered together, carrying weights and chasing each other in the shore. Mogotón got out an extremely early lead thanks to Barb’s repeated falls before the women of Mogotón all decided to bail on the challenge, leaving those still competing to carry 20kgs each. Jak then dropped out for Hermosa, which allowed them to catch-up and snatch victory.

Again … securing coffee, tea, sugar and a tarp.

Hermosa returned to camp and quickly got to work incorporating the tarp into their shelter / feeling sorry for their rivals (Lee) and/or wishing it would rain to rub salt in their wounds (Mike).

A pity party was getting underway over at Mogotón where Avi spoke about feeling disappointed in himself, while Sala felt like he let the team down. Tom and Izzy then went for a walk to discuss who they and Avi would work their way out of the minority and talk shit about Shay, who is clearly controlling the tribe. Tom then encouraged Izzy to try and connect with Lou, to flip her to their side … though he doesn’t appear to be very confident.

Back at Hermosa, Barb pulled Shannon aside to find out what was happening and where she should, in an attempt to win her to her side. After quickly realising that Mike was making deals with everyone, Shannon found herself in the strong position of the being the swing vote … despite being the only person Mike appears to not have a deal with.

But not to be outdone at Mogotón, emphasis on but, we got some nude action, as Sala opted to channel Max and Shirin channeling Richard Hatch by drip drying from his swim in the nude. They then went and whipped up some snails for lunch, which as an instant boner killer. As was the censor bar though, I guess.

We returned to a fully clothed Hermosa, where Mike complained about Barb not trying to scramble to Shannon … who was in fact the person Barb has been scrambling with. Despite the fact their rivals were then alerted to their strategy sesh, Barb and Nate continued to plot a way in, uninterrupted. Finally Mike joined them and asked Nate how he was feeling and who he wanted to align with, which Nate was not buying as genuine.

Later on Jak decided to steal from Shane Powers’ repertoire and fashion a rock phone, to lull everyone into a false sense of security and underestimate him. Having evidently worked, Barb and Nate approached Jak to see if he could figure out the game and point out who they all, but particularly Barb and Nate, should vote for. Proving that he isn’t actually a complete moron, Jak took the information straight back to Lee and Tom, solidifying their alliance in the process.

We finally checked in again with Hannah and Tony on redemption island, where Tony had evidently changed his cranky pants and was feeling focused. Hannah then ate an ant and was feeling confident. Seriously, she is a mad dog.

The tribes then had to select two people to go watch the duel, with Tony’s friends Sala and Lou selected for Mogotón and Shannon and Georgia in attendance from Hermosa. The prank monkeys slash stars of the duel were brought in where Tony proved that he was still in fact wearing his cranky pants before asking Sala and Lou if they had voted for him. Given that neither of them did, it kinda fell flat, but bless him, did he continue to rant.

Eventually Lou started to cry about Tony being voted out and thankfully helped calm his farm, which makes sense given she is a farmer. Hannah spoke about her shock at seeing Tony before continuing to feed copious amounts of information to Shannon and Georgia.

Finally we got to the money shot, where Hannah and Tony had to throw large heavy balls at suspended tiles. Clearly bored by the action, Georgia worked over time to get the tea of who the mysterious flipper on Mogotón was … which Lou readily gave up without a fight.

Despite barely chipping his first tile – which counted – Tony got out to a lead that my sweet angel Hannah was never able to come back from, exiting the game as the second boot.

While she was gutted to be out of the game without even having the chance to prove herself, my dear friend Hannah – we both met on the plus-sized model circuit – was thrilled to see me and reconnect over some comforting Hannah Gough Gee.

 

 

Hot and spicy, these babies are the perfect excuse to get some pork on your fork. Fuck, that is an Australian reference. What do kiwis say about pork? Somebody help me!

