Mimi Ricottang Cookies

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor George returned from hospital with a brutal facial injury, which instantly endeared him to the tribe that desperately wanted him gone. The tribe christened him and despite the rebirth, Simon and Michael were still out for his now exposed blood. Simon in particular desperate to have the title of Kingslayer on his resume. The Heroes dominated yet another immunity challenge as George bombed the puzzle – justice for Stevie – sending the Villains back to tribal for a second time in a row. Back at camp, the tribe locked in a plan to get rid of George, though Queen Shonee was an icon as she turned the tide and saved our king, sending Michael from the game instead.

The next day the Spice Girls – aka Shiz and George – were busy bonding with Sarah, hoping for answers to whether she actually pushed Miss Greece down the stairs. And while she assured us that she didn’t, I live for the black humour of how she would have wanted to alongside the assurances she was only temporarily in a wheelchair, to get out of anyone thinking she is awful. We then learnt more about the iconic beauty queen, who plays rugby league in her spare time and loves it due to her passion for smashing people. Begging the question, did she actually push Miss Greece?

Stevie meanwhile was doing some tai chi as Jordie and Simon caught up about the fact George is still here, with the boys thankfully moving on and agreeing it was best to use him as a shield. For now. The tribe convened to talk through how they plan to maintain the fire while away at the upcoming challenge, while Stevie adorably tried to keep them all focused and motivated before pulling them into some tai chi. And while he isn’t great strategically, Shonee lives for his kooky ways despite him wanting her gone. And what is good for Shonee is good for me.

Jonathan made a speedy return for the reward challenge where the Heroes were gagged to see George survive, rather than the fact it was Michael that departed. For the challenge, the tribes would face off one on one to grab a sandbag in the water and score a goal, with the first tribe to three getting a giant cookie jar. More importantly, this kind of challenge generally gets us buns as the boys grapple in the water. First up were Shonee and Flick with our Queen putting in one hell of a fight before Flick scored the first point for the Heroes. Stevie once again faced off against Shaun who obviously won before Jordie scored the first point for the Villains against Matt. Sam and Simon were up – the latter in speedos, swoon – with Simon tying things up after a brutal, brutal battle. That left Mimi and Paige to battle for the win which started off a bit derpy before the duo fought hard, dragging each other back and forth before Mimi secured the cookies for the Villains. Like a damn boss.

We finally checked in with the dejected Heroes trip with Shaun sad to have missed out on the cookies, while Rogue gave them a pep talk which obviously sounded more like reprimanding them for not being strategic enough. Everyone started to speculate whether a clue would be in the cookies and how ultimately it would make the Villains more chaotic and as such, could help them in the long run. Shaun, David, Matt and Sam caught up in the water to form an alpha male alliance with Benjamin pointing out to the girls what was happening, while Ben narrated an ad for all the meat on offer and yes producers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

While Rogue was busy questioning who, other than her, was actually a hero.

Back over with the funner Villains, the tribe instantly cracked the cookies and got to work smashing them before Jordie suggested they sit by the shore to continue eating them. George meanwhile went to crack a coconut – which was obviously code for idol hunting – as the tribe were otherwise occupied. Sadly for him, it wasn’t the perfect cover as Jordie questioned where he was as everyone praised his strategy in the challenge. And while he did find the idol, it may no longer be a total secret as there is suspicion. And a giant bulge in his pocket. 

That being said, it appeared that nobody had actually noticed George’s antics, as the tribe seductively ate cookie after cookie before everyone started to speculate whether they should search the jar for a clue or advantage. Despite the risk of literally getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. While Jordie cautioned Fraser against it unless he was feeling nervous, Fraser tried the same with Mimi who was less concerned about the repercussions. After night fell, she quietly got out of bed and started searching through the jar – unsuccessfully – as Liz awoke and just as quietly watched on behind her. The next day Mimi was disappointed to have not found anything while Liz got to work spreading the update to everyone in the tribe.

And just like that, Mimi was now public enemy number one.

