Pierogene Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, Vegetarian

Given I am close with the entire cast of Schitt’s Creek, it was extremely difficult to decide who to bestow the honour of kicking off my celebration honouring their return to the screen. But like my girl Hizza Clinton before me, I am known for making hard choices when I need to, so picked up the phone to call the delightful Eugene Levy first.

I mean, it is only fitting that I kicked off the party with Eugene as he is the person I have known the longest. Eug and I first met whilst a part of Second City, Toronto and by a part of, I was his stand in when blocking performances given our eerily similar appearances.

While we drifted apart when I was deported from Canada – and therefore unable to appear on SCTV – we reconnected again in the ‘90s through my dear friend Tars. I was part of her entourage on the set of American Pie to get closer to Chris Klein – it was the ‘90s – but I was so thrilled to see Eug again that I abandoned my lust for Chris, and instead focused on making up for the lost years of our friendship.

Despite being extremely busy with other publicity commitments, he was so excited to come down under and mark season four in culinary form with his dearest friend.

“Ben, you really need to come visit when we’re filming next season. I could see Alexis having a long-lost twin and you have the perfect nature to pull off the role!”

“Eug, my love, I don’t know. I’m super busy at the moment, but it truly makes a lot of sense.”

Now I can’t tell you how that conversation ended for upcoming contractual reasons – hell, I shouldn’t have even mentioned how it began – I can tell you that my v. Canadian Pierogene Levy were the perfect snack to toast season four … and beyond.

 

 

Like Eugene, these babies are the perfect comforting slash celebratory snack. Warm and fluffy, and packed full of carb-y, cheesy goodness, you need to get these in your belly ASAP.

Warm apple pie my arse (… which is another embarrassing story of mine for another time).

Enjoy!

 

 

Pierogene Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg potato
6 shallots, roughly cut
200g ricotta cheese
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Peel and cut the potatoes quarters and place in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until just tender, about five-ten minutes depending on their size. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a lined baking tray with the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes.

When the aggressive heat from the potatoes has gone, mash them until their mostly smooth. Add the ricotta, cheddar, eggs and a good whack of salt and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined.

To make the pierogis, place the gow gee wrappers on a clean, dry bench and place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre. Brush the edges with water and press the edges together, pleating as you go … to make them look as flash as a rat with gold teeth. Because, obvi.

When they’re all done, bring a large pot with about 1-inch of water to the boil and steam the pierogis for about ten minutes, give or take, or until they’re cooked through.

Devour, greedily, with sour cream or some hot sauce.

 

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Wayne Friknightta

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack

After a couple of days hanging with some of the lesser characters of the Seinfeld universe – no offense Heids, Barn and Liz, but you’re no Jase – I decided to work my way back up to the big guns by dropping by my dearest friend, Wayne Knight.

Yes ladies and gentleman – it’s NEWMAN.

I first met Way-Way, while working together on Dirty Dancing – yes, I dated Pat. We both have a similar sense of humour and hit it off instantly. When I passed on playing Newman, Jerry was so stressed about finding someone that could do it justice … until I brought in Wayne.

Given that he didn’t get a call-up to reprise his Jurassic role in the upcoming sequel – in my version of the screenplay, he survived the attack and ruled the island – he was free as a bird to drop by and celebrate the holidays.

He jumped in the mail van, loaded it up with bottles and cans to take advantage of Queensland’s new recycling scheme … only to discover he couldn’t actually drive over here. NEWMAN!

After that absolute schmozzle, he grabbed a flight and we were able to catch-up slash air our grievances – like why there isn’t a bridge connecting California with Australia like Mr Peanutbutter’s on Bojack – while annihilating a big old Wayne Friknightta.

 

 

Christmas is a time for booze and comfort food (even if it is balls hot like in Australia), and this is the perfect comfort dish for when you’ve enjoyed one too many libations. I mean, carby rich potato,  … – how can you go wrong?

Enjoy!

 

 

Wayne Friknightta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 large eggs
1 cup ricotta
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
6 rasher of streaky bacon, roughly diced
3 boiled potatoes, quartered
1 sweet potato, peeled, boiled and cut into chunks
500g baby spinach, washed, dried and roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Whisk the eggs, ricotta, parmesan and chilli in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon, stirring, until crisp and golden. Remove from the heat and drain on some kitchen towel. Wilt the spinach in the still hot pan off the heat.