Or just whip some up. They good, they real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hannah Gough Gee
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g pork mince
6 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp honey
30 round wonton wrappers

Method
Combine everything but the wrappers – which is obvious, I know … but JIC – in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Place the wonton wrappers on a clean surface, keeping covered with a just damp cloth to avoid them drying out. Working one at a time, place about a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each wrapper.

Brush the edges with a bit of water and close the dough to form a half moon shape, crinkling the edge together for dramatic effect. Place on a lined tray and repeat the process until done.

When you’re ready to cook, place a large pan/pot filled without about an inch of water over high heat and bring to the boil. While heating, line a steamer (bamboo or metal) with baking paper. When the water is ready, place the steamer in the pot and fill with about 8-10 dumplings, depending on the size of the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 8 minutes or until cooked through. Again, repeat the process until done.

Serve with sriracha, soy, hoisin or sweet chilli and eat through the pain of losing our queen so early.

 

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Jeffrey Tamburito

Cinco de Cuatro Celebration, Main, Snack

I know what you’re thinking – what the fuck are you doing back for Cinco de Cuatro when today is Cinco de Mayo, you fool? A) that is super aggressive, let’s keep it pleasant and b) I simply can not have a Mexican food celebration honouring Arrested Development without the Bluth patriarch himself, Jeffrey Tambor.

I mean sure, I’ve totally dissed and dismissed my boy – well Lucille’s boy, both of them – Tony Hale … but we caught up last year and he is ok with it. He wanted to give his onscreen family, particularly his sibs Will, Porsh and Jase, a chance to be featured on this historical record of my celebrity friendships.

Anyway, back to Jeff – we’ve been friends for decades after meeting through my dear, dear, dearly departed friend Larry Sanders. I was completely taken by his talent in Lazza’s show and when he came in to audition for Arrested Development, I knew he just had to play George and Oscar.

After it was tragically axed prior to him snagging an Emmy, I made it my personal mission to snag him the gold. When I started developing a little show for Amazon called Transparent, I suggested he audition and help support the T of my community.

At first he thought I asked him to audition for season five of Community in an attempt to keep it on the t-eev, and while he agreed, he was even more excited to find out it was Transparent and his casting would help boost visibility for a less privileged part of my actual community. Now I know that it is fucked up to have a cisgender man playing a trans woman, but Jeffrey knows that and is working hard to make it up to the trans community by advocating that he be the last.

Given that season four should be released in the next few months, I was far less political in our discussions and instead focused on getting myself some spoilers / convincing him to find me a nice juicy role in the inevitable season five. Obviously that required me to sweeten him up, which in turn obviously meant I had to serve up a big old Jeffrey Tamburito.

 

 

There is no better way to honour the legitimate holiday that is Cinco de Mayo than a big, fat, spicy burrito. Hot, fresh and altogether soothing, is there anything more you need me to say to get some pork on your fork?

Enjoy!

 

 

Jeffrey Tamburito
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1kg pork shoulder
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 onions, quartered
5 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of oregano
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
200g chipotles chillis in adobo sauce, blitzed to a pulp
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1L chicken stock
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 shallots, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
400g can of kidney beans, drained
juice and zest of lime
1 onion, diced
small handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
3 cups rice, rinsed thoroughly
6 cups water
12 large tortillas
Guacamole, grated cheese, lettuce, sour cream, sriracha and any other beloved accompaniments, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven, season the pork and seal on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan, add the carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano 2 tsps of the cumin and the smoked paprika and toss around with the meat for a minute or two, or until fragrant. Add the chillis, tinned tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven and cook for three-four hours, or until the meat is falling apart.

While the meat is cooking, combine the tomatoes in a bowl with the shallots, capsicum, kidney beans, lime juice and a lug of olive oil. Stir well, season and refrigerate until needed.

Then get the rice ready by heating yet another lug of olive oil in a large pan and frying the onion for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the coriander, the remaining cumin and turmeric and cook for a further minute before stirring through the rice. Cover with water, give a good whack of seasoning and cook, uncovered, over low heat for about twenty minutes.