The tribe rejoined JLP for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes would have to race a ladder over a series of obstacles before releasing a sack of coconuts and then using said coconuts to smash six tiles. The Villains got out to an early lead on the first obstacle before the Heroes’ brute strength slowly closed the gap. And then they pulled way out in front. To the point where they smashed all of their tiles before the Villains even released theirs.

Back at camp the tribe were, how do you say, very disappointed, with Stevie questioning what the hell they are doing wrong. He caught up with Simon and Jordie to suggest they focus on getting rid of dysfunction by taking out Mimi. Which the boys were obviously on board with, particularly since they know he would be loyal to them if they protect him. The Shiz too were focusing on Mimi or Stevie, with Shonee rightly pointing out that since Stevie is coming for her, it makes sense for her to get rid of him. The boys joined the girls, Sarah and George, quickly pushing them back towards getting rid of Mimi for her shiftiness.

Well, for a little bit.

George obviously hates not being in control, so approached Mimi to fill her in on what has been happening and told her to go hunting for an idol while he worked overtime on turning the tide on Stevie. He and Fraser joined up with Shiz and quickly locked them in on the Stevie plan, before they floated the plan to Sarah. Everyone eventually reconvened at the shelter where Simon stumbled upon the advantage that was hidden in the cookie jar. Wait, no, the producers crossed out the idol symbol so I am just guessing it is a random token with zero power. Or if he is lucky, an idol nullifier. Simon caught up with Jordie, filling him in on the potential idol before floating the idea of idoling George instead. And damn, things just got spicy or funny. And there will be no in between. Begging the question, do the producers have a fetish for making Simon look silly? Because if so, the idol is for real fake.

Simon got to work making sure everyone was voting for Stevie, laying it on thick with George to ensure he thought they were tight and as such make the blindside all the more sweet. Mimi meanwhile caught up with Shonee to see if they were good, with the Queen assuring her that duh, of course they were. Stevie traded out with Shonee, suggesting Mimi goes idol hunting while both of them pretended they didn’t know the other was a target. Simon and Jordie caught up with Shonee, not letting her in on the plan before she reiterated that while she doesn’t trust George, she knows she needs him for now to save herself. And after she left, Jordie rightly pointed out that they can’t afford to make a move without at least checking in with Shiz, because otherwise, they will flip on the boys and they will follow him out the door.

At tribal council Fraser tried to downplay the fact they are slowly growing more and more screwed, as the tribe snacked on cookies. Liz spoke about being sick of tribal council but knew it was the game and as such, was ready to get on with it. Simon started to whisper to Jordie about wanting to make history, before Jordie told Jonathan that he is more focused on quality over quantity and while he wants numbers, he’d like to make sure they are loyal. Simon reiterated the fact they have won a couple of challenges and as such, they at least know they can beat the Heroes, with George agreeing that the last win in particular was arguably the best he has had in both seasons.

Talk turned to the paranoia of the cookie jar with Jordie outing someone for hunting in it for an advantage. Though stopped short of naming Mimi, despite everyone already knowing about it. Liz hilariously then admitted that she knows who it is given she was the one who saw them, before Simon and Jordie started whispering again as Jordie desperately asked him to reconsider. And when he didn’t listen, he instead asked to talk to the girls who swiftly told him they would not be on board. At all. Despite the whispering, Stevie was not concerned and assured Jonathan that if they wanted him to know what they were talking about, they would tell him. He and Mimi then argued over whether he was loyal or had trust, and while they fired up, it made Shonee and Liz keen to flip things back on to her instead of Stevie.

After Shiz got the boys on the new page, Simon decided it was a good idea to now play his non-idol for Mimi while Jordie openly declared that tonight is not the night for big moves and that instead, they needed to focus on building trust with the people they want to work with. Aka Simon, cool your jets, you can get idol redemption another day. Well, if it is legit, that is. The tribe finally voted and Simon wisely opted against any theatrics as Mimi was brutally blindsided from the game, meaning Shonee has now booted and saved Stevie. Like a merciful queen.