Place the potatoes – both kinds, obvi – in a baking dish and gently stir through the bacon and spinach. Pour over the cheesy egg mixture, top with some additional parmesan before baking for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on top.

Allow to rest, if you can, before devouring.

 

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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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Jonathagnolotti Groff

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Main, Pasta, Snack, Vegetarian

The Grammys are rapidly approaching which means that sadly our Grammy Gold celebrations are about to reach their crescendo but thankfully there are two final catch-ups slash prediction discussions to be had, the latest being my dear friend and part-time lover Jonathan Groff.

Fun fact: I invented the nickname Groffsauce – contrary to popular opinion. You can probably infer how I came up with such a loving name.

Anyway, I am getting way to flustered and a little short of breath.

I first met Jo-Groff while co-starring in Spring Awakening – I should probably mention that Lea Michele is my drag name and I am serving fish, henny girl – and our love blossomed instantly. While I was singing about my mama who bore me, he was boring into …

Again – nevermind. We fell in love, it was beautiful but sadly it wasn’t meant to last. Surprisingly I was mature about the whole thing and agreed that we would make the best of friends.

Given how busy my delicious little Groffsauce has been lately – what with wrapping up Looking, his Tony nominated and Grammy award winning (by way of musical theatre album) performance in Hamilton and the upcoming show Mindhunter – we haven’t been able to reconnect since we last worked together on The Normal Heart.

JoJo was just as beautiful – and dare I say it, saucy – as the last time we hung out and we quickly caught up on each others lives, lamented the loss of Looking, gossiped about the plot of our upcoming film Frozen 2 and ran the odds on who would take over the crown Best Musical Theatre Album crown.

FYI – we are backing Waitress. Or Bright Star. Probably Bright Star.

Despite our indecision about the future winner, we both agreed that my Jonathagnolotti Groff is delicious, even if not served on a named body.

 

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While it has more of an X rated history, the delicate cheesy, mushroom stuffed pockets have a simplistic elegance when slathered in burnt butter and crispy sage.

So yeah, delicious even without the dessert – enjoy!

 

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Jonathagnolotti Groff
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g mixed fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup ricotta cheese
40 gow gee wrappers
75g butter
20 fresh sage leaves

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat and fry the mushrooms for about five minutes, or until all of the liquid is goneski. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat to cool and season.

Once the mushroom mixture is all chill – like I was hoping Jon and I would be, in the Netflix sense obvs – whisk the egg, ricotta and mushroom mixture in a medium bowl, until well combined.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil while you work on the agnolotti.

Lay your gow gee wrappers on a dry work surface and place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water and fold into half moon pockets, ensuring to work out all the air before crimping them shut. Leave to rest until ready to cook.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Remove to drain on a paper towel and continue cooking the butter until it is beautifully browned.

Once the water is boiling feverishly, place the past in the water and cook for about five minutes or so, or until it rises to the surface. Drain and serve immediately, slathered in the burnt butter and topped with the crisp sage.

Devour.

 

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Hannah Shapiravioli

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the jury convened to berate, question and congratulate the final three before casting their votes, none of which went to our co-runner-up and my future lover Kengel or my dear friend Hannah Shapiro.

While Hannah wasn’t rewarded with any votes by the jury, I was firmly buying everything she was selling during final tribal council. Yes, Adam was successful in convincing the jury that her moves were simply blunders … but they were only blunders in respect to her game.

She made it to final tribal and took risks – like leaving David in until the final four and trusting Kengel to turn on him – eliminated people that she thought would be final three fodder and convinced people to risk their game – Adam included – to save her.

So while she wasn’t able to secure any votes, she played an underrated game and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my dearest friend.

I’ve known Han for a few years now, after meeting in college while studying Professor Dawson’s Survivor course – the student became the master, it seems. After graduating I put her in touch with some comedy contacts I met through my besties Tina and Amy, and she has had the honour of working with Second City, Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Anyway, while she was disappointed to not take out the title – or any votes – I was able to turn her around with a quick pep talk and a generous serving of my Hannah Shapiravioli.

 

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It is time for your favourite part, where I liken her game to the dish!

But in all seriousness, Hannah was a soft, gentle soul, that was packed with a punch – deep down – and was able to take over the game without noticing.