Once everything is done, remove the meat from the oven and shred meat between two forks like a basic white girl says she is for a wedding and return to the pan on the stove top. Crank the heat up and simmer in the sauce for ten minutes or so, or until thickened and delicious.

To serve, heat a tortilla is a dry frying pan. Transfer to a bench, layer with your desired salad, the bean salsa, condiments and cheese and finally the pulled pork. Fold the tortilla over to enclose, seal the ends and roll to create a fat cylinder. Wrap in foil and transfer to the aforementioned frying pan to cook for a minute or so either side.

Before, obviously, devouring.

 

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MickMuffin Jagger

13th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Breakfast, Burgers, Main, Snack

We’ve come to the end of the ritual and wild horses couldn’t keep me away because this legend is a gas gas gas! Yep, as you may have guessed, I’ve finally convinced my dear friend, ex-lover and God amongst men Mick Jagger to drop by and visit … on record.

It truly is amazing how many people in the world are rooting for Megs’ return to the A-list.

I grew up with Mick and Keith in Dartford in the ‘50s – remember, I kicked Keith out of Annelie and my barbershop quartet minus one leading to the boys forming Rolling Stones. You’re welcome.

Despite the fact we semi-offended Keith by giving him the boot, he appreciated that it was the push he needed  … allowing us to play the integral role in Rolling Stones success, as Mick wanted.

While we’ve dutifully carried out our work as their muses life has gotten in the way over the years and sadly we never get to spend as much time together as we’d like, so I was super thankfully he made the long flight over to visit!

After quickly catching-up and gleefully accepting his request to be little Devereux’s godfather, we got to work on the main purpose of the visit – Meggstravaganza – and devoured way too many MickMuffin Jaggers.

 

 

It is a fact universally acknowledged that breakfast is the best menu at McDonald’s … and its piece de resistance, is the Sausage and Egg McMuffin.

And this takes that majesty, flips it and reserves it, into something even greater – a big kick of chilli, just cooked egg and cheddar so sharp it could cut a bitch.

Long story short, enjoy!

 

 

MickMuffin Jagger
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g pork mince
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
a couple of sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
pinch of nutmeg
good whack of salt and pepper
olive oil
8 Jon English Muffins
8-16 slices vintage cheddar
8 eggs, sunny-side up
Sriracha or chilli jam, to taste
Slash Browns, to serve

Method
Combine the mince, onion, garlic, sugar, sage, parsley, chilli, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Divide the mixture into 8 even balls.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat, when piping hot, reduce heat to medium and add half the patties to the pan and flatten with a spatula to about 1cm thick. Cook for about 5 minutes, flip and cook for a couple more. Remove from the heat and repeat the process with the remaining patties.

While the patties are on the go, split the muffins and get toastin’. Top half of each muff with a slice of cheese and place the cooked patties straight on top.

Once the patties are done, cook each egg until the whites are just done and the yolks are perfectly cooked. Place on top of the patties, drizzle with Sriracha or chilli jam and top with the other muff-half.

Devour … with a generous amount of Slash Browns.

 

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Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork

Main, Party Food, Snack

First I had to go on the run to avoid being implicated in #Envelopegate then my dear, sexy Bob Harper announces he had a major heart attack a few weeks ago … meaning this little blog is perilously close to becoming a hit list.

Thankfully I’ve spent the week hanging with the delightful, calm and – most importantly – rational Jodes Sweetin and she has talked me out of adding my many nemeses to my dance card.

And of course, promised to live – happily and healthily – to see 2018 and hopefully break the curse this patch of cyberspace seems to have rustled up.

I haven’t seen much of Jodes lately with her muy busy enjoying a career renaissance with the success – no comments on quality here – of Fuller House and a semi-successful run against my part-time lover and full-time babe Nyle DiMarco. It fills me with such complete joy to see her doing so well but I hate that it keeps us apart for such long stretches of time!