As Mimi pulled up at Loser Lodge, I quickly ran out to give her a massive hug, disappointed to see yet another queen exit the game too soon. I assured her that despite the stumble with the cookie jar, she had been playing a solid game and should be proud of how she always stayed true to herself. Plus, she totally dominated the reward challenge. With the formal pep talk out of the way, we gossiped about whether we thought the Villains were doomed for a Stephanie LaGrossa V Bobby Jon demise, or whether they’d be able to win immunity soon. But that goss is not something I’m willing to share just yet. Just the secret to some delicious Mimi Ricottang Cookies.

Yes, yes, it is another festive recipe, but you’ll have to accept that the show filmed last year and festive cheer commences in July in my house. Plus, you don’t necessarily need the sprinkles to make these ones a winner. Soft and melt in your mouth, the light flavour transports you to a place of calm.

Enjoy!

Mimi Ricottang Cookies
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
240g unsalted butter, softened
425g raw caster sugar
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
480g flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
450g icing sugar
¼ – ½ cup milk, depending on desired consistency

Method
In a stand mixer, cream all but a tablespoon of the butter and caster sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and half the vanilla, and return to medium speed to beat until well combined. One by one, beat in the eggs, allowing the mixture to come back together between them. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before folding in flour, baking soda and salt. Return to the mixer one last time and beat until everything is just combined. Cover the dough and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a few baking sheets.

When the dough is cold and firm, shape into tablespoon sized balls and place on the baking sheets leaving about 5cm between them to allow for spread. Pop the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly baked, just before golden, before allowing to cool for five minutes on the tray after which they should be stabilised to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool, melt the remaining butter. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl before slowly whisking in the melted butter, lemon juice, remaining vanilla and enough milk to form a glaze. That will depend on your own preferences.

Pour a little bit of glaze on top of each cookie, followed by the sprinkle of your choice – don’t have to be festive, but why not, I say – before smashing. Gleefully.


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Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche

Breakfast, Pie, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.

While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.

As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.

Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.

The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved
1 sweet potato, diced
1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
8 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to season
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
tomato relish, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.

Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.

Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.


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Tortelektra Shock

Main, Pasta, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the final six were tasked with making over six sexy gay rugby players, who upon completion, were well and truly feeling their oats. The delightful wacky Kita finally scored her first victory of the season after slaying the makeover and nailing the family resemblance. On the other end of the spectrum, Scarlet well and truly had a fall from grace and bombed, focusing more on her own look rather than the makeover. Sadly for Elektra, she wasn’t down for the count, however, as Maxi landed in the bottom with her and was tragically felled. Likely only because of her track record.

Backstage the queens proudly toasted their iconic sister, delighted by the fact her signature is made up of giant tits. Thankfully Elektra got to gloriously rip on Scarlet for doing the splits in her lip sync and let’s just say, Scarlet was not happy about having to pretend she wasn’t bothered by the comment. Before she could fully unleash her rage, everyone rallied around to congratulate Kita on her victory, with Karen rightly pointing out that she is really the one to beat at the moment. Talk turned to the need to win a challenge to win the show, with Art looking very attacked by the fact she is the only one left without a victory. But where there is a Velour, there is a way and Art isn’t bothered. Which is why she is an icon.

The next day Scarlet was a little bit more relaxed about being in the bottom last week, though was still annoyed enough to be shady about Art’s second chance. Which we all got over weeks ago, right? Like she wants everyone to get over some of her past performances. Kita shared that she journaled who she thought she’d make it to the end with at the start of the competition, admitting it was the rest of the queens. Except Elektra. Which once again fired Elektra up to remind everyone that she is just as talented as them. Her basic outfits be damned.

The potential drama was interrupted by Ru who joined them to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge, the dolls would be putting on a little talent show for the judges. Which should be the perfect way to showcase all the queens before the finale. Right? As the victor of the last challenge, Kita was able to choose the order in which they will perform and damn, please, be shady as hell. PLEASE.

