Marcia Hot Cross Buns

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Sweets

With Easter just around the corner, I started thinking about all the wonderful back-from-the-dead – or brink of – performances to ever grace the small screen and it reminded me how long it had been since I caught up with my dear friend Marcia Cross.

While much has been made about it in the media, I was not not the inspiration for the role of Kimberly Shaw in Melrose Place. I was just brought in to coach Marcia to peak craziness. We worked together day and night for months, and that close working relationship quickly developed into a deep and beautiful friendship that no questionable casting choices – I see you Quantico – will ever destroy.

Marcia and I are such wonderful friends, but since we’re both so successful and busy it makes it hard to maintain the day-to-day aspects of friendship, so it was such a treat to make the time to hang out and toast to the future.

Despite the fact she only has Quantico keeping her busy compared to the multiple pies I have my hands in. Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway, easter is the time for miracles etc. so Marsh and I made it work, plotted a return to the A-list – for both of us – and devoured in a shit tonne of Marcia Hot Cross Buns, as is the style of the season.

 

 

Spicy, soft and packing a punch – not to measure a shit tonne of delicious fruits – these make the perfection that is Hot Cross Buns even better.

Not convinced? Make them for yourself … and enjoy!

 

 

Marcia Hot Cross Buns
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
14g dried yeast
1 ¼ cups milk, warmed
¼ cup muscovado sugar
4 cups flour, plus ¼ cup for crossin’
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup sultanas
½ cup raisins
1 cup craisins
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder

Method
Combine the yeast, milk and muscovado sugar in a jug and set aside in a warm, dry place until it is foamy and glorious.

Meanwhile combine the flour, spices and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and rub through the butter with your fingertips until it resembles dirty sand. Add the fruits, eggs and foamy yeast mixture, and knead in a stand mixer for five to ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to prove for an hour or so, or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Knock the dough back, shape into 12 balls and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving 5cm apart. Cover with some cling and allow to prove for another half an hour.

Combine the extra flour with the baking powder and ¼ cup of water. Spoon crosses over the buns and transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 150°C, rotate the pan and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving, slathered in a shit tonne of butter.

 

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Portia de Rosti

Breakfast, Side, Vegetarian

Oh my goodness, Portia is such a delight. I mean, if I could catch up with her every week I would. But tragically, that would make for a really boring slash even more niche patch of cyberspace, featuring only Porshie recipes.

But she is just so damn smart and kind, and I love her. Sue me.

As you know, I’ve known Porsh and Ells for years – fun fact, I was both of their Man of Honor at their wedding – but given their insanely busy careers, it is always hard to pin them both down at the same time.

“Ellen sends her love, obviously! She still wants to get you a cooking show. Why won’t you take her up on the offer?”

While the answer is obviously off the record, I am too much of a wallflower at this time … and am trying to play competing offers against each other.

Anyway empire building aside, it was such a joy to see Porshie again, catch-up and desperately try and get intel on the upcoming season of Santa Clarita Diet. While she didn’t open her mouth to spill the tea, she did open it to down some Portia de Rosti.

 

 

Velvety smooth and creamy on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, rosti are probs one of the top ten ways to enjoy the majesty that is potato.

Do you need me to say more? Just enjoy, damn it!

 

 

Portia de Rosti
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1kg potatoes, washed
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup parmesan, grated
salt & pepper, to taste

Method
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Once rollicking, reduce heat to medium and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or so, or until cooked through but still firm. Drain and allow to cool completely.

Once chill, grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl with the butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, add the potato mixture and press down to form a firm patty. Cook for ten minutes or so, or until golden and crisp. Flip the rosti and cook for a further 10 minutes until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from the pan, slice and devour immediately. Preferably with a kilo of bacon.

 

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Ooooga chucka, dancing baby etc.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Now I know I only caught up with my girl P de Rossi less than a year ago, but with Mardi Gras in Sydney and the Winter Olympians, I am really loving my community ATM – Adam Rippon, yasss … and Gus Kenworthy kissing his boyfy post ski AND Eric Rutherford slaying, is making me hella proud – so thought nothing of it, to have her drop by again.

Plus … I did make her wait over two and a half years before getting her on this patch of cyberspace, so I owed her a second round.

What says I am desperately hoping for your return in Santa Clarita Diet … and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?

Emphasis on whatever.

Image source: Netflix.

 

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Joshua Flapjackson

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Kicking off my Capeside celebrations is a huge honour that required a big name, and while Mich is arguably the biggest star of the bunch and the show was literally named after JVDB’s character, I couldn’t go past bequeathing said honour to my oldest friend Josh Jackson.

As you should probably guess, I first met Josh in the early ‘90s while working together on The Mighty Ducks. As a champion figure skater slash coach – I trained Tonya Harding, have I mentioned that – and ameteur street fighter, Disney hired me to train the cast to skate and effectively smoosh people into the glass during hockey.

