Pear and Jeanger Turnover

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

With the frontrunner Khrystyana out of the way, Jeana – the Kennedy Davenport of the season – and Kyla – who better be the damn Trixie – received final critiques.

While Kyla received lukewarm praise for her walk, the judges agreed that she she sold the clothes to everyone which is ultimately what a model is employed to do. Tragically the judges loved Jeana’s walk, but thankfully read her for filth for abandoning the kid at the end of the runway and for only ever thinking about herself.

The judges loved Kyla’s body of work after finding herself mid-way through the competition, though were concerned about her early work. Jeana on the other hand was read for starting strong before dipping and getting stronger again. Ultimately the judges loved Kyla’s growth and potential while they were conflicted by Jeana, acknowledging that while she slays she isn’t moldable, won’t go beyond being Jeana and can be difficult.

With that, Tyra finally made a decent decision and crowned Kyla as America’s Next Top Model before Jeana offered an extremely insincere apology. Though given she had literally just lost the competition – again – I will go soft on her. Particularly since she showed a rare moment of humility as she lamented said loss.

While it is abundantly clear the producers gave Jeana a terrible edit, the fact is she did say all the awful things she said throughout the season. So yeah. That being said, she is beautiful, confident and a hell of a model, so everyone should be kind. And that is what I told myself as I whipped up a big fat batch of Pear and Jeanger Turnover.

 

 

Spicy and sweet, hot and rich, this turnovers are velvety smooth in the middle with a kick of spice. Enclose it in pastry and everyone is a fan.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pear and Jeanger Turnover
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
4 pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
⅔ cup muscovado sugar
2-3 sheets puff pastry, cut into quarters
1 egg, whisked

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once frothy, add the pears and simmer for about five minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and muscovado, and cook for about ten minutes, or until caramelly and sticky. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

When the filling is cool enough to work with, place the cut puff pastry on a workspace and spoon 2-3 tbsp of filling into a corner. Fold over on the diagonal to form a triangle and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the pastry or filling is all gone.

Brush each turnover with the egg and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

Allow to cool, if you can, before devouring.

 

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Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille

Baking, Dessert, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Snack, Sweets

After such a rushed week celebrating my first ever Golden Globe Gold and running the odds and/or reconnecting with Rach, Az, Nay, Ids and Nat, I knew I needed a Globes legend to finish off the party. And there is no one more legendary than Cecil B. DeMille.

I mean, he has a dang award named after him – he owns the Golden Globes!

I first met Cec while working in the silent movies together and we became the fastest of friends, let me tell you old sport. Given people didn’t have to hear my horrific voice, it was the most successful my career has ever been though alas, under the pseudonym Monroe Salisbury … before I faked my death in the ‘30s.

While I didn’t enjoy much success after the talkies kicked in – leading to my stint in the sanitarium before faking my death – Cec and I remained the best of friends and me, his most frequent silent collaborator. Ironically – or maybe not, again, Alanis ruined the word for me – I was the one to inspire The Greatest Show on Earth which I decided had itself inspired The Greatest Showman.

I jumped in the delorean once again and decided to run the odds solo to wrap up my Globes coverage. Rounding out my predictions, I can’t go past Coco snagging Best Animated Feature though Loving Vincent may sneak in as the HFPA are wont to feel superior to the other industry bodies. Alexandre Desplat will take out Best Score for The Shape of Water, with it also snagging Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

Despite the emotion that surrounds visiting with a dear friend in the past, it was such a treat to reconnect and help him celebrate winning the first ever Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 1952 Globes. And I mean, how can you be sad when there are Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille around.

 

 

Light, flaky pastry and the creamy delicate custard perfectly support the tart raspberries, leaving you with the perfect dessert to honour the start of awards season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp custard powder
1 cup milk
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 ½ sheets puff pastry, thawed
⅔ cup thickened cream
250g fresh berries, I went with blueberries and raspberries because I’m wild
2 tbsp raspberry coulis

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the custard powder and a quarter of the milk in a saucepan until well combined. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla and remaining milk and cook over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl, cover with a piece of cling directly touching the surface and chill for a couple of hours for an hour or so.

While the custard is gettin’ chill, place the pastry on a lined a baking sheet and top with a second piece of baking paper and a second baking tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the trays over and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

When you’re almost ready to start assembling, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form and fold it through the custard mixture.

Cut the pastry in half using a serrated knife and place one piece on a platter. Spread with half the custard cream and half the berries. Top with another sheet of pastry, the remaining berries and cream and top with the last piece of pastry. Drizzle with the coulis and devour immediately.