Scarlet nervously tried to influence where she was placed, before Art suggested Kita sit on it before locking in her decision. With that, they split up to rehearse with Kita prepping a magic act as Art appeared to be doing a work out routine in the background. In the most demented way possible. Elektra was obviously going to dance – despite Karen reminding her she needs to remember to look good while doing it – while Scarlet was preparing a pole dance. Oh and then Elektra quietly pulled Kita aside, begging to be the last performer. Which is also where ameteur Demi Moore in Striptease wanted to go.

Kita pulled the girls aside to lock in the order, going with Karen, Art, Kita, Scarlet and then Elektra. And hot damn, did young Scarlet throw an epic tantrum about it! I mean, it almost rivalled Alaska’s in All Stars 2. Before she quickly pretended to be very unbothered by it as Kita really didn’t seem to care, so instead, she vowed to destroy everyone.

Ru arrived with the iconic Raven to chat with the queens. Elektra was up first, sharing that she plans to do a slowed down dance as Raven began flirting with her and to follow from last week, they should start an Only Fans. Elektra pointed out that she has x factor and can always work on the rest – like her outfits and make-up and well, that is very true. Kita shared that she would be doing quick change magic, with Ru admitting that she hates magic passionately, leaving Raven to give her the pep talk instead. Kita spoke about feeling guilty for winning the week before, with Raven wisely reminding her to get out of her head and to stop second guessing herself. Lest she messes up.

Scarlet got the slutty boots out to talk about her pole dancing routine, explaining how dangerous her inverted split will be. Oh and did she mention, she’d never done it before. And ugh, we know where this is heading, don’t we? Boo. Art outlined that she would be doing a serious commentary on the media, using the second most talented hole on the body – her mouth. Art asked Raven for advice about surviving life post drag race, with she and Ru reminding her to never venture into the comment section. Which is wise. Even for a mild celebrity like me! Oh and Karen will be doing some clown work and making balloon animals. Which, lol. Oh and Ru then shadily pointed out that Karen has started to flatline in the competition which hopefully fired her up to step out of her comfort zone and slay the judges.

After they left, Karen started to panic about delivering a sexy balloon artist instead and spiralled. Driving everyone mental, particularly Elektra who wanted Karen to listen to Ru’s advice because that is exactly why she herself has started to succeed in the competition.

Elimination Day arrived with the queens well and truly stressed out about the make or break challenge. Karen meanwhile had decided to change her act, but didn’t want to talk to anyone and instead focused on getting ready. Which obviously meant that Art continued to talk to her, which I think was her trying to help get her out of her head rather than being shady. Elektra spoke about how confident she was before we took a very hard pivot with Art, who opened up about getting death threats after performing drag Christmas carols on Chapel Street. And how her own cousin made death threats against her because they were jealous that Art was living the life that they wanted before they died by suicide. She then told her sisters that she is always there for them all and fuck, I don’t care if she has no wins, give her the damn crown.

At the talent show Ru, Michelle and Rhys were delighted by Karen’s sexy showgirl turn as she violated all the balloons on their way to making poodles. Well and truly leaving the judges wanting more. Art was bizarre and demented while shoving entire foods into her large mouth without chewing. And I absolutely lived. Kita came out ready to win, serving energy and fire as she slowly did stripper-reveal magic. Which is honestly something you can’t describe. Scarlet meanwhile did her pole dance to the theme of House of Drag, absolutely slaying the house down and thankfully not cracking her skull and bleeding out mid-performance. And then Elektra served a moody, contemporary dance routine and was great. But the vibe didn’t feel like it would be Drag Race enough for the judges.

On the How’s Your Head … Piece runway Karen was stunning as a giant pink poodle, Art was a garden fairy with butterflies flying around her head. Thankfully fake and moving, unlike Asia’s. Kita was a glorious robotic, sexy club kid with a wig of lights. Scarlet was a stunning, shimmering showgirl and Elektra was a Fosse dream, complete with a swing.

