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.

 

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 and Tumblr.

Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After what feels like a marathon finish to an epic year – kicking off with the supreme Diana Ross, experiencing the highest of highs honouring the 10th anniversary of Because I Said So, and the lowest of lows witnessing queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s torch being snuffed for the first time, learning that Nicaragua can be pronounced Knee-Coo-Arrr-Ohhh-Goo-A, seeing the glorious buns of Locky Gilbert on the killer second/fourth season of Australian Survivor, the glorious crowning of Sasha Velour, catching Milk post-All Stars 3 filming and a breathtaking end to the oddly titled Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers – we’ve finally hit day 12 of the 12 Days of Festivus.

You know, after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barn, Liz, Wayne, Mike, Pat, John, J-Lou, Stel and Jez.

It should come as absolutely zero surprise what with the process of elimination and the fact the show is named after him, that we’re rounding out our Fete de Festivus with a date with my dear friend slash protege, Jerry Seinfeld. What – you didn’t know I taught him everything he knows?

He first caught my eye during his appearances on Benson and I took him under my wing, guiding his career from Johnny Carson, to Letterman and eventually introduced him to Larry David. The rest, as they say, is history.

Given how busy Seiny has been with his Netflix deal, we haven’t seen much of each other lately so it was such a treat to pop on our puffy shirts and ring in Christmas – by way of Festivus, of course – with a big fat Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake.

 

 

Tart and sweet, creamy, rich and packed full of spice, this cheesecake is festive perfection. And super simple, which is perfect if you want to focus on your drinking. And who doesn’t?

Enjoy!

Oh, and from our crazy family to yours, Merry Christmas! We’re taking a short break and will be back in the new year … or maybe a bit before. Dun dun DUUUUNNNN!

 

 

Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 cup frozen pitted cherries
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
200g butternut snap biscuits, crushed
100g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
½ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
3 tsp gelatine powder, dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water

Method
Place the cherries, muscovado sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until it beautifully scented and reduced. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

Combine the biscuit crumbs and melted butter, and press into the base of a 20cm springform pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add in the sugar, cream and gelatine until smooth and combined.

Fold through the chilled cherries, and pour the mixture into the chilling pan and return to the fridge for a few hours to set.

Remove from the fridge half an hour before serving and devour.

 

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Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Main

I know it is only day 9 and I know Julia Louis-Dreyfus is neither the inventor of Festivus nor Jerry ma’fucking Seinfeld – but after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barns, Liz, Way-Way, Mick, Pat and John – but today is the jewel in the crown … that is the savoury portion of our 12 days of Festivus celebrations.

Off topic, but did reading that sentence make you picture a big green underline telling me to consider a fragment. Because it felt like it did but I can’t really be bothered dealing with it. So soz.

Despite the ban from Lorne Michaels, I was lucky enough to meet Jules on the set of Saturday Night Live and well, we just clicked. I don’t know it was our foul mouths, our shared sense of humour or the fact we didn’t click with similar people with few exceptions *coughs* Heidi *coughs*, but we quickly became the best of friends and I’ve guided her career from the start all the way through to her record breaking Emmy success on Veep.

Given poor Jules is still undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I made an exception to the ‘everyone comes to me unless it requires time-travel’ rule, and headed over to whip her up a warming festivus dinner in the comfort of her own home. FYI she is doing really well and is a testament to a good attitude making a world of difference.

Now I know I said Jules was the jewel in our festivus crown … but I never actually said the meal was classy. In any way, shape or form. But let’s be honest, how do you have festivus without a traditional Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus.

 

 

Warmly ensconced in a hug from some fresh iceberg lettuce, this meatloaf is actually hella tasty. And dare I say it, a classy version of the Costanza classic. If meatloaf can ever be considered classy. Which I think it can be.

Enjoy!

 

 

Julia Meatlouis-Dreyfus
Serves: 8 angry family members airing their grievances.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, whisked
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 zucchini, grated
2 carrots, peeled, grated
handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp, wait for it, chilli flakes
small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup smokey barbecue sauce, for glazing
4 leaves iceberg lettuce, washed and dried, for wrapping the slab of meat

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine everything but the sauce and lettuce in a large bowl, scrunching with your hands until well combined. Form into a large loaf-ish shape, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for an hour or so, or until firmed. Brush with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for fifteen minutes, or until caramelised and delightful.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes before slicing and serving on a bed of lettuce. Why? Because that is what Estelle Costanza would do … before devouring.