 

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Pastéis de Natalie Wood

Baking, Dessert, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Snack, Sweets

It has been a busy start to the year catching up with some of my nearest and dearest Golden Globe winners slash friends, that I started to get all sentimental. While my dates with Rach, Az and Nay all carried a certain emotional gravitas, reconnecting with the man that saved my life in the form of Ids really started to make me feel misty. And made me think of one friend I always wish I had been able to save – the divine Natalie Wood.

As you know, Annelie and I were dear friends with the Wagner-Woods and their extended friend group. What you don’t know, is that I was meant to be on the boat with her, Bobby Wags and my ex-lover Christopher Walken that night until Chris and I had a fight when I tried to open up our relationship, and I refused to get on the boat.

“Please Ben! We’ll have such a wonderful time, my love,” Nat asked in her gentle way.

“If Chris doesn’t want me to see any more semen, I won’t be seeing anymore Sea Men,” I shrieked.

That was the last thing I ever said to Natalie Wood.

I whipped out the time machine and charted a course for the summer of ‘80 to spend time with my dearly departed friend, far enough away from her death to not try and interfere.

Since I obviously couldn’t let slip any future details, lest I set off a butterfly effect, I ran the remaining film odds while in the delorean. Obviously I am rooting for Allison Janney and Margot Robbie to take out a one-two punch for I, Tonya, though I firmly think they will split Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress in a Comedy with the Lady Bird crew of Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan. Which way that splits I’m not sure, but I have a good feeling about my fellow Gold Coaster’s chances. For Drama Frances McDormand or Sally Hawkins will win, though I’d far prefer a tie while Best Comedy or Musical will go to Get Out, unless Greta Gerwig doesn’t win Best Screenplay, in which case it will be Lady Bird.

With no distractions remaining – outside of her impending death – we were free to have a positively delightful date, toasting her then recent Globes win. It was also such a treat to have a less explicit final interaction while devouring my Pastéis de Natalie Wood.

 

 

Creamy, rich and wholly delicious, these little babies are the perfect treat for catching-up with friends, gambling and gives you enough energy for the rigors of time travel.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pastéis de Natalie Wood
Makes: 24.

Ingredients
500ml milk
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbsp vanilla extract
70g plain flour
485g raw caster sugar
6 egg yolks
3 sheets puff pastry, for no other reason than being lazy and time travel already taking up enough time as it is

Method
Combine the milk and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a simmer before removing from the heat and allowing the quill to steep for a few minutes. Discard the quill and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk in about a quarter of the liquid to form a thin roux. Return to the pan with the remaining milk and bring to a simmer once again and whisk the roux back in for a couple of minutes, or until thickening. Turn off the burner, but leave the pan over the heat.

Meanwhile combine the sugar in a pan with 200ml of water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly whisk the syrup into the milk mixture until you’ve got a thick white liquid. Giggity.

Place the yolks in a large bowl and then slowly add the thick white liquid while constantly stirring until it is well combined. Cover with cling touching the surface and set aside while you work on the pastry.

Heat the oven to 230°C.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press into the holes of 2, 12-hole muffin pans, trimming the edges to form neat little cases. Pour the custard into each shell, stopping about 1cm from the top and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden and scorched in places.

Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can stop yourself from devouring them instantly, that is.

 

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Beef Julia Sawallington

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any more celebratory – I mean, celebrating Jen and Jane is a pretty killer start, no? – today also marks our 500th celebrity catch-up. Yes … five freaking hundred. And my dear friend Julia Sawalha is more than worthy of helping my mark this milestone.

While I only met Jules when she came in to audition for Ab Fab, I knew that she was destined for great things. One day on set she casually mentioned that she was up for the role of Lydia Bennett – in the good not Knightley version of P&P – and as a fan of the work, and a famed period acting and dialect coach, I offered up my services to help her snag the role slash steal the show.

Which I think you could agree, I was more than successful at that.

As seems to be a running theme of growing older, Jules and I aren’t able to catch-up as often as we like so she was thrilled to not only take the time out to honour Ab Fab … but also become our 500th date in the process.

“Ben, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being a milestone date. I mean, I’m no Skarsy, Solange, Meg, Kanye, CeCe – no, I am better than a Survivor that didn’t make the jury – Mischa, Nat Imbrugs, Lin Manuel. Let’s not talk about Purple Ben from this season of Australian Survivor.

“In any event, I’m somewhat worthy of your honour but would like some reassurance,” she coyly admitted.