The judges lived for Karen’s runway, but felt her talent was good but way too short. The judges lived for Art’s glorious runway and her talent, despite not knowing what she was doing. Kita was praised for her energy, though was read for the bland outfits in her talent. Though they loved her runway. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did this week, while Elektra was read for not being drag enough in the talent show  – see?! – despite being more than ready to appear in Sia’s next video.

Wanting to make things shady, Ru asked the dolls who they each thought should go home tonight, with Karen saying Elektra should go because she has gone as far as she can go and her storyline is already so epic. Which Art, Kita and Scarlet all quickly agreed with, while Elektra suggested it should instead be Art. Given that Art hasn’t grown in the competition. And you know, since she has already been eliminated once.

As the girls Untucked, Elektra was annoyed that they all piled on her but knew that it was the easiest choice. Art meanwhile was unbothered that she was identified as the one to go by Elektra because she just doesn’t really give a shit. Thankfully The Veronica’s arrived to kiki with the girls before Elektra and Kita could delve into the drama. They shared with the girls that Scarlet will definitely win, and Elektra will be joined in the bottom by either Karen or Kita. Talk turned to who they all thought would win the contest, with Art suggesting Scarlet, Scarlet went with Karen, Karen with Kita and Kita with Elektra. Because if she doesn’t win, the judges clearly aren’t looking for talent. 

Obviously Scarlet won the challenge, while Elektra found herself in the bottom. Somehow Karen narrowly avoided the bottom with Art, leaving Kita to battle it out against her fellow kiwi. Which is totally rigor morris. But you know, whatever. As The Veronicas’ Untouched got started Elektra pretended to quit before the duo absolutely left everything on the floor and fought for their lives. Hard. Kita was demented and hilarious, Elektra felt every moment. Given their track records though, it was Kita who was ultimately saved as she sobbed while holding her sister in her arms.

Backstage Elektra was the same charming, thirsty star I first fell in love with on House of Drag before pursuing as a lover. While I was specifically looking to marry anyone from New Zealand so I could move there and have Jacinda as my PM, I genuinely well in love with zaddy Elektra. The passion was instant, but I was tragically deported for not being friendly enough to live in NZ and our relationship fizzled out. So it was so nice to once again hold her in my arms and share a loving Tortelektra Shock together.

Cheesy, pillowy parcels of pasta slathered in a spicy sauce of sundried tomato and mushrooms, this is such a simple – dare I say basic – dish, but it tastes so damn good. Just like Elektra … ‘s talent.

Enjoy!

Tortelektra Shock
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 pack gow gee wrappers or portion of pasta dough
300g fresh ricotta
1 egg, whisked
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil 
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup sundried tomato pesto
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup cream
small handful basil leaves, sliced

Method
If you’re not being lazy like me, start by prepping your pasta dough.

If going with gow gee, ignore them for the moment and instead focus on the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan and two garlic cloves in a bowl with a good whack of salt and a better whack of pepper. Stir until well combined.

To make the pasta, place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wrapper – or a 10cm square of pasta dough – and twist to form a tortellini. Repeat the process until it is all done.

While you get a large pot of water on to boil, heat a lug of olive oil in a medium frying pan and cook the mushrooms for five minutes or until browned and soft. Add the remaining garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring through the sundried tomato, chilli and cream. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and keep warm while you cook the pasta.

Once the pasta is floating in the top of the boiling water – because you put it in the water, which I’m only just reminding you to do now – scoop it out or drain and stir through the sauce with the basil.

Serve immediately with a good layer of parmesan and devour.


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Biminestrone Bon Boulash

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 2, Soup, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the top four slayed their final challenge before Ru decided to add one final bit of messiness to the proceedings and eliminated Ellie without a shot at the crown. With that, the newly minted top three took their places on the mainstage and turned out another epic performance as they lip synced for the crown. Despite Tayce obviously slaying from start to finish, however, that was as far as her superior lip syncing skills would take her as she finished as co-runner-up of the season.