 

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Potato Michaelline Richards

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Vegetarian

We’ve reached the halfway point of our 12 days of Festivus celebrations, and I thought that after kicking things off with Jase – yes, this is just an excuse for a shameless plug for our previous recipes – before going to the portrayers of smaller characters like Heidi, Barney, Liz and Wayne, it was high time I caught up with another member of the core four.

And there is no one more core to Seinfeld than Michael Richards. Well, outside of the other three leads, obvi.

I first met Mick while working together on Fridays. Fun fact: I was the one that encouraged him to carry the cue-cards out to Andy Kaufman leading to the infamous drink throwing incident. While we fell out of touch in the years that followed, I was thrilled to see him again on the Seinfeld set.

Despite having another falling out after the laugh factory incident in 2006, Kirstie Alley helped us reconnect while he was working on her 2013 sitcom and we’ve been renewed friends ever since.

He was so excited to drop over for Festivus that he also knocked my apartment door off its hinges on arrival – classic Kramer style.

“What are we doing? Where are we going? What are we eating? Who are we seeing?”

For a second, I felt that I’d managed to finally crack the code and travel to alternate dimensions and into tv and films, due to Kramer-esque energy. Turns out, he was just hella excited to see me and down a vat full of Potato Michaelline Richards.

 

 

Uuuuuggggghhhhh – I hear you grown. How many versions of mashed potato can one anthropological patch of cyberspace have? A) Screw you and b) dickloads. I mean, creamy gooey potato on the inside, crisp and golden on the outside? This is perfection, damnit.

Enjoy!

 

 

Potato Michaelline Richards
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
salt and pepper, to taste
¾ cup milk
50g unsalted butter
½ cup parmesan, grated
1 cup thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks

Method
Heat the oven to 120°C.

Bring the potatoes to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat with a good pinch of salt. When rollicking, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, half-covered, until they are tender but not sodden, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the still hot pan and stir until any excess water has evaporated and they’re no longer steaming.

Mash thoroughly, or put in a stand mixer on medium with the paddle attachment, until the potato is completely smooth. Stir in the butter, milk and parmesan until combined and the butter completely melted slash incorporated. Gently old through the whipped cream, being careful not to lose too much air. Season, transfer to a medium baking dish and bake for half an hour, or until heated through and just started to crisp and get golden on top.

 

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Brandy Jason Alexander

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Drink

While Seinfeld, as the name clearly suggests, is all about my friend Jerry Seinfeld, the great, wondrous holiday that is Festivus is all about the Costanzas. While yes, Frank was the creator of the blessed holiday – how many ways will I describe the holiday in the next 12 days? – I feel it is most appropriate to kick this celebration of with the delightful holiday Jason Alexander.

Jase is one of my oldest friends after meeting in ‘81 on the set of the hit TV movie Senior Trip. Annelie and I were part of Mickey Rooney’s entourage at the time but were both so moved by Jase’s performance in the bit-part – no small parts, just small actors etc. – that we vowed to make him an absolute star.

I think we can all agree that despite our questionable pasts, rehab and priz stints and aggressive feuds, the way we moulded Jason’s career truly is our opus.

Given how busy I’ve been since starting this anthropological study, I’ve barely had time to catch-up with my celebrity friends unless they’re keen to document it. And while Jason was always down for the career boost I offer, I wanted our date to be truly special.

And there is nothing more special than Festivus.

As soon as Jase arrived we were laughing like he’d snapped my fingers in a jewellery box – which coincidentally was inspired by us mucking around when he gave me some thank you jewels for the one-two punch of Seinfeld and Pretty Woman – catching-up on what he’s been up to lately and making a toast to our friendship slash the season, in the form of my Brandy Jason Alexander.

 

 

Now I know the great Ron Burgundy says milk is a bad choice in the heat and Brisbane is balls hot, but add some festive spice and a nip of brandy and you really can’t go past it. Trust me.