“You’re a talented actress, one of my dearest friends and owned two iconic series! In addition, you’re beautiful, you’re a model. You look like Linda Evangelista … “

Half way through quoting the now iconic Aja, she accepted the honour and we got to work reconnecting, celebrating and chowing down on a big fat piece of meat. In the form of my Beef Julia Sawallington.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a big piece of meat. Well, unless it is wrapped in a nice, puffy dough. That is something I’ll never be able to go past. Like Jules or the good version of P&P.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beef Julia Sawallington
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg fillet of beef , trimmed
olive oil
unsalted butter
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
100g pate
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Bring a frying pan to heat over a high … heat while you rub the beef fillet with salt, pepper and a good ol’ lug of olive oil. Add another lug to the pan with a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary, and sear the beef for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to rest while we get to work on the rest.

Add the onion and garlic to the still hot pan and sweat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms with another knob of butter, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes, or until they’re nice and soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the pate and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bench and the second next to it with a two centimetre overlap. Press them together, smear the pate/mushroom mixture over the middle, top with the fillet and roll and/or fold the pastry to enclose.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked and blushing like a whore in church. Aka Kiwi hero slash Australian drunk Barnaby Joyce.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving in with gravy and mash. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls

Main, Party Food, Snack

While my first two choices were both too busy – being a monarch and a queen, respectively – to catch-up, my old faithful Keira Knightley was free. And it was wonderful to see her again.

I first met Kiz while protesting against her playing Lizzie Bennet in Pride & Prejudice – because no one would ever be able to top the sublime Jennifer Ehle. Oh … and I stole Jamie Dornan away from her. It wasn’t a strong start to friendship, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does highlight how sweet dear Kizza can be.

But I guess I wouldn’t hold a grudge if someone bought you your first Academy Award nomination to apologise.

After working through our rocky start, we became the best of friends and I became the toast of ol’ London town. We laughed, we partied and, after she discovered that she didn’t earn her first nom, vowed to secure her a legit Oscar nom. While it took me nine years, her performance in The Imitation Game was exquisite and I was glad to see her get the recognition she deserved … and to clear my debt.

It was such a treat to see her again and catch-up on what she’s been doing since she was in town for the scandal plagued last Pirates movie. Given how thankful we were to see each other, I was inspired to whip up my  Thanksgiving approved Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls.

 

 

Bringing a little bit of festive spirit to the Australian classic, these rolls are near culinary perfection. Flakey pastry, spiced, moist turkey and plump warm cranberries? Delicious and oh so comforting.

Enjoy!

 

 

Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ cup craisins, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 eggs, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the turkey, onion, garlic, craisins, sage, pistachios, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in a large bowl and scrunch to combine.

Cut the pastry sheets in half and split the meat mixture into two, shaping into a long sausage to fit the length of the pastry. Place on the pastry, wrap tightly to combine, brushing the seam to help seal the sausage roll.

Slice each into two or three, place on a lined baking sheet and brush with remaining egg. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through and the pastry is golden.

Devour, festively.

 

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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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Pumpkim Richartta Rolls

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Given the troubles Kimmy has had the last couple of years, it was such a joy to catch up with her and see for myself how well she is doing. Particularly because I feel responsible for leading her down the path she is on.

Of course, my sweet, sweet Kimmy doesn’t see it that way.

I sadly haven’t seen much of Kim since the tragic passing of her dear ex and my beloved friend Monty. As soon as we saw each other, we ran into the other’s’ arms and sobbed for her loss before spending the afternoon reminiscing about the good times with Monty and how proud of her she would be.

While Andy Cohen would be extremely disappointed with my inability to convince her to return to the housewives full time – I still think she needs time to heal – he (and Rinna) would be happy that I was able to get her to accept the infamous bunny for Hucksley’s first birthday.

After achieving the near impossible, I decided to push my luck and talk to her about the sequel-reboot of Witch Mountain … which she just LOVED, though I sadly can’t talk about it due to Disney’s hella watertight confidentiality agreements (the slut pigs).

Given how much ground we had to cover, we needed something light, hearty and soothing – that I could also sneak a drink in a mug with – to give us sustinance. No doubt you know where this is going – given it is our simplest pun yet and isn’t shoehorned in at all – we shared my famed Pumpkim Richartta Rolls.