Co-runner-up with Bimini, proving to be the gaggiest gag of all the seasons as Lawrence took the crown home to Scotland instead.

By the time Bimini found me backstage, following the sound of my heartbroken tears, I clung to her for dear life, disappointed that her epic run wasn’t rewarded with a crown. She tried to sooth me with assurances that proving herself was more than enough of a win and reminded me I should be as happy for Lawrence as she was.

And well, I am – particularly given you could argue that COVID really killed her momentum and things could have played out if they didn’t have a seven month pause – though that doesn’t take away from the fact Bimini was iconic. And well, if she doesn’t win the first UK All Stars, I will riot.

I have been a friend for Bims for close to a decade now, meeting while studying journalism together so it was so wonderful to see her shine and grow throughout the competition. And while it isn’t the crown that she deserves, a piping hot bowl of Biminestrone Bon Boulash is a close second.

Warming and hearty, this play on Nigella’s green minestrone is delicious. And more importantly, easily converted into a vegan option for our vegan queen. Sweet and fresh, it is the perfect trans-seasonal freshness to get you ready for soup season.

Enjoy!

Biminestrone Bon Boulash
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3 tbsp garlic oil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 potato, diced
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
3 cups frozen peas
a handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
2 zucchinis, half-peeled and diced
1L vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated (or a vegan substitute)
800g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
500g spinach and ricotta tortellini (or a vegan substitute)

Method
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook the thyme until fragrant. Add the leek, potato and celery, and sweat for about five minutes. Stir in the peas and beans, followed by the zucchini and stock. Pop on a lid, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through. Season to taste.

Take out about 2 cups of vegetables and a little liquid and blitz in a blender with the basil and parmesan – being careful to avoid the steam blowing off the lid – and return to the pan alongside the beans and tortellini. Bring back to the boil and cook until the pasta is tender.

Remove from the heat and leave to rest for ten minutes or so before devouring, while manifesting a crown in Bimini’s near future.


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Stuffed Shelly Long Bake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Stuffed Shelly Long Bake
Serves: 6.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Florgeres Welch

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I know it is stupid and I sound so whiny – I am a diva, so like Britney, leave me alone – but damn did I need this time with Florence to perk myself back up – sorry, raise – and focus on what is important in life.

I mean, as soon as Florence got off the plane and held me in her arms it was like happiness hit me like a train on the track.

It should really come as no surprise to me, given we’ve known each other since attending Thomas’s London Day School as young kids. Fun fact: I was the one that suggested Kathy and Will send my godson George there.

While it has been a few years since we’ve had the time to catch-up, it felt like not a day had gone by since our last date. We laughed – even about the fact I was outside her door for Grammy Gold before realising she is just a nominee – we cried and she cheered me the fuck up over a big plate of my Florgeres Welch.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, delicate and creamy on the inside, these sweet cigars are the perfect treat to bring people together and turn around your mood. Am I putting too much power into food? Sure. But what else am I meant to do?

Enjoy!

 

 

Florgeres Welch
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
125g cream cheese, softened
250g ricotta
250g cottage cheese
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinklin’
24 sheets filo pastry
unsalted butter, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Blitz the cheeses, caster sugar and cinnamon in a blender or stand mixer until well combined.

Place a sheet of filo on the bench, brush with some butter and top with a second slice of filo. More butter, more filo, more butter and a fourth and final piece of filo.

Cut the filo tower into quarters and spoon 1 tbsp of filling along the short edge. Roll over to just cover the filling, fold in the edges and then continue rolling to form a small cigar, brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until the four are done. Then repeat the process with the remaining filo.

Transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until golden and crispy. Devour immediately, sprinkled with some cinnamon.

 

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Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire, Sweets

Another week, another painful wait for a cast announcement. I mean, since the season has already been filmed – not to mention my ability to time travel – I’m totally all over the cast of Edge of Extinction, I feel bad that you’re not in the know. And I can’t give you my sassy hot takes.