While Josh wasn’t violent enough for my tastes, he was an expert skater and had the acting chops of a young Daniel Day Lewis. So you know what that means … I took him firmly under my duck wing and vowed to make him a star.

Between headlining a franchise, starring opposite soon-to-be Oscar nominee Laurie Metcalf in Scream 2 and playing me in Cruel Intentions, I think I succeeded. And that is without even bringing Dawson’s into the equation.

Given how busy Josh has been with The Affair of late, we haven’t been able to see much of each other. Which is obviously equally heartbreaking for both of us. As such, it was such a delight to spend time with my bestest of best friends again and celebrate one of his sexiest characters – emphasis on one of – Pacey Witter. I mean, be still my throbbing …

We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and most importantly, devoured an entire batch of his favourite treat – my Joshua Flapjackson.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and a little bit earthy, this bars are the perfect pick-me-up snack when you’re struggling your way through life. I mean for you, obvi, I’m blessed with a wonderful life on the A-list.

Enjoy!

 

 

Joshua Flapjackson
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
150g butter
175g golden syrup
150g muscovado sugar
350g quick cooking oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch nutmeg

Method
Preheat oven to 150C.

Combine the butter, golden syrup and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well combined.

Place the oats in a large bowl with the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Fold through the buttery syrup until everything is sopping. Transfer to a lined square baking dish, packing it in nice and tightly – like Josh in my fantasies – and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Then you can devour.

 

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Kraftherine O’Dinnara

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Side, Snack

While Eug is the Schitt’s Creek cast member I have known the longest, my dear best friend Catherine O’Hara is the one I am closest to. And that isn’t meant to shade my relationships with the rest of the crew, but simply highlight how great a bond Cath and I share.

So obviously I met Cath when she joined the Second City troupe in Toronto, but our bond truly solidified when we worked together on the one-two punch that is Beetlejuice and Home Alone. You see, I was the stuntman for both Winona Ryder and Joe Pesci in the movies, and working together again gave Cath and I the opportunity to grow even closer on set.

That and the fact that I was so moved by her work on Home Alone, led to me dedicating my live to getting her the recognition she deserves. Aka an Oscar.

While my trips to rehab, multiple deportations and myriad of scandals have distracted me from that goal at times, we’ve always remained the best of friends and I was thrilled when Eug told me they were co-starring again in Schitt’s.

As expected, Cath was thrilled to drop by and celebrate the premiere with her bestie and to honour her greatest role yet as Queen Moira Rose. She was even thrilled to see a big vat of the delightfully Canadian meal, my famed Kraftherine O’Dinnara.

 

 

Does her name easily work with Kraft Dinner? No. Am I still unsure whether Kraft Dinner should be classed as a national dish of Canada (hey, Wikipedia says so … so it has to be – Canadians, please let me know if this is true in the comments)? Fuck no. Am I ashamed to admit how much I loved my copycat version? I’d sooner die!

So enjoy and feel no guilt, ok?

 

 

Kraftherine O’Dinnara
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
⅓ cup butter, cut into chunks
3 tbsp flour
½ tsp mustard powder
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups milk, to taste
1-2 cups grated vintage cheddar cheese
250g Kraft ‘cheese’ slices (aka American cheese), yes the plastic stuff (it’s fantastic)
6 hot dogs, cooked and sliced
tomato ketchup, to serve

Method
Cook macaroni per packet instructions.

Once you’ve drained the pasta, place the butter in the pot and melt over medium heat. Cook until foamy before adding in the flour, mustard powder, paprika and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes or until the roux has come together and the ‘flouriness’ has gone. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk.

Return the pot to the heat and slowly whisk through the cheese and the ‘cheese’ until melted, goopy and well combined. Stir through the cooked macaroni and hot dog pieces, and serve immediately. Then, obvi, devour slathered in ketchup to taste.

 

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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Jane Porrocks Pies

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack

I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d top the delight of catching up with my dear friend Jen, nor am I sure why it has taken us so long to celebrate Ab Fab. In any event, I am filled with joy knowing that my dear friends are finally getting their moment in the sun that is this anthropological endeavour. None more so than the divine, bubbly, little voice herself, Jane Horrocks.

Now Babs – as her closest friends slash anyone that has read her Wikipedia entry know is her real name – and I have been the dearest of friends for close to three decades, after meeting during casting of The Witches.

In his golden years, Roald had asked me to oversee the production of all adaptations of his work, starting with The Witches. As soon as Jane walked in to the audition, I know that she was the only person that could play Susan … and is oft the case, vowed to make her a star.

When Jen mentioned transitioning Ab Fab into a show, she asked me to help assemble a killer cast, the likes of which had never been seen. I knew that Jane would be absolutely perfect for the role of Bubble and immediately drafted a contract and offered the role without Jen ever seeing her.