And that’s not a threat … but it’s also not not a threat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brandy Jason Alexander
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
30ml brandy
30ml crème de cacao
30ml heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon

Method
Shake the liquid in a cocktail shaker with ice, and pour into a chilled glass.

Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Down.

 

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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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Finnel Wolfhard Cakes

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

It is All Hallows’ Eve eve and as such, I knew we needed to catch-up with the Stranger Things heavy hitter – after Eleven and Joyce, obvi – Finn Wolfhard. Aka Mike. Obviously, no shade to Shan, Mil, Gat, Cal and Noah. It’s just that the Wheelers really drove the entire plot, you know?

While I also didn’t meet Finn until he auditioned for the show, I knew that while his doppelgänger Noah would be best to play the vulnerability of Will, Finn was born to play the strong, dedicated – and this season, brooding – Mike.

Seeing his raw talent in the audition, I gave him free acting lessons on set and vowed to make him a star. Next thing you know, he landed a role in the hit movie It. I may have made some poor decisions that tanked my Hollywood career – not even taking into account the time I told Harvey Weinstein no – but I sure am a talented acting coach and career advisor.

It – no pun intended as it (again, no pun intended) is a basic word that I can barely get through a sentence without using – was such a treat to reconnect, toast to his success and plot where to next for his career. As you know, that is some hunger inducing business, so we were both thrilled when I got to whipping up some Finnel Wolfhard Cakes.

 

 

While they may not looking anything special, funnel cakes sure as, well, fun. Plus, they look like a spider-web that It would weave for that period he is a spider. Which I’m not actually sure happens in the movie, given the entire concept terrifies me.

Anyway, enjoy!

 

 

Finnel Wolfhard Cakes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
¼ cup butter, melted

Method
Whisk the milk, egg, vanilla together in a large bowl, and the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in another. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually add the wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Fold through the melted butter and allow to rest for five minutes.

When you’re ready to go, heat 1 inch deep vegetable oil in a large pot until nice and hot. Transfer the batter to a funnel and dribble in a stream into the hot oil. Fry for a couple of minutes, or until lightly golden. Flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until the batter is done.

Serve immediately, dusted generously in icing sugar.

 

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Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

Yesterday marked the halfway point of our Stranger Things slash Halloween celebration Stranger Feasts – after my previous dates with Shan, Mil, Gats and Cal – and I realised it was high time we caught up with Will Byers himself, Noah Schnapp.

Similar to Shan, I first met Noah when he came in to audition for Stranger and despite getting him and Finn confused literally every time I see them – I mean, come on, they look like brothers – I knew that he was the only one for the part.

Or Mike. No Will, definitely Will.

As a dear friend of Winona’s, I took him under my wing and gave him tips on how best to win her over to foster that mother-son bond that is integral to the show. I would argue it was my tutelage of how Wins ticks that led to them forming the glorious relationship they have now.

Like all the kids before him, Noah was really excited to come and visit in Brisbane and to spruik the latest season. And to thank me for getting him a job opposite Petey Dink on Angry Birds, obvi.

After catching up and giving him a stern talking to about eating right, studying hard and being good, I realised that I may actually pass as a functioning adult. While that hit my extremely hard and filled me with rage, I took a deep breath and whipped him up a delicious (and nutritious) Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp.

 

 

Without giving anything away about season two, I decided Noah needed a spooky meal that was far less murdery than the monsters attacking Hawkins. While these are essentially just patties covered in pastry, I would argue that is all you need. Delicately flavoured, moist meat(loaves), wrapped in flakey pastry? Tell me what more you could ever need.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 egg, lightly whisked, separately
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup peas
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 sheets puff pastry, cut into 1cm strips.
4 black olives, pitted and sliced

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, one of the eggs, garlic, carrot, peas, Worcestershire, tomato paste, oregano and basil in a large bowl and scrunch to combine. Divide into 8, roll into a ball and flatten into patties.

One at a time, mummify the patties leaving space for eyes. Place on a lined tray, add two olive eyes and repeat until done. Brush each with the remaining egg and bake for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until cooked through and the pastry is crispy.

Serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, splattered with bloody ketchup as required.

 

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 and Tumblr.