Plus – who doesn’t love pumpkin, spinach and ricotta? Enjoy!

 

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Hannah Shapiravioli
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g butternut pumpkin, diced
lug of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
60g pancetta, cut into thin strips
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
½ cup basil, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
⅓ cup verjuice
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh ricotta
250g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
60 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet with a lug of oil, toss to coat and bake for about half an hour, or until golden, sweet and soft. Remove and leave to rest while you get to work on the sauce.

Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan and sweat the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pancetta and fry for a further five minutes. Add in the tomatoes, herbs, verjuice, sugar and a generous whack of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat while you get er’rything sorted.

Get a large pot of salted water on the boil and combine the ricotta and spinach in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Lay out half the gow gee wrappers and divide the cooled pumpkin amongst the pastry, and divide the cheesy spinach on top of the pumpkin.

Brush the dough with water and top with a second wrapper, sealing each parcel to ensure no air is trapped.

When they’re all done, place all the ravioli in the boiling water and cook until they have risen to the top. It should be no more than ten minutes. Drain and add the ravioli to the sauce and return to a low heat for five minutes.

Serve immediately and cover generously with parmesan. Devour, obviously.

 

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Baked Zeki Smith

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the Gen X war came to a head with Jess and Chris battling to stay, with Jess’ side winning the battle as Chris found his way out of the game. Sadly for Jess though, it was a double episode and despite the battle lines being redrawn between Zeke and David, with the votes deadlocked between Zeke and Hannah and Jess being rock-of-doomed out of the game.

It was brutal and sad and I’m still struggling to process it. Thankfully, however, it means that Ken is now the proud owner of the unknown Legacy Advantage.

We arrived back at camp where Hannah seemed to be experiencing the same levels of post-rock PTSD that I am. Although I guess she has the addition of guilt, and was there, so hers is probably more justifiable.

After Hannah calmed herself, David lamented his bad luck while Zeke rallied his troops for a very, very cocky display. But surely this episode won’t follow the saying win the battle, lose the war – right?

Probst opted to appear quickly – I assume concerned by my thirst as Kengel and his torso wandered around post Legacy Advantage – to announce it was time for the loved ones visit. So yep, now my face is as flooded as my basement.

I mean, seriously, how do you not cry hearing Adam ask about his sick mother … and then announce, through tears, that he couldn’t bare to use his advantage. Then Ken started talking about how he idolised his brother. And then Zeke’s dad saying he looked up to Zeke and that he was his hero – fuck.

FUCK – why am I showing human emotion?

Oh … and then they had a challenge where they were tethered to a rope and had to flip through an obstacle course. I couldn’t see through my damn tears but Jay took it out and moved by Adam’s promise not to steal the reward, opted to share it with him, Will and Sunday. Breaking my damn heart, again.

In return Adam gave him the reward steal advantage which is a great move considering the advantage is actually a huge disadvantage. And he still got to go on reward and get an update on his mother.

Again … my damn fucking heart. Honestly there is nothing to be said, seeing Adam breakdown was horrible particularly knowing that she sadly passed away after filming.

The next day David, Will and Adam quickly got our heads back in the game as Will decided he was sick of being treated like a kid – which technically, he is – and told them he wanted to make a move and flip to their side to send Zeke home.

Wanting to keep our spirits on the up and up, Probst quickly returned for the immunity challenge where they had to keep a tight grip on a firm rod to stop it penetrating a surface. While the fact that it sounds amazingly smutty would normally be enough, it forced Ken to tense his bare chest and torso – yes, it was a home fucking run. Despite the fact Adam took out immunity instead of my Kengel.

Back at camp Adam was feeling confident with immunity, his idol and the fact Will was looking to flip. Sensing David and Co’s serenity, Zeke started to get paranoid and decided to flip their vote from David to Ken.

Kengel and Will then sent for a pow-wow, much to Will’s annoyance – meaning Will, a child, is dead to me. Will then told Ken that Zeke’s group were now planning to vote him out, Ken then pulled Jay aside to confirm it was the case.

Then Will followed … and then Zeke … and then Sunday, before Will laid out all of his plans to build his resume.

Obviously that pissed off everyone – and firmed up Ken as an unlikely goat for the final three – leading to Hannah and David’s vote returning to the table with Ken and Zeke as we headed to tribal council.