With her taking a break between seasons two and three, she was thrilled to have me over and gossip about the show, reconnect and ponder the being that is our friend/frenemy Candace Cameron Bure.

It was such a diverse back and forth that I knew the only way to honour it was by devouring a big bowl of our favourite Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork.

 

jodie-sweetin-sour-pork-1

 

There isn’t much you can say that isn’t in its name – sweet, sour, pork. While it may not be the most glamourous or respected of dishes, it is the perfect way to mark a catch-up with my nostalgia inducing pal.

Don’t like it? How rude – enjoy!

 

jodie-sweetin-sour-pork-2

 

Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g pork tenderloin, cut into 2cm dice
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp rice wine
½ green capsicum, roughly diced
½ red capsicum, roughly diced
2 shallots, cut into 3cm pieces
3 rings pineapple, fried and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp ketchup
1 tsp plum sauce
½ tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp raw caster sugar
vegetable oil, to fry
steamed rice, to serve

Method
Toss the pork in the soy sauce, cornstarch and rice wine and allow to marinate while you prepare all the other ingredients. As part of that, combine the ketchup, plum sauce, rice wine vinegar, Worcestershire, oyster sauce and sugar in a small jug and leave to rest.

Once you’re good to go, heat a generous lug of oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Once scorching, add the pork and stir fry until golden brown. Add the capsicum, shallots, pineapple and garlic and cook for a further minute or so. Once it is fragrant, add the the sauce, reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens.

Serve immediately with rice … and devour.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

bret-labao-buns-2

 

Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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Roast Porkeiko Agena

Main, Oy with the turkeys already!

Guys – not be confused with Gilmore Guys – I know you must be starting to get anxious, knowing that our Thanksgiving celebratory extravaganza will come to an end on Thursday AND having to wait to see how A Year in the Life turns out.

But don’t worry, this menu plan will live on forever in the ether for aliens to find and read in confusion after the sun explodes and engulfs our planet in flames … and the revival is bloody tops.

With that, we have arrived at the showstopper of our Thanksgiving table which comes in the form of our delightful chum, Keiko Agena.

We first connected with Keiks when she appeared in a late episode of Beverly Hills 90210. Knowing the show was rapidly approaching its end, we were looking for a new star to hitch our wagon too and saw a bright spark in dear Keiks.

When it came time to help ASP cast Gilmore Girls a year later, we knew she would be perfect for the role of Lane and the rest … wait for it, as they say, is history.

Now I know Lane would be considered a delicious Gilmore side, Keiks is definitely a pièce de résistance in my life and as such deserves her commemorative and grateful Roast Porkeiko Agena.

 

roast-porkeiko-agena-1

 

Robust, delicate and a little bit different for the Thanksgiving table – this pork melts in your mouth and reaffirms all of your life choices like a best friend should.

Enjoy!

 

roast-porkeiko-agena-2

 

Roast Porkeiko Agena
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
olive oil
300g hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, stems and inner ribs discarded
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan
zest and juice of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, beaten
800g pork belly, skin scored in 2cm squares
kitchen twine

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the sausage, breaking up as you go, for about five minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in the onion, leek and garlic and cook for a further five-ten minutes, or until the onion and friends are all soft.

Add the kale and sage … and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before adding in the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, seasoning and egg.

Place the pork belly on a chopping board, skin side down, and add about two cups of stuffing down one of the long sides. Grab the pork under the stuffing and tightly roll it round on itself to form a log. Tie as tightly and as neatly as possible – I’d tell you how, but this is not my strength and I feel it would be hypocritical. Just don’t use coloured twine like Bridget Jones, ok?

Once it is tied up, rub the skin with a lug of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt and add place in the oven for fifteen minutes before reducing the heat to 180°C and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked, the meat juicy and the skin crisp.

Oh and place any leftover stuffing into a baking dish and cook for half an hour of so, sprinkled with some extra parmesan. It is good.

 

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