I will tease the fact there are three guys, all of whom I love, that I can not tell apart.

A lack of cast however will still not deter me from counting down – and trying to push through my concerns slash the general negative sentiment – to the upcoming season however, so I called my dear friend Chris Daugherty to drop by.

And hot damn, I just realised that this year’s countdown features dates with victors from controversial or low-rated seasons?!

Anyway despite an apparent dislike for Vanuatu as a whole, it is up there with one of the best turnarounds by a winner. Chris went from potentially being the first boot to find himself the last man standing at the final seven before joining with three other outcasts to take control of the game, slaying his biggest threats and taking out victory.

While I was rooting for Eliza when it aired – who I really need to catch one day soon – since she was young and scrappy and I was a teen, there is no denying that Chris deserved victory after overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

With that, I finally told him that I was proud of the game he played, asked him to help me figure out a way to identify the three identical strangers of Edge of Extinction and smashed a few Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts.

 

 

You know how much I love a creamy filled bun, and these babies sure don’t disappoint. Pillowy dough, tart lemony cheese and a sweet and sour crust? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts
Serves: 24.

Ingredients
750g flour
150g raw caster sugar, plus ¼ cup for filling
7g dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
⅓ cup buttermilk
3 eggs, at room temperature
30g melted butter, plus extra to coat the ‘nuts
250g ricotta
3 lemons
1 cup caster sugar

Method
Combine flour, 150g raw caster sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, stir in the milk, buttermilk, 2 eggs, and 30g of melted butter. Attach the hook and knead for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for two hours.

When proving is half an hour from being done, blitz the ricotta with the remaining egg and the juice and zest of two lemons. Chill in a bowl until you’re ready to go.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Knock back the dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 3mm thick. Cut into 24 rounds and place a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the centre of each. Fold to enclose, roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat until done, cover and leave to prove for a further hour. Once puffed, transfer to the oven to bake for 10 minutes.

While they’re baking, combine the regular caster sugar with the zest of the remaining lemon.

While the doughnuts are still hot, dip in the butter and toss through the lemon sugar. Then devour.

 

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Novak Gnoccovich

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

Oh my goodness, Novie is just the sweetest damn thing in the world.

He ran into my arms at the secret security exit of Brisbane Airport – the one made famous by Schapelle Corby, FYI – and said, “I’m so glad you invited me to appear on your anthropological study! I feel like time spent with you will be what pushes me to another grand slam victory.”

I mean, come on. That is adorable and brings a tear to my cold dead heart.

I’ve known Novak for years, meeting in 2005 at the Australian Open. As you know, I am well respected in the tennis community and I was on hand to offer unsolicited advice to people that lost their matches. To help them be better, you know?

While most people balked at my advice and labelled it useless, ill conceived and offensive, Novak appreciated my efforts and we became the best of friends. Well second-best of friends, because Rog.

Nov hasn’t had the best run at the last couple of Opens so was excited by the prospect of my magic touch helping him to glory and hand him the Male Singles record outright. And given how magical my Novak Gnoccovich is, I have a good feeling he’ll be taking out the win.

 

 

Earthy mushrooms and delicate gnocchi bathed in a rich creamy sauce … and THEN covered by a tonne of parmesan and cut by lemon juice. It is heaven. HEAVEN I tell you!

Enjoy!

 

 

Novak Gnoccovich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 tbsp butter
500g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup ricotta
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
500g fresh gnocchi
parmesan, to garnish

Method
Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for ten minutes or so, or until the liquid has all absorbed. Add the remaining butter and flour and cook for a minute, or until it has lost its flouriness.

Remove from the heat and slowly stir through the chicken stock. Return to heat and bring to the boil, before reducing heat to low and simmering for ten minutes. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and juice, sage and chilli, and cook for a further five minutes.

At this point, cook the gnocchi as per the packet instructions or recipe. Once done, drain and add to the creamy sauce. Serve immediately and top with a generous handful of parmesan.

Devour!

 

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