Once there, James Earl Jones Jnr. called everyone out for their agism as the sides went back and forth appealing to him, to pick their side.

Thankfully – for Hannah, David, Ken and Adam at least – Will did decide to flip, rendering Adam’s (kinda)successfully played crotch idol (on the four Hannah votes, FYI) pointless – but hey, at least it drove home, really hard and deep, the phallocentric innuendo for the episode – sending my dear friend Zeke to Ponderosa.

I first met Zeke in 2014 after joining his gay, all-male improv group ‘Judith’ – given our passion for Survivor, friendship was inevitable and our best-friendship quickly blossomed. While he was super bummed to get the boot, he was thankful to see me there to cheer him up and run through the ways he could have changed his game up over a hearty Baked Zeki Smith.

 

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There is nothing more comforting than a baked ziti – particularly in the tropical heat – rich, spicy and slathered in cheese, it is the perfect way to pull you out of a post-boot depression.

Zeke thinks it is a culinary game changer – enjoy!

 

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Baked Zeki Smith
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
500g Italian sausage, removed from casings
500g beef mince
4 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground sage
1 tbsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
500g dried ziti (or penne if you’re stuck in Australia)
500g ricotta
500g mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
1 egg
handful fresh parsley and basil, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sweat for a couple of minutes, or until soft. Add the sausage and mince, and cook until browned. Drain of any excess fat – don’t be too particular about it as the glorious fat as the glorious flavour, said the future Biggest Loser contestant.

Add the tomatoes, herbs and a good whack of salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour. Remove from the heat and ladle out a few cups of sauce to a large bowl to cool separately.

Preheat oven to 180°C and cook the pasta as per packet instructions, minus a minute or two – you want the pasta to be just al dente. Run it under cold water and allow to drain completely.

In a new bowl, mix the ricotta, most of the mozzarella, parmesan, egg and a whack of salt and pepper until just combined.

Add the pasta and removed tomato sauce  to the cheese mixture and stir thoroughly.

Add half the pasta to the bottom of a large baking dish, top with half the meat sauce, top with the remaining pasta … and then, you guessed it, top with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Chuck it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and molten. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes. Top with remaining herbs and devour.

 

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Pizza Bianca Anderson

Australian Survivor, Main, Party Food, Snack, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, we were introduced to the 24 castaways including Kat brand rep for Trent Resort, while Conner mistook The Hunger Games for a period piece rather than a film set in the dystopian future and Des offended everyone on his tribe on his way out the door for a cafe latte.

We opened back up after Aganoa’s first tribal council where Kristie decided to channel Abi-Maria and accuse the entire tribe of theft. As yet though, no one is dead to her.

Over on Saanapu aka Kylie and the lessor people, Bianca used her intelligence experience to break down the relationships on the tribe and I think alluded to throwing the challenge. So using Survivor logic, see you later Bianca?

Off topic though, wouldn’t Kylie and Sue be the best possible final two? The answer is yes, even though the question is rhetorical. Back at Aganoa, Kristie continued her play for Australia’s Abi-Maria before El stepped in, comforted her and took her under her wing and worked her way into my heart/dream final three with Sue and Kylie.

When we finally checked in with Vavau where Craig introduced us to Barry – who may or may not have been present in the premiere – and we learnt that like Des they aren’t fans on lattes, preferring flat whites instead.

Also they are still struggling to get fire with flint. Somewhere Becky and Sundra were crying into a pile of used matches.

Back with Kylie’s Krew we discovered that Peter was on struggle street and making a play to be the Osten Taylor of Australian Survivor, before zigging when I thought he would zag and slipping on the rocks like Day 39 Aras.

Seriously, Ten … unpredictable.

We then checked in with Jon Jon at the immunity challenge where sadly there was still a decided lack of sexual innuendo. I mean, bring us some balls and Probst-esque smut if you want a hit Ten!

It was a tight fought race but after a major comeback from Lee channeling Boston Rob in Heroes vs Villains and the girls on Vavau channeling Lee playing cricket, Saanapu lost the challenge and wound up at tribal council.

While there was a bit of a misdirect with Petey trying to fall on his sword, we were thankfully treated to our first blindside of the season with Bianca making her way off the island as the second boot.