 

 

A little bit spicy, soothingly sweet and the earthy combination of pumpkin and the ricotta work to create a delightful vegetarian alternative to sausage rolls that doesn’t include spinach.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Richartta Rolls
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
500g butternut pumpkin, diced and roasted
500g ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs , lightly whisked
½ – 1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp plain flour
¼ cup grated parmesan
3 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper, to taste
milk, to glaze

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the pumpkin, ricotta, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, flour and parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth(ish) and combined. Add more breadcrumbs if it is too wet.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, place a long strip of the mixture in the middle of each pastry half and roll over to enclose.

Cut each in half, transfer to a lined baking sheet and brush with milk before sprinkling with some extra oregano. Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and crispy. Then, obviously, devour like, again, a slut pig.

 

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Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley

Breakfast, Main, Snack

Guys – there is only a fortnight to OG Survivor and between that and the fact Locky and Sarah both made the merge on Australian Survivor, I could not be happier. Though maybe it’s because I got to work through my issues with one of my favourite Survivor victors, Denise Stapley.

I will forever defend the game of one Ms Lisa Whelchel and her killer final tribal council performance, but there is no way Denise could possibly lose the Philippines. I mean, between being the first coming of Jacs, thanks to her amazing alliance with Malcs, and therapising Abi-Maria at tribals, the woman attended every single tribal council of the season – a feat yet to be equalled – and overcame a huge numbers disadvantage to make it all the way to the end.

Oh, and did I mention she was an absolute challenge beast to boot?

While I impatiently await her return – she is going to be the second two-time winner, just you wait – we catch-up on the reg, given she is my therapist. As you probs guessed, it was actually me that suggested her to Probst. You’re welcome Jeff.

Anyway, it was such a treat to have her over to catch-up in person and gossip about the upcoming season, her potential allies on the future all winner’s season and make her a huge batch of thank you (for being a friend) Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley.

 

 

Flaky, salty and dripping in cheese, there really is nothing better with a fresh, strong coffee … while waiting her return to the game. Hear me Probst? Bring back Denise ASAP.

While you wait, enjoy!

 

 

Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry, quartered
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup swiss cheese, grated
8 thin slices of ham
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Sprinkle the sliced shallots and a quarter of the cheese diagonally across each square of pastry. Place a piece of ham on top and sprinkle over the remaining cheese, with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Bring the two empty corners together and press one over the other and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Spinachevy and Chase Rolls

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Main, Party Food, Snack, Vegetarian

After kicking things off with EGOT recipient Reets and a semi-sweet trip down memory lane with my dear(ly departed) Jack, I thought we needed to bring back the funny for day three. And, obviously, there is no man that has won exactly three Emmy Awards (that I can be bothered looking up) funnier, that I can call a friend than Chevy Chase.

I’ve known Chevs for years, after meeting in Betty Ford – who fun fact, gave me free treatment at the clinic as we’re also dear friends – in the ‘80s and becoming the fastest of friends. While there were obviously some issues between us after he dropped the N-bomb on the set of Community and refused to make me play his son in the newest Vacation movie, I found a way to forgive him.

Hey – I forgave Candace Cameron Bure for being Candace Cameron Bure, I can do anything.

Anyway being a betting man, Chevs was keen to get straight to work after a brief catch-up. Given the fact two of his Emmys are for writing, I bequeathed him the great honour of discussing all – yes, all – the writing categories.

Obvi, Big Little Lies has Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama Special, while he backed Saturday Night Live – again, obvi – for Variety Series, I think it’s going to go to John Oliver or Samantha Bee. As far as the series categories go, Aziz and Lena have the comedy wrapped up for the sublime Thanksgiving episode of Master of None. We again disagreed on the drama winner, Chevs going for The Handmaid’s Tale, while I think the Duffers’ will take it out with Stranger Things … as a consolation for losing Outstanding Drama Series.

As you can imagine, what with two disagreements, we needed something hella hearty and comforting to get us through. Thankfully my Spinachevy and Chase Rolls more than fit the bill.

 

 

Fresh, spicy and dripping with cheese, these are my favourite kind of rolls this side of Alyssa Edwards’ backrolls.

*Tongue pop* Enjoy, okkkuurrr?

 

 

Spinachevy and Chase Rolls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained completely
250g danish feta, crumbled
½ cup parmesan, grated
small handful dill, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the spinach, feta, parmesan, dill, onion, breadcrumbs, zest and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Split the mixture into quarters and roll each portion into long – puff pastry length – sausages and place along an edge of the puff pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry and roll to enclose, ensuring the seam is on the bottom. Cut into three and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining three quarters.

Brush each roll with eggs and bake for 25 minutes or until golden, crisp and flaky. Devour.

 

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