While she was annoyed by my underhanded tactic, her rage quickly dissipated after laying witness to Babs’ talent. I mean, she was almost nommed for an Oscar, for christsakes!

Given how busy I’ve been, I regret to admit that we haven’t seen as much of each other as we’d usually like. That being said, our friendship is so dear that it is always as though no time as past between our dates.

After a long hug we got to work drinking, laughing and reconnecting … and toasting to Ab Fab’s success with a big batch of Jane Porrocks Pies.

 

 

As British as tea, scones or the Queen – not Sandra, soz – pork pies are not just delicious, they’re comforting … and, dare I say it, life affirming. They just aren’t particularly healthy.

But who really minds about that? Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Porrocks Pies
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g Cumberland sausages, skins removed
200g streaky bacon, diced
⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the sausage, bacon, breadcrumbs, sage, nutmeg and a good whack of pepper in a large bowl, scrunching until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 even squares and line 18 holes of (two) muffin pans with pastry. Divide the mixture evenly between the holes and tightly packing it in … you know I love that. Fold any extra pastry over the mound of meat, brush with some egg and top each with the remaining squares of pastry. Fold it in on itself – obvi in a decorative fashion – cut a small hole in the top of each, brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-40 mins, or until golden and brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately, hot, slathered in caramelised onions.

 

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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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Pirates & Prejudice

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After an upside down week, I decided I needed something with a little more pomp and circumstance this week. And there is no one I know with more pomp or circumstance, than Keira Knightley.

Well other than Lizzie and the OG (and best) Lizzie.

Since those two were busy, I swallowed my pride, got rid of my prejudice and bent my calendar like Beckham to fit her in.

What says I’ve missed you the last couple of years and not, get your lesbian feet out of my shoes Jesminder?

Image source: Focus Features.

 

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Thai Chicken Meatburrells

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Main, Poultry

Tragedy – emmy gold only has another day after today. So two days, for people that struggle with basic maths. Anyway you should thankful, knowing that you’ve got to experience my extremely close connections with these stars AND the fact that my boy Ty Burrell came through with the goods and finally invited me to the Emmys as his date.

I’ve known Ty for close to two decades, after meeting through my friend Eric Bana and torrid lover Josh Hartnett on the set of Black Hawk Down. Between coming up for air from Josh and cracking jokes with Eric about kick-boxing, 24 hours, a day, I found Ty and we bonded over our small town upbringings and inherently funny personalities.

Given Modern Family completely changed his life, Ty and I haven’t been able to hang out as often as we’d like, so he just jumped at the opportunity to have me drop by, catch-up and help run the odds. And offer up his plus one, since I can’t go with Kit Harington this year.

Anyway, while I was very supportive and told him that there is no way anyone would beat him for supporting actor … we all know Alec Baldwin will take it, while Tituss Burgess deserves it. Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, however, is probably the most difficult for me to pick. I firmly believe it is a two man race between Aziz and Donald. Since I’ve split writing and directing between the boys, I’m also feeling Actor and Outstanding Comedy will be divided between the two. While I prefer Master of None, I feel Atlanta is poised for most Outstanding Comedy and as such my boy Aziz is going to deliver a hella cute acceptance speech where he can’t believe it all happened.

After that, I was feeling hella confused – picture me as the meme of the woman thinking in priz – so Ty and I needed something warming and hearty to sort out my equilibrium, so I whipped him up a batch of my Thai Chicken Meatburrells.

 

 

Fresh, spicy and packing a whole lot of heat, these babies are the perfect thing to wake you up, soothing your soul and, if you’ve got a sensitive, clear out your system as a pre-show detox. But seriously, these are amazing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Thai Chicken Meatburrells
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp minced ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 lime, zest and juice
salt and pepper, to taste
2 carrots, julienned
1 can coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 red chillis, thinly sliced
½ cup baby corn
¼ cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
rice noodles, to serve

Method
Combine the mince with 1 ½ tsp red curry paste, minced ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, coriander, 1 tbsp of fish and soy sauces, lime zest and a good whack of salt and pepper. Form into walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet, cover and chill in the fridge for half an hour or so.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of vegetable oil for in a large frying pan and quickly fry the remaining garlic for a minute. Add the carrots and remaining curry paste and cook for a further minute or so. Add in the coconut milk, chicken stock, remaining fish and soy sauces, sugar and chillis, and stir to combine.

Gently add the meatballs one by one, and cook, half-covered for about fifteen minutes, or until they’re poached all the way through. While the balls are cooking, cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions.

Once the balls are ready and you’re kitchen is smelling … a-ma-zing, add the baby corn and lime juice, stirring to combine as you cook for a couple of minutes further.

Remove from the heat and serve over a bed of noodles, top with some extra coriander and peanuts. Then, devour.

 

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