Poor Bianca was victim of trying to make a move too soon, sadly not utilising the tactical training we both completed while working as intelligence operatives. Did you really think i’d know her any other way?

Binks was crazy upset to be the first one out of her tribe but having a dear old friend like me there to comfort her dulled the pain. Admittedly my Pizza Bianca Anderson probably had a whole lot to do with that.

 

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Despite being the perfect definition of biege, this pizza is anything but – the woodiness of the rosemary and sweetness of the onion meld perfectly with the sharp cheeses. So simple, yet so perfect – enjoy!

 

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Pizza Bianca Anderson
Serves: 1 despondent second boot.

Ingredients
1 pizza base, use Zsa Zsa’s recipe darling
125g ricotta cheese, crumbled
75g mozzarella cheese, cubed
75g provolone cheese, cubed
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Prepare the base as per the recipe and then smear it with the ricotta and top with the mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, garlic and rosemary.

Whack it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is golden and molten. Devour quickly to eat your feelings.

 

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LasEnya

Baking, Main, Pasta

It has been a rough decade not having Enya in my life. Kind of like being on the trains, in the winter rains … but emotionally, not literally. You know?

Picture it, Middle Earth 2001. I had just gotten Enya the job writing a song for the first Lord of My Ring (that’s what I thought it was called when I, helped, Peter Jackson to secure her job).

I was working my way through the Elfen extras to try and claim the Holy Grail of Orlando, watering my bloom. Long story short, I mistook Ens for an elf, she was upset I stopped when I realised it was her and was distraught that once again, I missed Orlando. Mud was slinged, words were said and I had my name removed from the co-writing credit and was robbed of another Oscar nomination.

Angry and hurt, I toured the most reputable and rational Hollywood publications PerezHilton and TMZ spewing vitriol and campaigning heavily against her winning the Oscar. It worked and sadly cost me our friendship.

Until she called.

You see, like me, Ens had tried to stay up-to-date on how the other was doing and lament the state of our friendship. Seeing my current success (and likely sensing the future plaudits and film adaptation she could score), Ens reached out to bury the hatchet and thankfully she was serious when she assured me it wouldn’t be in my back.

Ens is such an absolute doll and it breaks my heart that we fought so viciously for such a long time. She dropped over at the top of the morning yesterday and despite some initial awkwardness as we apologised and each took the sole blame for our issues while secretly blaming the other for all of them, it was like nothing had changed for the relationship we had in the 70s while I mentored her to success.

We gabbed and gabbed for hours, discussing our mutual disgust for Bono and our hope to collaborate on the melancholic, Opera adaptation of my future hit musical Little Whorephan Andy. Thankfully I had a huge batch of my LasEnya as we were worn out from all the planning!

 

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Lasagne is the ultimate comfort food – gooey cheese, rich sauce and a whack of herbs, it is life affirming, truly – and thankfully it is almost cold enough in Brisbane for me to pretend it is weather appropriate.

I mean, pasta? Amazing. Cheese? Even more amazing. Add in some pesto and hot damn you have a holy trinity of ingredients that instantly ends all feuds AND is a lovely shade of green for some cultural celebration.

Enjoy!

 

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LasEnya
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
handful button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
700g bottle tomato passata
2 cups beef stock
250g dried instant lasagne sheets
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella
250g tub smooth ricotta
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Toni Basil pesto
fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, onion, zucchini, carrot, celery and garlic until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mince and break up with the back of a wooden spoon, as it browns. Stir in the stock, passata and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes and starting to thicken.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Spread 1 ½ cups of the mince mixture over the base of a deep 22x30cm baking dish. Top with ¼ of the lasagne sheets. Top with ⅓ of the remaining meat mixture and ⅓ mozzarella. Repeat layers twice more aka the remaining ⅔ of each, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets.

Whisk the ricotta, cream, eggs and pesto together in a bowl, season and pour mixture over the lasagne.

Now this is important and I would normally completely ignore this step, but don’t be like me, be a winner; cover the baking dish with tented foil. Tented? You want the foil to cover the dish, but not come into direct contact with it and leave you with a deliciously crisped piece of foil cheese and a mutilated lasagne … but anyway.

Bake for 40 minutes. Un-tent and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Stand for 10 minutes and then serve. Again, don’t be a Ben – allow it to stand. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.